Of all the legal processes that one may face in California, divorce is perhaps the most strenuous and difficult to endure. Divorce is a sensitive ordeal that involves the fragmentation of a family, and while some divorces are more amicable than others, it is rare to see a divorce completely void of emotional strain. Even couples who agree on the divorce itself may not agree on specific issues related to the divorce, such as the partition of marital property or the custody of children. Additionally, the process of divorce in California is not a simple one, it is not as if the two partners who are getting a divorce resolve the matter by simply signing a piece of paper. Specific legal documents must be completed correctly, and certain marital legal issues must be resolved for a settlement to be deemed as valid by the California court system. This process involves a great number of steps, and almost always takes months to fully complete.
In order to get yourself through this elaborate and challenging process, people getting divorced often employ the aid of qualified divorce legal lawyer, a person who is who is well-versed in how to help you navigate divorce proceedings in California. This lawyer is not only helpful for filling out all of the necessary forms and dealing with all the complicated legal issues, this person can also help take on much of the burden of dealing with a divorce in order to help you persevere through this tribulation. Going through a divorce alone is extremely burdensome, and the help of a divorce attorney can make the process much more bearable. Also, to make certain you reach a divorce settlement that is fair and leaves you with what you rightfully deserve, it is almost necessary for you to call upon the support of a divorce attorney.
If you want to obtain the best legal representation, it is generally suggested that you employ an attorney who holds substantial experience handling divorce cases in your local vicinity, as they understand how to help you navigate your specific county court, and the intricacies that are associated with divorce in your particular area. Call 858-529-5150 if you would like to converse with a local Lemon Grove, CA divorce attorney, who can provide you with counsel or represent you as your divorce lawyer in any possible legal proceedings.
Divorce is like a fingerprint or a snowflake, no two are exactly the same, and each involves unique disputes and issues to be settled. Yet, a few specific matters are typically encountered in divorce proceedings, clarified in the sections below.
Categories of Divorce in California
First, it is important to understand that there isn’t just one kind of divorce that everybody pursues in California, there are different options available depending on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce. There are two main categories of divorce: consensual divorce and nonconsensual divorce. Through a consensual divorce, the two Californians getting the divorce and their legal representatives not only agree that they both want to pursue a divorce, but perhaps even more importantly, agree on the specifics of the settlement. If this category of divorce is pursued, then the two divorcing Californians and their legal representatives can hammer out the details of a divorce completely outside a courtroom. A judge still must approve the divorce settlement to ensure it meets the requirements for divorce settlements outlined in California law, but this is usually not an issue if the divorce settlement has been arranged by competent divorce attorneys.
The second main category of divorce, referred to as nonconsensual divorce, is when the two Californians getting divorced don’t agree on a divorce itself, or more commonly, on the specifics of a potential divorce settlement. In these cases, the divorce can be completed and settled using a handful of different methods. The two can enter divorce mediation, via which a trained mediator attempts to assists the two and their legal teams to reach a divorce accord, by helping them talk through the issues as an unbiased party. The two can also pursue an arbitration, through which a licensed arbitrator hears arguments and evidence from both sides and makes an ultimate legally obligatory decision regarding the divorce. Lastly, the two can take the divorce to a trial, where a judge makes the ultimate verdict concerning the divorce settlement.
Allocation of Marital Property
A topic that arises in almost every single nonconsensual divorce is how property will be allocated to each person when the divorce has been completed and finalized. Marriage almost always involves the accumulation of property, and it can be confusing to some how this property ought to be divided post-divorce.
California is one of nine states in the U.S. that embraces a community property statute. Under a system of community property, all property that the two people getting divorced gained during the time when they were married is considered community property, and must be divided 50-50 between the divorcing individuals. It doesn’t matter which partner physically gained the property, so long as it was obtained while they were still married, it is considered community property via California law. Any and all property gained by either of the divorcing individuals before or after the time when they were married is named separate property, and is not subject to division in the case of divorce. There are some exceptions to this general rule. Any property that was obtained by a person during the marriage as a gift, through a devise, or via a bequest is considered separate property by the law.
When dealing with the issue of the allocation of marital property in a divorce, it is suggested that you call upon the support of an attorney. A Lemon Grove attorney can ensure you are allocated the property you deserve. Even if the divorce has been cordial, a judge may reject the divorce agreement if California’s community property laws are violated, so the employment of a divorce attorney may be wise in order to avoid this situation.
Determination of Alimony
Alimony, which is also called spousal support, is a regular payment made from one divorcing Californian to the other, during the time of the divorce proceedings and possibly afterwards as well. The purpose of alimony is for a high-earning spouse to help a low-earning spouse support themselves until they can make arrangements to support themselves. Alimony is sometimes paid in a lump sum, but is more common for alimony to be paid in regular monthly installments.
The two main categories of alimony are temporary alimony and permanent alimony. Temporary alimony is paid while the specifics of the divorce are still being figured out, and the exact amount owed is determined by a formula inputted into a computer program. Permanent alimony is paid after the divorce has been completed, and despite its name it usually isn’t actually permanent. For marriages that only lasted less than ten years, it is extremely rare that alimony payments will last longer than 50% of the time of the marriage. The amount owed in permanent alimony is not determined by a formula, but rather by a collection of important factors. A judge or arbitrator will take into account the standard of living the low-earning spouse became accustomed to during the marriage, if the low-earning spouse was prevented from pursuing higher earnings as a result of the circumstances of the marriage, and if the low-earning spouse is making a verifiable effort to acquire new streams of income.
If two Californians had children together as part of their marriage, then the custody of the children must be determined according to California law. California law dictates that two main forms of child custody must be determined in cases of divorce: physical custody in addition to legal custody. Physical custody determines the parent with which the child will live and spend the majority of his/her time. This type of custody may either exist as sole physical custody or joint physical custody. In cases of sole physical custody, the child lives entirely with one parent, and the second parent can only see their child through court-approved visitation. In cases of joint physical custody, the child spends substantial time living with each parent.
The other category of custody is legal custody of a child. Legal custody is defined as the right to maintain control over crucial choices for a child that will have a major impact on the child’s life. These types of decisions generally include which school the child will attend, which doctor and/or medical provider the child will engage with, choice in religious establishment, and any other decisions that are important to the child’s future. Legal custody, as with physical custody, may either belong to one parent or be shared by the parents together.
As explained in the section above, one parent may be granted primary physical custody over their child, meaning they maintain the exclusive right to house the child and spend time with him/her. In these cases, the second parent can see their child via what is referred to in legal terms as child visitation. There are a couple different methods of visitation available to parents without physical custody. Child visitation according to a schedule allows this parent to visit with their child as outlined in a predetermined timetable. Often, to accommodate a parent’s work schedule, scheduled visitation will typically allow them to see their child on weekend days. Reasonable visitation can be defined as when the number of visitation hours permitted per month is determined, but not the exact dates, an option often used by parents with unpredictable work schedules. Visitation is determined by the judge/arbitrator in a nonconsensual divorce, or by the two parents and their legal representatives in a divorce settlement. The support of a Lemon Grove divorce attorney can ensure you receive a child visitation arrangement that is fair and works best for you.
It may be decided that visitation is only allowed if it takes place under the watch of the other parent, a professional agency, or a different family member, in what is called supervised visitation. Also, visitation is not a guaranteed right in divorce proceedings, a judge/arbitrator may decide that visitation is not in the child’s best interest, and ban visitation of any kind.
Child Support Explained
Child Support is when one parent makes a payment to the other for the purpose of helping to provide the financial support that is necessary to raise a child in California. Child support is paid from the parent who isn’t caring for the child on a regular basis to the caretaking parent, almost always on a monthly basis. If both parents are supporting the child financially, say in a situation involving joint custody, than child support payments are generally not required.
The total amount of money a parent is to owe as part of child support, as with temporary alimony, is computed by a formula. The factors used by this formula include the amount of income accessible to each parent, the amount of time each parent spends with the children, and the number of children being supported by the care taking parent. There are certain “add-ons” as well that are added to the total amount of money that a parent owes as part of child support. Certain add-ons are mandatory, such as expenses associated with healthcare, and childcare expenses if the primary parent works during the day. Other add-ons are discretionary, and can include travel expenses, fees for sports activities, or tuition fees for private schools. Child support is almost always owed until the child turns 18 years-old, with the child joining the military or becoming emancipated being among the few exceptions.
Contact a Lemon Grove Divorce Attorney Near Me
The assistance of a trained and skilled divorce attorney can help significantly in navigating through the divorce process in California. Call San Diego Divorce Attorney at 858-529-5150 to contact a Lemon Grove attorney today. This legal professional can answer any enquiries you might have about divorce law in general, or a specific divorce issue. We’ll even provide you with a case evaluation upon request, completely free of charge.