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Family Law and Divorce FAQ

Palm Desert Divorce Attorney

There are many various issues that can arise in family law cases, and whether you are facing an issue regarding child custody or spousal support, you may greatly benefit from the legal assistance of a lawyer from the Law Office of Lawrence W. Novack. My firm is dedicated to providing skilled legal assistance to my clients through information and personal attention. The following are some of the more common questions that I am asked regarding family law and divorce:

Q: How long does divorce take?
Q: What is alimony?
Q: What are the grounds for divorce in California?
Q: What is a "no-fault" divorce?
Q: What is a contested divorce and how does it differ from uncontested divorce?
Q: Do I need to file a marital settlement agreement with my divorce papers?
Q: How is legal separation different than divorce?

How long does divorce take?
Depending on many different circumstances in your case, you may expect to spend anywhere from three months to several years finalizing your divorce. It is important to know that there are various options that can help expedite this process, such as mediation, collaboration, and peaceful and amicable compromises. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on various issues, then the divorce will go to trial, during which the attorneys will argue their clients' cases before a judge and the judge will ultimately decide the issues of the divorce.

What is alimony?
Alimony, or spousal support, is a payment made from one ex-spouse to the other in order to compensate for various costs of living. The court may order alimony payments for a temporary period in order to help one spouse get back on his or her feet after the divorce, or it may be ordered indefinitely due to some disability or serious financial deficit on one spouse's part.

What are the grounds for divorce in California?
The California courts grant dissolution of marriage based solely on irreconcilable differences. This is a very fluid term and is arguable from many different angles. Irreconcilable differences can include abuse, neglect, impotency, adultery, and many other circumstances. To navigate the gray areas of this issue, it is highly advisable to have a skilled lawyer on your side who can argue your case.

What is a "no-fault" divorce?
In the state of California, the system works off of what is referred to as no-fault divorce. This means that If you and your spouse want to file for divorce, you do not need to show prove that the other did anything wrong to provoke this decision. There is no requirement to portray signs of wrongdoing, which means that if one party was unfaithful, that will have no effect on the final judgment. The only thing that the courts require is that the parties prove they have irreconcilable differences and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

What is a contested divorce and how does it differ from uncontested divorce?
Are you and your spouse unable to agree on all the terms and conditions of your divorce? If the parties have so much as one aspect of the divorce that they cannot agree upon, then the divorce is considered to be contested. This means that you are unable to resolve the issue on your own and you need to utilize divorce mediation or take the issue to court and let a judge make the final decision. When you file for uncontested divorce however, you and your former spouse will decide the terms of child custody, support, visitation, property division and things of that nature. With an uncontested divorce you will have much more power over the final decision and you can avoid going to trial. This route is typically faster and less expensive.

Do I need to file a marital settlement agreement with my divorce papers?
A marital settlement agreement is optional and it may not be possible to implement one if you are filing for a contested divorce. Basically, a marital settlement agreement is a legal form that states the terms and conditions of the divorce in writing so that there is not miscommunication. In this agreement the issues of child custody, support, asset division and visitation all need to be resolved and the parties must be in agreement. Once these agreements are written, you can submit it to the court for the judge to approve. This way, you may be able to avoid trial completely and hope that the judge will simply honor your agreement. If you wish to enter this agreement, it must be filed any time before the final judgment is made.

How is legal separation different than divorce?
If you want to remain legally married but live apart from your spouse, you can file for a legal separation. Many people file for a separation in hopes that they can work through their differences while putting some space between them and their spouse. With a legal separation however, you still need to resolve issues such as child custody, support and property division. The marriage will not be legally dissolved unless you file for divorce separately.

Put My Experience to Work for You

I understand the severity of your situation, whether you are seeking divorce or if you are facing an issue related to family law. I work for my clients to help provide amicable solutions that pursue my clients' goals and desires. With more than 50 years of experience behind me, I have an insight and knowledge of the courtroom procedure that few other law firms can offer to their clients. Do not wait to retain the assistance you need, contact my firm today!