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What is a Bifurcated Divorce?

Given the number of issues that must be decided in a divorce, such as child support, child custody, spousal support (alimony), and division of assets, the divorce process can take a long time. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on some aspects of your divorce, but can agree on others, you or your spouse may be interested in filing a request for Bifurcation with the court. This is a process that can either be stipulated to (agreed with) by the two parties, or it can be made by one party over the objection of the other.

Protecting Investments In Divorce

While the best way to protect your investments in divorce starts long before the divorce ever becomes an issue, i.e., through a prenuptial agreement, trust, estate planning, or other pre-divorce strategy; many people do not have such plans in place. In the absence of a pre-divorce plan, the burden is on you to prove that your investments are separate property not subject to division.

Pro Athlete Divorce Issues

Professional athletes and their spouses face a number of complex legal issues when going through a divorce. In addition to the routine issues that arise in lower profile divorces, professional athletes have a number of other circumstances that need to be addressed.

Parental Alienation

In the aftermath of a custody battle where one parent was awarded sole or primary custody of the child, the noncustodial parent often feels devastated. Moreover, the custodial parent may use the custody award to reinforce their superiority over their former spouse. These misguided aspirations can be taken to the extreme by taking actions to establish complete control of their child's heart and mind to the exclusion of the other parent. A situation where one parent tries to influence their child's affection towards and desire to be with the other parent is recognized as Parental Alienation (PA).

How Are Marital Assets Valued In California?

When going through a divorce it is necessary to place a value on items deemed to be community property, which includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage. There are some exceptions, such as property acquired by gift or inheritance, or property acquired prior to the marriage or after the separation.

High Net-Worth Divorce Issues

High net-worth couples often have unique special circumstances that need to be addressed during divorce. In a typical divorce, the question of support usually centers on how two separate households can be supported when the single-family unit struggled financially. In high net-worth divorce cases, the question is not how basic living expenses will be met, but rather how much is enough?  

Division of Assets in a California Divorce

Depending on the state you live in, there are generally two basic methods of dividing assets in a divorce: equitable distribution and community property. California is a community property state, which means the court will divide the couple's community assets equally. Any asset obtained or income earned during the course of the marriage is considered community property unless other agreements have been made, such as a prenuptial agreement, or some particular exception to that characterization exists in the law.

Can I modify my child support payments if I lose my job?

Circumstances often change that can affect your ability to continue making child support payments in the amount ordered by the court. Losing your job is one of the more common reasons that may cause a parent to investigate his or her ability to modify the child support order. While the short answer is "yes," you can ask to modify your child support payments after losing your job, there are some important considerations of which you should be aware.

Breach of Spousal Fiduciary Duty

Just like business partners, spouses owe each other certain fiduciary duties, or legal obligations to act in another party's interest. In the context of marriage, this means that each spouse owes each another the duties of mutual respect, fidelity and support. This may sound rather unimpressive, but as it turns out this is an area of family law that has spouses who lie to conceal things from their spouses very worried indeed.  

The Basics of Child Custody in California

Family law matters can be very emotional for all parties involved, especially the children. Unfortunately, child custody decisions often present with the most difficulty and disagreement between the separating parents. When parents going through a divorce are either unwilling or unable to agree on issues of timeshare (sometimes called "physical custody," "access" or "visitation") and legal custody (basic decision-making authority) of the children, the court will make the custody determinations for them. In California, the court will decide child custody issues based on what is determined by the judicial officer to be in the best interest of the child.

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