Family Law Blog

What About Our Home After a Divorce?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Divorce can be a devastating experience. Not only are you splitting from someone you once loved, but you must divide your assets. One of your biggest assets is likely your home. Deciding who gets the home can be a difficult and contentious decision, which should ideally be made by you and your ex rather than be left up to a judge's decision. When making decisions about your home, you have several options.

One of You Keeps the Home

Sometimes, the best solution is for one of you to keep the home. In some cases, the one keeping the home may buy out the other person, allowing one spouse to have the home while the other has the money.

One of you keeping the home is also often a good solution when you still have children at home. The children can continue to live in the home until they are grown. In some cases, the house may then be sold. In other cases, the person living in the home may continue to live in the home even after the children have moved out.

Sell the Home

For many splitting couples, selling the home and splitting the profits is the best solution. This might be the best solution if both of you want the house or if maintaining the home would cause a financial burden for the person wanting to keep the house. It is also often a good option if neither person wants to keep the home, especially if both people want to make a fresh start, in a new community, far from the memories of that home.  

Each Keep One

If you own more than one home, you may be able to come to a compromise where you each get one home. Of course, this may require some serious compromising on one or both of your parts, especially if one home is worth significantly more than the other.

Unfortunately, your home is just one of the property division issues you will face during your divorce. Contact us to learn how we can help you through the divorce process.

Divorce: Mediation as an alternative to litigation

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Some people who plan to divorce might avoid a long and expensive litigation process by choosing an alternative dispute resolution process called divorce mediation. While some divorce cases are inappropriate for mediation, mancan be successfully resolved with it. Mediating a divorce provides several benefits for those who have good cases for this method.

Determining whether a case is appropriate for mediation

Divorce and child custody mediation have been available as alternatives to court litigation for some time. Not all cases are appropriate for these processes, however. People who have issues with domestic violence in their relationships and those who have spouses with addiction issues may be better off litigating their matters in court. If one spouse is suspected of hiding assets, income or debts, litigation may be a more appropriate choice as well. Most other cases may be successfully resolved with mediation.

Pros and cons of mediating divorces and child custody cases

One reason that people may opt to mediate their divorce cases or to go through child custody mediation is to preserve working relationships with their former spouses. Court litigation is often bitter, leaving people with hard feelings and making it difficult for them to work together after their divorce or child custody case. People who share children will have interconnected lives for years, making it more important for them to be able to co-parent effectively in order to raise their children.

Other benefits of divorce mediation include that it is a cooperative process where the spouses work together in order to reach a full settlement agreement. They will thus have more control over the outcome than they would if they instead leave it up to a judge to decide for them. It is also often much more cost-effective than court litigation, can be a significantly faster process and can provide added privacy.

The cons of choosing the mediation process include that it can't address emergency situations in which temporary orders are needed immediately such as for temporary spousal and child support and child custody. Mediators are also not allowed to give either party legal advice but must instead act as neutral third parties.

What to expect

Couples go to the mediator's office or other agreed-upon location. The mediator will then explain the goals and rules of the process. Each spouse is then able to explain the issues that are in dispute from his or her perspective and without interruption from the other spouse. The mediator may either meet with both spouses together or may have them in separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth between them to work out agreements about the various issues. After having the discussions, the mediator will then attempt to negotiate an agreement. If it is successful, the mediator will then write out the agreement and ask each spouse to sign it with the advice to review it with a lawyer. The attorney may then file the agreement with the court, and it will become the court's order in the divorce. If it is not successful, the parties may then decide to return to court and litigate the issues instead.

Choosing a mediator

Divorce mediators are typically lawyers who have specialized training in mediating family law cases. It is a good idea to choose a mediator or who is local and whose practice is primarily focused on divorce and family law cases. If you would like to learn more about whether mediation is appropriate for you, contact us today.

Who Gets the House? Property Division in California Divorces

Friday, March 11, 2016

California is a community property state, meaning that all property and debts acquired during the marriage must be divided equally among the spouses. However, property division is not always as easy as splitting assets 50/50. A common concern of divorcing couples is the disposition of the family home. After all, the home is often one of the couple's most valuable assets.

There are many arrangements for disposing of the home depending on the family's circumstances. One of the easiest is simply selling the home and splitting the proceeds equally.

However, sale of the home may not be possible due to a slow real estate market or negative equity in the home. Additionally, the issue can be complicated due to the emotional significance of the family home. One spouse may not wish to sell the home and all of the memories it represents. Other spouses may wish to avoid further emotional distress to children by allowing them to remain in the home.

When one spouse is adamant about keeping the home for sentimental reasons and can afford to maintain the home with no financial assistance from the other spouse, one alternative is to allow that spouse to buy out the other's interest in the property. Where both spouses are concerned about the impact of the home's sale on their children, both may agree to maintain joint ownership and to allow the custodial parent exclusive use of it. In slow real estate markets, the couple may agree to maintain the home as a joint investment in hopes that the home's value may increase over time.

However, these arrangements require a level of cooperation between the divorcing spouses that is not always possible.Contact us today if you are divorcing and are concerned about the ultimate disposition of your home and other assets. Whether you need an attorney who can craft a workable compromise with your ex or need one who can litigate your position aggressively in court, we can help.

How to Manage Anger during a Divorce

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Anger can be a powerful emotion, but during a divorce, its effects are very often detrimental to your interests. It is however, one of the most common emotions that people feel, and it is likely that you will struggle with these feelings during your divorce.

Understand that anger is a natural part of the grieving process during a divorce. Try not to stifle it. Failing to deal with your feelings can only increase the risk of depression, and anxiety.

It's normal for you to feel angry at this point in time, so don't fight it. It is important to not let anger consume you, and color your decision-making. Some of the worst decisions made during the divorce are those that are made while angry.

Try to find safe ways of venting your anger. Writing down your thoughts in a journal is good way of doing so. If you can find a close friend in whom you can confide, do so. However, don't take to social media to vent against your soon-to-be ex-spouse. This is one of the worst things that you can do while angry, and could possibly wreck your divorce case.

Get regular physical exercise. Being physically active can help you vent some of your frustrations in a healthy manner. Join an aerobics club, enroll in kickboxing, or martial arts class, and look for activities that help you deal with unexpressed anger.

Don't worry about keeping up a perfect façade. You may want people to believe that the divorce is not affecting you at all, and that you're taking it all in your stride, while seething inside. This is an unhealthy attitude to have. Letting people know that you are feeling the way you do can help you manage anger in a healthy manner.

Locating Hidden Assets in Divorce

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In a community property state like California, marital assets may be up for division. Sometimes, a spouse may try to conceal or hide assets in a divorce in order to avoid putting those assets up for for division.

That means a severe substantial financial setback to the other spouse, who may be unaware of these concealed assets, and her rights to part of the proceeds from those assets. Fortunately, for persons who believe that their spouse has hidden assets, there are legal processes, that can be used to help locate the assets. This set of legal processes is called discovery, and a lawyer can make use of these processes to conceal hidden income and hidden assets.

In order to locate concealed assets belonging to your spouse, create a complete inventory of all your assets. That must include separate property, or the property that was gifted to or inherited by you during the marriage, and community property or the property that belongs to the two of you and was acquired during the marriage.

The process of discovery will involve requests for information which will force your spouse to answer questions in writing, and provide information that you need. You can also get a lawyer to ask your spouse to produce documentation that can help you locate those assets. The documents can include bank statements, financial statements, investment statements and other records. Broadly, discovery allows you to get as much information as possible about these issues from your spouse in a legal manner.

If you believe that there are some assets missing, speak to a Los Angeles family lawyer immediately. It's not possible for you to locate hidden assets on your own.

The Answers to These Two Questions can Predict Divorce Risks

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In an interesting study, researchers at the University Of Virginia focused on how couples answer two different questions about their happiness after divorce. The first question asked each individual person how happy they believed they would be if they were to separate or divorce, while in the next question they were asked how happy they believed that their partner would be in the event of a separation or divorce.

How the individuals answered these questions and the differences in the perception of each other’s happiness, proved to be significant predictors of their divorce risks.

The individuals were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 their potential happiness after divorce, as well as their partner's potential happiness after divorce. The researchers found that over six years, 7% of the couples ended up getting divorced. Couples, in which both the spouses admitted that they would be worse off if they were divorced or separated, had a lower divorce rate than the study's average. The divorce rate in the study was 4.8%. Couples who admitted that they would be happier if they got divorced were much more likely to end up getting divorced over the course of the study.

However, when it came to the questions about their partners’ happiness, the results got more interesting. Couples, who incorrectly perceived that their partner would be less happy in the event of a divorce were found to be actually more likely to get divorced. The spouses who had extremely incorrect perceptions about their partner’s reaction to the divorce ended up having a much higher divorce risk. The divorce rate for such couples was approximately 12%, much higher than the average for the study.

That seems to conclude that incorrect perceptions of your partner’s happiness in your marriage are a fairly reliable indicator of your divorce risk.

Speak to a Los Angeles divorce lawyer about securing your rights and interests during a divorce.

Should I Settle My Divorce Out Of Court?

Monday, January 19, 2015

It’s a question that almost every divorced person in the middle of a divorce will be required to consider at some point in the proceedings. Is it more beneficial for you to settle your divorce, or do you want to take the case to trial?

There are no easy answers, and every case is different. Settling can impact different divorce cases in different ways. Every individual situation is different, and in some cases, you may find it worth your while to go to court and fight for your rights. In fact, there are many situations in which going to court is not only recommended, but is absolutely necessary for you.

If you're wondering whether to settle, or to go to court, consider the following.

Going to court is very expensive, and very time-consuming. It is also much more stressful. With a settlement, you can eliminate the stress that your divorce has caused. Going to court will only exacerbate your stress.

Settling is also much better for the children. You can end the trauma that the family is going through with a settlement.

Besides, when you settle, the details of a settlement are privileged and confidential. However, when you go to court, there are no guarantees of privacy.

If you do decide to go to court, you may find that the case drags on for months, or even years, and even then, there is no guarantee that there will be a decision in your favor. When you go to court, you decide to hand over control of the matter from your own hands to the hands of a jury or judge. In cases that involve spousal violence, child abuse, or any other serious threat where you fear that your rights may be violated by settling, your lawyer will probably advise you to go to court.

Should you settle your divorce? This is just one of the questions that you will be asked to consider during divorce proceedings. Speak to a Los Angeles divorce lawyer for professional legal guidance.

Divorce Chances Differ Depending on Age of Couple

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Years of research into marital success has indicated there are some factors that seem to be common in marital success stories. In other words, the number of months you dated before you got married, and your financial situation does influence your chances of marital success or risk for divorce.

A new study proves another factor that could have a lot to do with a person's chances for a healthy and happy marriage-the age gap between the spouses. The study found that spouses who had a gap of 10 years had a risk of divorce that was higher by as much as 39%. The study is interesting, and is likely to raise some controversy. There are couples who have a gap of 10 years or more between them, and seem to have perfectly happy marriages.

The problem seems to arise according to the researchers, because of the lack of communication problems between the spouses. The couple has a 15- year gap between them, for instance, there are major differences in their life experiences as well as their cultural reference points. For instance, when a man is 15 years older than the woman, he is old enough to remember a time when there was no social media. The women however does not remember a world without social media or smartphones for that matter.

The researchers believe that this could cause some amount of friction, but there is absolutely no conclusive evidence to prove that a larger age gap automatically translates into a higher risk of divorce.

Divorce is a traumatic time, no matter how old you are. If you are currently considering a divorce, speak to a Los Angeles divorce lawyer about child custody, child support, alimony payments and other matters.

Preparing for a Divorce Filing in January

Saturday, January 03, 2015

January is when many Los Angeles couples file for divorce. The decision to file for divorce may have been made a few weeks or months earlier, and once the holiday season ends, couples may see no reason to delay the inevitable any longer. However, that also means that couples are just coming out of the holiday season without paying a lot of attention to the financial implications of their decision.

Make sure that you understand how much the divorce costs. Discuss this with your Los Angeles divorce attorney, and also understand that there are a number of other costs like legal fees will add to your total cost.

You must account for your living and living expenses until the divorce is finalized. A typical divorce can take weeks to finalize, while in the case of a more complicated divorce, the proceedings can go on for months, and even years. Understand that the ultimate cost of the divorce will be much higher than you initially planned. Make sure that you have a stash of emergency cash to meet all of your household and children’s expenses during and immediately after the divorce.

Make an inventory of your assets and debts, and ask for a full financial statement from your spouse.

Most people find themselves blindsided by many of the tax disadvantages of a divorce, with the result that they are financially stressed after the divorce. For instance, there are several tax issues that will be altered by your divorce that you absolutely need to be aware of. Go over all of your tax returns, and understand what marital tax advantages you are no longer eligible for after the divorce. Discuss these with your divorce lawyer.

How is Visitation Decided in California?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

When a couple gets divorced, the court will identify one person as the physical custodian of the child, which means that he or she will have primary physical custody of the child. At the same time, the court will also sign off on a visitation schedule which allows the noncustodial parent visiting hours with the child.

The visitation schedule must be specific, and must include details like the number of hours the child will spend with the noncustodial parent, vacation breaks and so on. The visitation schedule is typically decided on by the parents. In fact, Los Angeles divorce lawyers recommend that you work together with the other parent to decide on a schedule. Even after a couple has agreed on a visitation schedule, it must be submitted to a court for approval. Your visitation schedule is not valid until the judge signs off on it.

However, if the parents can't come to an agreement, the court will intervene, and will issue a child custody order. This child custody order will also include a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent.

Apart from the times of the week, vacation breaks and other details about the amount of time the child will spend with the noncustodial parent, your visitation schedule must also include other details, including pickup and drop-off times, who is responsible for making the pickups and drop-offs, and other details. It is important to have all of these details in order to avoid legal wrangling later.

The visitation schedule must also identify how the custody will be shared during special times like birthdays and holidays. The summer break must also be divided with the noncustodial parent getting a fixed number of days over the summer.