Articles Posted in Legal Separation

When you are going through a separation, you may encounter a feeling of depression or that no one understands what you are experiencing.  These are both absolutely real responses to a troublesome circumstance that can feel like you are about to reach a dead-end or about to get run over by a train.

Furthermore, as hard as things may be, it tends to be helpful to realize that you are not alone. Furthermore, understanding the top causes behind separation may assist you with understanding the motives and forces that have divided you.

Here are some common causes of divorce:

Going through a legal separation or divorce is an overwhelming and a complicated ordeal. If you have decided to file for a divorce, you may not know what first steps you must take. Going through this difficult experience as amicably and quickly as you can is every divorcing couple’s obligation; however, it is difficult to handle the painful situation with no experience.

By knowing the steps, you can make the entire process of separation fair, drama-free, and peaceful. This article is based on several former clients who have already gone through the divorce process and what they would have done differently to make their separation cost-effective, peaceful, fair, or easier on their children.

We hope that you will find these steps helpful.

google-post02a-300x225Divorce can shatter a family into millions of pieces. Even though it comes as a huge blow for both parents involved in a divorce, it is the toughest on the children. Because divorce can affect children in ways that are difficult to comprehend; it is essential that divorce matters such as child support, custody, and visitation are handled properly to reduce the stress of divorce.

Divorce, in the majority of cases, is something couples consider as a last resort. Troubled marriages are hard to deal with and can affect the mental health of both parties. Even though many couples try to work out their troubled marriages for the well-being of their children, there comes a time when divorce becomes inevitable.

Winning the Child Custody Case with A Divorce Attorney

Do you need a lawyer for your divorce, legal separation or other family law issue? The Law Offices of Doppelt and Forney, APLC is a full-service family law firm in San Diego County. From divorce, child support, child custody and visitation, spousal support, and legal separation, we are here to help our clients obtain their legal goals.

At the free consultation, we can run guideline child and spousal support calculations for you so you will have realistic expectations. Your attorney will also go over strategies and techniques to help you protect your rights and obtain your goals.

We can assist with emergency hearings [ex parte] as needed. We also assist with motions for child custody, child visitation, spousal support, alimony, attorney fees, residence exclusion orders and others. We also prepare discovery including written interrogatories, production of documents, subpoena, deposition, request for admissions, request for inspections and others. We assist with preparation for the mandatory family court services mediation since attorneys are not allowed at this proceeding. We negotiate with opposing counsel and/or opposing party to try and settle case if at all possible, and much more.

While all family law cases are unique, many fact patterns are similar. Attorneys who practice in divorce, paternity and legal separation encounter similar fact patterns which have similar questions. An attorney should always be consulted for any divorce, legal separation or paternity case no matter whether the issues are just child legal and physical custody or alimony and child support and division of debts and assets or all of these together. The more issues, often, the more complex the case can be. These are a list of some of the frequently asked questions a San Diego family law attorney can be asked in a consultation. A free consultation is a very good way to obtain accurate information as well as realistic expectations.

CAN I FILE FOR DIVORCE OR LEGAL SEPARATION IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY?

Always, there is an issue regarding jurisdiction of where the case should be filed. To file for a legal separation or divorce in San Diego, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the State of California for at least six months and a resident of San Diego County for at least three months prior to the filing of the petition and summons. This does not mean, however, that all issues would be heard in San Diego. For example, if you have minor children, the jurisdiction for custody and visitation orders would be where the children have lived for the last six months. It is possible to be legally able to file your family law case in San Diego however not have the requisite jurisdiction for any orders [absent emergency] for legal and/or physical custody per the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdictional Enforcement Act. An individual analysis of the case must be made to determine where the family law action should be filed. Sometimes, when concurrent cases in different states, the Judges have a UCCJEA Conference Call to determine where the proper venue is for the case. Also, as is common in San Diego Military Families, one spouse may be on deployment for more than six months however they could still be considered residents of San Diego County depending on the documentation.

There are many reasons a marriage may come to an end. Whatever the issues or differences between the parties, more often than not, they will seek a divorce or legal separation. But in some cases, one or both spouses may want to “annul” the marriage – essentially to declare the union invalid, as if it never existed in the first place. It is important to understand the legal, financial, and practical ramifications associated with seeking an annulment versus seeking a divorce. If you are considering a divorce, separation, or annulment, you are strongly encouraged to discuss these very distinct options with an experienced family law attorney from the San Diego area.

California law sets forth legal grounds upon which courts may grant an annulment, including whether: 1) the party filing for the annulment was under 18 at the time of the marriage; 2) one party was of “unsound mind” or lacked the ability to understand the effect of the marriage; 3) either party entered into the marriage due to fraud; 4) a party consented to the marriage by force; and 5) one of the parties was “physically incapacitated” (or incapable of consummating the relationship). In order to succeed in getting an annulment, you must prove to the court that at least one of these criteria applies to your marriage. Of course, each case is unique, and courts will review the particular circumstances of the situation to determine whether an annulment is appropriate.

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In a recent blog post, we reported on an issue of first impression before a state trial court in San Francisco. The controversy centered on a divorcing couple’s respective rights concerning the fate of their frozen embryos, created using reproductive technology. According to a news article, just last week the court ruled that the five fertilized embryos, frozen during the couple’s marriage, must be thawed and destroyed in accordance with a consent and agreement signed by the former spouses prior to their divorce.

This case, like many family law proceedings, involves emotional and personal issues. When ruling on issues that will affect a family’s life going forward, courts are required to follow established legal principles, rather than focus on each family member’s personal turmoil and struggles. While it may be difficult for a judge to separate emotional from practical considerations, courts must do so in order to follow the law. For this reason alone, if you are considering a separation or divorce, it is imperative that you understand your legal rights under your particular circumstances. An experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area could guide you through the process while protecting your family’s rights.
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California law clearly provides that community property is to be divided between the spouses in divorce. Community property is further identified as assets and debts acquired during the length of the marriage, with some exceptions. But despite the law’s seeming clarity, questions arise as to the intent and meaning of certain family code provisions relating to property division. When this happens, courts are often asked to step in and interpret the language in order to give full effect to the legislative purpose. It is important to fully understand how these provisions may affect your divorce case. The result could have a significant impact on your financial position going forward. Parties considering divorce are encouraged to consult with an experienced family law attorney from the San Diego area as soon as possible.

The California Supreme Court recently agreed to review an appellate court opinion that addressed the interpretation of Family Code Section 771(a). The statute provides, in pertinent part: “[t]he earnings and accumulations of a spouse . . . while living separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property of the spouse.” In this case, the parties were married in 1993. In 2006, the wife decided she was finished with the marriage and undertook certain tasks to separate the couple’s finances. She testified that they were simply “roommates” at this point. The wife filed for divorce in December 2008 and listed June 1, 2006 as the date of separation. The husband disagreed and listed January 2, 2009 as the date of separation – a few days after the wife filed the petition for divorce. He further modified that date to reflect July 1, 2011, the date the wife moved out of the marital home.
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Divorce is often an emotionally difficult process for all family members involved. For this reason, choosing to separate and divide up a family is usually the result of much thought and consideration on behalf of the spouses. But once the decision is made, the parties must take very seriously the myriad legal and financial implications in order to adequately protect their rights. Something as simple as the date of a court’s judgment of legal separation can have a wide-ranging impact on each spouse’s financial situation going forward. In order to understand how California’s family code and other applicable laws and rules can affect your case, it is important to contact a local San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible.

In a recent divorce case, Pearl v. Gerber, the parties argued over the date of separation for purposes of determining the length of the marriage. Under California law, the date of separation is significant for a variety of reasons. For one, it is the date after which the earnings or accumulations of each party are deemed the “separate property” of the person acquiring the earnings or accumulations. This means that anything a spouse earns after the date of separation is not considered community property and is therefore not subject to division. Additionally, the date of separation is important when determining the length of a marriage for purposes of calculating the amount of spousal support. Both issues can have a dramatic impact on the respective financial rights of the parties.
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The California Family Code applies to parties seeking a divorce or legal separation, among other things. For quite some time now, California has been a “no-fault” state, permitting one spouse or the other to seek a divorce or separation without citing any particular fault on behalf of the other. The laws governing divorce proceedings vary to some extent from state to state. For this reason alone, it is imperative that you consult with a family law attorney from California, and specifically from the San Diego area. Local, experienced counsel would be able to effectively protect your legal rights at every stage of the proceedings.

Depending on the state you are in, the date of separation may impact important aspects of your divorce case. Interestingly enough, a recent family law case out of Maryland has been garnering some attention, most notably for its subject matter. Here, the couple married in 2006 and since March 2011, they split up and never lived in the same house again. The husband amended an earlier complaint to request divorce based on a 12-month uninterrupted separation. His wife moved to dismiss the complaint alleging that they had cohabitated and engaged in marital relations during the 12-month time period. If wife’s assertion was true, the “separation clock” would have to start all over again.

The husband admitted to communicating with his wife via text messages and phone conversations. According to the facts of this case, there were times when these conversations and text messages were of an explicit or provocative sexual nature. Husband also admitted that he had engaged in phone sex with his wife, and stated that the last time he did so was in January 2012. These specific facts are important to cases arising under Maryland law, which allows for divorce based on a 12-month separation period. Under the law, the parties must live separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without interruption prior to the filing for divorce. The circuit court dismissed husband’s complaint finding that he and his wife engaged in phone sex within the 12-month separation period. The court of appeals reversed finding that, “occasional instances of telephonic or electronic communication talking about sex, unaccompanied by intimate physical sexual contact, do not rise to the level of cohabitation.”
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