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Santa Clara County cohabitation agreement attorneyStatistics show that more and more couples are delaying marriage or deciding to live together without getting married; in fact, the percentage of adults who have lived with a romantic partner is not only greater than those who have been married, it is the fastest-growing “family type.”

Still, California – like most states – does not recognize common law marriage (i.e. an arrangement where a couple lives together in a relationship similar to being married without actually getting a marriage license), which means that cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights as married couples. As a result, if an unmarried couple eventually separates, they may encounter costly disputes. To avoid this type of situation, a couple may choose to create a cohabitation agreement, which is similar to a premarital agreement. These agreements can compensate for a lack of protection provided by state law by addressing the following issues:

Property Division

When it comes to the division of property for cohabiting adults, only assets that are in both parties’ names will be considered joint assets. Disputes can arise if one party claims that an asset was purchased using joint assets, one party purchased an asset with the understanding that it belonged to both parties, or one party who does not own the home where the couple lives claims that they still own a share of the equity in the home. 

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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, CA family law attorney for prenuptial agreements

Every year, thousands of Americans choose to pursue a divorce. The decision to separate can be difficult, and the process of resolving disputes through litigation or mediation can be very stressful. However, if a couple makes the decision to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, the anxiety and pressure of a divorce can be significantly lessened. There are multiple benefits of a prenuptial agreement.  If you are getting married, you should consult with a skilled family law attorney to determine whether a prenuptial agreement is the right option for you.

How a Prenuptial Agreement  Can Help

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between you and your prospective spouse made prior to marriage that will define how certain issues will be resolved if the marriage ends, including through divorce or legal separation. Most notably, a prenuptial agreement may outline the division of property and make decisions about spousal support if you ultimately decide to divorce. Here are just a few ways that a prenuptial agreement could benefit you in the long run:

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Los Gatos, CA family law attorney for spousal supportFollowing divorce, one spouse may be entitled to receive financial support from their former partner that will help them maintain their standard of living. When a spousal support agreement is established either during mediation or a court hearing, the spouse receiving payments should be able to rest assured that they will receive this court-ordered support. Spousal support payments can be critically important in ensuring that a person is able to live a financially healthy and independent life following divorce. However, there are some cases in which a paying spouse does not meet their obligations to make these payments on time or in full. It is paramount that you speak with a qualified family law attorney if you are not receiving the agreed-upon payments from your former spouse. 

Securing Your Spousal Support Payments 

Under California law, an automatic wage assignment is created when a spousal support order is established. This will ensure that the amount of support is deducted from the paying spouse’s income (known as wage garnishment). However, divorcing spouses may choose to have the automatic wage assignment stayed, and they may make other arrangements for paying spousal support. 

If a wage assignment has been stayed in your case, there are a number of reasons why your former spouse may fail to make spousal support payments. However, even if he or she has experienced financial difficulties due to loss of employment or a medical condition that has affected his or her ability to work, you still have the right to look into options for enforcing the payment of support. Typically, the first step you and your attorney should take is identifying why the payments are not being made. If your ex-spouse is in fact unable to work, you may be able to work together with him or her to reach an agreement that temporarily lowers the amount of payments or suspends the support for a certain period of time. In these cases, you should be sure that your ex-spouse is aware of your willingness to take the matter to court if the full amount of support payments is not resumed at the conclusion of the suspension. 

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Los Gatos divorce attorney for spousal support and alimonyWhen a couple makes the decision to pursue a divorce, both parties will face drastic changes in their life. For many people, the end of their marriage may threaten their financial security. If one spouse has conventionally brought in more income than the other, the other spouse may have difficulty maintaining their accustomed standard of living following the separation. Because of this, many divorcing spouses who earn less than their former partner will elect to pursue some level of spousal support. In cases involving spousal support, it is important to work with an attorney who can help you make sure you will be able to live a financially sustainable and healthy lifestyle. 

How Is Permanent Spousal Support Established? 

Commonly referred to as alimony, spousal support is is paid by one former spouse to the other. It is intended to ensure that both spouses will be able to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed while married, and it can also help the lower-earning spouse meet their needs while they work to become financially independent. In the state of California, spousal support is established through in-depth consideration of a number of factors, including the standard of living established during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the supported party’s ability to secure employment. Spouses may be able to agree on an amount of alimony that will be paid, or a judge may order a certain amount of spousal support to be paid for a specific period of time.

How a Lawyer Can Assist With Spousal Support

During the divorce process, an attorney may help address spousal support in the following ways:

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