Frequently Asked Questions about California Family Law

Answered by Orange County Family Law Lawyers

At Orange County Family Law Associates, we offer free consultations. However, there are many questions that we get more often than others about divorce, child custody, child support and other family law matters. Thus, we compiled our list of answers to them below. If you still have questions, call us today to set up a meeting at no cost to you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Family Law in California


Do I need a lawyer for my divorce?
There is no single answer for this question. You and your spouse may seem to agree on everything. However, people can be unpredictable, and your spouse could easily take advantage of this situation. We highly recommend you at least speak with a lawyer first. Then, he or she can let you know if your situation requires legal assistance.

How will our property be divided?

In California, all property acquired during the marriage is community property. Couples can divide property however they wish if they agree. But, if there is a conflict, the court will likely divide all marital assets in half, 50/50, and distribute them likewise. Property acquired before marriage or by inheritance is generally separate property. However, community vs separate property is not always a black or white issue.

You can also establish who would get what property in the event of a divorce with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

How do courts figure out child support or spousal support?

The court will weigh a number of figures when calculating spousal support and child support, such as:

  • Standard of living maintained during the marriage
  • Employment and earning potentials for both parents
  • Cost of living in the places where the parents reside
  • Any major living expenses or medical conditions the parents need to take into account
  • Level of responsibility the parents have for the child


How do I file a restraining order for domestic violence?

The first step is to file a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Once filed, the court will likely issue a temporary restraining order to offer immediate protection. Later, a judge will hold a hearing to decide whether or not to make the temporary order official. We have many legal forms available in our office, and we can walk you through filling them out. Then, we can help you take the next steps to protect you and your family. We can also explain what to do if someone filed a restraining order against you.

Why do I need to establish paternity?

If you are raising a child as an unmarried parent, the father lacks several legal rights to a biological child until he establishes paternity. The mother cannot officially receive child support until she establishes paternity. Furthermore, a father will have no custody or visitation rights without legal paternity. If the unmarried parents cohabitate, this situation is the best time to establish the rights of each parent. If parents disagree, either a mother or father can initiate a paternity lawsuit.

I have joint custody. Can I move with my child?

In most cases, if a move would affect the other parent’s custody or visitation rights, you need to demonstrate that there is a change of circumstances that necessitates a move with a child. You must file a motion to relocate. Alternatively, you can also file a motion to challenge the other parent’s wish to relocate.

Divorced parents with custody orders should always speak to an attorney before moving to have the custody order reviewed. Parents who move with a child in contradiction of a custody order or without leave of court could be charged with parental kidnapping.

What if my spouse is involved in active military duty somewhere outside the country and one of us wants a divorce?

There are different laws that control how members of the military proceed through the divorce process. The military spouse can file for divorce. However, if the enlisted member is overseas, the entire case may be put on hold until the military spouse returns.

Orange County Family Law Lawyers Offer Help with California Laws

Solid answers can be extremely helpful during this difficult time. Knowing what to expect, knowing what your options are and knowing what the consequences are if you fail to act can help you create a plan for what to do next. Call to schedule your free, confidential consultation.