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Frequently Asked Questions

Westlake Village Family Law Lawyer

If you're in the midst of a divorce or another family law matter, then you may have a number of questions about your case. Below are some answers to questions that our clients commonly ask when coming to us for help. Take a minute to review them and assess if the questions apply to your situation.

Some commonly asked questions we hear include:

Want more information? Call our Westlake Village divorce attorney!

If you have further questions, then you are always welcome to schedule a consultation with Debra J. Kay Attorney at Law. As a family certified law specialist with nearly 30 years of experience, she has successfully handled numerous cases of great complexity. With her help, you can be on your way to a better future.

We provide the following resources for your convenience:

Call our office or submit an online form to discuss your situation with certified family law specialist.


What are the grounds for divorce in California?

California is a "no-fault" divorce state. In our state, there are specific reasons that allow for the dissolution of marriage. Our Westlake Village divorce lawyers can help determine if you qualify.

The courts allow dissolution of marriage for following two reasons:

  1. Irreconcilable differences: This simply means that you and your spouse couldn't make the marriage work and nobody is held responsible. Even if one spouse had an affair, they are not held responsible for the divorce and there is no "punishment" such as withholding assets.
  2. Incurable insanity: Incurable insanity means that your spouse is medically proven to be insane. Dissolution on the grounds of insanity is rarely used because it is very rare and difficult to prove. In addition, it doesn't bring much benefit as the filing spouse is not necessarily free of paying support and dividing the property fairly.

To file in California, you or your spouse must have lived in California for six months and in your county for at least three months. If you have more questions about the grounds for divorce in California, do not hesitate to speak with our certified family law specialist by calling Debra J. Kay Attorney at Law today.

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What is joint custody?

Joint custody is an arrangement in which both parents have rights over their minor children. Parents may have either joint legal custody or joint physical custody, or both. Our team of Westlake Village family law lawyers can provide the guidance you need regarding your custody case.

The term joint custody may be interpreted in the following ways:

  • Joint Legal Custody: The right and responsibility to make decisions for the child, including welfare, education, and health (Family Code Section 3003)
  • Joint Physical Custody: The right of a parent to spend time with their child (Family Code Section 3004)

Preferably, both parents can agree on the custody arrangement; however, if they do not, then the court decides based on the best interests of the child. The court may first attempt to award joint custody, as it has been shown that children do best with interaction with both parents. If one parent is incompetent or negligent, on the other hand, then the court may award sole custody to the responsible parent, while giving only visitation rights to the irresponsible parent.

For more information about joint custody or other custody-related issues, do not hesitate to contact our office at Debra J. Kay Attorney at Law and speak with an experienced Westlake Village divorce attorney today!

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Which parent is responsible for child support?

According to CA Family Code 3900, parents have an equal responsibility to support the needs of their child. If one parent is paying for a larger portion of the child's expenses due to custody arrangements, then the non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay support. Our family law lawyers in Westlake Village can provide the guidance you need regarding your child support case.

Child support may be calculated using two main factors:

  • Parent's Income
  • The Time Each Child Spends with Each Parent

The courts may also take child care expenses, house payments, other living costs, and tax filing status into account. If one parent is not working and not making an effort to find work, then the court can order them to actively look for work or get job placement. The court may also order the parent to obtain job training or enter a work program.

Visit the California Department of Child Support Services for further information or contact our office to speak with a Westlake Village divorce attorney about your situation.

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Does my child get to choose which parent to live with?

If your child is over 16 years old, then the court is likely to take their preference into account as long as there are no major issues with the parent of choice. For children younger than 16 years old, however, preference may be considered, but may unlikely be the primary factor in the court's decision. If you are concerned about your custody rights, speak with our Westlake Village family law lawyers today!

The court decides based on the following factors:

  • Courts assume that younger children's desires are unfixed and may change as they mature.
  • Choosing a parent to live with can be traumatic for a child that is forced to choose which parent they love or prefer more.
  • The courts are likely to be suspicious of any parent that is trying to get their child to make such a statement, as this is not a peaceable action.

Parents should avoid trying to manipulate their child into stating which parent they would rather live with. If the other parent is negligent or unequipped to parent, you and your lawyer can speak about how to prove this to the court. To discuss your situation with our certified family law specialist, please contact our office by phone or email today!

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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Debra J. Kay Attorney at Law - Westlake Village Divorce Attorney
Located at 2801 Townsgate Rd, #360 Westlake Village, CA 91361. View Map
Phone: (805) 416-0212 | Fax: (805) 379-2228
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