Published on:

file for divorce, californiaWhere should I file for divorce? When contemplating a divorce, there are many things to consider, both practical and emotional. Taking on the financial and logistical aspects of a divorce alone can be an enormous burden. Issues such as child custody and division of possessions are hard enough, but one must also consider alimony, paperwork, fees, and everything else that comes with taking apart a marriage. The good news is that seeking help from a qualified attorney can make the process much easier.

All states have their own regulations as to what is required in order to get a divorce in their jurisdiction so one of the the first things to evaluate is where to file the divorce paperwork.

File for Divorce In California

In California, in order to get a divorce, one party to the marriage must have been a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of their specific county for at least three months prior to filing for divorce.

This requirement only applies to one of the two parties. Therefore, if one partner in the marriage stays in California while the other one leaves, it does not matter where the other party goes or for how long, or even if he or she moves around. To file for divorce, only one of the two parties must be in that state as a resident.

Which state the divorce is filed can make a great deal of difference to the outcome. For one, there is the convenience of going through all the divorce proceedings in one’s home state. Also, filing the divorce in the home state of the marriage may make the proceedings easier. Most importantly, when it comes to where to file the divorce, the state’s property laws can be a big factor. Some states divide property differently between spouses of different financial situations. Making sure that a divorce takes place in the state with the most benefit to one’s claim is very important.

California has a strong presumption that any and all debt accumulated during the marriage belongs to both parties. Other states may examine debt differently and determine that the debt is separate.

Some states, California included, take the view that private property inherited or acquired from one branch of the family stays with that member. Put another way, if one person in a marriage inherits a lake house, that property is presumed to stay with that partner after the marriage is dissolved.

Because every state has its own regulations and wrinkles in the law regarding divorce, it is important to know the differences between states. When the differences are understood, then a divorce can proceed in the most beneficial state with confidence.

Published on:

supervised visitation, santa rosa supervised visitation attorney, supervised visitation attorneySanta Rosa supervised visitation attorney blog. According to California law, parents should have frequent and continuous contact with their minor children during the separation process and after their divorce is finalized. However, the law also provides that the court should make decisions regarding visitation and custody, based on what is in the best interest of the child. One factor that is considered when determining the best interest of the child is their safety and well-being. Accordingly, the court must order visitation and/ or custody arrangements that protect the child’s safety and well-being.

In some circumstances, the court may order supervised visitation to protect the child’s safety and well-being while preserving the parent-child bond. One example of a situation in which this may occur is when allegations of domestic violence exist against one or both of the child’s parents. In such a situation, the parent who was a victim of domestic violence may request a restraining order against their spouse or former spouse. If granted the restraining order limits contact between the individual who is charged with domestic violence and their spouse or former spouse, and in some situations, their child as well.

Supervised visitation may be overseen by a professional or nonprofessional.

Supervised visitation means that the parent can spend time with their child, but only in the presence of a neutral third party. Depending on the court’s order, the individual who is selected to supervise the visitation may be a professional provider of visitation services who is trained to perform this task and paid for their time or a non-professional such as, a friend or relative. In either event, the individual who is selected to supervise the visitation must satisfy specific criteria. These requirements include:

· Being over the age of 21;
· Not having a criminal record; and
· Not having a conflict of interest such as, financial dependence on one parent.

In addition, California recently enacted a law which requires professional providers of visitation services to complete a training provided by the California Administrative Office of the Courts.

Supervised visitation that is overseen by a non-professional is generally less formal in nature. The visitations may take place at any location as long as it is safe and secure, including someone’s house or a local park. However, when a court orders supervised visitation that is overseen by a professional, the visitation may have to follow more formal guidelines. For example, the visits may have to take place at an established visitation center and the supervisor may have to report back to the court regarding the parent-child interactions they observed.

Santa Rosa Supervised Visitation Attorney

If you or your spouse are considering filing for divorce, you should contact an attorney immediately.


Child Custody Basics

New California Child Custody Legislation Allows More Than Two Individuals to be Recognized as a Child’s Legal Parents

Published on:

spousal support payments, spousal supportHow are spousal support payments calculated in a California divorce? Ending a marriage can affect almost every aspect of your life, including your financial stability. In many relationships, one party chooses to forgo education or pursuing a career in order to support the other person’s ambitions. Even if this is not the case, some couples fall into “earner” and “caretaker” roles, particularly when there are children involved. This may result in significant economic inequality between the parties to a marriage, and may leave one spouse without any income absent judicial intervention.

Fortunately for some who people seeking a divorce, California law allows a court to order spousal support payments (or partner support payments, in the case of a domestic partnership) in order to provide for the financial needs of the party unable to support themselves financially. Spousal support payments can significantly impact both parties: the one ordered to pay and one receiving spousal support payments. Consequently, it is important for anyone involved in a divorce or other legal proceeding in which spousal support is at issue to discuss their case with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

How Are Spousal Support Payments Awarded?

Spousal support is sometimes awarded as part of the disposition of divorce, separation, or annulment proceeding. It can also accompany a domestic violence restraining order. Litigants can request spousal support while a case is pending; this is referred to as “temporary spousal support.” This type of spousal support is generally calculated using a formula discussed in a previous blog entry. The law gives courts significant discretion in choosing whether to award spousal support, as well as how much to award. California Family Code Section 4320 outlines the factors the court may consider, which include:

  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage or domestic partnership;
  • The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership;
  • The age and health of both parties to the marriage or domestic partnership;
  • The extent to which requiring one party to work would affect the feasibility of providing child care;
  • Each party’s obligations and assets;
  • The extent to which one party contributed to the education, training, career, or professional licensure of the other party;
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support;
  • Any history of domestic violence between the parties;
  • The tax implications of a spousal support award;
  • Any other factors the court considers just and equitable.

As this list makes clear, the court may consider any factor it deems relevant in determining whether and how much spousal support to award. As a result, it is important for people seeking to obtain or keep from paying spousal support to present as strong a case as possible to the court.  An attorney familiar with California family courts can evaluate your situation and present your case to the court in a way that maximizes your chances of obtaining a favorable result.

Contact a Santa Rosa Family Law Attorney Today to Schedule a Consultation

Any party to a family law proceeding should discuss their situation with an experienced Santa Rosa divorce attorney. To schedule a consultation with one of our family law spousal support lawyers, please call Beck Law P.C. today at (707) 576-7175.

Published on:

same-sex divorce residencyCertain California same-sex divorce residency requirement exceptions. Though the right to marry for same-sex couples is quickly expanding throughout the country, there are still a significant number of states that refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. In order to legally marry, many same-sex couples travel to states like California for their official wedding ceremonies, and then return to reside in their home states.

While this plan works well for couples who remain happily married, it does cause significant complications for couples who wish to get divorced. This is because states maintain a residency requirement for any couple seeking to dissolve their marriage, meaning that family courts generally lack the jurisdiction to grant divorces for out-of-state couples. However, if a same-sex married couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, the courts will likely refuse to grant a divorce because, in the eyes of that state, there is no marriage dissolve. In fact, in many states, same-sex married couples are engaging in lengthy legal battles challenging state laws simply to get a divorce.

Instead of challenging state laws, many same-sex couples in such states decide to simply live separately, though remain legally married. While this may work for some time, it can cause problems down the line. For instance, if one of the spouses is suddenly injured or falls ill, the other spouse may be asked to make important medical decisions. One spouse may continue to hold a growing interest in the others retirement accounts or other benefits, and they may retain rights to inherit property upon the others death. Certain debts accrued during the separation may still count as marital debt if the couple never obtained a divorce. For these reasons and more, it is not always wise for unhappy couples to live separate lives while remaining legally married.

The Solution in California

In general, in order to successfully petition a California family court to dissolve a marriage, either one or both spouses must have lived within the state of California for at least six months prior to filing, and must have lived within the specific county in which they filed for at least three months. This means that couples who only travel briefly to California to get married would be ineligible to obtain a divorce in California.

California courts acknowledged the issue of same-sex couples married within that state unable to obtain a divorce in their home states. Therefore, courts outlined an exception to the residency requirement for such couples. In order to qualify for this exception, the following must apply:

  • You got married in the state of California;
  • Neither spouse currently resides in California;
  • Neither spouse resides in a state that will dissolve a same-sex marriage.

If you meet all these criteria, you may file for divorce in the California county in which you were married.

If you have any questions or require any assistance regarding any divorce issues in California, please do not hesitate to contact Beck Law P.C. in Santa Rosa to discuss your case today.

Published on:

The new trend of “conscious uncoupling”. When actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced her split from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin this past spring, the term “conscious uncoupling” came onto the radar of many Americans. Instead of getting divorced, Paltroconscious uncoupling - Gwyneth Paltroww claimed that she and Martin would continue living together and co-parenting their two children; however the two were consciously uncoupling and were ending their marriage. Since then, media has covered other couples who opted to take this less traditional separation path by deciding to continue living together and raising their kids, but to no longer be romantic partners. One San Francisco couple even held an uncoupling ceremony in front of family and friends, during which they gave back their wedding rings but then returned to the home they still share together.

Conscious Uncoupling

This new trend of separating has led many people to wonder about the legal effects of uncoupling. First, holding an uncoupling ceremony or announcing that you are uncoupling does not, in any way, legally end your marriage. If you were properly married with a valid marriage license and ceremony, your marriage will continue to exist until a California family court officially grants dissolution of your marriage.

If uncoupling does not end your marriage, why are many couples opting for this non-traditional path? While each couple likely has their own individual reasons for this choice, many cite avoiding the stress, time, and money involved in a traditional divorce, and protecting the children from such conflict. These non-couples continue to maintain joint assets, share in child-rearing costs and responsibilities, and live together under the same roof, all while even dating other people.

While conscious uncoupling may work for some couples, there are some legal difficulties that can arise down the line. For example, if one spouse gets particularly serious with another romantic partner and wishes to get married, they will not be able to lawfully do so until a divorce is petitioned and finalized. Uncoupled couples are still legally married in every sense, and this marriage prohibits remarriage to another person.

When it does come time for a legal divorce, however, couples who successfully consciously uncouple may achieve a more amicable and collaborative divorce because they continued to live together, and usually maintained respect for one another and for the best interests of their family. Such divorces can usually be resolved much quicker and at significantly less cost than an acrimonious divorce.

It is uncertain whether conscious uncoupling will become a more common occurrence among married couples. Couples who wish to try this arrangement should always consult with an attorney to discuss all legal implications of their plan prior to deciding against traditional divorce.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney for Help Today

If you have any questions regarding marriage, divorce, child custody, or any other family-related legal matter, please do not hesitate to call the Santa Rosa office of Beck Law P.C. for assistance. We know how to help with a wide range of domestic issues, including helping individuals and couples in unique sets of circumstances. Please contact us today to discuss your case.

Photo Credit: Georges Biard via Wikimedia Commons

Published on:

divorce cases, social mediaDoes Facebook have a role in divorce cases? Many people believe Facebook to be simply a way to have fun, stay in touch with friends play games, and other light-hearted and harmless activities. However, Facebook has been playing an increasing role in divorce cases each year. A new study shows that Facebook is cited in approximately 33 percent of all divorce cases in the United States, which is an increase from results indicating 20 percent of divorce cases in 2009.

Cause for Divorce Cases?

Facebook has no doubt been a facilitator for meeting new romantic partners or for reuniting with past partners. If this happens to a married individual, online messaging may easily lead to in-person meetings, infidelity and, eventually, to divorce. However, researchers state that it is difficult to tell in how many cases Facebook is the true cause of divorce, since many people who may log on to social media more often or and be willing to stray likely have underlying issues in the marriage already.

Whether or not Facebook is the exact impetus for a divorce is not always relevant as a fact by itself in a divorce case, since California has no-fault divorce. However, Facebook can come into play if each spouse is collecting evidence to build a case against the other in a contested divorce.

Digital Discovery

It should not be surprising that a person puts their best foot forward for a family court in order to seek the best possible custody and support determinations possible. It is therefore not rare for a person to fail to fully disclose everything about their financial situation or their behavior. Facebook and other social media sites can provide photos, status updates, and other material that can be used as evidence that a spouse is spending a lot of money, engaging in questionable behavior, and more. Such evidence can be used to demonstrate to the court that a spouse is not being completely forthcoming.

The same is true in reverse, however. If you post photos of yourself on an expensive vacation or out at bars, your spouse may be able to use it against you in your divorce case. Even if you block or “defriend” your spouse, you may have friends in common that may pass on information that you post or allow your spouse to use their account. In short, you should be aware that Facebook can play a much larger role in your divorce than you may have imagined and should always think twice before posting anything during your case.

Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Family Law Attorney for Help Today

If you are facing divorce, there may be many factors–such as your social media use–that you do not necessarily realize may significantly impact your case. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise you on what to do and what not to do during the course of your case to try to ensure the best possible results for you. At Beck Law P.C., we can handle every aspect of your divorce case in the most efficient way possible, so please contact our office for help today.

Published on:

divorce depositionWhat is a divorce deposition? Just like each marriage is different, each divorce case is also different. Some divorces are uncontested with few major issues and with couples agreeing on a settlement relatively easily and efficiently. Other divorces may have complex family law issues, such as high asset property division, enforcement of a premarital agreement, child custody battles, alimony battles, and much more. More complicated cases will understandably require more time, energy, and legal tools to settle all of the necessary issues. One such legal tool that is used in some complex cases is the deposition.

What to Expect From a Divorce Deposition

A divorce deposition is a method of gathering answers to various questions in a legal case. A divorce deposition does not take place in a courtroom, but instead generally takes place in an attorney’s office or conference room. Both attorneys will be present, as well as a court reporter who takes down the transcript of all of the questions and answers. The individual being questioned may be a party to the divorce (i.e. one of the spouses) or an outside individual serving as a witness. While depositions may be more costly than other methods of obtaining answers, sometimes this is the best way to receive the thorough answers you need for the best outcome in your case.

Though a deposition may seem more informal than a court proceeding, telling the truth is just as important as if you were in front of a judge. Making false statements in a deposition can result in allegations of perjury, which can be a felony under California law. For this reason, you should always be honest in answering deposition questions. The same goes if you do not know the answer to a question–admitting you do not know is usually the best thing. Furthermore, you should always admit when you do not understand a question because, if you do not say anything, the court will assume you understood.

Prior to a deposition, a quality attorney should always prepare you for what to expect during the process. An attorney should remind you that a deposition is not the time to argue or get emotional regarding your spouse or other matters. You should also avoid talking over one another during the deposition so the court reporter gets a completely accurate version of the transcript.

All in all, depositions in divorce are not very common. However, they do occur and they can be an important tool in particularly complicated cases. A skilled family law attorney should be able to recognize when a deposition is appropriate in your case.

Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Divorce Deposition Attorney for Assistance Today

Whether your divorce has few issues or numerous complexities and contentions, you should always have the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney. A divorce lawyer can identify the different issues you will face and the most efficient ways to handle those divorce issues, such as depositions or alternative dispute resolution techniques. If you are facing divorce, call the Santa Rosa law office of Beck Law, P.C. for assistance today.

Published on:

Child Support EnforcementChild Support Enforcement in California. When a judge officially finalizes your divorce—approving any settlement agreements, issuing orders for child support or spousal support, and legally dissolving your marriage—you may feel a sense of relief that your legal battles are over. Unfortunately, too many parents will find themselves back in court to address issues that arise regarding their agreements. One issue in particular that leads people back into the courtroom is child support enforcement.

Child support orders are based on specific formulas that take into consideration the respective incomes and expenses of both parents, as well as the basic needs of any children in question. For this reason, the majority of child support determinations in California are considered to be fair and to reflect the responsibilities of both parents to financially support their children. However, simply because a court issues an order—and even if that order is fair—does not mean that the parent ordered to pay child support is going to comply with the court order.

Because most parents rely on child support payments to cover the major expenses of raising one or more children, it can have a serious effect on your living standards if the other parent falls behind on payments. For this reason, many parents seek to legally enforce child support orders.

Methods of Child Support Enforcement

California family courts and the state Department of Child Support Services understand the importance of paying child support as ordered, so there are several different methods of enforcement. These include the following:

  • Having the court hold the parent in contempt;
  • Fines and sanctions for failing to comply;
  • Possible criminal charges;
  • Garnishment of wages, benefit checks, or bank accounts;
  • Liens placed on property;
  • Suspension of driver’s license.

An attorney can advise you of the best method of child support enforcement in your particular situation.

Ways Not to Try to Enforce Child Support

No matter how far behind a parent is on child support payments, you should not take the matter into your own hands. For example, many people may feel tempted to refuse visitation rights to a parent who is not up to date on child support. This is not allowed, however, as it will go against any visitation order issued by the court.

Additionally, you cannot enforce child support payments that were not officially established by the family courts. For instance, if a spouse agreed to pay you $300 per month to contribute to child support but you never took the matter in front of the family court, you cannot enforce the continued payment of that amount. First, you must establish court-ordered child support before you can enforce it.

Contact a Santa Rosa Child Support Attorney to Discuss Your Case Today

If you need assistance enforcing a child support order in Sonoma County, or with any other type of family law matter in Sonoma County, Lake County or Mendocino County, your first call should be to an experienced family lawyer at Beck Law P.C. We are committed to helping individuals and their children receive the support they deserve. If you are facing a family law case, call our office for help today.

Published on:

Celebrity DivorcesCan my spouse stop our divorce? After a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed, spouses may argue over many issues before the divorce is finally granted by the California family court. Issues that may cause contention include property division, spousal support, and child custody. One issue that many people may not consider is whether the divorce should be finalized at all. One recent media story highlights what can happen when one spouse refuses to cooperate with the divorce at all.

Can Refusing to Sign the Papers Stop Our Divorce?

The Kardashian family has repeatedly been in the news for high-profile divorces. For example, mom Kris Jenner recently filed for divorce from longtime spouse and former professional tennis player Bruce Jenner. The most recent story arises from reports that professional basketball player Lamar Odom is refusing to sign divorce papers filed by daughter Khloe Kardashian approximately ten months ago.

Not only does Odom seem unwilling to sign the divorce papers, but representatives for Khloe state that they cannot locate him. This raises the question: what happens when one spouse does not want to finalize the divorce? The answer to that question depends, of course, on each particular situation. In the Kardashian-Odom case, Khloe has two main choices. First, she can dismiss the divorce case completely and agree to remain married; or second, she can file a Request to Enter Default with the family court.

In civil lawsuits, plaintiffs can often obtain a default judgment if the defendant in the case never responds. The same is true for some divorce cases in California. If your spouse does not respond for a certain period of time, and if you meet certain legal requirements, you can request that a court go forward with the divorce proceedings without the cooperation of your spouse. As long as there are no children or property issues, a court can grant a default divorce based on the presence of one spouse. Note that a court will not make important determinations such as custody or child support without both spouses present.

Once you receive a default, you must still wait the required six months plus one day time period before the judge will issue the final dissolution judgment. However, a default divorce can save a significant amount of time and energy by eliminating the need to track down your spouse and convince them to cooperate with the many stages of a divorce proceeding. Because this process is faster than a contested divorce, many spouses may even choose to take the default or uncontested divorce path together if they agree on the terms.

Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Divorce Attorney for Assistance

Everyone knows that divorcing spouses often disagree on many issues, including whether they should even proceed with the divorce. No matter the unique issues in your divorce, an experienced divorce attorney at the Santa Rosa office of Beck Law, P.C. can help you. We fully understand California divorce laws and how they apply to a wide range of situations. If you are facing divorce, contact our office for help today.

Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons

Published on:

Going through a divorce and settling all related issues can be trying. Most people want to put the marriage and legal issues behind them once the divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Frequently, a former spouse will return to court in the years following a divorce in order to revisit legal matters or raise new complaints. Each time you return to court can be costly, and acrimonious tendencies may arise again. It is always important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side, one who can help you get the outcome you deserve and make the process of returning to court easier amark sanfordnd less costly.

The Ongoing Case of U.S. Representative Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford is a member of the United States House of Representatives and a former governor of South Carolina. In 2009, Sanford disappeared unannounced for several days; his assistant claimed Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he returned, Sanford admitted to having an affair with a woman in Argentina. Sanford’s wife, Jenny, subsequently filed for divorce. The divorce was granted and finalized in 2010.

The Sanford’s legal battle did not end upon the dissolution of the marriage. In 2013, Jenny Sanford filed a claim alleging Rep. Sanford violated their divorce agreement by trespassing on her property. Rep. Sanford stated he was in the home watching the Superbowl with his son; Jenny later dropped the claim. In July 2014, a legal dispute arose regarding trust fund contributions for two of their four sons. A family judge ordered them to participate in mediation to resolve the issue.

According to this news article, Jenny Sanford recently filed a complaint making several requests of the court. She stated the requests were based on a “substantial change of circumstances,” but declined to provide more information until the record was sealed. Her demands included the following:

  • That Rep. Sanford attend anger management and parenting classes, and undergo a psychiatric evaluation;
  • That the court appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the children;
  • That visitation between Rep. Sanford and the couple’s youngest son be limited;
  • That neither parent speak disparagingly of the other in the presence of their son;
  • That neither parent become intoxicated by prescription drugs or alcohol in the presence of their son;
  • That neither parent expose their son to a member of the opposite sex who seems like a “paramour” for an overnight visit.

In response to the complaint, Rep. Sanford stated that any accusations of alcohol abuse or psychiatric issues are “preposterous, crazy and wrong.” Some speculate that Jenny Sanford is still bitter that Rep. Sanford remained with his Argentinian girlfriend. No matter who is telling the truth, it appears the Sanfords are ready for another court battle.

Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Family Law Attorney for Assistance

If your divorce was finalized but believe new issues may arise, contact an experienced divorce and custody lawyer at Beck Law, P.C. in the Santa Rosa area. We can help you with your divorce or custody case, and provide the tools for a out-of-court settlement to save you time and money.

Photo Credit: TheDigitel Beaufort via Wikimedia

Contact Information