Before filing a case or before responding to the Court,
it is extremely important to develop a strategic plan.
An experienced family law attorney is the best means of properly developing a strategy that works in your situation.
1. How much will my divorce cost?
No experienced attorney will have an answer for this question. You will usually hear “it depends.” Attorneys are paid by the hour; the more acrimony, the more hours. Hourly fees for experienced and reputable family law attorneys in San Diego county average somewhere between $350/hr. to $550/hr. Beware of the attorney who asks for little, but promises much. Excellent representation does not come at a bargain price.
2. How long will it take to get my divorce?
This requires a two-part answer. To be divorced so that your marital status is again single requires a minimum six month waiting period. The period starts on the day a party is served with the divorce papers. If after six months, you do not have a judgment on property, custody, and support issues, one can request a trial to terminate the marital status. The remainder of your case will go forward by either settlement or trial, and may take up to one year or more.
3. Where do I start?
Begin by having an initial consultation with your attorney. He/she will quickly determine your options and discuss strategies in order to help you reach your goal. Knowledge of the law and your rights will make a difference in the outcome.
4. Should I file a divorce action before my spouse does?
It depends on the situation. It is always best to consult with your attorney before deciding to file for a divorce. In some cases, it is beneficial to file first.
5. What does the law say about property?
The state of California is very clear. It is a community property state. All property acquired during the marriage is considered community property, owned equally by both parties. However, there are exceptions to the rule, such as gifts and inheritance. The property you owned prior to marriage and obtained after separation will be considered your property.
6. What is Separation?
Separation is the date that either party left the marital relationship with no intent to return.
7. What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?
A Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is a final agreement entered into by parties in a divorce proceeding. An MSA is the alternative to a trial.