We Can Help You With…
Divorce & Legal Separation
Alimony & Child Support
Divorce & Legal Separation
A divorce is initiated by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. Once the other spouse has been served with the petition, he or she has 30 days to respond to the petition. If you fail to respond within 30 days, a default may be taken against you and everything requested by your spouse in the petition will be granted in the judgment.
In California, it takes at least 6 months to get a divorce. If parties cannot reach an agreement over issues such as the property division, spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support, their case will proceed to trial.
Bitter contested divorces are stressful and only add to legal expenses. The Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen is committed to helping you find common ground with your spouse and resolve your divorce as quickly as possible. To the extent that your spouse does not share this goal and wishes to engage in a protracted legal battle, Mr. Jensen is prepared to aggressively represent your interests.
If you are considering a divorce or your spouse has served you with divorce papers, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen for a free consultation.
Spousal support (alimony) may be awarded in divorce cases if one spouse makes substantially more money than the other spouse or one spouse did not work to maintain the family home and care for the children. There are 2 types of spousal support: temporary and permanent.
Temporary spousal support may be awarded while a divorce is pending. The amount awarded is based on county guidelines, but the general goal of temporary support is to equalize the parties’ incomes and maintain the status quo until the divorce is finalized.
The court may also order a party to pay permanent support after the divorce is finalized. The court considers several factors to the determine whether to award permanent support and the amount of support, including but not limited to the length of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage, the ability of the supporting spouse to pay support, the supported spouse’s marketable skills and ability to obtain employment, and the age and health of the parties.
If you have questions about your potential support obligations in your divorce or the amount of support your spouse may be required to pay you, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen for a free consultation.
California is a community property state. “Community property” is any asset acquired or income earned by a married person during his or her marriage (except for gifts or inheritances). Property that is not community property is called “separate property.”
In a divorce proceeding, community property is divided equally (unless there is a written agreement to the contrary) and spouses are allowed to keep their separate property. California is a no-fault state and the division of property will not be changed even if your spouse is responsible for the breakdown of your marriage.
Differentiating between community property and separate property can become complicated if family businesses, homes and real estate, stock options, and retirement benefits are involved or the marriage was lengthy.
If you are considering a divorce and have questions about your property rights, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen for a free consultation.
People’s circumstances change. Job changes, layoffs, remarriages, and moves to other states or countries are facts of life. Courts recognize this and court orders regarding spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support can be modified to reflect changed circumstances.
If your circumstances have changed (or your former spouse has remarried) and you seek a modification of an existing court order, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen for a free consultation.
In California, a legal separation is similar to a divorce in that assets are divided and the court will determine issues such as spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support. If you are legally separated and wish to remarry, you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. Legal separation is an attractive alternative to divorce for couples who want to lead separate lives but remain married for religious reasons or to hold onto to their insurance benefits.
Legal separation is also available to couples who do not meet California’s residency requirements for divorce (6 months of residency in California and 3 months in the county that you seek to get a divorce). Once the residency requirements are met, a couple can amend their petition to seek a divorce.
If you are considering a legal separation in lieu of a divorce, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen for a free consultation.
If you are a victim of physical or verbal abuse from your spouse, family member, or significant other, the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen can help you. Domestic violence restraining orders are available in situations involving violence between people who are married, divorced, cohabitating, currently (or were formerly) dating, or have had children together.
Temporary restraining orders are effective for three to four weeks and can provide interim relief to victims of abuse. A permanent restraining order is effective for up to five years. If you have recently been assaulted or threatened with physical violence, you should contact the police immediately, seek medical treatment, and consult with an attorney about obtaining a restraining order.
As a parent, you have a right to have frequent and continuing contact with your child in a manner that is consistent with his or her best interests. While your ex-spouse has the right to move or live anywhere he or she wants, your child’s right to have an ongoing relationship with both parents takes precedence.
If your former spouse is not abiding by the court’s visitation schedule or is seeking to move away, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen to discuss your visitation rights.
Your child has a right to receive financial (and emotional) support from both of his or her parents. Child support obligations generally last until the child turns 18. In California, courts use statutory formulas to calculate child support. The amount of your monthly child support payments depends on several factors, including your income and the amount of time your child lives with you.
Child support orders are subject to modification to reflect changes in a parent’s financial circumstances. Salary increases, layoffs, or changes in child custody arrangements can lead to an adjustment in the amount of your monthly child support payments.
If you have a child support issue, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen for a free consultation.
The goal of California family law is to have both parents involved in a child’s life and sharing joint legal custody. Courts will award sole legal custody to a parent only in extraordinary circumstances where physical (or sexual) abuse or chemical dependency issues are present.
Parties are encouraged by courts to work together informally to come up with a custody and parenting time plan. In the absence of an agreement, the court will order a custody and parenting time schedule following an evaluation process. The evaluation process can be lengthy and significantly add to the parties’ legal expenses.
If you have a child custody issue or seek to modify an existing child custody order, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen for a free consultation
An annulment is a judicial determination that a marriage was never valid. A judgment of nullity can significantly alter a party’s spousal support obligations and the way property is divided. Annulments are difficult to obtain because the grounds for annulment are narrowly defined by the Family Code. Typically, a party seeking an annulment must prove that the marriage was procured through fraud or that one of the parties lacked the physical or mental capacity to enter into the marriage.
If you believe that grounds exist for the annulment of your marriage, please contact the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen immediately for a free consultation. Your legal issue may be time sensitive.
The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Recipients of information from this website should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content from this site without consulting an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. This website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments or changes in the law. The Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the information contained on this website.
None of the information transmitted from this website creates an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen or is intended to do so.
This website may contain links to other websites operated and maintained by third parties. These links are provided solely as a convenience to you. The presence of such links does not imply an endorsement or warranty of the linked sites, their operators, or their contents.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The best way to deal with a legal issue is to get ahead of it, rather than it getting ahead of you. Ask questions and get advice. A good attorney is essential for planning, strategy, and getting the best outcome possible. A Family Law Attorney can help you manage your family affairs from prenuptial agreements to divorce and child custody disputes.
What Does a Family Law Attorney Do?
In order to navigate the tough and sensitive issues that arise between married couples, domestic partners, parents, and people contemplating marriage, it is in your best interest to involve a Family Law Attorney early on. Family Law Attorneys can handle legal issues such as the negotiation and preparation of prenuptial agreements, divorce, and child custody and support issues.
How Do I Know If I Need a Family Law Attorney?
You may want to consult with a Family Law Attorney about:
- Prenuptial agreements
- Legal separation
- Property division
- Spousal support (or alimony)
- Child custody
- Child Support
- Domestic violence
- Child abduction
Not every Family Law Attorney will have experience in all of these categories. Be sure to ask your attorney if he or she has experience in the practice areas where you have a need.
How Much Does A Family Law Attorney Cost?
Family Law Attorneys typically charge by the hour. Hourly rates can vary widely, depending on the attorney’s knowledge and expertise. Rates can also vary depending on where you live and the complexity of the matter.
What Should I Expect When Working with a Family Law Attorney?
A good Family Law Attorney should be able to:
- Apply the law to the facts of your situation
- Analyze the merits and weaknesses of your case
- Seek favorable settlements whenever possible to keep down your costs
- Advise you of the pros and cons of settlement versus litigation in court
- Be your advocate in the courtroom.
Matthew was very responsive from the moment I called his office. He gave me an appointment for that same week. During the consultation he took the time to understand my situation and provided valuable feedback. I highly recommend his services.
Mr. Jensen is an extremely reliable, diligent, professional, and level-headed lawyer. He handled my case with precision. He is extremely responsive and works hard to find a solution that serves his client well. He is very honest and utilizes his time well to minimize unnecessary time charged to his client. I would recommend him to anyone needing a lawyer in the Sunnyvale area.
Easy to talk to, knowledgeable, looked out for my interests (in spite of myself). We were under a time line and he met it – very responsive.