Family Law FAQs
Westlake Village Divorce Attorney Provides Information You Need
Get quality legal counsel from a family law attorney in Westlake Village
right away if you are facing divorce. Any
family law matter, particularly divorce, can leave you confused and unsure of the
right action to take unless you have the counsel of an experienced lawyer
who is dedicated to helping you obtain the best possible results. Richard
Ross Associates can provide the compassionate and specialized legal representation
you need, so call us for a
case evaluation today.
Common Family Law & Divorce Questions
What do I need to do and know before going through a divorce or legal separation?
Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that
you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative.
Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found
and removed by your spouse.
There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse
that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding.
Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the
original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that
your spouse won't notice that they are missing.
It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse
is away for an extended time, such as during a workday.
It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible
while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed
by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation
if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit
us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.
What kinds of financial documents do I need to gather for a lawyer to review?
At a minimum, try to photocopy financial documents generated within the
past three years, including all bank statements, cancelled checks, tax
returns and financial statements, W-2s, K-1s, loan applications, credit
card statements, pay stubs, and pension statements. You also need copies
of stock option statements, stock certificates, and brokerage statements;
deeds to real property and property appraisals; closing statements and
loan documents; automobile, life and health insurance policies; and any
other financial documents that you think could be relevant to any financial
issues in your case.
You should make a preliminary list of your monthly income and expenses.
Also, take photographs of the contents of your residence as soon as possible
in the event your spouse removes items at a later time. On a sheet of
paper , itemize the household items by room.
What should I do if my spouse serves me with court papers?
If your spouse has served you with court papers, write down the date that
you were served with the court papers. Immediately determine the date
of any upcoming court hearings and contact a legal professional as soon
Bring all of the papers that you were served with to the meeting.
If you file for court orders, you will not be able to get any orders for
child support or
spousal support until the first order to show cause hearing, which will not take place
until about a month after you file you petition for dissolution or legal
separation. As a general rule, you cannot get financial orders at an ex
parte or emergency hearing; therefore, make sure that you consider and
make provisions for supporting yourself for at least a month. Otherwise,
if your spouse cuts you off from financial resources, which often happens,
you may be in a very difficult and vulnerable position.
Should I agree to a temporary parenting plan?
This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for
dissolution of marriage or legal separation,
avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement
regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement
after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan
that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is
very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo,
especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental
to the minor children.
How long must I live in California before I can file for divorce?
To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage,
a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and
in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing
the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent
- either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets
the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
Can I be thrown out of my own residence?
The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence
if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your
spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to
be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make
you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and
not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement!
Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed
Can a joint tax return still be filed after a divorce?
If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the
end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status
of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your
spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these
options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information
for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or
read the IRS booklet online.
Divorce Lawyer Serving Westlake Village & Thousand Oaks
Contact a Westlake Village family law attorney from Richard Ross Associates right away to get personalized answers to
any of your questions, as well as representation tailored for your specific
legal issue. We have handled countless family law cases over the years
and are prepared to fight vigorously for the results you deserve.