Frequently Asked Questions

Professional legal advice


We try to anticipate the questions you might have about our legal services and provide the answers here. If you need additional information, please call us (559) 268-1600 to schedule an appointment today. Or, you can use the contact form to get in touch with us regarding your questions or concerns.

1. How much does it cost to schedule an interview?

The consultation fee is $50.00 and is applied to the retainer should you end up retaining.  Please call (559) 268-1600, to set up your consultation today.

2. How much will my case cost?

Each case is unique and costs can vary depending on the facts of the case. The attorney you meet with should be able to provide you with an estimate of what he/she anticipates your case will cost.

Please note that beyond attorney fees, absent approval of a fee waiver request, the Court charges its own fees. The most common fees are: First appearance fee ($435.00), Request for Order ($60.00), Modification Custody/Visitation ($85.00), and Stipulation ($20.00).

3. Can I get a free public defender for my family law case?

Generally, no. Public defenders are only provided in certain criminal matters. A public defender may be appointed for you if you are in contempt of court in certain cases (such as failing to pay child support).

4. My friend/family member is not a lawyer; however, they know the system & are smart. Can they represent me?

No. It is a crime for anyone to practice law for another that is not a member in good standing with the California Bar. You may represent yourself; however, only a licensed lawyer in good standing may represent you in Court.

5. I need an attorney, but I do not have much money . . . what do I do?

Unlike other areas of law, California Family Code section 2030 allows for one party to request attorney's fees be paid by the other party as a result of a disparity in income and/or assets. Furthermore, if one party unnecessarily delays or protracts litigations, sanctions can be obtained under California Family Code section 271.

6. Will I need an attorney for my case?

Notwithstanding the old saying "a person who represents himself has a fool for an attorney," not all cases require the assistance of an attorney. Many family law litigants represent themselves "pro per," but the law can be very complex and filing or saying the wrong thing could prove much costlier than seeking advice and/or representation of counsel.

7. Am I allowed to get a different attorney?

Yes. Attorneys can easily substitute in and out of cases by filing a simple form. If you would like to have a different attorney represent you, or if you feel that you would like to represent yourself, you can request a substitution of attorney.

8. Can you conduct an initial consultation over the phone?

Rusca & Rusca Law prefers in-person interviews, as important information can be obtained from reviewing prior pleadings. However, initial consultations can be done over the phone if you live far from Fresno.

Contact us to discuss the possibility of a phone initial consultation if you are unable to make it to the office.

9. What do I need to bring to an initial consultation?

There is nothing that you have to bring to the initial consultation. However, a better analysis of your case can be made if you bring pleadings (paperwork filed with the court), police reports (if applicable), and any additional information you would like to be considered.

Once you arrive, you will be asked to complete a simple, one-page questionnaire.

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