Family Law Blog

How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly called, is used to make sure both parties are not driven to poverty after a divorce. If one side of a divorcing party is used to a certain standard of living and does not have a way to support that standard themselves, then the other side of a divorcing party will be expected to pay spousal support for them. However, the bright side is that spousal support is not forever.

Most commonly, spousal support will be deemed as rehabilitative. This means the supporting spouse will only need to pay alimony until the receiving spouse has received education or training into order to become self-supporting.

However, not all spousal support awards will be so reasonable. If your divorce decree does not specify an alimony termination date, then the payments will have to continue until the court orders it. Typically alimony can be ended for a number of other reasons, such as if the paying party suffers a significant loss of income. However, most commonly, alimony will end if the recipient remarries or the paying party dies. However, if the recipient still can't support themselves when the paying party dies, alimony can continue to be paid from their estate or life insurance proceeds.

If you are starting divorce proceedings, then alimony may be one of your big worries, but definitely not the only worry. As there is no such thing as an amicable divorce, you need representation to make sure you get your fair share of a dissolved marriage. For consultation on your case, contact us today.

Is A Prenuptial Agreement Right For You?

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Is a prenup the right thing for you? 

"Well, um...er..."

We get it.

Talking to your future spouse about creating and signing a prenuptial agreement is not romantic in the least. However, the lack of romance doesn't make the idea any less important when it comes to protecting your legal and financial rights. 

Prenuptial Agreement=Divorce Insurance

Just as you don't want to think about your loving relationship ending in divorce, you don't want to think about your life ending in a terrible accident or illness that leaves your spouse and kids without the resources necessary to carry on. That's why you buy life insurance. In that vein, a prenuptial agreement is protection against something going wrong. Like life insurance, you hope you never need it but can have peace-of-mind knowing it's there. 

What Can a Prenup Do? 

A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can: 

  • Protect your property, including property acquired during the course of your marriage
  • Prevent future court costs
  • Protect you from taking on legal responsibility for a spouse's debt
  • Provide an opportunity to resolve potential issues now before they arise


What a Prenup Can't Do

Not all family law issues can be resolved within the language of a prenuptial agreement. For example, a prenup cannot decide child custody issues or settle disputes about how to raise them. 

If a prenuptial agreement sounds like something you could benefit from, speaking to an experienced family law attorney is the next step in the process. Contact us anytime to schedule a consultation.

Divorce: What About The "Fur Babies"?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

We have reached a point in the journey of man where a canine companion is no longer viewed as a tool to be disposed of when it is no longer useful. Dogs have truly become "man's best friend" and couples even talk of their "fur babies" as members of their family. 

We have also reached a point in the journey of mankind where the divorce rate is above 50 percent. This begs the question, what happens to the dogs in the event of divorce? 

What Does The Law Say?

How dogs are treated in a divorce depends on the state the divorce is taking place in. Some states treat dogs as if they are inanimate property, while others have detailed statutes about how to divide up canine custody. For example, Alaska recently passed a law that will treat dogs as children while Texas treats dogs no differently than Grandpa's work bench. 

In California, pets are considered to be personal property, with courts working only to award a pet to one of the spouses in the event of divorce. While some courts will consider the best interest of the pet in making a decision, this is not a given. Where possible, it can be beneficial for the couple to work out a contractual agreement on their own in order to avoid litigation. 

Peace Of Mind For Beverly Hills Pet Owners

If you are considering a divorce and have concerns about what will happen to your dog, speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer can help put your mind at ease. Contact us to schedule a consultation.


Circumstances That Can Cost You Spousal Support

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Divorce is expensive. When a couple legally dissolves their union, each faces a new financial reality. Often, the person with the higher income pays spousal support as determined by a court of law. It is not uncommon for these payments to continue for a long time. If you receive this support, however, you should know the circumstances that can cause you to lose some or all of your alimony.

  • In many jurisdictions, spousal support terminates when the supported party marries a new partner. It is important to note that courts might or might not end support when the payee begins cohabitation with another person without getting married.
  • Courts can modify or terminate alimony when the receiving party begins earning a larger income. It is up to the local court to decide whether an adjustment is warranted. For example, if the former spouse works a temporary job which has a fixed expiration date, the court might decide against modifying the support agreement.
  • An adjustment or end to alimony can occur when the paying party suffers a lost in income. For example, if she loses her job or becomes ill or disabled and cannot work, a judge will most likely reduce or end support payments. Most cases required a substantial loss of income for the court to alter or terminate spousal maintenance.
  • If the divorce degree contains an escalator clause, support is modified upwards any time the payor receives a pay increase. For example, the payee receives a share of a former spouse's cost of living raise.
  • Sometimes a change with spousal support occurs when the payor gains a new support obligation. For example, if the person paying support gives birth to or fathers a child, the court might decide to modify the alimony order citing a hardship. Note, though that the choice of a person to support stepchildren does NOT generally warrant a change in alimony payments.
  • When either party faces a financial emergency, the court can demand an increase or decrease in spousal support. For instance, if the supporting person must pay significant medical bills, the court might lower alimony payments.

Remember that either party in a divorce can request an increase or decrease in spousal maintenance by petitioning the court. Contact us to learn more about  support following a divorce in California.

Myths And Misconceptions Of Spousal Support

Thursday, March 02, 2017

It is amazing how many couples who are seeking to receive guidance through their divorce have false notions when it comes to spousal support. The internet is filled with a significant amount of false information about spousal support. There are some common myths and misconceptions that we want to address.

Myth 1: The Men Pay The Women

It is surprising how many people believe that only ex-husbands have to pay their ex-wives. Spousal support is based on who earned more during the marriage; it is not based on a gender. Men do not always pay spousal support. If the man and the woman make nearly the same amount of money, nobody will have to make payments. Spousal support can also be waived, unlike child support. 

Myth 2: Spousal Support Can Last Forever

The recipients of spousal support usually think they will be entitled to the payments forever. No one can receive spousal support for a lifetime. Indefinite alimony is awarded to someone who was in a long-term marriage if there was a difference in the incomes. Indefinite alimony can be changed by the court and it can also be ended by the court. 

Myth 3: Quitting My Job Will Prevent The Pay Of Support

If someone quits a job to avoid paying spousal support, the court can assume that he or she is very capable of earning income that he or she has earned in previous years. The court will usually impute income in order to make sure no one is treated unfairly and to make sure the other person receives a punishment as a result of not being honest about finances. 

Every case has its own facts so every case will be different. What happens in once case may not happen in your case. This is why it is so important to find the right legal team to help yu with your case. Contact us today if you need a consultation. 

What You Need to Know About Child Custody

Thursday, February 23, 2017

If you're getting divorced, you are wondering what it takes to attain the custody of your children. Fortunately, it is possible to come to an amicable agreement with your ex-spouse concerning whom the children will live with, as well as visitation rights.

Negotiation

Negotiations can involve a professional mediator, or consist of just you and your former partner. This is preferable in many ways to pursuing the court option because time and money are saved, not to mention the psychological health of any children involved. Keep in mind that negotiations don't need to take place in an "official setting." For instance, you can arrange to meet at a local restaurant where you will both be put at ease and will be able to focus on the important and relevant issues.

The Courts

If for some reason negotiations fall through, you could try your luck in court. The judge will look at various factors to determine what is best for the child. What is in the child's best interest includes their psychological and physical health, as well as what seems best for him or her long-term. Usually a court appointed psychiatrist will assess any children involved, and this will heavily influence the court's decision as to which parent will be awarded custody.  

Physical vs. Legal Custody

The two main types of custody that you should be aware of are physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where your child will reside day-to-day. Legal custody concerns the ability to make decisions affecting the child's education, health-related concerns, and other important aspects of life. Despite which parent is awarded physical custody, legal custody is typically shared between both parents. 

Please, contact us immediately. 

Keeping the Children Away From Divorce Drama

Thursday, February 09, 2017

When raising a child or children after a divorce, any resentments or unresolved issues between parents should be set aside. Both parents must focus on the children's best interests. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Here are some tips from a blogger and attorney about keeping children away from divorce drama.

After a divorce, don't talk badly about the other parent. Children know that everything isn't perfect between mom and dad if a divorce happens. However, they don't need the specifics. Experts and courts agree that children need a relationship with both parents after a divorce. When exposed to negativity about a parent, this just makes it harder for the child to have a meaningful connection with this parent. If you want to discuss your ex's flaws or the sordid details of a divorce, make sure the kids aren't around and definitely don't direct  mean comments about the other parent to the child.

After a divorce, each parent usually still wants their relatives to have contact with the kids. If a divorce involved tension or anger, some relatives may not have the best opinion of a loved one's ex. You might need to talk to your relatives beforehand so that they can avoid disparaging the other parent in front of the children.

Making the effort to shield your kids from disputes is what is most important. If someone slips up, keep trying. One or two comments aren't a big deal as long as both parents and others consistently attempt to remain positive in front of the children. When going through a divorce, contact us today for information about how we could help you.

What if My Spouse is Hiding Assets in Our Divorce?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Divorce is sometimes messy, and sometimes it involves one spouse hiding assets from the other.  Because California is a "community property" state, meaning that all property acquired during a marriage is marital property and jointly owned, spouses are occasionally tempted to keep some assets a secret so that they are not evenly split with their soon-to-be ex-partner.  

In fact, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, nearly one-third of people admit to financial deception with their partner. It is logical to assume that divorce does not improve these percentages. Automobiles and other tangible items are hard to hide, but bank accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts are more easily concealed.

California Family Code Section 2100 states that divorcing parties must provide "full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which one or both parties have or may have an interest."  Although not doing this might be tempting, it is a bad idea and carries severe penalties.  

If one party does not accurately disclose all assets and engages in "oppression, fraud, or malice" as outlined in Section 3294 of California's Civil Code, then the court must award 100% of the hidden assets to the spouse from whom they were concealed. In other words, if a husband hides his $50,000 savings account from his wife during the divorce and meets the "oppression, fraud or malice" criteria, then a judge will award the $50,000 to the wife.  The court might also award attorney fees.

If you are considering divorce, then please contact us.  Our skilled, dedicated attorneys will review your situation and determine the best path forward.  We are here to protect your rights.

Can Social Media Impact Your Divorce? The Answer Is Yes

Thursday, December 29, 2016

We are living in the days where almost everyone has signed up for a social media account. While using social media can certainly be fun and entertaining, you have to be careful about the type of things you post to those social media websites. 

The information you post can be seen by a significant amount of people. If you are going through a divorce, you need to be very cautious about the type of things you post on any of your social media pages. If you think you may post anything that may get you into any trouble, you may want to avoid logging into your account until your divorce has been finalized.

Anything On Social Media Can Be Used Against You

If you are in a heated divorce, your husband or wife may be looking for anything that can make you look bad so he or she will receive everything they are looking for.

Since many people share a significant amount of information online, people who are divorcing will turn to social media for information they can use against one another. Social media postings cannot only impact spousal support and child support orders, but it can also impact a custodial agreement. 

If you are fighting for custody of your child or children, you should definitely avoid posting any photographs or videos that will show you using illegal drugs, drinking alcohol, fighting, partying, etc. 

If you tell the judge you cannot make spousal or child support payments, but you are posting photos of your money, posting photos of expensive merchandise, or posting vacations pictures, your spouse can use those photographs or videos against you to prove that you can indeed make those payments. 

We understand that divorces can get heated and difficult, but social media can get you into more trouble than you think. If you are going through a divorce, do not hesitate to contact us for information on how social media can impact your divorce. 


California Property Division is Complicated

Thursday, December 22, 2016

When two people enter into marriage, they are not thinking about the day that they might divorce and have to divide their property.  Maybe they should, though, because in California the divorce rate is 60 percent, ten percent higher than the national average.  

Most people know that California is a community property state, meaning that when it comes to divorce and property division, all assets, income and debt acquired while living with a spouse (or domestic partner) are divided and distributed equally.  Assets or debts acquired during the marriage through a gift or inheritance do not count as community property.

Although the idea of community property is fairly straightforward, in practice it is more complicated, particularly if the parties involved have accumulated a lot of assets and debts during the marriage.  A complex married financial life often makes for a complex divorce.

For example, a couple's community property might include a house, a rental property, automobiles, furniture, clothing, a business, checking accounts, retirement plans, stocks and bonds, life insurance and more.  Dividing these equally is often a challenge.  To illustrate, how is the marital home split since the court cannot physically divide it?  In some cases, the couple sells the house and evenly distributes the proceeds. In others, one spouse keeps the house and buys out the other's share.

Sometimes items that seem as though they belong to one person actually belong to both.  For example, suppose the husband saved $100 every month from his job income to buy a boat.  Even though he paid for the boat, it actually belongs to the husband and his wife because the husband bought the boat with money earned during the marriage.  Any income generated during the marriage is community property.  By extension, so is anything purchased with that money.

If you are contemplating divorce and wondering about property division, then contact us. Our experienced, skilled attorney will review your case.  We are here to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.

 

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