What is Dissolution of marriage?
A dissolution/divorce is often fraught with emotional issues regarding custody and hurt feelings. At Barrett Law we take a very personal approach to helping our clients through this difficult time.
There are more facets to most dissolution (the legal term for divorce in California) matters than just a division of finances and property. Divorce is often fraught with emotional issues regarding custody and hurt feelings. At Barrett Law we take a very personal approach to helping our clients through this difficult time.
We encourage settlement when the parties can work out their differences with a little guidance. Reaching a settlement without going to court reduces both the legal and emotional costs on both spouses and most importantly, is of benefit to the children who will be facing the challenges of a new and uncertain future. However, if settlement is not possible we provide all of our experience and skill to protect the interests of our client.
Divorce does not have to be a costly, emotional process. When the parties are amicable, it can even be done without going to court. We can help with filing the necessary paperwork, saving the parties time and making sure it is done correctly. A divorce can be final within six months.
When there are contested issues such as division of assets and debts, we are prepared to provide the expertise necessary to come to a fair settlement, or zealously represent your rights in court if a settlement is not possible.
Mediation may be an option for couples wishing to avoid the court process altogether. With our help, parties may be able to come to an amicable agreement regarding division of property, child custody and support issues. We work as neutrals, not representing either party, to help facilitate an agreement. This can significantly lower the costs of divorce and reduce the stress involved in divorce.
A legal separation is similar to a divorce in that the parties divide their assets and debts, determine child custody and support, but remain married. There are various reasons why a legal separation is sought, including religious reasons, preservation of healthcare and retirement benefits, or if the parties have not been in California long enough to meet the residency requirements for divorce. We can counsel you on the differences between divorce and legal separation and relieve you of the paperwork to be filed, and help you to come to a reasonable agreement with the other party.
A marriage may be annulled only if one party was under the age of 18 at the time and had no parental or court consent, if one party was married to another person at the time of the marriage, either party was of unsound mind at the time of the marriage, if the party’s consent to marriage was obtained by fraud or force. It is a common misunderstanding that a very short marriage can be annulled; however, the length of the marriage is immaterial in determining whether an annulment is an option.
The main considerations in determining spousal support are whether the marriage has been long term or short term, the standard of living during the marriage, and the income or earning ability of each party. Generally in a marriage of less than 10 years, the goal is to award support to the party with lower earnings capacity for a period of time to allow them to become self-sufficient. This usually will be no longer than half the length of the marriage. In a long-term marriage (over ten years), the court will determine spousal support by considering various factors, including the health of each party, whether one party has attended to domestic and child care responsibilities to enable the other party to advance in his or her career, whether one party has provided for the education of the other, etc. In a long term marriage, the court will not set a termination date for support, rather the court will retain jurisdiction to modify support, depending on changing circumstances. Determination of spousal support can be difficult if one party refuses to divulge the extent of his or her earnings or assets. When faced with a situation like this, we will use all legal tools at our disposal to obtain accurate financial information.
PRE AND POST MARITAL AGREEMENTS
Many times, individuals contemplating marriage want to protect their assets. This is especially true if both parties have children from other relationships, or significant separate assets. A prenuptial agreement enables the parties to specify what will happen in the event the marriage fails. Such matters as division of property, spousal support, care of pets, and protection of business interests are the usual subjects covered in a prenuptial agreement. This can also be an emotional process where it can be beneficial to have a neutral third party who is knowledgeable in the law to help you to formulate an agreement that will be enforceable.
Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.
Domestic Violence charges cover a wide range of abuse, including spousal abuse and child endangerment. Any threatening or violent act, even if the accused did not intend to harm or compromise the safety and security of the victim, could be grounds for prosecution under the California Domestic Violence laws.
Examples of domestic violence abuse include:
•Annoying Phone Calls
•Stalking (such as following the victim to and from work and threatening the victim)
•Physical Assault or abuse (hitting, slapping, pushing, shoving or kicking)
•Verbal, social, and sexual abuse