Divorce can be a taxing and challenging situation for people to deal with independently without the requisite advice and help offered by a caring and professional law firm. Many involved also feel a variety of feelings, ranging from remorse and rage to relief and satisfaction. Choosing how assets are divided or shared and emotional decisions about children, pets, community property, alimony, and visitation rights must be made among these emotions. If you're fortunate, you and your partner will agree on certain stuff. However, there will inevitably be places where you disagree. At times, compromise can seem improbable.

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Find a Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles for Divorce and Disputes

If one or both of the parties involved fall into one or more of the following categories, a divorce may become more complicated and difficult to manage on your own: high net worth, celebrity, military, or executive. If you're going through a divorce and fall into one of these categories, you'll need to hire a Divorce Lawyer. The stakes are higher in these cases, making it even more important to seek professional legal advice and counsel to help you navigate the divorce process successfully.

Reasons for Divorce in California

A California divorce can be based on one of two legal grounds (reasons): There are two types of irreconcilable differences: 1) irreconcilable differences and 2) incurable insanity. The majority of divorce proceedings are based on irreconcilable discrepancies. A divorce based on incurable insanity is normally accompanied by a motion for conservatorship or sole custody of the children. For more clarity on divorce dependent on incurable insanity, consult with a Divorce Lawyer today.

Irreconcilable Disagreements and Divorce Without Fault

Irreconcilable differences refer to disagreements between partners that have a negative effect on the marriage and make it impossible for them to stay together because of those disagreements. Even if one partner claims the marriage can be saved without dissolving it, family law judges seldom inquire into the ground or validity of the argument of irreconcilable differences.

California also has a no-fault divorce rule. No-fault divorce means that the family law court is unconcerned with who, if anyone, is to blame for the divorce; California family law judges would not inquire into places that threaten to show fault in the divorce (i.e., infidelity, lack of affection, etc.).

California Divorce Has a Six-Month Waiting Period

From the moment a divorce is filed until the time it is legally accepted in California, there is a six-month waiting period. Since many California divorce applicants change their minds after filing for divorce, this six-month period was created. During the six-month waiting period, partners are not permitted to live with someone who is not their partner in a romantic relationship. During the six-month waiting period, cohabitation with an intimate partner may have a negative effect on a spouse's ability to collect spousal benefits, if any.

Temporary Restraining Orders are issued automatically (ATROs)

Automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROs) are included in the divorce petition to prevent a spouse from selling, encumbering, or gifting community property or obtaining new community debt until the family law judge can make further orders on those properties and debts. These compulsory temporary restraining orders also prohibit a partner from ceasing to pay for the other spouse's medical or dental benefits, vehicle payments, or other expenses if the paying spouse paid such bills regularly before the divorce petition was served. Failure to follow the ATROS can result in contempt of court.

Debt & Community Property

Many of the issues that arise in California divorce cases are addressed elsewhere on this website (see List of Common Family Law Issues); however, community property and community debt when they relate to divorce special merit consideration because they are often misunderstood.

Any property or asset acquired during a marriage by either partner, whether vested or not, and whether physical, personal, or intellectual property, is considered community property. Retirement benefits, goodwill value of a company (jointly or fully owned), cash on hand, shares, and bonds, accounts receivable, profits from jobs, money from trusts, and other assets are all examples of this. Unless otherwise agreed to in a marital settlement arrangement, prenuptial agreement, or postnuptial agreement, the value of community property is split equally at divorce. This does not mean that the value of community property as a whole is divided equally; rather, the value of community property as a whole is divided equally.

Any debt incurred by either partner during the marriage is referred to as community debt. When a couple divorces, their community debt is typically split equally, but family law judges may use fair factors to allocate debt unequally. These equal considerations may include any or more of the following, but are not limited to 1) Which spouses benefited from the group debt, 2) Which spouse is more capable of repaying the debt, and 3) Which spouse was primarily pursued to repay the debt by third parties. See Community Property for more information.

Separate Property vs. Community Property

As previously mentioned, all property and debt accumulated during the marriage are regarded as group property and debt. There are exceptions to this law, such as when prenuptial and postnuptial arrangements or third party contracts with the married partners predetermine the character of the land. Often, unless the acquiring spouse has commingled the property with community property, property acquired through inheritance or before marriage and after divorce or legal separation is considered the separate property of the acquiring spouse. See Community Property for more information on combining community property.

Divorce, Annulment, and Legal Separation: What's the Difference?

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a married couple's legal partnership. An annulment is a process of declaring a marriage null and void from the start (as though the marriage never took place). An annulment is only possible under extremely restricted cases, and it is not necessarily based on the duration of the marriage, contrary to common belief. A legal separation is a legal declaration of the married couple's separate rights and obligations with respect to properties and debts accrued before, during, or after marriage. The biggest difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that the married couple stays married after legal separation, while the married couple is no longer together after a divorce.


You could overhear divorced parents discussing which weekends or days of the week they have with their children. These arrangements serve the child's best interests while accommodating a fair schedule for working parents in cases of shared custody or where a mother or father has visitation privileges but no legal custody. The following are examples of common plan structures:

  • Once every two weeks, shared legal custody parents who are going through or have already gone through a divorce may take the child or children for a week at a time, alternating with the other parent.
  • Schedules with a 2-2-3 pattern. Monday and Tuesday are taken by one parent, Wednesday and Thursday by the other, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are taken by the first. This structure could either stay the same or shift from week to week.
  • In cases where one parent has sole custody, weekend overnight visits and certain non-overnight visits during the week may be allowed.
  • Holidays are usually distributed uniformly across the year by parents.

Parents may choose their own visiting schedules, bargain via mediation, or have their cases heard in court. The schedule can also include pick-up and drop-off hours, as well as other visitation conditions, in addition to days. Separate visitation arrangements for siblings are usually not approved by the courts.


Many parents face visitation rights disputes after creating a visitation schedule. A custodial parent may not adhere to the visitation plan's guidelines, or one may feel the other is negatively impacting the child. In child custody cases, legal remedies exist to protect children.

If a parent has reason to believe the other spouse should not have unsupervised time with the child, he or she can file a Request for Order with the courts, requesting that the courts impose supervision during visits. A child custody assessment can be ordered by the court to decide what is in the best interests of the child. Teachers, law enforcement, parenting class leaders, and others may be asked for details about the child or parent by an evaluator. The court will also decide who is responsible for the costs of supervisory facilities and assessments.


You must obey the guidelines set out in the legal custody order as a parent or family member who has been given visitation rights by the courts. Unless all parties agree otherwise, caretakers are responsible for ensuring that the child adheres to the visiting schedule. However, as children grow older, a parent's ability to monitor visitation enforcement can diminish. At a certain point, the courts will usually not compel an older child or a parent of an older child to keep the visitation schedule.


In California, the court has a lot of say about the amount of alimony to be paid and when it should be paid. Depending on the facts of the case, it can grant temporary or permanent support as well as retroactive support. During alimony hearings, many people are subjected to the same level of scrutiny as they are during child custody cases. Section 4320-4326 of the California Family Code outlines the variables that courts consider when determining alimony payments, including:

  • After separation, each party's ability to maintain a consistent standard of life.
  • The sponsored party's current educational level, qualifications, and future training requirements
  • Any loss of earning power as a result of unemployment or household obligations
  • The willingness of the higher-earning person to help the other party
  • Tax implications
  • the duration of the marriage
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Considerations for child custody

Ex-husbands have almost always paid alimony to their ex-wives following a divorce in the past. Today, however, regardless of gender, the court would require the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony. The majority of alimony payments are not dependent on a history of marital infidelities, such as adultery. Domestic abuse, on the other hand, is usually the only form of crime that has an impact on an alimony award and subsequent court proceedings.

The court will decide payment conditions after the award has been made. The judge would usually set a cap on how long a person will have to pay. The court reserves the right to change the timeline based on prospective relationships, children's needs, the receiving spouse's efforts, retirement, or death.


In addition to the factors mentioned above, the state would automatically claim paternity if a male attempted to marry the child's mother if the parents married after the child was born and the male agreed to provide care, or if a male claims parental responsibility and considers the child as his own (regardless of biological proof).

A parent may either sign a state-recognized Declaration of Paternity or seek a court order if there is any doubt regarding paternity. If a father has any doubts about paternity, he can always contest the claim and submit to DNA testing. The court may order DNA testing to determine paternity in some cases. The state will accept only DNA testing results obtained through the Department of Child Support Services.


Parents can never need to formally determine paternity in some cases. However, one parent can need official recognition to secure a child's rights during a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. Children will lose their rights if paternity is not established.

  • Both parents must financially support their children.
  • Veteran's rights and social security benefits
  • Inherited wealth
  • A birth certificate with both parents' names on it
  • Obtain all sides of the family's health care or medical history.
  • Recognize all legal parents and spend time with them.

Establishing paternity not only protects a child's rights but also allows a father to participate in his child's life even though the state does not accept the relationship. A mother, for example, may try to prevent a biological father from asserting his parental position in some cases. In order to legally support his child, a father must claim paternity.


It is possible for a single person to receive compensation after a divorce, though this is uncommon. Individuals who live together and have a sexual and financial relationship are liable for economic compensation in limited circumstances, according to the 1976 California Supreme Court case Marvin v. Marvin.


Alimony issues often resurface after a divorce is finalized. The supported partner has the right to sue the supporting spouse for not paying alimony. The supporting partner, on the other hand, may argue for a reduction or alteration of support payments or for the arrangement to be broken entirely due to new circumstances. Each case's outcome is decided on an individual basis. Although precedents do apply in specific situations, what works in one alimony agreement does not work in another.

Changing Child Support Arrangements

The terms for spousal support and child support in successful divorce proceedings include equal compensation. Fair words may become obsolete over time. You have no idea what kind of work you'll have in three years or how your child's needs will evolve. You can need to request a change of your support order if circumstances make it insufficient. If you believe your child or spousal support agreement needs to be changed, contact an experienced Divorce Lawyer to make the request on your behalf.

If the courts notice a significant difference in the spouse's or child's well-being, they may grant a modification. If you try to change the terms of support year after year, you may not be effective, but the courts do understand the need for periodic changes to keep the order fair and equitable.


If your circumstances have changed, you must show that the change was important. Earning a bonus at the end of the year or having a minor raise does not make a huge difference in your situation, but moving jobs and earning $100 more or less per paycheck may.

A temporary or permanent alteration to a support order can be granted by the state. There are no limitations to how often you can change the support order, but you must still provide sufficient evidence to back up your point. You can't just file a lawsuit if your child has asthma and requires continuing care. Medical facts, such as a diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan, must be presented.

For the following purposes, you might want to request a change to a child or spousal support order:

  • For a parent or infant, the emergence of new health problems.
  • A big shift in the way money is generated.
  • The amount of time a child spends with his or her parents has shifted over time.
  • Spousal support payments are no longer required for a partner.
  • A partner is not attempting to become self-sufficient.

If a couple can agree to modifications to the support order, they can draft a new agreement and submit it to the court. If they are unable to reach an agreement, they can attempt mediation or petition the court for a new order. The old order is legally binding before the state issues a new one.


Parents and ex-spouses who have divorced can move to different states or countries as time passes. It's difficult to manage support requests across borders. An attorney with experience modifying interstate and foreign assistance orders will assist you in developing a modification strategy.

According to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, or UIFSA, only the state that issued the order has the authority to amend it as long as one of the parties concerned resides in that state. If no one currently resides in the issuing state, the alteration request will be handled by the state in which the requesting person resides. Trying to change a support order becomes much more difficult if they live outside of the country. In total, 26 nations have child care agreements with the United States. Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your Cal Bar Attorney Search.


A high-level executive's life is exhausting and never-ending. This can have a negative impact on the person as well as the marriage. If your executive lifestyle has resulted in divorce papers, your situation is particularly delicate.

The client, his or her family, and the company for which he or she works are all affected by executive divorce. At all costs, the client and the corporation would want to avoid negative publicity. An executive's high profile makes him or her a newsworthy priority. Intimate details of the professional's life can become public, causing the person and his or her family additional distress and humiliation. However, the consequences may be serious, affecting the company's image, profits, and stock prices. Court orders will restrict how much money a business owner can spend before the divorce is finalized.

As a result, companies are paying attention to the once-private issue of divorce. Companies are taking steps to safeguard their staff and the company's reputation. Some businesses, for example, establish contracts that ask spouses to forfeit their rights to a partner's business. Others are changing their policies to defer stock dividends, and other forms of compensation before the divorce is finalized.

There have been some shifts in what is usually decided in divorce proceedings as more women join the business world and make their way to the top. A female executive, for example, cannot claim custody of any children involved would be granted to her by a family court. Primary custody and alimony can be awarded to the husband in situations where he is the primary caregiver.

An executive would have no more rights or jurisdiction than his or her spouse in the event of a divorce. In most cases, a court will consider corporate responsibilities to be on par with housekeeping, cooking, and diaper changing. This may come as a shock to a business owner who takes pride in their achievements, but the court sees financial and physical support equally.

A prenuptial arrangement is the only way for many executives to protect themselves from the financial consequences of divorce. Prenuptial agreements, on the other hand, are rarely used. And if this agreement has been written and signed, it may be revoked under some circumstances. This can happen, for example, when a prenuptial agreement is presented shortly before a wedding, leaving the other party little time to consider whether to sign or cancel the ceremony. This may also happen if a prenuptial agreement was signed without the signee being aware of the other person's true net worth.


When one of the partners is in the military, divorce becomes more difficult. This is due to the fact that there are additional state rules, federal laws, and military codes to consider. State laws determine child custody, debt, spousal benefits, and child support, while federal and military laws determine how to split pensions (Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA)), health insurance, assets, and pay.

In normal divorce proceedings, the other party has a set period of time to answer after receiving the documents. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) states that the period of time to respond as well as scheduled court hearings can be postponed by up to 90 days if the partner is on active duty. It is also possible to request a longer extension.

While military personnel and their families are entitled to free legal care, it is often suggested that you employ a civilian Divorce Lawyer because military lawyers are often unfamiliar with state divorce laws. If you employ a civilian Divorce Lawyer, make sure he or she is also familiar with military divorce laws.

According to the USFSPA, the state where the military member resides has the authority to split a military pension. It's important to consider how filing for divorce in a state other than where your military partner resides can affect pension allocation.

It is a common misconception that a military pension can only be shared after ten years of marriage, but this is not the case. This misunderstanding stems from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service's (DFAS) 10-10 exam, which requires the pair to have been married for ten years and the military partner to have served for ten. If this happens to you, the sum you earn from the pension can change, but regardless of how long a couple has been together, the court has the authority to split a pension as it sees fit. If the 10-10 test applies to your divorce, your Divorce Lawyer will assist you with the additional paperwork necessary.

Child maintenance is set by the state in which the divorce is filed and is unaffected by military regulations. You may, however, request military support before the court makes a decision. Except for the Air Force, each branch has its own set of rules for how much child care a service member can pay.

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While the state makes the final decision, it is important that the courts consider the structure of the service member's pay. They should be aware that pay can vary depending on active duty deployment and base adjustments. Working with an experienced divorce law attorney is important for a variety of reasons.

A wage garnishment order is filed after child support has been identified. This needs to be sent to the military pay center as soon as possible. This order must follow those rules, according to the DFAS.

After a divorce, the non-military partner would have access to health insurance as well. He or she can choose between two choices. If the couple has been married for 20 years and the service member has been on active duty for 20 of those years, the partner is responsible for free health insurance through TRICARE. If the partner has other healthcare options, TRICARE will be the backup plan. If the partner remarries before the age of 55, the coverage may be revoked.

If the partner is not eligible for TRICARE, he or she may purchase Continued Health Care Benefit Program conversion health insurance (CHCBP). If a military member leaves the service after his or her spouse has bought CHCBP, he or she will be covered for 36 months. If his or her partner meets special circumstances, he or she may be liable beyond this time limit.


Owing to the increased complexity of financial properties, high net worth divorces are more difficult to resolve. There are also more assets and properties to split. These and other factors can significantly lengthen the time it takes to finalize a divorce. In these cases, it is important to employ an experienced divorce attorney. Because of the increased difficulty and length of the divorce, further errors are likely to occur.

Increased feelings can also lead to people doing things they would not usually do. It is not unusual for one party in a high-net-worth divorce to want to hide assets from the other in the hopes of not losing what he or she believes was earned or deserved. The offender can pass assets to a friend or other family member or simply forget to mention assets that the spouse is unaware of.

These are illegal transactions, but they are easily traced. Once revealed, the unethical party will face legal repercussions and will have a tough time gaining traction in family court in the future. Take your spouse's word for it that a financial affidavit is completed correctly and honestly. To ensure that all properties are identified, you and your California Divorce Lawyer should conduct a thorough investigation.

Another area that each party would need to research is the tax consequences of the divorce. It's important that your Divorce Lawyer and accountant collaborate to decide what you'll earn after taxes are deducted from distributions like alimony.


If you or your spouse is a celebrity and you are seeking a divorce, being prepared is the best thing you can do. Having legal advice and getting your finances in order before announcing your intention for divorce is always the best course of action. Get ready as soon as possible if you haven't already been served documents. Before taking any legal action, meet with a Divorce Lawyer and collect all of your facts.

Make a course of action next. Determine what is most important to you and the steps that must be taken to achieve it. Share your goals with your Divorce Lawyer so that he or she can advise you. Child custody, asset preservation, and keeping a good public image are some of the most pressing issues.

Furthermore, several celebrities live in many states at the same time. If this is the case for you, find out which state you need to file the case in. Since laws differ from state to state, depending on where you apply, you will have a much better chance of obtaining what is most valuable to you (such as child custody or visitation rights).

Before moving on with another love interest, if at all necessary, finish the divorce proceedings. In general, avoid making similar decisions that may result in negative publicity. When it comes to intimate mates of the opposite sex, be cautious. Even though there isn't one, the press likes to make one up. Even if the information is false, bad publicity can add drama to a divorce case. An already hurt spouse can become vengeful, prolonging the proceedings beyond what is appropriate and refusing to consent to terms, no matter how reasonable they are.


Your divorce and family law attorney will draft a marriage settlement agreement (also known as a divorce or property settlement agreement) as part of your divorce case. Its aim is to sanctify all arrangements made between the two parties, which often include spousal support, child custody, child support, and property distribution.

Before going to court, the intention of most cases is to build and mutually agree on a marital settlement agreement. This is the most cost-effective way to stop paying needless legal fees while keeping the divorce confidential and stress-free. If this isn't feasible, the case would have to be put to the court. In your case, he or she will make the final decision.

If you're not sure about the substance of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, don't sign it. You must, however, react to the proposal within a certain amount of time. You and your partner must work together to find compromises that both of you can live with. If not, one will withdraw from the negotiations entirely, causing the divorce to be postponed indefinitely and resulting in high legal fees. Family law is a distinct branch of the legal profession that focuses on what matters most in life: our loved ones.

Find a Divorce Attorney in California

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