Going through a divorce is unpleasant and always influences all aspects of a person’s life. Its importance can never be underestimated, and its importance increases the longer the marriage lasts. If you are separated from your spouse or thinking about it you should educate yourself about the process. If you have anything worth preserving you should retain an experienced divorce attorney.
California is a no fault state. What this means is that if one spouse desires a divorce, the other spouse cannot stop the process. The court and the lawyers call a divorce a marital dissolution.
To get a no fault divorce, one spouse must simply state a reason for the divorce that is recognized by the state. In California, it’s enough to declare that the couple cannot get along (this reason goes by such names as “incompatibility,” “irreconcilable differences,” or “irremediable breakdown of the marriage”). The spouse asking for a divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong.
California is a community property state. This means the law requires that community property be divided equally in a divorce.
Child Support is determined by a mandatory, complicated algebraic formula that is written into the California Family Code. In honesty, what happens is each parent’s income and the amount of time he or she spends with the child is entered into the judge’s computer program (your lawyer has a copy, too) and provides a support figure for each child. This is the “presumed correct” figure and the circumstances under which the judge can change the amount are few. Few parents know that the critical factor is the parents’ respective incomes. Time with the child is weighted far, far less. Even so many parents fight for custody time to reduce their child support obligations.
Everyone knows what Child Custody is. Very few know who actually decides the matter if it is not agreed to by the parties. You may think it is the judge, but in most counties (not in Orange County or Los Angeles County) of the state that is not true. The judge is important in those counties because the ulitmate power rests with him. However, the reality is that judge follows the recommendation of a custody evaluator almost all the time. In Ventura County, for example, if the parties disagree, then the court will order them to mediate the dispute with a court employee. If the parties don’t agree during the mediation, then the court employee will make a recommendation to the judge. He or she will recommend the percentage of time the child spends with each parent, and the vast majority of the time the judge adopts the recommendation of the employee. (Hint: it makes sense to try and resolve the dispute informally)
Alimony is called spousal support by the court and the lawyers. How much spousal support is awarded, if any, is not set by a schedule like child support. Temporary spousal support–support pending trial– is often set by judges relying almost exclusively on a local schedule. But, the judge won’t rely on a schedule at trial. The Family Code contains a long list of factors judges are required to take into consideration, including the parties’ income, earning capacities, expenses, and standard of living during the marriage. As a result spousal support tends to take income and expenses into account.
If you live in Los Angeles County and need a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, I have the knowledge and experience needed to help guide you through your divorce with as little stress as possible. I have been a Los Angeles divorce attorney for 20 years and I’m prepared to fight for you.