Articles Tagged with divorce attorney in santa rosa

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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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strained marriageCan a strained marriage and the stress of a government shutdown lead to divorce? There is no doubt about it: Stress has an impact on relationships, and it is generally not a positive impact. So, if you are one of the over 800,000 people whose family has been directly impacted by the government shutdown, or one of the hundreds of thousands affected by the sudden stagnant cash flow in your community due to the shutdown, will your marriage be affected?  It would be almost miraculous if the stress associated with the absentee paycheck did not touch your relationship.  If the stress escalates to the point that divorce is on the table, discussing your situation with a local divorce attorney is a good idea.

Strained Marriage – The Anxiety is Real

Studies indicate that marital satisfaction and longevity are at risk during high stress periods.  The government shutdown certainly qualifies as such for many, many couples with an already strained marriage:

  • Living without a paycheck, particularly for those who are still required to show up, affects families’ ability to make required payments, secure necessary child care, or make essential purchases;
  • Credit ratings are negatively impacted as creditors are dissatisfied with late or missing loan payments;
  • Individuals in the midst of home purchases are suddenly unable to qualify for loans;
  • Formerly self-sufficient families are having to rely on food pantries and soup kitchens for meals;
  • Breadwinners feel helpless as they are unable to earn a living while caught up in circumstances that are beyond their control and understanding;
  • The unpredictability of the situation only serves to amplify the unrest;
  • Employees who used to take pride in their work are left experiencing feelings of humiliation and desperation.

Relationships Within a Strained Marriage

It is no surprise that when individuals are struggling with anxiety and depression that stems from stress, their physical health, mental stability, and close personal relationships suffer, as well. Research abounds connecting stress with troubles in a strained marriage:

  • The original issues of stress and depression sometimes exacerbate other problems that may have been lurking beneath the surface of the marriage, causing them to become more visible and prominent;
  • Stress can translate into frustration, which may lead to impatience, verbal sniping, arguments, and even physical encounters;
  • As communication becomes strained, marital partners may become more defensive, impacting a couple’s ability to experience trust and intimacy;
  • Eventually, positive interactions may diminish, blaming and hostility may rise, and thoughts of parting ways may bubble up.

Strained Marriage – Positive Interventions for Stress

However temporary the stress may be, it is certainly real for those under its grip.  Suggestions to deal with the strain include:

  • Physical Interventions: Exercise, yoga, or breathing exercises;
  • Mental Interventions: Discussing options with supportive family members and friends, engaging in distractions like puzzles or books;
  • Emotional Interventions: Watching funny movies or spending time with friends and having the opportunity to laugh as you temporarily escape the stress;
  • Spiritual interventions: Praying, enjoying nature, and meditation;

Continue reading →

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long-term marriageDealing with a divorce can be especially difficult for someone in a long-term marriage . Studies show that men over 65 are divorcing at double the rate of the 1980s and women are divorcing at triple their former rate. In fact, 5% of all divorces in this country are “gray divorces.” Along with the usual splitting of assets that all divorcing couples face, older couples have some unique challenges.

Why Divorce After Decades Together in a Long-Term Marriage?

Older couples have often experienced many significant events together. Some couples grow closer through these life milestones, while others drift apart. With a longer life expectancy, a person in his or her mid-sixties most likely has at least a couple of decades ahead. That can be a long time if an individual is dissatisfied with his or her marriage.

Leaving a Long-Term Marriage

Alimony agreements are frequently short-term for young divorcees who agree that financial support is necessary while one spouse gets an education or a firm footing in the working world.  For older divorcees, alimony may be awarded for life. Another significant factor to consider is that retirement funds and pensions will likely be evenly divided. The marriage home may be sold and the money split between partners, or one partner may retain the home and give up something else. California is a community property state, so any assets accrued during the marriage will be split equally.

Another important consideration is health insurance. If one partner is covered by the other’s health insurance, it is critical that no gaps in coverage occur. When the divorce is finalized, your spouse’s employer can no longer cover you, even if minor children are covered. Luckily, COBRA coverage may be available if your spouse works for an employer with 20 or more employees. Eligibility depends on notification within 60 days of the divorce, so it is critical that you contact the provider quickly. This coverage lasts only 36 months, so it is important to become familiar with other options if necessary. If a spouse worked for a smaller company, Cal-Cobra is available. Although slightly more expensive and available for just 18 months, it is an option for some former dependent spouses.

Because men often earn much more money during the course of a career, social security benefits may be based on the man’s earnings rather than the woman’s work record. When a marriage has lasted at least 10 years, a woman may be able to enjoy benefits from her former spouse’s work record. The benefits end upon remarriage. If a person is at least 62 years old and is remarried, and the second spouse dies, that person may claim benefits from the first spouse (if the marriage lasted 10 years or more) or from the second spouse (if the marriage lasted 9 months or more prior to the death). Continue reading →

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domestic partnership terminationHow does one go about terminating a registered domestic partnership in California? When termination of the relationship is the only option, couples who are registered as domestic partners experience not only the emotional devastation common to divorcing spouses, but they must endure many of the same legal expectations as divorcing couples, as well.

Filing a Notice of Domestic Partnership Termination

A Notice of Termination may be filed in uncomplicated situations when both parties agree to the separation, there are no children or pregnancies involved, and limited assets are under consideration. In such cases, the termination is final six months from the date of the filing.

In any cases that do not meet these criteria, the parties must undergo a legal separation utilizing the courts to ensure an equitable settlement for everyone involved.

Domestic Partnership and Property Division

Whatever property has been accrued between the time the partnership was registered and the time the couple separated is considered community property. It is divided evenly between the parties. Anything owned prior to that time is considered separate property, and belongs to the original owner.

Domestic Partnership and Child Custody

Child Custody issues are decided with precisely the same criteria used in traditional divorce cases in California. The courts are directed to consider the best interests of the child, and will look at a number of factors in determining joint or shared physical custody:

  • The child’s health, well-being, and overall safety;
  • The status quo and impacts of disruption;
  • Willingness of the custodial parent to work with the non-custodial parent on issues relating to the child(ren);
  • The thoughts and wishes of the children themselves if they are old enough to express them;
  • Any history of drug abuse or violence.

Beyond physical custody, the court will award either joint or sole legal custody of minor children. This give the custodial parent(s) the authority to make major decisions regarding health, education, and so forth on behalf of the children.

Domestic Partnership and Child Support

The court looks at the net disposable income of both parties in order to determine the amount of child support to be paid from a non-custodial parent. This includes income from wages, dividends, social security, or pensions. This is weighed against any payments toward taxes, health care premiums, mandatory union dues, and costs associated with the raising of other children from other relationships. Continue reading →

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