Common Family Law
Questions & Answers
1. Do I have to go to court to get a divorce?
No. This is a misconception that many people have. Your divorce process doesn’t have to be a battle in court. If you and your spouse are able to negotiate an agreement, either on your own or through mediation, the agreement can be formalized in writing and submitted to the Court for approval without having to see a judge. This is the least expensive way to get divorced and is highly encouraged by the courts because it allows you and your spouse to have full control of the terms of your divorce. The Law Unbundled was designed to help you have control and only pay for what you need.
2. Can I make an agreement with my spouse or father of my children and have the court make it official?
Yes. You and your spouse or father of your children can make an agreement before or after you file for divorce or parentage (paternity). There are just certain requirements about financial disclosures to ensure that both people have all the information they need to negotiate and make decisions. You can find help and guidance on to help you do it yourself, or pay a small fee to have an attorney assist you.
3. I know a paralegal that has many years of experience in family law. Can they handle my divorce for me?
No. I want everyone contemplating hiring a paralegal to “handle” their family law matter to know the following: It is illegal in the state of California for anyone other than a validly licensed attorney to give legal advice. This law is to protect the public - you. If you hire a paralegal, all he or she can do is type paperwork for you. If he or she tries to give you any advice on how to divide property, tries to define what constitutes community and separate property, or calculate child or spousal support, then he or she has just committed a crime. It doesn’t matter how much experience they have and how familiar they are with the system. They do not have the training and education to foresee legal problems and make predictions of the outcome based upon the law, the facts and the parties involved. Paralegals are supposed to always work under the direction and guidance of attorneys.
We have seen dozens of clients over the years whose legal cases have been ruined due to paralegals giving incorrect advice. These people then have to hire attorneys to correct or undo the damage that has been created. It is expensive, unfortunate and often tragic. If you believe that working with an attorney is not within your budget, The Law Unbundled can help. Don’t put your family law matter in the hands of someone that cannot, and should not, give you any type of legal advice.
4. Is it true I have to wait 6 months to be divorced?
Yes. According to California law, you cannot be pronounced legally divorced earlier than 6 months from the date the Respondent was served with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. However, this does not mean that you cannot complete your divorce by agreement in less than 6 months. In fact, if you and your spouse come to an agreement over all matter before filing for divorce, or soon after, you could complete all the required paperwork and steps in 3-4 months. After that, you would simply have to wait until the 6-month mark for the judge to sign your divorce judgment and make it official.
5. Does it matter who files for divorce first?
No. The person that files first is simply called the Petitioner and the other party the Respondent. The only benefit that a Petitioner can have is that they can request a default against the Respondent if the Respondent does not file a Response to the divorce within 30 days of being served.
6. Is it true that in California, everything is 50/50?
Yes, with some caveats. In summary, California is a community property state, which means that all assets acquired and debts incurred from the date of marriage to the date of separation are considered marital assets. Of course, there are exceptions and complications to this rule, so a consultation with an attorney is recommended to answer specific questions you may have about certain assets and debts.
7. Will an attorney represent me in court when I buy services through The Law Unbundled?
No. The Law Unbundled is not a law firm and your use of the online services it offers does not and will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Law Unbundled without a separate, written Engagement Agreement with Attorney Talbott. For Court representation, you will enter into a separate Engagement Agreement not available through this website. We do not provide legal advice through the website. The website may facilitate access or introductions to Attorney Talbott or other licensed professionals in various ways, including, for example, by providing you with their contact information. Every case is different and no general information or technological tools will be appropriate for every case. The Law Unbundled does not guarantee that all of the information on the Site or Service is current, complete, or accurate. See Terms & Conditions.
8. Do I have to file the documents with the court?
Yes. If you paid Law Unbundled to prepare any documents that must be filed with the court, they will be delivered to you with standard guidance on how to prepare them for filing at the court of your jurisdiction. The Law Unbundled is not responsible for filing any of your court documents or ensuring that your documents are filed properly.
9. Who will serve the documents on the other party?
You, the party, cannot serve documents on the other party. It must be an adult (e.g., over 18), not a party in the case, who can serve the documents either in person or by mail. You are responsible for obtaining and completing the correct Proof Of Service form for the type of service that is performed.