What are the Issues Involved in a Separation and Divorce?

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The specific issues that must be decided in each individual divorce are going to vary somewhat depending upon the couple.

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What are the Issues Involved in a Separation and Divorce?

  1. 1. WHAT ARE THE ISSUES INVOLVED IN A SEPARATION AND DIVORCE? Terence Daniel Doyle, Esq. The Specific Issues that Must Be Decided in Each Individual Divorce are Going to Vary Somewhat Depending Upon the Couple
  2. 2. What are the Issues Involved in a Separation and Divorce?  Doyle Quane Family Law Group 2 A standard formula is used to determine the support to which a child is entitled after a divorce. The formula considers the income of each parent, the number of children and the special needs of the child(ren). Marriage joins two individuals together in the eyes of the law. The couple has shared legal obligations and each spouse has a shared right to marital property and assets acquired during the course of the marriage. If the two spouses subsequently decide they no longer wish to be married, then they must go through the process of dissolving the marriage. This process is like the dissolution of any other legal and financial partnership, except with much more emotion and often much more at stake. Shared assets must be distributed and decisions must be made on what will happen to children after the marriage is over. The specific issues that must be decided in each individual divorce are going to vary somewhat depending upon the couple. Some individuals may have significant assets, for example, and their divorce will present complicated financial situations. In other cases, both spouses may be solely focused on child custody and the money issues may not matter as much. In every divorce, however, the outcome of the separation and divorce settlement will have a profound impact on the future of each spouse as they move on with their lives. This is why it is so important for both individual spouses to have their own attorneys to represent their interests, advise them of their rights and stand up for them during divorce negotiations or litigation. THE ISSUES INVOLVED IN SEPARATION AND DIVORCE Although every divorce is different in personal and important ways, the issues that are generally important when a marriage is dissolved include:
  3. 3. What are the Issues Involved in a Separation and Divorce?  Doyle Quane Family Law Group 3 Division of marital assets Division of marital debts Child custody Child support Spousal support A couple may negotiate and come to an agreement on each of these issues outside of court. Attorneys can provide assistance with the negotiation process by bringing an understanding of the laws to the table and providing client with advice on what a likely settlement would be if the case went to court. In some cases, a divorcing couple may also have a mediator assist with divorce negotiations in order to better communicate and compromise. If a couple is unable to agree, a litigated divorce will become necessary. Each spouse will present information to a judge on the relevant issues from the divorce and the judge will apply the law to determine the outcome of the litigation. DIVISION OF MARITAL ASSETS California is a community property state. As a result, property acquired during the course of the marriage belongs to both of the spouses and each spouse is entitled to receive a ½ share of marital property. Property that was
  4. 4. What are the Issues Involved in a Separation and Divorce?  Doyle Quane Family Law Group 4 brought into the marriage and not co-mingled remains separate and will go back to whomever brought the assets into the marriage. Certain other property and assets, such as an inheritance during the marriage and left to only one spouse, is also considered separate and not divided up. When property is divided, one spouse may be given assets of greater value while the other takes more money. This is just one of many arrangements that the court and the couple may deem appropriate. The couple will also need to determine if the family home should be sold, if one spouse should buy the other out, or if one spouse should receive the home and the other a greater percentage of shared assets. DIVISION OF MARITAL DEBTS Debts also belong to the community if acquired during marriage and will thus be divided 50-50 regardless of which spouse actually borrowed. There are certain limited exceptions, such as if one spouse ran up a significant amount of debt in anticipation of the divorce. It is beneficial for debts to be refinanced into the name of the spouse responsible for paying, as creditors may still hold both spouses accountable otherwise regardless of what the divorce decree declares. It may also be desirable to pay off as many debts as possible from marital assets at the time of divorce to avoid
  5. 5. What are the Issues Involved in a Separation and Divorce?  Doyle Quane Family Law Group 5 the need for refinancing or the potential for problems with nonpayment at a subsequent date. CHILD CUSTODY Child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child or children. Many factors are considered including who the child’s primary caregiver has been and who can provide a more stable home environment. It is always best if parents can create an out-of-court parenting plan and custody arrangement but a judge will decide this issue when necessary. A judge will almost always consider some type of shared custody arrangement to be in the child’s best interests to make it possible for an ongoing relationship with each parent. Exceptions are made for cases of abuse or neglect. CHILD SUPPORT A standard formula is used to determine the support to which a child is entitled after a divorce. The formula considers the income of each parent, the number of children and the special needs of the child(ren). A parent’s support payment obligation is reduced based on time spent with the child under his/her physical custody as it is assumed the child is being supported while being cared for.
  6. 6. What are the Issues Involved in a Separation and Divorce?  Doyle Quane Family Law Group 6 SPOUSAL SUPPORT Spousal support is not appropriate in all cases but may be awarded in longer marriages and/or when there is a significant disparity in earnings or career potential among the spouses. Spousal support may be permanent or temporary. AN ATTORNEY CAN ASSIST WITH DIVORCE ISSUES An attorney can assist with these and other issues that arise in the divorce process. It is always advisable to have appropriate legal representation to protect your interests in a divorce proceeding. About the Author Terence Daniel Doyle, Esq. is the founder of the Family Law Group, Danville CA. Terence Daniel Doyle brings a powerful background and a strong skill set to the firm. He is one of only 1100 attorneys in the state of California to hold the unique standing of Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) from the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. In addition to family law, his areas of practice include civil litigation, as well as estate planning and taxation. Mr. Doyle established the firm in 1984, and maintains a strong vision for the law group and its clients. Terence Doyle’s greatest strength is his ability to apply his knowledge of case law to his client’s particular situation, and then devising a strategy which produces the best possible outcome. Mr. Doyle is a member of the State Bar in the states of California, Arizona and Hawaii. He holds his law degree from Golden Gate University, with a B.A. in Mathematics from St. Mary’s College of California. He is a Danville California native where he resides with his family.

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