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Roseville Legal Blog

Differences between divorce mediation and collaborative divorce

Many marriages end in divorce -- it is a fact of life. Though sometimes a divorce can be filled with a great deal of contention, there are those people who agree that a divorce is the best path forward and want the process to be as simple as possible. For those in California who find themselves in this category, there are other options besides fighting in court. One is divorce mediation and another is a collaborative divorce. They have similar aims, though there are differences between the two.

First, mediation is a process in which two divorcing spouses choose a third party who will assist them in negotiating a divorce agreement that is voluntary and mutually beneficial. The third party stays neutral and helps both people involved see all of the available options and determine what issues might arise. When the agreement is finalized, it is recognized by the court and both ex-spouses are legally-bound by its terms.

Mistakes that can cost money in a divorce

When people choose to end their marriages, it is probably not a decision they come to lightly. Most people give it serious thought after considering how it will affect them from an emotional standpoint. However, some neglect to consider the potential financial consequences of divorce. Anyone here in California considering a divorce may wish to heed the advise of one professional who says that there are five mistakes that people frequently make in divorce proceedings that can have a significant financial impact.

Though it is common these days to share everything on social media, experts advise against doing so. One recent example involves a man who claimed he wouldn't be able to afford his potential divorce settlement. Then he posted online about a lavish vacation and recent work success, giving his ex all the ammo she needed to prove her case.

Stepparent adoption: Girl "proposes" to her stepdad

Families in California come in all varieties, united by love and caring. Though some family members aren't always legally bound to one another, there are definite advantages to undergoing that process. One such situation is when a stepparent makes the choice to legally adopt his or her stepchildren. One happy story of stepparent adoption happened recently out of state when a little girl "proposed" to her stepfather.

The now 8-year-old girl's mother got married in 2012. The stepfather has been part of the girl's life ever since then, having cared for her since she was a baby. The girl recently decided she wanted her stepdad to adopt her and implored her mother to help pull off an adorable "proposal." They took him to a baseball field, since the girl and her stepdad share a love for the sport, and when he stood on the pitcher's mound, the girl held up a sign saying "Papi, you are my forever home. Will you adopt me?"

Tips for how to handle finances before and during a divorce

Earlier this month, this blog discussed the impending divorce of Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and founder. He and his wife apparently had no prenuptial agreement, and their divorce is subject to the community property laws in their home state. California is also a community property state when it comes to divorce proceedings. While Bezos is said to be among the world's wealthiest, there are several lessons regarding these family law concerns that individuals with more modest income can still learn.

First, retirement accounts are typically separated during divorce by using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Here in California, that typically means that these accounts are split evenly. If a prenuptial agreement is in place, this could supersede a QDRO. Though some couples find pre or postnuptial agreements to be unromantic, they can be the best way to ensure that each individual retains the property they brought into the marriage.

Divorcing a spouse with an addiction

You have undoubtedly faced your share of difficulties in your marriage. Perhaps you have dealt with financial struggles, disagreements and your spouse's priorities that always seemed at odds with yours. However, if the root of these difficulties is your spouse's substance abuse, you likely understand you may not be able to win this battle.

If you have tried every method for keeping your marriage intact, you may feel you are out of options. Your spouse refuses treatment or has tried unsuccessfully more than once. If you and your children are suffering because of the damage that often accompanies marriage to an addict, your first step is to obtain as much information as possible about the special circumstances involved inĀ divorcing someone with an addiction.

Divorcing billionaire Jeff Bezos had no prenuptial agreement

When California couples decide to marry, they typically go into their marriage with optimism. However, failure to plan for a future in which the marriage may not work out can be very costly for those who have high assets. Prenuptial agreements may seem cynical, but they may be necessary to protect an individual's assets. Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, may be facing this exact quandary after he and his wife announced their divorce, and apparently they have no prenuptial agreement in place.

Bezos is reportedly worth around $136 billion, and he did not found Amazon and amass his fortune until after he was married. They were married in a community property state – just like California – which means that any property and assets are equally owned by him and his wife. Had they had either a prenup or postnup, it could have outlined their exact property rights and detailed any future responsibilities each one may have had to the other after a divorce.

Answers about child support

When a relationship ends, through divorce or otherwise, there may be several issues that each person has to contend with. If children are part of the relationship, arrangements for child custody or child support may need to be made. Most parents here in California want to be sure that their children are cared for, and that often translates to child support payments made from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. However, child support can often leave parents with more questions than answers.

Child support, administered by the state, is an amount of money that one parent agrees to pay to the other in order to financially support any shared children. It was originally designed to improve the lives of children who came from divorced families, or who were deserted by one of their parents. Experts say that child support payments decrease poverty and reduce the likelihood that a custodial parent will need to use public assistance programs. The amount paid is determined based on the paying parent's level of income or earning potential, though an average amount according to the U.S. Census Bureau is $500 per month.

Don't leave complex property division up to chance

Dividing assets during divorce can be stressful for the average California couple. Throw in complicated property, however, and the process can feel completely overwhelming. If you know that you will need to deal with complex property division, getting help now rather than later can usually lead to better results. 

Commonly held assets that you think you understand can become extremely complicated the moment that they enter a divorce. Chances are you have at least one or two of these types of assets. If you are unsure, think of property like the following: 

  • 401k or Roth IRA accounts 
  • Stocks or other investments 
  • Real estate 
  • Business interests 

Child custody decisions that protect the kids' best interests

Making decisions on how to share parenting time and visitation schedules can be one of the most complex and difficult issues a parent can face during a divorce. It is easy to allow temporary emotions to drive decision making, but feelings do not always lead to choices that actually benefit the children. It is often best for children when a child custody arrangement allows for them to have a strong relationship with both parents.

Even very young children benefit from having time with both parents. Courts often favor the mother, and people often assume that it is best for kids when the mother has sole custody. Yet, research indicates otherwise. California fathers should have equal access to their children whenever possible as this can provide emotional stability and mental security for the younger members of the family. 

New tax law to affect those getting a divorce

As 2018 winds down, some residents of California and other parts of the country are anticipating how part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect them in the new year. For those couples who are planning to divorce in 2019, there is a new law taking effect on Jan. 1 that changes the way alimony is handled for tax purposes. Some matrimonial experts  believe these changes will make divorce deliberations more complicated.

Currently, alimony is tax deductible for one paying it, and the person receiving it pays taxes on it. The new law reverses this by taking away the deduction for the payer and the tax burden for the receiver. This change will reportedly provide almost $7 billion to the government over the next decade. However, it will likely create more contention in divorce talks as the spouse slated to pay alimony will fight for lower amounts.

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