Keeping the Peace During Divorce: Helpful Tips and Strategies

woman keeping her peace during divorce

There’s no doubt that divorce is one of the most challenging, emotional times in one’s life. And things can worsen if your split results in resentment, anger, or hurt. The easiest way to make the divorce process smoother is to keep conflict to a minimum.

Minimizing conflict will also make your life easier after your divorce, especially if you have children and will be co-parenting with your soon-to-be ex. This article will discuss some tips you can use to minimize or avoid conflict during a divorce.

Let Go of the Past

When you’re going through a divorce, it’s natural to think about the past and events that may have led to the breakup of your relationship. This can create a lot of animosity and conflict. Thinking of the past too much and dwelling on things your partner has done wrong will almost always result in an argument.

Don’t Antagonize

Emotions will likely run high during your divorce, and your ex may be trying to provoke you or be mean-spirited. Acting the same way back can create hostility, making divorce negotiations more complicated and drawn out. Antagonizing your spouse will make it less likely that you will be able to agree on a fair settlement, and your legal costs will increase as the process drags on. 

Keep All Communication in Writing

Keep all communication between you and your spouse in writing to document everything for your attorney and future use in court if necessary. Documenting proof that your spouse acts negatively or sends hurtful communications can help your legal claims.

It’s important to remember that it goes both ways. Be sure to control what you say, as it can also be used against you in court.

Check Social Media Privacy Settings

Many people don’t think of social media accounts regarding divorce. Your spouse and their attorney may keep checking your social media accounts, so it’s essential to think carefully before you post something.

Even if you set your account to private, people can still find ways to gain access to your information. The best idea is to take a social media break until your divorce is finalized. However, if you stay active on social media, avoid posting about your divorce or spouse.

Use a Mediator

A mediator is a neutral third party that can help facilitate negotiations during a divorce. Working with a mediator and your attorneys can help you avoid conflict and reach a fair agreement sooner, avoiding lengthy litigation.

Using a mediator instead of a judge deciding the outcome of your divorce will allow you and your spouse to reach an agreement that works best for your family. And since you will be making these decisions together, it can help avoid feelings that someone was short-changed, which can lead to resentment and conflict.

Communicate Through Your Attorney If Necessary

Some divorces are more conflict-ridden than others. If you cannot civilly communicate with your spouse, communication through your attorneys is likely a better idea. Your divorce attorney will advocate for you and can communicate without allowing emotion to cloud your judgment.

Keep Family Members Out of It

During the divorce, there may be negative feelings within the family. It’s essential to do your best not to create more. This is especially true if children are involved. Talking negatively about their other parents or trying to get them to take sides can damage your relationship with them.

Set Clear Goals

What are your goals after the divorce? If you are not the primary parent of your children, how often do you want to see them? Do you want to be friends with your ex, or only want it to be civil?

Finances play a critical role in a divorce. Examine your current financial situation and determine what you need for your future and what you are okay with letting go of. Understanding what financial resources you need can give you financial peace of mind and help you avoid getting caught up in the less important details.

Focus on the Future

After you’ve set your goals, focus on them and work towards your post-divorce future. Don’t get caught up with minor things. Stay focused on the most important goals for you and your future.

Let Azemika & Azemika Help You Keep the Peace in Your Divorce

Following these tips can help you minimize conflict in your divorce. While you may be hurt or resentful, conflict will only make the process longer and more challenging. Instead, focus on what you want your life to be like after the divorce and work towards that future life.

At Azemika & Azemika, we focus solely on family law cases. We understand that each case is unique, and our extensive experience handling divorce cases allows us to customize each situation to fit our client’s needs. We can help you create effective resolutions for disputes during your divorce, and we will fight for you and protect you and your family during the divorce process.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Online Divorce and Why it is a Bad Idea

online divorce and why is it a bad idea

When a couple decides to divorce, especially when it’s a mutual decision, and it is likely amicable, an online divorce may sound like a good idea. Although it may seem more budget-friendly, simple, and faster, there are some considerations you should know about before you decide to use an online service for your divorce.

Understanding the risks of an online divorce and the costly mistakes that can occur without the legal expertise of a qualified divorce attorney is essential before beginning the online divorce process. This article will discuss some of the risks you take using an online service for your divorce.

Risks of an Online Divorce

Online divorce is a good idea. They are advertised as cheap, fast, and accessible. But that isn’t the case for all divorces. If you’re thinking about getting an online divorce, keep reading to learn about some reasons why an online divorce is a bad idea.

1. You May Run Into Complications

While uncontested divorces may seem simple, even simple divorces can run into issues. When couples begin to think of divorce, there are some things they don’t even consider, such as:

  • Shared debts and assets
  • Child custody and visitation that meet the child’s best interest
  • Child support and alimony

While online divorce sites provide forms related to these things, they do not alert you to potential problems in your case or provide legal advice on making these decisions if you or your spouse cannot agree on them. By selecting a qualified divorce attorney to represent you for your divorce, you can ensure any issues are handled fairly and correctly.

2. Online Divorces are Legally Binding

When you sign divorce papers, they are legally binding documents. While some issues, such as child custody or child support, can be modified in the future, things such as the division of assets and debts cannot be modified.

When using an online divorce service, you risk making decisions you regret later. Making these decisions without the legal advice of someone experienced in divorce cases means you may end up signing papers that could hurt you financially or cause problems that will be more costly to fix.

3. Laws Vary in States and Counties

Divorce requirements vary not only from state to state but from county to county as well. Online divorce services provide paperwork that covers the most general laws, but they need to provide the exact details required by your county or state.

Please take the time to research these details to avoid your case being dismissed because of mistakes. This alone makes it a good reason to hire an experienced divorce attorney to help ensure you meet the proper requirements of the county and state where your divorce is taking place.

4. Limited Understanding of Legal Terms and Procedures

Legal terminology and procedures can be confusing if you don’t have a legal background. Online divorce services may offer explanations, but they could be limited and leave you having to navigate the complexities independently.

Misunderstanding legal terms or filling out forms incorrectly can lead to delays, additional costs, or even a negative outcome in your divorce case. Having an experienced divorce attorney by your side ensures all forms are completed correctly and submitted, preventing costly mistakes.

5. No Support for Potential Emotional and Financial Complications

Divorce is more than just a legal process. It’s an emotional and financial upheaval. Online divorce services focus only on the legal aspect of the divorce and fail to provide the emotional and financial support you may need during this time.

A divorce attorney can provide that support. They can also recommend resources such as counseling and financial planning to help you manage the stress of the divorce and help you rebuild your life post-divorce.

6. Privacy Concerns

Online platforms require you to upload sensitive personal information, raising concerns about data privacy and security. There is always a risk of data breaches or misuse of your information. Engaging a lawyer ensures that your private details are handled with the utmost confidentiality and that you follow strict ethical standards.

Turn to the Experienced Team of Family Law Attorneys at Azemika & Azemika for Your Divorce 

Divorce can be complicated, and if you try to do it alone, there are risks involved that you could avoid simply by enlisting the services of an experienced divorce attorney. While the process may be more costly and take more time, you can have peace of mind knowing that they are correctly navigating the divorce process and can avoid expensive mistakes.

At Azemika & Azemika, we understand that divorce can be emotional and challenging. That’s why we ensure our attorneys and staff are sensitive to our client’s needs. Our partners have over 64 years of experience handling family law cases and aim to provide aggressive, knowledgeable, affordable representation.

Contact us today for a consultation.

California Divorce: What is a Moore/Marsden Calculation?

moore/marsden calculation in california divorce

Finances are often among the most challenging issues during a divorce, especially when dividing assets and property acquired during the marriage. The Moore/Marsden calculation is a more complex aspect of this process.

California is a community property state, meaning that when couples acquire property during their marriage, those assets are split 50/50 in the case of a divorce. In contrast, assets owned by one spouse before the marriage are considered that spouse’s separate property. But what happens when one spouse owns real estate when they enter the marriage, but marital funds are used to pay the mortgage or improve the property?

That’s where the Moore/Marsden calculation comes in. It can significantly affect property division and the final settlement in a divorce case. This article will discuss this calculation, how it works, and its potential impact on divorce proceedings.

What is the Moore/Marsden Calculation?

The Moore/Marsden calculation arises from two pivotal California appellate court cases: Marriage of Moore (1980) and Marriage of Marsden (1982). These cases established a formula to determine the community property interest in a property that was initially the separate property of one spouse. Still, the property was paid down or improved with community funds during the marriage.

In simpler terms, if one spouse owned a home before getting married and the mortgage on that home was paid down using the couple’s joint income after they got married, the community (both spouses) may be entitled to a portion of the increased equity in the home. The Moore/Marsden calculation helps to determine what portion of the property’s equity is considered community property versus the separate property of the original owner.

How Does the Moore Marsden Calculation Work?

The Moore Marsden calculation takes the following factors into account. These factors help establish a clear line between community property (belonging to both spouses) and what should remain separate property (belonging to the purchasing spouse).

  • Original Purchase Price of the Property — It starts with the amount the spouse who purchased the property paid for it. 
  • Determine the Initial Equity — Calculate the equity in the property at the time of marriage by subtracting the mortgage balance from the property’s fair market value.
  • Calculate the Paydown of Principal — Determine the amount of principal paid on the mortgage with community funds during the marriage. Interest payments and other expenses are generally not included in this calculation. Only the principal reduction counts.
  • Appreciation of the Property — Assess the property’s fair market value during separation or trial.
  • Community Interest in Appreciation — The community is entitled to a share of the property’s appreciation during the marriage in proportion to the principal amount paid with community funds.

The formula generally looks like this:

Community Property Interest = (Principal Paid with Community Funds/Original Purchase Price)×Total Appreciation during Marriage

This formula calculates the community’s share of the appreciation. To find the total community property interest, you add the principal paid with community funds to the community’s share of the appreciation.

Example of the Moore/Marsden Calculation

Here’s an example of how the Moore/Marsden calculation would work.

  • Original Purchase Price — $200,000
  • Mortgage Balance at Marriage — $150,000
  • Mortgage Balance at Separation — $100,000
  • Fair Market Value at Marriage — $220,000
  • Fair Market Value at Separation — $300,000
  • Principal Paid with Community Funds — $50,000

Step 1 — Initial Equity at Marriage = $220,000 (Fair Market Value) – $150,000 (Mortgage Balance) = $70,000.

Step 2 — Principal Paid with Community Funds = $50,000.

Step 3—Appreciation During Marriage = $300,000 (Fair Market Value at Separation)—$220,000 (Fair Market Value at Marriage) = $80,000.

Step 4 — Community Interest in Appreciation = ($50,000 / $200,000) * $80,000 = 0.25 * $80,000 = $20,000.

Total Community Property Interest = Principal Paid with Community Funds ($50,000) + Community Interest in Appreciation ($20,000) = $70,000.

So, in this example, the community interest in this property is $70,000, which would then be subject to division between the spouses during the divorce.

Impact on Divorce Cases

The Moore/Marsden calculation can significantly impact property division in a divorce. Understanding and accurately applying this calculation is crucial for several reasons:

  • Equitable Distribution — It ensures a fair division of property by recognizing the contributions of both spouses to the acquisition and appreciation of the property, even if one spouse originally owned the property before marriage.
  • Financial Settlements — Accurate calculation can affect the overall financial settlement, influencing decisions regarding alimony, child support, and the division of other marital assets.
  • Negotiations — Knowing the community property interest can leverage negotiations, potentially leading to more favorable settlements for one or both parties.
  • Legal Strategy — Divorce attorneys use the Moore/Marsden calculation to develop their legal strategies, advising clients on whether to settle or proceed to trial based on the potential division of assets.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika for Expert Legal Representation for Your Divorce

The Moore/Marsden calculation is a vital tool in California divorce cases. Understanding how this calculation works and its implications allows divorcing spouses to navigate the complexities of property division better, leading to fairer and more equitable outcomes.

At Azemika & Azemika, we specialize in family law cases. We understand that navigating the complexities of divorce and property division can be overwhelming. Our experienced and dedicated team will guide you through the complexities of property division and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact us today and take the first step toward securing your future.

Exploring Divorce Timelines in California: How Long Does the Process Take

how long does divorce process take in california

After you’ve taken the steps to file for divorce, you are likely eager to get the process finalized so you can move on with your life. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, the divorce process in California can be a long, complicated process. Understanding the divorce process in California can help you navigate this challenging time more efficiently.

This article will discuss divorce in California. We will give you an overview of the divorce process to provide you with a general idea of how long it takes for a divorce to be finalized in California.

California: A ‘No Fault’ Divorce State

California is a no-fault divorce state. That means that either spouse can file for divorce without having to prove fault on the other spouse.

There are two types of grounds for divorce in California.

  1. Irreconcilable differences mean the couple cannot resolve their differences to save their marriage.
  2. Legal incapacity to make decisions can be used if one spouse has been determined “legally incapacitated” to make decisions by a doctor. This could be caused by illness, traumatic injury, or a psychological issue.

Mandatory Waiting Period

There is a mandatory waiting period of six months for a divorce in California. This waiting period gives the couple time to reconsider their decision to divorce. This waiting period applies even if you’ve been legally separated for over six months.

After the six-month waiting period has passed, the divorce will be finalized. It’s important to note that this is the minimum amount of time a divorce can take in California. Many divorces can take longer to finalize.

The Divorce Process in California

The divorce process in California is outlined in the Family Code, Division 6, Part 3, Chapter 4, which provides legal guidelines for it. Let’s examine the steps involved in the divorce process in California.

Step #1 – Filing the Petition

The petitioner is the spouse who files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court. When this has been completed, the divorce proceedings begin. The petition details the grounds and specifics of the divorce.

Submitting paperwork that is completed properly is vital for a valid submission. Enlisting the services of a qualified divorce attorney can help streamline the process and ensure all forms are filed accurately and in a timely manner.

Step #2 – Service the Divorce Papers

Serving the divorce papers to your spouse (the respondent) is a legal requirement in California. Ensuring compliance with the serving requirements is vital to the divorce process. Your divorce attorney can assist you in serving divorce papers properly and timely.

Step #3 – Response

When you receive a divorce petition, quick action is essential. After being served, the respondent must file a response within 30 days. If they fail to respond, the court may proceed with a default judgment, potentially expediting the process.

Step #4 – Preliminary Disclosures

Both parties must exchange preliminary financial disclosures. These documents detail assets, debts, income, and expenses, ensuring transparency and fairness during the property division and determination of support. Filing to disclose financial information can significantly influence the outcome of the divorce.

Step #5 – Temporary Orders

Either spouse may request temporary orders to address immediate concerns such as child custody, child support, and the use of marital assets. These orders will remain in effect until the final judgment is issued.

Step #6 – Discovery

If your case is more complex, the discovery process allows both parties to obtain additional information from each other. This can involve depositions, subpoenas, and interrogatories.

Step #7 – Negotiation and Settlement

Many times, a couple can settle their divorce outside of court. Mediation can be a valuable tool for reaching an agreement that satisfies both parties and significantly reduces the time and cost involved in the divorce.

Step #8 – Trial

If the parties cannot agree, the case will proceed to trial. A judge will hear evidence and decide on unresolved issues. Trials can be time-consuming and add several months to the process.

Step #9 – Final Judgment

When all issues are resolved, the final judgment is prepared. The judge will review and sign the judgment, officially dissolving the marriage.

Realistic Timeframe to Finalize a California Divorce

The six-month waiting period is the minimum time it can take to finalize a divorce in California. It’s realistic to expect a California divorce to take eight to eighteen months to complete.

Uncontested divorces, where both parties agree on all terms, can be finalized closer to the six-month mark. Contested divorces, on the other hand, may extend beyond a year.

While online divorces are often touted as faster and more convenient, they can lack the personalized guidance and legal oversight that traditional methods offer. This could lead to oversights in complex legal matters or agreements that aren’t properly vetted, potentially prolonging or complicating the divorce process in the long run.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika If You’re Facing Divorce in California

Understanding the timeline and steps involved in a California divorce can help set realistic expectations and reduce some of the stress you may feel during the divorce process. While each case is unique, being informed and prepared can make a significant difference in navigating this challenging life transition.

At Azemika & Azemika, we understand that divorce is a difficult and emotional time. Our team is dedicated to minimizing the stress and uncertainty of divorce. With over three decades of experience in family law, we provide personalized, compassionate, and expert legal representation throughout the divorce process.

Our firm was selected as Best of Bakersfield for Divorce/Family Law attorney by The Bakersfield Californian for two years in a row. Contact us today to work with our award-winning team.

Navigating Property Division: Divorce and Your Mortgage in California

woman consulting with a lawyer about divorce and mortgage in california

Deciding to divorce can be one of the most challenging decisions a couple can make. Divorce is complex and involves the couple deciding what will happen to assets if there will be spousal support, child support, and custody, to name a few. One of the most common concerns is what will happen to their shared home and mortgage when they divorce in California.

Understanding how a mortgage is handled in a California divorce can help couples navigate this challenging time more smoothly. Here’s what happens to a mortgage when couples in California decide to part ways.

California: A Community Property State

California is a community property state. That means that during a divorce, couples must split all assets the couple acquired during the marriage equally. The only exception is if the couple signed a prenuptial agreement before the marriage. In that case, the prenup overrides community property laws.

On the other hand, you have separate property. Assets and debts are considered separate property when one spouse enters the marriage with them. Some types of separate property include property, financial gifts, or an inheritance received by one spouse, even if they received it during the marriage. Each spouse retains the total amount of their separate property in a divorce.

Is a Mortgage Community Property?

This is where things get a bit tricky. It is considered community property if you purchased your house after marriage or with funds you earned during the marriage.

The mortgage would be considered separate property if you purchased the house with your own money before marriage. However, a couple of circumstances could make the home considered community property.

  • Mortgage payments made jointly after the marriage would be considered a community interest in the property and evenly split in a divorce.
  • If you change the title to include your spouse, it will be considered marital property.

What Happens to a Mortgage in a California Divorce?

Regardless of what is stated in your divorce decree, if you and your spouse share a mortgage, you’re both still responsible for paying for it. While this may seem unfair, the mortgage lender is a separate entity, so the terms of your divorce don’t apply.

If you’re the spouse leaving the home, it can be concerning to continue making mortgage payments for a house you no longer live in. Fortunately, you have options.

Buyout

In a buyout, the spouse who remains in the home buys out the other spouse’s share of the equity in the house. To do this, the buying spouse must refinance the home in their name and pay the selling spouse their share of the equity. Since the buying spouse must independently qualify for a new mortgage, it can be challenging if their income alone is insufficient.

Sell the Home

One of the easiest solutions is to sell the home and divide the proceeds. This allows the mortgage to be paid off, and the remaining equity can be split between spouses. However, selling a home takes time and may not be in both parties’ best interest, especially if children are involved.

Co-Ownership

Some couples choose to continue to co-own the home after the divorce, especially if they want to maintain stability for their children. This arrangement requires a clear agreement on how expenses and mortgage payments will be handled and often involves setting a future date or event (such as children finishing school) when the home will be sold.

Defer Sale (Birdnesting)

Sometimes, couples may choose to defer the home sale until a later date. This can involve one spouse living in the house while the other maintains a different residence or both spouses rotating in and out of the home to minimize disruption for their children. This arrangement required detailed planning and cooperation.

Turn to the Award-Winning Team at Azemika & Azemika During Your Divorce

Divorce is a challenging life event, and dealing with a mortgage can add to the complexity. Because California is a community property state, it’s essential to understand your options and the legal framework clearly. By carefully reviewing the information in this article, you can navigate this aspect of your divorce with confidence and greater financial security.

Azemika & Azemika has been handling family law cases for over three decades. We understand the emotional toll divorce can have on you, so our dedicated team is here to help you every step of the way. We have handled some of the most challenging and high-asset family law cases in Kern County. We are here to provide that same aggressive, knowledgeable, and affordable representation to you in your case.

Our firm has been selected as Best of Bakersfield for Divorce and Family Law attorneys for two years running. Contact us today to work with our award-winning team.

Joint Custody vs Shared Custody in California: What You Need to Know

photo of a child. Joint Custody vs Shared Custody in California

Divorce is challenging for any couple, but when you add children to the situation, things can get even more complicated. Sometimes, parents may need clarification on joint and shared custody terms. Understanding the difference between joint and shared custody in California is essential to coming to a fair agreement.

Many people assume these are two different names but mean the same thing, and in several states, that is true. However, these terms in California refer to two different ways to address child custody. This article will explain joint custody vs. shared custody in California and discuss the differences.

Physical vs. Legal Custody

Before we explore joint and shared custody, we must understand that two matters are involved when discussing child custody: physical and legal.

  • Physical custody addresses who and where the child lives with.
  • Legal custody addresses the parent’s right to make significant decisions for the child.

What is Joint Custody?

Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody is an arrangement that requires both parents to agree on important decisions for their child. When parents have joint custody, they are responsible for making significant decisions about their child’s welfare, including education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Parents must collaborate and communicate effectively to agree on major decisions affecting their children.

Joint Physical Custody

Joint physical custody aims to ensure the child spends a significant amount of time with both parents to ensure they maintain a close and continuous relationship with both parents. However, this doesn’t mean that equal time is spent with each parent. Instead, the child’s time is divided in a way that supports their best interests, which may not always result in an equal split.

What is Shared Custody?

Shared custody is often used interchangeably with joint custody, particularly joint physical custody, but it emphasizes equal time and responsibilities between parents. This arrangement requires careful planning to maintain the child’s routine and stability.

It also requires a high level of cooperation and flexibility from both parents. The court typically aims for a schedule that minimizes disruption to the child’s schooling, social life, and overall well-being.

Key Differences Between Joint and Shared Custody in California

While joint and shared custody can overlap, especially concerning physical custody, their differences lie in the specifics of time division and decision-making responsibilities. Let’s examine some of the differences.

Decision-Making (Legal Custody)

  • Joint Legal Custody — Both parents share the decision-making responsibilities. This doesn’t impact the child’s living arrangement but requires joint participation when making significant life decisions.
  • Shared Custody — Although shared custody implies joint physical custody, it can also encompass shared legal custody, in which both parents have an equal say in decisions.

Living Arrangements (Physical Custody)

  • Joint Physical Custody — The child lives with both parents, but not necessarily equally. Depending on the child’s best interest, one parent may have the child during the week and the other during weekends or holidays.
  • Shared Physical Custody—The child spends approximately equal time with each parent. This requires detailed scheduling and cooperation to balance the child’s needs with the parents’ capacities.

Flexibility and Practicality

  • Joint custody offers more flexibility. It allows arrangements that fit the child’s and parents’ specific circumstances. It’s less rigid about equal time division but emphasizes the involvement of both parents in the child’s life.
  • Shared custody strives for a balanced time split, which can be challenging for parents who have demanding jobs or live far apart. It requires a commitment to maintaining a structured schedule that benefits the child.

Factors the Court Considers When Determining Custody Arrangements

The court’s primary concern is the child’s best interests. Here are some factors the court considers when determining custody arrangements in California.

  • Child’s Health, Safety, and Welfare — The court evaluates which arrangement best supports the child’s well-being.
  • Parental Cooperation — Parents who demonstrate effective communication and cooperation are more likely to receive joint or shared custody.
  • Child’s Preference — Depending on the child’s age and maturity, the court may consider the child’s preference.
  • Parental Involvement — The court assesses each parent’s involvement in the child’s life, including their ability to provide a stable environment.
  • History of Abuse or Neglect — Any history of abuse or neglect by a parent can significantly impact custody decisions.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika for Your Child Custody Case

Navigating custody arrangements in California requires a clear understanding of joint and shared custody differences. While both aim to keep both parents involved in the child’s life, they differ in terms of decision-making responsibilities and physical time division. By prioritizing the child’s best interests and fostering cooperative parenting, parents can create a nurturing and supportive environment, regardless of the custody arrangements.

When children are involved in a divorce, they become the priority. At Azemika & Azemika, we understand how important it is to protect the best interests of your children while protecting your rights as a parent during a divorce.

Our team of attorneys will help you understand the laws and procedures for navigating child custody issues in California. We actively engage in settlement in negotiations or litigating your child custody case.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Child Support in California?

child support

In California, both parents are legally obligated to support their children financially. The amount of support each parent contributes is determined by a child support order issued by the court. Failing to make these required payments can result in serious consequences.

Along with the legal ramifications, failing to pay child support can affect the children involved, the custodial parent, and even the delinquent parent. This article will explore the consequences of failing to pay child support in California.

Child Support in California

When parents are divorced or unmarried in California, the parent with primary custody of the children typically receives child support payments from the other parent. Child support payments are intended to cover expenses for the child, such as:

  • Food, clothing, housing, and other basic needs
  • Education
  • Medical
  • Other reasonable expenses

The court will issue a child support order that includes a schedule of payments. Child support payments should be paid for the specified amount on the dates listed in the order. Failure to do so could result in negative consequences.

Warrants for Failing to Pay Child Support

If a parent fails to make one or more child support payments, the court could issue a warrant for their arrest. The warrant can be civil or criminal.

  • Civil warrants are issued when a parent fails to comply with a child support order. Failure to pay child support is considered contempt of court. Civil warrants can result in the parent being fined or sentenced to less than a year in jail, sometimes both.
  • Criminal warrants are issued when child support payments haven’t been made for an extended period and the parent is significantly behind in support payments. A criminal warrant can be issued regardless of where the parent resides in the U.S. Criminal warrants can result in fines, a year or more in jail, and sometimes both.

Other Consequences for Failing to Pay Child Support in California

Along with a warrant being issued, there are other legal consequences for failing to make timely child support payments in California. Here are some other consequences non-compliant parents may face.

  • Wage GarnishmentsThe Family Support Act of 1988 allows for the garnishment of wages of the non-compliant parent.
  • Health Insurance — If the noncustodial parent is responsible for paying health insurance for their children, the amount they owe for insurance may be deducted from their wages.
  • Property Lien — Liens can be placed on the noncustodial parent’s home, property, bank accounts, or retirement accounts.
  • Denied Tax Refund — If back child support is owed, the amount the non-compliant parent would have received as a tax refund will be used to catch up on their child support payments.
  • Driver’s License Suspension — A parent behind on child support payments faces a driver’s license suspension. To have their license reinstated, they must set up a payment plan.
  • Boating and Hunting License Suspension — If these licenses are lost, they will be reinstated without a suitable payment plan.
  • Professional License Suspension — When this occurs, it can make it even more difficult for the parent to make child support payments consistently.
  • Passport Revocation—A parent who owes child support may try to flee the country to avoid paying. The government can legally revoke their passport. This can also negatively affect their immigration status.
  • Credit Score Implications — When you fail to pay child support, the child support agency can report this to the credit bureaus. This can negatively affect your credit score, making it difficult to obtain credit.

Child Support Order Modifications

Circumstances change, but failing to make court-ordered support payments isn’t the best approach if you struggle to make child support payments. Instead, you can petition the court for a modification. However, it’s essential to understand that the court doesn’t have to rule in your favor.

Typically, the court will only order a modification once qualifying circumstances exist. Some of these circumstances include:

  • Job loss
  • Disability
  • A significant decrease (or increase) in income
  • A new child, you have to support
  • Changes in physical custody

The only way to avoid presenting a material change in circumstances is if you and the custodial parent agree to modify the child support order. The other way to avoid having to show a change in circumstances is if the amount of your support order is below the state guidelines amount.

Not Receiving the Child Support Payments Owed to You? Azemika & Azemika Can Help

Failing to pay child support not only has legal penalties but also affects your children. Parents must prioritize their children’s welfare and honor their financial responsibilities. By fulfilling child support obligations, you can ensure that you uphold the law and contribute to their family’s stability, resilience, and success.

At Azemika & Azemika, our experienced partners understand the complexities of California’s child support laws and are dedicated to advocating for the rights of custodial parents. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the financial support you and your children are entitled to.

If you are still waiting to receive the child support payments owed to you, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation.

Collaborative vs Cooperative Divorce: Differences Explained

collaborative

We’ve all seen movies where divorce is angry and dramatic. What can you do if you and your spouse decide it’s time to end your marriage but don’t want to go through that? If you and your spouse still get along well and don’t have any major disagreements about how you want to handle your divorce. In that case, California offers couples options other than traditional litigation to end their marriage.

Two increasingly popular alternatives to traditional divorce are collaborative and cooperative divorce. While these methods are similar, they have distinct characteristics that may appeal to different couples. This article will explore collaborative and cooperative divorces. We will highlight their differences and benefits and provide some factors couples should consider when divorcing in California.

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is a process where a couple works with their attorneys to reach a mutual agreement without going to court. This approach emphasizes open communication, transparency, and a commitment to resolving disputes amicably.

Here’s how a collaborative divorce typically works.

  • Each spouse hires a specially trained attorney to guide them through the divorce process. Other professionals, such as financial advisors, child specialists, or therapists, may also be involved in addressing specific issues.
  • Both parties provide full financial disclosure, which fosters trust and honesty. This transparency allows for more informed decision-making and reduces the likelihood of conflicts or surprises later in the process.
  • Couples should identify their interests and needs and explore creative solutions and compromises. This will allow them to fulfill their unique circumstances and priorities without focusing on legal arguments or positions.
  • The goal is to reach a settlement agreement outside of court. This can save time and money and empower couples to maintain control of the outcome of their divorce.

Cooperative Divorce

Cooperative divorce is similar to a collaborative divorce but typically less formalized. Cooperation and negotiation are emphasized but may not involve the same level of specialized training or professional support.

Here’s how a cooperative divorce typically works.

  • The couple may work with a mediator or a traditional family law attorney.
  • Couples are encouraged to engage in constructive communication to find common ground. Although there may be a different level of support than a collaborative divorce, they can address issues like property division, child custody, and support payments through negotiation.
  • A cooperative divorce aims to minimize conflict and promote a smoother transition for the spouses and any children involved by prioritizing cooperation.
  • If the couple finds they cannot resolve an issue at any point during the cooperative divorce process, the court can intervene. Although this isn’t the preferred outcome, it’s an option if necessary.

4 Factors to Consider for Couples Divorcing in California

Before deciding if a collaborative or cooperative divorce is the right choice for your situation, there are some factors you should consider.

1. Complexity of Issues

Will your divorce involve complex financial assets, business interests, or contentious custody arrangements? If so, a collaborative divorce may be the right choice as it offers the specialized support and structure necessary to address these issues effectively.

2. Level of Cooperation

Are you able to cooperate and communicate with your spouse? A cooperative approach may suit your situation if you can work together constructively with minimal professional intervention.

3. Professional Guidance

Before making this decision, consult an experienced family law attorney or mediator. They will be able to explain the differences between collaborative and cooperative divorce and help determine which approach is best for your goals and circumstances.

4. Cost and Time Considerations

How much time and money can you put into your divorce? Collaborative divorce can involve a more substantial initial cost because multiple professionals are involved, but it can be more cost-effective in the long run compared to litigation. A cooperative divorce may be a more affordable option for couples looking for a less formal approach.

Choose Azemika & Azemika as Your Trusted Partner When Navigating Your Divorce

Both collaborative and cooperative divorces are practical alternatives to traditional litigations for couples seeking an amicable divorce in California. Whether you choose collaborative or cooperative divorce, seeking guidance from an experienced divorce attorney can help you make informed decisions and move forward confidently.

Choosing the proper representation for your divorce can significantly impact the outcome of your case. At Azemika & Azemika, our partners have over sixty-four combined years of experience handling family law cases. Our team will be your partner, advocate for your best interests, and guide you through every step of your divorce.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Date of Separation in California Divorce: What You Need to Know

california divorce

We know that a couple begins their married life on the date they sign their marriage certification, but the date that the marriage ends is more complicated to determine. A couple of dates could be considered the legal end of the marriage, the date the divorce decree is issued and the divorce is finalized, or the date of separation.

The date of separation is often overlooked and misunderstood. However, it holds significant weight in a California divorce and can impact multiple aspects of the divorce process. This article will discuss the date of separation, why it matters, and how it is determined.

What is the Date of Separation?

The date of separation is when a married couple stops living together as spouses. California defines it as when one spouse expresses their intent to end the marriage and takes action that shows a complete and final break in the marriage. The intent has to be communicated to the other spouse through actions or verbally.

It’s important to note that physical separation alone doesn’t necessarily establish the date of separation. Couples may live apart for many reasons, such as travel, work, or trial separations, without intending to end their marriage. On the other hand, a couple may choose to continue to live together but consider themselves separated because of irreconcilable differences.

Why Does the Date of Separation Matter?

The date of separation is vital in the divorce process and can significantly impact the proceedings. Here are some reasons why it is so important.

Division of Assets and Debts

California is a community property state. That means community property is divided evenly between the spouses in a divorce. Any income earned and all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered community property and will be part of the property division. Determining the date of separation is vital in identifying what assets and debts are subject to division in a divorce.

Duration of Marriage

The date of separation also affects the duration of the marriage, which can impact spousal support. If a marriage lasts ten years or more, the court is more likely to award long-term spousal support. Therefore, establishing the date of separation can determine the duration of spousal support payments.

Post-Separation Income and Expenses

After the date of separation, each spouse’s income and expenses are considered separate property. The date of separation is essential to determining each spouse’s financial obligations during the divorce process, including child and spousal support.

Preserving Separate Property

Clarifying the date of separation safeguards each spouse’s separate property interests. Property acquired and debts incurred after the date of separation are separate property is considered separate property and will belong solely to the acquiring spouse. This reduces the risk of commingling assets and making property division more complicated.

Cohabitation Issues

There have been times when disputes arise over whether spouses were actually separated or continued to live together as a married couple after claiming a date of separation. Proving the actual date of separation can help resolve these disputes and prevent accusations of fraud.

How the Date of Separation is Determined

Determining the date of separation can be complex and requires evidence and documentation to support the claim. While an outright declaration of the intent to divorce is ideal, establishing the date of separation often involves factors such as:

  • Physical Separation — Evidence of separate residences, such as lease agreements, utility bills, or mail forwarding, can help establish the claim of physical separation.
  • Communication of Intent — Verbal or written communication stating the intent to end the marriage, such as texts, emails, and letters, can help establish the date of separation.
  • Financial Separation — Separate bank accounts, filing separate tax returns, and dividing financial assets can demonstrate the end of a marriage.
  • Behavior Changes — Changes in sleeping arrangements, social activities, or interactions with friends and family can signal a shift in the marital relationship.

The court will review relevant facts when determining the date of separation. So, if you communicate your desire to end your marriage but continue acting like you’re married publicly, the court may assign a later date for the separation.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika for Experienced Legal Representation for Your Divorce

By understanding the date of separation and its implications, couples can navigate the divorce process more effectively and reach a fair and equitable settlement. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance in establishing the date of separation and advocating for your rights and interests during the divorce.

At Azemika & Azemika, our experienced attorneys focus strictly on family law cases. This allows us to understand and tackle the complexities and emotional challenges accompanying divorce proceedings. Our goal is to provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation at an affordable cost to our family law clients in Kern County.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Bankruptcy and Alimony in California

bankruptcy

Alimony, also known as spousal support, requires one spouse to provide financial support to their former spouse in the case of separation or divorce. Declaring bankruptcy in California relieves financial hardships. It allows you to settle debts, liquidate assets, or set up a plan to repay creditors. But what happens when a spouse ordered to pay alimony files bankruptcy?

This situation can raise questions about how this will impact their obligation to pay alimony in California. This article will explore how bankruptcy affects alimony payments in California and explain how enlisting the services of a family law and bankruptcy attorney can benefit your situation.

Alimony in California

Alimony payments are ordered during divorce proceedings to help the lower-earning spouse transition from marriage to singlehood. They are ordered based on need and are gender-neutral, meaning that women and men are both eligible to receive them.

Types of Alimony in California

There are five types of alimony in California. Let’s take a look at each.

  1. Temporary alimony is paid while you are separated and lasts until the divorce is finalized. It uses a percentage of the higher-earning spouse’s income and subtracts a percentage of the lower-earning spouse’s income to determine the amount. The percentages used vary by county, and the amount of temporary alimony may differ from the long-term amount agreed on. 
  2. Rehabilitative alimony is the most common type of alimony issued in California and is paid until the recipient spouse can become self-sufficient. The recipient spouse has a set timeframe to bring their single lifestyle in line with their married lifestyle.
  3. Permanent alimony has no duration and is usually paid until one of the spouses dies or the recipient party gets remarried. The amount can remain the same throughout the term of the payments, or either party may request a modification.
  4. Reimbursement alimony is commonly used in California for one spouse to pay for the other to go to college and earn a degree. This will result in an income increase for the recipient spouse because they will then have a marketable skill, so the need for additional support may be reduced or eliminated.
  5. Lump-sum alimony is a sort of alimony “buyout.” Instead of making regular payments, the paying spouse can agree to give up assets or take on additional liabilities instead of making alimony payments. The problem with lump-sum alimony is that if the recipient spouse gets remarried after the divorce, the payment has already been made, and the paying spouse cannot ask for a modification.

Bankruptcy and Alimony in California

Alimony obligations are considered priority debts and cannot be discharged during either type of bankruptcy. However, the type of bankruptcy filed determines how it affects alimony.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves selling assets to pay creditors. The debtor will still be required to fulfill their court-ordered alimony obligation.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the debtor to reorganize their finances and develop a repayment plan to repay creditors over three to five years. Alimony payments must be included in the repayment plan, and failure to make them can result in the dismissal of the bankruptcy case. 

Navigating Bankruptcy and Alimony in California

Understanding the legal procedures and obligations under California law regarding alimony and bankruptcy is essential. Both parties can benefit from seeking legal counsel to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Consulting with a family law attorney can help individuals understand their rights regarding alimony and how bankruptcy can affect their obligations. The attorney can also help negotiate alimony agreements and ensure that they comply with the law.

Consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer can help you understand how it can impact your alimony obligations if you seek bankruptcy. They can assess your financial situation, advise you on the best type of bankruptcy filing for your situation, and help develop a strategy to address alimony payments during the bankruptcy process.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika, Trusted Family Law Attorneys in Kern County

Couples facing separation, divorce, and financial hardships face complex legal challenges. Understanding how bankruptcy affects alimony in California is essential for both the paying and receiving spouses. A qualified family law attorney can help you stay informed of your rights and responsibilities, navigate these challenges, and seek relief from overwhelming financial burdens.

At Azemika & Azemika, our partners have handled family law cases in Kern County for over 30 years. Focusing solely on family law allows us to handle each case with detail and expertise. If you are paying or receiving alimony and facing bankruptcy, our experienced team can help. When choosing our team of family law attorneys, you will receive knowledgeable, compassionate, and determined service.

Contact us today for a consultation.