Category Archives: California Divorce

How to Know When Your Marriage Is Over

How to Know When Your Marriage Is Over

Most of us don’t walk down the aisle at our weddings thinking there’s an expiration date for our love. We don’t say, “I do,” while planning to end our marriages in six years, three days, and 12 hours. But building a healthy marriage and keeping it together is not easy. At some point, you may have to know when your relationship is over so you can move on. In this article, we will explore several ways of knowing that it’s time to file the divorce petition.
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My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on Anything How to Negotiate Divorce Issues

My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on Anything: How to Negotiate Divorce Issues

Constant bickering and disagreements can lead a couple to turn to divorce. However, after filing the petition, the unhappy couple now have to resolve a lot of serious issues they couldn’t settle while they were married! If you and your spouse can’t agree on anything, be prepared. You still have to negotiate  divorce issues to reach a settlement. Here are some tips on how to do just that:
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How to Hire the Right Divorce Lawyer

How to Hire the Right Divorce Lawyer

Marisa didn’t understand why her divorce was taking so long. After all, she had hired her favorite cousin, Vincent, to represent her. He had been an attorney for years and had even handled her most recent personal injury claim. With something as important as the dissolution of your marriage, you don’t just need any attorney – you need to hire the right divorce lawyer. You’ll need to look for a few important things.
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Will Cohabitation Affect Your Divorce Settlement

Will Cohabitation Affect Your Divorce Settlement?

Living together before marriage is more common than at any time in recent history. According to a Pew Research study, the number of people who have ever cohabited is higher than the number of people who have ever been married. Several major studies disagree on whether people who live together before marriage are more or less likely to divorce. If divorce does become a reality, cohabitation might affect your divorce settlement.
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Property Division How Does it Work in a Community Property State

Property Division: How Does it Work in a Community Property State

State divorce laws govern divorce settlements. Generally, state laws allow either community property or equitable distribution schemes when dividing a couple’s assets. However, only nine states use community property law: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you live in a community property state, it’s important to understand how property division will work if you or your spouse files for divorce.

Separate vs. Community Property

The basic rule of thumb is that a couple’s community property and debts are split 50-50 during a divorce. However, not all of a married couple’s assets are divided. Property can be either separate or community.

  • Most assets and debts accumulated by either spouse during the marriage are considered community property.
  • However, assets and debts brought into the marriage by one person usually remain the separate property of that person.

Separate property usually does not enter into the divorce property division equation.

Although this sounds simple, determining whether something is separate or community property can be complicated.  Separate assets brought into the marriage may be used in a way that make them community property. An inheritance received during a marriage is separate property but mixing the inherited property with community property could change it for the purposes of property division.

Marital Settlement Agreement or Court Decision?

During the property division phase of a divorce, the couple can negotiate how property is split. Their agreement does not have to be 50-50, but the division should be fairly equal. Otherwise, a judge may not sign off on the couples’ marital settlement agreement.

When calculating property division, a couple will:

  • review financial disclosures, including the Schedule of Assets and Debts;
  • make sure both parties agree on community property and debts;
  • compare property valuations and debt to make sure they agree;
  • propose a roughly equal net share of property and debts for each spouse.

Special consideration may be given to retirement plans, debts with complicated terms or high interest rates,

If a couple cannot agree on the split, a judge may make the tough decisions for them. Also, remember that property remains separate or community until the judge signs your final divorce order.

Make Sure Your Property Division Goes Smoothly

Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.

Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, San Diego, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
How Long Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support

How Long Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support?

Jennifer knew she might have to pay spousal support to her husband, Blake. After all, her income had been much higher than his for most of their 12-year marriage. However, as they negotiated their marital settlement, she couldn’t help but ask her attorney, “How long will I have to pay spousal support to Blake?” The answer to her question depended on a number of factors.

General Reasons the Court May End Spousal Support

In some cases, the court may not order spousal support in the dissolution of a marriage or domestic partnership. Based on the couple’s standard of living or earning capacity, neither spouse may be economically disadvantaged after the divorce.

If spousal support is ordered, the person who is paying (the “payor”) may want to know how long they will be required to pay. Spousal support, also known as domestic support or alimony, may end under the following circumstances:

  • A court order or judgment;
  • One of the parties dies; or
  • The person receiving spousal supporting remarries or registers a domestic partnership.

Many factors play into the question of whether spousal support will be ordered and for how long.

The Length of the Marriage Matters

The California Family Code (the “Code”) contains laws regarding divorce, including spousal support. Section 4320 states that the supported party (the person receiving alimony) is expected to be self-supporting within a reasonable time frame. “Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a “reasonable period of time” for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage…”

For example, if Jennifer and Blake had been married eight years, Jennifer might be ordered to pay spousal support to Blake for four years. This assumes that the request for spousal support meets all other requirements.

However, a “marriage of long duration” is generally considered to be any marriage over ten years. Unless the parties agree otherwise or a court order terminates support, the court continues to oversee, or retain jurisdiction, indefinitely for marriages of long duration. Because Jennifer and Blake have been married 12 years, their marriage fits the definition of a marriage of long duration.

How Long Will You Pay Spousal Support?

There’s no easy answer here. Whether a party pays spousal support, how much support will be paid, and how long payments last depends on the particular facts of your case. In addition, some decisions are up to the judge’s discretion.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Diego, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
When the Honeymoon’s Over, Can You Contest a Prenup

When the Honeymoon’s Over, Can You Contest a Prenup?

Two and a half years after their lavish wedding ceremony and reception, Mark and Cindy were ready to call it quits. Their marriage seemed headed for a quick dissolution, in part because they had signed a prenup. They had signed their premarital agreement because Cindy brought more separate assets into the marriage, along with a higher salary than Mark’s. Over the course of even a couple of years, a couple’s financial situation and feelings about property may change. However, can you contest a prenup with a marriage ends? That’s what we’re going to explore in this article.

What’s a Prenup?

It’s a legal contract that is signed before a couple weds. The terms of a prenuptial agreement, which is also called a premarital agreement, relate to how each person’s property will be treated during a divorce or if one party dies. The agreement becomes effective only when the couple is married.

In California, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) states that the parties to a prenup may agree to any of the following:

  • Rights and obligations regarding property;
  • The right to manage and control property;
  • How to dispose of the property under certain circumstances, including divorce;
  • Estate planning that carries out the terms of the prenup;
  • Disposition of life insurance proceeds; and
  • Any matter that does not violate public policy or statutes imposing criminal penalties.

Some provisions should not appear in a premarital agreement. In fact, they could give you the opening you need to contest your prenup agreement.

To Contest a Prenup …

The UPAA includes specific reasons a premarital agreement, or certain parts of it, might be unenforceable:

  • Child support cannot be adversely affected by your prenup. Any language absolving your soon-to-be-ex-spouse of his or her child support obligations may be contested.
  • Spousal support provisions may spell trouble also. One party might contest the prenuptial agreement if the party waiving spousal support was not represented by an attorney. Also, the spousal support provisions may be unenforceable at the time you attempt to enforce the premarital agreement.

Other reasons your prenup may be unenforceable under UPAA include:

  • You were coerced or forced to sign the agreement.
  • The other party did not provide complete financial disclosures before you signed.
  • You lacked the capacity to understand the consequences of the agreement.
  • Less than seven calendar days elapsed between the time you were given the agreement to review and the date the agreement was signed.
  • You were not represented by separate legal counsel.

Discuss your options with a California divorce attorney between doing anything. In some cases, the marriage itself may be void or annulled. If so, the prenuptial agreement may be unenforceable.

It Can Be Difficult to Contest a Prenup, but Not Impossible

Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist, and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Central California Coast.