Divorce can be a complex process that can take an emotional toll on all parties involved. Divorce forces a complete life change that can be difficult to adjust to. These changes impact your employment, finances, living situation, time with your children, and other facets of your life. When first considering a divorce, it can be easy to get lost in the initial process of hiring an attorney, building your case, and taking on the transitional period.
There are some things it helps to know when considering what life looks like following a divorce in California. Life can be much different depending on a variety of factors, including property and assets, spousal support, and child custody and support.
Property and Assets
It is valuable to know how the California court system handles property division in a divorce. California is a 50/50 state, which is also referred to as a community property state. This means that all property, money, and assets are considered marital property and would need to be divided equally. There are a few exceptions, such as inheritance left to one spouse, but in most cases, everything is divided equally. According to California law, it does not matter who bought more items or invested in various assets; everything still belongs to both if it was purchased during their marital years. Property purchased before the marriage would be an exception to this rule.
When left to the court’s discretion, the value of assets and property will be split 50/50. How this plays out can vary depending on what the couple needs to split. If you had a premarital agreement that specified how assets would be divided, that would allow for a different outcome. There is also the option of coming to a settlement agreement outside the courtroom.
Community property ensures that, following a divorce, you will at least have half of your marital assets. This can provide peace of mind for individuals who are afraid of losing it all if they pursue a divorce.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, can have a long-term impact on your life following a divorce. This is a legal ruling that one spouse pays support to the other for a specified length of time. This is usually in monthly payments. While traditionally this may have defaulted as the husband paying support to the wife, those power dynamics, and the way marriage works, have long since changed.
There are a variety of reasons why a separating spouse may seek alimony. This support is most often seen in marriages that were long and where one spouse made significantly more than the other.
A judge can order that:
- A certain amount needs to be paid.
- Spousal support is not ordered at the moment, but it could be in the future. This is known as a reserve.
- Support will be terminated.
How long a person is expected to pay spousal support often depends on how long they were married. The length is designed to provide time for a spouse to become self-sufficient. This could mean that they need to seek a higher education degree, participate in a work-training program, or find new employment. There is a misconception that, if a marriage lasts 10 years, a spouse will have to provide long-term support. While this is common, it is not a guarantee. As a basic foundation, a marriage lasting less than 10 years has an assumed timeframe of half that time to become self-sufficient. If the marriage lasted longer than 10 years, there is no assumption.
Whether you may be on the receiving or giving side of spousal support, working with an attorney can help you better understand your rights or seek changes in the future.
Child Custody and Support
A parenting plan needs to be created when children are involved in a divorce. This plan covers important aspects of care, such as where the child will live, when each parent will see them, and how they will be cared for. If possible, a separated couple can create their own parenting plan. However, if agreements can’t be made, the court will help come up with a plan.
In California, the court will make their ruling based on what they deem to be most beneficial for the child.
The judge will often consider factors such as:
- The age of the child
- The ability of the parent to provide adequate care
- Emotional ties
- Ties to school, home, and community
- Any history of family violence or substance abuse
Decisions made in court concerning support or custody can be modified. This is where working with a skilled attorney can be beneficial. You will have to gather appropriate evidence, complete the necessary paperwork, and ensure that your stance is clearly illustrated to the deciding judge.
FAQs About Life After Divorce in California
What Is the 10-Year California Divorce Rule?
There are a lot of misconceptions concerning this “rule.” In California, you can benefit from long-term alimony payments if you were married for over 10 years. However, this doesn’t mean that a spouse in a marriage lasting less than 10 years won’t receive anything. There are a lot of factors that ultimately go into determining alimony.
What Are My Rights as a Wife in a Divorce in California?
California is a 50/50 state, which means that a wife can be entitled to half the assets. A wife can also get up to 40% of a partner’s income for child support and spousal support. A wife often has a great chance of primary child custody due to the emotional bond and availability they have. There are a lot of factors that are used to determine these various issues.
How Many Years Do You Have to Be Married to Get Spousal Support in California?
There is no set timeframe, but marriages over 10 years tend to get the longest-term spousal support. If you were married for less than 10 years, a judge commonly assumes that you need half that time to become self-sufficient. Therefore, if you were married for less than 5 years, you may only get a couple of years of alimony. Once you exceed 10 years, there is no assumption for how long it could take to become self-sufficient.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Divorce?
A divorce can take a significant toll on your emotional and mental state. After a divorce, it helps to confirm and discuss the outcome with your attorney, especially if you are unsatisfied with the results. In general, you should take the time to focus on your well-being. Seek help if needed, focus on the positives, and find a way to move forward.
Contact Hayes Family Law
Life after divorce will look different, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A court will help determine the division of assets, establish spousal support if necessary, and help develop a parenting plan. It is your right to seek modifications or changes if you wish. At Hayes Family Law, we know how difficult it can be to move forward from this process. We provide our clients with the compassionate support they need, as well as a willingness to continue providing legal support. Contact us to learn more.