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.