During your initial consultation easy to understand terms and the law that pertains to the issues in your case will be thoroughly explained.
The overall principles of divorce are simple, although their application can be extremely complex.
Here are the basic principals in a nutshell:
No Fault Divorce State
You don’t have to show that one spouse is at fault to get divorced. Divorces can happen simply because of irreconcilable differences.
Division of Property
When you get married, in some ways it is like forming a company (called the Community) with your spouse, and each of you are 50% shareholders. It does not matter who does the work. Any assets or debts you acquire due to efforts during marriage typically belong to the Community. Once divorced, these assets and debts of the Community are divided equally. This principle is generally more important than how title to property is held. Even if title is in your spouse’s name alone, it is likely Community property if it was acquired with funds earned from labor during marriage. Things that a spouse had before marriage, acquired after separation, or were gifted to that spouse alone during marriage and were not the results of efforts during marriage remain that spouse’s separate property.
In simplified terms, the higher earning spouse will generally be required to pay support to the lower/non-earning spouse, so that both can try and maintain a similar standard of living to which they had during marriage. This is subject to adjustment for any equitable circumstances that may apply such as people living above their means and acquiring debt during marriage. The lower/non-earning spouse usually has a duty to try and work to contribute to his/her own support unless there are compelling other circumstances that would not make sense. As a rule of thumb if a marriage lasted less than 10 years support will be paid for half the duration of marriage. If a marriage has lasted more than 10 years there is a presumption that support will be paid for an indefinite period of time. At times, it may be stepped down and/or terminated in the future if it becomes unfair under the circumstances. This type of support is called Permanent Spousal Support, which can be misleading as it often is not permanent.
There is a second kind of spousal support called Temporary Spousal Support. This is awarded by the court on a temporary basis until the court reaches a final judgment, or the parties reach a final settlement. This amount of support is generally determined by a mathematical formula that considers each parties’ income. Computer software is used to perform the calculation.
The amount of child support that each party pays is usually determined by a complex mathematical formula. It considers the income of each parent and the percentage of time that each parent has actual physical custody of, or responsibility for, the child. This is also calculated with special computer software. Child support generally terminates on the earlier of the child turning 19, turning 18 and no longer being a fulltime high school student, death or the legal emancipation of the child.
The law makes no presumption in favor of a man or woman, a working or non-working spouse. The court makes common-sense considerations of what is in the best interest and welfare of the child/children.