Emotions characterize the process of ending a relationship that has existed for years, whether it is through a contested or uncontested divorce. A contested divorce happens when one party in a relationship refuses to take part in the process. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce means both parties reach a consensus to end their marriage or partnership due to irreconcilable differences. Either way, your divorce case passes through the court to be finalized or approved by the judge. It is for this reason that you need an experienced lawyer to handle your case and to provide you with legal advice from the beginning to the end of the divorce process. The Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer handles divorce cases in Los Angeles, California. Read on to find more information on divorce and how we can help you.
How Divorce In California Works
Divorce is one of the ways considered legal to end a partnership or a marriage in California. In doing this, it is not a must for a consensus to be reached by all parties. Any party in a marriage or partnership is allowed by law to end a domestic partnership or a marriage. The other party cannot stop or interfere with the process of divorce by merely refusing to take part in the case. In the event of a total refusal by the second partner to join in the divorce case, the proceedings can go on, and a default verdict can be obtained, which grants the divorce request.
To obtain a divorce, you do not necessarily need to prove that your partner was at fault. Instead, you need to prove that you have irreconcilable differences. Therefore, prior and proper planning is needed once you have resolved the way you want to obtain the divorce. Engaging a lawyer to help you in your case after having planned well can help you save on money and time during the entire court proceedings. There is no consideration given to anyone for filing the divorce case first or any disadvantage to anybody who gives a response to the divorce case in California.
By law, domestic partnerships that are registered are expected to dissolve their relationship by filing for dissolution. Partners in a domestic arrangement can also end their partnership via the Secretary of State when they have stayed in their relationship for not more than five years from the time of registration. They must have no child, very few debts, very few assets, no property to their name, and a document detailing their agreement to divide the possessions they own.
Upon leaving California, the parties in a domestic partnership may not enjoy certain rights because California recognizes domestic partnership as opposed to some other states. If you have decided to end your domestic partnership, it is essential if you seek the help of a lawyer to help you with these issues because they may relate to your divorce case.
In the case of a legal divorce, an order can be given by the court that one of the partners or spouse should support the other spouse financially. The domestic partner or spouse who makes the most income, in most cases, is assigned this responsibility. The amount to be paid for support is always given every month. This is what is referred to as a partner or spousal support. Sometimes it’s regarded as alimony. This kind of case may not be easy to handle. Therefore, it is vital if you get the help of an experienced lawyer to assist you in your case. You can also visit a family law facilitator to aid in your understanding of what is entailed for partner or spousal support. By Consulting an expert, you will know how long it can last and how it will impact your taxes. You will get to know how alimony is calculated. The filling of the forms will be done by the family law facilitator at court.
Starting Spousal or Partner Support
A court case has to exist for alimony to begin officially or to be legally initiated. During the divorce case, a partner or one of the spouses is allowed to request the judge to order for spousal or partner support. There can be a temporary order for partner or spousal support as the divorce case is ongoing. The order of spousal support becomes long term or permanent when pronounced at the time of final judgment it.
In giving the final verdict on partner or spousal support, the judge has to consider various factors:
The Standard Of Living and Financial Ability during the Partnership or Marriage
The financial ability of each partner or spouse to maintain or be close to affording the lifestyle they were living while still married or in partnership is considered. The job market and the marketability of the skills possessed by the partner or spouse to be supported must also be considered by the judge. The expense and time the supported spouse will need to get the necessary training to acquire the required skills to get employed are also discussed.
Partnership and Marriage Period
The time of separation has a significant impact on settling for support on a spouse or partner. Whether a partner gets a long-term or permanent support depends on the period the spouses or the partners stayed in their marriage or union. The idea behind giving support to a spouse or partner is to ensure they are in a position to provide for their daily needs within a reasonable period.
The law considers one-half of the period of partnership or marriage to be a reasonable time. Moreover, the judge has the full mandate to make a decision contrary to these factors while referring to other circumstances in the case.
There are exceptional occurrences especially when it comes to the end date of the spousal support or partner support. The judge may decline to provide a definite end date in cases involving long term partnerships or marriages, usually those with more than ten years within such unions. In coming up with the period spent in marriage or partnership, the judge considers only the marriage date and separation date. This helps to avoid any arguments between the partners concerning when the actual time of separation was.
Domestic Violence History
The judge presiding over the case of alimony has to consider any evidence of domestic violence history in the marriage or partnership of the parties. If the partner or spouse to be supported has been subjected to violence by the spouse or partner providing support, then the judge must consider the emotional distress suffered as a result of the abuse. Similarly, any domestic violence experienced in the hands of the spouse or partner to be supported shall be considered.
Property and Debt in a Divorce
The complication that exists in solving the issues of debt and property is not new to many people. The mistakes that may be done by the parties involved come with serious costs. You need to have an experienced lawyer to help you avoid mistakes and to maneuver through possible complications, especially when you have valuable things or when you are in serious debt.
Property can be described as anything of value and can be sold or bought. In a divorce, one of the possessions that must be divided amongst the parties is property. A decision has to be made by the judge or the parties involved as to how the properties will be shared. It has to be done on the properties believed to have been acquired by the parties in a marriage or a domestic partnership during their relationship. The court has to formalize the agreement even if the properties were already divided informally by the spouses or partners at the time of separation.
In most cases, you and your partner have to agree on how to divide the properties together with the debt before appearing before the judge. Therefore, you do not necessarily need to decide on such issues when appearing before the judge. The properties and the debts are owned by you and your partner until that time will be signed by the judge in the agreement. If you divide the properties and the debts informally, then the debts and the properties are still equally shared under the law. You can, therefore, be held responsible regardless of whether you are using the properties or if they are not in your possession. Understanding the rules that govern the property and how such laws work becomes a necessity:
Under the property law in California, anything owned by domestic partners or spouses is considered as community property. It includes things that are not inherited. It also includes gifts that were bought at the time you and your partner were still in a domestic partnership or married. Any form of earnings received by both parties at the time of your marriage or partnership is considered as community property, including what was bought using the earnings. The car you purchased while still in partnership or marriage is considered to belong to the community even if you incurred the full cost alone. The same rule applies to all the debts accumulated while in the partnership or marriage regardless of whether the credit card is bearing only one of the spouses or partner’s name or just one partner or spouse took the debt without the other partner’s knowledge.
The California law treats each party in a marriage or partnership as equal when it comes to community property. Half the portion of community property is given to each spouse or partner. The accumulated debt during the time of marriage or partnership is also shared on a one-half basis.
Just as much as you may be in possession of several community properties that you may not know of (such as the pension plan of your partner) is the same way you may be liable for the many debts that you are not aware of. Such debts include those that were taken by your partner or spouse without your approval. All this belongs to you and your partner as long as they were acquired during the time you were married or in a partnership.
Under California property law, the quasi-community property is considered as those properties acquired while in another state other than California. Such properties are regarded as community property in California.
Anything acquired before getting into domestic partnership or marriage or after separation date is considered as separate property. Any inheritance or gift or anything bought out of inheritance or gift is regarded as separate property. It also includes any earnings before marriage or after separation together with anything purchased with those earnings.
The law also considers debts acquired before getting involved in the marriage or the partnership as separate property including anything bought from it. It is, therefore, essential to look into what is classified as separate property based on this information while planning to get a divorce.
Mixed Separate and Community Property
This is when both separate properties and community properties are used in acquiring anything while in a registered partnership or marriage. The combination of the two complicates things at the time of divorce and when the property needs to be divided among the partners. For example, a down payment of a house made by one of the spouses or partner after getting married and the rest of the cost of the house that are settled while in marriage. Another example is retirement benefits or a pension plan acquired from a job before marriage and payment of the pension plan continued while married. The two examples illustrate the commingling of these properties. The law considers whatever contribution that was made during marriage or partnership as community property. Any contribution to the separate property made during marriage goes back to being separate property after the separation date. However, the calculation of the pension plan becomes a complicated matter that requires the help of a lawyer.
Child Custody and Visitation
Getting a divorce means parents will be living separately. The child will have to live with one parent at a time. In most cases, one parent is given the custody of the child while the non-custodial parent is allowed visitation. The parent who decides on the schooling and health of the child is given the legal custody of the child. The legal custody can be granted to both parents, making it joint legal custody, or it can be given to one parent, which is known as sole legal custody. Parents can mutually agree on who should take custody of their child or children, or the court can impose this on the parents or one of the parents.
Living with the child describes physical custody. Physical custody can also be granted jointly or to only one parent. When issued jointly, the child will spend time with both parents. In this case, the parenting time is split between the two parents. It must not be on a fifty-fifty basis; one of the parents can have more parenting time than the other. Sole parenting time means one parent is allowed to live with the child while the other parent is granted visitation orders.
Therefore, in getting a divorce, you have to have a plan out how your child will receive care and decide the place the child will spend time and live. Divorcing parents can reach a consensus on an agreement, and the court only comes in to make a decision if there is no agreement between the divorcing parties. The decision of the court squarely looks at the best interest of the child. The child will be rendered in the hands of the parent the court feels will give the child the necessary support and effective response to the child’s needs.
Child support refers to the monthly allocation of money in support of the needs of the child. The court gives a parent this responsibility. The deductions are made by the employer of the parent with the child support responsibility. The child support is provided until the child reaches 18 years of age.
Still, child support can go beyond 18 years if the child has not completed high school. In such cases, the support ends when the child attains the age of 19 years and graduates from high school. There are cases where parents can decide to continue to give support to the child past these deadlines described within the law.
Los Angeles has a local child support agency that ensures child support is regulated and put into action. Defaulting to pay the child support can result in consequences such as intercepting your retirement benefits by the DCSS.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer Near Me
The complexity and emotions involved can cloud your judgment during the process of getting a divorce. That’s why you need experienced, aggressive, and expert representation for the best results on your case. If you are looking for an expert team of divorce lawyers to handle your case, we invite you to contact the Los Angeles Divorce Attorney today at 310-695-5212.