Butler Thiessen & Metzinger INC | Family Law Specialists

Focused, Dedicated, Determined since 1986 209-390-8829

Family Law

Family Law

Property Division

Property Division



Child Custody & Visitation

Child Custody & Visitation

Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger | Family Law Specialists

Focused, Dedicated, Determined since 1986

Divorce FAQ


At Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc.​ in Stockton, we believe that an informed client can play an important role in the legal process. We take the time to explain the law, the legal process and other aspects of divorce to our clients.

Accordingly, below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive concerning divorce. You probably have questions concerning your own situation.

Call us at 209-390-8829 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Who can get divorced in California?

One of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months and must have lived in the county where the divorce was filed for at least three months. The same applies for the dissolution of a domestic partnership.

Who should file for divorce first?

Legally speaking, it doesn’t matter, because the court does not favor the spouse who files first. However, there are advantages to taking some proactive measures before you file. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. A lawyer at Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc. can advise you.

How long will it take to get my divorce?

This depends on the circumstances of your case, the court docket and the attitude of your spouse. In some cases, it’s possible to complete the divorce process in as little as six months. If there are major disputes over issues involving children or property division, it could take a year or longer.

Should I or my spouse move out of our home after filing for divorce?

If you and your spouse can tolerate each other during this stressful time, it may not be necessary. However, for some couples, cohabitation is not possible or advisable. In some cases, the court may order one of the spouses to move out. We can advise you concerning your options.

Is community property always split 50-50?

In California, it is the general rule that community property is split equally. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. At Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc., we work diligently to obtain the best possible property settlement for every client.

Will the court order the payment of spousal support?

That depends on the circumstances of the case. It may be possible to negotiate a property settlement in lieu of having to pay spousal support. If spousal support is mandated or you wish to negotiate a settlement that involves spousal support, keep in mind that it is taxable for the receiver and tax deductible for the payer.

Can I get divorced without hiring an attorney?

It is certainly possible to do so. However, there are many pitfalls in trying to do it yourself. By hiring an experienced family law attorney, you will be much better off and you can be assured that your rights will be protected.

My spouse and I have some major differences when it comes to our children. Are there ways to avoid a nasty court fight?

Mediation and collaborative divorce are two effective means of resolving differences in matters involving parenting time and property issues. That said, these alternative dispute resolution methods are not appropriate for every divorcing couple. Our lawyers have extensive experience in mediation and collaborative divorce, as well as traditional negotiation and divorce litigation. We can explain how these methods work and help you make decisions that are right for you.

When I got divorced, I came out on the losing end in terms of child support and custody rights. Is there any way to improve my situation?

Yes. You can seek a modification in a child support, custody, parenting time or spousal support order after you have divorced. Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc. can represent you.

How much do you charge?

Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc. is known throughout San Joaquin County for providing outstanding value to our clients. Our extensive experience, knowledge of the law and familiarity with the local court system enables us to quickly determine the best course of action and get results for our clients. This can keep legal costs reasonable. We also use alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and collaborative law that can provide cost efficiencies.

Get Answers To Your Questions

Contact Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc. by calling 209-390-8829 to schedule a consultation.