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Divorce - What you need to know


Deciding whether to seek a divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions in your entire life. You may feel overwhelmed with questions relating to your financial security, your home, your children and your future. The last thing you want is to worry about the complexity of the legal system and high lawyer bills.

We’re here to help. The lawyers and staff at Attorney Aid have been helping people in Southern California for over 20 years with getting their life back again.

Other lawyers in the Los Angeles/Orange County area typically charge anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 on average to assist you in filing your divorce and representing you in court. We do not work that way. Through years of experience, we have streamlined the divorce process to minimize the tension, antagonism, and cost. Our primary goal is to help individuals reach an uncontested/collaborative divorce with their spouse so that everyone can begin the healing process and save thousands of dollars of extra attorney fees. But at the same time, we will be the first to defend and uphold our client’s rights if we believe the other side is being unfair or trying to take advantage of the situation.

Depending on the complexity of your case and whether your spouse will cooperate, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that our fees generally range from $595 to $3,500 total to handle your entire case. Our clients have included wealthy business people, top Hollywood celebrities, police officers, receptionists, stay-at-home moms, stockbrokers, soldiers and students. The law treats everyone equally and so do we.

Call or email us today for a free consultation. We’re here to listen and be a friendly voice to help you through this critical period of your life.


The purpose of the F.A.Q. and primer below is to provide a brief overview of how divorce happens in California, so that you can decide for yourself which course of action is best for you without spending a lot of money.


Brief Overview


  Four ways to end a marriage in California.

  Custody, Visitation and Spousal Support.

  Required court filings and paperwork.




Most people believe that short term marriage or that non-consummation of the marriage is grounds for annulment. In California this is absolutely false. The grounds for annulment in California are: being under age, bigamous marriage, force, fraud, inability to have children or sex, and unsound mind. Each of these grounds must be proved before a judge, and as a result, are both time consuming and expensive to achieve. Unless religious needs are an overriding factor this is usually a poor choice.


Joint petition for summary dissolution

is the proper action for short term marriages. The requirements are easily met and therefore it is also very inexpensive and easy to do for yourself without attorney involvement.

The requirements are:

The marriage must be less than 5 years old. No children or real estate may be owned, both parties must have less than $35,000 in assets (including retirement plans and 401(k) plans), and both parties must sign the papers. No court appearance is required.


Legal separation

is a choice that many people choose for religious reasons or because they need to stay on one spouse's medical insurance. For most practical purposes it is exactly the same as getting a divorce (property is divided, custody and visitation orders are made, etc.) except that at the end of the process you and your spouse are still considered husband and wife and remain technically "married." The paperwork is nearly identical. The downside is that if you later wish to divorce or remarry. You must go through the entire process all over again, and incur the costs of divorce in addition to the cost of the legal separation.



in California is no fault. That means that if you want a divorce, you can get a divorce based upon irreconcilable differences. So long as you follow the default rules imposed by the court system, almost everything is automatic.

Default Rules:

Everything that you owned before the marriage and after the date of separation is your separate property. For example: if you owned a Honda Civic worth $5,000 before you married, it is still yours. If the car is financed, the loan on the car is yours too.

If you bought it during the marriage, it is community property and therefore is only 1/2 yours. If the car is financed, the loan is community property too and must be subtracted from the value of the car before the equity in the car is split 50/50.

Sometimes property is a mixture of separate property and community property. When this happens, separate and community components must be determined.


If you would like free information on divorce please call

Attorney Aid Divorce Centers at

(562) 988-0885

and we will be happy to explain the process to you.


How Custody and Visitation are Handled.

In California there are two forms of custody:

Legal custody

refers specifically to issues of health education and welfare. That is the ability to authorize medical treatment, make choices about education and religious upbringing. The court prefers for both parents to be involved with the child as much as is possible and the court's default position is for joint legal custody, unless there is an overriding reason against it.

Physical custody

is simply who the child primarily lives with (and who determines where the child lives).

Visitation is sometimes referred to as secondary physical custody.

Visitation can be done in two ways:

1. A specific pickup and delivery schedule.

This is used when the parents cannot get along with each other and need a written document to control the situation.

2. Right of reasonable visitation.

One example of reasonable visitation would be: Visitation on alternate weekends and major holidays plus additional time by mutual agreement, and any changes in the usual schedule may be done with at least 24 hours notice to the other parent.

How Child Support, Spousal Support and Family Support are Determined and How the Support Payments are Paid Automatically.

Child support, spousal support and family support are calculated in exactly the same way. The court uses a computer program called Dissomaster to calculate a number called the California Guideline Amount. Guideline is actually a misnomer because unless there is a written agreement between the petitioner and respondent to the contrary, this number is not a guide. It is mandatory.

All support payments, with few exceptions, are paid in the following way:

when the court issues its orders, one of the orders is a wage assignment order. The wage assignment order is presented to the payor's employer and the employer then takes the support payment out of the payor's paycheck just like his taxes and sends the support payment directly to the supported person. The payor never has to write a check and the payee never has to go begging. It's all automatic.


If you would like FREE information on divorce please call

Attorney Aid Divorce Centers at

(562) 988-0885

and we will be happy to provide you additional facts.


Required court filings and paperwork.


Is there any more paperwork required after divorce is filed?

  YES. You must complete both a first filing and a second filing, in order to get divorced.

  The second filing is done about 31 days after your spouse has been served with the divorce papers.

  The second filing is more complicated than the first, requiring more paperwork to be submitted for the judge's signature.

  You cannot get divorced if the second filing is not done properly.

  Attorney Aid will complete both the first and the second filings (many paralegal companies complete only the first filing!!)


Attorney Aid Divorce and Bankruptcy fees include the following:

  The FIRST FILING (petition, summons, confidential counseling statement, and certificate of assignment).

  The SECOND FILING (request to enter default, declaration for default, income & expense declarations, child support paperwork, notice of entry of judgment, request default setting, judgment).

  Attorney review of your documents, at no additional cost.

  Your divorce paperwork will be prepared on state-of-the-art computer systems and laser printers ensuring both professional and expedient processing.


If you would like FREE information about divorce please call

Attorney Aid Divorce Centers at

(562) 988-0885

and we will be happy explain the process to you.



Nothing contained herein shall be construed as constituting legal advice and/or advice about your personal situation. This website is intended as an overview of various options available based on generally published guidelines. This is not an exhaustive or comprehensive analysis of divorce or family law. Your personal circumstances should determine if and when to proceed.




(562) 988-0885


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3605 Long Beach Blvd. #300, Long Beach, CA 90807

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