Palo Alto Divorce Attorney

Request a Consultation

palo alto divorce lawyer

Compassionate Divorce Lawyers Serving Palo Alto, CA

At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., our attorneys will help you confront the seriousness of a broken marriage and the concerns you hold for your future. Whether your focus is protecting your children, achieving a just financial outcome, or navigating the divorce process efficiently, our Palo Alto divorce attorney is here for you.

We are experienced in all areas of divorce and able to represent you in the following confidently:

  • Legal separation;
  • Visitation and parenting time;
  • Child custody and support;
  • Division of marital property, debts, and assets; and
  • Spousal support

The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., will assist you in making practical, well-informed decisions to achieve your most essential divorce goals. Allow us to serve your best interests and aggressively defend your most valuable assets.

Why Clients Choose Us for Divorce Representation in Palo Alto

  • Our lead attorney, Debra R. Schoenberg, is a Certified Family Law Specialist. This means she acquired additional education and training and passed a written examination about family law to be certified by the Board as a specialist in this practice area.
  • We exclusively practice family law. With years of experience in this area, our divorce attorneys know how to resolve complex and sensitive issues during a Palo Alto divorce case that can have a lasting impact on you and your family.
  • We are trial lawyers who are prepared to take on any challenge. We have ample experience litigating high-conflict, high-asset and high-stakes divorce cases throughout California. We will pursue your case goals while minimizing related stress.

Palo Alto Divorce Lawyer Quick Links

Grounds for Divorce in Palo Alto, California

You do not have to prove that your spouse is at fault to obtain a divorce in California. California is a no-fault divorce state that allows a divorce due to irreconcilable differences or an irrevocable breakdown of the marriage. Neither party is at fault for the divorce, and either party may end the marriage regardless of any desires of the other spouse to stay together.

There are residency requirements to obtain a divorce in California. One spouse must reside in California for at least six months before filing the divorce petition. That spouse must live in the county where they file the divorce petition for at least three months before filing. In addition, after filing and serving a divorce petition on the other spouse, there is a minimum six month waiting period for the finalization of a divorce by the court.

Legal separation and divorce are similar, but both offer unique pros and cons. They both require property, debt, and asset division, as well as child custody and visitation plans. However, an order for legal separation does not permit parties to remarry. If you choose legal separation, you are still technically married to your spouse in the eyes of the law. Other than remarrying, however, you and your spouse will be free to live separate lives.

The advantage of a legal separation is that unlike divorce, there are no residency requirements. You are free to legally separate no matter how long you’ve lived in California. Another advantage is that you can keep benefits that are connected to your marriage, such as employee or insurance benefits. You may also wish to consider legal separation for personal reasons, such as if your religion doesn’t permit divorce or if there is still a chance for reconciliation in the future.

Stars Image Helpful and supportive

Debra and team were so helpful and supportive through the most difficult time in my life.  Grateful to the team for their advice – would highly recommend their services to anyone needing a divorce attorney.

J. J. San Francisco

Summary Dissolution of Marriage

California permits a summary dissolution when spouses were married less than five years, are without children and real estate and possess limited assets and debts. A summary dissolution requires spouses to create a property and debt agreement and file it together with their joint divorce petition and relevant court documents. There is still a six month waiting period for a divorce decree; however, a summary dissolution is less complicated and rarely requires an appearance before a judge.

The Divorce Process in Palo Alto, California

Knowing what to expect from the divorce process can help you and your family be better prepared. Although each case is unique, most follow the same basic steps. When spouses do not qualify for a summary dissolution, the divorce process generally takes the following course:

  • One spouse, the Petitioner, files and serves a divorce petition on the other spouse, the Respondent;
  • The Respondent files a response to the Petition within thirty days;
  • The spouses begin the discovery process of exchanging information and documents relevant to the divorce including a
  • Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure;
  • After completing discovery, the spouses and their attorneys discuss a settlement;
  • If there is a settlement, one of the attorneys prepares a Marital Settlement Agreement that is signed by the spouses and their attorneys;
  • If there is no agreement on any or all of the issues, the parties go to trial for a resolution of all outstanding matters;
    After the divorce case, one of the attorneys prepares a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

You don’t have to deal with the process of getting divorced in Palo Alto on your own. A lawyer from The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can guide you through your case, protecting your legal rights and interests along the way.

Annulments in Palo Alto

Although rare, some couples qualify for and choose to pursue an annulment. Annulment effectively erases a marriage.

An annulment is obtainable for the following reasons:

  • Incest
  • Bigamy
  • Lack of informed consent to the marriage
  • Unsound mind
  • Fraud
  • Force, unless afterward the party who was forced into the marriage freely cohabited with the other party as husband and wife; or
  • Either party, at the time of the marriage, was physically incapable of consummating the marriage, and the incapacity appears incurable

If you wish to discuss the option of having your marriage annulled in more detail, one of our attorneys can meet with you and listen to your story.

Mediation in Palo Alto

Mediation is a casual, non-adversarial means to solve divorce issues such as property division, spousal support, child support, child custody, and visitation. It is a form of alternative dispute resolution, along with arbitration. Spouses meet together with a mediator in the hopes of creating a fair and agreeable settlement to all of their marital issues.

Property Division and Divorce in California

California is unique in that it is one of only a few community property states in the U.S. In a divorce case that goes to court, the state’s community property law will divide all of a couple’s marital assets down the middle, 50/50, regardless of whether this is fair or equitable for both parties. Marital assets refer to the assets and property acquired by either person during the marriage.

Property that one spouse owned individually before the marriage will be classified as separate property and excluded from division, as long as it was not commingled after the marriage. In addition, gifts and inheritances given to one spouse during the marriage are also separate property.  However, any items, real estate, vehicles, investments, businesses and other assets (as well as debts) that are shared between the “community” of marriage will be subject to California’s property division law.

Our divorce attorneys in Palo Alto can help you navigate property division and protect your hard-earned assets as much as possible. We can increase the chances of reaching a settlement agreement with your spouse, for example, to prevent your case from going to court. If you’re engaged or still married, we can also help you create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to protect your property from California’s division laws in the event of a future divorce.

Children and Divorce

California requires divorcing parents to attend custody and visitation mediation. The Court provides a qualified mediator to help parents create a custody and visitation plan in the best interests of their children. No agreement in mediation is an official court order until the court approves it.

If the parents cannot create their own plan for child custody, a judge will decide custody based on the best interest of the child. This decision is made after careful analysis of many aspects of the child’s life, including the fitness of either parent, the child’s connection to his or her school and community, the child’s relationship to both parents, and the child’s wishes (if he or she is old enough).

In California, it is both parents’ obligation to support their minor children. The incomes of both parties, which parent has custody of the children, and how much time the non-custodial parent has with the children, determine child support. A unique computer formula assists in calculating support for minor children.

Schedule Your Confidential Case Review with The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C.

When confronting divorce or any other family law problem, it is essential to find a dependable attorney to present all angles of your case and all of your viable options. At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., our professionals will inform and support you through every step of your divorce. We will build the most compelling case possible for your position and strive to meet your individual goals.

Schedule a confidential case review with one of our attorneys today. We will answer your most pressing legal questions and make a plan for your future.

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

More About Honors & Awards
Arrow Image
10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
Arrow Image