Each state has its own law that applies to dissolution of marriage and relating to the property owned by the couple during the marriage. California courts have developed specific requirements and expectations relating to child custody, child support, spousal support, asset valuation, and distribution of marital property.
Under California’s community property laws, assets and debts spouses acquire during marriage belong equally to both of them, and they must divide them equally in divorce. There are three crucial steps to the process:
- Determine whether the property (or debt) is marital or separate
- Agree on a value for marital property, and
- Decide how to divide the property.
California law favors joint physical and legal custody when both parents agree to it. If they don’t agree, there is no starting presumption either for or against joint custody. Instead, the court has the widest discretion possible to design a parenting plan that is in a child’s best interests.
California state law dictates that permanent spousal support is determined by carefully reviewing numerous factors. The court has tremendous discretion in setting alimony therefore if you are unable to settle or resolve this issue, your attorney needs to develop detailed evidence for every factor impacting the extent to which spousal support will or will not be provided.
Far from undermining trust, the process of drafting and negotiating a prenuptial agreement may, in fact, strengthen your relationship. The process requires a full disclosure of your financial situation and involves an open and honest discussion about how you will handle your money and plan your future.