1. What is the difference between a guardianship and an adoption?
A guardianship is for a person who takes care of someone else's child. An adoption is for a person who legally becomes the parent of someone else's child.
2. If we want to adopt a child, do you find the child for us?
No, I'm not that kind of lawyer. I prepare the paperwork, get your case opened with the court and the appropriate investigative agency, calendar your hearing and advise you on what to expect as we go through the process.
3. How long does it take to get divorced? A minimum of six months. Why so long?
Because we as a society have decided that a divorce should not be taken lightly and so laws were written to require time people to give it due consideration. Under California law, your marital status cannot be ended until 6 months (and a day) after the court acquired jurisdiction over both parties....In other words, if all the paperwork is completed to the court's satisfaction, you can be divorced 6 months and a day after the other party was served or filed a response with the court or otherwise entered an "appearance" in the case.
4. Why is it so hard to get divorced?
Usually because the two people who are getting divorced don't agree on everything and usually they are not feeling happy about ending their marriage. It's kind of the reverse of getting married. When you are planning your wedding you are dreaming of creating something wonderful and having fun doing it. When you are planning your divorce, your are dreaming of destroying what you created. No matter how amicable the divorce is, it's just not as much fun as planning a party and thinking about the gifts you will receive. Divorce feels like a loss, rather than a gain.
5. Can we have our Judgment signed before the six months are over?
Yes. If you both agree on everything you can sign the agreement and other forms the court requires and your Judgment will be processed as soon as the court clerk can get to it.
6. Why does it take so long to get a simple divorce?
Well, even if it is simple divorce, the people who are divorcing usually don't agree on what to do. People get divorced because their difference cannot be resolved.....they have irreconcilable differences. They either don't agree on something..... or everything. If you and the other person agree on everything: how to divide the property, who gets the house or will it be sold, where and with whom will the children live, etc, it really is a simple divorce.
7. Do parents automatically get joint custody?
No, no parenting arrangement is automatic. However, the courts assume that it is in the best interest of every child to see the parents, unless contrary information is presented.
8. What is the difference between legal and physical custody? Legal custody is the right to participate in making decisions regarding the health, education and welfare of the child. Physical custody is the right to live with the child.
9. What does it mean when a parent has primary physical custody?
Primary physical custody means that the child lives primarily with that parent.
10. What is the difference between custody and visitation?
Mainly the level of responsibility. But judges generally are not very concerned with what you call a parenting arrangement. They are more concerned with what is actually happening: for instance, where is the child on Tuesday and who is picking him/her up from school.
11. Why is mediation mandatory for child custody issues?
Because it is the prevailing wisdom that parents who can mediate rather than litigate are more cooperative with each other which benefits their children and that the parents know best how to raise their children, not the judge.
12. Do I have a right to know what the other parent is earning if we are divorced?
Generally, you do have the right to obtain that information if you have a child or spousal support issue or attorney fees request.