As San Bernardino divorce attorneys, the Law Office of Michael R. Young has seen countless spouses be overwhelmed by the divorce process. On top of the tense emotions, the psychological distress, and the general stress level of a divorce, many people simply do not know how to proceed. Our firm wants to help. We have more than 40 years of combined experience handling cases like yours, so we’ve created a basic FAQ to help you navigate the tough issues involved in divorce and family law.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is when both parties are not able to agree to the terms of a settlement and / or the divorce agreement. A contested divorce will result in both parties having to go to court to have a judge resolve the contested matters. Contested divorces are generally more expensive, exhausting, and emotional, as they require extensive preparation and litigation. We always attempt to settle a divorce agreement out of court before litigation, as it helps everyone involved recover better from the divorce.
How Is Spousal Support or Alimony Calculated?
If a spouse will face financial hardship due to a divorce, spousal support or alimony may be ordered. Basically, the law states that an individual has the right to maintain the standard of living that they were accustomed to during their marriage. However, if both spouses are employed and self-sufficient or married for a very short period, spousal support will most likely not be awarded.
Who Pays Child Support & How Is Child Support Determined?
The person who is ordered to pay child support is the one with whom the child does not legally reside, otherwise known as the “non-custodial parent.” Child support is then determined based on each parent’s income and the amount of time that they spend with the child.
Factors such as the following may influence the support amount:
- Other children
- Schooling costs
- Health of the child
- Special needs
- Location of the custodial parent
A judge will, however, have the final decision as to how much child support will need to be paid.
How Is Property Divided?
California functions as a “community property” state. Simply put, a couple’s estate will fall into two categories: separate property and community property. The wealth that each individual had prior to marrying will remain theirs, but that which is gained during the marriage by either spouse will count as community property. Gifts and inheritances that are meant for one of the individuals will also usually be set aside as separate property. Community property is then divided amongst the two.
This can leave one spouse receiving less than the monetary amount they actually gained for the couple during the marriage.
It can also gain the other spouse winnings when their contributions to the marriage may not have been monetary. For those with more substantial wealth or who are getting married later in life, it is a standard concern to wonder about protecting against losing assets. A prenup established upfront can include terms that leave separate property gained prior to and during marriage to the spouse that acquires it.
How Long Does It Take for a Divorce to Be Final?
Depending on whether or not both spouses can come to an agreement, a divorce typically takes 6 months or more to become final. Even if there is a mutual agreement, in the state of California there is a zero to six-month waiting period after the divorce petition is filed with the court and served to the other spouse. While a judge can make a final ruling on the divorce before the waiting period is over, you still have to wait for the interim period to end before your marriage is legally dissolved.
Why Should I Hire a Family Law & Divorce Attorney?
A family law and divorce attorney will protect your rights and help make sure that you receive a fair and just outcome for your case. An experienced professional also understands the complex legalities surrounding family law issues. As such, they will be able to assist you with all the required documentation that must be filed with the San Bernardino, Riverside, or Temecula courts. A mistake in a family law-related matter can lead to unfortunate results in some of the most vital areas of your life.
Some individuals try to deal with these cases alone, but they often recognize they do not have the level of comprehension it takes to create the outcome they want.
A pro has years of experience and training that have allowed them to better understand many of the intricacies that are involved in divorce cases. They will know how to properly deal with paperwork, what actions will need to be taken, and can offer representation in the courtroom if a case comes to that.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce?
California is more lenient than other states. A no-fault divorce can be sought, meaning no reason for the divorce needs to be provided other than “irreconcilable differences.” It also allows a couple to pursue a divorce when there is not necessarily a monumental reason for them wanting one; simply growing apart is sufficient grounds for divorce in our state. The other legal grounds for divorce is incurable insanity.
My Spouse & I Don’t Want to Go to Court. What Can We Do?
This is a common scenario for many couples looking to avoid the time and cost of court. While they may not necessarily agree on every aspect, they can at least agree that they want to avoid court. These cases can often be simpler—by working with a skilled lawyer, you will have a representative that looks out for your interests, guides you in the right direction, and provides assistance to come to peaceable terms. The same lawyer may be used in some cases; however, other couples may find it more beneficial to have unique representation that prioritizes the individual interests of each spouse.
My Divorce Has Already Been Finalized. How Can I Change the Terms?
A modification is a great option for many ex-spouses.
It is common for the circumstances that existed at the time of the divorce to change drastically over the years. A parent may no longer be the person they once were, a child can develop health concerns, or one of the spouses can lose their income. The court understands that there are many valid reasons to make changes. The main thing that they want to demonstrate is that there is a change in circumstances, and that this change is serious enough for a modification to be made. It is often advised to seek a change sooner rather than later because these modifications will typically not be retroactive.
- A change can be sought from the court for:
- Visitation rights
- Child custody
- Child support
Either of the two individuals can pursue, or they can come to the decision together. For a couple that does agree on the adjustment, they can present their idea to the judge, who will review it to determine if it will be approved. A couple that is disputing the issue will often not have the item resolved as easily.
- Thinking about filing for divorce
- Concerned about custody of your children
- Worried about the division of your property
With more than 40 years of combined experience, our divorce and family lawyers are compassionate, caring professionals.
e understand how challenging family law disputes can be, whether involving a heated child custody battle or a complex divorce. As a firm with an AV Preeminent® rating and a 10.0 Superb Avvo rating, we are committed to maintaining a standard of excellence in our representation. Why? Because we know that your family and your future is on the line. When you retain us, you are getting understanding, knowledgeable advocates on your side.
With over four decades of collective insight, we are well-versed on handling even the most complex family law issues in California, from grandparents’ rights to domestic violence and restraining orders. When you need a compassionate family law attorney that you can trust to have your best interests in mind every step of the way, turn to our firm.
Our legal team strives to secure a favorable resolution as quickly as possible—whether in or out of court. Call us now at (909) 315-4588 to schedule your free consult.
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