The Biggest Mistakes People Make In A Divorce

divorce

Going through a divorce is challenging emotionally, mentally, and financially and is often legally complex. The choices you make during this time can have a long-lasting impact on your finances, especially when you and your spouse’s finances are intertwined.

While you may feel comfortable navigating your divorce independently, there are many benefits to seeking the advice of an experienced divorce attorney and a qualified professional financial advisor.

This article will discuss some of the biggest mistakes people commonly make by divorcing spouses and how you can avoid them.

Common Financial Mistakes

Understanding how to protect your assets in California during a divorce will significantly impact your long-term financial situation.

1. Underestimating Your Expenses

You may know how much money you make each month, but have you taken the time to write down your expenses and create a realistic budget? Many people forget to include many of the more minor costs that, when added up, will be a considerable amount of money. Inflation is another crucial factor when estimating your future needs and maintaining your quality of life.

2. Determining Who Will Keep The Custodial Home

The decision about whether or not to keep the family home, especially if there are children involved, is an emotional issue. Even though it may feel more comfortable to remain where you are and avoid the costs and hassles of moving, keeping the family home may not be the best financial decision. It is essential to have a realistic sense of whether or not you can afford to keep it, no matter how attached you are to your home. You could have serious financial issues if you give up other important things to keep your home and later realize you can’t cover the mortgage, maintenance, or property taxes.

3. Equal Division Of Property, Is Not The Same As Fair Division Of Property

It is vital to understand that an asset value may not necessarily be defined or limited to its current market value. An example of this would be assets that generate income, such as a rental property that may be worth more than its market value. If you agree that each spouse should receive property of equal monetary value, It doesn’t always mean that the assets each spouse received would be an equal share of assets over time. When comparing assets or trade assets in a divorce negotiation, it is also necessary to pay attention to present value, tax basis, transaction costs, and possible future value.

4. Examine Financial Issues One At A Time

While it may seem like deciding on financial issues one at a time is the easiest way, you can miss the interaction of taxes, investment losses, capital gains, inflation, timing issues, etc. To determine a fair settlement, you must look at a comprehensive picture that includes all of your finances. When you look at a complete picture of your finances and assets, you’ll be able to understand better how each financial decision you make may impact another decision. Gathering this information together is the best way to determine how and when to divide assets.

5. Failure To Include Insurance In Spousal Support(Alimony) And Child Support

You will only be able to collect child support and alimony if your spouse can make the payments. Consider requesting that your spouse include life insurance or disability insurance policies or modify existing policies to ensure that these payments will continue during their death or disability. Have your divorce attorney review the policies to ensure that your spouse accurately designates what happens with any money that may come from the insurance policies.

 It is also essential to understand that these policies will not help you should your spouse voluntarily decide to stop paying alimony or child support. In this situation, you would need to return to court and request an order that your spouse make the agreed-upon payments.

6. Misunderstanding Your Liability For Unsecured Debt

Generally, unsecured debt is related to credit cards in most cases. If the debt was created during the marriage, it is a shared liability, no matter which spouse utilized the credit card. Both parties are responsible for the debt when getting divorced, and credit card companies can come after you.

7. Improper Evaluation Of A Defined Benefit Plan

A defined benefit plan(DBP) is a true pension plan funded and controlled by the employer and pays a monthly income at retirement. Individuals with a DBP must wait until retirement to receive payment; however, the DBP has value today, and the nonemployee party is entitled to part of the DBP. Most of the time, you will need to hire an actuary who is a specially trained financial expert to determine the present value of DBPs.

8. Including A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a legal document that states how you and your spouse have agreed to divide a defined contribution plan such as 401(k), 457, and 403(b) plans or pension plans. A QDRO will order the plan administrator to pay the non-employee their agreed-upon share. The plan administrator cannot make any payments without a valid QDRO. Getting a QDRO in place is crucial even if the pension is not payable for several years.

9. Having Unrealistic Ideas About Investment Returns

Make sure to get a professional opinion for any investment in question that may or may not grow over time to mitigate the risks of staying with risky investments and ending up with negative results. Liquid assets such as cash or things that can be converted can offer more financial security.

10. Not Considering Your Long-Term Financial Security

When you are getting divorced, sometimes you only look at your current financial situation instead of looking 10 to 20 years later. Consider working with a financial planner and experienced divorce attorney to ensure your agreements will be in your best interest in the long term.

We Are Expert Divorce Attorneys, Experienced In Family Law

Azemika & Azemika specializes in divorce law, family law, child support and custody, and adoption, and our attorneys are experts in California divorce laws. We support the community of Bakersfield, California, and our partners are here to help you navigate the complexities of family law to protect your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.

Protecting Your Finances In A Divorce: A Guide

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Divorce can be expensive, and it can be challenging to estimate how much it will cost you presently and long term. Even amicable divorces can be financially challenging depending on how long you and your spouse were married and your assets, debts, and intertwined finances.

Whether you are financially well off or think you have nothing to lose, working with a divorce attorney who can help protect your interest can significantly improve your long-term financial situation and quality of life.

Divorce takes a toll on almost everyone emotionally, mentally, and financially. So it is essential to do what you can to mitigate the damage. We have compiled a list of steps you can take to help protect your finances during your divorce.

Top Steps To Protect Your Finances During A Divorce

Step #1. Determine How Much Money You And Your Spouse Have

Whether you think you have a little or a lot of wealth, you must have a clear and accurate picture of your finances. You can only protect the assets that you know about, and you may even have more assets than you realize. Find out what money you and your partner have, including any 401(k), savings plan, 529 accounts, credit card bills, mutual funds, cryptocurrencies, absolutely everything. Once you have a complete picture of your and your spouse’s liquid assets, you can begin to develop a plan for the financial aspects of your future and your divorce.

Step #2. Avoid Hiding Money

You may be tempted to hide money, especially if you and your spouse have a rocky relationship, but it is a big mistake. It can lead to a loss of credibility with the judge, increased legal fees, and tension in an already stressful situation. 

Take any steps you need to protect your assets and income. Do it with integrity and out in the open.

Step #3. Create Separate Bank Accounts

Once you decide to file for divorce, it is an excellent time to establish your checking and savings account. While it may be challenging if your relationship with your spouse is complicated, do your best to begin separating your finances.

If you are concerned about telling your spouse you want separate accounts as you fear you may end up with no money, you may wish to withdraw half the money to move to an individual account. It is also essential to immediately notify your soon-to-be ex-spouse about what you did for transparency purposes and take action to close all joint accounts as soon as possible.

While one spouse may abruptly withdraw all of the money in the account, the judge will not view it favorably unless there is an excellent reason.

Step #4. Start An Emergency Fund

Your new savings account can double as your emergency fund for now, or you can open an account specifically for this purpose. An emergency fund is a great idea even if you are married and ideally should have enough to sustain you for three months.

Step #5. Hire A Divorce Attorney

During a divorce, emotions will often run high, and hiring a divorce attorney to help navigate the complexities of family court, help to protect your rights, and watch out for your best interest is critical. If you fear you will end up with nothing, the law is there to help and protect you.

For example, your lawyer can free any accounts at risk or free up funds for your living and legal expenses. If your ex-spouse empties a joint bank account, spends money on gifts or travel for a third party, transfers money, or takes on debt. In that case, your attorney can bring attention to it during the settlement if it can be proved the actions were taken in anticipation of the divorce.

Step #6. Hire A Forensic Accountant

Not everyone needs or can afford a team of high-level professionals during a divorce, but if you have a high net worth and think your spouse is hiding money from you, consider hiring a forensic accountant.

A forensic accountant will reconstruct your income and asset picture based on your expenses and lifestyle. When assets are kept in a domestic asset trust or offshore, they can be difficult to access even if they are considered mutual. Hiring an attorney with experience in asset trust can be beneficial; however, even then, you may not be successful.

Step #7. Hire Professionals To Ensure Paperwork Is Filled Out And Filed Correctly

Hiring an experienced divorce attorney will ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed accurately. If you and your spouse are splitting a retirement or pension plan, your lawyer will likely need to file a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order). If you choose to navigate your divorce on your own and fail to file the proper paperwork, you will not be able to receive your share even if you are entitled to it under the terms of your divorce.

Step #8. Require Insurance For Your Ex-Spouse If You Are Relying On Support

If your ex-spouse is paying child support or alimony, they need to carry life and disability insurance just in case of injury or death to mitigate further financial hardship.

Step #9. Consider Insurance For Yourself And Update Existing Policies

you may want to add life insurance for yourself if you don’t already have it. If you do, update the beneficiaries to someone else, like a sibling, your children, or parents. 

Step #10. Monitor Your Credit 

Make sure you check your credit school regularly and ensure creditors are aware of your upcoming divorce.

Step #11. Keep Possible Taxes In Mind

Make sure assets that carry significant taxes are split fairly. For example, money in a checking account will be taxed differently than money in a 401(k).

Step #12. Remember To Include Extracurricular Activities In Child Support

If your children play sports, go to camp, dance, etc., these fees can add up fast and need to be included in child support payments to avoid returning to court or renegotiating child support later.

Hire An Experienced Divorce Attorney To Protect Your Rights

At Azemika & Azemika, we understand the needs of those going through a divorce in California. Our skilled expert attorneys specialize in family law, divorce law, division of property, adoptions, child support, and custody in Bakersfield, California. Contact us today to get the support you need, and let us help protect your rights.

What are the Grounds for Divorce in California?

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If you are contemplating divorce, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, almost half of all marriages end in divorce. And while you may not have expected your marriage to take this route, it’s essential to know how your marriage can be legally ended in California.

The grounds for a divorce is the legal reason your marriage should end. Keep reading to learn some of the common grounds for divorce in California.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

Divorces can be “fault” or “no-fault,” but California uses the no-fault approach to divorce, meaning that the blame doesn’t have to be put on either party. Instead, the couple can simply file a petition with the court basing the divorce on irreconcilable differences. As a no-fault state, the courts can’t factor in marital fault when dividing marital property, deciding custody, or awarding child support or alimony.

Being a no-fault divorce state means that one spouse can file for divorce and doesn’t have to prove what the other did, causing the marriage to end. Either spouse can decide that they want a divorce, and the other spouse can’t do anything to stop the proceedings. Should they choose not to participate, the court can still finalize the divorce by granting a default judgment.

Grounds for Divorce

Many states allow a spouse to give a reason for the divorce, such as abandonment or adultery. However, California has simplified the divorce process by establishing two legal grounds for divorce, irreconcilable differences and permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.

Irreconcilable Differences

Citing Irreconcilable differences as the grounds for ending your marriage means that the fault doesn’t lie with one person or for a specific reason. Instead, it means the marriage is no longer working and cannot be repaired, or the couple chooses not to try to fix it.

Examples of irreconcilable differences include:

  • Disagreements over finances
  • Differing beliefs in parenting, including how to raise and/or discipline the children
  • Conflicts with in-laws or extended family
  • Lack of communication leads to problem-solving or conflict-resolution issues

Permanent Legal Incapacity

Legal incapacity, also referred to as incurable insanity, is the second ground for divorce in California. Legal incapacity could result from an illness, psychological disorder, or traumatic injury. The court must determine that the incapacity is permanent based on the information provided by medical testimony.

One must provide testimony from a doctor or provide other medical documentation proving:

  1. When you filed for divorce, your spouse was incurably insane.
  2. Medical professionals must testify that they expect your spouse to be unable to make decisions at any time in the near future.

It’s more challenging to obtain a divorce this way as there is a high burden of proof. Filing for divorce based on permanent legal incapacity will extend the time you spend in court and the total cost of your divorce. Conversely, a no-fault divorce requires no proof leading to a faster divorce process.

Annulling the Marriage

Under certain circumstances, the state of California also recognizes annulment. In an annulment, the court will rule that the marriage didn’t even happen. Grounds for an annulment include:

  • Incest or polygamy
  • A spouse was coerced or forced into the marriage
  • A spouse is younger than the age of consent
  • A spouse was not of sound mind at the time of the nuptials
  • The marriage couldn’t be consummated due to the physical incapacity of a spouse
  • Fraud

Turn to Kern County’s Award-Winning Family Law Firm

Keep in mind that residency requirements exist to file for divorce in California. At least one party must be a resident of the state for at least six months and a resident of the county where the divorce is being filed for at least three months. If you need help filing a divorce, or if you have any other questions enlisting the services of an experienced family law attorney is essential.

At Azemika & Azemika, we specialize in family law, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you have a knowledgeable, experienced team fighting for and protecting you and your family during the divorce process. We understand that you are going through an emotional, difficult time, and we will put our combined 56 years of experience to work for you.
Do you want an award-winning legal team on your side? Contact us today for a consultation.

Divorce and Social Media: 6 Social Media Habits You Should Avoid During Your Divorce

Social media

In 2021 there were over 4.26 billion social media users worldwide, which is expected to increase to almost six billion by 2027. Social media is a great way to stay connected to friends and family, but many people don’t realize that social media posts are admissible evidence in court during your divorce.

It’s becoming more and more common for photos and posts from social media platforms to be used as evidence in court proceedings. So whether you are considering divorce or are in the middle of one, being mindful of what you’re posting on social media is essential.

If you aren’t sure what you should avoid posting during your divorce, this article can help. We will discuss the top six types of social media activity you should avoid during your divorce.

#1. Avoid Negative Posts About Your Ex

It’s likely that at some point during your divorce, you will need to vent. However, social media isn’t the place to do it. Nasty posts about your soon-to-be ex, the attorneys involved in your case, or even the court system can damage your case during legal proceedings.

Don’t let a moment of anger change the direction of your case. Instead, be mindful and mature about what you post, and to be safe, avoid posting anything about your divorce on social media.

#2. Be Aware of the Photos You Post

If you have been living up the “almost” single life, avoid posting pictures on social media. Photos of you with alcohol or drugs could negatively impact your reputation with the family court judge.

This is especially important to remember if you are fighting for custody of your children. Pictures of you partying or partaking in dangerous activities could send the message that you aren’t a responsible parent.

#3. Don’t Post Anything That Could Falsely Represent Your Financial Status

While you may treat yourself to some extravagances during your divorce, keeping that information off social media is a good idea, especially if these purchases are outside your typical spending habits. Advertising lavish vacations or an expensive new sports car could affect the amount of alimony or child support you receive or are required to pay.

#4. Hold Off Joining Dating Apps

Waiting until your divorce is finalized before you join a dating app may be in your best interest. Joining a dating app while you’re still married could be used as proof of infidelity, even if you are separated.

The same goes for announcing new relationships, especially when children are involved. Announcing a new relationship while you’re still legally married could lead the judge to assess if it’s appropriate to have your children around a new partner during your custody case.

#5. Be Aware of What Others are Posting

Posts on your friends and family’s social media accounts could also affect your divorce. If they post pictures of you out drinking and partying instead of being at home with your children, or if a photo showed you in one place when you said you would be elsewhere, it can be incriminating evidence against you.

Asking your family and friends to avoid posting pictures or comments about your life during your divorce isn’t unreasonable. It can also prevent a broken relationship, as that person could be called as a witness against you during your hearing because of something they posted.

#6. Don’t Delete Anything

As tempting as it may be, avoid deleting your social media accounts or any social media posts without first speaking to your divorce attorney. Everything you post is technically permanent, and someone could have taken a screenshot of the post before you clicked delete.

Although these posts could be used against you, deleting them can be considered destroying evidence which is illegal. The best thing to do is to be mindful of what you’re posting or commenting on when you’re on social media.

Get the Representation You Deserve with Azemika & Azemika Law

Divorce can be challenging, even in the most amicable situations. If you can, avoiding social media altogether is the best way to ensure that a post could negatively affect the outcome of your divorce. However, if you can’t stay off social media during your divorce, make sure you take a second or even a third look before posting something because once something’s on the internet, it’s always out there.

Azemika & Azemika Law specializes in family law cases. We know that each case is unique and use our experience to customize each situation to fit the needs of our clients in Kern County. Our team of experts is dedicated to protecting your interests, financial stability, and the well-being of your family during this difficult time.
For comprehensive representation, contact Azemika & Azemika Law.

Common California Divorce Myths Debunked

divorce myths

Going through a divorce is stressful enough, and you’re sure to hear various stories from family and friends about their experiences of their California divorce process.

Many people will make assumptions based upon erroneous information that they have been told by other people or found on the internet while searching for information on getting a divorce In California.

Family law is complex, and regulations differ from state to state, so hiring a local divorce attorney is your best choice. The best way to ensure you don’t get sucked in or misled by some of the typical divorce myths is to hire an experienced divorce lawyer

The Myths And The Truth About Divorce In California

Divorce laws vary from state to state. Attorneys specializing in divorce and family court matters will be able to help explain the truth about divorce in California.

Myth #1. In California, cheating is grounds for a fault-based divorce. 

Truth: California is a no-fault divorce state.

Some states will allow spouses to file for divorce based upon fault. However, California is a no-fault divorce state and only allows divorce on two grounds on which spouses may file for divorce under Section 2310 of the California family code.

  • Permanent legal incapacity of one spouse to make decisions
  • Irreconcilable differences are the most common grounds for divorce in the state of California and indicate an era parable breakdown of the marriage

The only way your spouse committing adultery may be relevant to your divorce is if they used community finances to pay for trips or gifts. If this is the case, the money they spent could be deducted from their share during the equitable distribution of the divorce process.

Myth #2. The State Of California requires that divorcing spouses split assets 50-50.

Truth: California requires an equitable split; that does not necessarily mean equal.

California is a community property state; however, that does not mean that divorcing spouses will be required to divide their assets equally. What California law does require is equal distribution of any community properties; however, if there are assets that qualify as one spouse’s property, it is not subject to distribution.

All community property assets will be divided as “equitable,” not necessarily equally, which is determined due to the facts and circumstances of each situation. Money earned during the marriage is also considered community property. The judge could order a 50-50 split or an unequal distribution of community property depending on the marriage and divorce factors.

Myth #3. The wife will always get alimony and a California divorce

Truth: Alimony is not always part of the divorce process, and both partners will have an equal opportunity to request alimony.

California generally awards alimony in cases where there is a significant difference in the spouse’s current income and the earning capacity. Determining whether or not a spouse receives alimony depends upon which house has the most significant earning potential.

Factors to determine if an award of alimony is reasonable or necessary include:

  • How long the two people were married
  • What the financial needs are of each spouse
  • The ability of each spouse to pay living expenses
  • The education level and work experience of each spouse
  • The age and health condition of each spouse

Myth #4. Primary custody always goes to the mother in a California divorce.

Truth: In a California divorce, both parents have an equal opportunity when determining the custody of children.

In California, child custody is determined based on what is in the children’s best interest, and California laws do not inherently favor either spouse unless one is deemed unfit.

Factors when determining child custody include:

  • Relationship of the child with a parent
  • Financial circumstances of each parent
  • Living accommodations of each parent
  • Occurrence of domestic violence
  • Substance abuse by either party
  • School and community

Myth #5. One arty can reject a divorce in California

Truth: A spouse cannot reject a divorce, deny or force you to remain married in the State of California.

That’s not to say that they can make it difficult for you to obtain a divorce. For instance, refusing to sign divorce papers or not responding when being served divorce papers are considered uncontested. The judge may grant a default divorce due to the non-action of the spouse.

Work With An Expert Attorney, Experienced In Family Law

At Azemika & Azemika, we devote our law practice to helping families navigate the challenges of divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and other family court issues and create customized solutions for each case.

We proudly serve the community of Bakersfield, California, and our partners have a combined total of over 56 years of experience in family law. We will help you ensure your parental rights are protected. Contact us today for a consultation.

A Guide To Choosing The Right Divorce Lawyer

divorce lawyer

Once you decide it’s time for you and your spouse to get a divorce, it is time to hire a divorce lawyer. Hiring a divorce attorney can feel overwhelming, and you want to ensure that you get an attorney experienced in family law.

There are many attorneys out there, but you want someone you can trust who understands your situation and how to navigate the complexities of Divorce court and family law.

To help you choose the best lawyer to handle your divorce, we will share several factors to consider.

Essential Factors To Consider When Hiring A Divorce Lawyer

1. What Is Their Specialty, And Level Of Experience?

There are many types of attorneys, and you don’t want to hire a business attorney to handle your divorce. There is a tremendous difference between working with someone experienced in family law and someone who is a criminal or business attorney.

Family law attorneys are well trained, educated, and experienced in dealing with family law issues, including divorce cases, child custody, division of property, child support, and navigating the complex laws of Family Court. Ensure that you choose an attorney who is experienced with divorce, an expert at negotiating, and is also experienced in courtroom trials.

2. Interview Different Divorce Attorneys

Take your time and interview a few different attorneys, and do not choose the first one you find. Attorneys have different strengths, and it is essential to understand what skills will be most helpful in your divorce.

Every divorce case is different, and if you think your divorce may go to court, you want to have a reasonably good trial attorney. If you feel like your divorce will be resolved without court, then an attorney who is strong in negotiations would be essential. Start by finding three possible divorce lawyers for your case, and set up interviews for each. After meeting with all three and understanding their perspective on your case, it’ll be easier for you to decide.

3. What Type Of Divorce Process Do You Anticipate?

Determine what type of divorce process suits your goal, needs, and situation. There are several types, including:

  • An uncontested divorce is also known as a friendly divorce; it allows couples to negotiate the terms of their divorce. There will be no court litigation as teams can work together amicably.
  • A contested divorce is ideal if you and your spouse cannot agree on community property division, child custody, child support, and alimony.
  • No-fault divorce is when you and your spouse or partner are divorcing because of irreconcilable differences.
  • An At-fault divorce is used when one or both parties have committed adultery, spousal abandonment, domestic abuse, mental illness, etc.
  • Limited divorce is similar to legal separation and is suitable for couples who require time to organize or fix legal and financial issues.
  • A Default divorce happens when one of the parties fails to appear in court and is considered a non-responding spouse and defaults.
  • A Summary divorce, also known as summary dissolution, may be an option for you and your spouse if you do not have any debts or children and your assets are limited. They are also similar to an uncontested divorce.

4. Choose A Divorce Lawyer Who Values, Respects, And Practices Professional Ethics

Some attorneys are bad apples, and if you come across a smooth-talking lawyer who nonchalantly shares confidential case information with you to try and impress you, run the other way. The best divorce lawyer will give you respect and follow professional ethics.

5. Consider The Cost

Hiring a lawyer can be expensive; however, you don’t want to choose your attorney because they have the least expensive rate. A higher price attorney also does not necessarily mean that they have more experience, nor does it mean that they would be able to change the overall result of your case.

Once you know what you can afford, find a couple of different divorce lawyers within your budget range; if you have budget constraints, talk with your divorce attorney to see if there are any flexible payment options.

6. Choose A Local Divorce Attorney

Choosing a local family law attorney practice in your area is a priority as they will be more familiar with county and state divorce laws, as well as judges and other legal officials.

7. Do Your Research

Ask friends and family for any recommendations they may have for a reasonable divorce attorney in your community. You can also check the internet for reviews to find out their history, access to resources, or how long they’ve been in the area.

8. Questions To Ask Your Divorce Attorney

  • Do you have a paralegal or assistant that I will be working with regularly?
  • Do you have any idea how long the divorce process will take?
  • How often will you give me updates?
  • What is the best way for you to get in touch with your divorce lawyer?
  • How much experience do you have with mediation, going to trial, and family law issues?

9. Choose The Divorce Attorney That Feels Right

Getting a divorce is a personal process. It is essential that you can trust your divorce attorney and that you believe they have your best interest in mind throughout your divorce process. If you feel uncomfortable, it is reasonable to consider that feeling lasts through the entire divorce process. Choose the divorce attorney who has the experience and knowledge as well as the personality that suits your needs.

Azemika Law Is Here To Help

At Azemika & Azemika in Bakersfield, California, our law firm’s practice is exclusively devoted to family law. If you need the support of an attorney to handle child custody, divorce, child visitation, dissolution of domestic partnerships, or other family issues, we have the expertise to help you. Contact us today for a consultation.

What Are The Top Reasons Couples File For Divorce?

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When you marry someone, you imagine you will be with them for life. Unfortunately, happily ever after, till death do us part, is not always how the marriage ends. 

Divorce is never an easy choice, and most of us know someone, either a friend or family member, who has gone through a divorce. Often during the divorce process, you will need a divorce attorney to help you navigate the complex process of going through family court, childcare, child support and custody, and property division.

Usually, there is more than one reason why a couple decides to get a divorce, and there are multiple layers of overlapping experiences and issues. We have worked with many couples going through a divorce and will share with you some of the most common reasons why couples file for divorce.

Most Common Reasons For A Divorce

1. Lack Of Commitment

In a marriage, two people agree to commit themselves to each other. When one or both parties do not meet the commitment expectations, the marriage relationship begins to deteriorate. Sometimes, people do not discuss explicitly what commitment means to them and find out too late that their beliefs on commitment don’t align.

While a lack of commitment may seem vague or even hard to prove, there are always signs in a relationship when a lack of commitment is an issue. Many people contribute a lack of commitment to being a founding cause for other underlying problems.

2. Irreconcilable Differences

Irreconcilable differences are the grounds for most no-fault divorces. When asked why marriages ended in divorce, people often say they grew apart and are no longer compatible. People can be incompatible in several areas, including:

  • Getting married when they’re too young increases the chances of developing apart
  • A lack of shared values and beliefs
  • Sexual difficulties and preferences 
  • Religious differences
  • Parenting methods

It’s not to say that two people with differences can’t work through them and stay married. However, in most successful marriages, the couple shares an overlapping set of values, beliefs, priorities, and interests. Incompatibility on some of the core parts of the foundation for a long-lasting marriage significantly increases a couple’s chance of filing for divorce.

3. Communication Issues

Communication is key to a healthy marriage. Suppose a couple has poor communication and cannot talk to each other, listen or argue too much, whether it’s over money, responsibilities, children, etc. In that case, it can significantly damage the marriage.

When you recognize that you and your spouse are often arguing and the fights are often repetitive and never really get resolved, that is a sign that the two of you need help to learn how to communicate more effectively. Couples therapy and conflict resolution workshops can benefit marriage under these circumstances.

4. Infidelity

Extramarital affairs are a contributing factor to why some couples divorce. However, an affair is often just the last straw. Many times some of those other issues, when left unresolved, can lead to emotional and physical infidelity, and while that is not an excuse, it can influence some people’s behavior.

5. Money

Financial incompatibility generally stems from differences in values and priorities around financial decisions. Fights over money happen when one spouse doesn’t agree with how the other spouse handles their money. Some of the signs that you and your spouse are financially incompatible are:

  • Secrecy between partners and even outright lies regarding financial decisions or purchases such as making an investment, withdrawing money from savings, or even buying clothes regularly and lying about it
  • You and your partner cannot talk calmly about financial decisions or have regular conversations about your finances
  • If one or both of you make large purchases without consulting the other or take other actions that affect your joint finances
  • You and your partner won’t or can’t set any joint financial goals such as building in retirement, saving to buy a house, or having kids
  • When you and your partner do set financial goals together, one of you or both of you keeps subverting them

Generally, people in the lower income bracket are more likely to have financial incompatibility issues. With less money to go around and more stress about bills, it becomes more likely to fight over money issues. Of course, it can happen between any couple at any income level.

6. Drug And Alcohol-Related Abuse

If one of the spouses has a drinking or substance abuse problem, it can lead to divorce. Signs that your spouse may have a substance abuse issue include:

  • Secretive Behavior
  • Paranoia and other personality changes
  • Mood swings and increased anger
  • Changes and hygiene, appetite, and sleep
  • Neglecting family and work responsibilities
  • Secret and excessive money use
  • Difficulty with memory or attention
  • Hanging around new friends and abandoning old friends or activities

7. Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a viable reason for divorce, and domestic abuse can include verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. Unfortunately, women are much more likely than men to be a victim of partner-related domestic abuse. Understanding the warning signs of domestic abuse and how to protect yourself when leaving an abusive partner is critical.

You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and RAINN for help. Make sure your abuser cannot track your calls or search your history and location, especially if you share cell phones or phone plans or are on the same network as your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

8. Conflict Over Parenting And Family Responsibilities

Discussing parenting methods and essential family responsibilities, including household obligations, ahead of time can save you a lot of stress in your marriage. If you and your spouse have conflicting ideas about parenting methods and who is responsible for what around the house, it can eventually lead to resentment and divorce if there is no resolution.

Variations In Severity Of Reasons For Divorce

Every marriage is different, and most couples will face at least one of the issues on this list at some point during their marriage. Some issues such as domestic violence and severe substance abuse are more severe. Many of the other ones may be able to be worked through if both spouses are willing to put in the effort and time.

If You Need A Divorce Attorney, We Are Here To Help

Azemika & Azemika specializes in family law, divorce law, adoption, and child custody & support, and our attorneys are experts in California divorce laws. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is critical to ensure your rights and needs are covered if you are going through a divorce and have questions.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Should I File for Divorce First and Will it Matter in California?

file for divorce

If you’re thinking of divorce, you may be hesitant to be the first one to file for divorce. It may be because you aren’t quite sure if divorce is the solution, or it could just be that you’re not sure how to proceed, or you are wondering if it’s good or bad to be the one who files first.

Family law can be complex, so the answer to that question depends on your circumstances. It can matter, but other times it won’t. We’re going to look at the advantages and the disadvantages of being the first to file for divorce and find out when it matters.

Possible Advantages

Sometimes there are benefits to being the first to file for divorce. Things such as how amicable the breakup is, the location of each spouse, each spouse’s income, and their access to funds can determine how beneficial it would be.

Here are some of the benefits of being the first to file for divorce.

  • You choose the county to file in. The Petitioner is the spouse who files for divorce first, and the Petitioner chooses where the divorce will be filed. If you live apart from each other, or if you live far away from your spouse, this can help prevent you from having to deal with matters from a distance or having to travel for proceedings.
  • You control how fast the proceedings move. This is particularly important if the responding spouse (the Respondent) doesn’t file a response within thirty days of being served the Petition. When this happens, the courts are likely to enter a default against them and proceed without them.
  • You’ve had time to plan. If you’re the first to file, you’ve taken your time to research a divorce attorney, get the required paperwork together, and emotionally prepare for the divorce. The Respondent has not. They only have thirty days from the time they are served the petition to research and choose an attorney, provide the necessary paperwork, and file and serve their Response, all while trying to get prepared emotionally.
  • You get to present your case first. If you end up in court, the Petitioner presents their case first. In this case, it could be an advantage or a disadvantage. It can benefit you to have the court hear your side first. However, that gives the Respondent time to adjust their case strategy based on what you have presented to the court.
  • You can protect assets and property. Everyone has heard the divorce horror stories about one spouse taking everything and disappearing. And although it may not happen frequently, it does happen. Filing immediately can allow your attorney to work to protect you and your future. As soon as a Petition for divorce has been served, Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders go into effect to keep both spouses from transferring assets.

Possible Disadvantages

There are also some possible disadvantages of filing for divorce first. Some of these disadvantages are:

  • Reconciling is likely no longer an option. If you’ve had any thoughts about reconciling with your spouse, being the first to file will likely be a firm ending to the marriage.
  • You have to pay the fees. When you file the Divorce Petition you will be responsible for paying the initial filing fee which will cost you about $435. And if you and your spouse can come up with a full marital settlement agreement, the Respondent may end up avoiding paying their own filing fee.
  • Your demands are known. Often, the Petitioner will include a proposal for the division of debts and assets in the Petition. That means the Respondent will know all of your demands.

Do You Still Have Questions? Azemika Law Can Help

Most legal experts believe that there isn’t really a legal advantage to filing for divorce first since California is a no-fault divorce state. If you feel like your marriage is ending, it’s essential to discuss your case with an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney can help you decide what is in your best interest.

The team at Azemika Law knows how difficult divorce can be. We have helped clients navigate the complexities of divorce for over thirty years. You can trust that our team is well-equipped to provide you with the dedicated legal advocacy that you need.
Contact us today for a consultation.

Why Should I Hire A Lawyer For An Uncontested Divorce?

uncontested divorce

People often think that divorce ends in drama and anger, but sometimes there are couples who can handle their separation with grace. In an uncontested divorce there isn’t much fighting for what belongs to whom and both spouses agree on the issues in relation to their divorce.

It is often thought that because you are able to process your divorce with no issues, you may not need a divorce lawyer. But even with the most amicable dissolution of a marriage, there are many factors involved in the divorce process that can be overlooked without the insight of a lawyer.

Why Would I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?

Regardless of how both spouses feel about the divorce, you can face financial or child custody issues later if you are not familiar with the legal system and complex divorce laws. Luckily an uncontested divorce is easier to maneuver through than a traditional divorce. There are still legal factors to consider when you qualify for an uncontested divorce, but there is generally less negotiations, court hearings, and going back and forth with paperwork.

Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in California

To have an uncontested divorce in California, there is specific criteria to be met:

  • One spouse must have lived in California for the previous six months, and the three pervious months in the county where the divorce is being filed
  • Both spouses must be willing and able to sign all necessary paperwork
  • Both spouses must agree on all the issues in settlement, like division of property, spousal and child support, and custody

DIY divorces might seem appealing, but those who choose the quick and easy route end up spending more time and money when attempting to fix what they caused by trying to do things themselves.

Let’s look at a few reasons why you need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce.

Expertise and Knowledge of the Law

With years of experience, a lawyer has handled all sorts of divorce cases, and knows the necessary legal documents and court process. Without proper information you can wind up paying more or receiving less for child support or alimony. There may be questions you have when attempting to do your own divorce, and with no legal counsel you may file paperwork incorrectly and prevent you from moving forward.

Divorce lawyers are able to take guesswork out of the process and stay up to date with the case as it progresses. Even when both parties agree on all matters surrounding the divorce, a divorce attorney can quickly and efficiently complete all forms and documents necessary while keeping you on track throughout the process.

To make sure your agreement is accepted, there is often specific language needed in the order for the judge to approve the settlement you are requesting. Those who decide to represent themselves often end up with an unnecessary longer process than those who use an uncontested divorce attorney.

Protect Your Rights and Properly Divide Assets

Unfortunately there are some people who sign divorce papers without consulting a lawyer and find themselves losing out on property settlements, alimony claims, and having to carry additional unforeseen debts.

A divorce may start out peaceful, but once money, property, and child custody matters come into play, emotions may flare and tension is created. While it may sound like a good idea to quickly get your divorce over with, there is the possibility of being taken advantage of in this situation. A divorce lawyer can properly make suggestions, protect your rights and help create a fair settlement that works for all parties involved.

With California being one of a few states that follow community property laws, the courts will divide your property and debts equally during a divorce case. With an uncontested divorce, you are able to decide on property division without having the courts involved. A lawyer will be able to review your property division agreement, and offer the best course of action to keep things fair and even.

Dedicated to Your Individual Case

Even the most straightforward divorces pose their own challenges, and while separating your life is hard, having to handle a divorce case on your own can bring on more stress. A trusted divorce lawyer will take your case and work tirelessly on it, giving you time to cope, have confidence in your case, and offer peace of mind that your divorce is being done correctly and documented properly.

Protect Your Interests with Azemika Law

At Azemika Law, we have been devoted to family law for 28 years. Our lawyers are here to represent you through your divorce and provide an easy and peaceful transition into your new life. We handle all types of cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody, abandonment, and adoptions. Serving all of Kern County, we look forward to assisting you when you need it the most.
We’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation and find the right divorce attorney for you.

Why DIY Divorce Is A Bad Idea

DIY Divorce Is A Bad Idea

With so much access to information online, it seems easy enough to file a divorce and represent yourself in court. While online DIY might work for learning a hobby, handling your own legal matters can end in serious consequences.

Regardless if a couple is in agreement over everything or completely the opposite, the divorce process can be complicated and by failing to adhere to court procedures you can risk your property and custody rights.

Is a Lawyer Required for a Divorce?

It is not legally required for you to have a lawyer when filing for divorce, but depending on certain factors like property ownership or child custody, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to aid in the process. An attorney will have experience and knowledge of the law to help better your position and are well versed with court proceedings to help your divorce be successful and peaceful.

DIY Divorce Dangers

When filing for divorce, it’s understandable that most want the process over with as quickly as possible. Forgoing the help of an attorney sounds like it could help you save time or money, but you can end up doing the opposite and put yourself in a worse position.

Financial Risks

When hastily agreeing to divorce terms in order to speed up the process, one might wind up choosing things that are not in their best interest. It’s crucial to not make any mistakes when it comes to important court documents, and not following the correct procedures can result in significant or unfair financial losses, a longer drawn out battle in court, and having to re-file everything with the help of an attorney later.

Issues to be dealt with during a divorce include shared property or debts, bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, and spousal support or alimony.

Child Custody and Support Risks

Without the help of an attorney, even if you do see eye to eye with your former spouse, you can be at risk of court orders that you don’t agree with. You can have previous agreements or be on the same page regarding important matters, but emotions and opinions can alter when it comes to actually filing your paperwork.

There are different child support and custody issues like equitable time with each parent, childcare expenses, educational or extracurricular necessities, special or medical needs of the child or the parent, where the children and parents will both live, and how work schedules can impact visitations. When you work with a lawyer, you can successfully come up with a plan that outlines custody, visitations, and other support agreements that will work for everyone involved.

Lack of Advice and Knowledge

Handling your own divorce means you may miss out on vital advice from someone who has legal authority and understands divorce cases thoroughly. Every divorce has different situations, and experienced divorce attorneys will be able to tackle anything from property distribution to child support with past experience and understanding of the law in your state. Missing deadlines, failing to agree about certain items, incorrectly filling out forms, or not providing the required documents can end up impacting your divorce and create more issues for you.

Additional Stress

It can offer you some peace of mind while you’re already going through such a difficult situation to have a trusted attorney working on your case. When treading in unfamiliar territory while already in a heightened emotional or stressed state, you are much more prone to accidents that could have been avoided if your case was in the hands of a lawyer.

Hidden Assets and Dissipation of Assets

In California, it is required by law that all income earned and debts acquired during the marriage is to be split 50/50 regardless of how it was earned, who earned it, or whether one spouse had much greater earnings during the marriage than the other.

When a marriage is ended with bitterness and resentment, it is often that a spouse believes they are entitled to more of the marital income and property than the ex spouse, leading them to attempt hiding assets or income from the court.

A lawyer has the resources to help you investigate hidden assets and understand how to use the law for a better advantage and hold your ex spouse accountable if this happens.

Protect Yourself in Divorce with the Right Lawyer

Finding a lawyer when going through such a difficult process can feel intimidating. At Azemika Law, we’re here to represent you with our practice that has been devoted to family law for 28 years. We handle all types of cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody, abandonment, and adoptions.

Serving all of Kern County, we are here to help you make informed decisions to provide an easier transition and successful outcome with your divorce case. 
Don’t take the risk with a DIY divorce, contact us to find the right experienced lawyer for you to make sure you feel confident and supported throughout your divorce process.