What am I Entitled to in a Divorce Settlement?
If you have been considering the possibility of divorce and are thinking about what a divorce might mean for you financially, or have even broached the topic with your spouse and are discussing what a divorce settlement might look like for you, then you are no doubt wondering what you are entitled to in a divorce settlement under California law.
Spouses who are working towards a settlement, as opposed to having a judge decide in a divorce trial, are free to work out a settlement that works best for them, but a judge will only approve the settlement so long as it is fair under California law, and each spouse should take care to protect their interests during the emotional time of a divorce. Thus it is important for each spouse to understand what they are entitled to as they work out a divorce settlement.
You Get to Keep Your Separate Property
Separate property is the property that you and your spouse each owned separately prior to the marriage or was given as a gift to one of you during the marriage. This property remains separate property unless the owner decides to share ownership over the property with the other spouse. Under California law, each spouse is entitled to keep his or her own separate property.
Community Property Should Be Split 50/50
Anything that is not separate property is considered community property, and this includes all income earned during the marriage or property that was bought with such earnings. Upon a divorce, community property should be split 50/50 among the spouses, such that the total amount of community property retained by one spouse should be roughly equal in value to the amount of community property kept by the other spouse. Community property includes property such as real estate, savings, assets held in retirement funds (and pensions yet to be paid), and property such as jewelry, vehicles and furnitures.
Spousal Support May Be Justified
Courts will award spousal support (also known as alimony) when it decides it is justified in order to maintain the standard of living for the payee spouse. The court will incorporate numerous factors in determining whether spousal support is justified, and, if so, the amount and duration of the payments. These factors include the relative incomes and income potential of each spouse, the total assets owned by each spouse, and their respective financial needs. Determining how much spousal support might be ordered is complicated and unpredictable, but an experienced family law attorney can provide guidance on how much is generally ordered under similar circumstances.
Determining Child Support
Unlike spousal support, child support is a more precise determination made by the court and is reached based on a statewide formula that incorporates factors such as the income of both parents, how much time is spent with the children, and the financial needs of the children. Again, an experienced family law attorney can incorporate your respective information into a calculation which will approximate a judge’s determination.
Get Answers to Your Legal Questions on California Divorce
By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can get a better picture of what you are entitled to in a divorce settlement. The family law firm of Kearney Baker even offers flat-fee divorce packages available to couples working toward an uncontested divorce To schedule a consultation on any questions or issues you have relating to divorce in California, contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney Baker today at 626-768-2945.