Questions & Answers

South Bay Divorce Attorneys Respond to Common Family Law Questions

Are you facing a divorce or family law dispute in the state of California? We can help. With more than 50 years of combined experience, the proven team at Patricia Barberis, A Law Corporation has a wide range of practical and invaluable knowledge helping men and women navigate the complexities of the California legal system.

Founded in 1977, our firm is dedicated to communicating with clients and identifying their unique needs in order to best help them reach their goals and the resolution they deserve. Below you can read answers to some of the questions our Torrance divorce attorneys commonly receive - or call our firm today if you would like to learn more about how we are prepared to help you reach a satisfactory outcome to your California divorce or family law case.

What paperwork is involved in filing for a divorce?
In order to file for a divorce in the state of California, you will need to fill out a summons (FL-110), petition (FL-100), and a certificate of counsel. If you and your spouse have children, you will also need to file a declaration under uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement (FL-105). You may also choose to or need to fill out an income and expense declaration (FL-150), schedule of assets and debts (FL-142), and property declaration - separate and community (FL-160).

What is the benefit of choosing mediation to resolve conflicts over my divorce terms?
Avoiding the litigation process by seeking a resolution through mediation is a good choice for many couples because this method allows them to maintain maximum control over the results rather than allow a judge to make an arbitrary decision on their behalf. Both sides are allowed to fully discuss and consider the various options available to them before committing to a resolution. In addition, the mediation process allows couples to save the extensive time and money usually involved in a court trial. Learn more about the benefits of mediation.

I served my spouse with divorce papers and there has been no response. What now?
If it has been 30 days or more since you served the summons and petition and there has still been no written response, you can pursue a default judgment (FL-180). You may also be able to obtain a stipulated judgment or marital settlement agreement. Call our Torrance divorce lawyers to learn more.

A default judgment was obtained against me but I never received divorce papers. What should I do?
If you never received a summons / petition for dissolution, you do have legal options in place to protect your interests. You can file a motion to set aside the default judgment. Get legal help from an experienced divorce lawyer at our firm to learn more about this process.

What should I do if my child's other parent has visitation rights but I believe their home is unsafe?
If your child's safety or health is in danger due to drug or alcohol abuse or another unsafe situation in the other parent's home, it is important to take actions right away to protect your child. You can request immediate temporary orders by filing an emergency or "ex parte" order to show cause (FL-300). Call our South Bay child custody lawyers for help.

Is it possible to change current child support or spousal support orders?
Yes. California uses a complex formula to calculate the amount and frequency of child support payments that will be required in each individual case. This formula takes into account a number of factors, including the income of both parents and how much time the child spends with them. On the other hand, spousal support is calculated on a case-by-case basis. There is no specific mathematical formula, but rather the court will examine 14 different considerations established by the state legislature. In some instances, alimony payments are temporary, while in others they may be permanent. It is possible to change court decrees if your circumstances require it. Speak to a lawyer at our firm if you have questions about modifying existing orders.

How can I protect myself and my children in a domestic violence situation?
If you are the victim of abuse, it is important that you take immediate action. You can request a restraining order to ensure that your spouse or partner faces serious consequences if they come within a certain distance of your family or your home. Restraining orders can also include other requirements that a judge may approve. For example, the orders could require your spouse to pay child support, attend anger-management classes, refrain from owning a gun, and more. If you and your children are in danger due to domestic violence, please don't hesitate to get help. Act now by calling our South Bay law firm to find out how you can take steps to get your family out of harm's way. Our caring and compassionate legal staff is here to ensure that you receive the legal shelter you and your children deserve.