FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the earliest date I can be divorced? The State of California can grant you a divorce six months from the date of service of the Summons and Petition on the responding party. The earliest date that a court can grant a dissolution of marriage in California is six months after the earlier date of when the other party is served or files a response in court. However this does not happen automatically; it requires that certain steps be taken to bring it about.
2. On average how long does a divorce take? The length of time is difficult to predict, and it could take longer than six months. Many factors control the length of time, such as the number and complexity of issues, conduct of the opposing party and attorney, type of property to be divided and whether assets are being concealed. Real estate appraisals, business evaluations, custody evaluations etc, if required, will lengthen the divorce process.
3. How do you charge your clients? As most private attorneys do, we charge according to an hourly rate that is set forth in our retainer agreement. The issue of fees will be discussed and agreed upon at the first consultation
4. What is the difference between a legal separation and dissolution of marriage? Dissolution of marriage is a divorce and, after the Judgment is entered, the parties are restored to the status of single persons. A party must be a resident of the State of California for six months and this County for three months prior to filing a petition for dissolution. There is no such residency requirement in a petition for legal separation. In a legal separation the parties remain married. However, in both actions all issues of the marriage, including custody and visitation, child and spousal support and division of assets and debts can be resolved either by agreement or court order.
5. Who will get custody of the children? In California there is no preference for one parent over the other, both are entitled to custody of their children. Ideally, custody is shared in such a way that the children spend a significant amount of time with each parent.
6. What is your approach to practicing family law?
While zealously pursuing our clients’ interests we strive to give them control over their case and to educate them regarding the legal process. We want them to understand why we recommend certain actions and how they can best help their case. We partner with them as part of a decision making team, exploring various options and offering advice, but always remembering that ultimately the decisions belong to the client.
Do You Need a Board Certified San Diego Family Law Specialist or Divorce Attorney?
Answer the questions below and you decide:
- Are you in the middle of a divorce settlement and feel overwhelmed?
- Is your family law matter one of significant importance to you?
- If you are married, is your marriage for three or more years?
- If you have children, is the child custody/visitation order important to you?
- If child support or spousal support is a possible issue in your case, do you (or your spouse) earn more than $50,000 per year?
- Has there been any domestic violence in your case?
- Are you concerned that the other parent may seek to move away from the County of San Diego with your children?
- Do you have any assets of value that you wish to protect?
- Were some of the assets acquired before the marriage, during the marriage by gift/inheritance, or acquired during the marriage with separate property funds?
If you answered "YES" to any of these questions you should consider having a Certified California Family Law Specialist and Divorce Attorney work on your family law matter.
Don Starks, Esq.
Certified Family Law Specialist
The State Bar of California
Board of Legal Specialization
5353 Mission Center Road, Ste. 202
San Diego, CA 92108