How Long Do I Have To Pay Spousal Support?

Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging times in someone’s life. Not only is this going to mark the end of a meaningful relationship and add a lot of stress to your personal life and emotional health, it can also be quite costly. One expense that occurs by one party in a divorce is the required payment of spousal support, which is commonly referred to as alimony. These obligations tend to vary by the state and in the state of California, it can depend on various factors.

Duration of Marriage

One of the most significant factors that will influence how long spousal support is required to be paid in California is the length of the marriage. Generally, the state will characterize marriage duration as either more or less than ten years. In most cases, if you have been married for less than ten years, spousal support will be required for a period equal to half of the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasts for more than ten years, there is not a specific amount of time that it will need to be paid and it will be up to the court’s discretion. Any periods of separation will also be taken into consideration.

Ability to Work and Pay for Each Party

Another important factor that will be used to factor spousal support during a divorce process is the ability for each party to work and pay for support. The court will review the current income of each party as well as each party’s ability to obtain a job if they are not already working. If it is determined that the recipient is unable to work, it could extend the amount of time that a spouse will need to continue to provide this support. In cases involving children, the court may determine that a parent is unable to work as it is in the best interests of the child for the parent to stay home.

Changes in Circumstances

It is also possible that the amount of time that spousal support is paid can change based on changes in underlying circumstances. Some common circumstances that can influence the need to pay spousal support can include if the recipient of spousal support remarries or starts earning a higher income through normal wages or if a child is now old enough when a parent could start to work.

If you are going through a divorce, it is very important that you receive the proper support and legal representation. For those in the Southern California area, working with Erica Bloom Law is a great option. This family law practice can help ensure you are properly represented during a divorce and receive a fair settlement in terms of custody, spousal support, division of assets, and other important factors.

Divvying Up Inherited Assets In A Divorce

Property settlements in divorce proceedings

A property settlement is an agreement entered into by divorcing spouses. Its purpose is to provide an equitable and agreed division of their assets between them. The agreement covers property that the couple obtained either before or during marriage. The agreement could also cover issues of alimony and child support payments.

Marital vs. separate property

When it comes to divvying up assets during a divorce, the law categorizes property as either marital or separate.

Marital property includes real and personal property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage and before the couple separated. The property must be presently owned and is normally presumed to be property acquired after the couple were married.

Separate property is property owned before the marriage or inherited by only one of the spouses. It could be a gift or inheritance received by one of the spouses from someone other than a spouse.

Most states consider inheritances as exempt from a 50-50 split during a divorce.

With the notable exception of New Hampshire, most states consider inheritance as separate property. The inheritance belongs exclusively to the spouse who received it and cannot be divided in a divorce.

But the actions of a spouse can convert separate property to marital property.

When separate property is intentionally commingled with marital assets, it is called “transmutation of property.”

An example of intentional transmutation would be where one spouse inherits a large amount of cash from a deceased relative. If the spouse deposited that cash into a joint bank account and the couple began using the funds during the marriage, the inheriting spouse would have a hard time convincing a judge during divorce proceedings that the inheritance was separate property.

The complicated process of the direct tracing of separate property

Say the spouse makes some ongoing improvements to the marital home with inherited money. When it comes time to divvy up assets, the spouse could claim reimbursement from community property assets through direct tracing.

To prove that the payment was financed through the separate property of one spouse, the court must see bank statements documenting specific amounts that the spouse contributed to improving the community property.

The effect of prenuptial agreements on inheritance

Mainly in the case of second marriages, today, couples are using prenuptial agreements. The agreements:

  • cover assets each has accumulated prior to marriage
  • frequently specify assets earmarked for their children—inheritances, gifts, etc.– that were arranged well before the second marriage.

Before entering into a prenuptial agreement, it is wise to consider the pitfalls, especially in cases where the power distribution between the spouses is unequal and the terms could be unfair.

Your Guide To Prenuptial Agreements

When it comes to falling in love, planning for the wedding, and dreaming of a happily ever after ending to the story, it is easy to lose sight of important points and considerations. When the soon to be married couple gets swept up in the romance of wedding planning a simple yet sad truth can often get overlooked. This is the simple and cruel fact that  not every marriage will last and that based on statistics alone, around half of marriages today will eventually end in divorce, usually within the first five years.

Protect yourself ahead of marriage

One way to protect yourself from the financial impact of a divorce and to help guard certain investments and interests you have is to execute a prenuptial agreement before the marriage becomes officially binding. Prenups essentially are a contract both parties enter into that outlines each person’s financial rights and obligations should they divorce. This legally binding document, drawn up and overseen by a licensed attorney, protects against one spouse losing everything in the event of the marriage dissolving.

What can a prenup include?

The financial outline that a prenup follows are generally enforceable and cover thing such as the division of share property and assets such as bank accounts and investments. Some states already have regulations enforcing hoe shared property and investments are to be divided but there are still aspects that can be left open during a divorce.

In a prenuptial agreement, a spouse can include a provision that allows them to get more than the other party if certain criteria are met. A prenup can also contain provisions regarding what assets will remain separate, or who gets the bigger claim to shared assets such as savings accounts, retirement funds, and so forth. It is also possible to include terms and agreements for spousal support and payments in the event of a divorce.

What can’t a prenup include?

Prenups generally do not have any provisions or listings regarding child-related provisions. This means that issues regarding minors are not included as part of this legally binding agreement. Issues such as child custody, visitation, or child support have to be negotiated separately at the time of divorce. Children have rights and whatever is deemed to be in the best interest of any children involved in the divorce proceedings will be determined at that time by the appointed judge.

Protect your rights

With the right prenup, some of the uncertainty of the marriage can be put to rest. Both parties can rest assured that their interests and those of their spouse are protected. No one wants a marriage to end in divorce, but when it happens, it is good to know there are terms and protections in place to safeguard both parties in the event of divorce. Contact Erica Bloom Law today to get started.

Non-Physical Domestic Violence

One of the most common misconceptions about domestic violence is that it has to be physical. While there’s no doubt that hitting, pushing, biting–and worse–are all abusive behaviors, they’re not the only ways that someone can be abusive. Abuse usually includes more than just physical violence. For example, research shows that 95% of men who physically abused their victims also psychologically abused victims.

The trauma from non-physical forms of abuse is real and may be made worse by people refusing to acknowledge it. It’s crucial for people who experience abuse like that below to seek resources and protection from further abuse.

Mental Abuse

Mental or psychological abuse attempts to control the person’s thinking. It can include making threats, making someone doubt things they’ve experienced, lying, and other manipulation tactics. This type of abuse can happen over the phone or via text, not just in person.

Emotional abuse is closely related to mental abuse and focuses on eroding a person’s self-esteem and emotional well-being. Humiliation, yelling, insulting, ignoring, intimidating, lecturing, using sarcasm, infantilizing a person, blaming the victim, accusing the person of certain behaviors, including abuse itself, and trivializing the victim’s feelings. Physical actions such as breaking things or harming other people or animals–or threats of doing those–can also be mental abuse.

Stalking, where someone maintains physical or visual proximity to the victim or their immediate family, causing fear of harm, can be emotional abuse. But it might also be physiological if the stalker lies about their behaviors.

Financial Abuse

Financial or economic abuse is a tactic for the abuser to gain power and control in the relationship. It can include preventing someone from acquiring a job, forcing them to quit,  getting them fired, preventing a person from having financial input, and limiting their access to money and information about finances. Hiding assets or stealing are also examples of financial abuse, as is spending money intended for necessities on other things. Victims of financial abuse may not have the resources to leave the situation and find themselves trapped with their abuser.

Sexual Violence

Sexual assault is a type of sexual assault where someone touches or forces someone else to touch them sexually without consent. Sexual abuse may involve physical force, coercion, or altering someone’s state of mind with drugs or alcohol to make them easier to manipulate. Attempts also fall into this category, as does sexually exploiting someone else. Having (or threatening) to have an affair and use the details against a person or denying sex are also sexually abusive.

Evidence of domestic violence may be grounds for a divorce or other legal case. Erica Bloom specializes in California family law cases and can help victims of domestic abuse.

What Is Parallel Parenting?

Divorce and separation can be challenging for parents as well as children. It’s important to come up with an arrangement that allows parents and children to continue developing their natural bonds while making sure that the parents can resolve any potential conflicts that arise during the divorce process.

Parallel parenting allows both parents to stay connected with your children while getting enough space from each other to work through this process.

Here’s how parallel parenting can help parents as well as children.

How Parallel Parenting Helps Your Child

Parallel parenting it’s a way for separated couples to still ensure that their children stay connected to both parents. This style of parenting involves parents splitting important events, such as music recitals and sporting events, so that they avoid conflict while still staying connected to their children. This is an ideal option for parents who have high levels of conflict, but who still want to stay involved in their children’s lives.

Here are a few key benefits of parallel parenting.

Reduces Conflict

This article from the University of Florida states that parallel parenting is a good choice for parents who have high levels of conflict when they are in communication. While parents who have amiable relationships might be able to switch over to co-parenting, parents who risk exposing their children to undue conflict can avoid these conflicts by parallel parenting.

This helps minimize conflict for both the parents as well as the children. This also allows the children, and parents, to retain their levels of connection while working through difficult conflicts that can come with a divorce.

Lowers Stress

Parallel parenting also lowers stress for everyone involved. This naturally lowers stress for the parents who are in conflict by giving them some time and space apart. It also helps to lower conflict for the children who often get caught in between these arguments.

Promotes Parent-Child Bonding

It can be difficult to determine how much time each parent can spend with each child. This does create issues when it comes to parent-child bonding. Parallel parenting is a way for children to develop strong connections to their parents even if the parents themselves no longer get along.

How You Can Create a Parallel Parenting Plan

One of the best ways to develop a co-parenting, parallel parenting, or other arrangement is to work with an experienced family law legal team. Erica Bloom is an expert of family law and can help parents develop a parallel parenting agreement that satisfies their needs as well as the needs of their children.

You can reach out to Erica Bloom today to start working on a parallel parenting plan that helps you children while giving the parents room to avoid conflict.


Building Your Support Network During Divorce

Divorce is not easy for anyone. It creates an immense amount of mental and financial stress, even when both parties agree. Every person going through a divorce needs a support system to help them get through the emotions, legalities, financial decisions, and other elements of a divorce.

Every person’s divorce support network looks different. However, several key ingredients combine to make a support system especially helpful. This guide will help you develop the team that will help you get through your divorce as smoothly as possible so you can look forward to the new beginnings on the other side.

Friends and Family

Friends and family are integral parts of a divorce support team. They’re often the ones who already know the struggles you and your spouse have been having. Friends and family can provide a lot of assistance during the divorce process, but they shouldn’t replace professional help.

A Qualified Counselor

Divorce is emotionally draining, and a qualified counselor or therapist can be invaluable before, during, and after your divorce. The process can uproot past traumas or create new traumas. A therapist or counselor can provide the tools you need to manage traumas and deal with the other mental health issues commonly associated with divorce.

Remember that your children may also need emotional support throughout this process. A therapist or counselor can be a critical part of their support network.

Financial Support

Divorces present a lot of financial questions and issues. A certified public accountant (CPA) or chartered financial analyst (CFA) can help you organize your finances and prepare for your future and your children’s future. They can also provide the advice you need to guard yourself against financial harm.

Divorce Support Groups

There may be divorce support groups in your area where individuals undergoing divorce meet and provide emotional support for one another. Joining a support group will immediately assure you that you’re not alone in this process. Online support groups can be helpful for those who live in rural areas or are not yet comfortable openly sharing the ins and outs of divorce in person.

Legal Support

Your legal divorce support team will guide you through the legal aspects of your divorce every step of the way. It’s essential that you feel the attorney you choose is responsive and always putting your best interest first.

The professional divorce attorneys at Eric Bloom Law understand all the turmoil surrounding divorce. Their team of experts is prepared to help you make the best legal choices to benefit yourself and your kids now and in the future.

What Is Gaslighting In A Relationship?

Gaslighting is a term that has grown increasingly common in recent years. Often used but less likely to be understood, gaslighting is a serious form of manipulation put in play by abusers. A simple example of gaslighting could include a rude remark at dinner, denied later by the defamatory individual. Saying, “I didn’t insult you” after clearly insulting you, is considered gaslighting.

What Is Gaslighting?

There are many forms and examples of gaslighting that we see in daily relationships. Simply put, gaslighting is a manipulative form of abuse that occurs between an abuser and their victim. Considered both covert and insidious, gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse where the bully forces the victim to question their judgment and grasp on reality. Gaslighting victims can feel so confused and lost that they begin to question actual reality. That is why it is so important for individuals in abusive relationships to have proper legal counsel. People like Erica Bloom Law can ensure that your voice is heard.

Gaslighting is often highlighted in romantic relationships but is common in every facet of life. Gaslighting can occur between family members, colleagues, and even close friends. Anywhere a toxic individual tries to wield emotional abuse to manipulate and control other people, gaslighting might be at play.

Why Is Gaslighting So Bad and Effective?

Gaslighting is so effective at hurting people because it alters the very perception of an individual’s reality. When you are being gaslit, it would be completely normal to second guess your thoughts and memories. You might even begin to second guess your very grasp on reality. You can end up feeling dazed, confused, and even lost while wondering what you’ve done wrong.

Gaslighting doesn’t only manifest as confusion and attacks against your judgment. Gaslighting can be seen in a variety of other actions.

  • Constant Lying – Individuals prone to gaslighting are often habitual or even pathological liars. They will lie and change their stories, never backing down or admitting they are wrong. Lying is at the foundation of gaslighting.
  • Minimizing Feelings – Gaslighting often includes minimizing both your thoughts and feelings, making you feel less-than as a result. Saying things like “stop being sensitive” or “stop overreacting” are two classic statements in the gaslighting playbook.
  • Feel Unheard – Gaslighting is about trivializing and minimizing the other individual. When you feel completely confused, closed, and unheard, you might be dealing with a gaslighting partner.

Gaslighting is a serious issue that needs to be resolved. Knowing what gaslighting is as well as its signs and indicators can help prepare you to overcome the challenge while finding support from Erica Bloom Law during any court proceedings.

Is It Legal In California To Record My Spouse During Our Divorce?

Equipped with little more than a cellphone, it doesn’t take much to have a high-quality recording device within arm’s reach at all times. Technology has fundamentally changed the way that we live our lives and that has manifested in how we interact with one another, particularly in the legal realm. Couples undergoing a potentially contentious divorce may want to leverage that technology to their benefit, potentially helping record admissions of cheating, asset hiding, and any other potential beneficial evidence that may help in the following proceedings.

One question underscores today’s topic: is it legal in California to record my spouse during our divorce proceedings?

Is It Legal To Record My Spouse During a Divorce Case?

The urge to gather photographic and audio evidence may overwhelm common sense, but don’t allow it to happen to you. California is a two-party consent state with regard to wiretapping laws, thus requiring that both parties be aware that the conversation is being recorded while also giving consent to said recording.

What does this mean in simpler terms? You are not legally allowed to secretly record a private conversation with your spouse.

Resist the urge to win debates by using illicit tactics as they will not help your case and can even lead to stunning legal consequences. Instead of risking your financial future and your freedom, hire a legal representative like Erica Bloom Law to guide you through the process.

How Can I Legally Acquire Recorded Evidence?

While it may be difficult for divorcing spouses to give one another on-the-record consent to record conversations, it is not the only option available. To keep things cleaner and calmer, some divorcing partners will have one or both attorneys offer to depose the other party, engaging with opposing counsel to answer questions. The party being questioned can have the support of their attorney on hand to provide legal guidance throughout the process. Information acquired through a deposition can be shown in court.

You Can Probably Ignore Recordings Altogether

California is listed as a no-fault divorce state, which means that both parties are able to walk away without proving anything for the divorce to become settled. Instead of potentially violating your spouse’s right to privacy, leading up to and including criminal charges, your best course of action is to let sound legal counsel act as your compass.

To learn more about the ins and outs of the divorce process in California and to find support from a legal representative, contact Erica Bloom Law with any questions or concerns you might have.

How To Celebrate The Holidays After Divorce (And Keep Your Sanity!)

A divorce can cause a lot of conflicts, even after it’s over. As the holidays approach, you may feel uncertain about how to celebrate the holidays post-divorce without worrying about losing your sanity. The following tips will help you make the holidays more enjoyable and ensure you can find your new normal after your divorce.

Keep Things as Normal as Possible

Some couples manage to maintain their holiday traditions just the same as they did before the divorce. However, if you aren’t one of those people, you can still make your holidays less stressful by creating new traditions, while maintaining some sense of normalcy, especially if you have children. It’s essential to evaluate which traditions you want to continue and which ones you want to revamp to accommodate your changed family.

Encourage Time with Both Parents

Juggling time around the holidays can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Encouraging your children to spend time with each parent reduces anxiety and shows them both parents still love them the same. However, it’s essential to check your attitude. Don’t express animosity toward the child’s other parent and don’t let anger or self-pity get in the way of an enjoyable holiday season.

Plan in Advance

Splitting time between both sides of your child’s family takes advanced planning. Think about how you want to handle the holidays and discuss the details ahead of time. Your court order should detail how the children spend holiday time with each parent. However, you may need to exercise a little more flexibility to ensure children are comfortable, especially if this is the first holiday season after your divorce.

Start New Traditions

Your family dynamic has changed. Giving yourself a fresh start by implementing new family traditions can go a long way toward improving the holiday season and making it easier for everyone. If there is something you previously wanted to incorporate into the holidays but your former spouse was against it, now is the time to consider adding it. Set realistic expectations and let your children take the lead in helping you choose what to do for the holidays.

Give Gifts

It’s common to struggle financially after a divorce, particularly in the first year or two as you seek to establish your new lifestyle. However, it’s essential to make sure you always have some gifts for your children to open. Even if you need to reach out to local charities, family members, or friends for a helping hand, gift giving will ensure a sense of normalcy for the holiday season. Be sure to set a budget and stick to it. After all, buying your children’s affection with gifts will only backfire in the end.

Your 2021 Checklist For A California Divorce

It’s never easy to go through a divorce, but sometimes you need to dissolve a marriage that isn’t benefitting you any longer. Once you’ve made the difficult choice to seek a divorce, there are things you must do to prepare yourself so that the process isn’t any more challenging than it needs to be. This checklist should help ensure that you reach the best possible outcome.

Gather Important Financial Documents

A couple’s finances can be one of the greatest sources of conflict leading up to a divorce. Deciding what happens following the dissolution of the marriage is even more burdensome. Make sure you get all of the important financial records you need such as mortgage and loan documents, tax documents, bank statements, life insurance policies, titles to property and investment account records.

Itemize Your Assets

Make sure that you have a list of every asset you own under your name and jointly with your spouse. Assign a fair value to each asset when you create your list. Include things like debt, especially if the debt is under both of your names. Should your spouse have any secret accounts, inform your attorney. Your lawyer can conduct an investigation that will uncover any important information about these accounts that could impact your divorce proceedings.

Consider How You Want to Handle Custody

A divorce has a huge impact on children, so you should consider what you’re willing to settle with in regards to custody. Consider whether shared custody can be arranged and where your children will live when they stay with your spouse and you. Your children’s needs should come first when you consider custody arrangements.

Determine Where You Plan to Live

Before you begin proceedings, decide if you’re going to fight to remain in your current home or if you plan to move. It’s important to speak with a lawyer before making this critical choice, but also look around for new places to stay so you have an idea of what it’s going to cost you.

Make Changes to Your Will and Living Trust

Removing your spouse from your will and trust ensures that should something happen to you, your assets go to the person you choose instead of your ex-spouse. In most cases, this would be your children. Also, name a new executor of your estate.

Update Bank and Social Media Accounts

If you share any accounts with your spouse, change your passwords and update your information. You may want to create a new email account as well.

Have a Support Network

Whether it’s your family, friends, a therapist or your attorney, you need people to lean on during this challenging period in your life. It’s important not to isolate yourself and know that you’ve got other people to lean on who will listen and understand.

Contact Us for a Consultation

Erica Bloom Law works hard for our clients to protect what matters most to them. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.