Family Law Blog

Some Basic Facts About CA Property Division After a Divorce

Thursday, January 07, 2016

When a divorcing couple divides their property and debts, they need to put a plan into motion that works for them both -- or ask for court facilitation.

In most divorce cases -- when mediated by an attorney -- property division is usually an agreeable situation. Couples can normally split property up fairly and without too many problems or snags.

When dividing property, you must remember that all shared debts and community property can not be fully divided until a judge has issued a final order. So, even if you both verbally agree on which items you will split, such an agreement isn't viable until a judge has it in writing and signs off on it.

Further, in the state of California, it's just as important to consider that all property, assets, and debts acquired during the marriage fall under common property laws, and they should be divided equally anyway.

Coming up with a "net share" of all of your assets will help you split them equally. Do this by adding up all of your property's values and subtracting the total amount of debt. The remaining number is your total "net value," which is the amount to be divided between the two of you.

It is also possible to use your debt to balance out someone getting more than their shared half.

An example of this concerns one person getting a house, which has obvious and intrinsic equity and value. Then, according to courts.ca:

If one spouse or domestic partner is taking something with a high value, like a house in which there is equity (value), it may be possible to equalize or balance out the division by giving that spouse or domestic partner the credit card debt.

It is necessary to use your resources when dividing property. Always work with an attorney to ensure that all of what's your stays in your hands. The last thing that you want to do when dividing your property is to do it without legal counsel.

For more information on how we can help you with all of your family law needs, please contact us anytime. Remember, family law can go one of two ways, we're prepared for both.

Why Timing Is Crucial in Your Divorce

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The recently announced divorce of Hollywood stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner has raised eyebrows because of its timing. The couple filed for divorce exactly 10 years and one day after they were married. In other words, they seem to have waited until the ten-year mark to file for divorce, and that may not have been a coincidence.

Under California laws, a marriage that has lasted 10 years is considered a long-term marriage, and that will have an impact on the division of assets, spousal maintenance, and other aspects related to the divorce. Not only is the amount of spousal maintenance impacted by the length of the marriage, but the duration of the spousal maintenance or the number of years which the payer will continue to make spousal maintenance payments is also impacted by the length of the marriage. The spouse who is learning less can petition for more alimony or alimony of longer duration.

There is also speculation that there could have possibly been clauses in the Affleck-Garner prenuptial agreement that provided for additional benefits to one partner if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years. That is not unheard of in a prenuptial agreement, and very often, there are clauses in these agreements that will give one partner a heftier spousal maintenance, or spousal maintenance of a much longer duration if the marriage has lasted for a certain number of years.

Some clauses, for instance, will allow the lesser-earning spouse to receive a certain additional settlement amount for every additional year of the marriage after a ten-year anniversary. That can add to the overall settlement, which is the reason why timing is so important in a divorce.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A collaborative divorce is a divorce that is not contentious or contested. In this kind of divorce, the couple will agree to meet with each other, possibly with their attorneys present in order to hash out issues.

A collaborative divorce will help end the marriage without any contentious issues being taken to court. The couple may in some cases involve a mediator, to help them come to resolution of any disputes if these exist. Typically however, these divorces are ideally suited for those marriages or divorces in which the spouses expect to resolve all issues without any hostility.

When there are children involved, the parents do not want to put them through a traumatic or long drawn-out divorce battle. For obvious reasons, they want to settle all issues related to the divorce with as little stress and trauma on the children as possible. A collaborative divorce, therefore, will allow the parties to reach an agreement that is in their mutual best interests, while prioritizing the children.

In a collaborative divorce, the parties will have control over the process, because they're involved in making decisions, instead of deciding to trust the court to make the decisions for them. However, there are certain key requirements that must be in place for a collaborative divorce to work. Both of the spouses must agree right at the outset, that they will not choose the litigation route to resolve their disputes. If both of the parties are mutually agreeable about the need to avoid litigation, a collaborative divorce can work. Besides, it is also important to seek out attorneys, mediators, and possibly even psychological health professionals in order to help you resolve the disputes.

Things to Remember If You Are Considering Divorce Mediation

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Divorce mediation is a much-recommended way to come to an agreement and a divorce settlement, without having to go through the court system. However, just because you have decided to take the mediation route, doesn't mean that you do not need legal advice. It is important to retain a lawyer, and seek his advice so that you don't end up making the wrong decisions for yourself.

Also remember that mediation is not all about compromising your interests, and agreeing to everything that the other party asks for. You may want to avoid a nasty divorce, and may want to avoid exposing your children to the kind of negativity that can arise during a divorce if you are unable to resolve your disputes. Remember however, that your divorce settlement is permanent, and must last you the rest of your life. Modifications to child custody agreements may not be very easy later, especially if you cannot provide a solid reason for the modification. Asset division cannot be reversed, and you may be stuck with the financial settlement.

Ensure that the mediator is not biased towards you. Mediators are supposed to be neutral, but sometimes bias can creep in, and that bias can be detrimental to the person who is at the receiving end.

If you are a submissive kind of person, and are used to giving in instead standing your ground, mediation is probably not best for you. You are likely to have your rights compromised, and your spouse could still end up walking all over you. Make sure that mediation is the correct choice for you, and is not something that your spouse is forcing on you.

Divorce Tied to Excess Weight Gain in Children

Monday, June 02, 2014

Children can be exposed to emotional trauma when their parents divorce. A new study finds that children of divorced parents also struggle with excessive weight gain.

The study was conducted in Norway, and analyzed a group of 3rd graders. This analysis found that boys whose parents were divorced, were approximately 63% more likely to be obese or overweight, compared to boys whose parents were married. These boys also had a staggeringly high risk for abdominal obesity. They were approximately 104 percent more likely to suffer from this condition.

The researchers believe that they have found a link between obesity and divorce, but say that they cannot confirm that divorce was the only cause of this weight gain. For instance, the study did not take into consideration how long the parents had been divorced, and did not account for the presence of other factors that affect weight gain, like diet and exercise.

However, considering that child obesity is a public health problem not just in Norway, but in many other parts of the developed world, including the United States, doctors, parents and pediatricians need to take the findings of the study seriously. One reason why children gain weight when their parents get divorced is the lower supervision that accompanies a divorce in the family. Parents, who are trying to work through their trauma and the division of responsibilities of parenting, may not be able to give their children enough attention. Additionally, children may become stressed when a divorce becomes toxic, and that could lead to children overeating for comfort.

Whatever the reason, when a divorce turns hostile or becomes acrimonious, there can be long-term consequences on the children. Speak to a qualified divorce attorney about divorce mediation before you head to divorce court.