Small wooden family figurines and gavel on a desk

Family Law FAQs 

The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer Dec. 6, 2022

Divorce, as you may know, is a complicated thing. There are a lot of emotions involved and a lot of questions to be answered. And when you add the legal aspect of divorce into the mix, it can get even more confusing. Fortunately, for all California residents who are interested in getting divorced or dealing with other family law matters, such as child custody and alimony, we have shortlisted some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about family law.    

If you have any questions about issues related to family law, our attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer can give you the answers you need during a free consultation. Our team has the practice and knowledge to assist you during challenging times while keeping your best interests in mind. From our offices in Morgan Hill and San Jose, California, we represent clients throughout the state, including Pleasanton, Hayworth, Fremont, Santa Clara County, and Alameda County.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Family Law 

What are My Next Steps If I’ve Been Just Served with Divorce Papers?  

Once served with these papers, your first step should be to meet with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through each step of the process and offer advice based on their knowledge of local laws. By law, you – as the respondent – have 30 days to respond to divorce papers in California. However, the petitioner (the spouse who initiated the divorce) can move forward with the process even if the respondent does not file a response within 30 days.  

What are the Grounds for Divorce in California? 

California is a no-fault divorce state that recognizes only two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. Under the no-fault system, neither spouse can be held at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. If you are seeking an uncontested divorce and both parties agree about what happened during their marriage as well as how assets should be divided upon divorce, then you may qualify for what is known as “summary dissolution” in California.  

How Long Will it Take to Get a Divorce in California? 

The time it takes to complete a divorce depends on the court where your case is filed and the complexity of your case. For example, divorces involving children tend to take longer than those without children. The length of your divorce case will also depend on how many contested issues there are and how long it takes to resolve them. In addition, keep in mind that California has a six-month waiting period for divorce. In other words, divorces in California generally cannot be finalized until at least six months have passed after the date the respondent was served with divorce papers.  

Will I (or My Spouse) be Awarded Alimony in California?  

In California, the court will determine whether or not you will receive alimony and how much it is going to be. The amount of alimony awarded depends on many factors, including (but not limited to) the length of your marriage, your age, health and financial situation, your income and assets, and the standard of living during the marriage 

How Do California Courts Determine Child Custody and Visitation?  

When a family law case in California goes to court, the judge will use the “best interests of the child” standard to determine custody issues. Factors that may be considered include the child’s relationship with each parent, the wishes of each parent and/or guardian, and the wishes of the child (if they are of sufficient age), among others.   

Who Gets to Keep the Family Home?  

If you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement that determines who gets to keep the family home, then the terms of that agreement will apply. If not, then California law applies. Generally speaking, all assets and debts that were acquired by spouses during the marriage belong equally to both of them. If a family home was acquired during the marriage, the court might order a 50/50 split.  

When Do People Need to Hire a Family Law Attorney in California?  

People may need to consider hiring a family law attorney if: 

  • They do not know their rights 

  • Their divorce case involves contested issues 

  • Their divorce involves minor children 

  • Need help with child custody and visitation 

Divorce is never easy, but it can be especially challenging when you have to navigate the family court system on your own.  

Legal Guidance for Your Family  

You can get legal guidance from a skilled attorney to get your questions answered and ensure that you are well-represented in every way possible. Our family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer can help you make informed decisions on your next steps and will guide you through this complicated time. Receive a free, 20-minute consultation by reaching out to our office today. We proudly serve clients in Morgan Hill, San Jose, Pleasanton, Hayworth, Fremont, Santa Clara County, and Alameda County, California.