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Los Gatos, CA spousal support attorneyGoing through a divorce can be a stressful process, especially if you are unsure about your financial future after your marriage has ended. If you have been reliant on your spouse’s income during your marriage, or if you have been out of the workforce for a significant amount of time, you may be uncertain about your ability to provide for yourself after your marriage has ended. Fortunately, you may be able to receive spousal support that will allow you to maintain financial stability. 

Spousal Support in California 

When a couple gets a divorce, one spouse may be required to pay the other spouse an amount of financial support each month. These payments are known as spousal support or alimony. Spousal support can be ordered by the court in a litigated case, or spouses may use negotiation or mediation to agree on an amount that will be paid.

In the state of California, there are a number of factors taken into consideration when determining whether spousal support should be awarded. These factors are specified in California Family Code Section 4320. Most notably, the court will consider the length of the marriage, the standard of living each spouse became accustomed to during the marriage, and the age and general health of both spouses. Other considerations include whether employment would hinder a custodial parent from raising their children and whether a spouse did not work during the marriage because they were fulfilling child care duties or other family responsibilities. Any history of domestic violence during the marriage may also affect decisions about spousal support. 

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Los Gatos divorce mediation attorneyDivorce mediation can be an excellent avenue for couples to reach compromises on the various issues that must be addressed in order to dissolve their marriage. Since courtroom litigation can cost both parties valuable time and money, mediation is a popular alternative, and it can allow a couple to address and resolve each individual aspect of their divorce with the help of a trained and licensed mediator. While divorce mediation can be beneficial for divorcing couples and their children, there are times when the process can stall, and in some cases, it may fail altogether, requiring spouses to find alternative ways of resolving their disputes.

Signs That Mediation Is Not Working For You 

Mediation can take some time to complete, especially when you need to address multiple complex issues related to your children, your property, and your finances. However, there are a number of signs that the mediation process has broken down and is not working. For example, one spouse may consistently make personal attacks during mediation, use mediation time to voice frustration and anger over the divorce, or refuse to remain on topic when discussing issues. If you have spent a number of hours in mediation and have failed to reach an agreement on many of the remaining issues that you need to resolve, it may be time to pursue an alternative resolution strategy. 

What Are My Options? 

If you and your spouse are finding the mediation process difficult, you may want to consider taking a break before resuming discussions. In many cases, stepping away from the process can provide a new perspective for both parties, and this can lead to more constructive discussions at a later date. If you feel unhappy with the process because of the compromises you are required to make, you should take a look at whether your spouse is also making compromises. If it seems as though you are the only one who is willing to give any ground, and your spouse is refusing to meet you halfway, then you may need to find other alternatives for resolving your disputes. 

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Los Gatos prenup attorneyHaving a conversation with your soon-to-be spouse regarding the possibility of divorce might seem like a poor way to kick off your life together. However, discussing the potential end of your relationship and making decisions ahead of time can not only help you avoid uncertainty and conflict in the future, but it can actually strengthen your relationship and help you understand the issues that are important to both of you. In many situations, a prenuptial agreement can be critical to ensure that a potential divorce does not compromise your financial well-being. If you are considering signing a prenup before getting married, you should work with an attorney to ensure your agreement will protect your rights and meet your needs.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Before looking into the possibility of establishing a prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand what this type of agreement actually entails. In short, a prenuptial agreement is a document that establishes how certain matters will be handled in the event that a couple’s marriage ends through divorce or death. A prenup can decide how community property (assets and debts acquired by a couple during their marriage) will be divided, and it can determine how spousal support payments will be structured. However, a prenuptial agreement will not cover issues such as child custody or child support

Why a Prenuptial Agreement May Be Necessary

A prenuptial agreement may not be necessary for everyone, but it can provide essential protections for people in certain situations. If you have children from a previous marriage, your prenup can establish how you want them to be financially taken care of in the case of death or a divorce. If you own a successful business, or if you earn a higher amount of income than your partners, a prenuptial agreement can establish your separate assets and can explicitly describe how community property will be divided. If your future spouse has accumulated large debts, a prenup can state that they alone will be responsible for these liabilities in the event of a divorce. 

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Los Gatos divorce modification attorney for child supportWhen parents get divorced, they and their children can sometimes struggle to adjust to the changes they experience in their lives. Financial matters are some of the most common concerns that divorced parents face, and they will want to be sure they can provide for themselves while also addressing their children’s needs. During the divorce process, parents’ child support obligations are determined based on the income earned by both parties and the decisions made about child custody and visitation. While a child support agreement is put in place based on parents’ and children’s needs at the time of divorce, these needs may change in the months and years to come. If parents’ or children’s circumstances change significantly, a post-judgment modification may be necessary.

When Can Child Support Be Modified? 

In most cases, post-judgment modifications can only be made if a parent or child has experienced a significant change in circumstances. In some cases, parents may seek an adjustment to how they share custody of children and the amount of time children spend with each parent, including in situations where a parent plans to move to a new home. Changes to child custody and visitation will often require a recalculation of parents’ child support obligations to address these new circumstances. 

In other cases, a parent may ask for a child support modification because they or their children have experienced changes in their financial situation. For example, a parent who receives child support may request a modification due to a change in the paying parent’s income (such as increased pay following a promotion), changes in the child’s healthcare needs, or increases in living expenses. A parent who pays child support may pursue a modification due to significant changes in income, such as a disability or the loss of a job. 

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney for disclosure of assets and liabilitiesThe divorce process can be complicated, especially as it pertains to the division of marital property. In a California divorce, couples are required to fully disclose their assets and liabilities. The state’s policies are based on preventing community property from dissipation prior to the divorce and ensuring that the shared estate is equitably divided between the two parties. Unfortunately, a spouse may look to hide or devalue assets during a divorce. If you are pursuing a divorce, you should speak to a qualified attorney regarding the disclosure of assets and liabilities.

Chapter 9 of the California Family Code defines the disclosure of assets and liabilities. 

Examining Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities 

In the state of California, community property is defined as assets or income earned or purchased during a marriage while the spouses are living together. It is important to note that anything acquired prior to the marriage, after the couple has separated, or given to one spouse specifically as a gift, is known as separate property. California state law only requires that community property be divided during divorce. 

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