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Monterey California Family Law Blog

Many factors impact spousal support determination

There was a time when spousal support, aka alimony, was awarded in the vast majority of California divorce cases. Reflecting an evolution of gender roles in society in general and possibly a change in judicial philosophy, the decision on spousal support is now more carefully scrutinized. There are many circumstances the statutory law directs the judge to consider and weigh. Ultimately, the court has wide discretion in concluding what is appropriate in each individual case.

Legal experts indicate the fundamental concept behind spousal support is to minimize any unfair impact on a non-earning or lower earning spouse. Once the initial question of necessity is affirmed, a seminal issue becomes how long should the support last. Over the years, family law judges have increasingly viewed spousal support as temporary and expect the individual receiving payments to work toward and demonstrate the ability to live autonomously. A general rule in California is support will last half as long as a marriage of less than 10 years.

How to handle online accounts during a divorce

Most divorcing couples in California understand that they must divide assets and arrange various support agreements. However, many forget to consider dealing with some very important tech-centric details.

For example, experts say that divorcing partners need to change all their online passwords as soon as possible, including solo bank accounts, Netflix accounts, social media accounts and more. This will keep an ex from accessing money that does not belong to them or attempting to stir up trouble on social media. Experts also recommend that those going through a divorce take the time to wipe clean all shared devices, such as tablets or laptops. These devices likely have all of an individual's passwords and browsing history saved, which means they could allow an ex unwanted access to accounts and information.

Challenges older people may face in divorce

Divorce among older people is on the rise, but it also poses unique challenges. For some older California couples, there could be complications when it comes to dividing property and dealing with health care. There could also be some fallout for adult children.

Couples who have saved for retirement with the assumption that they will be using the money to support one household may struggle to use the same amount across two. Usually, the only portion of retirement savings that will not be split is anything that was accumulated before the marriage. When a couple has been together for a long time, it may be difficult to ascertain which property was acquired before the marriage versus what was obtained afterward.

Retirement assets and property division during a divorce

When California spouses decide to divorce, they might be concerned about affecting their retirement plans. Divorce has a range of financial consequences, but some of the most impactful can involve retirement accounts. These funds are often some of the largest assets held by married couples, and they are often divided in half between the two parties, especially if a long-term marriage is involved. Even if retirement is still years away, divorce may spark serious thinking about how to escalate retirement savings in order for people to protect themselves for the time to come.

While Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) have "individual" in their name, they are generally considered marital property. If the IRA existed before the marriage, it may be only the increase in value during that time that is up for division in the divorce. The same is true for pension plans, 401(k)s and similar accounts. There are a number of special rules that apply to the division of retirement accounts in a divorce. For example, people could face hefty tax bills and other penalties if the accounts are divided incorrectly.

Ways to stop a divorce from becoming a battle

Monterey residents who have gone through the divorce process understand how challenging it can be. Many have compared it to a minefield that can have a dramatic effect on a person's emotions. The scars that are created in the aftermath of a divorce can last for the rest of a person's life.

When people talk about divorce, they often use terms that would otherwise be used in war. They talk about the winner and the loser, legal and financial battles, and failure and conflict. The ironic thing is that the people who now view each other as enemy combatants were not too long ago in love with each other. They may have had children together and built a home, and they saw a future together.

What you could learn from Jeff Bezos’ divorce

For the Amazon-founding billionaire and his soon-to-be former wife, it may have been good for Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos to have had a prenuptial agreement, or prenup. Though it may be too soon to determine how much a settlement and support arrangement will cost the richest man in the world, there is an estimated $136 billion at stake.

How a prenup could help ease tensions in divorce

Considerations re domestic abuse in California family law matters

Many areas of law embrace subject matter that both instantly and materially sets them apart from other legal realms.

Take your pick, really. Environmental law comes to mind (a prominent focus in California). Securities regulation, insurance defense, medical malpractice, estate planning – all these legal subsets and more spell singular concerns for clients and their retained legal counsel.

Dividing child custody after a divorce

For many divorcing parents in California, joint custody is a popular choice for co-parenting arrangements. Increasingly preferred by family courts, most joint custody plans allow children to enjoy roughly equal amounts of time with each parent. While splitting custody can pose emotional and logistical difficulties for all family members, it can also help to support children's emotional development and adjustment process after a family divorce. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when parents develop a parenting plan to manage the children's schedules.

There are a number of people's needs to take into account when making decisions about child custody. Parents' employment schedules and obligations may point toward certain choices for a logical parenting plan, but it can be just as important to consider the children's schedules. For example, extracurricular activities, time with friends and hobbies are important to take into account. The parenting plan should put the child's needs and interests first, and setting aside clear time for these important activities can help kids to adjust to the new plan. Especially for older children, it can also be important to give them a chance to share their thoughts on the plan and be part of the process.

New California law allows pet owners to seek custody in a divorce

California passed a new law that treats pets as part of the family, rather than a piece of property. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, owners can seek sole or joint ownership of their pets in court. The decision will be based on who can best care for the pet.

Care includes protecting your pet from harm and providing food, shelter and veterinary care. The law also stipulates that one spouse can seek an order to care for the pet until the divorce is finalized.

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