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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, 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 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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Lost Gatos, CA divorce attorney asset division

While all divorces can come with their fair share of complications, the financial aspects of a high-asset divorce can be increasingly complicated. The state of California is a community property state and all shared assets are supposed to be equitably distributed in the divorce, but unfortunately, this does not always happen. In many instances, a divorcing spouse may hide or fail to disclose assets in an attempt to keep them out of the divorce proceedings. If you believe that your spouse is hiding a significant amount of the assets that are meant to be divided between the two of you, it is time to speak with your attorney. You should not jeopardize your financial future simply due to your spouse hiding assets.  

How to Search for Hidden Assets 

If you believe your spouse is hiding assets from you, it is important to inform your attorney as quickly as possible. You and your attorney then need to inform the court in order to invoke the disclosure or discovery process. While this is taking place, you can begin searching for hidden assets on your own. If you believe that your spouse is hiding financial assets, you may be able to find bank statements or stock certificates hidden in the house. If the home search is inconclusive, you should speak with your bank. 

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney child custody

When parents choose to get divorced, or when unmarried couples do not live together, disputes over the custody of children can become highly contentious. During these types of cases, parents will want to understand how they can address their children’s needs and avoid acting in a way that will cause their children to experience emotional harm. They will also want to be sure to understand the best steps to take to resolve child custody issues in a way that protects their parental rights while providing for their children’s best interests. During these types of cases, you will want to be sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  1. Acting in a Hostile Manner: The strong emotions involved in child custody cases can lead parents to behave in a way that could negatively impact their case. Be sure to refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent in front of your children, on social media platforms, or in court. It is best to remain as calm as possible and try to avoid arguments with the other parent whenever possible. Instead, conduct negotiations through your attorney or during mediation, limiting the possibility of angry outbursts or heated discussions. 
  2. Violating the Court’s Orders: During the divorce process or while a child custody case is pending, the court may issue temporary orders regarding matters such as visitation schedules or child support. Failure to follow these orders could result in the court deciding against you in your case. During this time, be sure to pick up and drop off your children on time, and do not attempt to take the children when it is not your time to have them. It is also important to make child support payments on time and in the full amount according to the order. 
  3. Not Focusing on Your Children: Even though you will likely be putting a great deal of time and energy toward legal matters, it is important to be sure you are taking time for your children as well. When making decisions about child custody, the court may evaluate your parenting skills, and you will want to demonstrate that you are closely involved in your children’s lives. Be sure to have a firm understanding of your child’s academic performance and extracurricular interests, and make sure you can provide your child with a safe, stable, and comfortable home life. If the court feels that you are not fully engaged as a parent, or if you are unable to provide your child with a safe home, this could have a negative effect on decisions about child custody. 

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Child Custody Lawyer

With years of experience helping clients throughout the entirety of the divorce process, Attorney Benita Ventresca will do everything in her power to help you reach a positive outcome to your child custody case. To schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced Los Gatos, CA family law attorney, call us today at 408-395-8822. We serve clients in the Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino, and San Jose areas.

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