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Family Law FAQ

Frequently Asked Family Law Questions

Knowledgeable Ventura Family Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Janet L. Mertes, we understand that when you are forced to face divorce and other highly emotional and complex family law matters, that these can weigh heavily on you. It also understandable that you may have numerous questions about your situation. Our Ventura divorce lawyers are more than happy to find the answers you need.

Here, we give answers to some of the most common questions we have received from our clients. Feel free to browse to see if these can help you with your case. You are also more than welcome to contact our Ventura family lawyers for legal guidance and advice your case.

1. How Long Will the Divorce Take?

This is tough to say, as every case will be different and come with its own set of circumstances. Divorce, otherwise known as a “dissolution of marriage” or also “dissolution of domestic partnership,” means that one or both spouses have reached the decision to end the relationship.

Marriage and domestic partnerships are legally binding contracts; the laws may also dictate how assets, properties, and matters involving children. Depending on how many assets there are to divide and how quickly you and your spouse can come to a compromise, the process could be finalized in as few as six months. On the other hand, we have seen cases that go to trial, which can also lengthen the process.

2. Do I Have Other Options for Ending My Marriage?

Your marriage may qualify for an annulment, if there is reason to believe that the marriage was never valid to begin with. You may also find this that your marriage can be declared invalid because your spouse has become physically or mentally incapacitated, was already married at the time of your marriage, or one or the other was not of legal age.

Another form of marriage dissolution that may be available to you is to try mediation. Many mediation sessions last only for a few hours and up to a day, whereas divorces can take months or even years to resolve. Your divorce attorney can facilitate the conversation, which can allow you and your spouse to discuss the terms of the dissolution. Another added benefit is that this can save you money in the long run, because you can avoid the court system altogether.

3. Is Legal Separation Considered Valid?

Unfortunately, legal separation does not actually end your marriage or domestic partnership. You also will not have the ability to marry another person in the future. Legal separation gives couples the chance to work out their issues concerning finances, real estate, and matters involving their children.

Legal separation allows you to ask the courts to order visitation, child support, child custody, alimony, among many others. You can later file to remove the legal separation status and motion for divorce.

4. What Is Community Property?

In California, community property is any property shared and owned between spouses. This is different from separate property, in which one spouse exclusively owns that property, was given it as a gift, or inherited it. Couples may choose to legally integrate separate properties into community properties if they desire.

5. How Is Child Custody Decided?

You and your spouse will need to discuss on what works best for your particular situation, especially with regards to child custody. There are so many factors that go into deciding child custody, and this will include how much income each spouse makes or the location of where each spouse will live. This may include deciding on who will have legal custody or who will have physical custody, and how to work out visitation rights. Attorney Janet L. Mertes can handle all of the complicated legal paperwork, which can give allow you time to handle the ins and outs of your child custody matters.

6. Do I Have to Be a California Resident?

Have you moved out of state since separating from your spouse? The residency requirement states that you and your spouse must have been California residents for at least 6 months prior to filing. You can opt for legal separation until the residency requirement has been fulfilled, as well.

Have additional questions? Do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Janet L. Mertes to discuss your situation in further detail!

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