Do I Already Have an Estate Plan?

Posted by & filed under Estate Planning, Financial, Legal.

You probably believe that you don’t have an estate plan. However, everyone already has an estate plan. It’s not a very good one, but it’s a plan. The people who write California laws know that too many people never get around to writing even so simple a thing as a handwritten will. Many more than… Read more »

You are Preparing to Separate. What Should You Consider if You are Going to Stay in the House or Use a Jointly Owned Car?

Posted by & filed under Divorce, Financial, Legal, Separation.

“Watts” charges or credits refers to the case of In Re the Marriage of Watts. The court in that case dealt with the issue of what happens when one party in a divorce uses a community asset after separation. Common situations are when one party stays in the family residence and the other moves out… Read more »

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

Posted by & filed under Divorce, Financial, Legal, Separation.

Divorcing spouses may agree on how much support will be paid, the length of time it will be paid, and other aspects of spousal support, sometimes called alimony. In the absence of an agreement, there are two different methods a judge will use to determine spousal support. At the beginning of a case, when the… Read more »

Resource for People Involved in Sonoma County Family Law Matters

Posted by & filed under Divorce, Kids, Legal, Parenting, Separation.

There are many different counseling and similar resources that can be very helpful for people involved in family law matters, whether in litigation, collaborative practice, or any other model.  Sometimes, people are court-ordered or agree to participate in certain kinds of counseling to assist in developing communication, parenting skills, or other issues that come up… Read more »

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

Posted by & filed under Divorce, Kids, Legal, Parenting, Separation.

Legal Custody Legal custody refers to the right and the responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.  A parent with legal custody can make decisions about issues such as the child’s schooling, religious upbringing and medical care. If parents have joint legal custody, they are obligated to confer… Read more »

Why would I want an estate plan?

Posted by & filed under Blogs We Love, Estate Planning, Legal.

Many people put off creating an estate plan. Maybe the thought of planning for the end of your life and after is frightening or disturbing. Maybe you think you and your belongings aren’t worth enough to need an estate plan. Maybe you assume the state will handle you assets appropriately. Unfortunately, a lot can go… Read more »

How are retirement accounts divided in a divorce?

Posted by & filed under Divorce, Finances, Legal.

As part of the dissolution process, all community property assets are subject to division, including retirement accounts. There are specific orders that are used to divide retirement assets, known as Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs). These orders generally define how the community property interest in a spouse’s retirement account is calculated, and how the non-employee spouse… Read more »

We’re separating. Who pays the bills?

Posted by & filed under Divorce, Finances, Legal, Separation.

When couples decide to separate or divorce, it often takes some time to sort out their finances after separation. (Learn more about how long will it take to get divorced?) Sometimes, they still live together and have a lot of joint expenses. Even when they are not living together, they may still have joint debts such… Read more »

Do I have to go to court to get divorced, or can I avoid court divorce?

Posted by & filed under Legal.

It is not necessary to appear in court if you and your spouse reach an agreement. You can avoid court divorce once an agreement is reached. If you and your spouse reach an agreement, a Marital Settlement Agreement (often abbreviated “MSA”) can be submitted and approved by the court without a personal appearance. Exactly how can an… Read more »