When our partner tells us time is up, many of us can be left wondering ‘what now?’. The next step should be to decide whether or not you need the assistance of a divorce attorney. Couples that can talk to each other without ripping their heads off, in other words couples who are on amicable terms may work with one another to decide who gets to keep the kids, who pays for which credit loan, who gets to keep what property, and the terms and conditions of the child or spousal support. When both parties are cooperating with one another, it will help expedite the divorce procedure.
However, even in amicable cases, couples may seek the assistance of a divorce lawyer . When couples have a good amount of debt, assets, and property, they may consider working with an attorney who can assist with the evaluation of their properties and assets so that both fully understand what is at stake. If you are in Chula Vista, CA, you will have to split your properties, assets, and debts in a fifty/fifty manner so it is crucial to carefully evaluate property and debt before deciding who gets what.
In other cases, if you and your spouse are on less amicable terms you may require the assistance of a divorce attorney who can assist with mediation. One of the most valuable aspects of working with a lawyer that can mediate a situation is that it can help keep the case from entering a courtroom. Once the case enters ‘litigation mode’ you will be required to represent and make claims in a courtroom where a judge will have a final say. Working with an attorney who is experienced in mediation and collaborative divorce cases is something that you want to keep an eye out for. Of course, your attorney should always be prepared to litigate, however, you need to make sure he or she is capable of exhausting all measures of negotiation before making the divorce more costly and time consuming for both parties.
Collaborative divorce cases are becoming more common. A collaborative divorce is when both parties are represented by divorce lawyers and agree to take care of the divorce case through informal means. When choosing a divorce attorney, you may ask your attorney about their experience with collaborative divorce cases. It is almost always in your best interest to keep the divorce from going into a courtroom. A divorce courtroom proceeding can be emotionally draining and in the end, a judge will make decisions based on the facts presented in a courtroom which may not reflect the reality of the situation.
Furthermore, you want an lawyer that specializes in the following common divorce practices. Not all will relate to your case so you should bring up a specific practice or concern to your attorney.
- Divorce: an attorney processing divorce will help you establish a divorce decree that works for both parties. A divorce decree includes information pertaining to why the marriage ended, the terms regarding visitation, custody, alimony, and the division of assets, property, and debts. A divorce may become a complicated ordeal when there are properties and children involved. Furthermore, you may consider working with an attorney if you cannot come to terms with your soon to be ex-spouse or ex-partner. Most individuals file a divorce with the help of a divorce attorney so that each party gets their fair share.
- Child Support: when children are involved in a divorce, both parents have legal obligations towards the child. More often than not, the party with physical custody will receive some form of financial assistance to help with the cost of raising the children. The terms and conditions of child support vary from case to case, often depending on the income of the earning party.
- Child Custody: more common than not, a court will grant the mother of the children physical custody before they consider handing custody over to the father. In cases where a father wants physical custody, he may be required to enter a courtroom to fight for custody. To fight for custody the requesting party will need to prove how the best interests of the child will be served.
- Child Visitation: when the individual granted with physical custody refuses to allow the other parent to visit, the other party may bring the case into a courtroom. Under family law, both parents have legal rights to their children one of them being visitation. If you need help meditating or litigating for your rights as a parent, you may speak to a family lawyer as your spouse may be violating certain family law codes.
- Paternity: children are born outside of marriages for often than you may think. When children are born outside of a marriage, it may pose a challenge to establish parenthood if the parent was not at the hospital to sign the birth papers. To be able to challenge visitation and custody, you must be recognized as a legal parent first. If you are not on the child’s certificate of birth, the first step is to contact an attorney specialized in family law to help establish your rights as a parent.
- Division of Assets, Property, and Debts: after a divorce, both parties must come to a conclusion on they will divide all assets, properties, and debts. This process requires negotiation and clear understanding of all financial affairs. To ensure that you split your property accordingly, you may speak with a local divorce attorney.
- Domestic Partnerships: same-sex individuals in a legally recognized partnership have many of the rights promised to individuals in a marriage. Individuals in domestic relationships have the right to claim properties and assets at the end of the relationship. In addition, a domestic partner may also claim partner support after the relationship is terminated.
- Premarital Agreement: some divorce cases require a divorce lawyer that can help uphold the provisions of a prenuptial agreement. If you have established a prenup, you may need legal representation to ensure that your partner does not go after the property and assets mentioned in the agreement.
- Post-marital agreement: like with prenups, if you established a marital agreement you should let your attorney know so that he or she may help address your property in the divorce decree.
If you reside in the state of California, you are encouraged to speak with a local attorney about the issues above that relate to your case. We can apply the local California laws which differ from every state to your specific needs and goals. To learn more you are encouraged to contact us today and/or you may read on to learn more about the subjects addressed above. To speak with a local attorney you may contact a Chula Vista Divorce Attorney at 858-529-5150.
Married individuals that reside in California, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington, are in states known as ‘community property states’. Simply put, if you live in one of these states, any property, asset, or debt that was accumulated throughout a marriage will be divided between spouse at the time of a divorce. In states that practice community property laws, each individual can claim fifty percent of the asset that was accumulated throughout the life of the marriage. If you are filing a divorce in California, you are encouraged to consult your case with a lawyer that may assist and guide you through the community state property laws.
To initiate a divorce, either party may file a divorce petition to the court. Since the adoption of the no-fault law, there is no legal force that can prevent an individual from obtaining a divorce. Once you have submitted your petition, you will be required to divide all assets, properties, and debt. In addition, if children are involved, both parties will need to come to an agreement on visitation, child custody, child support. All information pertaining to the divorce will be included in a divorce decree.
Child support will vary case by case. Some couples are able to work out a child support amount on their own without having to enter litigation. However, either couple may bring the issue into a courtroom so that a judge decides the amount of the child support obligation. Before a judge determines how much the earning party needs to pay, he or she will consider the following:
- The number of children
- The earning potentials of both parties
- The type of custody (sole/joint)
- The age of the child or children
- The living conditions in the house before the divorce
After consideration of all the factors presented in a courtroom, the judge will make a decision on the amount that is required of the non-custodial parent. In most cases, you can expect to pay more child support if you are a high earning individual. Child support will ultimately depend on the providing parties income. To learn more about how child support works in California, you may visit the California Department of Child Support Services.
In a family courtroom, the judge can establish a joint or sole custody. A judge can establish joint physical and legal custody in which case both parents have fifty/fifty rights over the children's affairs. In sole custody cases, it means that only one parent has the right to make legal decisions on the child’s behalf. For instance, the judge can grant the mother sole physical custody in which case the children are legally under her custody. However, the judge may establish joint custody on the child's legal matters in which case both legal parents have jurisdiction on issues like where the child will go to school or the child's healthcare insurance. In other cases, a judge can award one parent sole physical and legal custody over the child/children in which case the parent will make all the decisions pertaining to the child's life.
Parents that want to remain a part of their children's lives despite the court decision on physical custody, may establish visitation rights. Non-custodial parents have the right to seek visitation. When custodial parents want to terminate the others visitation rights, he or she will need the help of a court order. In addition, if the custodial parent refuses to let you see your children, you may need to contest the issue in a courtroom. To learn more about your visitation rights and the types of visitation, you may visit the California Courts.
The only time you need to establish parental rights is if you have signed the Declaration of Paternity, a form signed at the hospital for parents that are not married. If you have signed the Declaration of Paternity your information should be included in the child’s certificate of birth. In a courtroom, you can show you are the legal parent by showing the signed document or providing other legal documents that show you are the legal parent of the child.
In the event that you did not sign the document at the time of birth, you will be required to establish paternity before you can pursue child visitation or custody. In California, if you did not sign the paternity document (even if you are biologically related to the child), you have no legal rights over the child. If you want to establish your parental rights, you may be required to sign the Declaration of Paternity in a notary or other public agency with your spouse or ex-spouse. In other cases, you may file an action with the local child support services to establish your rights as a parent.
Division of Assets, Property, and Debt
Aside from child custody and child/spousal support, the most time consuming and contentious part of a divorce is the process of dividing all of the debts and properties that each party accumulated during the life of the marriage. As mentioned earlier, California is one of the eight states that enforces community property laws. When dividing all assets and properties, it is a good idea to start by filling out an FL-142 form otherwise known as the ‘Schedule of Assets and Debts’. This form may be filled out by both parties and both parties are required to make a list of all debts and assets of the marriage. Once everything is laid out you may talk with your spouse about any disagreements regarding the value of a property or any disagreements that may arise from what is thought to be community or shared property. In some cases, you may work with an attorney to help mediate this procedure and help both of you establish the value to a certain property. Working with a mediator allows the couples to have a better understanding of the real value of the property which will allow them to make a sound decision before finalizing a divorce.
Same-sex partnership laws are relatively new to U.S courts and not every lawyer or judge is up to date with the current laws that protect same-sex partners. In California, same-sex domestic partners have the same rights as those who are in a marriage. Same-sex partners may adopt, buy a house together, file taxes as a single household and enjoy many of the rights promised through a marriage. Like with marriages, domestic partnerships may be terminated without establishing fault. In the same manner, after a separation, the providing partner may be required to pay partner support and if children were involved both parents can pursue custody and visitation. If you are ending your domestic partnership, you may discuss your circumstances with a divorce attorney.
A divorce is a process that can take time, especially when in the presence of children and property/debts. A divorce attorney can help you work with the other spouse to establish child custody, visitation, and the amount of child support. In addition, an attorney can assist you with spousal support. To establish spousal support, there are a number of factors that are assessed including the age of the other dependent party, the ability of the dependent party to work or go to school, the earning potentials of the dependent party, and the income of the earning party. When establishing spousal and/or child support, it is crucial to consult with an attorney to ensure that you do not pay more than you need to. Furthermore, the divorce process requires the division of assets and properties. A couple may argue over the value of a certain property or may refuse to pay a certain debt. A divorce attorney can help you divide assets and debts so that both parties get what is fair.
Establishing common ground with the other party is one of the best things you can do to avoid entering a courtroom. Once you enter a courtroom, both individuals will be required to represent their case and provide proof of their claims. In a courtroom, the process becomes longer and more costly which is why we believe it is best to sort these issues through informal means. To speak with a local attorney about the specific factors of your divorce case, you can reach a San Diego Divorce Lawyer at 858-529-5150. We are ready to provide guidance and representation where needed.