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Frequently Asked Family Law Questions in California


Answers from experienced attorneys in Pasadena

At the Law Offices of Steven A. Blunt, we know that family law matters can be emotional and confusing. When you face divorce or child custody disputes, it can be overwhelming. For your convenience, we have assembled some of the more commonly asked family law questions and answers. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Divorce

Prenuptial & postnuptial agreements

Child custody, visitation & child support

Obtain the advice and guidance you need in your California family law matter

Whatever family law issues you face, we are prepared to help. We can answer your questions and help you develop the best strategies to accomplish your goals. Contact the Law Offices of Steven A. Blunt at 626-796-0031 or online to schedule your initial consultation. To serve you better, we have two offices conveniently in Pasadena and Woodland Hills.


I’ve been served, what do I do?

You immediately should contact a California family lawyer if you are served with any type of family law action. You must meet certain deadlines for filing your response (usually 30 days from service) to avoid a default judgment against you.

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I need to alter my divorce decree. How do I make these changes?

If your life circumstances change after your divorce is final, you can seek changes and modifications in your divorce judgment, including custody, child support and spousal support arrangements. However, you need to work closely with your attorney to ensure that the changes you make are what you intended and are enforceable.

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What is spousal support?

Spousal support, also referred to as “alimony,” is generally defined as financial support paid to the dependent spouse that continues after the marriage has been dissolved. Depending upon the circumstances of your divorce, you may be eligible to receive spousal support, or you may be required to support your ex-spouse.

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How will marital property be allocated between us?

California is a community property state, which can make the division of assets challenging. Marital assets and debts that were jointly acquired are considered community property and divided evenly. Separate property includes assets that belong to one spouse and is not subject to division in divorce. A skilled family law attorney can review your individual circumstances and help you understand how your property may be divided in your divorce.

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What does signing a marital agreement accomplish?

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help a couple resolve matters such as deciding who receives which assets if the marriage ends, creating a budget each party must live within and many other matters. Marital agreements often help couples communicate and resolve disputes to make the relationship healthier.

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What is the difference between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements?

A prenuptial agreement must be signed before the couple is married, while a postnuptial agreement is executed after the couple is already married. Both types of marital agreements are effective tools for making financial decisions and eliminating arguments.

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Can I get sole custody of my child in California?

“Sole custody” in California can be in the form of sole legal custody or sole physical custody. Sole legal custody means one parent has the right to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, religion and welfare. Sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent (the other parent usually has visitation rights). The court must consider all factors involved before awarding sole custody, including the health, safety and welfare of the child.

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How much child support should I expect to pay or receive?

California law has established guidelines for calculating the amount of child support that must be paid. The amount is based on each parent’s monthly income and the amount of time each parent cares for the child. Various other factors may also be considered, so it is important to seek the advice of a family law attorney to discuss your individual circumstances.

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Can a noncustodial parent have visitation rights if he or she is not paying child support?

Yes. California law treats visitation rights and child support independently of each other. In most cases, it is assumed that time with both parents is in the best interests of the child. Thus, a custodial parent cannot refuse visitation to the other parent solely on the grounds that the parent is not paying court-ordered child support. Conversely, you cannot refuse to pay child support because the custodial parent is refusing to allow you visitation time.

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