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Redondo Beach, California, Family Law Blog

Your California divorce will take time, be prepared

The time that it takes to get married is much faster than the time it takes to get a divorce. When you are ready to end your marriage, you are likely going to take steps to make it happen as quickly as possible. One thing you shouldn't think is that you will be able to divorce instantly.

There are several things that might make your divorce take longer than what you hope it would. You must take these into consideration when you are ready to legally end your union.

How can I get out of a prenuptial agreement?

If you are thinking about getting married, then you no doubt have a lot on your mind. You might be concerned about the ceremony itself, the honeymoon afterwards, and how to pay for it all. Yet, if you have significant assets going into a marriage, then you might also find yourself worried about how to protect your financial interests. Many Californians choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement as a way to settle potential divorce legal issues prior to marriage, but sometimes it might behoove you to try to get out of the agreement at some point after its execution.

There are only a handful of ways that a prenuptial agreement will be found to be invalid. First of all, it is worth noting that these agreements are only legally binding if they are in written form. Oral promises likely won't hold any value in court. Another way that a prenuptial agreement can be rendered invalid is if it is found that you were pressured into signing the agreement. You can also make an argument for invalidation if you were not given enough time to read and properly evaluate the terms of the agreement.

Millennial divorces may be seen in a different light

As the definition of marriage continues to change over time, so, too, does the way that couples divorce. Oftentimes, these differences fall along generational lines. Generally speaking, many view the millennial generation as less loyal to their significant others than older generations. Some experts point to the fact that only about a quarter of all millennials are married as evidence of this point. Regardless of whether this fact is true, it still remains that those millennials who decide to get married and/or divorced need to find a way to go about it in the matter best suited to their circumstances.

For example, many millennials find prenuptial agreements to be a more realistic option than older generations. One reason may be that these individual are typically more educated, so they can better see a prenuptial agreement as a way to preserve wealth rather than a way to draw a line between each spouse. In addition, these individuals often look at prenuptial agreements as a sort of estate planning tool.

Cohabitation agreement may ease property division disputes

Over the last couple of decades, divorce rates seem to be declining. With millennials coming of age, many of them have chosen to put marriage on the back burner to allow them the time and energy to focus on their careers. Yet, even those Redondo residents who aren't married can find themselves facing significant family law issues. This often occurs when a couple has been living together for a significant period of time without getting married.

In these instances, when a couple splits they can face some of the same legal issues that divorcing couples face. Child custody and visitation may be contested and property ownership might be disputed. Although these individuals are free to hash out a resolution on their own, the waters can be muddied without the umbrella of a legal marriage to help address these matters. For example, property acquired during a marriage is considered community property, but what about property bought by one individual in a cohabiting relationship that is used by the couple jointly?

Proposed tax change could make divorce more expensive

Family law is one area of the legal field that tends to remain fairly consistent. While other legal realms such as criminal law are subject to change with the enactment of new statutes or the rulings of higher courts, family law rarely sees these significant changes. However, sometimes changes that may seem unrelated to divorce can actually wind up having a major impact on those who are considering marriage dissolution.

To see one example, one need look no further than the recently proposed tax bill in Congress. That bill contains a section that would disallow individuals from deducting alimony payments. The way federal law stands now, each dollar of alimony paid reduces one's taxable income by a dollar. The proposed legislation, though, would disallow this from occurring, which could mean that those who pay alimony could face a significant financial hit.

Asking for divorce is the foundation for moving forward

You know your marriage is over. You have tried everything to make it work, but for one reason or another you end up in the same place time and time again.

This will lead to a situation in which you have to discuss divorce with your spouse. If the other party is thinking the same way as you, it's much easier to have this conversation.

Disconnect in perception of marital tension may indicate divorce

It's not uncommon for relationships to sour. In fact, a significant number of marriages end in divorce. Statistics regarding the frequency of divorce are abundant, but it has been a little more difficult for researchers to pinpoint why, exactly, divorce occurs. One recently released study hoped to shine light on the subject.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, found that marital tension perceived by wives was a significant indication of divorce. The study took a look at 355 couples for 16 years, finding that marital tension, in general, increased over time. It also found that this tension increased in men more than it did in women. Yet, when women reported high relational tension with their husbands, the rate of divorce was increased. This was especially true when their husbands reported low levels of tension.

Professional help for child custody disputes

Traditionally, the law favors mothers when it comes to child custody issues. Pursuant to birth, mothers are given custody from the get-go, and fathers can only obtain parental rights once paternity is established. Yet, even once paternity is established, some work may need to be done to ensure that a man can secure the relationship he desires with his child. When the parents are unmarried, this may mean taking action in court to obtain visitation and, in some cases, filing a petition to establish and/or modify custody.

Custody battles can be quite heated. After all, these disputes often involve two individuals who care deeply about their children and their children's needs. However, sometimes what parents think is best for their children in reality doesn't further those interests. In these instances, it becomes necessary for the other parent to put forth evidence to convince a judge that custody should be modified.

What should I do after receiving a divorce petition?

Being served with a divorce petition can leave some Californians feeling like they've been hit by a wall of concrete. For others, a divorce filing is no surprise, and it may even be expected. Regardless of how an individual feels about being served with divorce papers, he or she must still figure out how to confront pertinent family law issues. The first step, though, before jumping into property division, child custody, child support, and alimony matters, is to figure out how best to respond to the petition.

There are essentially four ways to respond to a divorce filing. The first way is to do nothing. In this instance, the court will default on the individual, and the petitioner will receive everything that he or she has requested in the petition. The second way is to not respond, but instead enter into a written agreement with one's spouse, delineating how divorce legal issues will be played out moving forward. Although the respondent will still be defaulted, the agreement will be maintained.

What is an annulment and what are its effects?

We've spent a lot of time on this blog discussing various divorce legal issues. These matters can be difficult to deal with, and the ramifications of their outcomes can be far-reaching. Oftentimes, those who are subjected to adverse divorce judgments can suffer emotional and financial losses, both of which can be difficult to overcome post-divorce. For some Californians, though, avoiding having to deal with these matters may be a possibility.

The most effective way to do this is to seek an annulment. An annulment is a legal order that declares that what was once considered a legal marriage is in fact invalid. When an annulment occurs, it is as if the marriage never occurred in the first place. In order to obtain an annulment, though, one of a number of circumstances must be shown. Amongst the most obvious are marriages that result in incest or bigamy. These marriages are never considered legal.

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