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Los Gatos, CA property division lawyerOne of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is the division of property between you and your spouse. Disagreements often arise over who will retain certain assets and debts, and splitting things up may put a strain on both of your finances. However, if you and your spouse are open to cooperation, you can reduce stress over the division of assets and take control by creating an agreement that works for both of you.

How Is Marital Property Divided in a California Divorce?

In California, assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage are almost always considered community property, meaning they are jointly owned by the two of you. In a divorce, the court will ensure that community property is divided roughly equally between the spouses, and because divorce is considered no-fault in California, neither spouse’s behavior leading to the divorce will likely impact the distribution.

If you leave the decisions about property division entirely up to the court, the result will likely be financially equitable, but it may not account for each partner’s specific preferences. If you wish to have more control over the decision, you and your spouse should attempt to reach an agreement cooperatively. A skilled divorce mediation attorney can help guide your negotiations to minimize conflict and ensure that both of your interests are accounted for.

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Los Gatos spousal support lawyer for palimonyMany long-term romantic couples choose to marry, but some decide that marriage is not the right decision while nonetheless choosing to move in together and share many aspects of their lives and finances. When an unmarried, cohabiting couple ends their relationship, one partner may sometimes feel that the other should make “palimony” payments, but it can often be difficult to determine whether there are legal grounds to seek this type of financial support.

What Is Palimony?

“Palimony” is a term commonly used for the equivalent of spousal support or alimony payments between former partners who have never been married. Unlike for divorced couples, California law does not explicitly provide a means for unmarried partners to seek support payments, but it may still be possible to receive palimony if you and your partner had previously established a legally binding cohabitation agreement.

Including Palimony in Your Cohabitation Agreement

At any point while you are cohabiting with your partner, you can decide together to establish a cohabitation agreement, which can include a provision for support payments in the event that the relationship ends. You may decide to model your palimony agreement based on the method for determining spousal support in a California divorce, which takes into consideration:

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Los Gatos, CA family law attorney for divorce mediationIf you have decided it is necessary to end your marriage, you may be worried about what comes next. The divorce process can be stressful, but the good news is that most couples are able to avoid a lengthy court battle and instead reach a cooperative agreement through negotiation and mediation. If you make the effort to go into the mediation process prepared, you can eliminate some of the stress and uncertainty and increase your chances of a satisfying outcome.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that may be a good choice for couples who have made the mutual decision to divorce or who are willing to cooperate to reach a resolution. Unlike a public trial, mediation occurs in private, often with only the spouses and a third-party mediator present. You and your spouse will maintain control over all decisions you make, while the mediator’s role is to remain neutral and guide constructive discussions. In addition to the benefits of privacy and control, mediation also often allows you to save money and time when compared to litigation.

Preparing for Your Mediation Appointments

You can help the mediation process go smoothly by thinking through a few questions in advance, including:

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Los Gatos, CA parenting plan attorneyDivorce has a major impact not only on the separating spouses, but also on their children. Because children do not necessarily have a say in their parents’ decision to divorce, it can be hard for them to understand how the divorce will affect them and what their lives and relationships with both parents will look like throughout the divorce process and after it is finalized. Divorcing parents need to work together to establish a clear parenting plan that reduces uncertainty for their children and makes sure that their needs are met.

Important Considerations for Child Custody and Visitation

There is a tendency for some to think of child custody as a question of “who gets the kids,” but this is an oversimplification that does not fully account for the children’s best interests or the fact that in most divorces, both parents continue to share responsibility for their children’s well-being. When you and your spouse are negotiating your parenting plan, you should consider a number of factors, including:

  • Your children’s education and extracurricular activities. You and your spouse will need to determine which of you will contribute to the choice of your children’s schools and their involvement in extracurricular activities. You should also account for where the schools and activities are located and when they take place to decide which of you may be responsible for transporting your children on a regular basis.

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney child support

When a couple decides to get a divorce, the entire family will experience the ramifications of their decision. For parents, issues surrounding child custody and child support are at the forefront of all decisions. In the state of California, if one parent is awarded the majority of parental responsibilities, including physical custody, he or she likely will be entitled to significant child support. As you navigate the divorce process, it is critically important to have a skilled attorney by your side to protect your rights. 

Establishing Proper Child Support Payments 

In the state of California, child support payment totals are calculated by combining the income of both parents and asking the non-custodial parent to pay his or her fair share of compensation for childcare. In order to accurately calculate a fair number, California courts will also consider the quality of life the child had prior to the separation, the child’s physical and emotional health, and the overall financial needs of the child and the primary custodial parent. When it comes to issues as critical as child support, you need the support of an experienced legal professional. A skilled attorney can help present all relevant criteria to the California court system and ensure that you receive the financial support you need from your former spouse. 

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Los Gatos, CA 95030

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