Social Media and Its Impact on Your Divorce: Do’s and Don’ts

social media

Social media has become a significant part of many people’s lives. Some people don’t think twice about posting what’s going on in their lives to their online “friends.” Some post pictures of their children, or their latest vacation, while others may use it as a sounding board or to vent their frustrations. Despite why and how you use social media, it’s important to know that what you post can negatively impact your divorce.

People spend an average of two and a half hours on social media daily. And the information you post on social media platforms can be used as evidence against you in court, so you can be sure that your soon-to-be-ex and their attorney will be heading straight to your social media profile during your divorce case.

Knowing what you should and shouldn’t post on your social media during divorce proceedings significantly impacts your case’s outcome. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using social media during your divorce.

Avoid Using Social Media

You read that right, avoid social media. That’s the easiest way to avoid any posts that may hurt your divorce case. 

Don’t Delete Anything

Deleting your social media account or even past posts can be considered destroying evidence, which is illegal and could land you in more trouble with the courts. So, wait until your divorce is finalized to clean up your social media profiles.

Social Media Posts are Forever

Before you click “Post” be sure to double or even triple-check what you’re posting to make sure it’s something you wouldn’t mind the judge overseeing your divorce seeing. Because even if your ex can no longer see your posts, it’s still possible that someone else grabbed a screenshot of your post to share with them, and if that happens, it’s likely that it will end up as evidence in your case.

Keep Your Partying Off of Social Media

So you’re out living it up, being the life of the party. However, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping that information off of social media. Posting photos of you using or being around drugs and alcohol can affect your divorce. And if children are involved in your divorce, these types of posts can be used to prove that you are an unfit parent. 

Wait to Announce a New Relationship

Changing your relationship status on social media or going public with a new relationship can cause problems during your divorce, as you are still legally married until the divorce is final.

Don’t Talk Bad About Your Spouse

Divorce sometimes brings out the worst in people. But choosing to talk badly about your spouse on social media can negatively impact your divorce.

This is especially true if there are children involved. A judge will likely pay close attention to how parents treat each other when determining a child custody order. With the children’s best interest as the main priority, judges want to ensure that parents can act appropriately in front of their children. Making disparaging comments on social media can be used against the parent who posted the comments.

Monitor What Family and Friends Are Posting

While it is essential to watch what you’re posting, posts made by friends and family can have an equally negative effect on your divorce. Not only should you watch for posts that may be bad-mouthing your spouse or mentioning your divorce, but you should also watch someone tagging you in posts or photos.

Maybe you’re at a party or out with friends having a couple of drinks, and someone posts a photo of the night and tags you in it. Your spouse could see that photo.

If you weren’t where you said you would be, or if you were out on the town when you were supposed to be home with the kids, it could cause problems during your divorce and custody case. The best thing you can do is ask family and friends to avoid posting anything about you until the divorce is final.

Don’t Talk About Your Case

Even if you can’t believe what your spouse did in court or what their attorney said about you, don’t head to social media to vent about it. Talking about your case online can only cause more problems. Speak to your family law attorney about any issues, and don’t turn to social media.

Avoid Overexaggerating Your Financial Status

Posting about shopping sprees or buying a new car during your divorce, especially when your typical spending habits are more conservative, can lead your spouse and the courts to believe that you are better off financially than you have stated. Flaunting new extravagances can affect how much child or spousal support you are awarded or required to pay.

Trust the Experts at Hann Law Firm

Social media is being used more often in determining the division of marital assets, child custody, alimony, and child support. Don’t underestimate the consequences of social media interactions during your divorce. If you aren’t sure if you should post something, err on the side of caution and just avoid posting it, or contact your divorce attorney for advice.

If you’re looking for a skilled, dedicated attorney for your divorce case, Hann Law Firm can help. We take a personal approach to every case. We’ll listen to your needs and address any concerns you have. Our team will prepare your case for the best possible outcome for you and your family.

You and your case matter to us. Contact us today for a consultation.

What to Know About Uncontested Divorce in California

uncontested divorce

When you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, there are many decisions the both of you will need to make. Though it can prove to be difficult to agree on every aspect of your divorce, there are some couples who are luckily able to come to general agreements on most things like parenting and handling finances or properties.

In California, there are two general types of divorce, contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is when both spouses cannot agree on some or all the aspects of their divorce, meaning a trial will be held with a judge to examine evidence and call witnesses. This process is much more lengthy, emotionally draining, and expensive.

An uncontested divorce is where both spouses have reached agreements about all the major issues in order to end their marriage, allowing them to avoid going to trial or having to appear in court.

There are few benefits to an uncontested divorce:

  • Usually less costly
  • Less time required
  • Control the outcome of the case
  • Private and documents are kept from public records

Requirements for a Uncontested Divorce

The uncontested divorce process in California begins when one spouse files a petition for divorce. At first, a case may start out as a contested divorce, but with mediation or negotiation, both parties may find themselves compromising and agree on aspects of their divorce.

There are some criteria that must be met to get an uncontested divorce in California:

  • One spouse must have lived the previous six months in California, and at least the past three months in the county where the divorce has been filed
  • Both spouses need to be willing and available to sign all of the necessary paperwork
  • Both spouses must agree on all issues in the settlement like division of property, spousal and child support, and child custody

Summary Dissolution

A summary dissolution is a simplified uncontested procedure that is available when both parties agree and meet these requirements:

  • No minor children
  • Have not been married for longer than 5 years
  • No property is involved
  • Debts do not exceed $6,000
  • No more than $41,000 of community property
  • Neither party has more than $41,000 in separate property
  • Neither party will be paying alimony
  • Both parties have written their property division agreement

Standard Dissolution

When you are unable to use the summary dissolution procedure, you must fill out the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Domestic Partnership, and Summons. These forms will be filed with the court clerk and you will be given a case file number. A copy of this filed petition needs to be delivered to your spouse, along with the Summons and a blank copy of a Response and Request for Dissolution of Marriage/Domestic Partnership.

There are various other forms to file when going through a standard dissolution, and a trusted California divorce lawyer will be able to help you through the process. If your spouse is uncooperative, does not respond in the time frame required,  or fails to show up to court hearings, an important document to create is a marital settlement agreement.

This written marital settlement agreement will disclose how your property and debts will be divided, any owed spousal or child support to be paid, child custody details, and visitation rights for minor children. All of this can be streamlined with a divorce attorney who will provide a well-written agreement, as well as make sure forms are filed thoroughly and within the necessary time frame.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Like any divorce proceeding, this entire process takes at least six months from the initial date that one spouse has notified their spouse they are filing for divorce. If you are dealing with a contested divorce, this process can take much longer depending on how cooperative and proactive your ex-spouse is. There is a six-month waiting period that is required before the divorced is finalized.

Experienced Divorce Lawyers in San Jose

Regardless if you qualify for an uncontested divorce, it is still helpful to have a divorce lawyer by your side. Sometimes during a divorce, emotions begin to run high once it is time to talk about the final agreements and can cause trouble between the two parties. Having someone with experience and familiarity with divorce laws in California on your side can likely help you achieve the outcome you want from your divorce.

At Hann Law Firm, we ensure your rights and that your best interests are protected. We take a look at all potential factors and consider what is fair for all parties involved through your divorce. This is an emotional time for you and the rest of your family and our team works diligently to make this process easier for you while you start a new chapter of life.

Contact us today to request a consultation with one of our trusted divorce attorneys.

Should I Get A Divorce Or Legal Separation In California?

legal separation

When you can no longer confront irreconcilable differences with your partner, most people often think it is time to simply file for a divorce and completely sever your legal relationship with your spouse or domestic partner. A legal separation may be available to couples that are taking legal steps to separate, and is similar to a divorce but with negotiations made and agreements. Divorces are more final, while legal separations can live and act separately but still can join back later as a married couple.

Let’s take a look at both of these options and discover whether a divorce or legal separation is right for your situation.

What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?

The main difference between divorce and legal separation is its permanence.
Here we go over the intricacies of each to see how these two options differ.

What is Divorce?

A divorce is also called a “dissolution of marriage”, and is a permanent end to your marriage. Legally, after your divorce, you are single and allowed to get remarried. With a divorce, there can be agreements made or involve a judge to order how your money, assets, debts, visitation, custody, and support is handled with your former spouse, similar to how a legal separation is handled.

The divorce process consists of two distinct parts: negotiation and final judgment of dissolution. Contested divorces involve hiring a family law attorney to work out their family issues like alimony, child custody, child support, and property division in court. An uncontested divorce is where both partners work out an agreement upon themselves without having to see a judge. There is the possibility that you can get a divorce without any negotiations or if you and your spouse already have a prenup set in place. Your divorce is not final until a judge has your divorce decree and finalizes your marriage dissolution.

Why Choose Divorce Over Separation?

  • Allows you to be legally single and able to remarry
  • Finalizes an end to your marriage
  • Cut legal ties and financial matters
  • Establish child support or spousal support obligations

What is Legal Separation?

California is one of the states that allows married couples to legally be separated. Legal separation is an official court order where you and your partner do not live together and wish to carry on in your lives separately, but without the permanence of a divorce. By doing this, you are able to create financial boundaries, determine who is responsible for assets and debts, and go into further detail with your child custody and support.

Why Choose Separation Over Divorce?

  • Tax benefits
  • Unsure if you’re both willing to reconcile and are letting time away from one another give you perspective or time to work with a marriage counselor
  • Retaining medical benefits
  • Residency restrictions
  • Financial freedom and separation
  • Social security benefits
  • Aren’t ready to negotiate

What is the Difference in Procedures?

Both of these legal procedures are complicated. Each follows a similar course, starting by filing a petition. You will disclose your financial details and the position to your spouse as well as the court. In both situations it is necessary to decide how property will be divided, how much child support is owed, and the next steps you will both take in co-parenting your children. Both situations also allow you to come to a settlement agreement and resolve your financial and other decisions, or go to court to decide on them there.

The Divorce Procedure:

  1. A divorce petition is filed and served to the other spouse.
  2. The respondent needs to file a response to the petition within 30 days.
  3. One spouse can request a hearing to create temporary child custody or spousal support.
  4. Each spouse exchanges information and documents that relate to their divorce, including income and other expenses.
  5. Both spouses meet one another with their attorneys to discuss settlement of their case. Their Marital Settlement Agreement will then be signed and includes all of the terms of their agreement.
  6. If one of the spouses does not agree on the issues within the agreement, a trial will take place.
  7. Once both parties sign the Agreement, a judgment of dissolution of their marriage is prepared and has the court orders.

The Legal Separation Procedure:

  1. You decide the legal grounds for your separation, whether irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity.
  2. File a petition that gives the option of separation or divorce.
  3. File forms to the local county court, and provide information about properties and children. This is also the time to request child custody orders from the court.
  4. If you have minor children, you will file a form to establish jurisdiction over a child if one of the parents lives in another state.
  5. Pay a filing fee.

Finding a Divorce Lawyer in California 

Regardless if you choose a legal separation or a divorce, at Hann Law Firm in San Jose, California, we help you through your case to successfully come to an agreement that works for you and your ex-spouse. We work tirelessly with our skilled attorneys to help you receive the best outcome for your situation, and with the best interest for you and your children.

Contact us today and find a personal injury lawyer in California to talk about if a legal separation or divorce is right for you.

Pet Custody: Who Gets The Family Pet In A California Divorce?

pet custody

To many, especially those without children, pets are beloved members of the family. Navigating through pet custody legalities can be confusing and cause anxiety about potentially losing your pet, but luckily with newer laws set in place and guidance from a trusted attorney you can come to an agreement over your pet’s ownership.

California Pet Ownership Laws

Prior to January 2019, pets were considered property, and considered no different than any material possession. In 2019, AB 2274 was enacted into law, adding Section 2605 to California’s Family Code, which separated pets from other types of inanimate marital assets.

This new law requires the court to assign sole or joint ownership of the pet when requested, and also asks the court to take consideration of the care and well-being of the pet when custody is being determined. Temporary custody can also be given during the time of the divorce being reviewed, based on the well-being of the pet.

Determining Your Pet’s Well Being

A judge will consider a few factors when establishing pet custody, including:

  • Who takes more responsibility for feeding, walks, and playtime with the pet
  • Who has taken the pet to a majority of veterinarian appointments
  • Who’s name the animal is registered under
  • Who has sufficient space and time to take care of the animal

Your emotional well-being can also be a consideration when determining pet custody during your divorce. It may not be necessary to claim your pet as a support animal, but the court will look into the emotional connection each individual has with the pet.

Mediation

Court is not the only option when regarding the custody of your pet. Mediation is a way to reach agreements without bringing your case to court. This involves reduced costs, faster outcomes, confidentiality, and greater control of the situation. While you might not resolve every decision during mediation, the process itself can help resolve some issues, leaving time and focus on the unresolved issues you may need to take to court.

When both partners have an exceptional attachment to their pet, and when no prenuptial agreement is in place, a dispute during the divorce is common. Sometimes during a divorce, ownership over the pet may have another underlying issue, and the pet may become a grasp for power and control, rather than caring about the well-being of the pet.

Caring for Your Pet Through and After Divorce

Pets can often pick up on our energy and stress levels, and the changes that ensue after a divorce can not only be a difficult transition for you, but for your pet as well. A divorce can impact pets due to total change in routine, especially when getting less attention and exercise due to only having one caregiver. Separation anxiety and depression can be common when separated from a family member.

Helping Your Pet Transition Through Divorce

  • Being mindful of routine: Dogs specifically like routine, and benefit from having a sustained daily schedule where they are walked and fed at times they are accustomed to. Before any major changes are made, you can get your dog used to a new schedule if possible. Reaching out to friends or family to help with walking or feeding times can be beneficial, or hiring a walker or pet sitter who can help when transitioning your dog or pet into a new routine.
  • Help them settle in: After a move, if a dog or pet has not had enough time to settle into new surroundings, they might develop separation anxiety. This may include excess barking, howling, or destructive behavior when left alone. If possible, take extra days to help your pet transition and feel more comfortable in their new home and routine before leaving them alone and going back to work.
  • Bringing them to work, or choosing doggy daycare: If none of the above is possible, it could be beneficial to look into doggy daycare while you’re at work and still settling into a new routine. Some workplaces have happily allowed pets to be brought into work. It may be in the best interest for both you and your pet to grant visitation rights for your pet, and co-ownership can be attained.

Hiring a California Divorce Attorney

Even with the most amicable discussions, a divorce lawyer will review your agreements, and can help ensure your rights are protected. Besides pet ownership, a divorce requires many different issues to navigate through. Having an experienced divorce attorney at your side can help guide you through the process, giving you a higher chance of getting the outcome you were hoping for.

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach from the very start. We address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome in the courtroom, and create a personalized approach for each client.

We know your case is important to you, and we take it just as personally. A court battle over your furry friends can be exhausting, but our custody lawyers can fight for your and your pet.

Contact us for a free consultation and get quality, compassionate legal guidance today.

Division Of Debts In A California Divorce

division of debts

We all know divorce means splitting our properties and assets, but often forget that debt is included in that separation. Assets you wish to keep are one thing, but fairly dividing debts is also another factor when pursuing a divorce. California is a community property state, meaning the community is liable for the debts that have accumulated throughout the marriage.

Determining the character of debt, whether either spouse is entitled to reimbursement, or how to make the division completely equal is not always straightforward or easy. It’s advised to seek consultation from an experienced family law attorney to help you ensure you do not pay debts you did not incur.

Dividing Marital Property and Debts in California

California is a community property state, meaning generally, assets acquired and debts incurred by either spouse during their marriage belong to both spouses equally. Unless both spouses have entered their own agreements to the division of their property and debts (either through prenuptial or postnuptial agreements), a court will order a judge to divide their community property and debts equally. The court may not divide each asset and debt in half, the ending goal is to split with equal division.

There is an exception to this rule, when the value of the community debts exceeds the value of the community assets. If this is the case, the law allows courts to order an unequal division of the debts by assigning the excess debt to the spouse in a better financial situation.

Unlike marital property being divided equally, debt is not always divided in the same way, and it is the responsibility of each party to pay off the debts assigned to them under their divorce settlement terms. If one spouse fails to pay off an assigned debt, creditors can potentially pursue them over the overdue payments. 

If creditors contact you to pay off a debt that has been assigned to your ex spouse, you may file a motion with the court to have the divorce settlement enforced. It is possible for creditors to still pursue you for the debt if your former spouse has declared bankruptcy, and if this is the case you should hire an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.

Community Debt vs. Separate Debt

Community debt are debts that are induced after the date of marriage, but before their date of separation. Debt that incurred during the marriage belongs to both of the spouses equally, even if only one spouse caused the debt.

Separate debt is debt that occurred prior to getting married, or after the separation of spouses. These separate debts only belong to the spouse that incurred them.

Date of Separation

A judge will typically consider debts incurred after a couple separates as separate, and assign the debts to the spouse that incurred the debt post-separation. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to determine the date of separation. Courts occasionally will hold a trial just to determine the date of separation before a judge is able to move forward.

Under California law, there is a two-part test when establishing an official separation date:

  1. There must be a physical separation between the two spouses. Physical separation is determined when one spouse moves from their shared home. The courts may also find physical separation occurred when the spouses have started sleeping apart in separate areas of the same home.
  2. In addition to physical separation, one spouse must have had intent to end the marriage.

Dividing the Family Home

Dividing the mortgage and the family home proves to be difficult, as even the most straightforward cases involve a couple buying their home together and only using community funds for the purchase and payments.

When divorcing, the couple will be equally responsible for the mortgage on their home. A court may order the couple to sell the home to a third-party, and then divide the sale proceeds equally between both spouses. In another instance, the court may order one spouse to buy out the other, and refinance the mortgage so only one spouse is responsible for future mortgage payments, taking the other spouse off the mortgage.

Each case is different and can be complicated, and speaking with a divorce attorney who understands the in-depth laws regarding post-separation mortgage payments and reimbursements will ensure you receive a fair and equal share when splitting your family home.

Legal Separation Guidance with a California Divorce Attorney

At Hann Law Firm, we are an advocate for you in the face of challenges when navigating through difficult legal issues, like debt division.

We know your case is important to you, and we take it just as personally. Your case matters to us, and we’re here to help you see through it every step of the way. We are here to fight for you, ensuring you are set up for a successful and happy new chapter after your divorce.

Contact us for a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team.

How are Cryptocurrencies Divided in a California Divorce?

Cryptocurrency is an unavoidable topic in today’s financial conversation, and is growing more quickly now than ever before.

Investing in cryptocurrency is something that has become increasingly popular on an international level. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, and Etherium are just some of the vast sea of cryptocurrencies that are slowly becoming part of the mainstream digital payment world. 

Protecting cryptocurrency investments is important, as any digital commitment can come with risks. Any digital and cloud-based technology can be vulnerable to hacking, and cryptocurrency is uninsured, making it harder (if not impossible) to recover lost investments. 

But what if the potential loss of cryptocurrency investments doesn’t stem from hacking or a lost wallet?

Digital currencies are difficult to trace, making them an easy oversight in legal battles such as divorce. 

Property and asset division is common in divorce, but if you and your spouse share cryptocurrency investments, splitting that digital currency may be a bit more difficult. 

Crypto and California Divorce 

There is a lot on the line for both parties in a California divorce case. Property and asset division are determined by the courts, but how do they determine who gets what in a divorce?

When a couple files for divorce in California, their property and other assets are subject to equitable division

While equitable may seemingly imply the equal distribution of all property and belongings, this isn’t always the case in divorce hearings. Equitable division simply refers to what the court deems fair when it comes to dividing marital assets. 

Equitable division (or equitable distribution) requires an expert to determine the value of all assets and how to properly distribute them. Attorneys involved in the divorce case must be knowledgeable in identifying financial, legal, accounting, tax-related, and personal issues that a couple may need to discuss during the divorce process. 

Assets like cryptocurrency can be easily covered up, due to the lack of third-party financial involvement (such as a bank or credit union). But in California, the rules play out differently during divorce proceedings that involve cryptocurrency.

How Is Cryptocurrency Divided in California?

Divorce Law Basics

While you may not think you need a lawyer for the divorce itself, you may need to hire one for the division of property and financial assets. It is highly recommended to protect yourself and your assets with the counsel of an experienced California divorce lawyer.

Legally, property refers to anything that can be bought or sold like a house, car, clothing, furniture, or other shared purchase. Property can also be something with a marked value such as bank accounts, 401k, stocks, pension, or insurance. 

Courts make decisions on how to divide property in a divorce or legal separation. While a verbal agreement might seem easier for you, a formal decision (in writing) must be made. 

Each state has its own property laws when it comes to divorce and legal separation. 

Community Property State

California is a community property state, meaning that marriage makes the two people involved one legal “community.” The property and other assets that the couple acquires during their marriage and leading up to the time where they choose to file for divorce are considered community property. 

This includes anything bought (not gifted) or earned during the marriage as well as everything that the couple purchases with those earnings (like a house, car, or vacation home). 

Each member of the “community,” or each spouse, owns half of the community property according to California law

Community Property and Crypto

Divorce law in California doesn’t distinguish between digital and physical currencies in a divorce case. Both currencies are treated the same.

With California recognizing all finances accrued during a marriage as community property, all currency is divided down the middle in a divorce or legal separation. This doesn’t include property brought into the marriage (i.e. savings that existed before the couple was married).  

If one spouse came into the marriage with assets like cryptocurrency in their name, it would be considered separate property. However, if an account exists with both spouses’ names on it and contains digital assets such as Bitcoin, it belongs to the community. 

This is why it helps to connect with a cryptocurrency expert during a divorce. They can assist in determining the nonvirtual value associated with digital currencies and other property. This may seem like a difficult process to nail down, but your divorce attorney can source the expertise of knowledgeable experts in the field for you.

Hiding Community Property 

In California, it is illegal to hide any property during a divorce. To the courts, this is the same as hiding bank accounts or other sources of income. Both parties in the community must fully disclose all of their assets from income to investments and other property. Legal document submission early in the divorce proceedings should show all existing account statements. 

When a California divorce case goes to trial in a court, the judge will determine how these assets are split. If the case doesn’t go to trial, it will be up to the couple to decide how to divide the community property. 

If one party in the community doesn’t fully disclose all existing accounts and income in their name or that would be considered shared property, that individual could face fines and jail time. 

Choose Hann Law Firm for The Best San Jose Divorce Attorneys

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals.

This kind of care takes more time, but the results of our personalized approach speak for themselves. While other firms see a case number and a bottom line, we see each client as a human being who deserves justice. We know your case is important to you, and we’ll take it just as personally. You – and your case – matter to us. 

Contact us today for your free consultation.

Understanding Division Of Property In A California Divorce

Whether it is amicable or hostile, going through a divorce comes with unique challenges. One considerable challenge is how properties, assets, and debt will be divided between the two parties. 

While some couples will be able to decide how to divide their assets, most will require the support and assistance of a lawyer, arbitrator, or judge. 

Each state follows its own set of laws, with some following community property laws and others following equitable distribution laws. California follows community property rules. Under this law, all income, assets, and debts acquired or earned during the marriage are equally divided between domestic partners or spouses, even if only one party was working during divorce or separation.

Today, we will take a closer look at division of property in California and cover the factors that will be considered when determining distribution of assets, debts, and property.

Essentials That Are Considered When Dividing Property During A Divorce

A knowledgeable, experienced divorce lawyer provides valuable insight and guidance while going through a divorce. Many issues may arise during a divorce, and having legal guidance to steer you in the right direction and make sure you are not taken advantage of is crucial.

It is also essential to understand your state’s laws and prepare to negotiate during this stressful time. Let’s look at some of the factors that the court will consider and that you need to be aware of.

Factor #1: The Difference Between Separate Property And Community Property

Which debt and property are communal or separate? 

Separate property applies to any assets, property, or debt acquired before the couple began their marriage or domestic partnership. Inheritances or assets that are acquired as a gift during the marriage are also considered separate property. 

Earnings on a separate property and any increase in value of assets or separate properties are also not divided in a divorce as long as the owner can provide proof with documents and financial records.

Marital property applies to any property, assets, or debt acquired after the marriage or domestic partnership began.

The ways that separate properties and assets become communal are:

  • When a premarital bank account begins being utilized by both parties, if the spouse makes deposits to it.
  • When both parties make payments on a mortgage or other expenses.
  • When both parties contribute to a retirement account, even if it was established before the relationship or marriage.
  • When a business is established before the marriage that is continued and contributed to by both parties.

During or before marriage, assets can be changed from separate property to community property. To do this, it must be in writing and clearly state the intentions and desires of both parties. Simply changing the title of the properties or assets is not enough.

Regarding the division of properties, assets, and debts, the date of separation is the determining factor to ending communal property and debt. The date of separation is when one party decides to end the marriage or relationship, not the date that one party moves out of the communal or marital home. All properties or assets acquired after this date are considered separate, even if the divorce is not finalized. (Cal. Fam. Code § 2622.)

Factor #2: The Value Of All Assets And Properties

What is the value of the community property? If both parties can not agree, the court will assign a monetary value to each asset or property. California law requires the net value of assets is split equally, which does not necessarily mean that the actual physical division of assets is identical. 

In California, assets can be divided by assigning each item to the party that will receive it. One party can “buy out” the other party or by selling properties and assets and then dividing up the money. One party may keep the home while the other party keeps the business or another piece of real estate, as long as the two are equal in value.

Factor #3: Calculating Accumulated Debt

You may have car loans, mortgages, credit cards, or other loans to consider. It is essential to include all of these to ensure an equitable division of assets and financial responsibilities. 

Creditors will continue to collect on any jointly owned debt even after a divorce as the agreement or divorce order is not binding on creditors. Under the circumstances that one party “owe” debt that you both own, you may request that a lien be placed on their separate party to secure repayment of any debt they are responsible to pay

The best practice is to resolve all community debts before or when the divorce is finalized.

Factor #4: Transmutation Of Property And Assets

Transmutation is the process by which property changes from separate property to community property or vice versa. This happens when:

  • Property is given as a gift from one party to another
  • An agreement is reached by both parties
  • Marital and separate parties change to commingling properties
  • A property is jointly titled in the names of each party

As you can see, determining the division of properties, assets and debts can be a legally complicated and potentially stressful issue. Consulting an attorney to support and guide you through the divorce process will help you navigate these challenges, and is essential to the best outcome possible for your case.

Trust Hann Law Firm 

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals.

This kind of care takes more time, but the results of our personalized approach speak for themselves. While other firms see a case number and a bottom line, we see each client as a human being who deserves justice. We know your case is important to you, and we’ll take it just as personally. You – and your case – matter to us. 

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How Spousal Support Is Determined In California

If you’re in California and going through a divorce, you’re likely wondering what the outcome will be as it pertains to alimony payments, also called spousal support. Typically, the higher wage earner pays a regular amount to their ex-spouse, who makes less, but there are multiple aspects at play in the determination process. Many factors go into determining if alimony is valid, how it’s calculated, and what it means for you as the payor or recipient.

This article will cover elements of alimony determination and discuss the possibility of modification down the road.

Length Of The Marriage

In the state of California, alimony reflects the complex reality of the divorcing couple as well as how long they were married. Spousal support often lasts for half the length of the marriage in the case that the marriage lasted less than ten years.

For longer marriages, there is generally no time limit on the support order. Instead, the higher-income earner needs to show the lower-income earner no longer needs the support. This is done either through an amicable agreement between both parties, or as it often does, through litigation if an agreement can not be reached.

There are some related terms that you need to know regarding alimony arrangements and how payments are made.

Pendente Lite 

This is temporary spousal support. Pendente lite is Latin for “during litigation.” This means there is a temporary arrangement before the divorce is finalized and a long-term support arrangement is established. This is intended to help both parties maintain the same lifestyle they enjoyed during their marriage and is calculated on a specific set of guidelines.

Long-Term Support

Long-term or permanent spousal support is an order agreed to by both parties or ordered by the court as part of the final divorce resolution. Long-term support is generally ordered for marriages that lasted longer than ten years. It entitles the lower-wage earner to a specified amount of years of alimony payments, or—in some cases—even lifetime payments.

Temporary Support Calculation

While there are determining factors to calculate temporary support, there is a specialized software program that family law attorneys and judges use to calculate the amount. This software automatically generates an estimated support figure based on:

  • Each spouse’s income
  • Health Insurance deductions
  • Any other taxable earnings

While an attorney can typically give you an accurate estimate, they cannot make a guarantee as to what the final amount will be. Keep this in mind when consulting your attorney regarding spousal support terms and amounts.

Long-Term Support Calculation 

Calculating long-term support is a bit more of an involved process. There is no calculator to give an amount, and certain factors must be considered to come to an agreeable amount. If you and your spouse can’t agree on an amount and length of time for the support, a hearing is held, and a judge decides the support and length of time.

The factors considered while calculating long-term support are:

  • Supported spouse’s ability to obtain a job that would negate the need for support. This ability is based on the job market, time and expense required to acquire education or training to develop new skills, and the possible need for retraining or education to be more marketable or become employed
  • The extent of the supported spouse’s inability to be employed because of long periods of unemployment during the marriage for domestic and childcare duties
  • How much and if the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s education, training, career, or licenses
  • The paying spouse’s ability to pay considers their earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living
  • The financial needs of both spouses’ based on the marital standard of living
  • Both spouse’s debts and assets – this includes separate property
  • The length of the marriage
  • The supported spouse’s ability to work outside the home without interfering with the care of dependent children
  • The age and health of both spouses

There may be other considerations a judge considers, but these are the primary considerations used when determining the amount and length of time for long-term support.

Modifications Of Spousal Support

There are specific circumstances where you can file to modify your spousal support agreement. In California, the following are qualifying events that can be cited to petition to modify spousal support:

  • Payor loses job
  • Payee obtains a comparable job making close to the same amount as the payor
  • Either party gets remarried
  • The payee receives an inheritance

There is no set-in-stone rule determining how long spousal support lasts, but many factors play a part in calculating the amount, length of time, and modifications.

Consult A Lawyer For Help

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals.

This kind of care takes more time, but the results of our personalized approach speak for themselves. While other firms see a case number and a bottom line, we see each client as a human being who deserves justice. We know your case is important to you, and we’ll take it just as personally. You – and your case – matter to us. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Common Mistakes Made During Divorce Proceedings to Avoid in California

Are you contemplating divorce or already going through divorce proceedings? If so, we know how tough it can be and we understand it is an emotional time in your life. It’s no easy feat to have your marriage under a microscope. 

Every divorce is unique, making the divorce proceedings different from couple to couple. Emotions will be at an all-time high during this time, so mistakes are bound to happen. With a bit of guidance from your family and your lawyer, you are better prepared for what is to come. 

Our attorneys at Hann Law Firm have written this helpful guide to the 6 most common mistakes we see in California divorce proceedings.  

6 Mistakes You Should Avoid During Your Divorce Process in California

Being prepared and having proper legal representation is the best way to avoid any misunderstandings or mistakes during the divorce legal proceedings. No matter how the proceedings may go, it is best to be upfront with everything you have and know. 

Mistake #1: Failing to Identify Your Separate Property

The state of California is a community property state. Any assets obtained during the duration of the marriage will be distributed between the couple evenly. However, assets that were acquired before the marriage are considered separate property in the divorce process. 

Just because you acquired assets such as boats, cars, properties, and the like before you got married does not mean you should not disclose these assets to the court. It is required by California law that you disclose all separate assets. 

Note: Even though California is a community property state, some assets that started as separate assets can transmute into community assets during the marriage. Typically, these assets are privately-held businesses and retirement accounts. 

Mistake #2: Failing to Obtain an Accurate Valuation of Key Assets

The courts will want to know the exact value of your retirement account, your 401(k), vacation homes, jewelry, collectibles, vehicles, boats, and any other assets you have. You must get the accurate value of these assets. The courts do not want you to guess or estimate the value. An actual value is needed to ensure equal distribution to both parties during the divorce.

When Should Assets be Valued? 

Many individuals do not quite understand when assets should get valued. According to California family code 2552, assets should get valued within 30 days of getting a notice from the other party. The final value of assets will take place before the trial starts. 

Mistake #3: Not Following Court Orders

When you get a court order during your divorce process, the order is signed by the court’s power. The standard mandates that you will receive during a divorce case are to pay alimony or child support. 

If you refuse to comply with the orders set for you by the judge, you can be:

  • Found in contempt in Court
  • Put in Jail
  • Required to Pay Fines
  • Required to Pay Spouse’s Legal Fees

The court will do everything in its power to enforce all court orders throughout the divorce process. If the other party is not obeying the court orders, your legal counsel can contact the judge to implement them on their level. 

Mistake #4: Speaking Ill of your Partner in Front of Your Children

When a divorce takes place, children are often the real victims in the situation. This is especially true for children who have to witness a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Even if you are upset, angry, or frustrated at your partner throughout the divorce process, fight the urge to speak any ill-will of your partner in front of the children. 

If you are found talking negatively to the kids about your partner, the courts can and will use that against you during a custody battle. Share your frustrations with your lawyer or family members, not your children.

Mistake #5: Running Off with the Children

When you are going through a divorce, you and your spouse will have equal custody of the children. One spouse will not have more custody of the kids if there are no court orders or a temporary restraining order in place. 

Neither party will be allowed to take the children across state lines unless they have permission from the other party. Neither party will be entitled to keep the kids away from the other party as well.

Mistake #6: Failing to Have All Proper Documentation

You must have all of the required documents when starting the divorce process. The documents you need to start the divorce process in California are: 

If you have children, you will also need the following document: 

While these forms can be daunting to fill out, these documents are where you can work with a family law attorney to ensure that you’ve covered all your bases. If you fail to fill these out in their entirety, you may be setting yourself up for your spouse, accusing you of hiding assets and other financial information. 

Are You Ready to Speak to a Divorce Lawyer?

Whether you’re still considering divorce or are already starting the process, you need a knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate attorney in your corner. Our team at Hann Law Firm is here to help fight for you in many different areas of California law, such as divorce (including same-sex divorce), family law, personal injury, criminal defense, business law, and general litigation. Contact us and learn how we can put our expertise to work for you.

Tips For Making It Through Work While Going Through A Divorce

Californians going through a divorce may be struggling to handle their day-to-day responsibilities, like getting their kids to school or performing at work. This is completely normal, but it can also be problematic if it is not handled appropriately.

While it is not a great idea to discuss all of the intimate details of a divorce with coworkers, some bosses can be accommodating of individuals employees whom they know are going through a rough personal time. Employees going through a divorce should assess whether they can trust their boss or HR with the knowledge that they are going through a divorce and see if they can get a temporary reprieve on certain larger and more urgent assignments.

If telling someone at work about the divorce is not an option, employees should at least try to take a personal day off from work to recuperate if they begin to feel overwhelmed. It is important to take time away from work to spend either alone or with loved ones for emotional support when going through a divorce. Throwing oneself into work and becoming a workaholic is likely to backfire in the long run.

Given the prevalence of divorce, it is possible that coworkers who know about an employees divorce may be inclined to give unsolicited advice. Here, it is important for a newly-single employee to keep personal boundaries and to filter out unwanted advice. Keeping a healthy mindset is very important when going through a divorce, and individuals may want to explore things like therapy to help them get to a place where they can forgive their exes and move on. However, even if forgiveness can be achieved, it may still be necessary to go to the mat to battle over items of property or assets. A family law attorney can help individuals with these more difficult aspects of a separation.