Southern California Family Law Blog

Protecting assets when saying 'I do' again

Money can present problems with any marriage in California. But financial issues tend to be more front-and-center when one or both spouses is marrying again, a situation more common among older couples. In fact, two-thirds of previously married people between the ages of 55 and 64 have tied the knot again.

With a remarriage, it's common for a spouse entering into a new union to have more assets then they had when they first walked down the aisle. There's also the possibility of additional emotional and financial complications because of fully grown or near-adult children from a prior relationship. A strong, well-prepared prenuptial agreement could be an effective way for a remarrying spouse to divide their assets as they see fit.

5 tips for telling the children about divorce

Talking to your children about an upcoming divorce can get very tricky. No matter how you feel about it -- maybe you filed for divorce and you think it's the right move for your family -- you have to understand that it can be quite difficult for them. The way that you break the news is very important.

To help you, here are five key tips to keep in mind:

The wedding date might predict chances of divorce

When California couples are planning their weddings, the farthest thing from their minds is divorce. They are usually focused on creating a special day that will be remembered by all who attend. However, according to a new study from the University of Melbourne, the actual wedding date might be a factor in predicting the chances of divorce.

Researchers from the University found that some special dates seem to be connected to higher divorce percentages over time. Valentine's Day, for example, which is a popular date for wedding celebrations, is one of those dates. Researchers, who analyzed data for a million married couples, found that 11% of couples married on Feb. 14 were divorced within five years. The rate increased over time with 21% divorcing within nine years. Other specific dates, such as Sept. 9, 1999, which would be written as 9/9/99, also had higher divorce rates over time. The reason, some speculate, is because couples looking for cute dates might be more concerned with planning the perfect wedding celebration and less concerned with working toward a healthy, stable marriage.

Non-custodial parents: dispelling common myths

In Manhattan Beach, California, a non-custodial mother or father is the parent who does not have physical custody of their child. However, a parent without physical custody can still have legal custody of a child. Numerous non-custodial parents have visitation rights and visit their children frequently. Some people think that non-custodial parents do not pay child support. This concept is only partially true.

Parents who do not want to abide by child support regulations are often referred to as "deadbeats." Yet many non-custodial parents care about their children and provide them with physical and emotional support. Another commonly misunderstood concept is the idea that non-custodial parents willingly give up physical custody of their children. In this situation, a father may think it is better for the children to live with their mother instead of living in both homes throughout the year.

Documents needed to prepare for divorce

Women in California who are considering divorce should first gather some financial documents. Having information means being prepared, and this will be important when heading into a divorce. First, a wife should get copies of her tax returns for the past three years. This will show the couple's income.

Next, she should get as much information as possible about her spending habits. Three years of bank and credit card statements can help in reviewing expenses. There are online software programs that can be linked to accounts and assist in categorizing this information as well. This will be important when moving into the next stage, which is creating a lifestyle analysis. A lifestyle analysis takes a realistic look at all expenditures and predicts expenses for after the divorce. A financial professional may be able to help with some of these calculations. The analysis should be as accurate as possible, keeping in mind that the low inflation rate does not account for large cost increases in some areas, such as health care.

Making divorce easier on the kids

Many ex-spouses in California have difficulty agreeing on issues related to child custody. While most parents want what is best for the children, it can sometimes be difficult to know what is actually best for them. The first question parents considering divorce might ask themselves is whether a divorce itself could be harmful to their kids. One child psychologist says that the answer depends on the state of the marriage and life at home.

Conflict between parents could be more upsetting to a child than a divorce. Ending the marriage could remove the conflict from the child's life and end up being a positive solution in the long run.

How will California handle your debts in a divorce?

When couples divorce, they often spend a lot of time and energy on how they will split up their assets. They often fail to spend an equivalent amount of time on how they want to handle the debt accrued during their marriage. However, that can have as significant of an impact on your financial future as your assets. In some cases, the debts may prove more substantial than the overall marital assets.

Familiarizing yourself with how the California courts handle debt in a divorce can assist you in making a more informed decision about how to handle the property division process.

Divorce can affect credit scores, especially for women

From dividing up marital assets to getting used to new living arrangements, ending a marriage can result in many changes and challenges for California couples. Because of all the issues related to a divorce, some soon-to-be-exes overlook matters related to their credit that could have a long-term effect on their ability to manage their finances.

A change in marital status alone doesn't affect credit scores; this information isn't even included on credit reports. The potential for credit problems is largely dependent on the nature of a divorce and the willingness of both spouses to live up to their debt responsibilities as dictated by a divorce agreement. Unfortunately, creditors are not legally obligated to honor divorce decrees. This could result in one former spouse having credit difficulties if the other one fails to keep up with their share of the payments.

Couples seeking divorce may wish to speak with a lawyer

In Manhattan Beach and across the United States, many couples seek legal counsel from a divorce lawyer. Both spouses may feel conflicting emotions, and long-term marriages are particularly difficult when one of the spouses decides to file for divorce. Major issues like property division cause frustration, especially when numerous assets are involved.

Many couples seek legal counsel from family law attorneys for handling finances after divorce. One problem involves changing bank and investment account titles from joint ownership to individual ownership. A divorcee who changed their last name needs to update all accounts. Joint accounts need to change into accounts owned by one individual. After the monies are split in a fair and amicable way, each person will want to deposit their separate funds in their newly established individual accounts.

About co-parenting

People in California should understand that doing what is necessary to make a co-parenting relationship work requires making sure that the best interests of their children are prioritized. Many parents who get a divorce tend to not realize that while their marriage may have ended, their children's relationship with their other parent has not and that it is important that the other parent remains a part of the children's lives. It is worth noting that there are situations in which it may be necessary to ensure that the children are distanced from a parent, such as when that person is abusive.

Effective co-parenting can also be accomplished by ensuring that the households of both parents have the same rules. In order to avoid conflict between parents, it may be ideal to focus on establishing general expectations rather than enforcing hard rules. All the people who live in each household, including the parents, children and stepparents, should abide by the expectations. This allows the children to enjoy some consistency as they shuttle back and forth between households, and it eliminates any arguments the parents may have about following certain rules.

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