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Family Law

Family law is just not only divorce, there is a variety of issues that are close to your heart, like child custody, visitation, support and also division of property.

Divorce isn't something anyone takes lightly. You may have already spent many hours thinking over your decision; you may still be considering it right now. You may be thinking about visitation rights with your child and child support. Family law in California isn't just confusing; it's something that no parent should have to handle through alone. Here are a few steps that will happen along the way.

Overview of the Family Law Process:

California's jurisdiction

Before you file for divorce, several matters of jurisdiction will come up. For instance, you'll need to have resided in the state for six months and the county where you're going to file for at least three months. Also, your child will need to have resided there for three months. Every requirement has exceptions and our Law Office will sort that out. We will be by your side to provide the best family law advice and make sure everything is done right since the very beginning.

Once we detrmine that there is jurisdiction in California, one party initiates the dissolution proceeding by filing a Petition. The other party, the "Respondent" will then be served the Petition personally (we have a in-house process server to speed up the process). Following receipt of the Petition, the Respondent has 30 days in which to file his or her response. During the 30-day period the case can be set for a Court hearing if there is an "Emergency" (Ex-Parte Motion).

The first step in preparing for a dissolution of marriage includes preparation of the following pleadings:

    1. Summons;
    2. Petition;
    3. Order to Show Cause (for requesting relief at the first hearing);
    4. Temporary Restraining Orders;
    5. Declarations;
    6. Income and Expense Declaration;

At our first meeting, we may prepare certain paperwork in order to either initiate the divorce or to respond to the Petition filed by the spouse. These pleadings are then served upon the other party. Once the pleadings are served upon the other party, the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage can be granted at the earliest six (6) months from the date of service. The purpose of the six-month waiting period is to encourage reconciliation between the spouses, and if in fact a reconciliation occurs during this period, kindly contact our offices and we will see that the divorce is stopped.

After the pleadings have been drafted and served, the next step is the Order to Show Cause (the initial hearing). Generally, the following issues are addressed at the initial hearing:

    1. Spousal support;
    2. Child support; (if any)
    3. Child custody and visitation; (if any)
    4. Restraining orders;
    5. Use of the residence and motor vehicles;
    6. Joinder of any pension plans;
    7. Request for attorney's fees and costs;
    8. Any other miscellaneous relief necessary to maintain stability for the benefit of the children and the parties.
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