A contested divorce is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life because it creates tremendous uncertainty about their future. It’s hard to go about one’s daily life while wondering if they’ll have to move out of their house and how they’re going to afford to pay their bills. When you add the stress of wondering if you’ll be able to spend enough time with your children and whether they will continue to go to school with their friends and pursue their extra-curricular activities, it can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced California divorce attorney that knows how to help you resolve all the issues of your divorce as quickly as possible. Envision Family Law, LLP is known for our personal service and excellent outcomes.

Property Division

In most of the United States, property is “equitably distributed” in a divorce, but California is a “community property” state and has a different system. In California, marital property is divided equally between spouses using these three steps:

  • A determination of whether the property is marital or separate;
  • A determination of the value of the property and
  • The decision about how to divide it.

Deciding whether property is marital or separate is not as straightforward as it might seem. For example, a business that’s owned exclusively by one spouse might not be considered separate property if the other spouse contributed significantly to increase its value. An inheritance is generally considered separate property, but if it’s co-mingled with marital assets and used to pay family expenses, it may be considered partially or fully marital property when you get divorced.

Spousal Support

If your spouse earns much more money than you do, you may be entitled to temporary and/or permanent spousal support and if you earn more, you may be required to pay it. Generally, the longer the marriage, the longer support will be paid and the amount of support will depend on factors such as:

  • The educational level of the spouse receiving support;
  • The opportunities for lucrative employment available in the area and
  • Whether the spouse receiving support gave up career opportunities to care for children.

The property division order cannot be modified, but spousal support can be modified if circumstances change such as the paying spouse losing their job or the receiving spouse earning a great deal more money.

Divorcing With Children

California courts will award joint custody unless there is overwhelming evidence that it would not be in the children’s best interests to do so. Joint custody means that both parents are involved with making decisions for their children, including where they reside, go to school, receive healthcare, etc. When a child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent has the right to visitation with the child, but it’s becoming much more popular for parents to share physical custody as well. When one parent makes more money and/or spends less time with a child, that parent is usually responsible for paying child support to the other parent. If both parents have similar incomes and spend similar amounts of time with the children, no child support needs to be paid.

California Divorce Attorney

If you’re considering getting a divorce, it’s important to understand how your property will be divided, whether you’ll be receiving or required to pay spousal support and how child custody is decided. That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced California divorce attorney as soon as possible in the process.