Helping Families for 25+ Years

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law

Are You Facing a Legal Issue? we Can Help

At Myers Family Law, we know that when you are facing a family law issue, you may have many questions. Your family, your hard-earned assets, and your future can be at stake, so it is important that you remain informed about your rights and legal options throughout the entire process.

Read answers to some frequently asked questions below or call (916) 634-0067 to speak with our Granite Bay family law attorneys to discuss your unique situation during a low-cost 30-minute consultation.

What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?

In California, custody issues are divided into legal and physical. Both parents can have joint legal custody and divide the rights and responsibilities in making important decisions regarding the welfare of your children. One parent may also have sole legal custody, depending on your circumstances, and what the court deems is in the best interest of the child.

Physical custody, or where the child lives, can be joint or split between both parents. Physical custody can also be primary, where the child lives with one parent most of the time and visits the other. Joint physical custody is not always 50-50. The parent who the child lives with more than half of the time is referred to as the primary custodial parent.

How are visitation orders determined?

Children are assigned visitation schedules based on the best interest of the child, and considerations are made regarding age, health, their emotional ties to each parent, each parent’s ability to care for the child, and their school, home, and recreational schedules.

The court may award reasonable visitation, where there is no set schedule for when the children will be with each parent and parents are able to work out visitation on their own; scheduled visitation, where there will be a detailed visitation plan to prevent conflicts between parents; or supervised visitation, where the children’s well-being requires that one or both parents are supervised during visits, or when a parent hasn’t seen his/her children in a while and they need to become more familiar with each other.

Am I entitled to support payments?

Child support may be awarded to the custodial parent of your children based on their needs, including medical costs, education, and other expenses, as well as the income of each parent, among other issues. Spousal support payments, on the other hand, are awarded to help a divorcing spouse get back on their feet after or during the proceedings. This is determined by the length of the marriage, the age and health of both spouses, the standard of living that the spouse was accustomed to during the marriage, the earning potential of the spouses, and any other financial needs. These agreements can be made by both parties if they agree, or by a judge, based on proven needs.

What is the difference between community and separate property?

Community property exists between a married couple or domestic partnership. It can include anything that can be bought, sold, or has value, such as houses, vehicles, furniture, bank accounts, pension plans, 401(k) plans, a business, etc. When you separate or get a divorce, the court decides how this property will be divided. The marriage or registration of a domestic partnership is an agreement to make two people one legal “community.” Any property or debts that couples acquire during the marriage or partnership belongs to the both of them equally.

Separate property is what you and your partner owned before marriage or registration for a domestic partnership. The rent, profits, or other earnings you make from these properties are part of your separate property. Inheritances and gifts to one spouse, even during the marriage or domestic partnership, are also considered separate property.

Some things can be considered separate and community property. When these two become mixed together, it is called “commingling.” When property is part separate and part community, it can get very complicated when it comes to dividing it.

How can I obtain a restraining order?

In the case of domestic violence from a spouse or someone close to you, you can ask for a restraining order. Someone who would be considered close to you would be someone you are dating or have dated in the past, are married to, or are related to. The person has to be more involved with you than just a roommate.

A civil restraining order includes custody over children. It also deals with visitation, child support, property, pets, etc. A civil restraining order also serves as additional protection if you already have a criminal protective order.