Questions About Family Law

The Basics

It can take years if you take a complicated divorce to court. But in mediation, it can take only a few weeks to resolve everything. Here are the basic rules to dissolve your marriage:

Child Support & Custody

The fundamental issues for any divorcing couple with children is the amount of child support to be paid and the terms of time sharing. Child support is determined by two main factors: (1) how much you and your spouse earn, and (2) how much time each of you spends with the child(ren). Other factors such as health insurance, child care, tax deductions may also affect the amount due. In mediation, the guideline computation is often the starting point for you and your spouse to reach an agreed amount that is specific to your individual case and acceptable to both of you.

In California there are two aspects to custody: Legal Custody and Physical Custody. Legal Custody concerns the decision-making process for health, education, religion and other issues regarding the welfare of the child(ren). Physical Custody concerns how time with the children is shared. Deciding the issues of visitation/time-sharing can be one of the most emotional issues parents face. At Settlement Works, we will help you develop a parenting plan that will be in the best interest of your children and acceptable to both parents. We will also help you navigate through your best options, whether that be local, long distance or supervised time sharing.

California has guidelines that help make the determination of who should pay for child support and how much they should pay. Here are the important factors to keep in mind if you’re expecting to give or receive child support:

When moving forth with any type of separation, we know you want to prioritize whatever is in best interest of your children. Here are things to consider when determining child custody and time sharing:

Property Division

Dividing property during a divorce can be tense and uncomfortable. California is a “Community Property” state. That means, that most income and assets acquired and most debts incurred during the marriage, are community property and owned equally. The major exception is property owned before the marriage and property acquired by gift or inheritance. If you go to court, your judge will divide your property in accordance with statutory and case law, with very little flexibility. In mediation, you have the power to divide the marital property in a way that is tailored to your particular situation. Whatever you agree to will become part of the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, that is filed with the Court.

Commonly referred to as ‘Alimony’, spousal support can be one of the most contentious of all issues when a marriage ends. Nevertheless, it is a fact of life in many divorces. To reach an agreement about the amount and duration of payments, it is helpful to know how the law treats this issue. Equally helpful is an understanding of what the needs and concerns are of each party as they discuss and negotiate the terms of support.