Frequently Asked Questions


General

Yes, and no, it depends on the area you need assistance with. Currently, Your Legal Key only assists with family law, and wills and trusts in California only. As to immigration because it is federal law, Your Legal Key can assist throughout the United States.

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Your Legal Key offers a 100% guarantee that your legal forms will be accepted by the court or USCIS, as applicable. If the legal forms are not accepted due to incorrectly filled out forms or outdated forms, we will make any changes requested by the court, judge or governmental agency (without charge), or a refund of your Purchase Price will be issued. This guarantee does not cover rejections that are the result of incorrect information, misrepresentation or false information provided by you, your failure to follow the filing instructions or ineligibility of benefits. For more details on our policy click here.

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It depends on the legal form. Our customers usually take as little as 10 minutes for simple cases and up to an hour for more complicated cases. It is important that you have all the necessary information to fill out the legal form so that it can speed up the process. However, if you do not have all of the information or the time to finish your legal form, Your Legal Key will save your information under your login and password so that you can come back and finish your legal form without having to start all over.

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Legal forms are sent via regular mail. Thus, depending on where you live it can take anywhere from 3-5 business days. However, Your Legal Key has rush processing for an additional fee if you need your legal forms faster.

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It depends on the legal forms. Some immigration forms may be sent electronically. Other legal forms require documents to be printed on specific colored paper per court requirements (family law cases), these legal forms can only be mailed to ensure that your documents comply with the court rules. As to wills and trusts, we mail those out as well as it is a complete package and we place your trust in a binder to keep it organize for your records.

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Your Legal Key currently assists with immigration, drafting trusts in California and family law cases in California.

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Your Legal Key will send you detailed instructions on what to do next. It will explain where you need to sign, how many copies you will need, where to take or send your documents, filing fee requirements and any other instructions necessary for your specific documents. If you have further questions you can always call our customer service number for someone who can assist you.

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At Your Legal Key you do not pay until you finish filling out your legal form. The prices vary depending on your legal need. Prices start as low as $199 for a simple divorce, immigration forms from $129 and complete trusts from $249. Please note that depending on your forms and your legal need, the court or USCIS may have filing fee requirements. These filing fees are paid directly to them. When you receive your package there will be a list of instructions regarding payment to the court or to USCIS.

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Your Legal Key is an easy, secure and affordable way to help you with your legal needs. Your Legal Key has simplified the process, made the questions easy to understand, included explanation videos throughout the forms to help you explain the question, helps you find out what forms you need for your particular case and most importantly, saves you thousands of dollars.

Your Legal Key has taken this easy process one step further by presenting you with a list of attorneys in your area who can help you if at some point you need the assistance of an attorney. Because we understand that there may be times where legal assistance is needed, maybe because your case is more complex or because after using Your Legal Key you want to hire an attorney to represent you in court, Your Legal Key has compiled a list of attorneys in your area who can assist you. These attorneys have been reviewed by Your Legal Key to ensure that they do not have any disciplinary actions and that they are qualified to take your matter.

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Absolutely. Getting a head start on your own can save you thousands of dollars on your legal fees. For example, if you are looking to start a case or respond to a case, you can start the process through Your Legal Key. Starting this process through Your Legal Key can save you thousands of dollars. After doing so, you can still hire an attorney, however, by then you would have saved potentially thousands of dollars.

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If you start filling out the legal forms and you realize you are missing information, you can always come back and finish it at a later time. By creating a login and a password, Your Legal Key saves your information for a limited time so that you can come back and finish it.

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Your Legal Key has developed a qualifier that takes you through a series of simple questions to determine what package is right for you. Given that every case is different, not everyone needs the same forms. There are hundreds of legal forms available and Your Legal Key has developed a qualifier which narrows these forms based on your responses. After you answer the questions, a custom package will be presented to you. You will not have to fill out dozens of forms, the packages are developed so that you have to simply purchase one package, answer one set of questions and we take care of filling out the many forms that may be required for your case.

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If you start filling out the legal forms and you realize you don’t have time to finish it or are missing some information, you can always come back and finish it at a later time. By creating a login and a password, Your Legal Key saves your information for a limited time so that you can come back and finish it.

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You will not be charged for your legal forms until you completely fill them out. Once you confirm that all the information you entered is correct, you will be able to check out and pay for your package. Until then, nothing is charged and no credit card will be required until you are ready to check out.

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Family Law

Child Custody and Visitation

Legal custody is the right to make major decisions over your children’s health, welfare and education, such as what school they will attend. Legal custody does not affect physical custody. Physical and legal custody are two separate things.

To request legal custody, click here.

Joint legal custody in California means that both parents share in the responsibilities of making decisions over the child’s health, welfare and education. In California, it is very common that both parents have joint legal custody, unless the court finds (or the parents agree) that one parent is unfit, incapable of making decisions over the child or it’s in the child’s best interest.

To request joint legal custody, click here.

Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the right to make major decisions over the child’s health, welfare and education. If a parent has sole legal custody, they do not need to consult the other parent in making these major decisions. Having sole legal custody does not necessarily mean that the parent also has sole physical custody.

To request sole legal custody, click here.

No. When both parents share joint legal custody both parents have the right to make decisions either together or alone. However, if one parent makes a decision without consulting the other, it may lead to problems and you may end up in court. It is best for parents to communicate with each other in making decisions about their children.

Physical custody is the right to have the child physically present in the home. It refers to where the child may be physically.

To request physical child custody, click here.

When one parent has the majority of time with the child, the other parent is considered to have visitation. Usually visitation goes to the parent who has less than half the time with the child.

To request child visitation, click here.

No. Joint physical custody simply means that both parents spend time with the children. Ideally, the parents can come up with a physical custody plan that works for their schedules and the children’s need. However, if the parents cannot come up with an agreeable schedule, then the court will make orders specifying how much time the children spend with each parent.

The “primary custodial parent” is the parent who either has sole physical custody of the children or the parent with whom the children live with the majority of the time. Most times parents have joint physical custody. However, the court will refer to the parent who has the larger timeshare as the “custodial parent” or “primary custodial parent”.

Yes. The custodial parent, or the parent with whom the children spend the most time with, usually has more control on a daily basis. However, when it comes to major decision such as schools or medical decisions, when there is joint legal custody both parents have an equal say.

In California the most important factor the court uses to determine child custody and visitation is what is called “best interest”. This “best interest” standard gives the court broad discretion to order a custody and visitation plan that is in the best interest of the child’s healthy, safety, welfare and education. The court will hear both parties’ sides to determine the child’s “best interest”, including but not limited to, the child’s age, each parent’s living situation, each parent’s willingness to support the child’s relationship with the other parent, and the relationship the child had with the parents prior to requesting custody.

To request child custody and visitation, click here.

It is important that you respond and show up to the court hearing. If you do nothing, you risk the parent requesting the custody and visitation to get what they want. In order for the court to take into consideration your position, the court needs to be made aware of what that position is. Responding and attending the hearing is the way to do that.

To respond to custody papers, click here.

In California, before your custody matter is heard, the court requires that you attend a mediation session, sometimes also known as “conciliation”. During this session, the mediator will hear issues about custody, they will not address other issues such as child support. The mediator is there to assist you in resolving your custody dispute instead of having to go to court. However, you are not required to reach an agreement. If you have an attorney, your attorney cannot attend this court ordered mediation session.
In some jurisdictions, if the parents cannot reach an agreement, the mediator will write a recommendation to the judge as to what custody arrangements should be put in place.

Yes. Even if you think you will not reach an agreement, you must attend. Usually, once you file your paperwork with the court, the court will give you a hearing date and a mediation date. Generally, if you fail to attend, the judge can view this negatively and it can potentially affect your case.

Yes, you still have to attend. However, you can request to meet separately from the other parent so that you are not in the same room.

It is important that you maintain calm. Both parents will have the opportunity to speak and express their side. Often times one person may feel that the other person is being unfair or untruthful. Regardless, it is important that you maintain calm and avoid confrontation.

A written agreement signed by two or more becomes a binding and enforceable agreement. However, although this agreement is binding, a court cannot enforce it until it becomes a judgment or an order. Often times what people do is they enter into an agreement and submit it to the court so that it becomes an official judgment or order. Once your agreement becomes a judgment, then if one side violates the agreement, the court can enforce it. If you file your agreement and it becomes a judgment or an order, then there is no difference between your written agreement and a court order.

The answer to this is both yes and no. A child custody and visitation order is very different than a child support order. They are two separate things. For example, if a parent is not paying his or her child support, but that parent has visitation with the children, you cannot refuse the visitation simply because the support is not being paid.
However, child support and custody are related in that the amount of time each parent spends with the children affects the amount of child support.

To request child support, child custody or child visitation, click here.

When a parent has a history of domestic violence or child abuse, that parent faces an uphill battle in trying to get child custody. California law states that under certain circumstances, if a parent has been found to have committed domestic violence, it is not in the best interest of the child to be with that parent. The parent with the history of domestic violence will have to overcome this presumption.

If there is not a current case open, the child custody case needs to be filed where the child has lived in the last six (6) months. If the child is less than six (6) months old, then where the child has lived the majority of the time.

To file your custody case, click here.

Yes, you can file a motion to change the current child custody and visitation orders. To do so, you have to show that there is a “change in circumstances” since the last child custody and visitations orders were made. This usually means that there has been a significant change that it is now in the best interest of the child to change the current arrangement.

To modify your current child custody and visitation orders, click here.

No. People often times assume that mothers have more rights than fathers when it comes to child custody, however, this is not the case. There is no law giving mother’s preference. Courts and judges analyze each situation on a case-by-case basis to determine what custody arrangement is the best interest of the child.

Child Support

You may still have to pay child support even if you have 50/50 custody. Child support is based on the parents’ income, so if you make more money than the other parent, you may still have to pay child support.

To request child support or to change your current child support orders, click here.

Yes, the court can give you credit for other children you support or if you have other child support orders. However, the court usually does not take into consideration if you have step-children to support or grandchildren.

Child support and custody are related in that the amount of time each parent spends with the child affects the amount of child support. When the court calculates child support, it will consider the percentage the child spends with each parent.
A child custody and visitation order is very different than a child support order. They are two separate things. For example, if a parent is not paying his or her child support, but that parent has visitation with the children, you cannot refuse the visitation simply because the support is not being paid.

To request child support or to change your current child support orders, click here.

Child support lasts until the child is legally emancipated (such as getting married) or until the child turns 18. However, if the child turns 18 and is still in high school, then the support ends once the child graduates high school.

To request child support or to change your current child support orders, click here.

In California, the court can only go back to filing or service of your request for child support. This means that if you never requested child support from the court, you typically cannot go back in time to request it. If you previously filed for child support, got orders and the other parent simply isn’t paying the support, then yes, you can go back to the date the court ordered child support.

To request child support or to change your current child support orders, click here.

If a parent intends to avoid having to pay child support by refusing to work or working less, the court can “impute” income. Imputing income means that the court treats the parent who is earning less than what he or she can as if they were earning income. Therefore, when the court calculates child support it will consider both parents’ income, including the “imputed” income.

The court uses a complicated formula to calculate child support, this is commonly referred to as a “guideline”. Usually the court uses a computer program that calculates the amount. The court takes into consideration many factors from both parents, income from wages, self-employment income, rental income, disability income, and any other income received by either parent.

To request child support or to change your current child support orders, click here.

Yes, if a parent is earning less than what he or she can (i.e. not working, the person has a higher earning capacity, etc.), the court can “impute” income after careful consideration. Imputing income means that the court treats the parent who is earning less than what he or she can as if they were earning income. Therefore, when the court calculates child support it will consider both parents’ income, including the “imputed” income.

Sometimes additional payments need to be made. Usually this includes things such as medical expenses aside from health insurance or child care (daycare). Usually the court splits these expenses equally between both parents.

Yes, child support orders can change. Either parent can request the court to modify a child support order if there has been a change in circumstances, meaning that something has changed from the last time the court made the order. In order to modify support, you need to file a motion.

To change your current child support orders, click here.

If there is no current case open, you can file your child support case in the county where you live or where the other parent lives.

To start your child support case, click here.

Estimated expenses are expenses you estimate you will have. For example, if you are currently living with your spouse and plan on moving out, you will enter what you estimate your rent will be. Actual expenses are expenses that you actually have. For example, if you have a car payment and you plan on continuing to pay that car, then that is an actual expense that you have.

Paternity Actions

A paternity action is a legal process to determine who the natural parent of a child is. A paternity action is usually necessary when a child is born outside of marriage and the father wants to establish his legal rights or the mother wants to enforce certain rights against the father. Establishing parentage is necessary before child custody, child support, or child visitation orders are made by the court. This process is not necessary if the child was born during the marriage.

To start or respond to a paternity action, click here.

A paternity action generally is filed when a parent wants to establish parental rights. This can occur when a parent is seeking child support or custody and visitation. Two common examples include:

  • If you are the mother of a child born outside of marriage and you would like to request child support, you would need to commence a paternity action and at the same time request for child support.
  • If you believe you are the father of a child born outside of marriage and you would like to request custody and visitation, you would need to file a paternity action.

To start or respond to a paternity action, click here.

A paternity action can be filed in the county where the child resides, the mother resides, or the alleged father resides.

To start or respond to a paternity action, click here.

If you were served with a paternity action and you do not believe you are the father, you can file a response stating you do not believe you are the father and you can also request a DNA test or genetic testing.

To start or respond to a paternity action, click here.

No, however the court may request it. If one of the parties requests a DNA test, or genetic testing, the court has to order for it to be done.

Yes, once the court makes an order, a new birth certificate will be issued with the father’s name on it.

If both parents agree that they are the natural parents of the child, you would still have to file a paternity action in order to exercise the legal rights of a parent. However, the process is much easier as both parents can simply sign a court form agreeing that they are the parents and file it with the court.

Yes. The mother can open a case while she is still pregnant. If the father denies he is the father, a DNA test can be ordered once the child is born.

To start or respond to a paternity action, click here.

Divorce or Legal Separation

Divorce and legal separation are very similar. Through both processes you can address the same issues and get orders regarding child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support and division of assets and debts. A legal separation does not change your marital status, meaning, if you’re legally separated you cannot remarry. If you are divorced, you can remarry. Some people choose legal separation for issues such as keeping health insurance for the spouse, for religious beliefs or to retain tax or military benefits.

To start your divorce, click here.

In California your divorce can not be legally finalized until at least six (6) months have passed from when you filed and served your documents. A case may go on longer if there are many issues such as child custody, support or division of assets.

To start your divorce, click here.

Date of separation is very important in considering division of debts, assets and sometimes length of spousal support. The date of separation is not always straightforward. It is not necessarily the date you file your divorce documents. In California, the court considers the following two factors in determining date of separation.

  1. Recent California law says that there must be a physical separation between the spouses. This is easy to determine when one spouse moves out. However, if the spouses still live together, it can be when they began sleeping apart.
  2. In addition to physical separation, one of the spouses has to have the intent to end the marriage. Temporarily separating to try things out or give each other space does not count. It has to be that one spouse no longer wants to be married.

 

Your divorce can be filed where either you or your spouse live. In order to file your divorce in California, you must live in the county for at least three (3) months and live in the state of California for at least six (6) months.

To start your divorce, click here.

It is important that you respond. If you do nothing, you risk your spouse getting what they want and the court not taking your position into consideration. In order for the court to take into consideration your position, the court needs to be made aware of what that position is. Responding is the way to do that.

To respond to divorce documents, click here.

If you have not lived in in the county for at least three (3) months and lived in the state of California for at least six (6) months, you can file for legal separation, then once you meet the requirements you can amend your documents to a divorce.

To start your divorce, click here.

Yes. If you were legally married in another state or country, you can get divorced in California so long as you or your spouse have lived in California at least (6) months prior to filing for divorce.

To start your divorce, click here.

California is a “no fault” state. Basically this means that a spouse can ask for a divorce and does not need to prove that the other person did something wrong. If you want to get a divorce, you can get a divorce and don’t need a specific reason.

To start your divorce, click here.

In California, it is not necessary for both spouses to be in agreement in getting a divorce. As long as one person wants to get a divorce, that’s all you need. The other spouse does not need to “give you” the divorce or sign any documents for you to get divorced. If your spouse refuses to participate in the divorce, you can still get divorced and most likely it would go through a “default judgment”, a judgment when only one person participated in the process.

To start your divorce, click here.

Yes, during the process of your divorce you can request to change your name to your former name. The California divorce documents have a section where it asks if you would like to change your name.

To start your divorce, click here.

After your divorce is complete and a judgment has been entered, it is important to consider a few things, such as:

  • Changing the beneficiary on your life insurance if you previously had your spouse
  • Closing joint credit card accounts
  • Informing your employer so that you can change your income tax withholding status
  • Informing your healthcare provider so that your spouse is no longer covered under your policy
  • Changing any other benefits where your spouse may be the beneficiary (such as retirement accounts or investment accounts)

Cambiar cualquier otro beneficio donde su cónyuge pueda ser el beneficiario (por ejemplo, cuentas de retiro o de inversión)

Community property are any assets acquired during the marriage. These assets include anything such as, real property, cars, bank accounts, businesses, retirement accounts, etc. California law says that community property is split 50/50 between spouses. What this means is that each party receive equal value of the community property.

Separate property is property acquired prior to the marriage or after the marriage. Separate property can also include assets acquired by gift or inheritance. California law says that separate property is not divided between spouses. Please note that even though separate property is not divided between spouses, the spouse not entitled to the separate property may still have some legal claims. Talk to an attorney if you believe you may be entitled to something from your spouse’s separate property.

Fair market value is the value of an item as if you were selling it in as is condition. Value of furniture is generally what you would get in a yard sale. For a car it would be using something like Kelley Blue Book.

Community debt, which is debt incurred during the marriage, belongs to each spouse equally. This is true even if the debt is just under one person’s name, both spouses are equally responsible for that debt. Separate debt, which is debt incurred before marriage or after separation, belongs only to the spouse who incurred it.

Generally, yes, unless you and your spouse can come to an agreement stating otherwise.

No. Credit card companies are not bound by divorce decrees so they can go after you if you or your spouse fail to pay, even if your spouse is the one who agreed in the divorce to pay the debt.

Generally, yes, if the debt was incurred for something that benefitted the marital community. If it was used for something that was not for the benefit of the marriage, you could potentially raise that issue with the court.

No. Credit card companies are not bound by divorce decrees so they can go after you if you or your spouse fail to pay, even if your spouse is the one who agreed in the divorce to pay the debt.

Generally, yes, if the debt was incurred for something that benefitted the marital community. If it was used for something that was not for the benefit of the marriage, you could potentially raise that issue with the court.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, is a term used for when one spouse has to pay the other spouse after a divorce has been filed.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Yes. Both words refer to the same thing.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Generally, spousal support is calculated at least twice during the divorce. The first time it is for temporary spousal support and the second time it is for permanent spousal support.
For temporary spousal support many California courts use a formula to calculate the amount, it is usually through a court computer program. In doing this they take into account various things including, but not limited to, both spouses’ income, percentage of time with their children (if there are any children) and mandatory deductions (like health insurance and union dues). Personal expenses are generally not considered in determining temporary spousal support.
For permanent spousal support, the court takes many more factors into account, including, but not limited to, length of marriage, marital standard of living, assets, health, job market, each spouse’s age, and ability to work. The factors the court takes into account are found in Family Code Section 4320.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Temporary spousal support is support ordered by the court while the divorce is pending. Depending on the complexity of the divorce or the parties’ inability to come to an agreement, a divorce can take a long time to complete. The court wants to ensure that both parties preserve the status quo during this period. Temporary spousal support helps maintain the living condition and standards until permanent support orders have been made along with the division of assets and debts.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

It depends on your courthouse and their availability to hear your case. Usually, once you file your request for spousal support, the court will set a hearing. It can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It is best to call the court where your divorce is pending to ask how long it will take to get a hearing date.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Yes, spousal support in California is taxed. The persona receiving spousal support must report the spousal support as income. The spouse paying spousal support can include the payments as a tax deduction.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Usually the person who makes more money has to pay spousal support.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Generally, in California, spousal support lasts half the length of the marriage if the marriage lasted less than 10 years. However, if the marriage is longer than 10 years, then usually the court does not set an end date. If no end date is set, then usually the spouse who has to pay the support can at some time in the future request to lower or eliminate the support by showing that spousal support is no longer necessary.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

It depends on your case. Your court order may have an end date on it already and you can simply wait for that date. If your court order does not have an end date, then spousal support ends if your former spouse remarries. Otherwise, you can always file a motion with the court to modify the amount or request for it to terminate. If you are requesting spousal support to terminate, there needs to be a reason, for example, you are both making the same amount and your spouse no longer needs the support.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Yes, unless there is a written agreement that spousal support cannot be modified. If you did not enter into this type of agreement, then support can be modified if there is a change in circumstances. A change in circumstances can be that one person’s income went up or down.

To request spousal support or to change your current spousal support orders, click here.

Yes. You can file a request to the court asking that the non-working spouse be ordered to find a job. The court may have your spouse do job contacts, essentially showing where they have applied for work and what the outcome has been. The court can also “impute income”. Imputing income means that the court treats the spouse who is earning less than what he or she can as if they were earning income. It’s like pretend income. If the person refuses to work, the court can pretend like they are earning money so that the paying spouse potentially has to pay less. Therefore, when the court calculates spousal support it will consider both spouses’ income, including the “imputed” income.

Estimated expenses are expenses you estimate you will have. For example, if you are currently living with your spouse and plan on moving out, you will enter what you estimate your rent will be. Actual expenses are expenses that you actually have. For example, if you have a car payment and you plan on continuing to pay that car, then that is an actual expense that you have.

Restraining Order

Domestic violence is abuse, threats of abuse, violent or aggressive behavior by one person against another usually within the home. Domestic violence usually includes persons who have been in an intimate relationship (example: married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together).
To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from someone they have a close relationship with.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

Filling out your forms through Your Legal Key is fast and generally takes people approximately 30 minutes. Once you receive your documents from Your Legal Key, you take them to the court and that same day the court will either approve or deny your request for a domestic violence restraining order. If the court grants your request, you will receive a temporary restraining order and it will provide you with a hearing date to determine whether the restraining order will become a permanent restraining order.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

No. Currently Your Legal Key only assists with domestic violence restraining orders in California.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

A domestic violence restraining order and a civil restraining order are similar in that they help protect people from abuse, violence, threats, harassment or the like. However, a domestic violence restraining order is used when someone has abused you and you have a close relationship with that person (example: married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together). A civil restraining order also protects persons, however, the parties do not need to be closely related (example: roommate, a neighbor, a stalker, a distant family member like a cousin, niece, nephew, etc.).

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

No. At this time Your Legal Key offers assistance with filling out forms for domestic violence restraining orders only. Therefore, in order to qualify for a domestic violence restraining order you and the person you are getting the restraining order against must have a close relationship, such as:

  1. Married or registered domestic partners;
  2. Divorced or separated;
  3. Dating or used to date;
  4. Living together or used to live together (more than roommates);
  5. Parents together of a child;
  6. Closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law);

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

The domestic violence laws say “abuse” is:

  • Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, whether intentional or recklessly;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Threatening someone by making them reasonably afraid that they or someone else are about to be seriously hurt; OR
  • Harassing, stalking, threatening, or hitting someone, or destroying someone’s personal property.

It is important to know that physical abuse is not just hitting. It can also be kicking, shoving, pushing, pulling hair, throwing things, scaring or following you, or keeping you from freely coming and going. It can even include physical abuse of the family pets. Aside from physical abuse, abuse can also be verbal, emotional, or psychological.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

You can get a domestic violence restraining order against someone who is abusing you and with whom you have a close relationship. A close relationship includes the following:

  1. Married or registered domestic partners;
  2. Divorced or separated;
  3. Dating or used to date;
  4. Living together or used to live together (more than roommates);
  5. Parents of a child;
  6. Closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law);

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

Yes, if your children are under the age of 18 and the person is abusive to you or your children, or your children witnesses violence and abuse, you may request that your children be protected under your domestic violence restraining order.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that protects you from the abuser. It can order the other person to:

  • Not contact you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you;
  • Stay away from your home, work, or your children’s schools;
  • Move out of your house (even if you live together);
  • Not have a gun;
  • Follow child custody and visitation orders;
  • Pay child support;
  • Pay spousal or partner support (if you are married or domestic partners);
  • Stay away from any of your pets;
  • Transfer the rights to a cell phone number and account to the protected person;
  • Pay certain bills;
  • Not make any changes to insurance policies;
  • Not incur large expenses or do anything significant to affect your or the other person’s property if you are married or domestic partners;
  • Release or return certain property; and
  • Complete a 52-week batterer intervention program.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

A domestic violence restraining order cannot and will not:

  • End your marriage or domestic partnership. It is NOT a divorce.
  • Establish parentage (paternity) of your children with the restrained person UNLESS you and the restrained person agree to parentage of your child or children.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

For the person who is restrained, the consequences of having a court order against him or her can be very severe. For example:

  • The person will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things (example: near where the protected person is).
  • The person might have to move out of his or her home.
  • It may affect the person’s ability to see his or her children.
  • The person will generally not be able to own a gun.
  • The restraining order may affect the person’s immigration status. If this is a concern, we suggest you speak with an immigration attorney. Click here to find an immigration attorney near you.

If the restrained person violates the restraining order, he or she may go to jail, pay a fine, or both.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

Yes. If you request that the person move out of the home and the judge orders it, then the person will have to move out of the home.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

Yes. Both sides will have to go to a court hearing. When you first submit your domestic violence restraining order documents and they are granted/approved by the court, they are temporary orders until you go to the hearing.

If you filed a domestic violence restraining order and you do not go to the hearing, then the temporary restraining order the judge originally gave you will usually end that day and there will not be a restraining order.

If the person you got the restraining order against does not go to the hearing, the court will most likely just hear your side of the case and the other person’s version of the story will not be taken into consideration.

When you go to court, be prepared. It is suggested that you take any documents that prove the abuse. Make sure to take two (2) copies. Some important documents may include pictures, medical records, police reports, damaged property, threatening letters, e-mails, text messages or voicemails. You can also take any witnesses who saw the incident (a judge may or may not allow a witness to speak).

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

Part of the process for the person who filed the restraining order is that they have to “serve” the restraining order documents on the person they got the restraining order against before the court date. Most courts in California require that the documents be personally served at least five (5) days before the hearing, however, check your papers to see the timeframe your court requires.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

“Serving” documents means that the person you are getting the restraining order against must personally receive a copy of all the restraining order papers before the court date. Properly serving someone means that someone 18 or older (NOT involved in the case) must hand-deliver a copy of all the papers to the restrained person.

It is important that the restraining order documents be personally served, otherwise the judge cannot make any permanent orders.

Once the documents are served, the person who is over the age of 18, not related to the case, who delivered the documents will have to fill out a form called a “Proof of Service.” This proof of service will have to be filed with the court as proof that the person you got the restraining order against actually received the documents. When you purchase the domestic violence restraining order through Your Legal Key, we will provide you with all the step-by-step instructions and the forms to complete this process.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

If the restrained person violates the restraining order you can call the police. The restrained person may suffer various consequences such as he or she may go to jail, pay a fine, or both.

To request a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

If you were served with a restraining order and you do not respond and do not appear at the court hearing, the court will generally proceed with the hearing and not take your version of the story into consideration. The judge will simply hear one side and make a decision based on that. Generally, when you first receive documents of a restraining order they are temporary until there is a hearing. If at the hearing the restraining order is granted, then it becomes a permanent restraining order. In order to have your version of the story considered, it is important to respond to the restraining order.

To respond to a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

Yes. Your Legal Key has form packages that assist you step-by-step in responding to your domestic violence restraining order.

To respond to a domestic violence restraining order, click here.

Wills and Trusts

The most basic function of a living trust is that it is a legal document that allows you to pass your property to someone else when you pass away without having to go through probate.

To start your living trust, click here.

A will is a written document signed and witnessed that specifies how your property will be distributed when you pass away.

To start your living trust, click here.

If someone with assets does not have a living trust and that person passes away, California law requires that their assets be distributed through a process called probate. Probate is a court process where the court determines who is going to get what. This process can be very lengthy and expensive. In order to avoid probate in California, you have to have a living trust.
For example, if you own a house worth $300,000 and you pass away, your beneficiaries will have to go through probate to determine who is going to get what. So if you wanted to leave this house to someone specifically, this may not happen as the court is the one who is going to decide based on bloodline (spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.). Also, whoever gets the house will have to pay fees for this process. In California it is a percentage of the value of the assets.

To start your living trust, click here.

Avoiding probate is a huge favor to your family. It is a lengthy process and can be very expensive for your family. Avoiding probate is also very important so that everything you worked so hard for goes to the people or person you want, not whoever the court says it should go to.

To start your living trust, click here.

One of the main differences between a will and a revocable living trust in California is to avoid probate. If you simply have a will, your beneficiaries will have to go through probate. If you have a living trust, they will not have to go through probate.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, in California you will still need a will. At YourLegalKey.com, when you purchase a living trust, it will come with a will and other necessary documents. The reason a will is also important to have it because it serves as a backup. When you create a living trust you need to fund that trust, meaning, that you need to list what assets are part of that trust. If you create a living trust and years later you buy another property and you forget to include it in your living trust, the will can serve as a back up to make sure it is covered.

To start your living trust, click here.

The trust is your trust, you can name it whatever you’d like. Some examples include the following:

  • The Jane Doe Living Trust
  • The Jane and John Doe Living Trust
  • The Doe Revocable Living Trust
  • The Doe Revocable Living Trust dated January 1, 2011

To start your living trust, click here.

Different types of property can be included in your trust. Some examples are real estate, bank accounts, businesses, personal items, jewelry, art, furniture, collectables, hobby equipment, etc.

To start your living trust, click here.

A general gift is usually leaving someone with a percentage of something. For example, if you have four (4) children you can leave each of them 25% of everything. This is a general gift because you are not specifying anything specific.
A specific gift is usually a specific item, such as jewelry, art, furniture, or a cash amount to be given to someone. For example, if you want to give a wedding ring to your daughter, that is a specific gift.
A charitable gift is a gift that is given to a charity, such as a church or any other charity of your choice.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, it is highly recommended that the title to your house or property be changed to the name of the trust. This would be part of what is considered funding your trust, or including it in your trust. Therefore, when you pass away it will be a simple process for you beneficiaries to take over that property.

To start your living trust, click here.

No, most of the time in a living trust you keep yourself as trustee, meaning the person who is in charge. As the trustee, you can do whatever you want while you are alive. You can give your property away, you can sell it, you can get loans on it or anything you want.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, it is quite possible that you still need a living trust. This is especially true if you own any property or have minor children.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes. This is very common. Usually, in these cases what is called a subtrust is created. A subtrust allows you to give a beneficiary who is a minor or below a specific age a gift, but at the same time have someone else you want managing it for them. By having a revocable living trust, you can specify what you want to give to who, when you want to give it to that person and any other instructions you want. For example, if you have $100,000, but your child is 10 years old, you can specify that the money is to be used for your child’s education and well-being and whatever is left will be given to your child once he/she reaches the age of 25 (or any other age you want).

To start your living trust, click here.

An advance healthcare directive is a document used in California that allows you to specify your wishes as to medical treatment, and who you want to make decisions for you if at some point you become unable to make your own medical decisions because of an illness, an accident or advanced age.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, you can always change your advance healthcare directive.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes. At YourLegalKey.com, we provide you with a comprehensive package which includes your revocable living trust, advance healthcare directive, living will, HIPAA release and power of attorney.

To start your living trust, click here.

At YourLegalKey.com, we provide you with a comprehensive package which includes your revocable living trust, advance healthcare directive, living will, HIPAA release and power of attorney.

To start your living trust, click here.

Usually you (and your spouse if you are married) are the trustees. This means that you are the people in charge of the trust while you are living. A successor trustee is the person who will be in charge of managing your assets once you (and your spouse if married) pass away or become incapacitated. This person will manage the trust assets and distribute to your beneficiaries. This person can be whomever you want.

To start your living trust, click here.

Usually you (and your spouse if you are married) are the trustees. This means that you are the people in charge of the trust while you are living. A successor trustee is the person who will be in charge of managing your assets once you (and your spouse if married) pass away or become incapacitated. This person will manage the trust assets and distribute to your beneficiaries. This person can be whomever you want.

To start your living trust, click here.

A second successor trustee is a person who will act as a successor trustee if your first choice passes away or is not available. Usually you (and your spouse if you are married) are the trustees. This means that you are the people in charge of the trust while you are living. A successor trustee is the person who will be in charge of managing your assets once you (and your spouse if married) pass away or become incapacitated. A second successor trustee will only be trustee if your successor trustee can’t.

To start your living trust, click here.

An executor is very similar to a trustee. The executor is the person in charge of your will and is responsible for making sure that your wishes are carried out the way you specified in your will. Usually, this is the same person who is your successor trustee.

To start your living trust, click here.

A beneficiary is a person you name in your trust or your will to receive a gift/inheritance or benefit under your trust or your will.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes. This is called a charitable gift.

To start your living trust, click here.

It can be if you want it to be. A revocable living trust can be changed by you at any time. You can add or remove people or assets as you want throughout your life.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, you can change your revocable living trust at any time. You can add or remove people or assets, or change anything else you want throughout your life.

To start your living trust, click here.

A guardian is a person you designate to take care of your minor children in the event you pass away and your children are under age.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, you can leave a guardian in charge of your minor children. When filling out your living trust at YourLegalKey.com, you will have the option of naming a guardian.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, when you purchase a living trust package through YourLegalKey.com, you will have the option to specify your funeral arrangement. For example: religious ceremony, non-religious ceremony, etc.

To start your living trust, click here.

Yes, when you purchase a living trust package through YourLegalKey.com, you will have the option to specify how to dispose of your remains. For example: burial or cremation.

To start your living trust, click here.

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