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Handling Straightforward And Complex Cases

Answers To Commonly Asked Questions About Divorce And Family Law

At Engels-Janzen, we find that clients and prospective clients are filled with questions, and it’s easy to understand why. Your family law case will have a major impact on your life. Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions we receive. After reading, we invite you to contact us and ask your own questions in a free consultation.

How long will it take to finalize my divorce?

Unfortunately, there is no blanket answer to this question. In many cases, couples must abide by California’s six-month waiting period, so it is possible your divorce will take at least that long. However, the other factors that influence the divorce timeline include the complexity of the marital estate, the level of cooperation or contention between spouses, whether or not you have children and the divorce method you use (e.g., litigated divorce or a form of alternative dispute resolution).

We strive to help you complete your divorce as efficiently as possible, but the length of the process will depend on the factors above and more.

Does California favor mothers or fathers in child custody decisions?

There is no bias toward either gender – at least not in statute (written law) or widespread practice. California judges are not allowed to consider gender when making child custody decisions. Instead, they begin with the presumption of 50/50 custody. Both parents are presumed to be capable until and unless one party makes compelling arguments to the contrary.

It used to be the case that courts and judges tended to favor mothers in custody rulings, and it is possible that some judges are biased in one direction or the other. On the whole, however, parental gender should make no difference and your attorney can help make sure your rights are protected.

How can I protect my small business during the divorce?

The best way to protect your business is to work with family law attorneys who also have significant business law experience – like those at our firm. California is a community property state, which means your spouse could be entitled to up to half the value of your business. We will work with you to properly value your business and its assets, then negotiate with the other party to acquire their stake in it (often in exchange for other assets).

I earn more money than my spouse. Will I have to pay alimony?

Not necessarily. The income of both parties is just one of many factors judges will consider in spousal support decisions. Others include each spouse’s age and health, their earning potential, the overall terms of property and debt division, and more. Judges will also look at whether one spouse made significant nonfinancial contributions to the marriage such as leaving the workforce to care for the children.

Whether you believe you deserve alimony or think you’ll be asked to pay, our attorneys will work with you to ensure that the court has the information it needs to reach a reasonable ruling.

How big of an impact will domestic violence allegations have in my family law case?

Family law judges take accusations of domestic violence very seriously (and so do the attorneys at our firm). If substantiated, the accusations would be a major consideration in determining child custody, and they may impact other decisions as well.

While false allegations of domestic violence are not as common as truthful ones, we realize that some parents do make false accusations in order to gain an advantage in court. Our first job is to help uncover the truth and tell your side of the story. If you’ve been abused, the court needs to know that your co-parent may be dangerous. If you were falsely accused, judges need to know that your co-parent isn’t acting in the best interests of the children and no longer has credibility.

Get Your Own Questions Answered In A Free Consultation

Engels-Janzen is based in Costa Mesa, and we serve clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. To get answers to your own family law questions, contact us to take advantage of a free initial consultation. You can reach out online or call 949-424-2114.