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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about California Family Law

September 28, 2012

image courtesy  podpad

All questions below are answered according to California law:

Q: What if my spouse is cheating on me; does this make a difference as to how our assets and debts will be divided or our ultimate custody arrangement?

A: While each spouse has an obligation of mutual respect, fidelity and support to each other by virtue of signing their marriage license, California is a “no fault” state, which means that neither spouse has to prove infidelity or anything else to obtain a divorce.  As a result, the Courts generally do not use one spouse’s infidelity to divide the assets or debts in favor of the other spouse or to alter time with the children in order to punish the “cheating” spouse.

Q:  Does it matter who files the action for divorce first?

A: It does not matter who files the Petition for Legal Separation or Dissolution first, except that the first spouse to file will have the choice of either filing the action in the Central District (downtown Los Angeles) or their respective local district.  Otherwise, one spouse is considered the “Petitioner” and the other spouse is considered the “Respondent.”  Remember, California is a “no fault” state.

Q: What if I have a child or children with another person, but never married that person?

A: If you have a child or children with someone, but never married each other and need court orders and/or assistance with a parenting plan and/or support, you may file a Petition to Establish Paternal Relationship.  This type of action establishes the existence of a parent-child relationship between unmarried parents and provides the ability to settle support obligations to the minor child(ren) as well as parental rights.  A Petition to Establish Paternal Relationship must be filed for an unmarried parent to establish any parental rights and/or responsibilities to a biological minor child.

A Better Divorce is an interdisciplinary group of professionals in the Los Angeles area and South Bay area of California who are committed to non-court solutions for family law matters. Our vision is to reduce the trauma of divorce for families by educating every person considering a divorce on the non-adversarial options available for resolving family law matters. Visit our website for more information and to locate a Collaborative Professional in the Los Angeles and South Bay area of California.

Always consult an attorney in your area about your specific Family Law issue.

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