We spend a lot of time discussing the intricacies of divorce, so this post is dedicated to the basics in California. Why? Because simply knowing the basics can save you time and money, and we’re all about that. [Read more…]
What are restraining orders? Most people are aware that they can be issued to victims of domestic abuse, and that they can also be issued to people facing civil harassment. What you may not know is how to file restraining order, what the burden of proof, what rights are yours when the court grants you such an order, and if you should get a restraining order in the first place. What do you need to know about these orders? [Read more…]
Well there’s a question we get often. And the obvious answer is still true… every divorce is different. But there are some parameters. Most people say that a divorce will cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. So what fees can you expect: attorney fees, court costs, costs for parent education classes, fees for neutral evaluations and mediation costs.
If there’s real estate involved you’ll have to factor in refinancing costs and record deed fees. And, of course, living in a more popular/higher-income area will make divorce more expensive.
Here are a few tricks to keep your costs low:
— Know what you’re agreeing to. Or ask one of us to clarify! That’s what divorce attorneys are here for. Settlements can be pricey, so make sure you’ve crunched every number with your attorney beforehand.
— Be quick! One of the main reasons divorce can be so expensive is how long the case takes. The longer it’s drawn out, the pricier it will be. Keep that in mind.
— Don’t play dirty. The more you try to cause your ex pain, the more it will cost you. If either/both of you decide to try to make the other person’s life hell, it will just delay the process and add more fees everyday!
— Sign a Pre-Nup. This is self-explanatory. While it still may not make divorce “easy,” and you’ll still want an attorney, a prenup makes a world of a difference. Both sides are bound to that contract and the judge will almost always honor what the prenup states about the marriage/finances.
Divorce is rarely easy or simple, but children in the relationship complicate the legal and emotional processes exponentially. Having a child automatically obligates both parties to assume responsibility for his/her wellbeing, and it also entitles each to parental rights under the law. Rights and responsibilities are inextricably intertwined, but they can be made more complex and confusing during the divorce process. Having a qualified divorce attorney can help you retain full parental rights to your child. What do you need to know? [Read more…]
Bohm Wildish: California Divorce and Family Law
Is a child better off when both parents have custody? Determining child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of many divorces; while it may not be in the best interest of the child to live with both parents in a single household, the bulk of research shows that joint custody is better for the child’s health and well being. It is not the specific living situation, per se, that contributes to well being, but the amount of time the child spends with each parent. [Read more…]
Bohm Wildish: California Family Law
If you are going through a California divorce, you have undoubtedly heard endless horror stories of unfair settlements, ferocious court battles, and angry, bitter couples ruining the day they met. Most divorces are able to be settled, if not amicably, then civilly, whether with the help of mediators or the court. Several issues complicate divorces, including community property, child custody and support, debt, and housing. Because of the complexity of family law and tensions that typically surround divorce, hiring an attorney who specializes in divorce law is often a necessity. How do you find the right lawyer? [Read more…]
Alimony Calculator: Do-it-yourself divorce and alimony is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Take this creative approach tried by a man in Mississippi: he put an ad in Craigslist offering “10K to the man or woman who marries” his ex-wife so he would be free from alimony payments. He did add the caveat: “This offer is null and void if it is determined to be illegal in any way – I am not a lawyer.” An amusing ad, but you can be sure your soon-to-be ex-spouse and family court judge will not find it as funny. California does not require that you be represented by a lawyer during a divorce proceeding, but having a family attorney may be in your best interests. [Read more…]
For decades, it’s been thought that financial stress is among the main causes of divorce. Sure spouses fight over money. One spends too much while the other doesn’t earn enough. But is financial difficulty a major culprit in the filing of divorce? Recent university research says, no.
Jan Anderson, an associate professor at California State University, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the subject. Like many Americans, Anderson’s parents divorced when he was a child. And like many, he believed in the notion that money problems are among the leading causes of divorce. As an adult he even taught courses in personal finance to help people develop better money skills to save their marriages.
When Anderson researched his dissertation, he only found a single survey indicating that money was the cause of divorce. This survey dated back to 1948! It was taken by postwar women who claimed “nonsupport” as reason for their divorce. Back then “nonsupport” was one of the few grounds on which divorce could be filed. Nowadays, more women have their own income and there are many more grounds for divorce, including the non-specific catch all “irreconcilable differences.”
Anderson also found a 12-year study conducted from 1980–1992, which indicated money problems were experienced in divorcing marriages. However, a closer look at the results indicated that money was not the cause for the divorces themselves!
In response to this, Anderson states, “If we look at all the causes of divorce, financial problems can only account for 5% of the effect.” However, Anderson is quick to speculate that using “money” as a talking point in discussing divorce with friends and family is easier than focusing on the real reasons, which include “incompatibility, abuse or sexual problems.”
Regardless of whether finances were responsible for the filing of divorce, you must protect your financial interests during the process. We are here to ensure you get fair and equitable distribution of marital equity. Here are a few suggestions to help the process from the onset.
Cancel Joint Credit Cards
Before you cancel jointly-held credit cards, don’t let your spouse know you intend to do so. In the five minutes it takes to cancel your cards, your spouse could charge thousands of dollars to them. Pleasantly inform them that the cards have been canceled after the fact. Jointly held cards are your responsibility too, so you may be responsible to pay some or all of the debt.
Safeguard Joint Bank Accounts
Angry spouses commonly “clean out” joint bank accounts. Before you’re left with nothing, remove half of the account balance and open a new individual account at a different bank with those funds. Notify your spouse that you’ve taken your portion of the account by sending a written letter.
Don’t Contribute to Your Retirement Accounts
It’s likely that your spouse will be entitled to some or all of the money in your retirement account and pension plan, including IRAs and 401(k). Go to your employer and ask for the forms needed to stop your regular contributions. This will keep the portion of your savings that your spouse may be entitled to from growing.
To be granted divorce in California you must fulfill certain “residency requirements.” You or your spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum of the previous six months. What’s more, you or your spouse is required to have lived in the country in which you are filing, for at least the previous three months.
While you or your spouse may claim reasons for the filing of divorce, in California you do not have to do this. You can reduce the stress of divorce by claiming, “irreconcilable differences.” In the end, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is that the marriage is ending; only that it end as quickly and painlessly as possible for all parties involved.
It’s natural for tensions to mount and emotions to fly during divorce proceedings. Oftentimes, no matter what the circumstances are, one or both of the spouses may feel that they are entitled to more assets or money, or that they should receive full custody of the children after the divorce. Don’t worry; it’s not their call.
Here are a few of the more common threats made by vindictive or scared spouses. Please know that all of them are “empty” and hold no bearing on how the divorce will unfold.
1. “I will tell the court what you are doing and you won’t get the kids”
Chances are, whatever they disclose will have no bearing on how well equipped you are to raise or take care of your child.
2. “You can’t take money from me”
California embraces community property law. With few exceptions, everything acquired during a marriage will be considered community property and will be divided equally between you and your spouse.
3. “I’d rather go to jail than give you a dime”
The state of California takes matters like child and spousal support very seriously. There are many tools enforced by the state to make this happen in a fair manner.
4. “You shouldn’t trust your attorney. Mine will represent you better and will save you money”
It is very important that you do not fall for your spouse’s trap when he or she asks you to consider hiring on their attorney. By offering to utilize the attorney that best fits their needs, they may be attempting to take control of the divorce and increase their chances for a favorable outcome.
5. “Because of what you have done, you will never see the kids again.”
The California courts will always have the children’s best interests in mind, which means they would like both parents to see their children on a frequent and continuing basis.
We are happy to provide you with the California Divorce Guide. It is a thorough explanation of the California divorce process, and puts to rest these and other empty threats, as well as offering tips on how to protect yourself prior to filing. It is your comprehensive resource on all aspects of the California divorce process.
Legal issues pertaining to the family can be highly emotional and bitterly contentious. It is important to know your rights, the rights of any children you may have, and how the process will unfold. The law firm of Bohm Wildish specializes in all aspects of California family law, including the following:
• Prenuptial Agreements
• Marriage, Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships
• Paternity, Paternal Rights and Liabilities, Paternity Fraud and Testing
• Fertility and Surrogacy
• Adoption, Guardianship, Foster Care, Child Emancipation
• Domestic Violence, Spousal Abuse, Child Abuse, Child Abduction
• Separation, Divorce and Annulment