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If you are looking for a divorce attorney in West Los Angeles, California, look no further than Fernandez & Karney. The West Los Angeles divorce attorneys at Fernandez & Karney have successfully handled thousands of family law cases and will put this same dedication and experience to work for you.
As each family unit is different, and each situation is as well, divorce law can be quite complex and perhaps even intimidating. This should not limit you from pursuing the appropriate steps for you and your family. That said, you will likely need the help of a certified Los Angeles family law specialist firm like Fernandez & Karney.
At Fernandez & Karney, our divorce attorneys are:
- Successful and determined to achieve your legal goals
- Able to find creative solutions to complicated family problems
- Responsive and compassionate when addressing your needs
Let the skilled and knowledgeable West Los Angeles family law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney help you navigate any child custody, child support, spousal support, and other family law matters relevant to your situation. Reach out to our West Los Angeles office today to schedule your confidential consultation with a legal professional.
Why You Need a West Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
When the unfortunate disintegration of your relationship occurs in Southern California, you need a divorce attorney in West Los Angeles, California, to help you pick up the pieces and guide you through the family law system. At Fernandez & Karney, our West Los Angeles divorce attorneys will assess your options, ensure you understand California’s family law as it applies to you, and explain your best legal steps.
There are a variety of circumstances that arise in divorces making it vital to retain counsel from family law attorneys. This is especially true during more complex cases, such as those that are:
- Domestic partnerships or same-sex dissolutions
- International child custody matters
- Complex property division issues
- Domestic violence cases
No matter what your situation is, Fernandez & Karney’s West Los Angeles divorce attorneys have the experience to help you through your case.
How Fernandez & Karney Can Help You
When seeking a family law firm experienced in California divorce cases in West Los Angeles, you should pay attention to reviews and choose a West Los Angeles divorce lawyer with practice areas that match your needs. It is essential to select attorneys who are best equipped to advocate for you, whether it is for spousal support or the custody of a child. Experience matters.
When you retain Fernandez & Karney, our divorce and family law attorneys will provide legal counsel and representation to fit your individual situation.
This may include, but is not limited to:
- Advocating on your behalf in child custody, visitation, or support matters
- Fighting for or defending against spousal support requests
- Identifying and valuing assets, including hidden assets, for property division
- Evaluating settlement offers for future tax consequences
- Resolving disputes through the best means possible, whether that is mediation, litigation, or another process
- Much, much more
Contact Fernandez & Karney now for compassionate and experienced advice regarding marital property division, constructing a legal strategy, and divorce resolution. In many circumstances, you may be able to settle your marital disputes more efficiently and less expensively than a lengthy court battle. A West Los Angeles divorce attorney at Fernandez & Karney will be able to assess your case and explain your options.
Alternatives to a Traditional Divorce in West Los Angeles
There are alternatives to a traditional divorce in West Los Angeles, California. A conventional divorce is one litigated in the courtroom.
These divorce alternatives include but are not limited to the following:
- Legal separation
- Collaborative divorce
- Divorce mediation
In an annulment, a marriage is declared void. Annulments are rare and must meet specific legal requirements. Spouses can resume their legal lives as if the marriage never occurred.
A legal separation allows spouses to live apart while remaining married. However, court orders are entered for all marital property and debts, spousal support, child custody, visitation, and support. A legal separation can easily be converted into a divorce or dismissed at a later date.
When spouses use the collaborative divorce method, they agree to settle the terms of their divorce with the help of an advisory team. The spouses and team work together to agree without the court’s assistance.
Mediation uses a neutral third party to assist the spouses in coming to a mutually satisfactory agreement on their divorce issues. Any issues remaining can go before the court for resolution in a trial.
This list is not exhaustive. For more information on any of these methods or another process that may be more appropriate for you and your spouse, reach out to an experienced West Los Angeles divorce lawyer for more information.
California is a No-Fault Divorce State
Regardless of the divorce method chosen, it is important to be aware that California is a “no-fault” divorce state. If one partner wishes to divorce, they do not need to prove any wrongdoing or fault on behalf of the other.
Choosing not to agree on terms of a divorce may affect the length of the legal battle and drive up the average cost of the divorce. In some cases, this can range from $12,000 to $15,000.
California Residency Requirements for Divorce
Before any West Los Angeles, California, divorce, one must make sure they meet state residency requirements. To divorce in California, one spouse must be a resident of California for a minimum of six months. The filing spouse must be a resident of the county in which they file for the preceding three months.
The same residency requirements do not apply to a legal separation.
Waiting Period for a California Divorce
California has a strict waiting period for a divorce. No divorce may be granted until six months from the date the non-filing spouse is served with the divorce petition.
California is a Community Property State
California is a community property state. This means the goal of a divorce settlement is to divide marital property and debts equally. As not all property can be split in two, there are often trade-offs of property of approximately equal value.
There are exceptions to the community property rule. If there is a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will likely follow the contract terms. Also, separate property is not divided between spouses upon a divorce.
Separate property includes, but is not limited to:
- Property owned by a spouse before marriage
- Rents, profits, or other money earned from a spouse’s separate property
- Gifts or inheritance to one spouse alone
- Property bought with a spouse’s separate property
- Anything acquired after the date of separation, including a spouse’s income
A financial expert may be needed to divide some types of property as marital and separate assets tend to mix or commingle with time.
Spousal Support in California
There are two types of spousal support awards in California. These are temporary support and permanent support.
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary spousal support is only awarded for the pendency of a divorce proceeding, while permanent spousal support is an order in the final divorce document.
Temporary spousal support is based on the same calculation as California’s child support guidelines. There is no set formula for calculating permanent spousal support.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support is guided by statutory factors, which include the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The needs of each spouse based on the standard of living they had during their marriage
- The earnings of each spouse
- Whether a job would make it difficult to care for any children of the marriage
- The age of both spouses
- The health of both spouses
- The debts and assets of both spouses
- Whether one spouse was directly responsible for helping another spouse obtain education, training, or a professional license
- Any instances of domestic violence between the spouses
- Whether one spouse’s career was impacted by periods of unemployment resulting from taking care of children of the marriage
- The tax impact of spousal support, if any
- The marketable skills of each spouse
- And any other factors the court deems fair and just under the circumstances
There will only be a spousal support award if one spouse can prove a need for financial support and the other spouse can pay that support. Without both a need for spousal support and an ability to pay support, the court will order a spousal support award.
Child Custody and Visitation in California
California has two types of child custody. These are legal and physical child custody.
Legal custody refers to the right to decide a child’s:
- Religious upbringing
- Elective surgeries
- Overall welfare
Physical custody pertains to the residence of the child. Parents may hold sole legal or physical custody or share any combination of the two.
The family court prefers parents to make their own child custody and visitation arrangements as parents know their schedules and child’s preferences better than any third party. Since parents cannot always come to terms, the court will order custody and visitation on behalf of the parents and their child.
The court makes its custody and visitation orders based on the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child include:
- The child’s health, safety, and welfare
- Whether either parent has a history of abuse against the child or the other parent
- The nature and amount of contact the child has with both parents
- Whether either parent has a history of illegal use of controlled substances, alcohol, or prescribed medications
- Any other factor(s) the court deems relevant
Child Support in California
Child support is generally awarded to the custodial parent after a divorce to stabilize a child’s standard of living across both households. California has statutory guidelines, including a mathematical calculation to aid parents and the court in determining an appropriate amount of monthly support.
The child support formula uses several factors to calculate the child support amount, such as:
- The actual monthly income of each parent
- The number of children the parents have together
- The amount of parenting time each parent has with the children
- Health insurance premiums paid by either or both parties
- Mandatory retirement contributions by either or both parties
- Mandatory union dues paid by either or both parties
- The cost of daycare and uninsured healthcare costs
Deviations and add-ons are permitted in some cases.
Contact an Experienced West Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
At Fernandez & Karney, we realize how stressful and emotionally charged a divorce can become. Speak with one of our experienced West Los Angeles divorce lawyers today and create a plan to relieve you of your legal burden.
Do not leave your future to chance. Protect yourself, your children, and your legal rights. Contact Fernandez & Karney and have your divorce questions and concerns addressed by a competent professional.