There are often a variety of different reasons why individuals start to think of needing help with a family law matter in California. The most common reason someone seeks California family law help is because they are considering getting a divorce from their spouse. However, California family law issues also cover topics such as child custody, child support, alimony, and father’s rights in California, just to name a few. Normally, these topics carry with them great stress, anxiety and fear because California’s laws are difficult to understand. But, with the help of an educated and compassionate family law attorney on your side, these complex and difficult issues can be managed to allow you to move on with your life. Our team even offers free California family law consultations to help begin to put your mind at ease!
California Family Law Advice
We know that this is a difficult and strange time in your life, but you are not alone. Millions of American’s find themselves in need of answers to questions and assistance in handling their family law problems. California family law matters are governed by the Family Code, the statute that lays out all the rules and procedures for attorneys and litigants to follow. Our team works with individuals on all types of California family law cases, from uncontested divorces to knock down, drag out, custody battles. Stressed? Don’t be anymore! Just let us know what you need and let a proven professional take care of you the way you deserve with any CA family law issues!
California Divorce Help
California divorce laws are by no means simple and easy to understand. Even lawyers have trouble making sense of the rules that must be followed and the method to the California divorce courts madness. That’s where we step in – by speaking with a professional with years of experience handling California family law matters, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected! Whether you anticipate a contested divorce over issues such as property division, alimony, child custody or child support, you can be confident that you have come to the right place. Thousands of people every month seek us out to help provide you the California family law help you need.
Grounds for Divorce in California and Residency Requirements
California allows for two-types of grounds to be divorced on: Irreconcilable Differences and Incurable Insanity.
- Irreconcilable Differences in California: This is essentially a “no-fault” divorce whereby both parties agree that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage and future efforts at reconciliation would not be in the best interests of your family. This is the most common method of divorce grounds in California and virtually the only grounds for divorce that a person in California uses.
- Incurable Insanity in California: This method of grounds for a California divorce are almost never used. To prove incurable insanity for grounds for a California divorce, one spouse must provide medical proof that their spouse is medically insane and that there is no cure for their insanity.
In addition to filing your divorce on one of the above-mentioned grounds, the party filing for divorce must also have lived in the State of California for at least 6-months and the county of filing the Petition or Dissolution of Marriage for at least 90-days. When these requirements are met, the process of filing the divorce begins with the filing and serving of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and a Summons via sheriff or a special process server.
Division of Property (and Debt) in a California Divorce
In California, property is placed into one of two categories during the marriage: community property or separate property. California, like many states in the Western Region of America, follow a distribution of property based on the rules of what is known as “Community Property.” Community Property in California specifically relates to property that a person and their spouse attained through their own work during the marriage. Community Property, which must be divided between the spouses, can include such things as pension, 401k’s, stock options, and various retirement plans that have grown during the marriage. It does not matter if only one spouse worked during the marriage or if the property acquired during the marriage is titled or listed in only one of the spouses names – it is community property, and must be divided on a 50/50 basis upon dissolution of the parties marriage.
Community Property rules also apply to debts acquired during the marriage in a California divorce. Credit card bills, mortgages, car loans all count as community property debts if accumulated during the marriage. One of only a few exceptions to this rule are student loans, which are separate debts that are only owed by the spouse whose name it is in.
Separate Property is very different than community property. It is property that has been acquired prior to the marriage and can be either a debt or an asset. Property acquired during the marriage but after separation and even inheritances that you receive during the marriage are separate property and will not be divided in a California divorce. Keep in mind, that just because you owned or accumulated property or debt prior to the marriage, does not necessarily mean that the property did not change and turn into community property that needs to be divided equally between the spouses. an example of this is when one spouse owns a home prior to the marriage and, during the marriage, the other spouse begins making payments on the mortgage. The home may now be considered community property and subject to division! This happens through a confusing process known as “commingling.” Speaking with an experienced California family law attorney is the only way to protect your assets and get what you deserve.
Agreed Divorce vs. Contested Divorce in California
When parties first begin to decide that their marriage is over, emotions may run high. Divorce is normally caused by feelings of anger, resentment or a loss of trust in the other spouse. Divorces can end up in one of two ways: contested or by agreement. Contested divorces happen when one or both of the spouses do not agree to the reasons for the divorce or what to do about their joint property, bank accounts, child custody, or other issues. If both parties cannot decide what to do with the children or how to divide the property and debts (whether community property or separate property debts and assets), a judge will do so after hearing. This will be costly and will take a lot of time, so it is obviously easier, faster, and cheaper to attempt some type of cooperation between the spouses.
In contrast, agreed divorces (sometimes called amicable divorce or no fault divorce) is a process by which both spouses decide to avoid costly and painful litigation and come to an agreement on all the issues that surround their divorce. Expert divorce help is here; we help to mediate conflict and help people come to an agreement through a collaborative process. However, no fault amicable divorce is not always possible.
California Child Custody Help and Advice
Child custody in California oftentimes can be the most contentious of all legal battles, period, let alone within the family law realm. We aim to make California child custody help easier to obtain than ever before. California follows what is commonly known as the “best interests of the child” doctrine when determining which parent in a divorce can get custody of the parties’ children. The main factors that are included in the best interests of the child standard include the age of the child, the relationship the child has with each parent, the stability of each parents living arrangements, and many other factors.
When two people cannot agree on which parent should have residential custody of the children (where the kids will live the majority of the time), California courts will decide to grant custody in one of the following ways:
- Joint Legal Custody: Both parents equally share all rights and responsibilities regarding the child’s health, welfare, education and safety of the child. This means that both parents have the right to make decisions such as what school the child will go to and extracurricular activities the child participates in.
- Sole Legal Custody: Only a single parent is granted sole decision making authority regarding the child’s health, welfare, education and safety of the child.
- Joint Physical Custody: Contrary to popular belief, this does mean that there exists a 50/50 parenting time arrangement with the child. However, both parents are granted a regular, continuing parenting time with the child living with each parent.
- Sole Physical Custody: One parent is the “residential” parent, subject to the other parent’s (nonresidential parent) rights to visitation. A common example would be living with one parent and every other weekend overnight visitation with the other parent.
In contested custody battles, the best thing you can do to fight for your kids is to make sure that you have a trial tested California custody attorney on your side.
Child Support Help in California
In California, both mothers and fathers have a right to receive child support. California family law attorneys understand that the custodial parent (the parent that is the primary caregiver of the children), needs to receive money from the noncustodial parent so that they can provide for their children. In some instances, this is a matter of looking to the needs of the children. In other instances, it is a set amount of money. Some parents need more money for their children’s support, and others need some relief because the amount they are paying is making their own living arrangement unmanageable. California child support laws are far from simple, but getting the help you need from a California family law attorney is easy because we know how to handle every type of child support case. Family law help is easy to obtain for your child support case by speaking with one of our professionals today!
Get the California Family Law Help and Advice You Deserve!
Getting the California Family Law help you need has never been easier. The laws that will affect you and your families for the rest of your lives are difficult to understand unless you have knowledgeable advocates fighting for you. You deserve to have the facts and a proven professional on your side. Speaking with one of our local family law attorneys is easy because we offer 100% free consultations! Time is not on your side, it is important to act soon – you and your family deserve the California family law help that only our team can provide. Get free family law advice today!