At A. C. Howard Law, we understand that couples who are divorcing are experiencing one of life’s most stressful events. Our goal is to serve as your trusted advisor and help you navigate a fair settlement with a minimum of acrimony.
Clients frequently ask these questions:
Who gets the house, etc.?
All property that you and your spouse acquired during marriage is, for the most part, community property. This includes retirement pension benefits, stock options, and businesses you started during the marriage, even if your spouse was at another job or was at home. Community property is split 50/50, and debts, regardless of whose name the debt was in, are likewise split 50/50 (except for student loans). Please keep in mind that division of possessions and assignment of debt can be extremely complicated—even more so if child support payments are involved. I strongly recommend you seek legal advice before you enter into any property division agreement.
Do I have to pay alimony?
In California, alimony is officially called “spousal support,” and it can be waived. Judges determine spousal support by looking at your standard of living during marriage, how long you were married, your respective earning capacities, ages, health, and job histories. Some people waive spousal support to augment the way they choose to divide their property and pay child support.
How can I ensure that I get an equal amount of time with my children?
Except in cases of neglectful or abusive parents, the family court judge wants to see that children have equal time with both parents, or that their parents have created a co-parenting plan that each finds satisfactory. If you cannot agree about a schedule for who takes care of the children (who has “physical custody” of the children on what days), the judge will require you to meet with a trained counselor, through Family Court Services (FCS), to help you agree on a parenting plan. The judge may even assign a psychological evaluation of your family and mandate that a separate attorney represent your children if your conflict appears to be harming them.