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DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW

CHILD CUSTODY

How does a Court determine who gets custody of the child? The standard is the “best interest of the child.”

Child Support

How is child support calculated? In California, the Court will use what is called the California Guideline. We can run an estimate for you in the office.

Propety Issues

What happens to the property in the marriage? In California, property acquired during marriage is presumed to be community property, but there are exceptions.

Strategy

How does this all come together? Whether you are going through a divorce or a paterntiy action, it helps to plan how you are going to present your case to the court..

An Overview of a Divorce

Every divorce is different, but here are some of the common steps that often come up in a divorce action.

Initial Filing

A divorce can start with a simple set of forms- a petition for divorce, a summons and a few other forms. The petition sets the basic parameters of the divorce- when was the date of separation, are there children involved, will support be an issue, etc. The summons sets automatic temporary restraining orders to try to keep the status quo until the court can make certain decisions.
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Ex-Parte Hearings

Sometimes, the situation is so urgent that you can’t wait for a hearing on a temporary order. An Exparte hearing allows you to ask for an emergency order with one days notice to the opposing side.
Issues litigated in an Exparte hearing often involve immediate danger to the children. Courts disfavor Exparte hearings when they are used for non-emergency issues, so it is important to know when a situation rises to the level of an emergenc

Request For Order

A request for orders (or an RFO) is often filed along with the initial filings. This is a motion that can set temporary orders for child custody, child and/or spousal support, exclusive use of the residence and many other items that require temporary orders.
It’s important that the RFO be supported by suitable evidence, which can consist of declarations or other items.

Settlement Conference

Once the termporary orders are in place and the financial discovery is concluded, the Court will set the case for a settlement confence. In our estimation, approximately 90 percent of cases are settled by the time this stage is over. If it doesn’t settle here then the case proceeds to trial.

Discovery

A major component of most divorce cases is the assets. Financial discovery is the process by which it is determined what the assets that form the community estate are. This sometimes involves sending subponeas to banks to ascertain infomation.

Discovery can also be used to obtain records that can help in a custody motion. This could involve subponeas to the police department.

Trial

When all is said and done, the Court holds a trial to determine whatever hasn’t been settled by the parties. A divorce trial can range from a hour to several days.