Divorce FAQ

The Law Office of Patricia A. Hendrickson is available to help men and women who are going through the sad and sometimes traumatic experience of divorce. We concentrate our practice on answering tough questions and solving difficult problems.

Divorce is one of the most confusing, painful and costly experiences on the planet. If your spouse has filed for divorce, or if you are seeking a divorce, you probably have many questions that need answering. This page is not intended to provide legal advice, but it does include a list of questions that are commonly asked of us as divorce attorneys in Orange County:

How long does it take to get a divorce? It depends on the complexity of your case, as well as the degree of cooperation between you and your spouse. We strive to help our clients move through the divorce process in an efficient way.

Do I need to do anything before filing for divorce? The main thing to do is to seek proper legal advice if you plan to file for divorce.

How much will it cost to get divorced? The cost of the divorce will depend on several factors, including the complexity of your assets, the degree of conflict between you and your spouse and your willingness to compromise and negotiate.

How will my child custody arrangements be determined? Custody is a multi-factorial matter. Numerous things are taken into account by a court (if your case goes to court), but the guiding principle is the importance of the child or children's best interest.

Will I pay or receive child support after I get divorced, or before I get divorced? If you are a divorcing parent, you may or may not pay or receive child support.

Will I pay or receive alimony when I get divorced? Like child support, alimony (spousal support) will depend on numerous factors that you should discuss in detail with an attorney.

What do the current laws say about gay divorce and LGBT family law? California law now gives same-sex couples many of the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples. Talk to an experienced attorney if you need help with an LGBT family law matter.

How common is divorce in California? In California, approximately 75 percent of all marriages end in divorce.

Can you tell me if it's time for me to get a divorce? I can't, but I can refer you to psychologists who can help you find the answer to that question. If you are the victim of domestic violence or emotional abuse, however, you may want to seek legal protection while you determine whether you should proceed with a divorce.

We own our own business and my spouse runs it. I don't know anything about the finances of this business, and I'm scared I won't get my fair share. Can you help me? Yes, we can help. It is incredibly important that you contact us for what we call "pre-divorce planning," where we teach a client how best to utilize the time prior to filing for a divorce.

We own our own business and my spouse has never been interested in it, nor has he/she worked a day in the business. How can I keep this business after the divorce?
Any time there's a business involved and regardless of which spouse you are (the one who works in the business or the one who does not), pre-divorce planning will give you your absolute best results. Many times before a divorce is filed, we have worked with our clients to have a complete plan in place regarding buying out the other spouse's interest in the business (if there's any interest to buy out).

How long will I receive, or how long will I pay, spousal support (also known as alimony)? A general rule of thumb is that you will receive spousal support for one-half the length of the marriage. There are so many exceptions to this rule, however, that it would take a book to explain them all. This is definitely an area of the law in which you need an attorney to obtain your best result.

What does "date of separation" mean, and does it matter? Why? Date of separation ("DOS") is everything! The significance of it is that after the DOS, everything you earn is your separate property. Date of separation is a crucial part of the puzzle and can cost you or benefit you by hundreds of thousands of dollars. But what is it? It is the date that one or both parties perceived the rift in their relationship to be final, and the best evidence of the DOS is the parties' words and actions. DOS will probably be an issue in situations where the parties lived apart from one another for any length of time or when there is a lot of money at stake.

These are just a few of the many important questions we are asked at the firm.

Contact The Law Office of Patricia A. Hendrickson Today

Our lawyers can sit down with you and discuss your situation in detail. We are based in Huntington Beach, California. Contact us to schedule an appointment.