I'm Matthew Crider. We're going to talk about alimony today. On our website, we've got articles about alimony, a lengthy video that will really dig into the substance of it for you, and we've also got the alimony statutes. There's a lot of information on our website about alimony. Here in the Sacramento area, you can drive over to the capitol. That's where you'll find the folks that write the statutes for alimony and for everything else in California. If you have a problem with the statutes, all kidding aside, don't tell me you don't like it. Tell those folks because they're the ones that can do something about it and can change it. The legislature here in Sacrament writes these alimony statutes, and let me tell you that is the thing that makes divorce trickier and more complicated than anything else. Because what they've done is they haven't given us a lot of guidelines or formulas or anything like that. We end up with a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety surrounding alimony. What they have given us is a list of factors that the court must consider when it decides alimony, things like the earnings of the parties, the education of the parties, the work history, and so on. The statute doesn't provide specific guidance so that people can come up with real numbers and figure out how much they're going to pay for alimony or how much alimony they might receive. Because of this, there's usually a lot of fear and anxiety about alimony. Someone is worried that they're going to pay too much, and somebody is worried that they won't get enough. That's what drives up attorney's fees. Some attorneys play on that fear, and everybody worries about what's going to happen. There's always fear and anxiety about alimony, but the one thing I hear over and over again is, "Is alimony still something that people have to pay or something that they can get?" Here's what I can tell you, alimony is alive and well in California. Even though the world has changed a lot, and we have two income earners in families, people are still paying and receiving a lot of alimony. It gets negotiated in practically every case that we deal with, unless both the husband and the wife have identical incomes. Otherwise, you can expect that there's going to be an alimony discussion. I promise you it is very much alive in California. Let's talk about tomorrow for a minute. For the next two days we're going to be focused on the kids. Here's what I've learned is that when you hear that, some of you, the one who don't have young kids, won't check out what we do for the next couple of days. Don't do that. Tomorrow, for instance, we're going to talk about kids. We've got to do that because some people have kids, but we're also going to talk about marital settlement agreements. In all likelihood, you're going to use a marital settlement agreement in your case. You need to know that, so don't skip over the kid stuff and think that you're saving yourself time. We're going to talk about one of the most important things that we talk about when we discuss marital settlement agreements. Also, as usual, I've got an assignment for you. What I need you to do tonight is to start putting together your budget for the future. Start thinking about what it's going to cost you to live the life that you're getting ready to live. What are your housing costs? What about utilities? Food? Restaurants? Entertainment? Cable television? Internet? Automobile expenses? Start going back through your records. Look at your checking account and your credit card bills, and figure out what your new life is going to cost, based upon what you've been spending in the past. Obviously, some things are going to be different, but some things are going to be the same. Now is the time to start putting that information together. See you tomorrow.
Hi. My name is Matthew Crider, and I'm talking about the seven major issues in a California divorce case. Issue number seven has to do with attorney's fees. The family code and the cases that interpret the family code say that a court can award attorney's fees for one spouse to the other spouse in a divorce case. This can happen at any point during the divorce case, while the case is pending, as long as one spouse asks the court for an award of attorney's fees. It can also happen at the very end of the case. One spouse can ask the other spouse to be ordered to pay attorney's fees. Now, what the court looks at when making an award for attorney's fees are a number of things. Generally, the court does not want one spouse to be in a disadvantaged position relative to the other spouse. If one spouse has access to a lot of financial resources, whether it's that spouse's separate property or whether it's resources of the marriage and the other spouse does not have access to those marital resources, then the court will likely order that the spouse who has access to marital resources be required to pay attorney's fees to the other spouse. Another issue that the court looks at is how contentious the divorce case is. If one spouse is being extremely contentious and does not approach the divorce case with a view towards reaching a settlement, the court can order attorney's fees paid by that contentious spouse to the other spouse. There's a goal in California public policy that's reflected in the family code that says that the parties to a divorce case should work towards reaching an agreement. They should work towards trying to resolve their disputes out of court, particularly, where it comes to custody, but generally in all issues. If one party is being more contentious than the other, then that party can be ordered to pay the attorney's fees of the other spouse. The court can award attorney's fees in a California divorce case, again, to level the playing field. Now, in practical terms, what happens in most divorces? In most divorces, the spouses will reach an agreement to divide their assets in what's called a marital settlement agreement. That marital settlement agreement will include a provision for attorney's fees. In most cases, the spouses will agree that each spouse will pay his or her own attorney's fees, or there will be some minor or small payment of attorney's fees from one side to the other. By minor or small, I mean $1,000 or a few thousand or so. It's a very rare case where there's a contested attorney fee issue as part of a divorce case. There's a number of reasons for this. One is in most family law divorce cases the parties will reach an agreement. This happens in 90 to 95 percent of all divorce cases. The parties will reach an agreement that will resolve all issues. The second reason that the attorney fee issue is not that common is that if the parties are able to resolve all other issues except for attorney's fees, it's generally disfavored by the courts to only argue over attorney's fees. The court will view that negatively, and it's possible that you might not get 100 cents on the dollar for every dollar in attorney's fees that you're asking for. In most cases, 90 to 95 percent of the cases, the parties will reach an agreement in the divorce case that will include attorney's fees. If you have any questions about attorney's fees, please feel free to click the link below and download our California divorce guide. You could also visit our website where you can discover more information about attorney's fees and all other types of family law and divorce issues in California. My name is Matthew Crider. Thank you for watching.
Hi. I'm Matthew Crider, and we're talking about the seven issues that most of you have dealt with in a California divorce case. Issue number five has to do with property division. There are two types of property in California. The first is separate property. Separate property is property that you owned before the marriage, that you acquired by gift or inheritance, or that you acquired after the date of separation in your divorce case. Everything else in California is community property. Any income that you received during the marriage, any property that you purchased during the marriage, all of that property is community property. Now, what the court does in a divorce case is it divides the community property equally. This is a four-step process. The first step is that the court wants to know what the entire universe of property is. In other words, what property is out there. Second, the court will determine what the character of that property is. Is the property separate property? Is the property community property? Let's characterize the property as either community property or separate property. Then, as it relates to the community property, the court's going to be concerned about what the value of that property is. Now, some things are relatively easy to value. For example, a house, one spouse or the other or both can get an appraisal on the house. A bank account or an investment account is relatively easy and straightforward to evaluate. Other property is not so easy to evaluate. For example, some people might have collectibles that are rare and difficult to put a value on. Other people might be self-employed business owners, and they have to put a value on that business. Some property is easy to put a value on. Other property is not so easy to put a value on. The fourth step of property division is the court, once it has a value on the community property, then the court will divide the community property equally. The default in California is that all community property shall be divided by the court equally. Now, one issue that comes up in property division is retirement benefits. The question is, do you have to divide up your retirement benefits in a California divorce case? The answer is yes if those retirement benefits were earned during the marriage. If you have either a pension that was earned during the marriage or a retirement savings that were earned during the marriage, those retirement assets are community property, and they will be divided by the court. The fifth issue in a California divorce case is property division. The general rule is that the court will divide community property equally among the spouses in a divorce case. If you have other questions about California community property, or separate property, or property division, please click the link below, and you can download our free California divorce guide. Or you can visit our website where we have a lot of information about spousal support, child support, and all other issues related to California family law. My name is Matthew Crider and thank you for watching.
Hi. I'm Matthew Crider, and we're talking about the seven issues that have to be dealt with in a California divorce. The fourth issue that has to be dealt with is spousal support in a California Divorce. Spousal support comes in two types. The first type is what's called temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support is spousal support that's ordered while the divorce case is pending, meaning from the time the court initially orders temporary spousal support -- until the court enters a final judgment of divorce. Temporary spousal support is spousal support that's ordered while the divorce case is pending. When the court orders temporary spousal support, what it looks at doing is trying to maintain the marital standard of living. Now, everyone knows that if you have two households if the couple is living apart, and one source of income, that neither spouse is going to maintain the same marital standard of living that they both had while they were living in one household. That's what the family code and the law says is that the spousal support that's ordered for temporary spousal support should maintain the marital standard of living. Now, the second type of spousal support is what's called permanent spousal support. Permanent spousal support is an unfortunate name because permanent spousal support does not mean that it lasts forever. The purpose of long-term or permanent spousal support is to provide the supported spouse time so that he or she can become self-sufficient. For what's called a short-term marriage -- meaning any marriage that's less than 10 years -- the presumptively correct term for permanent spousal support is one-half of the length of the marriage. For a long-term marriage -- meaning any marriage that is more than 10 years -- it's not that spousal support will never end, which you sometimes read on the Internet. It's that the court cannot in a final order of divorce, or a final judgment, have or name a specific end date to spousal support. Let me reiterate that. That in a final judgment of a divorce in a long-term marriage, the court cannot name a specific end date for permanent or long-term spousal support. Now, does this mean that long-term or permanent spousal support lasts forever in a long-term marriage? No. The supporting spouse can go back to court at any time and ask the court to either terminate spousal support or to reduce spousal support, based upon a change of financial circumstances. Permanent spousal support, even though it's called that, does not necessarily mean that it lasts forever. The goal of permanent spousal support is to give the supported spouse sufficient time to become self-supporting or self-sufficient. If you have additional questions about spousal support issues or any other issue in a California divorce or family law case, I invite you to click the link below and download our California divorce guide. Or you can visit our website where you can learn important information about custody, support, spousal support, and property division. My name is Matthew Crider, and thank you for watching.