When a couple who has lived together as husband and wife or domestic partners decides to separate, numerous issues have to be resolved. Some of the most common ones include, but are not limited to:
- Child custody and visitation if they are parents.
- Child support.
- Division of assets and liabilities
- Spousal support.
Courts encourage parties to form their own agreement and file it with the court. That agreement then becomes a court order, which must be followed. When parties cannot reach an agreement, the court will set the matter for trial and make orders after considering all relevant factors.
Division of Community Property
California is a community property state. This means all assets you accumulated and all debts you incurred during the course of your marriage will be added up and divided equally between the two of you. Property that either of you owned prior to your marriage, with some exceptions, will remain the separate property of the owner. This property will not be included in the tally of community property. If one party has received an inheritance, or an award for damages in a personal injury case, those also are typically considered separate property.
Child Custody and Visitation
Custody and Visitation is broken down into two parts: Legal and Physical. Legal custody involves the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of the child. Physical custody determines who the child will primarily reside with and outline a parenting schedule. The court considers many factors when determining which parent will have physical custody of the children. The court makes its ultimate decision based on what it believes is in the best interest of the children.
Both parents are required to provide support for their children. The end result is that, in almost all cases, the noncustodial parent pays a sum of money to the custodial parent. There are formulas the court uses to determine the guideline child support amount.
Either party has a right to request spousal support. The purpose of spousal support is to help a lower-earning spouse, or a spouse who’s been out of the workforce entirely while raising children, to get through the divorce process and transition into becoming self-supporting. Spousal support is discretionary and courts balance a number of factors in determining an amount and duration.
Call the Law Office of Erika M. Mayorquin
Even when both parties agree that divorce is in their best interest, it is still a stressful time. Whether you expect your divorce to be an amicable dissolution or a contentious one, our office is here to guide you and protect your rights every step of the way. It is important to know your options. We offer a free one hour consultation so that we can determine your options and the best way for you to proceed.