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Important Questions to Ask Your Divorce Attorney in California

If you’ve decided to end your marriage and seek a divorce, you probably have many questions. Unfortunately, too many people head for divorce court without having adequate knowledge about divorce. For this reason, Erica Bloom Law has put together five questions you should be asking your divorce attorney in California.

When is My Divorce Finalized?

The time frame for finalizing divorce after the paperwork has been served is six months in California. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, this can stretch out. When you speak to a divorce attorney about the specifics of your case, they will be able to give you an estimate of when your divorce should be finalized.

Will My Past Behavior Impact the Divorce?

No. Your past behavior has no bearing on your current divorce proceedings. While some acts could affect the outcome of divorce (such as domestic violence), your behavior, along with your spouse’s, will not be taken into consideration. If you’re still worried about past behavior and whether or not it might affect your divorce, speak to your divorce attorney to put your mind at ease and help you move forward with the divorce.

Where Does My Divorce Occur?

California has many divorce courts throughout the state. Your divorce will take place in a courtroom in the county where you filed. You must be a resident of California for at least six months prior to filing for divorce in this state. Furthermore, you must have been a resident of the county where you file for at least three months. Your divorce attorney in California will be able to tell you exactly where your divorce will take place.

What about Child Custody in California?

Child custody is a complicated matter that can prolong any divorce case. It is an emotional issue, often the most emotional part of a divorce. However, when you understand how child custody works in California you can emotionally and mentally prepare. If you’re divorcing and have children, your attorney will guide you through the process, explaining everything you need to know about child custody laws in California, both legal and physical custody. She will also go over in detail different custody scenarios you may want to consider as part of your divorce.

Is it a Good Idea to Talk to My Spouse Before Filing?

Under the right circumstances, it can be beneficial to talk to your spouse before filing for divorce. This, of course, depends on many factors, such as your spouse’s temperament, whether you think they will contest the divorce and the issue of child custody. If, however, you think your divorce will be amicable, there is no reason not to discuss divorce before filing. A divorce attorney is not a therapist, but they do have experience helping people through this difficult time. Talk to your attorney about the pros and cons of bringing up divorce to your spouse before you file.

Need Help With a Divorce?

Erica Bloom Law is here to help you file for divorce and see it through to a satisfactory conclusion. We take the time to guide and educate you along the way so you’ll always know what to expect. Erica Bloom Law is an award-winning family law firm that helps its clients transition through this difficult time. We are a team of compassionate attorneys who understand that divorce is never easy. If you want divorce representation from attorneys who care, contact us today.


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Why a Premarital Agreement May be Invalidated

A premarital agreement is a critical method of protecting assets you bring into a marriage. While it’s important to trust the person you’re marrying, some people have ulterior motives and may file for divorce later solely to get half of those assets. Fortunately, you can work with a qualified attorney to draw up a prenuptial agreement, protecting you and your property from these situations. However, there are reasons for a premarital agreement to be invalidated if you should get a divorce. It’s essential to be aware of these factors so you can prevent a problem in the future.

Technical Reasons

In the legal field, one of the biggest reasons for invalidating a premarital agreement or any other legal agreement comes down to technicalities. For instance, if you solely make a verbal agreement, rather than putting everything into writing, the agreement may be thrown out if your soon-to-be ex-spouse takes the matter to court. It’s also essential to make sure both parties sign the agreement and each have a copy of their own, along with one on file with your attorney to prevent anyone from making unilateral changes to the agreement. A lack of detail or missing information can also lead to invalidation. Always hire a lawyer when you work on a premarital agreement to ensure everything contained in it is legally sound. Finally, talk to your attorney about impermissible items. For instance, prenuptial agreements can’t include terms regarding child custody or illegal acts.

Execution Problems

The other common reason for invalidating a premarital agreement is in the development or execution of the document. This is why it’s essential to work with an experienced family lawyer to ensure everything is done properly so it will hold up in court. For instance, both parties must be fully aware of what they’re signing. Working with an attorney ensures both parties have read through the agreement and understand everything before they sign it. When someone is found to sign the document under pressure or duress, it can reflect badly if the relationship leads to a divorce and can cause the judge to invalidate the document.

Always work with an experienced family attorney when drafting a premarital agreement. If you are the one on the other end of the spectrum, it’s also important to have your own attorney look it over to ensure everything is valid and fair.

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What is Spousal Support in California?

Understanding California Spousal Support

If you find yourself entangled in a California spousal support case, you may not understand the subtleties of this type of legal agreement. Spousal support awards are not meant as punitive damages — they simply aim to compensate one spouse fairly and reasonably if that spouse suffers significant loss of marital income (the income, and subsequent standard of living, enjoyed by both spouses during their time as a couple). This support can prove especially crucial for a spouse who has never worked or has spent years away from the workplace. Spousal support is dealt with as a separate issue from other divorce-related concerns such as division of property, child support, and child custody.

Types of Spousal Support

The three primary categories of spousal support in California include temporary, permanent, and rehabilitative support. Let’s look at the key differences in these categories.

  • Temporary support – In temporary support, the higher-earning spouse makes payments to help the lower-earning spouse get through the financial burdens created by loss of income and other expenses during the course of the divorce case. Once the divorce case reaches its conclusion, this support terminates.
  • Permanent support – Permanent support takes the place of temporary support (if so ordered) as part of the final divorce agreement. This long-term form of support requires the higher-earning spouse to make regular payments to the lower-earning spouse so that spouse can continue to maintain a pre-divorce standard of living.
  • Rehabilitative support – Rehabilitative support commonly applies in cases where one spouse left the workforce or reduced their work hours to take care of the children. It is awarded as a kind of stopgap compensation on the understanding that the recipient spouse will make a good faith effort to return to the work force and eventually become financially independent.

California divorce courts may also award lump-sum or reimbursement support. In lump-sum support, the alimony is paid in a single payment instead of spread out over a long-term schedule. In reimbursement support, the high-earning spouse makes payments to help fund career training and education for the lower-earning spouse’s return to financial independence.

The Spousal Support Process

California spouses must request and obtain formal support through a court case that results in a written court order. (If one spouse gives money to another spouse for support purposes before a written court order has made such payment mandatory, that money may not be officially credited toward the alimony payments.) While divorce commonly serves as the grounds for a spousal support request, a court may also award it on the grounds of domestic violence, legal separation, or the annulment of a marriage. Domestic partners may also receive partner support by pursuing the same basic process.

Determining Spousal Support Awards

Different local courts in California rely on their own specific formulas for calculating the amount of temporary spousal support to be awarded in a divorce case. Your local court can clarify how their particular formula determines temporary spousal support.

The divorce court will consider a number of factors when calculating the amount of permanent support awarded to a spouse. According to California Code Section 4320, these factors may include such basic data as the length of the marriage, the health and age of each spouse, and each spouse’s income. The court also considers the distribution of income, child care, possessions, and debts during the marriage. If it was agreed that one spouse would support the other during the marriage while the other spouse cared for the children, these factors must figure into the award determination as well. The non-working spouse may not be able to re-enter the job market at a level that would compensate for the loss of marital income, especially if it impacts the spouse’s ability to continue watching over the kids.

Under certain circumstances, one spouse or the other can ask the court to change or end the spousal support payment amount or schedule. This usually requires the spouse to show a significant change such as a spouse no longer needing the support, becoming unable to make the ordered payments due to loss of income, or not making a legitimate effort to become self-sustaining.