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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca408-395-8822
20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212, Los Gatos, CA 95030
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Mediation and Litigation

Los Gatos Divorce Mediation LawyerEvery year, thousands of American couples make the difficult decision to pursue a divorce. While some divorces can be hostile and aggravating, others can be navigated with some level of amicability. In these instances, mediation can represent an alternative option to standard divorce proceedings, enabling you and your spouse to have greater control over the decision making process while maintaining a dialogue that can be critical during this difficult time in your life.

The Benefits of Mediation

Divorce mediation is a process in which a divorcing couple works with a trained, neutral mediator to facilitate a dialogue and resolve issues surrounding the divorce. Here are a number of reasons why mediation can be a smoother process than a divorce trial:

  • It Expedites the Divorce Process: In many cases, divorce can be a long and strenuous process. During mediation, spouses will work together with a mediator to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to the outstanding issues in their divorce, and the process can often be much quicker than a standard divorce trial. As spouses look to transition to the next phase of their life and begin a fresh start, the ability to reach a faster resolution can be invaluable.

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Los Gatos Unpaid Child Support Lawyer

Many people consider their pets to be like their own children, so what happens to the family pet when couples divorce? In the past, pets would be treated like any other non-living property in a California divorce. Though previously given the same consideration as a piece of furniture or a car, the understanding that people share special relationships with their pets prompted California lawmakers to change how pet custody is treated.

A law passed last year dictates that the well-being of an animal or animals owned by a couple must be considered when parties cannot agree on who will keep the animals following divorce. California was the third state in the U.S. to pass such a law, and it went into effect on January 1 of this year.

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Los Gatos Unpaid Child Support LawyerNearly everyone is familiar with the term “deadbeat dad,” but what exactly are the penalties when a parent (either the father or the mother) fails to provide their child with the financial support that he or she is legally obligated to pay? Child support is generally paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent in order to provide for the child’s daily needs. Many factors go into figuring the amount of support that must be paid, and obligations may change throughout the child’s lifetime. However, unless a judge says otherwise, those ordered to pay support must continue to do so, or that parent is breaking the law.

How Is the Amount of Child Support Determined in California?

There is a formula that is followed to determine the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent must pay in California. Some of the major factors that must be integrated into the formula are as follows:

  • The number of children under 19 and/or in high school, with the exception of disabled children who may need to be supported past age 19

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Los Gatos community property division lawyerIn most states, the rules are not always cut and dry on how property will be divided between divorcing couples. This can result in a lengthy court battle, but for California and a handful of other states, there are community property laws that were implemented with the intent of easing the process. Community property laws require couples to split in half all the assets that were acquired during the marriage, exactly down the middle.

What Is the Basis for Community Property?

The community property law was developed under the premise that marriage is like a community. Both parties were working and contributing to that community throughout the marriage. Therefore, all property belongs to the community and should be split 50/50 when the marriage ends. No consideration is made for who actually earned the money.

The flipside of the community property law is that there are often debts to be considered as well. This means that spouses, or the community, also share the debts, no matter whose name is on any bills or statements. These debts could include a mortgage, car loans, credit cards, student loans, and more.

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Los Gatos divorce and QDRO lawyerDuring a California divorce, all community property must be divided between spouses. Unfortunately, a retirement account you have been sinking money into for years will not necessarily be all yours when you get a divorce. Even if an account is solely in your name, and you were the one earning the income, money saved during your marriage is typically considered community property. On top of giving up part of your 401(k) or pension, you may have to face penalties if you do not follow the proper procedures when splitting up the funds.

Avoiding Penalties When Dividing Retirement Funds

Even in the best divorce scenarios, both parties are likely to face some financial loss. Property has to be divided, and you will be walking away from one household to new bills in two different homes. Taking the proper steps when dividing retirement funds will ensure that you do not face additional financial penalties.

If you are the one who has to share your retirement savings, your attorney can walk you through the proper process to make sure that you do not lose more money than you have to because of penalties and early withdrawal fees. If you are receiving funds from your partner’s 401(k), you will get to keep more if you have the funds rolled over to your own retirement account than if you take the cash outright. In most cases, the best option is to use a QDRO to implement the transfer of funds.

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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408-395-8822
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