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Fullerton Family Law Blog

Dealing with the family home during a divorce

Deciding what should be done with the family residence is often a thorny issue when couples divorce, and this could be especially true in community property states like California. Spouses often have a great emotional attachment to homes where they have watched their children grow, and they often wish to remain in them even when doing so could cause them great financial hardship. The family residence is also usually the most valuable asset the couple owns.

Under California law, marital estates must be divided equally rather than equitably in a divorce, which often leads to contentious debates over what is and what is not a marital asset. Any asset that is purchased after a couple marries is generally considered part of the marital estate, but matters become more complex when dealing with family residences when money that was not part of the marital estate provided part of the down payment or was used to make repairs or improvements. Money spouses had before they married or inherited while they were married would generally not be considered part of the marital estate.

When you're a police officer, custody requires special thought

As a police officer, your job is to serve and protect. However, your primary concern now is your child. As a parent going through a divorce, there is a risk that you could lose a good portion of custody with your child if you're unable to care for them due to the requirements of your job or other responsibilities.

Being a police officer is much like any other job that requires people to be on-call and to work scheduled hours. In emergencies, the police can be called into work, even if they had planned to be off work that day.

Divorce and insurance

Couples in California who decide to get a divorce are likely to find that the process can be long and complicated, resulting in number of practical, financial and emotional issues for everyone involved. Even though divorce can take a stressful toll, it is important that both spouses do not ignore insurance coverage. They should make sure to reevaluate all of their insurance policies to understand how their coverage may change after the finalization of the divorce and how to prepare for those changes.

One important type of insurance that has to be addressed is health insurance. In many cases, one spouse is covered under the other spouse, typically the spouse with the higher income and who has a health plan sponsored by an employer. According to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, spouses who do not earn an income can remain under their ex-spouse's employer plan for as long as three years after a divorce.

How to remain professional during a divorce

Ideally, a person who is going through a divorce would be able to keep it from having an impact on his or her professional life. However, it may be necessary to take time off from work for a court date or to otherwise deal with matters related to the divorce. Furthermore, an individual's employer may receive requests for information from the court or other parties related to the proceeding.

In addition, the divorce can create stress that may manifest itself during working hours. It is also possible that stress from work could have an impact on a divorce proceeding. Therefore, it is important to set aside time during the day to make phone calls or send messages to a divorce attorney. Having a dedicated time to talk with an attorney may also cut down on legal bills. Correspondence should be made using a personal email account, and it should be stored on a personal computer if possible.

Silent relationship killers that lead to divorce

California residents may be interested in learning about a couple of silent relationship killers. Many people know that traits like sarcasm, contempt and criticism can predict divorce. Relationship ruiners can be difficult to spot, so being aware of them could help some couples before it is too late.

Some find that it is easier to avoid a conflict than it is to deal with it right away. Unfortunately, this allows negativity to fester and can ruin a relationship. Some have found that getting over the discomfort that comes from addressing conflict leads to harmony in the relationship.

Tasks to complete after a divorce

Once a divorce in California is finalized, there may still be more work ahead for the ex-spouses. For example, fomer wives and husbands who are changing their names will need to visit the DMV and notify Social Security and other agencies. Exes may need to be removed from medical insurance, and some people might need to obtain new health insurance.

To prevent any financial mishaps, it's wise to close all joint accounts. Assets that were jointly owned may need to be retitled. If one person gets the home, the mortgage might have to be refinanced.

Dads and child custody: better options today

For much of the 20th century, fathers in California and across the United States were usually not granted sole child custody rights. Judges usually granted full rights to mothers. Today, courts are more likely to award shared parental custody. Courts currently presume that divorced parents have joint legal custody of their children. Legal custody involves a child's school and educational opportunities, religious upbringing and health care issues. In addition, the court encourages both mothers and fathers to raise their children in dual residences.

Courts have been awarding more frequent sole custody rights to fathers for the past four decades. Since 2008, courts awarded rights to fathers about 58% of the time. Dads previously received sole custody rights only 20% of the time. Judges followed the popular assumption that moms were more capable of caring for younger children. However, some politicians began to promote the concept of fathers raising their children with the approval of the court.

Joint credit card debt can complicate your divorce

Once you decide to divorce, some of your attention will immediately turn to property division. Not only should you understand the difference between separate and marital property in California, but you must also have a comprehensive list of both types to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Around this time, you should turn your attention to any joint credit card debt you're carrying. This has the potential to complicate your divorce, especially if you don't consider all of your options.

Post-divorce co-parenting

Parents in California who get a divorce are likely to have to co-parent with their ex-spouse. In addition to two biological parents, co-parenting situations can also apply to grandparent guardians or adoptive parents. No matter what type of co-parent situation is in place, it is important the all parties involved take the necessary steps to ensure that the welfare of the children is the priority.

Co-parents should make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children. Divorced parents should realize that the end of their marriage does not mean the end of the parent-child relationship, and while they may rather not spend time with their ex-spouse, the presence of the children's other parent in their lives is very important. There are circumstances in the presence of the other parent in the children's lives may not be for the best, such as if there has been abusive behavior exhibited by that parent toward the children.

What happens to a business in a divorce

When a business owner gets a divorce, the asset division process can get complicated. However, there are several ways a California company could be addressed in a divorce.

The most popular option for one spouse to keep the business. This usually involves one spouse buying out the other. If the buyout is done as a direct purchase of shares because of divorce, it will usually not be taxable. However, a spouse who does not have the liquidity to purchase the business may need to use a settlement note. In some cases, there may be a company that both exes have shares in. An easy option would be for the company to buy the shares of one spouse. Since this can trigger a significant capital gains tax, it is important to structure it with that in mind.

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