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Family Law Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When you are facing divorce proceedings, it is important that you turn to a firm that you can trust. At O'Brien Family Law, PC, out skilled lawyers are dedicated to listening to your needs and forming a legal plan that keeps your best interests in mind. Our legal team is knowledgeable and compassionate. We know what you are facing and always want to help you find a solution.

Read answers to some frequently asked questions below or call our Sacramento divorce lawyers at 916-468-0707 to schedule a confidential case consultation today.

How Long Will My Divorce Take?

The length of your divorce proceedings vary depending on the unique circumstances of your case. When both you and your spouse can agree on important issues, such as child custody and property division, or if you were married for less than five years, your case may only take a few months. However, if you are facing a contentious matter with a number of assets or property, the entire case may last years to be finalized.

Do I Need A Lawyer? What If My Divorce Is Uncontested?

Even in instances where you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce agreement, having a Sacramento divorce attorney on your side can help you avoid undesirable outcomes and protect you, your children and your financial future. Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, is a great way to make your proceedings move faster with less emotional turmoil, but they may also result in unfair property division and deceit to hide assets.

How Are High-Asset Divorces Different From Traditional Divorces?

When you and your spouse have additional property, accounts, business interests, investments and international holdings, dividing your assets is more complicated. These issues require careful consideration and may add additional weeks or months to the divorce process. Because California is a community property state, it is important that you retain the services of asset valuation professionals to help you divide your property into both separate and marital, as well as give you a good idea about what your assets are worth.

Can I Seek Child Support?

In California, both parents are held responsible for any expenses relating to their children. For this reason, child support payments are determined based on a number of issues that always look at the best interests of the child or children. This includes their standard of living, the income of both parents, the custody and visitation schedule in place, and the educational, medical and special needs of the children.

What If I Need To Change My Child Support Payments?

Any situation could arise that could change the dynamics of your family and warrant a change in child support terms. If one parent loses a job, is promoted and given significantly more income, remarries or experiences another major life change, you may need to adjust your child support payments to reflect that change. Our attorneys can help you determine whether or not you qualify for a child support modification and guide you through the process of doing so.

How Is Custody Determined?

If you cannot come to an agreement with your spouse, the court will look at a number of factors, again based on the best interests of the child or children. The judge will seek to have both parents be as involved as possible, barring cases of abuse, violence or negligence.

Child custody is also divided into two types, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody determines who will make important decisions for their child, such as decisions regarding education, health care, religious teaching and other important everyday issues. Physical custody, on the other hand, determines where the child or children will live.

Will I Need To Alter My Child Custody Agreement If I Move Away?

As a divorced or separated parent, you may not simply be able to "move away" without first addressing the issue of child custody. Small moves in the same area are fairly straightforward, but if you plan on moving far away from the other parent and your child, you may need to revisit your custody agreement and request a modification.

The simplest way to move would be to obtain permission from the other parent in a written agreement. If the other parent disagrees, you may need to take the case back to court to determine the path forward that is best for your child. We can help you through all aspects of child custody and visitation in regard to the relocation process.

Why Do I Need A Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenups have a bad reputation among many soon-to-be-wed couples. Some believe they signify a lack of trust or confidence in the relationship or in either partner. Prenuptial agreements, however, can form the backbone of a successful and long-lasting marriage.

Prenuptial agreements can draw a clear line across financial issues. Financial disputes are one of the most common reasons why a marriage can collapse. They also allow you to plan for a worst-case scenario (divorce or separation) while you are still in a rational state of mind, so there are no surprises in the years to come.