If you are facing a Family Law matter, you are undoubtedly filled with a range of difficult emotions. And if this is your first experience with the legal system, you are also being confronted with some important decisions. Choosing the right attorney is one of those decisions that will help add clarity to your situation and give you confidence that you’ve taken the first step toward a brighter future.
Above all it’s important you feel comfortable that your attorney understands the nuances of your particular case, and has the experience and skill to represent your interests. The Law Offices of Jarvis, Krieger and Sullivan have been handling complex Family Law cases in all 7 Southern California counties for more than 30 years and understands that each case unique.
What is an initial consultation?
Initial consultations are generally opportunities for you and the attorney to exchange information regarding your case. It is also a chance for you to determine if the attorney you are meeting with is the right person to represent you in your matter, and for you to ask about the attorney’s experience and practice.
By meeting with the attorney during the initial consultation, does this mean he or she will be representing me on a long-term basis?
Prospective clients should keep in mind that the initial consultation does not obligate individuals to hire the attorney, nor does the meeting obligate the attorney to take on the prospective client’s matter on a long-term basis. If you do plan on hiring the attorney after the consultation, you should confirm with the attorney that you would like to hire him or her. The reason for this is that you do not want to leave the attorney’s office assuming the attorney will represent you, while the attorney has the opposite impression.
Is there anything I should bring or do before the initial consultation?
Before the meeting, you should make written notes on the facts related to your legal problem. You should identify all the parties involved in the case and organize all the relevant facts in some order, such as in chronological order. A qualified attorney will be able to sift through the facts as you relay them, and recognize those that are most relevant. You should also bring a list of questions to which you want answers.
Why should I make preparations before meeting with the attorney at the initial consultation?
You want to be prepared before you meet with the attorney to avoid wasted time and stress and to make the meeting productive. Preparation enables you to clearly present the facts of your situation as fully as possible, and focus on the issues and questions that are critical to you. This also helps the attorney to provide you with tailored, specific advice.
Overall, what are some key things I should do or keep in mind for the initial consultation?
Overall, if you organize your thoughts, and clearly communicate to the attorney what you want him or her to accomplish for you, you will have taken positive steps toward developing a productive working relationship – and toward getting your problem resolved.
How long does it take to get a divorce in California?
If the spouses have reached an agreement on all of the relevant issues a divorce may be obtained 6 months and one day after the divorce petition was served to the other party. If an agreement is not possible and the case must be tried, the length of time is primarily dependent on discovery process and the Court’s calendar.
Where can I file for divorce?
You can file for divorce in a county in which either you or your spouse has lived for at least 90 days, as long as that same person has lived in California for at least six months.
How is property divided between spouses in a divorce?
The California Family Code requires that the Court divide the community property of the spouses “in a manner that the Court deems just and right.” This means the Court is not required to divide the property 50-50 and can consider a variety of factors in deciding what is “just and right.” These factors can include fault in the divorce, disparity in earning power, disparity in amount of separate property, etc.
How is child support calculated?
In most cases, child support is calculated using a formula in the California Family Code. The payor’s monthly “net resources” (a term defined by statute) is multiplied by a percentage which is determined by the number of children at issue (e.g., the percentage for one child would be 20%). The payor is entitled to a reduction if he or she is also responsible for the support of another child.
What are temporary orders?
Temporary orders are orders issued by a court, after either a hearing or an agreement by the parties, which are designed to last until the divorce is final. Practitioners sometimes refer to them as “band aid” orders. Temporary orders commonly address issues such as child support, custody and visitation of the children, exclusive use of the marital residence, exclusive use of vehicles, alimony, and interim attorneys fees.
If my spouse and I have agreed to all the relevant terms, what is the general procedure for obtaining and finalizing the divorce?
It is common for spouses to believe that they have an agreement, but they actually have not addressed all the necessary terms, such as child custody or support, or property division. Assuming all required terms are agreed to in advance of filing, the divorce can be a relatively simple legal procedure. The attorney for the Petitioner (the filing spouse) files the divorce petition and either has the petition served on the other spouse or the other spouse executes a Waiver of Service. The Petitioner’s attorney then drafts an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce and any other necessary documents which are reviewed and signed by the other spouse. The other spouse is free to hire or consult with an attorney of his or her own. After the necessary papers are signed by the parties and attorneys, the Petitioner and his attorney then go to court for a hearing to have the Court enter the Decree and other documents.
Do I have to show fault to get a divorce?
California is a no-fault divorce state which means that it is unnecessary to show that either party was at fault in order to obtain a divorce. It is only necessary to show that there is marital discord and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. However, many fault issues (adultery, cruelty, etc.) are frequently relevant factors in divorce cases because they can have an impact on how the community property is divided, or how custody is decided.
If you have any questions, please call us at 877-877-1-LAW or use our contact form below.