Friday, September 14, 2012

Divorce In California: Spousal Support

Facing a divorce can be one of the most stressful and anxiety-producing times of your life. Whether the breakup was planned or came about without warning, the prospect of divorce can cause great upset and render you confused about what to do next. The first step in alleviating your fears of the unknown is to become informed about the laws of divorce in California, spousal support, and to educate yourself about its ins-and-outs and how it will affect you and your family. 

As with any new situation, when you understand the process and know what your duties and responsibilities are, you will have a more realistic expectation for what lies ahead in the coming months. Allow your friends and family members for help and support you.  Ask for referrals to reputable family law attorneys who will sit down with you and go over your options and explain your rights.  You will inevitably make better decisions with current and accurate information.  Knowledge is power.

Below is a general description of spousal support and how divorce in California (spousal support), is generally viewed:

Spousal support is the payment or transfer of assets from one spouse to another after a divorce.  Until the matter has been resolved by the court or agreed to by the parties, interim payments can be put into place. This is called Temporary Spousal Support

If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement about how to divide the marital assets and payment of support, then the laws of divorce in California, spousal support, provide that the Superior Court in your county can use a support calculator program to assists them in determining the payments distributed from one spouse to the other.  

In deciding how spousal support should be awarded, the court considers the earning capacity of both parties, the assets and each party’s ability to pay, the standard of living maintained during the marriage, separate property, how long the marriage lasted, the ability of each party to find gainful employment or training, and the interest of the dependent children.  Other mitigating circumstances that the courts will consider are history of domestic violence and the emotion stress it causes.

Today, spousal support may be awarded to either a husband or wife, depending on the parties’ financial status.  Generally, however, this period has a set duration, allowing the supported party reasonable time to become financially independent before the support expires.

If a couple is able to come to a reasonable solution in terms of property division through mediation, they can avoid costly litigation.  However, some long-term marriages have complicated financial and tax implications that may require professional assessments, evaluations and negotiations. The State of California and its counties provide their citizens with the California Courts Judicial Branch Self-Help website, providing answers to questions about the laws of divorce in California.  It can assist you in deciding whether you should seek competent legal representation or retain a certified mediator. 

The dissolution of a marriage is an arduous time for most people.  Even if the decision to separate is mutually agreed upon by both parties, there are many psychological and emotional consequences of the end of a significant relationship. Consider counseling to help you get through the ups and downs and increase your chances of coming out of the other side of divorce mentally intact and emotionally healthy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Divorce in Alameda County California

Divorce is never easy. The longer a couple is married, whether they accumulate assets and if they have children together makes it that much harder. Individuals seeking divorce in Alameda County, California need to understand what occurs to avoid some of the pitfalls that can extend this painful process and add to its cost.

  • Prenuptial Agreement: This contract determines what will happen with assets should divorce occur. It is one of the simplest ways of dividing assets and makes for an easy dissolution. It can be as simple as taking back whatever one entered the relationship with. Some stipulations are made so that one party receives compensation based on the number of years devoted to the marriage. Other stipulations include compensation based on why or who decided to end the relationship. The adjustments in this sort of agreement are endless.

  • Assets: Not everyone entering marriage has a premarital arrangement. In that case, dividing property is a little more complicated. The couple can sit down and work out an agreement. It is best to hire an attorney to ensure the division is fair. In cases, where couples are unable to come to an understanding, the judge may order the assets be sold and the proceeds split amongst both parties.

  • Alimony: In the past, it was generally the wife that received alimony or spousal support, after divorce. Now, it can be either spouse and is usually based on income and role in the relationship. Someone who did not work or earn a living wage during the course of the marriage, is often determined to be eligible for spousal support, whether male or female. It can be a lifetime allocation, but today, judges are more likely to put a set date on alimony for divorce in Alameda County and elsewhere.

  • Custody: Custody constitutes one of the most contentious parts of a divorce in Alameda County. When both parents agree upon a 50/50 split, the children spend six months at a time with either parent. They attend school from whichever parent has custody at that moment. This is not a common arrangement and in most cases, children live with one parent for the majority of time and visit the non-custodial parent on weekends and for holidays and summer vacation.

  • Child Support: Just because parents decide they no longer desire marriage does not mean the children need to suffer financially. Parents are expected to care for the children in the same manner as pre-divorce and child support provides the money to do so. Child support is usually paid to the parent with primary custody and is for the use of children only. It covers basic necessities, as well as medical, dental and extracurricular activities. A judge goes over the finances of the person responsible for support to determine what portion of his or her salary goes toward this monthly payment. Those in violation of this agreement are breaking the law.

Divorce in Alameda County, California need not be any more difficult than necessary. Hire an attorney to preserve parental rights and ensure fairness and civility. Enter the process with full knowledge of your rights.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Divorce Jokes

Divorce can be a very rough moment in life and people say that laughter is the best medicine. Here are some divorce jokes to make you laugh when the going gets tough:

My wife told me we couldn't afford beer anymore so I'd have to give it up.
A day later I caught her spending $100.00 on make-up. So I asked her, how come I had to give up stuff but she didn't.
She said she needed the make-up to look pretty for me.
I told her that was what the beer was for.
I don't think she's coming back.

At the cocktail party, one woman said to another, "Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?"

The other replied, "Yes I am, I married the wrong man."

One day a father gets out of work and on his way home he suddenly remembers that it's his daughter's birthday. He pulls over to a toy Shop and asks the sales person, "How much for one of those Barbie's in the display window?"

The salesperson answers, "Which one do you mean, Sir? We have: Work Out Barbie for $19. 95, Shopping Barbie for $19. 95, Beach Barbie for $19. 95, Disco Barbie for $19. 95, Ballerina Barbie For $19. 95, Astronaut Barbie for $19. 95, Skater Barbie for $19. 95, and Divorced Barbie for $265. 95."

The amazed father asks: "It's what?! Why is the Divorced Barbie $265. 95 and the others only $19. 95?"

The annoyed salesperson rolls her eyes, sighs, and answers: "Sir... , Divorced Barbie comes with: Ken's Car, Ken's House, Ken's Boat, Ken's Furniture, Ken's Computer, one of Ken's Friends, and a key chain made with Ken's family jewels."

A man comes home one day and says to his wife "Darling, what would you do if I said I've won the lottery?"

His wife replies "Id take half then leave you."

He responds "Excellent! I had three numbers and won ten dollars. Here's five, now get the hell out of here!"

Some time after their bitter divorce, a man happened to pull
up alongside his ex-wife at a traffic signal. He shouted over,
"So... out looking for a little, huh?"
She smiled sweetly and said, "No, I had 6 years of that with
you. Now, I'm out looking for a LOT!"

"Your Honor, my wife is just being ridiculous. Most women
would love to have a husband who still believes in chivalry
and I was only opening the door for her out of chivalry."
"Mr. Smith," replied the judge, "I am granting the divorce.
I cannot believe chivalry was your motivation while driving
65 mph."

How do most men define marriage? A very expensive way to get your laundry done for free

There are two times when a man doesn't understand a woman:
Before marriage and after marriage.

A man wanted to determine if both his wife and mistress were faithful to him. So he decided to send them on the same cruise, then later question each one on the other's behavior.
When his wife returned, he asked her about the people on the trip in general, then casually asked her about the specific behavior of the passenger he knew to be his mistress. "She slept with nearly every man on the ship," his wife reported.
The disheartened man then rendezvoused with his cheating mistress to ask her the same questions about his wife.
"She was a real lady," his mistress said.
"How so?" the encouraged man asked.
"She came on board with her husband and never left his side."

Friday, July 27, 2012

California Divorce Court Fees

The prospect of getting a divorce is certainly a devastaing experience. But while it may be emotionally difficult, it may not be as financially crushing as you might expect. The basic California divorce court fees are one aspect of the process, but it may not be the only area of expense. You have some control over the cost if you are willing to approach the divorce rationally and in a cooperative manner. A review of the entire process will help you understand what to expect and help you make financial plans.

The legal process begins with the required forms. You can download them for free from the California Courts web site. Be sure to read all instructions carefully and fill out all the necessary documents. You will need:

  • Petition - Form FL-100. This form provides basic information to the court and allows you to ask for any court orders you want.
  • Summons - Fm FL-110. This form covers the divorce or separation process as well as some standard  orders with repect to your assets and liabilities. It also addresses moving out of state with your children.
  • Property Declaration - Form FL-160 Is an extension to FL-110 to fully list your properties and debts. 
  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105/GC-120) is required if there are children of the marriage under the age of 18.
  • Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment - Form FL-311is not required, but will help ensure that all custody and visitation issues are addressed.
Once you have filled out all of the forms it is a good idea to have them reviewed by an attorney. There are no regulations governing attorney fees, but the average in California is between $250 and $400 per hour. You may also get some assistance at a self -help center through your county court. Under certain circumstances you may be eligible for a summary dissolution instead of a divorce. The filing fee is $395. Some courts require local forms as well as the state mandated forms. You can find out whether this is required in your county of residence by checking its website.

When your forms have been completed and reviewed, you will need to file them with the court. California divorce court fees are $435 for the initial filing. If the party who is not filing needs to respond to the claims made in the initial filing, the spousal response fee is another $435. This is why it is much less expensive to come to agreements ahead of time as to property, debt, child custody, visitation and support payments. If you can't afford the fees, you can request a waiver.

The person filing must serve the other spouse with copies of all of your paperwork. The law says you cannot serve your spouse yourself, but you may have a friend or family member do it for you. Otherwise you must hire a process server or sherrif to deliver it, both of which will charge fees. Your spouse has thirty days from the date served to respond. If you and your spouse are in agreement, the divorce process is fairly simple from this point. If not, extended court battles and attorney fees can be extremely expensive.

That is all of the California divorce court fees, but when there are children involved the court can order psychological evaluations and treatments that can be very costly. If you focus on equitable solutions for both parties and not on winning or losing, you can minimize the financial burdon of this difficult legal situation so that both of you can move on with your lives.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Divorce During Pregnancy

Divorce is hard. Pregnancy is hard. Divorce during pregnancy? Well, needless to say, both your pregnancy and your divorce just got a little harder. While there is never a good time to get divorced, getting a divorce during pregnancy might feel like the worst time. Every circumstance is different, though, and you may need to get a divorce during your pregnancy. If this is the case for you, there are few guidelines you should follow and some information you should know before proceeding.

Prenatal CareFirst and foremost, you must keep up your prenatal care. Making sure both you and your baby are as healthy as possible will ease the physical stress on you during your divorce. Inform your provider about your divorce so your doctor can be aware of the additional stress in your life and look for any signs that the stress is affecting your pregnancy.

You may also want to consider seeing a therapist who has worked with patients in your situation before. This will help ease the emotional stress you will face during this difficult time. Stress can have a negative impact on your pregnancy causing low birth weight or even premature labor.

Legal HelpPregnancy complicates divorce procedures in a number of ways. In some states, couples may have to wait to file for divorce until the pregnancy is over or may have to wait to finalize the divorce. In other states, a judge may decide if the divorce can proceed during the pregnancy or not. A competent divorce attorney can navigate these issues for you.

Pregnancy also means a child and custody issues. If there are additional children and you are already working out custody issues, make sure you include the unborn child as well. If this is your first child and you have not yet retained legal help, you should do so immediately. Determining custody of your child is a complicated process involving real people's lives and you want to make sure you do it right the first time.

Move Quickly — Or Slow DownA divorce during pregnancy can either move quickly in order to finalize all the details before the birth of the baby, which has some advantages. A divorce during pregnancy can also move slowly, which has advantages of its own as well. Moving quickly means you can put the divorce behind you and focus on the birth of the child. Both the husband and wife can emotionally move on and put their emotional energy into the new baby.

Moving slowly could have some health benefits for the mom and child by reducing stress. The father can also keep the mother and baby on his insurance, if she needs it, reducing the cost of having a baby. Couples struggling with custody issues may find it easier emotionally to discuss custody once the baby arrives as well.

So while divorce during pregnancy certainly is not optimal for anyone involved, there are steps you can take to make it easier. Take care of the health of the mother and unborn child, get legal help right away and consider the timing of your divorce

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Divorce Help for Men

Going through a divorce is never an easy task, and you should never have to do it alone. You may think everyone is against you, but there are people out there looking to help you with every step of the way. Divorce is never desirable, but if you want to make it through this difficult chapter in your life, you just need to keep your chin up and your head held high, because you can make it through this and see that life still does go on and, often times, it is far better on the other side than what you ever thought before.

Generally, unless you have specific documentation stating otherwise, everything is going to be split down the middle and half given to one side, half given to the other party. Not everyone is going to sign a prenuptial agreement, so more likely than not, you are going to have to split it down the middle. Although you probably don't want to be going through the divorce, it is important to stay cordial throughout the process. The better you work with one another, the less the court system needs to get involved.

The court needs to do something, as it needs to prepare the necessary documentation and information in order to legally divorce the two of you, but as long as you keep everything civilized, you should be okay. Because everything is split up in half, go to your bank accounts and split the entire amount of money down the middle, with going into a new account with your name. Make sure your ex (or soon to be ex) is with you for this, because you don't want her going to the court, saying your stealing money from the joint account. This is necessary divorce help for men you need to follow. This  is going to come in handy as it saves you a headache in the long run.

Do the same task with your stocks, bonds and other investments. If you have a broker, have the content divided up evenly. It is best, if you have different kinds of stocks and bonds invested into, to give the equal amount of each stock and of each bond to one another. This way, should one particular stock begin to perform well, nobody is mad at the other individual for receiving the particular stock.

Important divorce help for men includes the different kinds of debt you have with one another. This includes credit card payments, mortgages, student loans and other kinds of debt. Mortgages is something the two of you is going to have to figure out, as it is going to go with whomever receives the house. Hopefully the two of you can work out something regarding the mortgage and the house, because if you don't, it is going to go to the courts.

When it comes to the debt from small loans and credit cards, close these particular accounts and contact the issuers. You don't want your ex going on a spending spree just because you are going to be stuck with half of the debt. Once the accounts are closed, the loan provider is able to split the amount of money owned in half and give each of you half. There might be some stipulations regarding how the debt is split up, depending on the kind of agreement you signed with the loan provider, but chances are, you shouldn't have a problem splitting it up and having each party pay their fair share.

Divorce is never easy, but you can make it through.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Divorce Rate in California

Divorce is not uncommon, especially in the United States.  The divorce rate among couples that have gotten married for the first time is 41%.  Individuals who are in their second marriage have a 60% divorce rate.  In California it is even higher.  The divorce rate in California hovers around 75%. Because of the high divorce rate in California, many refer to the state as the divorce capital of the world.

So why is this?  It might be because of what seems like a liberal, movie star-like culture.  If you pay attention to the celebrity gossip pages, then it seems like celebrities living Los Angeles get married on a whim.  Is that how everyone is in California?  Not likely.  Maybe it has to do with couples moving to the state and struggling with money issues and career issues.  To be honest, couples probably divorce for the same reasons in California as in other states.
It is always recommended that you seek counseling before deciding on divorce.  A divorce can get quite messy and be taxing both mentally and financially.  Not to mention the fact that if there is a possibility your marriage can be saved, then you should explore that possibility.  If divorce is the only way to go, then keep these tips in mind.
  1. If children are involved, then be sure to keep them from being exposed to any nasty divorce fights.  You and your ex-partner should do your best to split ways in an amicable way, and if that isn’t possible, then at least treat each other with mutual respect in front of your children.
  2. Find a qualified family lawyer to help guide you through the divorce process.  A family lawyer may even be able to recommend a therapist if you need one.
  3. There will be a lot of financial tasks that need to be taken care of.  A tax accountant is a good idea if you do not have one. 
  4. Close any bank or investment accounts that you share with your partner.  Cancel shared credit cards as well.
  5. Separate your credit history from your partner by calling the major credit bureaus. 
  6. You will have to make legal revisions to documents such as your will, your insurance, your taxes and any retirement plans you may have, such as a 401k.
  7. Be sure to keep copies of all your legal and financial information. 
  8. Come up with a personal budget of how much you need to live after the divorce goes through.
These are just a few tips on how to prepare yourself for a divorce.  Even if it is an amicable split and you remain on friendly terms with your ex-partner, the legalities and paperwork involved in a divorce can be extremely stressful.  Make sure you include family and friends in what is going on so that you have a support group to fall on when you need someone to lend an ear.

Don't feel bad about divorcing your partner.  If the marriage didn't work, then it didn't work.  It is not uncommon to be divorced as you can see by the divorce rate in California. Just remember, divorce isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be messy.