About Sandy McCarthy

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice, has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. Sandy is dedicated to the expansion of affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation.

What You Need to Know About Divorce Alimony

In California, spousal or partner support can be temporary or permanent. “Permanent alimony” can go on indefinitely. On the other hand, "temporary alimony" is awarded as a transitional stop-gap until the spouse receiving the alimony can get on their feet. Couples that are divorcing amicably can also agree to the amount and duration of the alimony in their marital settlement agreement. Alimony obligations usually have a pre-set end date. Sometimes, however, the obligation to pay divorce alimony is open-ended meaning the court retains the ability to modify or extend the support indefinitely.

By |2020-11-22T11:39:00-08:00November 22nd, 2020|Divorce|0 Comments

What is a Final Divorce Decree in California?

It It is possible to get divorced without lawyers, without going to court, and for much less money than members of the “high net worth divorce crowd” pay. With this in mind, finalizing your divorce may actually be closer within your reach than you think! A California legal document assistant can help you get your final divorce decree easily and hassle-free by preparing your divorce documents.

By |2020-11-19T17:36:12-08:00November 19th, 2020|Divorce|0 Comments

How Much are Divorce Filing Fees in California?

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible for many unhappy couples to avoid the truth that they want to get divorced. If another stimulus check comes as the pandemic drags on, the amount will be more than enough to get your divorce process started.  The good news is that the court will waive the divorce filing fees if you can demonstrate financial need. The even better news is that you can avoid expensive lawyer fees by having a California legal document assistant, not a lawyer, prepare your divorce documents without charging too much money on top of the cost of divorce filing fees in California.

By |2020-11-19T16:59:42-08:00November 19th, 2020|Divorce|0 Comments

How to File for Divorce Without Hiring a California Divorce Paralegal

When you hire a divorce lawyer, you are probably not the lawyer’s top priority. In most instances, the person doing most of the work on your divorce papers is a California divorce paralegal employed at the law firm. Instead of paying inflated hourly rates to an attorney solely to work through their divorce paralegal, you should have a California non-attorney legal document assistant prepare your divorce documents.

By |2020-11-19T15:09:17-08:00November 19th, 2020|Divorce|0 Comments

What is a Divorce Petition?

Although all divorce cases start out with the filing of a divorce petition, sometimes the complexity or level of conflict in your case changes as the case progresses. If things start out amicably, but your divorce gets messier after you file the initial divorce petition, it does not necessarily mean that you need a lawyer. Even if your divorce changes course after the initial filing of the divorce petition, having a California non-attorney legal document assistant prepare your divorce documents is still the most cost-effective choice.

By |2020-11-19T14:04:18-08:00November 19th, 2020|Divorce|0 Comments

You Need a Legal Document Assistant for Your Divorce Case, Not a Legal Assistant

If you are researching how to get divorced without hiring a lawyer, you are probably encountering a lot of legal terms for the first time. Sometimes one concept goes by more than one name, and sometimes very different concepts have confusingly similar names. If you are determined not to involve lawyers in your divorce, which is a wise choice, perhaps the most important matter of terminology to straighten out is the difference between a legal assistant and a legal document assistant in California.

By |2020-10-24T12:15:25-07:00October 24th, 2020|Divorce, Legal Document Assistants|0 Comments

Is the Estate You are Representing Eligible for Informal Probate?

Just as it is possible to accomplish a wedding without a wedding planner, it is possible to represent an estate in probate without a lawyer. Probate lawyers are for very valuable estates or very troubled ones. An ordinary, run-of-the-mill estate does not need a probate lawyer; it might not even need probate. If the estate you are representing is small enough to qualify for informal probate alternatives, then hiring a California legal document assistant is a much better idea than working with a probate lawyer.

By |2020-10-24T12:19:33-07:00October 24th, 2020|Probate|0 Comments

Probate Estate Laws in California

In the movies, they make inheriting money look simple: You get a letter in the mail or a phone call saying that you inherited a certain amount of money from a recently deceased relative, then you deposit the check in your bank account, and then you go on a spending spree. In real life, there are a lot of steps between when the people named as heirs in a deceased person’s will are identified and when the inheritance money reaches their bank accounts. Specifically, the estate must go through probate. Understanding probate estate laws is key to getting through the process in as inexpensively as possible.

By |2020-10-24T12:25:14-07:00October 24th, 2020|Probate|0 Comments

Do You Need a Probate Lawyer for Your Probate Case?

Losing a close family member is difficult under any circumstances, but having to settle your newly deceased relative’s financial affairs can seem especially daunting. Being named in a family member’s will as the personal representative of his or her estate can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you are honored that you are the person your family member trusted the most to be in charge of their estate after their death, and you want to fulfill their requests to whatever extent you can. On the other hand, all the paperwork of probate can consume a lot of your time. The best solution is to hire a California legal document assistant to prepare the probate forms for your family member’s estate so that you can have peace of mind without having to spend big piles of money on a probate lawyer.

By |2020-10-24T12:17:41-07:00October 24th, 2020|Probate|0 Comments

All About California Legal Separation

When is a divorce not a divorce? California recognizes legal separation as a marital status where couples are financially separate from each other but still legally married. The only difference is that they are still legally married after the court declares them legally separated. Just as it is possible to represent yourself in a divorce, you do not need a lawyer to accomplish a California legal separation. A better option is to have a professional legal document assistant prepare your legal separation forms.

By |2020-10-24T13:41:11-07:00October 19th, 2020|Divorce, Family Law|0 Comments