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(559) 226-5298
Call Us Today
(559) 226-5298

FAQ

Do I have to be a resident of Fresno County to file here?

If you want to file for Divorce in Fresno, you must be a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of Fresno County for at least 3 months. But if you ask for only a decree of "Separation", then you can be a resident here for as little as one day. However, you must intend to reside here, not merely be here for a visit.

Where is the appropriate Jurisdiction for Child Custody hearings?

Their "Home State". The children’s “Home State” is the state where they have resided for the last six months, or if they are less than six months old, since birth.

How is Child Support Calculated?

The legislature has decided that so many factors go into this calculation that a computer program is used.  Among the things to be considered are the income of each person, their tax status and deductions, the type of income, and their costs for health insurance and work expenses. A huge factor is the time the children spend with each parent. The more time a child is with you, the more your ex has to pay you. 

How is Spousal Support Calculated? 

For the period just after you break up, a computer calculation is generally used in many California Counties, and the factors are similar but not identical to the child support calculation.  The intent is to temporarily keep both parties in nearly the same financial position they were in during the marriage.  Of course, since there are now two houses, and there may be child support paid from one to the other, this is difficult to achieve, and the wrong court decision can leave you on the brink of survival.
​However, at the time of marital judgement, a different calculation is used to determine spousal support. This requires the consideration of all the factors in family code 4320.

How do I get attorney's fees? 

You can use a Community Property Credit card, take out a loan, or use funds in the bank.  These are all permitted by the Family Code even after you have been served with Divorce papers.  Though almost all attorneys ask for money in advance, your attorney can ask your spouse to pay for his attorney's fees if your spouse earns more than you do, or if your spouse has done things which make resolution of the case difficult.  For example, abusing you or the children, hiding the money, hiding records of the marital finances, or not obeying court orders. Then the court can, in effect, punish that person (and sometimes their attorney) financially.

How is property divided in California?

Community property and debts are split equally between the parties, unless they agree otherwise.  Community property is all property acquired by married parties during marriage. For non-marital properties, the person who bought it, owns it.  Separate property is property obtained before marriage, and after their separation, or inherited by them at any time. Separate property is generally awarded to the person who owned it before marriage, but in some cases, the court can make orders regarding that property and frequently real property. Houses, for example, can be temporarily awarded to the spouse who does not own it. This can create a hardship, as the occupying spouse may have little interest in making the house payment, sometimes causing foreclosure. The office of Kenneth M. Cavin will work to prevent this financial disaster.

Are there exceptions to these property rules?

These are general rules, but with many, many exceptions. For example, every dollar made by either party during marriage is half the other spouse's. So if a person pays their earnings on a separate property residence, then BOTH parties are making that payment, and month by month, the other spouse becomes part owner of that separate property.  This applies to cars, and to pensions, 401k, 403b plans, and other retirement accounts. If one party has a business, both parties have that business, owned by each equally, even though only one person works on that business.  Splitting the value of a business is a difficult calculation, sometimes requiring the employment of an Expert Business Appraiser to do so.

How do we choose whom the children live with?

 This is a decision best made by the parents, rather than by a Judge or a counselor.  However, if there is any time when two people are unlikely to agree on anything, it is when their family is breaking up.
Fresno County currently has a three-tier system of child custody evaluations.  The first tier is where the two parents meet with a person who has state mandated training or counseling, and they try to work out an agreed child custody  and visitation plan.  Then the parents go back to court and the court may make a decision based on what evidence is properly introduced into the court record.  Not all evidence is admissible.  There are legal rules restricting evidence that the Judge can hear, and these rules are known best by lawyers.  The court may make a decision entirely based on the emotional pleas, the tears, or the lies of the other party rather than the reality of the children' lives.  This is where an attorney is vital to be sure that admissible evidence is heard by the Judge, and that the truth is heard by the Judge so that the Judge can make a decision that is in the best interest of the children.
Tier 2 is less frequently used by the court.  The court may order the Family Court Services counselor to obtain additional information such as criminal records, Child Protective Services and other medical or psychological records, and to make specific inquiries into the parties’ backgrounds and interview the children.  A report and recommendation is written by the counselor and then the parents return to court with this new information for the court's review. The court may make a decision, or make a temporary custodial order pending trial.
Tier 3 is used in emergencies where the welfare of a child is in immediate danger due to abuse, neglect, or chance of abduction. Domestic violence frequently brings parties into Tier 3 mediation, where the children, if old enough, are interviewed.  

What is a psychological evaluation, and when is this ordered by the court?

This is an evaluation of parties, the children, grandparents, or people who have bonded to the children or have vital information regarding them.  The court can order this on the recommendation of the Family Court Services counselor, or on its own. The parties can agree to this as well.  The cost can be considerable, with different counselors charging different fees. In cases of child abuse or claims of child abuse or neglect, a psychological evalution is one of the most effective ways to discover the truth or falsity of the allegations some people make in the confused emotional time following their breakup. 

Why hire an attorney?

A. Paralegals can prepare papers and check boxes on forms, but it is illegal for them to give legal advice. There is no paralegal “privilege”, so your secrets, your background, or your indiscretions can be subpoenaed from them, and they will have to disclose this information whether they wish to or not.
B. Attorneys provide complete discretion and Constitutionally protected confidentiality.  They are licensed and operate under strict ethical rules and are subject to discipline by the State of California at all times.
C. Depending on their experience, attorneys know not only the law taught in law school, but the real world application of the law to many different situations.  Experienced lawyers like Mr. Cavin have had thousands of clients or cases in which to learn the application of the laws, and the real world experience in how to settle and dispose of cases peacefully, and professionally, with respect.
D. Attorneys are necessary if you go to trial. Trial can last for days, requires the knowledge of evidence, exceptions to evidence rules, and the proper method of getting information into the court where a Judge can legally hear it.
And finally: A common statement is: "Going into court against a lawyer without a lawyer, is like going into a gunfight without a gun.

Do I have to come up with the money all at once?  

A: With many attorneys, you do.  But with this office, you can hire Mr. Cavin for “limited scope” representation, that is for a limted part of the case, for a lesser amount, and pay piece by piece.  Most of the time, people pay most of their fee in advance, because that is the only time they will have access to a Community Property credit card or bank account.  
Cavin Law
Family Law Attorney
790 West Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93704
(559) 226-5298
Business Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30am - 4:00pm
Member of
California Bar Association
Fresno / Madera Bar Association
American Civil Liberties Union
Licensed In All Federal Courts