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Santa Clara County divorce and child custody attorneyIn the state of California, thousands of couples get divorced every year. While a divorce can be emotionally challenging for spouses, the divorce process can be especially traumatizing for their children. Recognizing this, courts in California make decisions on child custody based on what is in the child’s best interests. According to state law, child custody is broken into two different types of custody: legal and physical custody. If you are awarded legal custody of your child, you will have the legal right to make critical life decisions for them. If you are awarded physical custody, you will be granted time during which the child will stay with you. To achieve success in your child custody case, you will want to focus on the following: 

  • Your Goals: The way you approach a child custody case will depend on what you want to achieve during the divorce process. If you are seeking sole legal custody or primary physical custody, it is likely that you will need to resolve these aspects of your divorce in court and demonstrate why you should be the sole or primary caretaker of your child. If you believe that you and your spouse are both capable parents, you will likely be able to develop a parenting plan and joint custody agreement outside of court through negotiation or mediation

  • Cooperating With Your Spouse: While you and your spouse may be ending your marriage, you are still both parents of your child. By working together with your spouse to resolve disputes throughout the divorce process, you can develop the foundation of a new co-parenting relationship that will allow you to cooperate as you parent your children. The overwhelming majority of studies show that children benefit greatly from a continued relationship with both parents, post-divorce. 

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Posted on in Mediation

Santa Clara County divorce mediation attorneyIf you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage and pursue a divorce, you will be facing a lot of questions about how your life will change and the legal issues that you will need to address. As you proceed with the divorce process, one important question you should ask yourself is whether you can use divorce mediation to reach a divorce settlement. When you use mediation, you and your spouse will work with a neutral mediator to discuss and resolve all of the issues in your divorce, including child custody, spousal support, community property, and financial matters. The mediator will serve to facilitate the conversation and help you remain professional and focused as you work to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. 

The Benefits of Mediation

The long-term and short-term benefits of divorce mediation cannot be understated. Not only can divorce mediation expedite the divorce process, ensuring that you and your spouse can move forward successfully into the next chapter of your lives, but mediation can also result in significant financial savings. Perhaps most importantly, divorce mediation will provide you with an increased level of control and flexibility in making the critical decisions in your divorce. 

When a divorce is resolved in court, a judge will ultimately make decisions on issues such as child custody and the division of community property. Mediation, on the other hand, will give you and your spouse full control over the decisions made. If you and your spouse have children together, the mediation process can serve as a foundation for how you will work together as co-parents in the coming years.  

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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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