1. What documents will you need for your consultation:

Depending where you are in the process, the following list of documents will assist us in assessing your rights:

  • Any relevant correspondence, court documents or court pleadings
  • Current pay stubs for each party
  • Tax returns for the past three years of the marriage
  • Deeds and/or mortgage statements for any real estate owned by either party
  • Most recent appraisals of any real estate owned
  • Statements evidencing values of stocks, bonds, annuities, CDs, IRAs, whole/variable life insurance policies
  • Current credit card statements
  • Loan balances for all debt
  • Statements for pension and retirement accounts
  • Copy of your most recent credit report
  • Copy of any pre-nuptial agreement signed
  • Copy of any post-nuptial agreement signed
  • Documentation regarding pre-marital assets
  • Any police reports or Child Protective Services (CPS) reports
  • Medical records evidencing abuse or inability to work
  • Any other information that you think may be useful

2.  After the dissolution case is filed, how long does it take to get the marital status terminated?

Once the Respondent is served with the Summons and Petition, the marital status cannot be terminated until six months have passed since the service was effected.

3.  What is the difference between Legal Separation and Divorce?

California is a no fault divorce state which means that if either party desires to terminate a marriage, the marriage will be terminated regardless of the objection of the other spouse.  When both parties agree however, it is possible that a marriage can be resolved by way of a legal separation which can resolve all issues typically involved in a divorce with the exception of the termination of the marital relationship.  In some circumstances parties have religious, moral or cultural objections to terminating their marriage by divorce, and legal separation allows them to resolve issues relating to child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, division of debts and assets and restraining orders without necessarily terminating the marital relationship. In some circumstances a legal separation will allow an unemployed spouse to continue receiving health insurance benefits and retirement benefits from the employed spouse’s employer even after retirement.

4. What is the cost of a divorce?

It is difficult to estimate the amount of legal fees the parties will incur because divorces are highly unique to the parties involved.  However, the single best indicator of cost is acrimony. When both parties are committed to amicably resolving issues rather than litigating issues, costs are significantly reduced. It is always preferable to work out a settlement rather than to have one dictated to you by a court. Litigation is expensive both financially and emotionally. Carefully choosing the issues which truly matter (i.e., custody issues which effect the health, safety and/or welfare of your child, restraining orders that will ensure the safety of the protected person, or appropriate levels of child and spousal support where there is clearly a need). Indeed you can find lawyers who have lower rates, but we know of many instances when our experience, knowledge of the law and the court system has allowed us to obtain a favorable result for our clients.

5. What are your office hours?

Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

6. What are your rates? 

We are currently offering a free 20 minute telephone consultation for our family law cases. Because the circumstances of every case is unique, the retainer amount is based on the complexities of your case.   My hourly rate for family law cases is $325.00 per hour and the paralegal rate is $150.00 per hour.  In criminal cases, there is a flat fee amount which is based on the nature of the charges and the stage of the case.