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San Mateo California Family Law Blog

Will child custody prevent me from moving out of state?

Moving can be an enormous undertaking. From securing new housing to figuring out the best way to transport household goods, the entire process can be incredibly stressful. Add in child custody matters to the mix, and most people would probably rather stay put. However, moving is sometimes a necessary part of life, so parents should be certain that they understand how to handle their child custody issues during the process.

If a custodial parent plans to move outside of California, it is possible that the noncustodial parent will not object and the move can proceed as planned. However, if the noncustodial parent does not agree with the move, then the matter can quickly become complicated. In these situations, it is generally up to the custodial parent to demonstrate that the move is not only necessary or in good faith, but that it is also in the child's best interests.

How is property division handled in California?

Most people in California understand that they will have to split up their property in a divorce, but far fewer individuals understand how this process works. This can make heading into the property division process extremely distressing. Some people may even put off filing for divorce out of fear that they will lose their most prized assets. Securing a better understanding of the laws that govern property division can help put some of these fears at ease.

California is a community property state, which means that most property obtained after saying "I do" is considered to be marital property. All marital property must be divided up equally between the divorcing spouses, meaning that each person should receive half. This division does not take things like income or the length of the marriage into account.

Jeff Bezos in a high asset divorce without a prenup

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are about far more than simplifying the divorce process or opening up new lines of communication. A carefully crafted pre or postnup can protect a person's assets, California business interests and far more. When it comes to dealing with a potentially high asset divorce, these protections can be essential for securing the best possible outcome.

Jeff Bezos might be most well-known as the CEO and founder of online retailer Amazon, but he has recently been in the headlines for his impending divorce. After 25 years of marriage to novelist MacKenzie Bezos, the couple are ready to end their marriage and move on separately with their lives. However, as the wealthiest man in the world, Jeff Bezos has quite a bit on the line, including much of his business interests.

High asset divorce:W to seek a new financial adviser

Handling complicated assets, large bank accounts and financial investments is not for the faint of heart. When this much is on the line, California couples usually turn to professional advisers for help and guidance. But when it comes to a high asset divorce, should couples continue sharing the same advisers, or should they aim for a cleaner financial break?

Making a clean financial break from an ex-spouse might sound easier than it sometimes is. In many cases, one person continues to pay alimony to the ex. If children are involved, someone is usually paying child support. While these are necessary financial payments that can continue to temporarily tie a couple together, sharing a financial adviser does not have to be.

How can I protect myself from paying too much in alimony?

You may feel unhappy with the idea of making monthly payments to your ex, but spousal support is an important part of California family law. Spousal support -- also called alimony -- ensures the stability of a spouse who earned less during the marriage until such a time as they are able to create their own financial security. While it is essential that individuals who receive alimony get the right support, it is also necessary to protect the payer's financial well-being. 

California has two separate stages of spousal support. The first is called temporary spousal support and occurs after you separate but before your divorce is finalized. For this stage, courts consider both you and your ex's income, your future earning capacities and more. 

What to do with the home during property division?

A home is one of the biggest joint purchases that California married couples make. Despite this, many still end up mismanaging their real estate during divorce. Not only can making mistakes with the marital home hurt emotionally, it can also cost each person a significant amount of money. In order to better handle the home during property division, individuals should be aware of a few important matters.

Some couples decide that it is best for one person to maintain ownership of the house. While this might be a good idea for a number of reasons, it is essential to first determine whether that person can continue to afford the house. This means more than just paying the mortgage. What about taxes, general upkeep and homeowners insurance? If the individual cannot afford these costs or if it will create a financial burden, then keeping the home might not be in his or her best financial interests and could ultimately cause more distress down the road.

Shared child custody reaping benefits for children in one state

When divorce became more common place, family court judges tended to favor the mother when deciding what was the best situation for raising children. Over time, studies have shown that children who are permitted more time with both parents tend to fare better. While joint custody is favored in California, some other states start with a legal presumption of joint custody. A family law attorney can help a parent in this state to determine what arrangements will best meet his or her children's needs.

Recently, an advocate for parents' rights urged his state to consider implementing new laws that would require family courts to make shared custody the default unless doing so would place children in danger of abuse. Studies and surveys are showing that children are benefiting from this approach. Professionals say that it reduces the level of conflict. Many opponents to shared parenting assert that the best interest of the child needs to come first, though it is widely accepted that time with both parents is better for most children.

The basics of alimony after a divorce

The idea of providing ongoing financial support to an ex-spouse can be uncomfortable, but it is often a necessary aspect of divorce. Alimony -- commonly referred to as spousal support -- is intended to limit any potentially unfair economic aftermath of a divorce. A California family law judge might order that one person pay support, or a couple may come to an agreement on the matter by themselves.

The factors that go into determining whether alimony is appropriate are varied. Courts will usually consider the length of a couple's marriage and each respective person's income, but there is more to it than that. A person's age, emotional state and physical condition might also be considered, and judges often look at whether an individual might need job training before re-entering the workforce.

Complex property division needs an experienced eye

No one wants to come out of a divorce feeling as if they lost everything that was important to them. With the right approach and careful attention to detail, this does not have to be your situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when approaching property division.

California is what is known as a community property state. Under these laws, anything that you acquire during the course of your marriage is considered community property. Unlike separate property, which is yours and yours alone, community property has to be equally divided during your divorce. This does not just apply to the big things either, like cars and homes. Here are few examples of community property you might have:

  • Home furnishings, artwork and electronics
  • Business assets and interests
  • Retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs
  • Stocks, mutual funds and other investments
  • Children's college savings accounts
  • Insurance policies

Don't rush retirement decisions during property division

Approaching divorce and retirement at the same time? For those in California who are dealing with this situation, the future may feel uncertain. Most people know that there are usually penalties and taxes associated with early withdrawals from retirement accounts, but this can be avoided during property division through careful attention to detail.

Before pulling funds from any accounts, couples must first deal with property division. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, this involves determining which assets are separate and which are community property, and then dividing the community property according to California family laws. This means that if a retirement account is community property -- and many are -- then it will probably be split 50/50 between both parties.

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