Do You Have Family Law Questions?

Family law matters and divorce can be highly emotional and difficult to get through. It is very important to be aware of the proper proceedings and laws regarding your specific family law issues and concerns. For help protecting your rights and completing your case as quickly as possible, team up with family law attorney Olga A. Koplik to achieve the best results. We can help you through your divorce or any type of custody or support matter. Below we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding family law and divorce in California, feel free to contact our firm if you have any additional questions about your unique situation and schedule a consultation.


How does the Court determine child custody in California?

​When the court is making a decision regarding the custody of children, they take into account several factors that are seen to determine the best interests of the child. For help reaching the results that you need and want in your custody battle, you need an experienced legal advocate in the form of a child custody lawyer by your side.


How is child support calculated?

​In California, child support is calculated using the Statewide Uniform Guideline for Child Support, which is found in Family Code, beginning at section 4050. This applies in all cases where there is a minor child (or dependent adult child) including dissolutions of marriage, legal separation, and parentage cases. Family Law Courts throughout California use county-specific software that integrates the guideline support criteria, such as each party’s income and time they each spend with the minor child. A consultation with an experienced child support lawyer at the Law Offices of Olga A. Koplik includes calculating child support (and temporary spousal support) on the court software.


What is a parenting plan?

​A parenting plan is a written agreement that is made between a child’s parents that is also referred to as a custody and visitation agreement. It is created to address how the parents will raise the child despite their separation. It can provide how the child will be cared for during school and outside of school, the division of holidays, special days, and vacations. Parents may elect to include specific detail unique to their lifestyle, culture, and religious beliefs.


If I lose my job, do I still have to pay child support or spousal maintenance?

Even if you lose your job, you do need to continue paying your support orders. However, there is the opportunity for you to pursue a temporary termination or a modification to the order if you suffer a financial hardship. This has to be done through the court and you should not stop paying until the court approves your modification. Depending on the financial hardship, this can be done through a regular Request for Order or an Ex Parte Proceeding.


Can the custodial parent move to another state?

If the custodial parent is looking to move out of state, the court has to make a decision on the matter. The decision will depend on the best interests of the child. If the court sees that it is in the child’s interest to stay in California and continue visitation with the non-custodial parent, moving may be out of the question. If you are the non-custodial parent in a situation like this, be proactive and make it clear to the court that you want to continue visitation with your child. You must convince the court that it is in the best interest of the child that he/she remain in California. The custodial parent is free to move but the child cannot move without a proper court order.


What are the advantages of a prenuptial agreement?

​Before you get married, it is beneficial for you and your spouse to create a premarital agreement, especially if you have substantial assets to protect. This allows you to memorialize the terms of your agreement if you were to ever get a divorce or if one spouse was to pass away. This also allows you to keep your property separate and you can provide for children outside of the marriage. A prenuptial agreement also allows protection from any debts that the other party has going into the marriage. Without a prenuptial agreement, most property will be considered community property and the divorce process can be much harder, especially when the property acquired before marriage has been co-mingled with property acquired during the marriage. When you have a prenuptial agreement, you can have peace of mind that there are provisions set if something ever went wrong with your marriage. If you have other questions regarding prenuptial agreements in California, do not hesitate to ask us. Our goal is to protect you and a prenuptial agreement is one way to make sure your rights, assets, and obligations are protected.


How long does a divorce take?

​The length of time that a divorce takes depends on your specific case. A divorce can take years if there are issues in making decisions between the spouses. To make the process as quick as possible, it is beneficial to have an experienced divorce attorney within your county by your side to move the divorce matters along. One of the important things to keep in mind is that a divorce judgment cannot be granted before the six-month mark from the date of filing a petition for dissolution.


What is the Date of Separation?

The Date of Separation is the date that one spouse communicated his or her subjective intent to the other spouse that the marriage is over and thereafter demonstrated his or her objective intent by moving out of the joint residence, or some other mutually agreed upon action that evidenced the end of the marriage. In other words, an intent to never resume the marriage must be clearly shown. A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage requires specifying the Date of Separation and is to be distinguished from a Legal Separation. If parties reconcile after separating, then a new Date of Separation is needed for a future separation.


How is property divided in California?

When going through a divorce, property division is one matter to be resolved. This is done by determining what property is separate and what is property is community property. Community property includes all earnings, belongings, and debts acquired during the marriage, plus more. Once this determination is made, community property will be divided equally between the spouses. Separate property remains in the possession of the owner. The parties are also free to make a mutual determination of their property division, but this should be done with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.


What determines if spousal support will be granted?

You may be able to receive spousal support if you are a dependent spouse, but the court will make this determination. The factors taken into account include:

  • ​The earning capacity of both parties
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of both parties
  • Ability to gain employment of both parties
  • The standard of living in the marriage
  • The educational background of both parties
  • Past earning capacity

Parties are also free to waive their right to spousal support under certain circumstances. In addition to the above considerations, there are many other elements that can be involved in making spousal support decisions. Therefore, it is beneficial to have an experienced family law attorney to represent your case.


Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?

It is advised to team up with a divorce attorney who is familiar with the divorce process in the Sacramento/Placer area. Divorce can be complicated and reaching the agreements that you want can take time. In order to make sure your rights are protected and your needs are fought for, seek representation from a lawyer. We can work on your behalf to reach your desired end result.


If I am not the father, do I need a paternity lawyer?

If you are an alleged father in a paternity case, it is important to challenge the assertion with experienced legal advocacy if you believe you are not the biological father of the child. Failure to challenge paternity after it has been presumed or established could leave you open to child support obligations even after paternity has been disproved.


Will I have to pay all my attorney’s fees and will I have to pay some of my spouse’s attorney’s fees?

In California divorces, the court has the authority to order a party to pay some or all of the attorney’s fees and litigation costs of the other spouse. The purpose of such orders is to make sure that both parties have access to quality legal representation to level the playing field so that the party who has more assets or income cannot overwhelm the other spouse. If you feel you cannot pay an attorney to represent you, you should still check with a family law attorney to see if that is really the case. There usually are ways that we can quickly obtain funds from the other side so that you can have appropriate representation to pursue your rights.