Californians might be under the impression that a divorce stems from a slow and incrementally worsening series of issues that culminates in the decision to part ways. In many cases, that is true. Sometimes, however, being served divorce papers comes as something of a shock. Regardless, most situations have one spouse filing a petition on the other. The spouse who receives the petition and a summons is the respondent. It is important to understand that there are several alternatives after being served. To handle the case in the manner best suited to the individual, legal advice is key.
Most people in Sacramento who are contemplating beginning a divorce proceeding assume that their case will be heard in the state court system. That assumption carries with it the related assumption that the proceeding could drag on for many months, because the court system lacks enough judges and courtrooms to handle the case load in a timely manner. For some divorcing couples, however, a shadow divorce court system is available to couples can pay for it.
Most divorce attorneys in Sacramento and elsewhere in California strongly support the use of prenuptial agreements to settle issues of property division, child custody and other issues that often lend unnecessary acrimony in a divorce. Despite this advice, more than a few people facing a divorce in California realize that they have signed a prenuptial agreement that is grossly unfair, fraudulent or otherwise counter to their best interests. Can anything be done about such an agreement? Will the courts provide relief if the agreement was obtained by fraud or undue duress? The answer can by "yes," but any challenge must be limited to a violation of the rules that make such agreements enforceable in the first place.
For some people in California entering their first marriage, the concept of a prenuptial agreement carries a negative stigma. Not everyone at that stage in their lives can understand why they should elevate financial concerns above the romantic notions of marriage and living happily ever after. Some people are fortunate in never needing to face the answer to that question. However, other people will understand the answer after they have endured at least one divorce.
Pets are an important part of families but were traditionally a minor legal matter when couples ended their marriage. California has changed this by enacting a new law ensuring that pet care is considered when a divorce is underway and after the decree is issued.
A common question faced by Sacramento residents who are contemplating marriage or re-marriage is whether to sign a prenuptial agreement that has been requested by the other party. This question is especially common in second marriages where one or both parties have significant assets.
Perhaps the most critical issue in most California divorces is the value of the homestead. For most couples, the family home is their most valuable asset. The value of the home will determine how all other marital assets will be divided.
Changes to the federal tax laws, taking effect on Jan. 1, end the long-standing deduction for spousal support payments. These changes have not only rushed divorce negotiations, as expected, but have also resulted in complications accessing money for settlements and making long-term preparations for people over 50.