Los Angeles Divorce Attorneys

A divorce can be a difficult life event to experience. Attempting to navigate your way through a divorce proceeding on your own can further compound an already difficult experience.

When you file for divorce, you’ll need to think about several key issues you and your spouse must resolve before the divorce becomes final. An attorney can advise you on these issues, such as property division, spousal support, child custody cases, and other concerns. An experienced divorce lawyer can advocate for you and help you get the most favorable settlement as efficiently as possible.

Child Custody and Support

You won’t need to involve the court in child custody if you and your spouse can agree on a custody arrangement. While you both can settle upon an informal custody arrangement, including the terms of that arrangement in the divorce decree often benefits both parties.

If you and your spouse can’t agree on custody and child support, an attorney can help you present a case to the judge that demonstrates your proposed custody arrangement to be the most beneficial to your children.

In the past, courts tended to favor the mother in custody disputes, but the standard in California is to establish an agreement that allows children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

Tax Considerations

Divorces can alter the tax obligations of one or both parties. Another benefit of hiring a family law attorney is that a lawyer can suggest how to structure your divorce settlement to minimize the tax consequences to both you and your spouse.

For example, if your divorce decree includes alimony or spousal support, the spouse who makes those payments can deduct them from income, but the spouse who receives the payments must include them as income. An attorney can discuss with you whether alimony or a lump-sum payment would result in more favorable tax implications.

One of the most involved tasks in a divorce proceeding is marital asset division. These assets often include bank accounts, investments, retirement funds or pensions, and real and personal property.

Your divorce decree will include how you and your spouse will divide the assets you acquired after marriage or registration of a domestic partnership. If you and your spouse can agree on how to divide your property, the court will need only to sign your agreement. However, if the property division is a contested case, the court will make a decision about dividing assets.

California is a community property state; once two people marry, they become one legal “community.” In other words, any property that you and your spouse acquire during your marriage or domestic partnership becomes community property. Likewise, any debt accumulated during the marriage, such as credit card debt or a mortgage, becomes community debt.

An attorney can help you decide what property belongs to the marriage union and what belongs to individuals only. For example, if you received a gift or inheritance during the marriage, this money is separate, individual property. However, if you purchased a vehicle with money that you saved exclusively from your paycheck, and you accrued those earnings for that purchase during the marriage, the vehicle is considered community property.

Retaining a California Divorce Lawyer

Divorces involve distinctive issues that require an experienced family law attorney to handle properly. Even if you and your spouse agree on most or all issues that affect your divorce, you can benefit from having an attorney on your side to consult during the process. Schedule a preliminary consultation after finding a divorce attorney in our directory.