Q: What is mediation?
A: Mediation is a process whereby both parties agree to try to resolve their issues with a neutral party (i.e. the mediator). The mediator does not represent either party, but instead works with them on an amicable resolution to all issues. Parties can still have their own independent attorney that they consult with during the mediation process.
Q: Will I be automatically divorced after 6 months?
A: No, it doesn’t happen automatically. This is a common misconception. There is a process thatneeds to be completed in order to restore you to a single person; i.e. dissolve your marital status. California law does not allow anyone to get divorced earlier than 6 months from the date the Respondent (i.e. the other party) is served with the Summons and Petition requesting a divorce. While it is possible to be divorced at or around the 6th month mark, it isn’t automatic.
Q: Why doesn’t the Judge care why I’m getting divorced?
A: California is a no-fault divorce state. While the reason for the divorce may impact custodyand visitation, it has no effect on the division of property or whether or not the court will grant the divorce.
Q: Do I have to go to court?
A: Not necessarily. Often parties can work everything out without ever stepping foot in a courtroom. If parties cannot work out their differences and come to a settlement, then all or part of the case will need to be heard in front of a Judge.
Q: How does child support work?
A: Child Support is based on a Statewide Calculator, commonly referred to as “Guideline.” While parties sometimes disagree about what numbers should go into the calculator, once the numbers are decided by the parties or the Judge, the amount of child support is determined by the calculator. Only in extreme circumstances, the court can adjust the amount of child support.
Q: Can my child testify and decide where they want to live?
A: Depending on your child’s age, he/she may or may not be able to testify at court. Further, even if your child can testify, it is up to each Judge to decide how and when they will hear from your son or daughter.
Q: Joint physical custody means we each have 50% of the time with our children, right?
A: No, joint physical custody does not mean that your children will have an equal amount of time with each parent. The amount of time your children spend with each parent is determined by a variety of factors.
Q: How long will spousal support last?
A: It depends on a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage. While there is no hard and fast rule for long term marriages (marriages that are 10 years or longer), generally spousal support (if it is ordered) for short term marriages (marriages that are less than 10 years) is half the length of the marriage. This is a rule of thumb and not definitive.
Q: Who decides custody in my case?
A: If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then the Judge will make a decision regarding custody and visitation.
Q: Will my new significant other’s income be included in calculating child support?
A: No, it is not considered when calculating support; however, it is put into the calculation to determine what tax bracket the parties are in for purposes of calculating support.