"The Affordable Non-Attorney Solution"™

Q & A

Have questions about divorce, dissolution of domestic partnership, legal separation, or adult legal name changes? Here are our most frequently asked the answers we offer our clients.

Divorce & Domestic Partnership:

The paperwork and process for each is close to identical, but must be completed differently to address dissolving a domestic partnership versus a marriage.  Additionally, if the parties have registered as domestic partners and subsequently married, the process to dissolve both the domestic partnership and the marriage must be done a specific way so that both can be dissolved.

The soonest you can terminate your marital status by divorce is 6 months and 1 day.  At times, it may take longer depending on the circumstances of the case, if the parties are in agreement, and the court’s processing timelines and current caseload.

There are various ways that you can file your divorce documents through the court.  Some ways will take longer than others to process procedurally through the court and to obtain your final orders for divorce.

Yes, absolutely!  It can make things much smoother and can be financially beneficial, while also allowing you to avoid court appearances in most courts as well.  By coming to an agreement, it will typically allow you and your spouse to decide what works best for all parties involved with regards to your children, support matters, and property/debt divisions versus the court possibly dictating how these matters will be handled.

We highly recommend that you do not attempt to do this on your own.  Many of our clients have initially tried to prepare and file their divorce cases on their own and have mentioned having many regrets in trying to do so.  Had they known from the beginning how delicate, complicated and frustrating this process can be without having the professional knowledge required, they would have never attempted to do so.  One positive thing that our service can provide you with is the extensive knowledge and expertise that can help you process your case correctly from the beginning to save yourself a lot of unnecessary time, money and frustration.  The goal for us, and for you, is to make sure your case is done right the first time!


With a divorce/dissolution, you will terminate your marital status; whereas, in a legal separation you will maintain your marital status while still being able to establish orders through the court for child custody/visitation, support matters, asset and debt divisions, etc.

The answer to this question honestly depends on how your case is prepared and processed through the court system. Just as with a dissolution/divorce, there are different ways a legal separation can be processed through the court which will impact the amount of time it can take to complete and obtain orders for your legal separation.  The amount of time it can take will also depend on the court’s current timelines and their case load, as this can also impact how quickly your legal separation can be finalized.  Unlike a divorce, there is not a 6 month and 1 day waiting period as with a legal separation, since you are not terminating your marital status.  The date your judgment for  legal separation is finalized will typically be the date that your judgment/final orders are entered and filed into the court.

If you obtained a judgment/order for a legal separation by the court, you will typically need to file a new action for divorce and will need to repeat a similar process as the legal separation.  The actual process will depend on whether you are in agreement with your spouse, what orders were established in the legal separation, what assets and/or debts have been acquired since being officially legally separated, and if you want to modify any orders established in the legal separation.

There are many reasons why people may choose to file for a legal separation versus a divorce. Some of which may be that they may wish to create boundaries and establish orders for child custody/visitation, support, or divisions on their property and/or debts during a separation, but still want to keep their marital status together in case of a possible reconciliation or other personal reasons.  Parties may also file a legal separation versus a divorce due to religious reasons or other personal beliefs.  Maintaining medical coverage can also be another reason as some providers may allow a spouse to remain on the family medical plan with a legal separation.

Is it important to work with an experienced service when going through a dissolution or legal separation?

Absolutely! Working with an experienced service is very important when going through a legal separation or divorce. The legal process is complicated and everything must be prepared and filed exactly as required by the court.  Additionally, as each County has different requirements, it is imperative that you have a service that is familiar with the local rules and requirements. If things are not prepared and filed exactly as required, you will have issues getting your final orders signed by the judge.  It is also important that whoever assists you with the preparation and processing of your dissolution or legal separation has several years of experience and knows the ins and outs of the specific court, in addition to their rules and requirements in order to have your case successfully processed through the court.


An adult name change is a legal request by a person over the age of 18 to legally change their name.  An adult name change may only change one portion of an individual’s name (first, middle, or last) or they may choose to change multiple portions of their name, or even their entire name.

There are numerous reasons why someone may request an adult name change. An adult name change may be requested to clarify one’s name due to misspellings or other errors which may cause issues with their legal documents.  With the government’s requirement for the Real ID’s for travel, we are seeing more and more requests for adult name changes in order to meet the requirements for these ID’s. As the Department of Motor Vehicles requires that the name on the documentation required to obtain a Real ID be identical to one another and also to what Social Security has on record, it has become even more imperative for individuals to correct issues with their name and have a greater consistency on various legal documents. 

In addition to correcting issues with one’s name, some individuals may request a formal name change to completely change their name simply because they do not like the name given to them at birth, they wish to carry the last name of a parent that raised them, but was not their biological parent, they wish to have the same surname as a partner, they wish to change their name for religious reasons, they have changed their gender, or in some cases even to make a political statement.

All counties in California can vary in the documentation and processing required in that specific county.  The process in Santa Clara County involves preparing and working with the court in filing documentation required by this specific court, in addition to working with the appropriate newspaper to run the publication required by the court.  We have found that when assisting our clients with their adult legal name changes, that we can end up making two or more multiple trips to the courthouse throughout the entire process.

The time required depends on the court’s current timelines and case load.  On average it will typically take about 3 to 4 months to process a legal name change case from start to finish through the court system.

You will want to file in the county in which you are considered a resident at the time of filing, as deemed by the court’s rules. You can also contact the Superior Court in your County to confirm the correct courthouse and address to file your adult name change. We do recommend that you have an experienced professional assist you with your legal name change in the county where you need to file. Our service will only assist with adult names changes in Santa Clara County.