Providing Comprehensive Family Law Representation to Palm Desert, CA Clients
If you plan on ending your marriage in the near future, or if your spouse has unexpectedly notified you that they want a divorce, the process of ending your marriage may be more difficult than you initially anticipated. Many people cite divorce as one of the most challenging experiences of their lives. Even if you are certain that your marriage is unsalvageable and needs to end, going through the legal motions of terminating your marital contract entails high levels ofemotional stress, financial drain, and uncertainty as you prepare for the next phase of your life beyond your marriage.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to navigate the divorce process with confidence. We understand that you likelyhave multiple concerns about how your divorce proceedings are going to unfold and the effects they will have on your life for the foreseeable future. Our team will provide client-focused legal counsel through every phase of your divorce process. We’ll assist you in preparing for each aspect of your divorce so you can approach the situation with clarity.
Why Do I Need a Palm Desert Divorce Attorney?
The divorce process in California requires navigating many strict legal statutes, conducting extensive research and document gathering, and handling difficult interactions with the opposingparty. Divorce inherently involves a difficult emotional angle, regardless of the divorcing spouses’ feelings toward one another. This means that the practical matters that require the divorcing spouses’ attention in divorce proceedings can easily become complicated when emotions run hot and tensions flare. Even if you and your spouse are relatively agreeable toward one another at the outset of your divorce proceedings there is no guarantee the two of you will beable to maintain this level of amicability throughout the entire divorce process.
While it is technically possible to handle divorce on your own without legal counsel, doing so puts you at a significant disadvantage, especially if your spouse has retained legal representation of their own. You may end up with a one-sided divorce settlement that does not suit your needs or take into account key aspects of your divorce that lead to unintended outcomes. Hiring an experienced Palm Desert divorce attorney to represent you will allow you to approach your case with greater confidence and ensure an outcome that is both fair and reasonable.
Some divorce cases entail difficult variables, such as prenuptial contracts, domestic violence, andcomplex financial disclosures. Handling these issues is much easier with a reliable legal team on your side. When you choose the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers to represent you in your divorce in Palm Desert or Indian Wells, you can rest assured that you will have full access to our professional resources, legal skill, and years of experience handling some of the most difficult divorce cases.
Common Issues in California Divorce
Divorce involves much more than just ending your marriage. Divorce technically begins once a spouse or a couple decide to divorce, but the formal process does not begin until one of the spouses files a divorce petition with the local family court. At this point, the divorce process can unfold in many different ways depending on the divorcing couple’s unique situation. The Law Offices of Athina K. Powers can help you handle all aspects of your divorce, streamlining your proceedings to assist you in reaching a fair and reasonable outcome to your divorce case.
One of the most pressing issues involved in the divorce process is property division. When a couple divorces, they must divide their shared assets and property. The divorce process requires the court to formally divide property ownership rights between the divorcing spouses, and California upholds a strict community property law. This means divorcing spouses each receive 50% of the marital property. Some divorcing couples find California’s community property law unfair and unrealistic, but the reality is that this statute applies to every divorcing couple in California, regardless of income level and other factors.
One of the most important steps of the property division process is determining which assets qualify as “martial property” and which are separate property belonging to either spouse. “Separate” property is anything that belongs to just one of the spouses. This can include propertythey owned before they married, gifts they received during the marriage, and inheritance passed own from other relatives. “Marital” property includes all assets and property obtained by either spouse during the marriage. This can include both of their incomes, real estate purchased jointly, shared bank accounts, retirement accounts, and more. Your Palm Desert divorce lawyer will helpyou complete your financial disclosure, ensuring you get your fair share of your marital property and retain your separate property.
Child Custody and Child Support
When a couple divorces with children, the most difficult aspect of their divorce process is typically the division of child custody and determining child support. California family law requires a judge to determine the best child custody and support arrangement for a divorce case. The judge must ensure that the child custody arrangement suits the child’s best interests, and thatthe child has adequate financial support.
Child custody and child support work in tandem. In most cases, one parent will obtain greater custody rights, and the other parent will pay child support. “Physical” custody refers to where children spend their time, and “legal” custody refers to a parent’s ability to make important decisions for their child. In many joint custody agreements, legal custody is shared between both parents, and they are each obligated to consult one another about any major decisions, but one parent may have a greater share of physical custody.
Typically, the custodial parent receives child support from the noncustodial parent. While it’s possible for a divorcing couple to privately negotiate many aspects of their divorce, the court must rule on child custody and child support because the court has a legal obligation to uphold the best interests of any child involved in a divorce case. The judge overseeing a divorce case must review the divorcing spouses’ financial situations and capabilities as parents to determine the best custody and support arrangement for the divorcing spouses.
In some divorce cases, one spouse will require financial support as they transition to single living. Alimony, also called spousal support, is money paid on a regular basis by the higher- earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse. Some couples may draft prenuptial contracts that outline alimony terms in the event of divorce, and other couples may need to negotiate spousal support as part of the divorce process. Typically, alimony intends to compensate a divorcing spouse who may have sacrificed job opportunities to contribute to the marriage. For example, if one spouse was a homemaker for the duration of the marriage, they likely missed years of work experience and may have difficulty transitioning to supporting themselves post-divorce.
Your Palm Desert divorce attorney will help you reach a fair and reasonable outcome in your alimony determination, whether you expect to pay or receive alimony. Most alimony arrangements drafted in California operate on a temporary basis, but alimony can be permanent in some cases. Alimony generally lasts for a predetermined period of time, the length of which depends on the length of time the marriage lasted. An alimony agreement is also likely to includeterms and conditions related to “terminating actions,” which, when taken by the recipient, would cancel the paying spouse’s alimony obligations. For example, if you are required to pay alimony to your ex, you may only need to do so until they remarry or start cohabitating with a new romantic partner.
Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection in California
Unfortunately, many divorce cases involve domestic violence. When one spouse is abusive toward the other, the victim has the right to seek legal protection to prevent further abuse. An experienced Palm Desert divorce lawyer is your best asset if you need to secure an order of protection from an abusive spouse. Additionally, your attorney can ensure that your divorce case accurately reflects the experiences you endured while married and holds your spouse accountablefor their abusive actions.
What to Expect from Your Palm Desert Divorce Lawyer
Every marriage is unique. Therefore, every divorce case will unfold differently and involve different concerns for the divorcing spouses. When you have decided to end your marriage, or if your spouse has unexpectedly filed for divorce and you suddenly need to prepare for divorce proceedings, the right attorney can significantly improve the outcome of your divorce case.
An experienced Palm Desert divorce attorney should begin handling your case by carefully reviewing all of the elements in play. They should ask you about how you and your spouse arrived at the decision to divorce or, if one of you filed for divorce, the reasons behind filing the divorce petition. Your attorney will help you approach your divorce case one item at a time.
If you and your spouse have substantial assets, your attorney may coordinate expert witness assistance from financial professionals to ensure property division unfolds appropriately and all financial documentation receives appropriate attention.
When you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have children together, a good attorney will get to know you and your family to help you determine the most realistic child custody terms you can expect from your divorce proceedings. Your legal team will assist you in creating the strongest possible case for custody and ensure your child support terms ensure your child has the financial support they need for a fulfilling and supportive lifestyle.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Your Palm Desert divorce attorney can also assist you in navigating your divorce proceedings outside of the courtroom. Many couples throughout California and the rest of the country are taking advantage of alternative dispute resolution in lieu of typical divorce litigation. You can think of divorce mediation as a private settlement negotiation for a divorce case. Instead of leaving all the major decisions related to your divorce up to an impartial judge, you and your spouse can potentially reach a more personalized divorce agreement when you take advantage of mediation.
Most modern divorce attorneys steer their clients toward divorce mediation for several reasons. First, divorce mediation saves clients time and money with their divorce cases. Mediation can require only a few weeks or a month or two while divorce litigation can easily last for several months or even longer than one year for complex cases. Second, divorce mediation is entirely private. A divorcing couple who litigates their divorce must often discuss personal issues in the courtroom, and everything said in court becomes public record. If you would prefer your divorcenegotiations to remain private, everything said in mediation is entirely confidential.
It’s important to note that while divorce mediation can allow you and your spouse to have much more control over the outcome of your divorce, there are some aspects of your divorce that a California family court judge will need to review and approve. For example, you and your spouse may develop a parenting plan in mediation, but a judge must review your plan and make the final ruling on your Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities.
Modifying a Divorce Agreement
Once you have your divorce decree in hand, it’s important to acknowledge that you may need to revisit the case in the future. California family law provides a streamlined option for altering a divorce order once issued due to the fact that life events can render an existing divorce order untenable. If you have experienced a change in income or any other recent event has materially influenced your existing divorce order, the modification process can allow you to petition for a reasonable change. Your Palm Desert divorce lawyer can help you navigate this process and secure the changes you need.
Find Legal Counsel Now
Whether you have been planning on filing for divorce for a long time and have finally taken the first steps to making your divorce official or if your spouse has suddenly filed for divorce with seemingly no warning, the right Palm Desert divorce attorney is the most important asset to haveon your side when you begin the divorce process. The legal team at the Law Offices of Athina K.Powers can provide the legal counsel you need to navigate your divorce case with confidence and reach settlement terms that suit your needs. If you are ready to discuss legal representation for your divorce in Palm Desert or Indian Wells, CA, contact the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers today and schedule a consultation with our team.