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Divorce FAQs

Stephanie L. Williams, Attorney at Law, represents individuals and families in divorce and separation matters in Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado, and Placer Counties.  We offer the following answers to frequently asked questions as a resource to clients and others seeking information about what to expect from dissolution proceedings in California.

How much does it cost to get divorced?
As with any family law matter, the cost of divorce varies widely, and is highly dependent on whether the divorcing spouses agree to most or all issues of their divorce; costs increase relative to the number of issues that are disputed and the amount of time it takes to resolve them.  Divorce issues can typically include how community property will be distributed, and who will have custody of any children.

How is property divided at divorce?
California is a community property state.  Generally, community property is all property acquired during the marriage, except property acquired by one spouse as a gift, bequest, or inheritance.  At divorce, all community property is divided equally between spouses.  Nevertheless, if divorcing spouses can come to an agreement about how they would like to divide their property, they may divide their property in whatever manner they choose.

How does the judge decide who gets custody of our children?
The judge will make a custody determination based on what he or she believes is in the “best interests” of the child, a broad standard that includes such factors as health, safety, and welfare.  The judge will also look at which parent would be more likely to promote frequent and continuing contact between the child and the non-custodial parent.

What is custody mediation?
In California, unless the divorcing parents agree on a custody arrangement, the parents will be required to attend a custody mediation before the issue can come before a judge.  At the custody mediation, a trained facilitator will work with the parents to try to reach a mutually-satisfactory agreement over custody and visitation.

How much support will I have to pay?  How much support will my spouse have to pay me?
The judge may or may not order spousal support at divorce, and will look at a number of factors to determine whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, for how long.  It is a goal of the family court for both divorcing spouses ultimately to become self-sufficient.  Spousal support is more likely to be ordered where there is a significant disparity in the parties’ incomes, for example, where one spouse has not worked in recent years.  How much support the judge orders will depend, among other factors, on the standard of living during the marriage and the spouses’ relative incomes.

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, seek advice from an experienced divorce lawyer.  Stephanie L. Williams, Attorney at Law, is a Certified Family Law Specialist with significant expertise in all aspects of divorce and separation in California.  To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

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