New Expert here.
1) How much does it cost to file for divorce, child custody, and child support--all 3 in one? (Can it be done all at once?)
Yes it can be done all at once, the filing fee is about $435 but can vary a little depending on which Count you file in, see
http://www.scscourt.org/documents/fee_schedules/FeeSchedule.pdf showing the fees in one county.
2) How do I know if I qualify for a waiver fee to file for divorce, child custody, and child support?
Look at this: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fw001info.pdf and http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fw001.pdf
3) Since my ex now lives in Yosemite, which is three hours from here, does that mean I qualify to ask for full physical custody of the kids, which means being with me full time with visitation with their dad every other weekends or on occasional weekends because he lives far away? (I have 3 kids but two of them are under 18) (I live in Fremont and the kids live with me--they go to school here)
4) If I get 100 percent physical custody of the kids, but agree to 50/50 legal custody, will that grant him part of the decision to move the kids, should he move out of state? I am guessing not because I would have 100 percent full physical custody of the kids, but confirm this for me if you can.
With shared legal custody both parents must consult about moving a child.
5) If I file first, would he have to pay for my attorney's fees if he contested it? (He is low income--can he declare against it?)
You can ask for an interim fee order but he can oppose it.
6) Can he contest without a lawyer?
7) If he contests, how much would it cost him?
That depends on how the case plays out, how much and what type of discovery is conducted, how many motions are filed, whether your County has mandatory mediation, and other factors.
8) What happens if he does not contest? (Meaning he would have no say in arrangements for the kids?)
Yes is he defaults the Court will grant you custody.
9) Does he have 30 says to contest?
YES he has 30 days to file a responsive pleading from the day he is served with the etitin and summons.
10) Can it be stipulated that he never asks for spousal support, to pay for my attorney fees, and to do half-day holidays? By half holidays, here is what I mean: Christmas Eve day with me, Christmas Eve in the evening with him, Christmas morning with him, Christmas evening with me. Thanksgiving day with him, then with me for Thanksgiving evening. The kids are accustomed to this and we do not want to agree to alternate years because someone misses out on something. (Can you guarantee this arrangement if he fights for alternative years--like Thanksgiving him, and then Christmas me for one year and the next, Thanksgiving me and Christmas him) The kids like it half day on both sides so they do not miss out on family parties. (Would this depend on the meditator or can you emphasize on that?) I know he lives in Yosemite, but he is the one that moved away so he should be the one that adjusts for the kids, like staying in town for part of the holiday days)
YES the courts are usually happy to rubber stamp any agreement made by the parties.
There is an overview of the process posted at http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/california/california-divorce-laws-662.shtml
I hope this information is helpful.