Articles Posted in Divorce Attorney

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divorce attorney questionsWhat are divorce attorney questions I should ask? If divorce is something you have contemplated of late, you likely have a number of questions and concerns. While you have been focusing on what divorce will entail in terms of the personal, financial, and social aspects of your life, and trying to imagine living arrangements and family relationships in the aftermath of a split, you probably have not even considered the issues you should be thinking about when it comes to choosing an attorney to represent you moving forward.   

Divorce Attorney Questions to Find a Reputable, Experienced Firm

When it comes to divorce, you really do not want your neighbor’s cousin who works from his basement chasing ambulances to represent you. The first thing you need to do is establish whether or not the firm is certified as a Family Law Specialist in California. Certification requires that a minimum of a quarter of the firm’s business is spent in this area, and that attorneys have completed additional coursework and undergone rigorous testing and peer review related to the state’s laws. It is certainly within your rights to request a meeting with the attorneys and staff who will be working on your case prior to signing on with a firm.

Discuss Payment Expectations

Divorce can be unexpectedly costly, so it is a good idea to find out what the hourly rates will be, what additional charges may be attached, and what is a ball-park idea of the ultimate cost.  Some simple cases will be relatively affordable. As more complex issues unfold, the cost will rise. Some divorce attorney questions might be; will the firm need to enlist the services of a private detective, a forensic accountant, or other specialists? Do you anticipate a bitter feud regarding property or custody issues?

Questions About Specific Concerns

If you have particular issues that you anticipate may be difficult in your situation, spend the initial consultation getting the attorney’s take on those problems. You may have visions of an outcome that is really not plausible under California law.  You want a straight-shooting attorney who understands your position and fights on your behalf, but who comprehends the realities of family law and helps you to engage in necessary compromise when it is called for.  

Get Tips Related to Behavior During the Divorce

You may be experiencing some pretty difficult emotions through the course of your divorce. A good attorney will help you to keep things in perspective by reminding you to protect your children from conflict, by keeping your finances in order, and by helping you to avoid regrettable behaviors like drunken rants on your Facebook page. Continue reading →

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sonoma county divorceIf you are considering a Sonoma County divorce, chances are it is your first rodeo and you may not know where to begin. Experts recommend seeking the advice of a knowledgeable local attorney.  From there, many of the questions you have specific to your circumstances can be addressed.  For general information, here are some things you need to know.

Residency Requirements for a Sonoma County Divorce

There are both state and county requirements for residency. One or both parties in the divorce must meet both requirements:

  • Living in the state of California for at least six months;
  • Living in Sonoma County where the claim is filed for at least three months.

Grounds for a Sonoma County Divorce

Your marriage may be dissolved based on the following grounds:

  • Irreconcilable differences, wherein a breakdown of the marriage has occurred;
  • Incurable insanity, as determined by qualified medical opinion.

Sonoma County Divorce – Property Division

California is a Community Property state, meaning that the parties will share marital debts and property—that which was acquired during the course of the marriage—equally. The court will consider whether debts were necessary for the support of the family or if they benefited one partner in particular. For instance, a car loan might be assigned to the spouse who retains the car.

Sonoma County Divorce – Spousal Support

The court will consider a number of factors in determining the amount and length of spousal support, if any, to be paid to the lesser earning spouse. Some key considerations include:

  • Each party’s capacity to earn a living;
  • The degree to which one partner supported the other in obtaining an education and/or career;
  • The ability of the higher earning spouse to make support payments;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
  • The ability to balance childcare with work outside the home for the lesser earning partner;
  • The health and ages of the individuals;
  • Any history of domestic violence;
  • Tax implications of support;
  • The eventual ability of the lesser earning spouse to become self-sufficient.

Child Custody and Support

Custody arrangements will be determined based on the best interests of the child. A number of factors will be weighed, including:

  • Any history of abuse by either parent;
  • Relationships with step-siblings, half-siblings, and/or other caretakers;
  • Relationships custody-seeking parents have with other adults who might play a significant role in the child’s life;
  • The nature of the relationships the child has with both parents;
  • Alcohol and/or substance abuse by either parent.

A minimum amount of child support is required based on the county of residence, and that amount may be increased based on a number of factors, ranging from income to parental stipulations. Child support may be ordered for either parent, in addition to medical insurance. Continue reading →

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marriage bluesDo you have a case of marriage blues? Is the spontaneity missing from your marriage? Is your routine so predictable that you feel like you are sleepwalking through your relationship? If so, you are one of many couples who feel marriage is not nearly the paradise you were hoping for when you tied the knot.

Marriage Blues – Underlying Problems

Frequently, when relationships start to become stale, there are stresses on the couple that may wear on the energy and enthusiasm partners bring to their interactions. Some common stressors include:

  • Finances;
  • Long work hours;
  • Health issues;
  • Demands from the kids;
  • Lack of intimacy.

When there is a cloud over all of a couple’s interactions, individuals may begin to feel unhappy, to blame one another, or to start drifting apart.

Defeating the Marriage Blues – Connection

Partners who make an effort to connect with one another in small ways experience more fulfilling relationships that tend to last. In one study of couples’ connections, those who connected only 33% of the time were divorced within six years, whereas those who connected 87% of the time were still married six years later.

Shared Time

If you are not prioritizing time with each other, you can not really expect a fruitful outcome. So, if your partner truly is important, do not wait to express it. Sit down together often just to share your thoughts, enjoy a moment, or hold hands.

Date Night

Some couples try to keep their marriage alive by going on regular date nights. One psychology professor who studied such couples found that repeating the same date over and over is actually less satisfying than you might think. Instead, he suggests mixing it up, and having more exciting dates that are out of the norm. Instead of dinner and a movie, choose a community play or a day at the beach. Challenge one another to do something new and different.

Negative Thinking

For some, it is going to take more than a few fun outings to spice up the marriage. What if when one person makes an effort to do something nice, the other partner becomes full of suspicion rather than gratitude? Clearly, there are underlying issues in such a relationship, and both people need to be ready and willing to get to the bottom of it. One person cannot save a marriage independent of the other. Continue reading →

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Divorce in CaliforniaIf you are considering getting a divorce in California, chances are you are a bit overwhelmed with both the weight of the decision and the process ahead. Simplifying the entire thing may bring some semblance of peace of mind.

A: Assess …

It is important to honestly assess your situation before taking any steps toward your divorce. Is the relationship in a slump, or is it irreparably damaged? If you are certain that you want to move forward, have you looked carefully at the emotional, financial, and logistical implications for everyone involved? Finally, have you clearly and carefully articulated your decision to an experienced attorney who will advocate for you?

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divorceAll marriages experience ups and downs, but when are things serious enough to consider a divorce? Research indicates common themes in the literature predictive of divorce:

Feelings of Contempt: If you or your spouse resorts to contemptuous feelings and behaviors when dealing with problems, the marriage may be at risk. Regardless of the issue at hand, eye rolling, sarcasm, berating, and name-calling lead to a feeling of helplessness. Problems cannot be solved in this environment.  Passive-aggressive statements are yet another symptom of contempt.  Instead, couples should address complaints without blame or criticisms.

Scorekeeping: When one spouse is more focused on keeping score in a marriage than on building a loving relationship, it can spell disaster. Successful marriages cannot be centered on winning and losing. Spouses should instead consider strong communication, love, and forgiveness a win-win.

Differing Goals: Does one of you want a big family and the other hate the idea of kids?  Does one want to party whenever possible, and the other prefer cozy nights at home? Is traveling the globe the ultimate dream for one of you, while the other is completely comfortable planted in the neighborhood in which you have always lived? When couples have huge differences in the things they want from life, if can make for a challenging marriage.

One Person does all the Compromising: Does one person always hold out to get the final say on the tv shows you watch or the restaurants you go to? Does one spouse feel disappointment that the other shows minimal interest in his or her needs on a day-to-day basis? Compromise is a key factor in successful marriages, but when one spouse is constantly expected to give in to the other’s desires, it can lead to feelings of resentment. It makes one wonder about the motivations for staying with someone who is not concerned about who you are or what you need.

Bad Views Rule: Research indicates that couples who remember the sweet, tender beginnings of their relationship, even when going through tough times, are more likely to survive. Alternately, if the focus is on the shortfalls of the other spouse and the mutual admiration and respect has dissipated, the marriage is in trouble.

Debt: One of the biggest stressors to any marriage is money trouble, particularly if one spouse is a big spender and the other is not. In that circumstance, the risk for divorce is 45% more likely. Setting and living within a budget can save unnecessary arguments and harrowing stress.

A Lousy Sex Life: When antagonism, or a simple lack of interest in your spouse, results in a limited or nonexistent sex life, the marriage is in trouble. Healthy communication and the ability to enjoy one another intimately can build a bond that helps couples through challenging times.

You do Not Spend Time Together: Couples who do not share hobbies and interests, as well as other friendships, are at greater risk of divorce. Particularly, when one spouse purposefully becomes detached, the relationship should be evaluated.

Stonewalling: Spouses who evade one another or punish with the cold shoulder are avoiding solving their issues. Instead of open and clear dialogue, problems become swept under the rug, where they fester until they have to be addressed—usually with anger.

Wedding Planning Issues: Beware if planning the wedding became more important than the relationship between the couple. Continue reading →

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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.

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Divorce is almost never an enjoyable proposition. Once a relationship gets to the point where one or more spouses want to end their marriage, odds are that they have already experienced years of problems. To make matters worse, the divorce itself can be expensive, combative, and emotionally draining. It is imperative that anyone contemplating a divorce find a highly competent divorce attorney to represent their interests and guide them through a difficult process.

ThinkerWhat to Look for in a Good Divorce Attorney

Here are some qualities you may want to look for when you search for a good divorce attorney:

1. Find an attorney with experience handling divorce cases: It is important to hire not only a family law attorney, but one who specifically handles divorces. Ask your potential attorney how many divorce cases he has handled, or what percentage of his (or his firm’s) hours are devoted to divorces. Even if you already retain an attorney for other personal matters (such as your finances), it is a good idea to find a different attorney to handle your divorce. This is especially true since your personal attorney may also represent your wife, and therefore would have a conflict of interest in relation to your divorce case.

2. If you have children with your spouse, find an attorney with experience in child custody disputesChild custody and visitation disputes tend to pop up during and after divorce proceedings. You will want to anticipate these conflicts and be prepared to present your side of the case forcefully. You probably want to see as much of your kids as you can, and a good attorney can help make that happen.

3. Ask your potential attorney how long the divorce proceedings will last: This will give you an idea of how long the process will take, so that you can plan accordingly. It will also help you discern how honest and competent your potential attorney is. It is important that you are aware of any deadlines and waiting periods that you can expect before you initiate the divorce.

4. Ask your potential attorney how much the divorce will cost you: This is another way to figure out if your attorney is a good choice or not. He should be able to give you a rough estimate of the total costs of the divorce, including court fees, attorney’s fees, and potential costs of mediation. This will also help you to plan financially for what lies ahead.

5. Talk with your potential attorney about what outcomes you can expect from the divorce: Your attorney should be able to give you a range of possible resolutions you can expect from your case. The more experience he has, and the more honest he is, the better he will be able to predict the outcome, allowing you to formulate a plan.

What to Do if You Are Planning to Get Divorced

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The number of women committing adultery has increased significantly according to a recent survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center challenging the notion that men are more adulterous than their female counterparts. Bloomberg Businessweek published data from the survey. According to the survey, while the percentage of men admitting to infidelity has remained consistent at about 21 percent for the past several years, the number of women admitting to adultery has increased significantly. For example, between 2010 and 2013, the number of women who admitted to cheating on their partners went from almost 15 percent to nearly 40 percent.

Greater economic independence is one factor that has contributed to the rise in infidelity amongst women.

Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist at the University of Washington attributes the rise in the number of women who cheat on their partners to changes in the country’s cultural and economic climate. With higher incomes and greater job prospects than ever before, women can now afford the possible economic consequences of having an affair.

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Earlier this year, Jamie McCourt, the former CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers and ex-wife of the Major League Baseball franchise’s former owner, Frank McCourt, filed a petition to overturn the couples’ divorce settlement. The divorce settlement was reached in 2011 when Frank McCourt still owned the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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In the couple’s 2011 divorce settlement, Jamie McCourt gave up her ownership claim to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for $131 million.
The terms of the couple’s divorce settlement provided Jamie McCourt with $131 million in addition to a share of the couples residences. In exchange, Jamie McCourt gave up her ownership claim to the Major League Baseball franchise.
Jamie McCourt argues that Frank McCourt represented that the franchise was worth less than $300 million but sold the team for $2.15 billion just six months later.
In the petition filed earlier this year, Jamie McCourt argued that she agreed to the terms of the divorce settlement because her former husband misled her regarding the value of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise. Jamie McCourt alleged that her ex-husband represented that the Major League Baseball franchise was valued at less than $300 million while under the penalty of perjury. However, just six months after the couple’s divorce settlement was finalized Frank McCourt sold the team for $2.15 billion through a bankruptcy court auction.
A Los Angeles Judge ruled this week that Jamie McCourt did not provide sufficient evident to support her allegations of fraud.
This week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott M. Gordon issued a ruling denying Jamie McCourt’s petition. In his opinion, the Judge reasoned that Jamie McCourt failed to provide the Court with sufficient evidence to prove that she did not have a full and complete understanding of the value of the couple’s assets when she agreed to the divorce settlement. The Judge went on to reason that Jamie McCourt was a sophisticated individual who had familiarity with the business, having served as the franchise’s CEO.
Study reveals that couples routinely hide financial information from one another.

A Forbes magazine article published last year revealed that partners routinely hide assets from each other, both when their marriage is going well and during divorce proceedings. The article cited a study conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education which found that 58 percent of spouses report hiding cash from their partners and 34 percent admitted to lying about their finances, debt, or earnings.
Misrepresenting information in a Financial Affidavit that is filed with the court in a divorce proceeding is illegal and can result in serious penalties. If you believe that your former spouse misrepresented financial information during your divorce proceeding and settlement process, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney will be able to review the circumstances of your case and determine your options for recourse.
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What Happens to Joint Mortgage Debt in a Divorce?

The Pitfalls of Relying on News Sources for Divorce Guidance

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In most cases, when a couple decides to separate and file for divorce their ownership in real estate acquired during the marriage and the resulting mortgage debt is the largest investment which they must split up. The division of debt is a complex process and requires parties to consider various issues at the same time. This can be a difficult task at any given time and becomes even more taxing when individuals are dealing with the stress of a separation. As such, it is important for married couples that own real estate together and have mortgage debt to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can guide them through this process. Mortgage Debt.jpg
A party is still liable for their joint mortgage obligation even when a court issues a divorce decree requiring their spouse to pay mortgage payments.
One of the most confusing aspects of a having a joint loan obligation with your spouse is the limitations of a divorce decree requiring your former spouse to maintain jointly owned properties or obligating your former spouse to pay mortgage payments. Unfortunately, a judicial decree of this type during your divorce proceeding does not absolve you from the loan obligation you share with your former spouse. This does not mean that you do not have other recourse against your former spouse if they fail to follow the court’s other. However, those measures will not protect your credit or change your legal obligation to lenders. Loan obligations are binding contacts, the terms of which must be satisfied even after a divorce.
It’s best to end a marriage with as little joint debt as possible.
For this reason, many divorce attorneys advise their clients who are considering filing for divorce to end their marriage with as little joint debt as possible. However, in recent years, the decline of the real estate market has made this a difficult or non-existent option for some.
If selling property is not an option, one spouse may be able to refinance or assume to mortgage debt.
However, this does not mean that you are without options if you are considering filing for divorce and hold a joint loan obligation with your spouse. You and your spouse may agree to refinance the loan in one of your names, removing the other’s liability for the debt. In some cases, your lender may allow you or your spouse to assume the mortgage debt independently. Both of these solutions require at least one spouse to possess the financial means to repay the mortgage debt in its entirety. In addition, refinancing often requires that the property have sufficient equity. However, if one of these options works for you and your spouse, interest in the property can be transferred to reflect the mortgage liability via a quitclaim deed or an interspousal transfer grant deed.

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