Archive for the ‘ Divorce ’ Category

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ANNULMENT AND A DIVORCE?

Posted on: January 24, 2020 by in Divorce
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Couples who are considering divorce in California have several alternatives to a conventional, courtroom-centered divorce: annulment, legal separation, mediation, arbitration, and “collaborative” divorce.

A conventional divorce may be the right option for some couples, but most people would prefer to avoid a costly, contentious, and acrimonious divorce trial. Before you choose divorce as the way to end your marriage, take a serious look at the legal separation and annulment options with a Long Beach divorce attorney.

A legal separation stops short of a divorce, but for many couples, a legal separation is a practical alternative that accomplishes many of the goals that divorce accomplishes. While a legal separation is not quite a divorce, an annulment accomplishes the goals of a divorce – and more.

WHAT DOES AN ANNULMENT DO?

An annulment not only declares that a marriage is null and void, but it differs from divorce because, in effect, it’s retroactive. In other words, an annulled marriage is a marriage that was “invalid” to begin with and is now treated by the law as if it never happened.

However, what an annulment is and does is widely misunderstood. Unlike a divorce, an annulment is not available “on-demand.” It is actually a quite complicated and precise legal procedure, and it’s available only to certain couples and only for particular reasons.

Before you file for a divorce, learn more about legal separation and annulment. One of those options might be a better alternative for you and your marriage partner. If your marriage qualifies for an annulment, it is almost always the best way to end the marriage.

IN WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ANNULMENTS GRANTED IN CALIFORNIA?

However, while divorce is common in California, annulments are rare. Not every state offers the annulment option, and even in California, annulments are granted only for very specific reasons.

If none of the factors listed here apply to your marriage, an annulment probably will not be approved. Annulments are granted by the courts in California only in these circumstances:

  1. There was undue pressure on one of the partners: One spouse was bullied, intimidated, blackmailed, or forced into the marriage.
  2. At least one partner had an “unsound mind”: When the marriage took place, at least one partner lacked the mental capacity to understand what was occurring, or at least one partner was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time.
  3. There was fraud or deception: One spouse lied regarding something important to the marriage, like the ability to conceive children.
  4. The marriage cannot be consummated: One person cannot consummate the marriage and the other person did not know this prior to the wedding ceremony.
  5. The marriage was unlawful: If the partners are closely blood-related, if one was married to another person when the couple married, or if one spouse was too young to marry and did not have a parent’s consent, the marriage was illegal and qualifies for annulment.

Proving to a judge that your marriage meets one of these five conditions is not always easy. You will need the services, insights, and advice of a California divorce lawyer who has considerable experience handling annulment cases.

Incestuous and bigamous marriages are unlawful from the start, but because children may be involved and property needs to be divided, an annulment is required to conclude the marriage fairly and to prevent legal disputes regarding the marriage from emerging in the future.

HOW ARE CHILDREN AND PROPERTY DEALT WITH IN ANNULMENTS?

Annulled marriages are usually annulled swiftly, so dividing the marital assets, properties, and debts usually isn’t difficult, and annulled marriages rarely produce children. In most cases, that makes annulment one of the easiest family law procedures.

When a lengthier marriage must be annulled, if the partners can reach some agreements about the property and/or children, annulment is still a speedier process than divorce. If the partners cannot reach those agreements, a court will make these decisions regarding the marriage and annulment:

  1. child support, custody, and visitation terms
  2. division of marital assets, properties, and debts
  3. the resolution of any other claims or disputes

DO ANNULMENTS ENTAIL DEADLINES OR TIME LIMITS?

Annulments and divorces generally serve the same purposes, although an annulment is typically less costly and less emotional than a divorce. The reasons for the annulment are to dictate deadlines and time limits.

For example, an annulment because one partner was a minor who did not have parental consent to marry must be filed within four years of that person’s 18th birthday. Annulments that are sought for other reasons may have different time limits and deadlines.

But if you are seeking an annulment in California and you fail to meet the deadline, the annulment will not be granted, leaving divorce and legal separation as your remaining options.

HOW WILL A DIVORCE LAWYER HELP YOU OBTAIN AN ANNULMENT?

In southern California, you will need to have a Long Beach divorce attorney help you with filing for the annulment and completing the necessary paperwork. Without an attorney’s guidance, you could make a mistake that delays the process or causes the court to deny your annulment request.

When you seek to have a marriage annulled in California, you and your attorney will have to prepare a petition, a summons, a document stating the reason or reasons for the annulment request, and your explanation regarding why the annulment should be granted by the court.

The other spouse will be served with copies of these documents and given thirty days to respond to the petition for annulment.

A California annulment hearing must be conducted at least thirty days after annulment papers are served. A judge meets with the couple to consider the petition. The court will then grant or reject the petition, and if necessary, determine matters like property division and child custody.

KNOW YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS

Before making a final decision about ending your marriage, seek sound legal advice. Annulment is often the best option for those seeking to avoid the complications of divorce. If you do not meet the criteria for annulment, the right lawyer can help you consider the remaining options.

If you’re in southern California, let a Long Beach divorce attorney – with experience handling annulments – explain to you how the California annulment rules may apply to your own circumstances and help you decide if an annulment is the best way to conclude your marriage.

Read one of our recent blogs: ALIMONY AFTER A DIVORCE (WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW)

ALIMONY AFTER A DIVORCE (WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW)

Posted on: December 24, 2019 by in Divorce
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Alimony – called “spousal support” in California law – is a perennially contentious topic. In 2016, an attempt to abolish alimony in California was widely publicized, but that effort failed to gather enough support to put the alimony issue before the state’s voters.

Alimony is always controversial. Divorcing spouses who seek alimony insist that they need it, and the ex-spouses who are ordered to pay alimony almost always think that they should pay less – or nothing at all. The dedicated help of a Cerrito’s divorce attorney will be needed if you want to ensure that your spousal support settlement is just and adequate.

WHEN WILL A DIVORCE COURT MAKE A DECISION REGARDING ALIMONY?

When spouses can agree about alimony – both temporary and what is called “permanent” spousal support – they can save a great deal of time, money, and aggravation. If no agreement is possible, and the two sides battle it out, a judge will make the final decisions about alimony.

California divorce courts award spousal support payments to assist an unemployed or low-earning ex-spouse, based on each ex-partner’s current financial situation.

How does alimony work in California? How do the courts decide the amount of an alimony payment? And what if that amount isn’t fair? If you’ll keep reading, those questions will be answered, and you will learn more about your rights as a payer – or as a recipient – of alimony.

WHAT IS “TEMPORARY” SPOUSAL SUPPORT?

Of course, every divorce is different, but some general rules regarding alimony apply to everyone who divorces in California. The first thing that divorcing couples should know about alimony in California is the difference between temporary and “permanent” spousal support.

Temporary spousal support is the alimony provided while the divorce is pending and until it is finalized. One partner may require temporary support while the divorce is proceeding, so the court may award that temporary support at the start of the process.

WHEN SHOULD TEMPORARY SPOUSAL SUPPORT BE REQUESTED?

A divorce in California begins when one partner files a petition for divorce. That petition is then served to the other partner. The request for temporary spousal support may be filed at the same time as the divorce petition or at any later time during the divorce proceeding.

Temporary spousal support is short-term – it lasts only until the divorce is finalized – so a court seldom conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the couple’s finances before granting a request for temporary spousal support.

Instead, California courts typically use a fixed formula to determine the temporary support amount. Temporary support helps divorcing spouses meet financial obligations during the divorce and ensures that a spouse does not damage his or her credit rating due to the divorce.

HOW DOES “PERMANENT” SPOUSAL SUPPORT WORK?

A “permanent” order for spousal support can be the result of an agreement between the spouses or the result of a divorce trial. An alimony agreement between the spouses is called a “stipulated” judgment.

You may be asking, “Does ‘permanent’ spousal support really last for a lifetime?” Almost never. When a marriage in California has endured for less than ten years, alimony is usually short-term, and the court orders payments to continue for half the length of the marriage.

When a marriage in California has endured for longer than ten years, the alimony/spousal support payments are called “permanent,” but that does not mean that a divorced spouse will pay or receive alimony for life. That almost never happens.

CAN A “PERMANENT” SPOUSAL SUPPORT ORDER BE MODIFIED?

When either ex-spouse’s life situation changes in the years after a divorce, either may seek a modification of the spousal support order, including a modification that terminates the payments.

What the law in California says is that even after a marriage “of long duration,” there is nothing that “limits the court’s discretion to terminate spousal support in later proceedings on a showing of changed circumstances.”

In other words, the law does not say that a divorce after ten or more years of marriage automatically means alimony for life. The courts have the power to modify and terminate spousal support orders at any time.

WHEN SHOULD A MODIFICATION OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT BE REQUESTED?

If a spouse did not work during the marriage in order to be a homemaker and/or raise children, alimony will probably be ordered, but if the partner receiving payments doesn’t eventually make reasonable efforts to be self-supporting, a modification of the alimony order should be requested.

When divorcing spouses can’t agree about long-term alimony payments, their dispute will go to a judge who determines the alimony amount and decides for how long it must be paid.

If you seek permanent alimony, both partners’ finances must be comprehensively reviewed, and if the divorcing spouses cannot reach an agreement, the process can be lengthy and exasperating.

WHAT IS YOUR ATTORNEY’S ROLE?

When a divorce is finalized and any dispute regarding alimony has been resolved, if there is any significant change in the circumstances of either ex-partner, the order for spousal support may need modification.

An ex who pays spousal support and seeks to lower the payment figure must show a change in his or her personal circumstances that warrants the modification. An ex who seeks more spousal support must also show a change in personal circumstances that warrants a modification.

If it isn’t contested, a spousal support modification can usually be accomplished quickly, but if the other ex-spouse disputes the need for a modification, the matter may take some weeks to resolve.

Ex-spouses who make alimony payments may ask to have those payments terminated after a few years, and they are frequently successful. When alimony is no longer proper or necessary, the paying ex-spouse should request a termination order.

WHAT IF YOU CANNOT MAKE COURT-ORDERED ALIMONY PAYMENTS?

What an ex-spouse who is making alimony payments cannot do is simply to stop making spousal support payments – even if you are out of work or you can’t return to work because of illness or injury. You must request a modification of the court’s alimony order with your attorney’s help.

Any failure to make the spousal support payments ordered by the court can trigger serious legal penalties.

Finally, if you are now receiving or paying spousal support, have a Long Beach divorce attorney examine the spousal support order to ensure that it’s fair and suitable to your situation. In any alimony or divorce-related dispute, a good divorce attorney’s help is your right.

Bad Social Media Habits to Avoid During Your Divorce

Posted on: September 26, 2019 by in Divorce
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Social media is the new way of providing a chronological glimpse into large and small life events, as well as the ups and downs of our lives. However, if you are going through a divorce, your Cerritos family law attorney will be the first one to caution you about the information you post on social media sites.

For most people, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are an integral part of their daily lives. These sites are used to make birth announcements, showcase graduation photos, and document wedding celebrations. When emergencies strike, the sites are used to rally up help, spread information, and convey positive wishes for safety and health.

Do’s and Don’ts of Using Social Media

You definitely want the world to celebrate with you when welcoming a newborn into the world or when a family member graduates from high school. However, there are some life events that are better off not broadcast on social media. Not everyone deserves to know every little detail about your life. For example, the details of your divorce are not something you should share with your Facebook friends.

Social media sites are great for catching up with the latest politician, celebrity gossip, and local events. However, when it comes to discussing people that are or were close to you, i.e., your ex, what you post can come back to haunt you.

When using social media, one thing you should remember is this: the internet never forgets

Even if you delete what you have posted, chances are that it is not entirely deleted online. The moment you post something on social media, the information can be copied by hundreds of sites, some of which you have no control of. 

And if the information you posted was malicious or damaging, you may be left with legal problems to deal with.

How Using Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce Case in California

The use of social media has become a huge issue in recent divorce cases in California. The National Law Review has some telling statistics:

  • 33% of all divorce actions are fueled by online affairs
  • 66% of divorce attorneys use Facebook to gather evidence for their cases
  • 81% of all divorce lawyers have presented information gathered from social media sites as evidence in the courts

Most attorneys use social media information to prove financial misconduct or infidelity.

If you are going through a divorce, it is important to know how to protect yourself. One of the ways is by being careful with the information that you post on your social media accounts. 

Below are some social media habits you want to avoid during your divorce:

1. Deleting Social Media Activity that Could Be Used Against You in Court

Is there any information on your social media accounts that can be used against you in a court of law? If there is, don’t delete it. Deleting information can come back to haunt you during the proceedings.

Remember, any information that you post online can be dug up by experienced computer forensic scientists. When the information is dug up, you may be charged with an attempt to destroy evidence. The action may also be taken as an admission of guilt.

If the information is already there, let it be. However, do not add fuel to the fire by posting more information that can hurt your prospects of getting the outcome you want in a divorce case.

2. Posting Photographs or Mentioning the Use of Alcohol or Drugs

If there is contention regarding child custody during the divorce proceedings, you want all your actions to indicate that you are a good parent. Therefore, anything related to the use of alcohol or drugs should not be present in your life. This includes posting any photos or information about using drugs or alcohol on social media websites.

Yes, you can partake in fun activities. But you do not want any evidence that can harm your prospects of winning custody to crop up. Therefore, avoid taking and posting photographs with alcohol, even if you were just casually drinking with a friend.

3. Discussing New Romantic Relationships

Yes, you may want everyone to know that you have moved on and are happy with the new love of your life. However, keep this information private until after the divorce has been finalized. Even if the relationship did not begin before the divorce proceedings, it could be deemed as an affair. 

Keep information about your new love interests to yourself until when the divorce papers have been signed.

4. Discussing New Purchases of Financial Information

Did your company just sign some new clients and you got a substantial raise in income? Keep that information to yourself. When it comes to money matters, do not broadcast your spending or other financial information on social media as it can be used against you.

For example, by showing you have a lot of money, the attorneys of your ex can use the information to justify demanding high child support or alimony payments. If you are the one demanding child support, making expensive purchases may be taken to show that you are well off and, therefore, do not need a lot of support from your ex.

5. Allowing Your Friends to Post Details of Your Life

When going through a divorce, you can find comfort in your friends. However, some friends can actually damage the outcome of the divorce case through no fault of their own. For example, when friends criticize your ex or post details about your life, the information can be used against you in court.

Therefore, while you should appreciate the support that your friends may be giving you, it’s important to caution them against posting information about the case online. Find out from your attorney what kind of information should not be shared online to ensure you have a strong case. 

6. Sharing Your Location Information

Have you noticed that you can almost always tell where some people are based on what locations they check-in to on their social media accounts? You may want to let everyone know that you’ve checked in at the hottest new club. However, sharing the information can be damaging if you are going through a divorce.

For example, sharing the amount of time that you spend in casinos, strip clubs, and bars can be used against you, especially if the divorce involves custody disputes.

How to Use Social Media During a Divorce

The best way of using social media during a divorce is to avoid using it at all. Sites like Facebook have an option of temporarily deactivating your account until a later time. 

If you can’t see yourself living without social media, then think carefully before posting any information. Remember, whatever you post can be used against you in court.

When Domestic Violence Affects Custody In California

Posted on: August 19, 2019 by in Child Custody, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Family Law
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If you have a domestic violence case, you might be wondering how it will affect your child custody right if you live in California. Is there a possibility you could receive less child custody because of the charge? That is why you should consult with a Cerritos divorce attorney so that you’re not leaving anything to chance.

It’s The Judge’s discretion 

According to California Courts, it is up to the judge to decide if domestic violence is an issue with the ongoing family case. If it is an issue, there are some rules that the judge must abide by when determining the custody of the child. There are two instances where the judge could treat the case as a domestic violence charge.

The first instance is when you’ve been convicted of a domestic violence charge in the last five years. The second instance is when the court determined that you committed domestic violence against the other parent or the child.

In case the judge determines that it is a domestic violence case, it will be impossible for you to be legally granted joint custody. You might get visitation rights depending on the circumstances of the case. You could be granted custodian rights by the judge if you’re able to prove:

  • That having joint or full custody is in your child’s best interest
  • You’ve successfully completed a 52-week batterer intervention program
  • Comply with the terms of the probation or parole
  • Comply with the rules of the restraining order
  • Successfully completed a court-ordered parenting program
  • Successfully completed a court-ordered substance abuse program

In addition to meeting the above mentioned requirements, you’re expected to refrain from committing future acts of domestic violence.

Your state might not have the presumption of domestic violence built in the statute. This because domestic violence could impact the decision of child custody based on moral presumptions. There are not a lot of judges who will be willing to give custody to a parent who has been violent to the partner or child.

Domestic Violence Offenders Will NOT Get Primary Custody

If there is a history of domestic violence, there will be a “moral presumption” that the abuser should not be given the right to be the primary caregiver of the child. This could also be the case if the violence is not directed towards the child but occurs when the child is present. The court will still be reluctant because of the violence the child is exposed to and might grow up with issues as well.

The domestic violence charge could also have an impact on determining the child custody of victims. A good example is when you’ve been divorced with your spouse for more than two years and you’ve found a new lover. You start living together. Your spouse temper flares and you start getting abused in front of the children. In such a situation, you’re not only a victim but also a parent. Your ex could file a petition to obtain custody of the children if they come to learn of such a predicament. This will be filed on the basis that you’re unable to protect the children from third parties.

Even though domestic violence should never be taken lightly, there are some parents that can fabricate details in order to have an advantage on the child custody hearings. In such a situation, the parent will seek a restraining order because of the domestic violence accusation.

A temporary restraining order will require a much shorter notice given the urgency of the case. The accused might have time to appear in court in order to defend himself or herself. A default order will then be awarded to the parent because the accused party will have failed to respond to the allegations in time.

It doesn’t matter if the state you live in has already adopted the domestic violence presumption, a domestic violence case will definitely affect the child custody dispute. There is a possibility that strong bonds could be formed by the child to the abusive parent as a survival technique. This kind of bond is usually referred to as Stockholm Syndrome which is described as a powerful connection that the oppressed develops for the oppressor.

The negative effects of children witnessing domestic violence are not likely to disappear quickly especially if they’re constantly exposed. According to statistics, children who come from homes where there is domestic abuse are more at risk of health problems when they become adults.

There is a common myth that non-abusive parents can’t lose custody. This is not always true, especially if the accused has a compelling case. The victim might be suffering from post-traumatic stress and might not present themselves well in court. The problem could be compounded when there is no proper legal counsel. This could lead to loss of custody to the abusive parent.

Definition of Domestic Violence in California

According to the laws of California, a person could be accused of domestic violence if he or she acted recklessly or intentionally caused bodily or sexually assaulted the partner. It could also apply in situations where the victim feels that physical harm is imminent. Domestic violence may include:

  • Hitting or striking
  • Threatening
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Destruction of personal property

According to California law, it is presumed that the abuser should not have custody of the children if there is enough evidence to show domestic abuse. Even though it might not interfere with visitation, getting custody is a different ballgame. The accused should take classes on what is presumed to be the root of the problem before thinking about filing for custody. There is no guarantee that the custody will go in their favor even after taking the recommended classes.

False accusations are rare but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If you ever find yourself in a predicament, you will need an experienced family attorney to help with your case. You can reach out to the Law Offices of Paul J. Duron if you’re looking for experienced attorneys to help out with your case. Call us today to book an appointment.

Who Gets Custody If the Parents Are Unmarried?

Posted on: July 20, 2019 by in Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law
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Not all parents will be married when they have a child. There are occasions when getting pregnant is not enough motivation to walk down the aisle. The discussions about child custody can get very complicated when the parents are unmarried. That is why it is important that you look for a Norwalk divorce lawyer if you ever find yourself in such a situation. Have you ever wondered what would happen to your kids if you split up with your spouse when you’re not married?

There are legal implications to such a scenario and who gets the children will depend on a couple of factors. Is there a possibility that both parents could have an equal chance of having custody over the children? There is no clear answer to this question as it will depend on the circumstances of the case.

Fathers Establishing Paternity

As a father, you might be required to establish paternity of the children. From a general perspective, a father and a mother will share equal rights when it comes to child custody unless there is an issue with domestic violence. A father will have to go through a few extra steps in order to get full parental rights. The process of identifying a child’s legal mother is straightforward with no complications.

Fathers don’t give birth and there is a chance that the woman might have been intimate with someone else while still cohabiting with the alleged father of the children. As a result, there could be questions raised if the man is truly the biological father of the children.

Why Establishing Paternity is Necessary

A mother could make it harder for the man to gain child custody if the paternity is in question. The man might not be granted custody if he is not the biological father of the children. A man could also use it as an excuse to avoid paying child support if the paternity is unclear.

Establishing Paternity in California

There are two distinct ways of establishing paternity in California and this through court order or the declaration of paternity.

Declaration of Paternity

In order to establish paternity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an argument or a fight. If both the parents are sure that the man is the father, they can sign a Voluntary Declaration. The form is usually signed at the hospital when the child is born. The father will be presumed to be the biological father of the child if both parties agree on the fact.

Genetic Testing

A genetic test might be ordered by the court if there are disagreements between the two parents. The court might require that the father go through a genetic test if:

He doesn’t have a Declaration of Paternity

Either of the parents has requested a visitation order, child custody, and child support.

A man can also decide to take a DNA test just to confirm he is the biological father of the child.

Same-Sex Couples

Same-sex couples are also not obliged to be married in order to have children together. It will be necessary for one of the parents to petition the court in establishing that they are the lawful parents of the child. This will mean that the couple has to establish they intend to be the child’s parents and also act in a manner to suggest so. It is only after the court legally recognizes the parents will they be able to enjoy the full benefits of having children.

Equal Rights to Custody

If all factors are held constant, both parents will have equal rights to custody over the child. This will happen when there is no question with the paternity of the father. The parents will have to agree on a custody arrangement that works for them. The court is usually involved when both parents can’t seem to agree on the details of the custody. The court will act as a mediator if the unmarried parents can’t seem to agree. If the mediation is not successful, the court will make a decision with the child’s best interest at heart. The custody could be taken away if one of the parents is abusing drugs or is involved in a domestic violence case.

Factors that Determine Custody and Visitation

In case of a contest, the court will be forced to look at a couple of factors before making a determination. The time spent with the child and the level of being involved in the child’s upbringing will significantly impact the custody and visitation rights. A court will not want to deprive someone of their rights unless it is completely necessary. Other factors that could be used in the determination of the case include:

Residence of the Parent: A child needs to be as comfortable as possible with the place residence. Will also include the surrounding community and school.

Moral Character: The moral character of each parent is analyzed when looking at who should get custody over the children. The parent needs to treat the child with respect and provide a safe environment that is nurturing and supportive.

Financial Status: The financial status of each parent is called into question when looking at who gets custody of the child. A parent needs to prove that he or she can properly take care of a child from a financial perspective.

In case the parents are not married, it will be in the best interest of the child that the parents remain friendly and amicable when deciding the custody. If there are no issues, both the parents have equal rights and it is something that can be worked out without involving the family court. It is good that you put your ego aside for the wellbeing of the children. Sometimes one parent could be difficult to reason with and there will be no other option but to involve in the court. You should also make sure you’re getting a good family lawyer to represent you.

What Should be Included In Your Parenting Plan

Posted on: June 26, 2019 by in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, Family Law
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Divorce is never going to be easy and it gets complicated when kids are involved. You might be amicable with your ex but it will be challenging to agree on the details of the child custody rights. That is why it is important that you look for a good family law attorney in Anaheim so that your interests are well represented in a court of law. 

At the Law Offices of Paul J. Duron, we understand that you want what is best for your child without compromising on the legal situation. We help you in creating a parenting plan that will cover all aspects of the present and the future.

In order to prevent anything bad from happening with the plan, you need to be fully prepared. We’re going to highlight what a good parenting plan should cover so that you’re well aware when trying to get custody of your child.

Living Arrangement

This perhaps the most important part of the parenting plan. The child needs to be as comfortable as possible with the living environment. Will the child live with one parent or will have to be shifting between two homes because of the separation? When looking at this scenario, the geographical considerations will come into play. You will have to consider the movement of the child between homes and the effect it might have. A parent might decide to move away to another city. Both the parents will have to iron out who gets to stay with the child. In case of a disagreement, the court might have to be involved.

The parenting schedule could also have an effect on the living arrangement. One parent might not be readily available because of work commitments.

Vacations, Holidays, and Special Occasions

Arrangements for holidays and special days will have to be put into consideration when coming up with the parenting plan. Both parents have to be on the same page as this could get tricky because each one wants to spend time with the child. It will be better if such days are spent together as a family so that the child is not faced with the dilemma of having to make a decision.

No Bad Mouthing

This is something that often gets overlooked yet it should be talked about for the sake of the child. A marriage doesn’t always have to end when both parties are not in talking terms. Even if you’re not in talking terms with your ex, the children have the right to have a relationship with them. There should be a provision in the parental arrangement that gives the children exclusive rights to have the affection of both parents without being influenced. The parties have to make an agreement that neither of them will take an action that will estrange or discredit the parent in the eyes of the child.

Haircuts

One of the biggest challenges with child custody is that you will only be with your children for some time and not all the time even if you wish to do so. This means that you will sometimes miss some important milestones in their lives. This does not mean that your ex has all the rights of raising the children. There should be a clause in the parental agreement that limits one spouse from making all the major decisions on behalf of the child. This could affect things like a haircut for example. Neither the parent has the legal right of substantially altering the appearance of the child without a legal consent form the other party. The idea behind the arrangement is to ensure that neither the parent is making an extreme decision that involves the child.

No Time Stealing

It is not uncommon to have negative feelings and thoughts even after the divorce has been long concluded. There are occasions where a parent might try to hurt the other using emotional manipulation and involving the child in the process.

One of the tactics that are used is a parent could try and schedule for activities with the child when it is the other parent’s turn to be with the child. This could lead to conflicting scenarios for the child because he or she will be faced with the dilemma of choosing between two parents. The parental agreement will be clear on what a parent can and can’t do when it comes to spending time with the child.

Itemize Some Expenses

There should be a detailed breakdown of how the child support is going to be spent in the parental plan. One thing a good and responsible parent can do is separating health care insurance form the child support payment. There are some states where the two are individual costs are addressed separately in the child parenting plan. Make sure you’re having a good attorney because some expenses can overlap and you might not be sure is to be included in the parenting plan.

Handling Technology

Children are spending a lot of time in front of their phones. As parents, you need to decide on the details and restrictions. There should be a provision in the plan that outlines the use of electronic devices by the children. It is not really a common provision that most parents will remember to include but doing so will help in preventing disagreements in the future.

Avoid Court

As parents, it will be in the best interest of the child to avoid court if it is possible. When you go to court, it means there is a disagreement that can’t be settled amicably between the two of you. There should be a provision in the parenting plan that advocates the use of a third party for mediation before the matter can be taken to court. Parents who use coordinators will avoid the courts. If you can’t seem to agree on the details, the court will have to be involved. This means that you to look for a good family lawyer to help you will the case.

WHO GETS YOUR HOUSE IN A CALIFORNIA DIVORCE?

Posted on: May 11, 2019 by in Divorce
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When couples divorce, as you might imagine, the marital home is frequently a point of contention. Who gets the house when California couples divorce? If you are divorcing, will you be able to sell the house – or able to keep it and stay there?

If you’ll keep reading, those questions will be answered by a Long Beach divorce attorney, and you will learn more about your rights in a California divorce. When you divorce in this state, it is imperative to understand your rights and options.

When marriage partners purchase a house in this state, the house becomes “community” or “marital” property. If the two eventually divorce, the house must be “divided in half,” unless the spouses can voluntarily arrive at another agreement.

WHEN A COUPLE DIVORCES, WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR THEIR HOME?

In fact, if a divorcing couple can agree regarding their house, they have several options for its division. One option is putting the house up for sale and dividing the proceeds. Another option – a buy-out – happens when one partner simply purchases the other’s share of the house.

If either spouse moves away from the home, will that move affect the divorce process – or the division of the home? You don’t forfeit the right to half of the home by moving away. But do not leave the house voluntarily unless you genuinely have to. Sleep on a sofa if necessary.

WHY SHOULD YOU TRY TO STAY IN YOUR HOME DURING A DIVORCE?

If you leave the house before or during the divorce process, your spouse’s lawyer may try to characterize the move as abandonment. In southern California, before you move, speak to a reliable Long Beach divorce attorney so that you fully understand your rights and legal status.

Some divorcing couples are able to share a house while their divorce is pending, but this will not be possible for most. If both partners agree to live under the same roof during the divorce, they will need clearly established rules and boundaries.

WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR A COUPLE’S REAL ESTATE DURING A DIVORCE?

When a divorce petition has been filed and then is served in California, Standard Family Law Restraining Orders automatically take effect. These are four court orders printed on the back of the FL-110 form, and they are served along with divorce papers.

One of these orders restrains both spouses from “transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community or separate,” without the other’s consent in writing or an order from the court.

WHEN YOU SELL A HOME IN A DIVORCE, WHAT MUST BE CONSIDERED?

When divorcing spouses agree to put their house up for sale, it is a decision that cannot be hurried and must be arrived at thoughtfully. These questions must be considered:

  1. What will be the selling price? How will that be determined?
  2. Who will be the real estate agent? How will the choice be made?
  3. Who will have the home ready for prospective buyers to view?
  4. Will every decision require the agreement of the spouses?
  5. Apart from the mortgage, are there other encumbrances or liens?
  6. If a buyer makes an offer, what is the minimum figure that you can accept?

CAN THE MARITAL HOME BE SOLD WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT?

If the divorcing partners can agree, selling the house and dividing the proceeds resolves the matter of the marital home. Of course, the inability to agree is a leading reason for divorce, so in many divorces, no agreement is possible regarding how the marital home will be divided.

When spouses cannot agree, can the home still be placed on the market as the divorce process is pending? The answer is yes, provided that there is a compelling reason and you obtain a court order.

If the house is in danger of foreclosure, either spouse can request a court order to have it sold promptly. A court order to sell the house – in order to pay attorney’s fees – may also be requested if one partner is financially disadvantaged at the time the divorce procedure begins.

However, and if no urgent reason compels the immediate sale of the house, if neither spouse is buying out the other, and if the spouses cannot voluntarily reach a different agreement, in most California divorces, a court will order the house to be sold upon the finalization of the divorce.

HOW DO BUY-OUTS WORK?

Even without an agreement between the spouses, California courts actually have the power to order one spouse to buy-out the other spouse’s share of the marital home. This is quite rare and will only happen in complex, high-asset divorces.

If a buy-out can be agreed on, a court order allowing it will still be needed. Buy-outs do not necessarily require a cash payment. Payment can be made with other properties or assets, or even by compromising on contested matters like attorney fees and spousal support.

When the court issues an order for a buy-out, the attorneys and spouses must then identify an appraiser that all of the parties find trustworthy. The appraisal – if the spouses accept it – sets the home’s fair market value.

The home mortgage and any additional encumbrances are then subtracted from the fair market value to arrive at the equity value. The attorneys and spouses may then negotiate an exact buy-out figure.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER PROPERTIES?

What about a divorcing couple’s other real estate holdings, such as rental properties? A spouse must have a court order to sell any jointly owned real estate while the divorce process is pending.

Divorcing couples should also consider the impact on their income taxes of selling the marital home. They will need the services of a good tax advisor, a good real estate agent, and an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney.

A variety of factors must be taken into account if you sell the marital home as part of a divorce. Financial matters are an important part of every divorce, so the more assets and properties you own as a couple, the more complicated your divorce becomes.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A CALIFORNIA DIVORCE LAWYER?

But whether your circumstances are affluent or modest, a number of disputes and difficulties will typically emerge in a divorce. You are going to need an attorney’s help. Disputes over children, alimony, and the family home are quite common.

If you are divorcing in California, you must be represented – from the very start – by a reliable California divorce lawyer who will ensure that you are treated fairly and justly throughout the divorce process. Having that lawyer’s help is your right.

What Every Business Owner Should Know About Valuation During A Divorce

Posted on: April 18, 2019 by in Divorce
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When spouses divorce in California, if there’s a dispute regarding marital assets and property, and if no prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement spells out another resolution, a California court will typically divide the couple’s assets and property in half.

Dividing properties and assets between divorcing spouses sounds easy, but dividing marital properties and assets – in many cases – is both difficult and contentious. A business is considered an asset, but how will a business be divided, and how can a divided business survive? Can divorce law firm in California help?

If you are a California business owner and you are divorcing or anticipating a divorce, you are about to learn how divorce can impact your operation. You may not necessarily lose half of your business in a divorce, but you will very much require a divorce attorney’s guidance and advice.

WHAT HAPPENS TO ASSETS WHEN DIVORCING SPOUSES CAN’T AGREE?

If there is no prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, and if the spouses and their divorce lawyers cannot negotiate a division of the properties and assets that is acceptable to both spouses, the court will split the properties and assets “fifty-fifty” in the divorce proceeding.

More precisely, when divorcing partners cannot reach an agreement about dividing their assets and properties, the court will have the assets “characterized” – that is, every asset and property item will be identified as individual property or as marital property.

HOW DOES A CALIFORNIA DIVORCE COURT “CHARACTERIZE” A BUSINESS?

When your business is being characterized, the court will need answers to the following questions:

  • Did you inherit or create the business?
  • If it’s a start-up, was the business started before or during the marriage?
  • If it’s an inheritance, was it inherited before or during the marriage?
  • If it’s an inheritance, is it solely yours or is it co-owned with other heirs?
  • Do you have any business partners?

divorce paperwork

Don’t just presume that you’ll lose half of your business and that it will be characterized as marital property – everything hinges on details. For instance, if your business was created with your personal assets, you may be able to claim it as your personal property.

However, when one or both spouses have an ownership interest in a closely held corporation, that ownership interest is typically characterized as a marital asset and is therefore subject to division in a divorce proceeding in this state.

WHAT WILL A BUSINESS VALUATOR DO?

If a business – or the ownership interest in a business – must be divided, one or both spouses may hire a business valuator.

Every company is different, but typically a business valuator will request financial documents such as tax returns, financial statements, and balance sheets. A valuator may also meet with management and visit the operation’s headquarters, production facilities, and/or main offices.

financial disclosures

A business valuator will produce a business valuation report which estimates the current value and the projected future value of the business or the ownership interest in the business.

WHAT IF EITHER SPOUSE DISPUTES THE VALUATOR’S FINDINGS?

Divorcing spouses may or may not agree to accept the figures in the business valuation report. If they do not agree, or if they hired different valuators who arrive at different conclusions, the valuator(s) may have to testify in a divorce hearing about valuation techniques and methods.

If the parties cannot agree on a business valuation estimate, a judge is ultimately tasked with assigning a dollar value to the business and with dividing that value between the divorcing spouses.

WHAT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE IS REQUIRED IN A CALIFORNIA DIVORCE?

To divorce in California, both spouses must file detailed declarations of financial disclosure. The spouse who files divorce papers must complete a financial disclosure when filing for divorce or within sixty days after filing.

Let an experienced Cerritos divorce attorney help you complete the disclosure documents. Your declaration of financial disclosure must list all individual and marital properties and assets that the spouses have acquired before the marriage as well as during the marriage.

law clerks

All properties, assets, debts, and incomes must be fully disclosed by both divorcing spouses. The failure to make a full financial disclosure is illegal and may be considered perjury.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A CALIFORNIA DIVORCE LAW FIRM?

Financial disclosures provide the court with a precise snapshot of each partner’s financial condition, and that helps the court determine how to divide the marital properties and assets fairly.

If you own a business in California, it is vital to “get in front of” a divorce before your business is negatively affected. Even before you file divorce papers – or as soon as you know that your spouse is filing for divorce – speak at once to an experienced Cerritos divorce attorney.

HOW CAN YOUR BUSINESS BE PROTECTED IN ADVANCE OF A DIVORCE?

These recommendations for business owners will help you to protect the business from some of the problems that may arise in a divorce:

  • Maintain accurate, comprehensive business records. Keep personal finances entirely separate from business finances.
  • Obtain an objective, accurate, and precise valuation of your business in advance – to make sure that your spouse doesn’t receive more than his or her fair share.

In your divorce negotiations, you may have to negotiate other assets to keep the ownership of your business. For example, you might have to sacrifice a retirement account or some real estate as compensation for half of the operation.

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS WHEN SPOUSES ARE CO-OWNERS OF A BUSINESS?

If they co-own a business, divorcing spouses may choose to continue as partners, and neither spouse will need to sacrifice his or her share of the operation. A valuation won’t even be required in such cases. Another option is simply to sell a co-owned business and split the proceeds.

As a California business owner, unless you’re a sole proprietor or you co-own the business exclusively with your spouse, your business needs a business plan, an operating agreement, or by-laws that spell out what will happen when an owner divorces.

You should also ask an attorney to review any business documents or contracts that may affect your business interests in a California divorce proceeding.

WHAT MUST BE AVOIDED WHEN A BUSINESS OWNER DIVORCES?

What you and your divorce attorney can’t allow is to let your spouse take half of the business – and the profits – and also receive alimony indefinitely. A good divorce lawyer can and must make sure that “double-dipping” by your spouse is not part of your divorce settlement.

Divorce is always difficult, but if you own a business, you must focus on your business interests. A divorce doesn’t have to ruin the business, but you must have the right divorce lawyer’s help.

Before you seek a divorce, or if you’re served with divorce papers, contact an experienced California divorce lawyer who will protect your business and your long-term business interests. Meeting with a divorce attorney as early as possible is the best strategy, and it’s your right.

What Is The Process For Separation In California?

Posted on: March 18, 2019 by in Divorce
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Here in California, married couples who are prepared to end a marriage may choose from several legal alternatives. Their options include a divorce trial, mediation, arbitration, “collaborative” divorce, annulment, and legal separation.

If you are dissolving your marriage, which of these options is best for you? Many people who are ending a marriage automatically choose divorce, but the legal separation option should be seriously considered.

How does legal separation work in California, and how does it differ from annulment or divorce? Can a divorce lawyer in Cerritos help?

EXACTLY WHAT IS LEGAL SEPARATION?

Legal separation and divorce have many similarities but also several important distinctions. Legal separation is not divorce, but for many California couples, it provides a practical alternative to divorce.

Legally separated spouses are still legally married, but in most ways, they live as if they’re divorced. They don’t share a residence, and if they’re parents, they’ll need to reach an agreement – or have an agreement imposed by the court – regarding custody, visitations, and child support.

WHY DO COUPLES CHOOSE LEGAL SEPARATION?

Not all couples who legally separate end up divorcing. A legal separation gives the spouses an opportunity to re-examine their marital situation before either spouse makes a final decision to divorce. Some separated couples are able to reconcile their differences and save their marriages.

Some couples choose to separate legally rather than seek an annulment or a divorce because their religious values prevent divorce. Some choose legal separation to hang onto benefits that might be lost in a divorce.

Still, others look at a legal separation as a sort of “trial” divorce – separating to find out “what it’s like” before permanently dissolving the marriage.

When a married couple no longer wants to live together, but one or both spouses cannot or will not divorce, or if a spouse simply is not ready for divorce, legal separation may offer the best legal remedy.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A LEGAL SEPARATION?

Simply living apart from one another does not create what California calls a “legal separation.” Spouses must file papers with the court, and they will need some help from an experienced Cerritos family law attorney.

Although at least one spouse must be a California resident for at least six months in order to file for a divorce, there is no such requirement for a legal separation in this state.

If you have not resided in California for a full six months – that is, you are a new resident – you may be able to get around the six-month residency rule for divorce by filing for a legal separation first.

If you are new in this state, you can sometimes speed up the divorce process if you file first for legal separation. California lets legally separated spouses “convert” a separation into a divorce as soon as the legal separation process is finalized.

DO MOST LEGALLY SEPARATED COUPLES RECONCILE OR DIVORCE?

Eventually, partners who legally separate either reconcile or divorce. The U.S. Census Bureau tells us that fourteen percent of the couples who legally separate eventually reconcile. The truth is, for most couples who choose it, legal separation is a prelude to divorce.

In California, both partners must consent to a legal separation. If the partner being served with legal separation papers objects to a legal separation, the other partner may have to seek a divorce or remain in the marriage.

The paperwork a legal separation is just as burdensome and complicated as the paperwork for a California divorce. In both procedures, a couple can voluntarily resolve questions like spousal support and child custody, or a court will make and impose those decisions with a court order.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN COURT DURING THE LEGAL SEPARATION PROCESS?

In a legal separation, a California judge may issue orders for child custody, child support, and/or spousal support (alimony). Additionally, in a legal separation, one partner may remain as a beneficiary of the other partner’s life insurance.

However, a spouse in a legal separation may or may not be covered by the other spouse’s health insurance plan. It depends on the policy, so you may want to review your health insurance policy before taking any legal action.

In both legal separations and divorces, a couple can save time and money – and avoid inconvenience and acrimony – by finding as much common ground as possible before initiating a divorce or a legal separation.

HOW CAN A TOP FAMILY LAW FIRM HELP YOU?

What does it take to obtain a legal separation? The first and most important step is contacting an experienced Cerritos family law attorney. A good attorney’s advice, insights, and guidance is imperative if you are seeking a legal separation or a divorce in Southern California.

A good family lawyer will help you with the extensive legal paperwork required for a legal separation. If you are a parent, there is additional paperwork. There is also a filing fee, but anyone with a low income or receiving public benefits can request a fee waiver.

Before you make a final decision about dissolving your marriage, it is a good idea to seek out some advice. If there’s a close friend you trust and you routinely confide in one another, talk with that person.

divorcing couple

Do you belong to a faith community? It may offer counseling that’s just right for you. Counseling resources are abundant across the state in both the private and public sectors.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A DIVORCE ATTORNEY?

While a legal separation isn’t a divorce, there may still be important issues to resolve. Which partner will pay for what? What happens to the family home? If the spouses are parents, which parent will have custody and make the important decisions about education and healthcare.

In most cases, a reliable, experienced family law attorney can help you – or both of you – resolve these questions and obtain a legal separation or a divorce. If you are considering – or anticipating – a divorce, speak to a good family law attorney at once about all of your options.

When a marriage ends, you must protect your interests and your future. Make the call to a family law attorney and get the sound legal advice you need before any legal separation or divorce procedure even begins. Your future will depend on it.

Do Divorces Increase After V-Day?

Posted on: February 13, 2019 by in Divorce
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hearts and chocolate

You may be surprised to learn that the day after Valentine’s Day begins the annual busy season for Cerritos divorce lawyers. Research published by AttorneyFee.com indicates that divorce filings each February in the U.S. are about eighteen percent above the number of filings in an average month.

A second legal site, Avvo.com, reports that there is an annual forty percent rise in the number of married persons who are seeking legal advice about divorce in the days immediately following Valentine’s Day.

Why is there a spike in the number of divorce filings every February? Is there something wrong with Valentine’s Day, or are there other reasons for the seasonal increase in divorce filings?

IS VALENTINE’S DAY A REASON WHY PEOPLE GET DIVORCED?

Richard Komaiko is a co-founder of AttorneyFee.com. Komaiko tells CNN that “There’s a very large number of people who are considering the divorce all the time, deciding whether or not to file. On Valentine’s Day, they take stock of things.”

Why Valentine’s Day? There are several good reasons. For many people, summers are dedicated to vacations and fun, and the holidays are for families, so the best time to file for a divorce is when the holidays are over, the year is still new, and some extra cash is expected from the IRS.

ARE TAX REFUNDS THE REAL REASON WHY FEBRUARY IS DIVORCE SEASON?

Many contend that tax season is divorce season because Valentine’s Day is generally when people start receiving tax refunds. In southern California, if you plan to pay for a divorce with your IRS tax refund this year, consult at once with an experienced Cerritos divorce attorney.

At least one partner’s income, finances, and lifestyle will probably change quite dramatically after a divorce, so if you are intending to use your tax refund to pay for a divorce this tax season, you must be prepared to deal with the financial changes and challenges that a divorce entails.

If you seek a divorce after receiving your tax refund this year, you should be aware that you could be asking for genuine financial trouble if the financial particulars of your case are not reviewed thoroughly and handled properly by a knowledgeable and skill divorce lawyer.

WHAT FINANCIAL STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE PRIOR TO A DIVORCE?

To prepare – wisely – for a divorce, go ahead and take these six key financial steps:

Open one or more new bank accounts in your name only.
Thoroughly review your financial condition and your credit report.
Create a practical personal budget that works, and stick with it.
Cancel any joint credit cards that you share with your spouse.
You may need to change the beneficiary of your bank accounts and life insurance.
Speak at once with a good California divorce attorney.

It is quite easy to see why so many people wait for a tax refund and then file for a divorce. Tax refunds, however, may not be the only reason why February is the month with the most divorce filings.

DOES VALENTINE’S DAY “TRIGGER” DIVORCE FILINGS?

Alton Abramowitz, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, suspects that Valentine’s Day itself – and the expectation of romance on the holiday – may in fact be the trigger that brings many already-troubled marriages to the point of divorce.

Abramowitz tells CNN, “There’s always the clients who come in a day or two after saying, ‘I can’t believe it, I made this beautiful dinner for my husband for Valentine’s Day, he called to say he was stuck in the office and then didn’t come home at all.'”

For whatever reason you may choose to divorce, do not even think about starting a divorce in California without the sound legal guidance and advice that a seasoned divorce lawyer can offer. Far too much – your future, your finances, and if you are a parent, your kids – will be at stake.

HOW MUCH WILL A DIVORCE COST IN CERRITOS, CA?

The cost of a divorce will depend on precisely what legal services you need. When everything is in dispute, a divorce costs more, but when divorcing spouses can agree, and when issues like custody, child support, and alimony can be resolved in advance, you will pay significantly less.

However, when divorcing spouses can’t agree on anything, a trial to resolve their disputes can be quite costly in California. Reaching some voluntary mutual agreements is realistically the only way to reduce the cost of a divorce in this state.

Still, most divorce attorneys can arrange a realistic and practical payment plan that will work for almost anyone. And under California law, if one partner rejects settlement agreements in a way that drives up litigation costs, a court may order that partner to pay for the other spouse’s lawyer.

A judge may also order one spouse to pay the other’s legal fees if a spouse is so disadvantaged financially that the proceeding would otherwise be entirely unfair. A disadvantaged spouse may ask a judge to examine the couple’s finances and to guarantee the fairness of the proceeding.

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A CALIFORNIA DIVORCE?

Of course, because every divorce is different, if you are divorcing, considering a divorce, or anticipating a divorce in southern California this year, you will need to have a qualified divorce lawyer explain what the fees and the other costs will be in your own situation.

You already know that a divorce is an emotional experience, but it will be important to stay focused on your finances. Take full advantage of the legal advice, insights, representation, resources, and experience that your divorce attorney offers.

You do not need to prove “fault” to divorce in California. To obtain a divorce in this state, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state for at least six successive months and must be a resident of the county where the divorce petition is filed for at least three consecutive months.

A good divorce attorney’s help is your right. Do not be intimidated, and do not let financial anxiety hold you back. Reliable legal help is here for you in southern California, but you must take the first step and make the call to an experienced Cerritos divorce attorney.