Absolutely no one wants to face a potential divorce. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever face. The Spodek Law Group is here for you when it comes to getting advice on potential family law, and divorce issues. Our team of nationwide attorneys pride ourselves on providing high quality legal services. With offices in LA, we’re here to assist you with any – and all, potential matrimony issues you are contending with. Our lawyers are available for our clients and understand what’s at stake.
Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers offer a risk free consultation with a fully licensed, and credible, Los Angeles divorce attorney who is here to answer any question you may have. We offer flexible payment plans, so that you don’t have to worry about your finances when choosing the Los Angeles divorce attorney attorney you want. At Spodek Law Group, we understand the stress you are feeling, and empathize. We answer calls promptly, respond to emails punctually, and take pride in offering white-glove service for all of our clients. Founding partner Todd Spodek is one of the most reputable attorneys nationwide and is frequently interviewed by the media.
Spodek Law Group is a second-generation law firm, that operates nationwide. Our team of attorneys based out of Los Angeles has experience handling uncontested divorces and complex divorces alike. What matters is the fact that when you hire our law firm, you’re hiring a seasoned team of family law attorneys who have experience dealing with serious family law issues. We have over 50 years of combined experience practicing law, and are pleased to utilize it to help you get better results. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers know how stressful family law matters can be, which is why we strive to be a guiding light and a voice of reason for our clients.
We approach each case with a desire to tailor our approach to your needs. This is critical. No two situations are alike, just as no two people are alike. We listen carefully to your goals and concerns – and provide a tailored strategy. This strategy revolves around what we think is possible, what the law dictates, and most importantly: the outcome you’re looking for. We strive to understand where you’re coming from so we can come up with a solution that is customized to your needs. Going through a divorce can take an emotional toll, especially if you don’t have counsel that properly reflects your goals and desires. There are many steps to take into consideration from child custody to alimony, not to mention the division of property. That’s where our family law attorneys step in and take over the process. Our goal is to move you through the divorce process, so you can receive a fresh start and not be encumbered by your spouse.
Founding partner Todd Spodek, and his team of Los Angeles divorce lawyers, is here to help guide you through this complicated time in your life. Todd has handled cases that have captivated the media spotlight and has many years of experience handling cases in the limelight. His unique perspective is unique amongst his peers, and other attorneys you may be considering. Our team’s goal is to help keep your emotions in check, and to make decisions with a sound, and reasonable, state of mind. We constantly share our experience and expertise, so you can make the best decision possible.
Our Los Angeles family law attorneys have experience with all aspects of family law cases and divorce. Regardless of whether you need a prenuptial agreement in order to preserve your premarital property, or want a postnuptial agreement – we can help. Perhaps you, and your child, are the victims of domestic violence and need a restraining order against your spouse. We can help. We empathize, and we understand. We can take immediate action to preserve your safety, and get you the court-ordered protection you need.
In order to get the proper forms, you have to purchase a dissolution form packet from the clerk of your county superior court. Or you can go to the California Courts website. You, or your lawyer, or your mediator, will have to prepare a Petition and a Summons. You can begin the process by filing your Petition and Summons with the clerk of the superior court in the county where you, or your spouse is residing. You have to pay a fee to file the papers unless you have a low income, and qualify for a fee waiver.
Copies of the Petition and Summons, and also a blank response, have to be officially delivered/served, to your spouse by someone other than yourself who is over 18 years old. The Summons is a paper which notifies the spouse that you are filing for divorce, and that he/she has 30 days to file a response to the divorce. In situations like this, you’ll want a Los Angeles divorce lawyer representing you and helping you.
In response to this, your spouse then will indicate what has to be resolved by the court system. For example, he/she may object to your request for spousal support or sole custody of the children.
There are a few things that can occur after you file:
Disclosure: You have to complete disclosure declarations which provide information about your income, expenses, assets, and debts, and then have that delivered to your spouse.
Temporary orders: You, or your spouse, can ask for a hearing so that the judge can decide any issues with child custody, child visitation, child support, requests for Los Angeles divorce attorney fees, and more. Such hearings are known as Order to show cause hearings.
Agreements: You, or your spouse, and your mediator/lawyers, will work on a permanent agreement that resolves all the issues. If you do reach an agreement, you don’t have to appear in court, and a judgment based on your agreement can be entered into the court. You will have to submit a statement to the court saying the marriage is finished due to irreconcilable differences.
Trial: If you cannot reach an agreement, then you and your spouse will have to appear in court for a trial in which the judge makes the final decision.
Default: If your spouse doesn’t file a response, then you can request a default, and proceed to a default hearing to get a judgment.
What are grounds for divorce in Los Angeles?
In California, there are two main grounds for divorce.
In addition, you, or your spouse, must have lived in CA for 6 months, and in your county for 3 months before you file a petition to dissolve the marriage. There’s no residency requirement in order to file for legal separation.
Are there rules you and your spouse have to follow during the divorce process?
Yes. There are temporary restraining orders which will go into effect ASAP when the divorce process starts. For example, neither of you can take your minor children out of the state without the other spouse’s permission, or court order. In addition, neither of you will be allowed to either cancel, or change, the beneficiary on your insurance policy or to transfer any property. You will be required to notify your spouse before any “out of the ordinary,” spending occurs. You’ll need to be prepared to account for such expenses to a judge. These requirements are listed on the back of the divorce summons.
If you’re considering divorce, you have several alternatives available
Full legal representation: You can get a divorce by hiring a Los Angeles divorce attorney to represent you in court. You can qualify for a free, or low cost, Los Angeles divorce attorney if you have little income.
Limited attorney representation: You can hire a Los Angeles divorce attorney to assist you in a limited capacity.
Mediation: You and your spouse can reach a resolution with the help of a mediator in a non-adversarial situation, and it doesn’t require you to go to court.
Self-representation: You can act as your own attorney.
Each situation has its advantages and disadvantages. The course of action you take will depend on your situation. There are many factors to consider, like time, cost, and children.
As tough as it is for those involved, divorce is a reality of modern life. Anyone who’s been through one knows how quickly legal fees can add up, further complicating an already painful process. While spouses typically split their divorce costs, the situation can get complicated for families with only one breadwinner. Here are some of the most important considerations.
Divorce costs are usually taken care of by each respective spouse, but exceptions are sometimes made when one party’s income is considerably higher. This levels the playing field so the spouse who earns less isn’t forced to represent themselves because they can’t afford an attorney. In many states, the spouse who earns more is ordered to pay the costs and fees of the other spouse. Sometimes a judge may order a liquidation of assets to help pay for these expenses. When the divorce is finalized, whatever amount was received for this purpose is then deducted from the recipient’s share of the assets. The reason for this is that each attorney works for the interests of their own client, so these costs cannot be considered a joint expenditure.
Misconduct of one spouse is usually not enough reason for the court to order them to pay for the fees accrued by the other. For example, a judge is unlikely to order an adulterous spouse to pay the other’s attorney fees as a form of punishment. On the other hand, if one spouse drags out the proceedings by filing unnecessary motions, the judge may order them to compensate the other spouse for this. While they probably won’t have to foot the entire bill for the process, they will likely have to pay for the additional court appearances.
If the court does not order one spouse to assist with the other’s legal expenses, the disadvantaged spouse still has some options. It may be possible to get cash out of a retirement account, provided it wasn’t contributed to during the marriage. If it was, it would likely be considered marital property, for which the other spouse would be entitled a share. In the event the other spouse objected, the court would simply deduct from the original spouse’s share upon finalization of the divorce. It might also be possible to borrow from a family member or take out a personal loan.
If there’s no other way for one spouse to pay for their own legal costs, the attorney might know a private investor who would be willing to fund the divorce. This would usually be in exchange for a share in any assets received by the client when the divorce becomes final. Some attorneys may agree to take payment after the case is over. This is not the way most attorneys work, but it would allow the spouse to pay their legal fees from assets received. Other attorneys might be open to setting up a payment plan, especially if they routinely work with low-income clients.
It’s important to consider that there are other costs besides legal fees and litigation to think about. Along with the splitting of assets, additional housing costs (for the other spouse) will likely be considered. There will likely be some joint financial obligations that have to continue being met, regardless of the outcome. If there are children involved, child support and college savings plans will certainly come up.
Ultimately, the outcome depends on how both parties decide to handle the matter. Spouses who are willing to work together to arrive at a compromise will be most likely to emerge from the process unscathed. While it may not be possible to erase the bad memories that led to the divorce, cooperation is the key to making it less difficult for everyone.
If you no longer want to be married to your spouse but if you don’t have a lot of money, you might assume that getting divorced will be difficult or impossible. After all, you might have heard other people talk about just how expensive getting a divorce can be. It’s definitely true that a divorce can be expensive in some situations, but this is not always the case. If you are miserable in your marriage and are ready to make a change, you should not let money get in the way of you moving on with your life. These are a few options that you can consider if you are looking to get divorced for free.
One budget-friendly option is to handle your entire divorce yourself. You can print divorce papers for your state off of the World Wide Web, and you and your spouse can fill them out and sign them. Then, you will need to head to your courthouse to file them according to your state’s law. In some cases, a fee is charged; however, you may be able to ask to have the fee waived, particularly if you have a low income. This is the most budget-friendly option, but it is important to be careful when attempting to handle your divorce on your own. If you make a mistake along the way, you could pay for it later.
Another option is to work with a mediator. A mediator is often appointed through the court, and he or she is meant to serve as a neutral party who will help you sort out the specifics of your divorce. This can be a good option for couples that are generally in agreement about how the divorce should be handled but that want a bit of professional assistance.
If you want the help of a lawyer with your case but if you fear that you can’t afford one, you might be able to find one that will do the job for free. You can contact your local legal aid office to find out more about pro bono lawyer options.
If you want to ensure that you are protected in your divorce and that your attorney will fight for you and your rights as much as possible during this difficult time, it’s often better to hire a divorce lawyer. If you try to do things on your own, you could make mistakes that will cause you problems later on down the line. If you work with a pro bono lawyer, you should know that he or she might be overworked and underpaid and might not be able to dedicate a lot of time and effort into your case. Even though this options can sometimes work well, such as if you and your spouse are parting on amicable terms and are willing to work things out with minimal help, it often isn’t the best option, particularly if you are worried that your divorce might turn nasty.
However, even though you probably aren’t going to be able to hire a good divorce lawyer for free, you should know that many do not charge as much as you might think. Plus, if you tell your lawyer about your situation and what you can and can’t afford, he or she might have advice for you that can help you proceed in the proper manner without going over your budget.
As you can see, you should not let a lack of money prevent you from getting a divorce if that is what you want to do. You do have affordable options, so consider looking into these options so that you can make your divorce a reality.
If you’re looking for a Los Angeles divorce lawyer or any of the surrounding counties, you should know that the Spodek Law Group is here to provide you with the white-glove service you want, and deserve. Divorce is complicated, so is virtually any family law related issue. With the Spodek Law Group, you’re assured a law firm that is here to help you through these challenging times. Nothing is simple when it comes to divorce. In addition to the finances, there’s a wide array of issues relating to alimony, child support, child custody, and more, that come up.
What you get with the Spodek Law Group is a loyal advocate, who will never stop fighting for what you rightfully deserve. Our philosophy is taking a conservative approach – focusing on results, not billable hours. If you are the victim of domestic violence, because your spouse goes to the liquor store and spends all the money in his mens leather wallet frequently, we are here to help you. Most importantly, it’s knowing when to be diplomatic, and when to fight tooth and nail to get our clients what they need and what they deserve.
In addition to having office locations throughout Los Angeles, the Spodek Law Group is available to speak about complicated issues via Zoom, and other virtual solutions.
Is there a simple way to get a divorce in Los Angeles?
Yes. California has a legal processed called summary dissolution. If you qualify for summary dissolution, you have much less paperwork to file, and you won’t have to appear in court. You can be eligible for such a process if you, and your spouse, have agreed in writing to a division of assets and debts. In addition, the following conditions must be true:
Both spouses have to agree to all of the terms of the summary dissolution. Also, either of you are allowed to cancel it for any reason before the dissolution is finalized. Summary dissolution is a type of divorce. It’s a great, and fast, way to end a marriage or domestic partnership. In some cases, it can be a very quick and simple way to end it. It is limited to couples who have no children, few assets/debt, and a marriage which lasted 5 years or less.
This fast-track process is available to couples, and domestic partners, regardless of gender and to those people whose relationship began as a domestic partnership, and then later married. Couples don’t have to end their domestic partnership if they marry. They can end both their marriage and domestic partnership at the same time if you opt for a summary dissolution. If you wish to qualify for a summary dissolution, you have to meet all of the requirements at the time the petition is filed.
Not all people qualify for a summary dissolution – so if you still want to end your marriage, you can file for a regular dissolution. You have to wait 6 months after filing your petition for dissolution. Once this time runs out, the court will enter a judgement which dissolves the marriage. At that point, the marriage is over, and your property settlement agreement kicks in. You are free to remarry, or enter into a new partnership.
As with most legal questions, the answer is complicated. Two systems of law determine what assets may be sold. In some circumstances, the sale of an asset must be approved by the court. If you’re able to sell your car lease to someone else at a profit, the funds can be used to pay the lawyer. This article covers the circumstances where it is legal to sell assets and when it is illegal. As with other parts of the law, definitions and rules vary in different states. What may be permissible in Missouri may not permissible in Alaska.
Community Property versus Separate Property:
The law recognizes two types of property. Community property is anything acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Separate property is owned entirely by one spouse, and is not generally divided in divorce. Examples of separate property include:
If the couple had treated an asset as an investment, rather than a fashion accessory or a gift, it is probably illegal to sell it without the court’s permission. Selling assets to cover other expenses may be illegal without the court’s permission. For example, you almost certainly need the court’s permission to sell stocks or a car. If one spouse started a business before the wedding, but the other spouse contributed to the growth and profitability of the business, then the business is probably community property.
In summary, separate property may be sold to pay legal bills but communal property may not be. If you have any question about whether it is legal to sell a piece of property, it is wiser to consult an attorney.
Examples of Communal and Separate Property:
If you bought a car before the wedding or were given a necklace as a gift, it is considered separate property and may be sold to pay legal bills or any other bills. Anything that might be considered community property should not be sold to pay legal bills. Even if you sell the item and pay a bill, the court may compel you to pay half the value to the other spouse because the item was sold improperly. If you bought a collectible as a couple, for decoration, this is probably communal property. Not all gifts are exempt in all states, so if there is any question about selling that piece of jewelry, check with your attorney before selling it.
Other Considerations in Asset Sales:
State laws on marriage and property of the married couple, fall into one of two categories. You probably live in a common law state. Most states use a common law system of property ownership. In those states property is owned jointly if both parties have their name on the relevant legal document, such as a title or deed. If only one person is named on the document, the property belongs to them. If there is no title or similar document, the item simply belongs to whomever paid for it or received it as a gift.
The community property states are Alaska (by agreement), Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In Alaska, certain items may be made community property by agreement between the spouses. In those states, the law makes things somewhat more complicated. In general, the rules for dividing assets in a community property state are as follows:
The following types of property are considered separate property:
In short, if you live in a common property state, you may not sell any common property to pay legal bills, but you may sell separate property. This rule seems to cover most personal property, investments, and even intellectual property like a book manuscript.
Some states have adopted no-fault divorce laws. These are designed to eliminate the need to use fault grounds to obtain a divorce, whether these are abandonment, adultery or mental cruelty. In other states, however, couples have to meet state-mandated, residency requirements. Rather than waiting to meet these requirements, couples may want to pursue their cases on the grounds of emotional distress or mental cruelty. That’s because emotional distress typically has shorter and more lenient requirements for residency. If this is an avenue that you’d like to pursue, you’ll need to first get a clear understanding of what emotional distress is, and the steps that must be taken to prove that mental cruelty is indeed a factor in your divorce.
The Definition Of Emotional Distress
In some states, emotional distress may be defined with other legal terms such as cruel and inhumane treatment, mental cruelty, or extreme cruelty. When emotional distress is used as a grounds for divorce, you will need to show the court that your emotional distress is the direct result of ongoing mental cruelty on the part of your spouse. For instance, your spouse may be responsible for starting arguments without cause or provocation, continually criticizing your parenting abilities, screaming, yelling, or leaving the home for extended periods of time, and without making an effort to communicate about the reasons why. There are even instances in which belittling a person can be defined as mental cruelty. If your emotional distress is the result of any of these activities or behaviors, emotional distress might indeed be grounds for a divorce.
When Emotional Distress Is Denied Due To A Person Accepting Or Provoking Mental Cruelty
As the old saying goes, it does indeed take two to tango. Aware of this fact, the court system has reserved the right to deny the use of emotional distress as grounds for a divorce in instances in which a person is believed to be guilty of provoking cruel behavior. For instance, verbal attacks and belittling could be the direct result of adultery on the part of the other party. While the general consensus is that all forms of mental suffering should be sufficient for claiming mental cruelty, there are even sates with statutes declaring that the severity of the mental cruelty must be in relation to the length of the marriage. In this way, there are even tougher requirements for people who appear to have a history of accepting or tolerating mental cruelty, particularly over extended periods of time.
Psychological And Physical Harm
Unless the conduct of your spouse has caused documented, psychological or physical harm, mental cruelty and the resulting emotional distress may not be sufficient for obtaining a divorce. According to the court system, a person must have “grievous wounds” in terms of his or her mental feeling, or peace of mind that has be impaired sufficiently for disrupting this or her overall life health. Emotional distress caused by mental cruelty can also be deemed as a valid reason for divorce if it has utterly destroyed the objects and “practical end of matrimony”. For example, divorce might be granted if a spouse has badgered his wife to submit to an abortion, or if a wife has attacked the character of her husband and has fought to have his memberships with private organizations or clubs rescinded.
The Challenge In Proving Emotional Distress
There are times when simply testifying about the mental cruelty that was experienced and the emotional distress this has caused, is sufficient for obtaining a divorce. More often than not, however, it is best to have a trusted witness corroborate the events you’ve detailed, and to further bolster your claims with records obtained from a relevant health care professional. The more evidence that you can provide to show that your spouse has been mentally or emotionally abusive, the easier it will be to prove to the courts that your divorce should be granted in the applicable state, even if state residency requirements have yet to be met. One of the most important things to keep in mind about the legal process for divorce is that it is meant to bring about relief for those who are suffering, rather than to punish those who may be guilty of emotionally tormenting their partners.
They work very hard at what they do to give you the best possible outcome. If I ever need legal help or advice I’ll be coming to them! Todd and his team are superb. I highly recommend and respect these wonderful people at Spodek. They go above and beyond to help me everything from zoom calls to an Uber home from court when my phone died! Wonderful people
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Yes! It is possible to get legal separation, or annulment, without having lived in California for 6 months, or your county for 3 months, before filing.
Legal separation: You can have religious, insurance, tax, or other reasons, for wanting a legal separation versus a dissolution. If you get legal separation, you and your spouse will remain legally married, but the court can divide your property, and issue orders relating to child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, and even issue a restraining order. If you live in an apartment for rent in NYC, you can force your spouse to leave it.
Annulment: If you are granted an annulment it’s as if your marriage never existed. You can get an annulment if you are married when you were a minor, without the consent of a parent/guardian, or if there were certain types of fraud/deceit involved. If you want an annulment, you will need to appear in court for a trial.
We offer a risk free consultation, and can offer it over the phone, in person, or through Zoom conference.
In Los Angeles, there are a few ways to end a marriage/domestic partnership. You can file for an annulment, divorce, or summary dissolution. The purpose of this article is about discussing divorce. An annulment is when a court invalidates your marriage, as if it never occurred. It essentially says your domestic partnership/marriage was never legal and therefore the status is like it never happened. There are cases where an annulment might be appropriate – for example, your partner was already married, was too young to consent to marriage, or was tricked and forced into marriage.
When you get a divorce, also known as a dissolution of the marriage/dissolution of domestic partnership, it legally ends the marriage. After a divorce, both partners are now single, and allowed to begin another domestic partnership/get married again. Courts can also issue orders, during the divorce – regarding things like division of property, restraining orders, child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, and more.
A summary dissolution is able to end your marriage, like a divorce, but you only need to file paperwork with the court instead of actually appearing in front of a judge. Summary dissolution only applies in situations where spouses have been married for less than 5 years, have no children, and have no shared real estates/debts/assets together. California has a fourth process, known as a legal separation, which is something your Los Angeles divorce attorney can help you with as well. Legal separation doesn’t end your marriage, like a divorce/summary dissolution can. It simply allows you to ask the court to decide issues like child custody, visitation, etc. Some people choose to get a legal separation for religious/insurance reasons. Unfortunately, a legal separation doesn’t allow you to get re-married, or enter into a new partnership with someone else.
Los Angeles has a process known as “no fault divorce,” which means you don’t have to prove your spouse did anything wrong in order to get divorced. Instead, you can tell the court you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.” Under California law, either you or your spouse can decide to end the marriage at will. The other party cannot obstruct it by refusing to participate. Even if your ex does not wish to get divorced, or does not participate in the process, you can get a default judgement, and the divorce will proceed.
The process of filing for divorce in Los Angeles begins with a petition to file, with the court. You put basic information about your marriage. The petition can also ask for orders, regarding shared property, children, etc. Los Angeles also requires you to file a Summons, in addition to the petition. The Summons provides information about the divorce for you, and your spouse, and can limit what you may do with the shared property, money, assets, etc. You may also be required to get a court order, or prior written consent from your spouse before you are allowed to move out of the state. Depending on your situation, you might have to file additional forms, which can be found online at the California Judicial Branch website.
Once you file any paperwork with the court clerk, you have to alert your spouse. This is called service, which means your spouse receives a copy of the court filing. Before the court can make any orders, or judgments in the divorce, you have to ensure your spouse has been served. After you file, and do service, you and your spouse have to attend mediation, or trial, to settle issues you both cannot agree on. However, the court is ok with accepting an agreement if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on issues on your own.
There are many Family Law courthouses in Los Angeles where you can file divorce paperwork. The three Central District courthouses are below:
The Central Civil West Courthouse
600 S Commonwealth Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
The Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Hill St.
111 North Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Grand Ave.
110 North Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Are your kids and you in an abusive relationship? Do you dread that your kids will be removed because you leave your spouse? Are you afraid of losing custody of your kids as a result of your abusive partner? This is a familiar pain that many individuals experience every year. Below, you can find more information about what to expect.
There May Be A Custody Fight
Whenever partners separate, and there are kids involved, a fight may happen. This fight is bound to happen if the two guardians are going to care for the children. If one parent doesn’t need the children, at that point, they have the choice to transfer ownership of rights to the next parent. If the two guardians want the children, the case will be litigated, and a claim will be drawn up.
The Children Are A Major Part in Custody Determination
The kids play perhaps the most significant part of figuring out which parent will get guardianship. Whenever possible, kids will be addressed exclusively, and people will be seeing how the kids collaborate with each parent. If kids are of an age where they can settle on an informed and safe choice on which parent they might want to live with, they might be given an option to pick. The schools and medical facilities in the region are considered as well.
The Stability of a Home Also is Considered
Children can’t be housed in a stressful home. Kids must have the option to remain in a home that will advance their security and prosperity. If kids can’t contemplate, rest, eat, and carry on with their activities on peacefully and stable conditions, at that point, they can’t live in that home.
Guardians Must Demonstrate the Ability to Care For Children
Any caring guardian will need to invest; however, much time with their kids reasonably, yet individuals cannot be perfect in things. This is especially valid for young guardians that have had children in their adolescent years. Guardians must have the option to demonstrate that they can give everything that their kids should endure. On the off chance that the couple separate and one parent can’t monetarily accommodate the kids, they will probably not be given sole guardianship. And also, if none of the parents can think about the kids all alone, at that point, the children might be put in child care incidentally. This situation is temporary until either of the guardians can exhibit that they can think about their kids.
Determination of custody is also affected by Environment and Lifestyle
On the off chance that the two guardians are discovered generally fit to think about the children and the court is thinking about joint guardianship, the environment and way of life may play a role in the ultimate conclusion.
Any parent that wants custody must demonstrate that they can satisfactorily give everything that the kids need. The guardians should likewise demonstrate that they can sufficiently set aside more time with kids and teach them various lessons regarding life.
Your Circumstance Will Be Unique
Many little factors decide the result of a custody case. Understand that nothing is given-everything is earned.
We have meeting locations available throughout Los Angeles. Most importantly, we offer virtual video conferencing.
2020 Prenup FAQs: Important Questions About Prenuptial Agreements
Marriage is a partnership between two people where collaboration is an essential part of their success in the relationship. Part of the challenges of marriage is knowing how to manage finances. A prenuptial agreement helps couples navigate the legal implications of their marriage. It allows them to predetermine the future of their assets in the event a divorce was to take place.
Let’s review important questions people have about prenuptial agreements:
Also known as a premarital agreement, this type of legally binding contract is used by couples who plan to get married. It is also referred to as antenuptial agreements or just prenups. All terms are appropriate and widely used.
Marriage is a partnership under the eyes of the law. Each state has its own statutes that govern marriage and divorce. Family law attorneys help clients draft and validate a prenuptial agreement. They also offer legal counsel in matters of assets and liabilities. The contract deals with protocols that the couple design to implement in the event the marriage dissolves.
It is sometimes regarded as an uncomfortable topic to talk about and is filled with negative connotations. The fact is that couples who come together to draft such agreements often feel closer to each other because they are transparent with their intentions and are willing to put it in writing.
Although it can be a bit uncomfortable to speak about, prenuptial agreements lay everything out so that the couple knows exactly how certain matters may be handled in the future. It defines the terms of how assets and debts will be distributed, and how alimony would be handled. The agreement helps people avoid lengthy and stressful legal battles in divorce court. People who are concerned with alimony are able to negotiate it ahead of time and include it in the contract.
Overall it is a great tool for couples who want to be proactive with their legal affairs.
For a prenuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable, it has to meet the following criteria:
The agreement cannot be used to determine factors concerning the children of the marriage. It cannot mention anything about child custody, child support, or visitation rights. The courts will follow state statutes to make the best decision for the sake of the child.
Other non-financial topics such as domestic responsibilities cannot be part of a prenuptial agreement. These matters are not recognized by law. The couple may draft a separate agreement, but it will not be a legally binding contract like it is for a prenup.
Not necessarily. The agreement cannot guarantee that the divorce is free from litigation. However, a well constructed prenuptial agreement will help make litigation faster or even help avoid it entirely.
Issues related to children such as custody, visitation rights, or child support payments cannot be included in the contract. The state of California will apply related laws in the best interest of the child(ren). Also, domestic duties or other matters that do not pertain to financial matters should not be included in the agreement. For example, a spouse cannot include things like chores or other obligations a couple may have in their domestic life.
No personal matter shall be included that deals with the way the children are raised or anything of personal nature. Prenuptial agreements are created mainly for financial distribution.
The prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that should be filed at the state of residence or the state where the couple will reside most of the time. It does not have to be filed where you wed, such as in the case of destination weddings. California is a community property state, which means the state will divide assets equally in the event of a divorce. Having a prenup in California prevents the state from enforcing the California Family Code.
Retirement funds and 401(k) plans in a separation.
Retirement funds must be divided cautiously to keep away from critical tax consequences, and the resources ought to be divided rightly. Specific laws also apply to the division of any retirement accounts during a separation. While resources like your home and vehicle and settling issues regarding children’s custodianship and support usually becomes the dominant focal point in the separation process, how retirement funds are shared is very important and requires more attention.
In a separation, resources are viewed as either separate property or community property. Individual property is minimal, and it includes:
The property possessed by either partner before the marriage.
Property that has been assigned as separate with a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement
A present received by a partner from an outsider
A will received by a partner (before or after marriage), and it’s not involved with conjugal resources.
Any property earned or obtained during the marriage is viewed as conjugal property. This implies one companion is presumably qualified for a portion of the other life partner’s 401(k) or retirement account.
Retirement Funds Distribution
Each state has its own rules about how resources and obligations are shared in case of a separation. In community property states all resources and responsibilities obtained during the marriage are community resources. This implies that both partners own the property in equal shares i.e., 50-50, and the resources ought to be shared equally. This incorporates retirement accounts.
It is essential to understand that partners can likewise have private agreements about obligations and resources during the separation. This is essential with regards to retirement accounts. If you and your partner agree on how to divide the retirement accounts safely, and amicably, this can be a great way to avoid going to court. Partners can agree on on how retirement accounts will be separated, if by any means. For instance, a partner may keep their retirement account or 401(k) in return for the family home.
Every divorce is complex and emotional. Businesses that involve businesses, multiple homes, and other large assets can be particularly difficult. Below are some questions that clients frequently ask our Los Angeles divorce attorneys.
Often, one spouse will not
A spouse being incarcerated can put tremendous strain on a relationship. For many people, a spouse being sentenced to a long jail or prison term is a deal-breaker for the marriage. Many states recognize the damage incarceration can do to a marriage and make it easier to get a divorce when a spouse is sentenced to prison. Incarceration is considered legal grounds for divorce in most states, including New York, although the process of getting divorced from someone in prison is usually the same as any other divorce.
What Does Grounds for Divorce Mean?
Today, all states have some type of no fault divorce, which means a divorce can be granted on the grounds of incompatibility, separation, or something else without holding one spouse responsible for the marriage failing. The spouse who files for divorce can also cite specific grounds for divorce, which essentially places the blame on the other spouse. Common grounds for divorce include:
Irretrievable breakdown in the relationship. This is considered a “no fault” divorce.
Incarceration. Incarceration is a ground for divorce in most states, including Texas, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Each state has its own rules for when incarceration can be used as grounds for divorce, however, and the length of incarceration required for divorce on this ground ranges from 1-3 years. In New York, incarceration can only be considered grounds for divorce if the other spouse has been imprisoned for at least 3 years prior to filing for divorce. If three years of confinement have not passed, the other spouse can choose to file for a no-fault divorce. In many other states, a felony conviction and a sentence of incarceration of more than 12 months is considered grounds for divorce.
Abandonment. In most cases, the spouse must have been abandoned for at least 1 year. Examples of abandonment include a spouse leaving the home with no intention of returning or refusing to have sex with the other spouse.
Cruel and inhumane treatment. This refers to physical violence, severe emotional or mental suffering, or a situation in which it would be dangerous, improper, or unsafe for the spouse to remain married.
Adultery. This type of grounds is hard to prove as it requires proving adultery with evidence that does not come from either spouse, such as video or digital evidence.
Separation. Most states require a separation of a specific period before it can be used as grounds for divorce.
Will a Spouse Being in Prison Prevent a Divorce?
Divorcing a spouse who is incarcerated is basically the same as any other divorce, although there are a few unique aspects. A spouse in prison still has rights, especially when children or property are involved in a divorce. The spouse will also be required to respond to the paperwork or you will need to wait the minimum amount of time — typically 30 to 60 days — before the divorce can proceed. Someone who is incarcerated may also have the right to a court-appointed lawyer. There will be a hearing after you file paperwork, but it’s unlikely your spouse will be allowed out of jail or prison to attend the court hearing.
What Happens if My Spouse Refuses to Sign?
When you file for divorce, you must serve your spouse with paperwork. This can be done through the local sheriff’s department of by sending it via certified mail, in most cases. If your spouse agrees to the divorce and signs, the divorce process will begin as any other no fault divorce, except your spouse will not attend any divorce hearings. Instead, your spouse’s attorney (if they have one) will attend on their behalf. If your spouse contests the divorce or refuses to sign the papers, it extends the process. Most states have a time period of 30 to 60 days during which the spouse has the opportunity to respond. If your spouse does not respond to the papers, you can request a default judgment in some states. Otherwise, your divorce can become quite complicated and it may be best to hire an experienced divorce attorney for representation and to assist with negotiation or mediation.