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Los Gatos divorce attorney for adulteryThe end of a long-term relationship is rarely easy or simple, but it can become much more complicated and difficult if one partner has committed adultery. In these types of divorce cases, the other spouse will likely feel wronged, and they may believe that because their partner’s actions led to the breakdown of their marriage, decisions should be made in their own favor. However, it is important to understand the actual role that infidelity may play in the legal process of divorce and how it may affect the decisions that are made.

Infidelity and the Legal Aspects of Divorce

During the divorce process, both spouses are treated equally, and in most cases, the reasons for the end of the marriage will not play a role in the decisions made. Spouses should be aware of how infidelity may be addressed when handling the following issues:

  • The divorce petition - California is a “no-fault” divorce state, and when one spouse files for divorce, the only “grounds” that may be stated for ending the marriage are “irreconcilable differences” or a permanent inability by one spouse to make decisions due to a mental or physical disability. In the vast majority of cases, a divorce will occur because of irreconcilable differences, and rather than blaming one spouse for the end of the marriage, a divorce petition will simply state that the marriage has broken down beyond repair.

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney for virtual mediationGetting divorced can be a complex process even in the best of times, and issues such as property division and child custody can lead to emotional and contentious disputes between spouses. The COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional level of difficulty to divorce proceedings, since spouses will not only be struggling to resolve the legal issues related to their breakup, but they may also be concerned about staying safe and avoiding infection as they find new living arrangements, share custody of children, meet with attorneys, and attend court hearings. In many cases, mediation can be a beneficial way to resolve divorce disputes, and couples may be able to complete this process virtually using electronic devices and online tools.

Benefits of Virtual Mediation

During divorce mediation, spouses will meet with a neutral mediator and work together to create a divorce settlement that addresses all outstanding legal issues related to the end of their marriage. This often allows couples to complete the divorce process more quickly, and by cooperating and making compromises, they can both be satisfied with the decisions that are made. For those who do not want to meet with a mediator in person, virtual mediation can allow them to work together remotely by using videoconferencing programs such as Zoom.

In addition to providing safety by avoiding potential exposure to infections, virtual mediation provides a number of other benefits. Being able to have discussions from the comfort of one’s own home can help reduce stress, since spouses will not need to be in an unfamiliar office. It is also very easy to take a break if discussions get heated or emotional, and turning off the camera or stepping away from the computer for a moment can provide a momentary reprieve that would not necessarily have been available in other situations.

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Los Gatos child custody attorneyWhen married parents get divorced, or when unmarried parents are separated, they will need to settle a variety of legal issues related to their children. Disputes over child custody can often become heated and contentious, and parents may disagree about how they will make decisions about raising their children, where children will live, and a variety of other matters. When addressing these matters in family court, the decisions made will be based on what is in the children’s best interests. Multiple factors may be considered by the court, including the preferences of the children.

When Can Children’s Opinions Be Considered in a Child Custody Case?

There are two types of custody that will need to be addressed by divorcing or separated parents. Legal custody involves the right and responsibility to make decisions about children’s health, welfare, and education, while physical custody addresses where children will live and the time they will spend in each parent’s care. 

In most cases, California’s family courts usually prefer to have parents share legal custody, although one parent may be granted sole legal custody in some cases. Physical custody may also be shared, or one parent may be granted sole or primary custody, with the other parent being granted visitation time.

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney for 401(k), IRA, pension plansWhen getting a divorce, you will need to address a wide variety of complex financial issues. Since California is a community property state, the property division process will need to address all of the assets and debts you acquired during your marriage and ensure that you and your spouse each receive an equal share of the marital estate. Retirement savings accounts and pension plans can often complicate asset division. These assets will need to be properly valued, and the right procedures will need to be followed when dividing them between you and your spouse.

Using a QDRO to Divide Retirement Accounts and Pensions

Retirement savings often represent some of the most valuable assets owned by a married couple. These may include employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401Ks or individual retirement accounts (IRAs). In some cases, the full balance in an account may be considered marital property. However, if one spouse contributed to an account before getting married, some of the funds in the account may be considered separate property. The assistance of a financial expert may be needed to determine the value of an account at different points in time and establish the marital portion of these funds.

Determining the value of a pension plan can often be even more difficult, since the amount that a person will be able to receive in pension benefits may not be known until they reach retirement age. The actual value of these benefits will depend on the amount of income a person receives, the amount of time they worked in a pension-eligible position, and the number of years they expect to receive benefits after retiring. A person’s ex-spouse will be entitled to receive a percentage of their pension payments, depending on the amount of time they were married while working in the job where they earned these benefits.

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Los Gatos divorce lawyer for hidden assetsThe divorce process can be very complicated, and it requires spouses to navigate a variety of legal and financial issues as they work to dissolve their marriage. While you are dealing with the stress of separating your life from your spouse, the emotional trauma that comes with the end of a long-term relationship, and the fallout from contentious disputes over child custody and other issues, it can be easy to neglect what seem like the smaller details of a divorce. However, it is also important to protect your rights, and if you are worried that your ex is attempting to hide assets and unfairly influence the financial decisions in your divorce, you will want to understand your legal options.

Addressing Concerns About Hidden Assets

California is a community property state, which means that divorcing couples are required to divide marital property equally. However, some spouses may try to hide assets to avoid having to divide certain pieces of property. A spouse may do this in an attempt to punish their spouse because they blame them for the end of the marriage, or they may believe that they are entitled to a greater share of assets based on the income they earn or their contributions to the relationship.

Regardless of the reasons for hiding assets, doing so is illegal, and a spouse could face penalties if these activities are discovered during the divorce process. A spouse may be required to pay fines or cover the other spouse’s attorney’s fees in legal proceedings related to concealed assets. In some cases, a spouse may even forfeit the rights to a concealed asset, resulting in the other spouse receiving a greater share of the marital estate.

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Los Gatos, CA 95030

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