Why Hiring A Divorce Attorney Is So Important

hiring a divorce attorney

It’s a challenging and difficult task to make any large decision that changes your life, especially when it comes to ending a marriage with someone you grew in a different direction from. You’re faced with plenty of new challenges, from dealing with child support, alimony, to division of property and assets, and navigating this alone can be difficult and confusing. An experienced California divorce attorney can be your guide through your marriage dissolution process, providing financial security for the future and ensuring that your rights are protected.

Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce is stressful enough socially and emotionally, but financially and legally there’s things you might not be aware of. There are a few reasons hiring a divorce attorney may be helpful in navigating through your divorce:

An experienced divorce attorney understands the law

There are a lot of small details that are easily overlooked by someone who is not familiar with the complex laws that are in place. A divorce attorney will offer legal expertise, and have experience working with other cases. There is language used within court orders that have specific meanings, and having someone who is familiar with terms used in court allows them to apply their knowledge to your situation specifically. When your children are involved, you’re faced with the intricacies of child custody and support. Having an attorney help you go through arrangements that might work better for your family is extremely helpful, and makes sure your custody arrangement doesn’t skip any important details.

Your attorney will also know exactly how to navigate through all the seemingly endless paperwork, eliminating unneccesary stress and potential errors. From knowing what to sign, when it’s due, where to send it all, an attorney can direct you thoroughly and keep up with you throughout your case, ensuring success in your divorce terms.

Having someone on your side

Some individuals are understandably emotional through the process of the divorce, so having a third-party can be helpful when making important decisions handling your assets. As you adjust to new everyday changes, as well as dealing with friends, work, or family through this process, it’s not uncommon to feel alone during this time. A divorce lawyer can offer unbiased insight, give you the support you need, and help you through making decisions for the future of your life, as well as your children’s.

Having someone who can handle the arguments for your case also is helpful, as they’ll be able to share your complaints, thoughts, and confirm your beliefs. In case you have to appear in court, your attorney also will be helpful in coaching your responses.

Someone to communicate with your spouse

Whether or not your separation is amicable, it still can be daunting and emotional to go through the details of your divorce with them. By hiring an attorney, you’re able to use them as a third-party mediator, and communicate with less conflict throughout the case. 

Leveling the playing field

When your spouse has a divorce attorney, they can take advantage of your lack of knowledge and experience. Without the legal counsel from your own attorney, you may agree to something that you didn’t know about, or feel pressured to agree to things you don’t want. With a divorce lawyer of your own, you’re able to navigate through your case with more confidence and expertise, and someone to speak on your behalf. Having someone who ensures that your voice is heard, and dedicated to protecting your rights, can avoid aggressive moves towards your marital assets or relationship with your children.

Takes the wheel when going through records

If there is any concern about your divorce, having someone who can effectively collect all the necessary information for you to present in court can be better for your mental health, and your case. Considering that they’ll be discussing your issues in court, letting them have control of looking through records and resources only will help strengthen your position in trial.

Managing asset allocation can be a struggle to do on your own, and a divorce attorney will be able to give you different options when choosing the best way to divide your assets and debts. For instance, if you or your partner do not have the funds to buy out the house you own together, you might come to the decision to sell the house and divide the money made from the sale, rather than one partner staying in the house. Other than your assets being divided, your debt also can be consolidated differently. If your spouse has accumulated a lot of debt during your marriage, it’s possible for you to not have to take on all that debt personally.

Finding A Divorce Attorney in California

To save you precious time and move on with your life post-divorce, we at Azemika Law are here to help you. We efficiently handle family law cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, division of property, child custody, and more. Serving all of Kern County for 28 years, we give attentive support with the best interest for you and your family. 

If you need someone to fight for you, and protect you through your divorce or domestic dissolution process, contact us at Azemika & Azemika Law.

Who Keeps The Pet In A Divorce Under California Law?

Who Keeps The Pet In A Divorce Under California Law?

Pets have always played important roles in our family lives, and that makes for a complex situation when a marriage ends. While it may be difficult in your divorce to determine who gets your furry loved ones, there are rules set in place that ensure the best care for your animal family member. 

Family, Not Property

Prior to 2019, California courts applied the state’s property division laws to pets when ruling divorce cases, which treated pets like any typical inanimate object. Now, with California law AB2274, that changes how pet animal ownership is handled. Judges listen to both sides, and decide custody based on the best interest of your pet, similarly how child custody is determined. Having clearer guidelines for how custody is determined ensures that the pet is going to a loving, stable, and safe environment, rather than ending up with a negligent owner.

Pet Custody Factors

If you wish to win sole custody of your pet, you and your lawyer will have the opportunity to state your case in full ownership. This law applies to pets that were acquired during the time of your marriage, and only applies to animals that are kept as household pets. If one person entered the relationship with the pet, it’s no longer treated as community property, and will go to whoever was the original owner. 


A judge considers several factors when determining who will be given custody:

  • Who takes primary care of the pet?
  • Who originally purchased or adopted the pet?
  • Who typically exercises the pet?
  • Who’s name is registered as the owner?
  • Which household can accommodate the pet with appropriate space?
  • Who has taken care of veterinarian visits and expenses?
  • Who is the pet more emotionally attached to?
  • What is best for the pet overall?

Solutions in Co-Ownership

The divorce itself is already a stressful situation, and sometimes co-ownership isn’t an option depending on where your relationship lies. Looking at your motivations of keeping your pet is important to consider. Having custody as means of retaliation, over actually caring for the pet and its’ affection, could make this decision much more difficult for both parties. Bargaining other assets in exchange for the pet can be a way to cut ties more smoothly, but overall the best interest for your pet would hopefully be the deciding factor. 

While it’s typically the last option, 27% of pets are rehomed or given away for family matters like divorce, so many responsible owners make attempts in caring for the pet together, but separately. Operating through co-ownership allows both sides of the family to happily conduct time with their pets, and as long as it’s healthy for those involved, pet sitting and visits could be a potential solution. 

In some cases, it’s best for the pet to stay in one place, having one partner being the primary caregiver, then able to establish visitation rights. Remember that some animals are creatures of habit, so picking a routine that works well and consistently is an important consideration when making a decision to share them. Deciding how pet expenses will be split between the two of you from the beginning will be helpful to adhere to in the future.

There isn’t always an easy solution that you and your ex can come to, and considering hiring a mediator can be helpful to alleviate emotionally charged arguments when coming to a final and fair arrangement. 

Potentially Losing Your Pet

Giving up a pet in divorce is a painful thing to go through. While going through this grieving process, you might want to rush to adopt another pet, but allow yourself time to feel, and maybe consider talking to a life or divorce coach. If you’re able to, there are plenty of rescues and shelter groups that love to give the opportunity to foster animals in need of adoption. Volunteer work for animal shelters, or other nonprofits, can also give you some time to be around animals without having to fully commit to owning another furry friend. Remember that time will help heal the pain in your loss, but surrounding yourself with friends, family, or loved ones can truly make that time a little easier. 

Seeking Legal Help

Experiencing any life-altering change can be a difficult and emotional time, and having a trusted attorney to offer insight with your custody battles or case issues can offer peace of mind. 

At Azemika Law, our practice is devoted to the field of family law. We efficiently handle cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody, abandonment, and adoptions. 
Serving Kern County for the past 28 years, we provide all of our clients with knowledgeable and affordable representation. We understand that divorce is a crucial time for important decisions.

Contact us today to help protect you and your loved ones when you need it most.

California Divorce and Inheritance: What You Need to Know

California Divorce and Inheritance: What You Need to Know

One of the most often misunderstood aspects of divorce proceedings is the division of property and assets. California law simplifies it somewhat by dividing a couple’s property into two categories: separate property, which an individual owns, and community property, which is owned by both parties equally. But where does your inheritance fit into the picture?

Generally speaking, anything you acquire while married becomes community property. So does that mean that being named in or receiving inheritance during a marriage requires it to be split should you divorce? It can seem like a confusing issue at first, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this blog post, we discuss the issue of how California divorce laws treat inheritance. We’ve also detailed some unique circumstances that could lead to unexpected decisions. 

How Does California Treat Property During Marriage?

How the law treats a couple’s property varies from state to state, but California keeps things rather simple. The short version is: generally, anything you owned before the marriage remains yours, but anything acquired during the marriage is considered joint property. When it comes time for divorce, joint property (or its value) gets split as evenly as possible. 

What surprises some people is that the definition of property is pretty broad in this context. Besides physical objects, any wages, bank accounts, and investments also fall under this umbrella. Unless an agreement is reached beforehand or during divorce proceedings, both people legally own these things. 

There is also the issue of commingling. Commingling occurs when one spouse helps the other with a separate property financially (such as making car payments). When this happens, the separate property becomes community property. Again, there’s no room for doubt who owns what if you keep documentation. 

What Does Inheritance Fall Under?

Looking at the summary above, you could make a reasonable argument that inheritance received during the marriage becomes community property. However, it’s one of two property types exempt from community rules (the other being gifts). Therefore, unless it names your spouse (either specifically or as a family), they have no legal entitlement to it.

However, there are two unique situations where this isn’t always the case. Though California law is otherwise precise in handling divorce, these scenarios create murky entanglements with no simple resolution. If you can apply either of these cases to your inheritance, the issue may come down to a judge’s decision.

Commingling Inheritance

What you choose to do with your inheritance could change it to community property. Such a problem occurs when your inheritance is a sum of money. If you keep it in a separate bank account owned only by you, it will remain yours, and there will be no issue.

However, it becomes commingling if you put that money in a joint account. If there’s no other money in the account, its shared nature still gives your spouse legal access, making it co-owned. If there was pre-existing money in the account, telling where one sum ends and another begins is almost impossible.

Your inheritance can also become commingling if you choose to use it (in part or whole) to buy community property, such as a vehicle or real estate. You can argue that a set amount is yours with a shared account, though this tactic isn’t usually very successful. However, once you’ve spent the money on community property, those funds are no longer separate. 

Transmutation

You can decide to convert your inheritance into community property at any point in your marriage. Your spouse will then have co-ownership, and if they still have it by the time of the divorce, a judge will divide it. The co-ownership overrides the original terms of inheritance in all circumstances.

Transmutation isn’t something that will spring up and surprise you, so you don’t need to protect yourself against it. However, some people have the mistaken notion that the start of divorce proceedings will nullify such co-ownership agreements. Therefore, if you’re thinking about divorce, it’s in your best interest to change these agreements beforehand, if possible.

Let Azemika & Azemika Guide You Through the Divorce Process

You know now how to protect your inheritance, but what about other aspects of your divorce? It can be an incredibly stressful experience for anyone. How do you navigate the situation without making costly mistakes?

With the help of Azemika & Azemika. 

Our law firm is solely devoted to the practice of family law and is uniquely suited to help you with your divorce, custody disputes, issues with alimony and child support, and more. With a combined 56 years of experience, our partners dedicate themselves to serving people like you in the greater Bakersfield area. Contact us today to put the power of expertise on your side.

What to Know About Military Divorce in California

What to Know About Military Divorce in California

Marriage and divorce are both common experiences in the United States — and around 50% of married couples will end up divorcing. And while that number may seem quite high, did you know that when it comes to divorce in the military, combat veterans are more likely to get divorced than to actually see combat? An estimated 62% of combat veterans’ first marriages end in divorce. Moreover, female enlisted soldiers have more than double the divorce rate compared to female officers. 

Divorce is hard enough to navigate for any couple seeking dissolution, but when a military couple decides to get a divorce, there are extra challenges that can add more complexity and even more stress to the process. State and federal laws as well as military regulations can govern aspects of your case you may not know about. Let’s take a closer look at military divorce as it pertains to the state of California and how one can navigate divorce while in the service. 

Grounds for a Military Divorce in California

The military divorce laws in California can be quite complicated and may be difficult to parse and understand on your own, so it is highly advised to hire a divorce lawyer who has experience dealing with military divorces. 

No matter the status of either spouse, be it active duty, retired or in the guard or reserve, you can be impacted by a military divorce. California is also a no-fault state, meaning you cannot use adultery or desertion as grounds for divorce, though sometimes these reasons can be brought up for consideration during child custody hearings and when dividing up assets and property.

The grounds for filing for a divorce in California are similar, no matter if you are filing for a military or civilian divorce. These grounds include:  

  • Irreconcilable differences. Citing irreconcilable differences means that the end of the marriage was not the fault of one party in particular and there is no specific reason. 
  • Permanent legal incapacity of one spouse. This is when one spouse is proven to be clinically insane. To file this way, you must provide the court with a support order showing proof.

Before Filing for Military Divorce

Make sure to take these issues into consideration before starting your divorce as they may serve to complicate the proceedings. Speak with an expert California divorce attorney if you need help with any of the below issues.

Residency Requirements

A military spouse must file the proper divorce papers where the service member is stationed or the state where they are currently a resident. If you want to file for divorce in California, then one of you must either reside or have a station in the state.

Military Spouse Deployment

If you file for divorce while your spouse is deployed or on active duty for an extended period, then the rules for divorce are different. Having a spouse that is actively deployed can complicate the process of serving and processing a divorce.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects active-duty military members from civil judicial proceedings, which includes divorce papers and summons. In a normal civilian divorce, if a spouse ignores the summons, they default and get no say in asset division or child custody, but active service members in the military who can’t respond due to being on active duty are not subject to that default because of the SCRA. 

Property Division

Military divorces follow the same rules that civilian divorces do as far as property division is concerned. Since California is a community property state, generally, all property and debt acquired over the course of the marriage is considered joint property and will be divided equally. 

Spousal Support

Much like a civilian divorce, whichever military spouse earns more than their partner can be ordered to pay alimony. Just like in civilian divorces, a military spouse who earns more than their partner can be ordered to pay spousal support during the divorce proceedings. The amount is determined by a judge using factors such as:

  • Length of the marriage 
  • Financial needs of both spouses
  • The dependent spouse’s level of education 
  • The health and age of each spouse

The general rule of spousal support is that it can’t be more than 60% of the military spouse’s pay. If the couple has been married for less than 10 years, generally the alimony will only be paid for the time that is equal to half the length of the marriage. There are exceptions to this rule, however.

Child Custody and Support

California does not discriminate when it comes to military parents who are on active duty when it decides on child custody. If one of the military parents is deployed, it will not change the custody order or visitation schedule. It is best for military families with small children to try and settle their differences with an uncontested divorce to make custody issues easier since deployment and active duty are factors they must deal with. 

Filing Procedure for Military Members

The filling process  for a military divorce is as follows:

  1. Gather all of the documents pertaining to the divorce petition and fill them out. It is advised to have an attorney look over these documents before they are filed to ensure they are accurate. 
  2. Once filled out and signed, you pay the appropriate filing fee at your local superior court. 
  3. Serve your spouse with copies of the divorce petition and summons for the dissolution of the marriage. A friend, relative, sheriff or process server must deliver the papers on your behalf. 
  4. Have your spouse sign the papers and send them back within 30 days. 
  5. If a spouse opposes terms in the divorce documents, it is best to speak with your divorce attorney on the appropriate next steps.

Protect Yourself By Hiring An Attorney

No matter how amicable you think your divorce is or will be, there are still situations that could arise and cause conflict. Negotiation, separation of property, child support, and alimony all play significant parts in any divorce. Avoid costly mistakes that could have severe impacts on the rest of your life.

At Azemika & Azemika, our law firm is exclusively devoted to the field of family law. We handle military divorce cases, dissolution of domestic partnerships, child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, paternity, abandonment, and adoptions. Our partners at Azemika & Azemika will put their expertise to work for you and make sure your case is customized to your needs. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.

Can Children Choose Which Parent to Live With in California?

There’s no denying that divorce is hard on every family member, but it can be especially difficult for any children involved. Child custody and visitation agreements can feel stressed or awkward, especially when the child doesn’t feel like they have a say in these new arrangements.

In California, family courts consider many factors when deciding which parent may be awarded primary custody. One of the factors that judges consider is the child’s preference, but it’s not the only or even the most important factor.

Whether you’re going through a divorce in California or trying to figure out the best custody arrangements, you need to understand just how much bearing your children’s preferences will have over the matter. Today, we will cover a breakdown of how children’s opinions of which parent they want to live with may shape the outcome of your child custody agreement.

Does a Child’s Parental Choice Affect Custody?

The answer to whether or not a child’s parental choice affects the custody agreement is, it depends. The family court judge will listen to the child’s opinion given that they are of sufficient age to express an intelligent opinion on custody or visitation, but ultimately, the court’s decision will be based on the child’s best interests.

Whenever possible, courts opt for shared custody, which has shown to be the least stressful for children. However, shared custody is often not a viable option, and a choice has to be made.

Children may have firm opinions about living with one parent or another, but if there’s any doubt that the preferred parent will be the best choice, the child’s opinion may hold little weight in the final decision. Every situation is unique, and ultimately the courts will strive to place the child with the most suitable parent to meet the child’s needs.

When Does a Child’s Preference Matter?

Just because a child prefers to live with one parent over another, it doesn’t mean that the judge will award custody to that parent. For a child’s preference to matter, the child must be of sufficient age and ability to express an intelligent opinion about which parent they would prefer to live with.

In California, the law allows children age 14 and up to express their parental preference to aid in determining custody. However, no matter the child’s age, a judge will consider their preference in evaluating the overall suitability of the custody arrangement.

Keeping the Child’s Best Interest in Mind

Just because a 14-year-old may have a preference for one parent over another, it doesn’t mean the judge will automatically grant that parent custody. Children and teens can be emotional and rebellious, so family courts consider many factors when assigning custody.

If a child states a preference to live with a parent who is ‘less strict,’ it won’t automatically mean the child’s preferred parent will be given custody. If there appears to be parental pressure, or if the child’s preference is intended to alienate one parent, a judge may not consider the child’s preference in the ultimate custody decision.

Sometimes, a child may prefer a parent who cannot take care of the child or who might be abusive and threatening. Children may feel a sense of duty to one parent over another, despite their preferred parent being incapable of caring for the child.

All of these situations are difficult, which is why multiple factors are considered before custody arrangements are made.

Do Children Have To Testify Their Preference?

While the courts may allow a child to testify their preference before their parents, it’s not necessary. If the child is very young, or if a great deal of emotional pressure is put on the child, they may express their opinion to their family lawyer or even speak with the judge’s chambers, away from the parents.

Every situation is unique, and the judge will try to find the best way to ascertain the child’s preference without putting undue stress on the child. This may even happen during family mediation or in another setting outside the courts, such as a child interview center.

What if You Disagree With Your Child’s Preference?

Most parents want what’s best for their children, but it can be devastating for a parent to hear that their child prefers to live with the other parent. Ultimately, custody is granted based on what is best for the child, but this doesn’t make it easy for the parent who won’t be living with their child.

Stability is essential for these custody arrangements, but as children age, circumstances may mean that these arrangements need to be altered. Custody agreements are not set in stone, and they may be changed if the courts decide that situational changes warrant adjusting the custody arrangement.

Let Azemika Law Help You With Your Custody Determination

When facing a custody battle, you need the best representation possible — a lawyer that knows the judge and court as well as one who can help you fight for your rights as a parent who wants what is best for their child. 

Azemika & Azemika Law in Bakersfield has helped families navigate divorce and child custody cases for more than 30 years, providing strong trust behind their legal guidance. 

For a family-oriented firm at an affordable cost, contact Azemika & Azemika Law today. 

How Do Contested and Uncontested Divorce Differ in California?

When a couple makes the decision to get divorced, the very first choice they must consider is if they can come to an agreement on terms or pursue a contested divorce in court. This includes asset and debt splitting, child support and custody and whatever other property they have to divide. 

In the state of California, if the couple is able to work together and come to an agreement about asset splitting, then their agreement is said to be uncontested and will result in a much shorter, less intense affair when it comes to attorneys, the court and figuring out who gets what. If the couple cannot agree, then it will be moved to the contested category and a whole new set of actions begin.

Because going through a divorce can be much more difficult than many think, it is not uncommon for uncontested decisions to become contested in the blink of an eye. Because of this, it is good to have the help of a skilled California divorce attorney, as well as know more about the terms, yourself. This article will explain the main differences between the two options and discuss how they can affect the cost and duration of the divorce and its proceedings. 

Difference Between Uncontested and Contested Divorces

On the surface, both of these types of divorces seem quite simple and in some cases, they can be quite cut and dry. Most times, though, high emotions, complicated assets and child custody disagreements can get in the way of an uncontested divorce.This is why it is especially important to have a knowledgeable attorney by your side throughout the process. 

An uncontested divorce means that both parties have agreed to all the aspects of their asset divisions and separation before going to court and getting the divorce filed and going before the judge.

A contested divorce means that neither party can agree on terms, and must have their case mediated or heard by a judge in court. Court hearings and trials are needed in the cases where the parties cannot agree on terms of divorce. It is definitely advised to get a divorce attorney to help protect you and your assets, such as:

  • Child custody and child support
  • Division of property 
  • Division of assets
  • Debts
  • Alimony/spousal support

Uncontested Divorce

Since an uncontested divorce means both parties agree to their own stipulations, it’s a much simpler process. The divorce is agreed upon and mostly done out of court. With an uncontested divorce, you rarely even go in front of a judge unless children and child custody is involved. If children are involved, the court will usually refer the case to mediation for custody arrangements and child support agreements. 

Uncontested divorces work best for:

  • Couples who have little to no assets and no children
  • Couples who agree amicably on how to divide their assets, who will have legal and physical custody of any children they may have, as well as how much child support is appropriate.

Contested Divorce

The more common of the two options, a contested divorce is when both parties cannot agree on the more major issues of finalizing the divorce, be it child custody, division of assets and property or spousal support. Uncontested decisions can become contested if one or more of these becomes non-negotiable in the eyes of either party. That is why getting quality legal representation for a contested divorce is incredibly helpful and necessary for the next steps. 

The drawbacks of contested divorces can include:

  • Loss of control over the outcome of the divorce. When you can’t come to an agreement with your partner, the court will determine who gets what and the custody of the children based on information the other party brings to the court and what the judge deems most appropriate for the children. 
  • The divorce will take longer to finalize, so the longer the time in court, the higher the legal fees.
  • A contested divorce can end up leaving neither party satisfied, as the judge is the one making the decisions instead of the spouses. 

Azemika & Azemika Law is on Your Side

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional time. If you are trying to settle outside of court, make sure both party’s attorneys are aware of that. However, if there are issues that the two of you can’t agree on, you may need to get the courts involved. 

The lawyers at Azemika & Azemika have a combined total of over 56 years handling family law cases. This expertise allows our dedicated team to customize each situation to fit our clients’ specific needs. As our client, we will keep you informed on the status of your case, allowing you to make informed decisions as your case progresses.

Let the team at Azemika & Azemika help set you on a path to a better post-divorce future.  Contact us today for a consultation.

What Assets are Protected in a California Divorce?

While getting a divorce is not on anyone’s mind starting out in their marriage, sometimes that becomes part of life’s next chapter, and it’s better to know what is coming next than be blindsided and lose assets and property you’ve worked hard to amass over the years. Financial stress can make the divorce process even harder, and emotional stress can cause you to overlook and under think your priorities during this difficult time. Having a knowledgeable and compassionate divorce attorney at your side is incredibly helpful to navigate California’s divorce laws.

Many are unaware that California is a community property state, which entitles any property or debt that was acquired during your marriage to both parties equally. As with any law, exceptions do exist and this article will go over which of your assets are protect during a divorce and which are subject to California’s community property laws as well as go over the ins and outs of some of the more major terms and processes you will be dealing with to act as a guide through this difficult time. 

What is California’s Community Property Law?

The state of California uses a series of community property laws which act as a buffer to help divide property as fairly as possible. Of course, you are always welcome to contest what property is yours during the mediation and divorce process. Having an understanding of community property law for your asset protection is critical as the ownership of property will be the key to how the partners divide assets during the divorce proceedings. An experienced California divorce lawyer will know all the ins and out of this dense and complicated law. 

Under California Family Code § 2550, in general, all assets and properties acquired by the couple after they were married are the property of the marriage and will need to be divided equally in a divorce. Protecting your assets before and during your marriage isn’t a sign of lack of faith, but can help both parties in the long run. 

What is Asset Protection?

Asset protection will keep your assets away from creditors without making you party to any sort of concealment or tax evasion issues. It is a lawful and ethical way to protect both spouses before and during divorce. For those with a healthy amount of assets and property, this protection planning is an absolute necessity. 

Understanding Property

Assets and property are quite varied. It is important to get an idea of everything that constitutes property. It can be anything that can be bought or sold or even just something that has value, such as:

  • House or land
  • Cars
  • Bank Accounts and cash
  • 401k
  • Pension plans
  • Stocks
  • Any business you own
  • Furniture and clothing
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Life insurance that pays out a cash value

How to Protect Your Assets During a Divorce

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement (prenup, for short) is a document that is created before both parties get married that specifies which assets belong to whom and legally designates that these assets will not fall under the community property law. 

A postnuptial agreement is another legal document that couples can create that will cancel out California’s community property laws. A postnuptial agreement is just like a prenup, as it will protect both party’s assets in case of a divorce, the exception being that the postnuptial is written while the couple is married.  

Take Inventory of Your Assets

The first step you should take when getting divorced is taking an inventory of all of your assets and valuables. As stated above, assets can be many tangible and intangible pieces of poetry so make sure to be very specific with everything you own. If you have received valuables that were not given to your partner as well, make sure to document them. These could be heirlooms, inheritances, etc. If possible, get proof of everything you can to make it easier to prove if your divorce becomes litigious. 

Guide to Taking Asset and Property Inventory

Here is a fast guide to help you document your assets.

  1. Inventory all of your valuables 
  2. Get proof of any inherited or gifted items 
  3. Rightfully acquire your property from your home
  4. Know the status (mortgage, taxes) of all property
  5. Hire an appraiser
  6. Take pictures of all joint property

Get Exceptional Divorce and Asset Help Today with Azemika Law

During a divorce, documenting and dividing your assets can be a difficult and stressful job. Let a qualified and experienced Bakersfield divorce attorney help you turn the page to the next chapter of your life.

At Azemika & Azemika, our attorneys have specialized in all aspects of divorce and family law for over 28 years. We use our vast experience to customize each case based on each client’s needs. As a result, we will help you find solutions to all of your asset and property needs  

Reach out today to schedule a consultation. Let us focus on the property and asset laws so that you can focus on the future.

Common Mistakes Made in Custody Battles

Divorce is an emotional, trying time for all parties involved. It can be even more complicated when there are children involved, and a custody battle ensues.

The courts will hear each parent’s case and then decide based on what is best for the child. Keep in mind that mistakes made during custody battles can ultimately affect the amount of time you get to spend with your child.

Today, we’ll discuss five common mistakes that parents make during custody battles. 

#1. Thinking That What Worked for Someone Else Will Work for You

Just because something worked for your friend or a family member during their custody battle doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right thing for you and your family. Each family is different.

When a court decides custody arrangements, they are in effect until your child turns 18. If something doesn’t work out, there will be much work involved to get the courts to change the arrangement. Be sure that you take into account the individual needs of your family before you draft and submit a parenting schedule to the courts.

#2. Thinking That Child Support and Visitation Are Intertwined

Often, the custodial parent believes that they can withhold visitation from the non-custodial parent if they haven’t received child support. Child support and visitation are separate issues, and one doesn’t affect the other. If you choose to withhold visitation, the courts will view this negatively, and you will be in violation of the terms of the custody agreement.

#3. Missing Child Support Payments

If the court has ordered you to make child support payments, make sure that you consistently make those payments. Neither the courts nor your spouse will be pleased with you missing a support payment.

Sometimes non-custodial parents see child support as benefiting their former spouse, but this is not the case. These payments are to ensure a better life for the child. Missing child support payments negatively affects your case and places you in violation of your child support agreement. Willfully missing child support payments can find you in contempt of court and may result in jail time.

#4. Talking Badly About the Other Parent

It doesn’t matter if you are badmouthing the other parent to friends, family, or your child. When you do this, you are risking a confrontation if it gets back to them and damage to your case if it is relayed back to the court.

Talking badly about the other parent to your child can be traumatizing, and is not recommended under any circumstance. It is never wise to make your child feel like they have to choose between their parents. By doing this, you not only risk damaging your relationship with your child, but you also risk causing parental alienation, which could affect the outcome of your custody battle.  

Try to remember that this time in your life is temporary, but you will be parenting with the other parent for the rest of your child’s life. Try working on dealing with your negative feelings towards your ex with a counselor instead of lashing out and risking the outcome of your custody battle.

#5. Keeping Your Child Informed About the Custody Case

Kids are smart. They tend to know and understand more than they are given credit for. So even if you don’t mention the custody battle that is going on, it’s likely that your child will have an idea of the gravity of the situation..

While being honest with your children is important, if you are sharing with them what is going on during the case, or if you feel like you have to give them your “side of the story,” it can inadvertently cause emotional and psychological damage. If your child approaches you about what is going on, instead of discussing details, keep your explanation simple and child-appropriate. 

Let the Experts at Azemika & Azemika Help You Navigate Through Your Custody Battle!

During a divorce, the needs of the children involved have to be the number one priority for all parties involved. However, you must also make sure to protect your rights as a parent.

At Azemika & Azemika, our attorneys have specialized in all aspects of family law for over 28 years. We use our vast experience to customize each case based on each client’s needs. As a result, we will help you find solutions to all of your child custody concerns.  

Reach out today to schedule a consultation. Let us focus on your family so that you can focus on the future.

Can You Date During a California Divorce?

If your marriage has come to the point where you are seeking a divorce, your relationship has likely been strained for some time. You could be eager to put this behind you and move on with your romantic life. You’re not alone. In a 2018 survey, 34% of participants reported dating while separated (but not yet divorced). 

Before you take that dive, you should consider how a new relationship could affect your divorce and, if you have children, how it could affect the time you get with them.

You may not see a problem with dating before your divorce is finalized, as it is becoming more socially acceptable. However, legally, until the court declares your divorce as final, you are still married to your spouse, which technically means that relationships you engage in outside the marriage are technically still considered adultery.    

Before you start looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, you should look at potential problems this may cause before your divorce is final. Today, we will cover some of the ways that dating while you’re getting divorced can negatively impact your case

California Divorce Laws

California is a no-fault divorce state. A no-fault divorce means that either spouse can decide to end the marriage for any reason, and that the other spouse’s agreement is not necessary. If the other spouse chooses not to participate in the divorce, the spouse who filed for divorce can still get a default judgment, and the divorce will still go through.

How a New Relationship Affects Spousal Support

Since California is a no-fault divorce state, the courts are not concerned about why the couple is ending their marriage. The only official reasons for divorce in California are incurable insanity of a spouse or irreconcilable differences.

Although dating before your divorce is final is considered adultery, the courts do not consider that when deciding to grant the divorce. This means that spousal support is not affected due to one of the spouses already being in another relationship. 

Spending Money on a New Boyfriend or Girlfriend Could Affect How Marital Assets Are Divided

We already learned that California follows a no-fault system, so your soon-to-be ex can’t use evidence of a new relationship to get more alimony or a larger share of marital property. However, spending money on a new boyfriend or girlfriend can still have consequences.

By spending money you earned while you are still married before the division of marital assets has been completed, you are technically spending marital assets on an affair. As a result, the courts could decide that this spending is considered dissipation of marital assets, and you could have your share of the division of property reduced by how much you’ve spent, or you may have to pay the amount back to the marital estate.

Custodial Agreements Can Be Affected

Family court judges in California make custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interest. The courts will look at the parents’ choices (good and bad) and how dedicated they are at putting their child’s needs first.

If it appears that your dating interferes with your ability to be a present and responsible parent, the courts may grant you less parenting time. They will also take a deep look into the person you are dating. If they determine that this person could pose a threat to your children, it could also hurt your chances of gaining more time with your children.

Your Ex Could Make the Divorce Harder for You

Yes, they will soon be your ex. But divorces between spouses that are on good terms with each other are typically resolved faster and are less costly than divorces where the spouses are out for revenge.

If your spouse finds out that you are dating someone, it could cause them to be hurt or angry, which could cause them to want to take that out on you through your divorce. Their emotions could lead to them being unwilling to compromise and could delay the process or cause them to do whatever they can to make the divorce more difficult for you.

Azemika & Azemika Fight For You

Even if you keep your new relationship under wraps, there is always the possibility that someone will find out, and you may end up paying the price for it. So before starting a new relationship amid a divorce, you must ask yourself if this relationship is worth pursuing right now.

The divorce attorneys at Azemika & Azemika have handled divorces in Kern County for over 22 years. We know that divorce is a challenging and emotional time that can take its toll on your mental well-being. We are here to advise you on any issue that could affect the outcome of your divorce, and we will always have your best interest in mind.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation. We will fight for you and your family during the divorce process.

Traits You Should Look for in a Divorce Attorney

Traits You Should Look for in a Divorce Attorney

Aside from losing a family member, getting a divorce is probably one of the most stressful experiences that someone could go through. 

As you proceed with the divorce, you will likely be going through a lot, and the last thing you want to worry about is the competency of your divorce lawyer. 

As you look for different candidates, here are a few traits of a great divorce lawyer that you should keep in mind.

1. Commitment

You want to hire a divorce attorney who can be with you every step of the way since this process will take a few months, or (even years for some). You will be forced to face tough decisions that will most likely impact various aspects of your life —  finances, parenting, relationships, spousal support, division of property, and even your mental and emotional health. You want to hire a divorce attorney that can commit to being there to answer all of your questions and address your concerns.

2. Experience and Knowledge

You have to select a divorce lawyer with significant years of experience in the field, particularly handling divorce and related family law matters. A lawyer who has ample experience in such cases will most likely be very knowledgeable about navigating the system and processes efficiently and adequately. 

It is also beneficial if your divorce lawyer has had a reputation and a record of getting favourable outcomes for their clients. You can ask around or review professional history to know their achievements, cases handled and successfully won. Look for a divorce lawyer who doesn’t just represent you, but represents you well.

3. Professionalism

When you go through a divorce, it is vital to have an attorney who pays attention to your needs and is always ready to provide legal advice and answer your questions regarding the legal process. More importantly, they should always put forth a professional and put-together persona. This extends to being punctual, speaking to you in a respectful manner, and maintaining complete confidentiality throughout their interactions with you.

4. Availability

Look for an attorney who has a balanced caseload — someone who knows how to manage their time. Let’s face it,  you probably won’t be the only client that they will handle, so what matters is that they can answer the phone when you call or respond to texts promptly.

It would also be best to choose a divorce lawyer who can successfully meet deadlines, arrives on time during meetings, handles files in a timely manner, and always fills out paperwork promptly. 

5. Communication Skills

Clear and easy communication with your attorney is an absolute must during the divorce process. Your lawyer should be someone you are comfortable talking to, especially with expressing your concerns and expectations. They should be able to explain clearly to you what you should know and what to expect during the process, as well as readily explain legal jargon to be aware of and how it pertains to your case. 

Communication doesn’t only mean with you, the client. Your chosen divorce lawyer should also have good communication with your spouse’s attorney, as negotiation and settlement options are often potentially on the table.

6. Confidence and Composure

A good divorce lawyer should be able to maintain their composure, stay calm and focused while going through the divorce process, and should be able to have self-control even under unexpected circumstances. 

Your lawyer will represent you and your interests, so they should be someone who won’t take things personally when something goes wrong or is faced with surprises or mishaps. 

Your divorce lawyer should remain unfazed in a room full of people and be confident and assertive in giving detailed arguments. When you have a lawyer who is confident in what they do, you can be assured that they will know how to handle pressure during situations that may arise.

Azemika & Azemika Law is on Your Side

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional time. If you are trying to settle outside of court, make sure both party’s attorneys are aware of that. However, if there are issues that the two of you can’t agree on, you may need to get the courts involved. 

The lawyers at Azemika & Azemika have a combined total of over 56 years handling family law cases. This expertise allows our dedicated team to customize each situation to fit our clients’ specific needs. As our client, we will keep you informed on the status of your case, allowing you to make informed decisions as your case progresses.

Let the team at Azemika & Azemika help set you on a path to a better post-divorce future.  Contact us today for a consultation.