Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law

Sena Family Law & Mediation Practice in San Francisco is here to answer your questions and help you find lasting solutions to your concerns. Following are a few general questions and answers related to family law matters:

Who can serve documents in my case?

You cannot serve your own documents. The person who can serve the other party must be someone NOT involved in the case that is over age 18. This may include a:

  • County sheriff
  • Friend
  • Family member
  • Professional process server

What if my ex avoids service or cannot be found?

Often, a court will allow alternative methods of serving papers. These may include serving another individual or making an announcement in the newspaper.

Do I need an attorney?

While it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of a professional attorney, it is not mandatory. Realize that even in situations where both parties think they will be in agreement, there is often conflict that warrants hiring legal representation. You need to ensure that your legal rights and interests will be protected, and in most cases, a lawyer is the best person to do this.

What are the advantages of mediation?

Divorce mediation has several advantages. It may be less expensive and is typically less time-consuming than litigation. It also encourages you and your ex to find mutually acceptable compromises, which is an important skill to develop if you have children together. In addition, divorce mediation gives you much more room for flexibility and creativity than litigation affords, allowing you to take charge of your future.

How does a judge decide how property is divided?

The majority of situations are resolved by an agreement between the parties. If this is not possible, a judge will determine how to fairly divide marital assets and debts.

How is child support determined?

California uses a statewide formula to figure out how much each parent should pay. If parents do not agree on an amount, a judge will use the formula to assess an amount. Some factors that influence the amount paid include:

  • Potential or actual earnings of both parents
  • How much other income either parent receives
  • How many children the parents have together
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the children
  • Health insurance expenses
  • Mandatory fees, such as union dues and retirement contributions

If circumstances significantly change, however, it may be possible to modify the child support order.

How is spousal support assessed?

If you are a financially dependent spouse, you may be entitled to spousal support. Courts have a great deal of leeway in determining spousal support, and may consider such factors as:

  • Earning capacity of each person
  • Ages of parties
  • Duration of marriage
  • Standard of living present in marriage
  • Ability of supported spouse to gain employment

Call Today For A Free Consultation

For answers to questions related to your unique situation, call our office at 415-906-2556, or contact us via email to set up a free consultation.