If your marriage is headed towards divorce, you have to take precautions immediately in order to protect what you’ve worked so hard to achieve and to protect your financial future.
There are three ways to protect yourself financially during a divorce. The first is ensuring that child support is paid. The second is requesting spousal maintenance if appropriate. The third is conducting proper discovery to ensure that all assets are known and are fairly divided.
Whether you will be receiving, or paying, child support is often the subject of much worry. How will you make ends meet? The mechanisms for both payment and receipt of child support are rather simple, and help is available for collecting support if it is not paid both from the courts and the Division of Child Support (DCS). The custodial parent receives child support. The non-custodial parent will not receive child support regardless of his or her financial circumstances. Child support may also be available when there is a joint custody and one parent earns less than the other.
A judge has the authority to enter a temporary order for custody and child support. This order ordinarily remains in place until a final decree establishing custody is entered. In most cases, a hearing for temporary custody and support can be held shortly after the filing of the petition for dissolution. All that is required is a motion for temporary support with supporting documents. The amount that you receive will be based on the California State Child Support Guidelines and are based on the incomes of both parents.
Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is awarded on a “need and ability to pay” basis. This means one spouse must have a documented need for spousal maintenance in order to meet their monthly obligations after consideration of his or her monthly income, if any. The other spouse must have the ability to pay spousal maintenance after consideration is given to his or her income and reasonable monthly expenses.
Judges usually see through attempts by one side to artificially increase the “need” for more maintenance, as well as efforts by a spouse to increase expenses in order to escape a finding of “ability to pay.” Every case for spousal maintenance is unique. Providing your attorney with clear and detailed information about the facts of your marriage and current situation will allow him or her to make an informed spousal maintenance assessment.
California is a community property state. In plain English, this means that generally, property acquired during the marriage by either spouse is presumed to be owned by each spouse equally. When it is time to divide all of the property existing at the time of separation, Family Code Section 2550 requires the community estate to be divided equally. This means that absent an agreement between the parties to the contrary, the Court is obligated to make sure there is an exact 50/50 division of community assets and debts.
In order to get an appropriate division of the assets, you have to know what the assets actually are and what they are worth. This is where discovery comes into play. Discovery is often among the most important steps in a divorce to protect financial assets and receive an appropriate award. The purpose of discovery is to ensure both you and your spouse have access to the same information on finances and assets. Similarly, the judge must know all of the facts to make a fair decision.
Speak to a Folsom Divorce Lawyer Today
If you would like more information about how you can protect specific assets in your California divorce, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation. At Law Office of Tiffany L. Andrews, P.C., we can provide you with much-needed help and legal assistance throughout every step of your divorce proceedings. Let us help you represent your interests and ensure you are being fairly treated.
If you have any questions about divorce in California, call our family law attorneys at Law Office of Tiffany L. Andrews, P.C. today at (916) 794-4576.