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.