Proficient Divorce Lawyers in Mountain View, CA
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we use an individualized approach. Our focus is meeting your expectations, protecting your interests, calming your fears, and providing you with the sound advice you need. Let an experienced Mountain View Divorce Attorney manage your divorce, child custody, and child support issues. We will treat you with the respect you deserve and keep all of your information confidential.
Speak with one of our attorneys today about any divorce issue, including the following:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Division of marital property, debts, and assets
- Spousal support
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we want to serve you so you can meet your family’s needs. No matter what stage of the divorce process you are in, you can count on our Mountain View family law attorneys for support and guidance.
How Will a Mountain View Divorce Lawyer Help?
A family law attorney in Mountain View will know exactly how to navigate your divorce case for the best possible outcome. Your attorney will work toward your goals using proven legal strategies and tactics while you focus on your future. A law firm will also have exceptional resources to help support your divorce case, such as connections to experts and assistants who can make the divorce filing process easy.
When you hire a divorce attorney, you protect yourself and your rights with a strong legal representative who is obligated to serve your best interests. Your lawyer can increase the odds of reaching a divorce settlement and avoiding a long and costly trial. Your lawyer can also decrease the emotional stress that divorce takes on you and your family, such as by addressing your concerns. Working with an experienced divorce lawyer in Mountain View can result in a more positive case outcome and a better overall legal experience for your family.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Mountain View
One of the steps toward getting a divorce in Mountain View is making sure that this is the right option for you. Some couples find that legal separation is a better alternative for various reasons. If you wish to retain some of the benefits associated with being married, for example, such as insurance benefits or health care, legal separation can allow you to live your own life while still receiving these benefits, as you will remain married on paper.
If there is a chance of reconciling with your spouse, legal separation is also the better choice, as it is easy to reverse the separation and restore your marriage. Divorce, on the other hand, is final. Getting legally separated can be a good in-between step to take before getting divorced, as well. It can give you the chance to separate your finances, credit and bank accounts and start building your own finances. It can also lead to you and your spouse creating a settlement agreement or getting a judgment for your separation. This can make it easier to get a divorce later.
There are other legal options besides divorce and legal separation. You may qualify for an annulment, for example, meaning that in the eyes of the law, your marriage never happened. Nullifying a marriage invalidates the union, restoring you to “single” status. An annulment may be an option if your marriage was never legally valid, such as in a case involving bigamy, incest, one or more parties who were under the age of 18 and did not have parental permission to marry, fraud, or coercion.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA
In California, neither spouse is at fault for a divorce. Instead, marriages end due to irreconcilable differences or an irreparable breakdown of the marriage. This makes California a “no-fault” divorce state.
There are residence requirements to divorce in California. One spouse must reside in California for six months before filing for a divorce. They must also live in the county in which they file for divorce for three months before filing.
The residency mandates do not apply to same-sex couples married in California but living in a state that does not recognize same-sex divorce. However, the California divorce orders may not be enforceable in the home states of these couples.
When spouses cannot meet minimum California residency requirements, they may file for legal separation then amend their filing to divorce once they meet residency requirements. No divorce is final until ordered so by a judge. The minimum waiting period for a divorce is six months.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Mountain View
A divorce in Mountain View will either be contested or uncontested. The difference lies in whether you and your spouse can work together to craft the terms of your divorce. If you are able to agree on all the major issues – every single detail of your divorce case – you will have an uncontested divorce. Otherwise, your divorce will be contested.
With an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will retain autonomy over the decisions of your case. You and your spouse will have the power to determine things such as child custody, child support, visitation and property division. If you can both compromise on these matters, a judge in Santa Clara will sign off on the settlement you create without you needing to go to trial. Achieving an uncontested divorce can save you time and money by keeping you out of the courtroom. It can also help you keep your divorce more private and confidential.
If you cannot agree together on the terms of your divorce, you and your spouse will have a contested divorce case. You will need to go before a judge in Santa Clara and allow him or her to determine the terms of the dissolution in this case. The final decisions will be out of your hands. Do not let your spouse pressure you to agree to his or her terms, however. Use an attorney to help you negotiate while protecting your rights.
CHILD CUSTODY DURING A DIVORCE IN MOUNTAIN VIEW
When California courts make child custody decisions, their primary focus is the best interests of the children and the custodial parent’s ability to care for the child. There are two types of custody in California, physical and legal.
Legal custody pertains to the ability to make essential decisions in the child’s life, such as healthcare, religious, and educational matters. Physical custody is simply with which parent the child physically lives or stays.
Courts evaluate child custody using the following criteria:
- The age of the child;
- The health of the child;
- The emotional ties between either parent and the child;
- The ability of the parents to care for the child (emotionally, physically or financially);
- Any history of family violence and/or substance abuse; and
- The child’s ties to the school, home, and/or their community.
Courts give no preference to a parent when awarding custody due to their sex, lifestyle, sexual orientation, or religion.
CHILD SUPPORT DURING DIVORCE IN MOUNTAIN VIEW
Every parent has a legal responsibility to support their child(ren). Child support is a court-ordered monthly payment to cover the expenses of rearing a child. Family law judges use California child support guidelines when determining child support orders.
The amount of time each parent physically spends with the child and parents’ income levels determines support amounts. Parents’ are legally bound to support a child through:
- The age of 18 and graduation from high school (although a child who is a full-time high school student or part-time student due to a medical condition will continue to receive support);
- The age of 19 years old; or
- Marriage, death, or legal emancipation.
If a child is disabled or cannot support themselves, the court may order the parents to provide continuous support for that child.
DIVISION OF PROPERTY DURING A MOUNTAIN VIEW DIVORCE
In California, all property is separate property or community property. Property acquired after the marriage is owned together and subject to equal division. Anything owned before the marriage, obtained after a legal separation or received as an inheritance or gift, is separate property.
Community property includes the following:
- Spousal income during the marriage such as salary, interest income, stock dividends, capital gains, and retirement accounts;
- All real estate and personal property acquired during the marriage using marital income; and
- All debts incurred during the marriage.
The spouses may agree on another division of property in an uncontested divorce. If the couple cannot agree on property division and the case goes to trial, California’s community property law will split all marital assets and debts in half, 50/50, whether or not this is fair for either party.
Spousal Support in Mountain View, California
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a series of payments made by one spouse to the other both during and after the court finalizes the divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to allow the lower-earning spouse to maintain a similar standard of living to the one they enjoyed prior to the divorce.
California courts have the power to order temporary, rehabilitative or permanent spousal support.
- Temporary spousal support: Support lasts from the date granted to the end of the divorce. Temporary support is a means to cover living expenses to a lower-earning spouse during the divorce process. Judges use California child support guidelines to calculate temporary spousal support.
- Rehabilitative support: Rehabilitative support allows a lower-earning spouse time to learn new job skills or training and re-enter the workplace. The goal of rehabilitative support is for the lower-earning spouse to become self-supporting.
- Permanent spousal support: The court orders permanent spousal support in cases of a long-term marriage.
In any spousal support case, one spouse needs support, and the other spouse has the ability to pay support. Without these two factors, the court will not entertain a request for spousal support.
Timeline for Mountain View Divorces
The length of time your divorce in Mountain View will take from start to finish depends on the specific circumstances of the case. One of the largest factors is whether you have a contested vs. uncontested divorce. A contested divorce will take longer, as you will need to wait for an opening in the courts for your trial date. Many other factors could also play a role in how long your case takes, such as California’s waiting period. A lawyer can give you a timeline tailored to your specific case.
- Step 1. File your Divorce Petition and await a response. You or your spouse will initiate the dissolution of marriage by filing a Petition with the county court where you live. The Petitioner will then wait for a Response from the Respondent.
- Step 2. Response and negotiations. The Respondent has 30 days from receiving the Petition to issue a response. After the Response, your lawyer may schedule a divorce hearing or mediation.
- Step 3. Negotiate during the waiting period. California has a mandatory waiting period of six months from the date of the service of the Petition. You and your spouse can use this time to negotiate the terms of the divorce and exchange information.
- Step 4. Resolve the case or go to court. If you and your spouse have agreed to a settlement by the end of the six-month waiting period, a judge will typically make your split official. Otherwise, you will need to go to court.
- Step 5. Go to divorce trial in Santa Clara. If necessary, you will have to wait for your court date to come around. Then, you and your attorney can present your case at trial and receive a judgment.
Your divorce will take at least six months in California, as no couple can avoid the six-month waiting period. If you need longer to negotiate the terms of your divorce or carry out a divorce trial, your case could take one to two years or longer to complete. Hiring an attorney can help you keep your divorce as efficient as possible. Your lawyer will take care of filing requirements and confusing paperwork for you, as well as work with you and your spouse to facilitate faster and more successful compromises. Ask an attorney from The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. for a custom timeline of your particular case.
Steps to Take Before a Divorce in Mountain View
Before starting your divorce case in Mountain View, take the following steps, if you can, to protect your legal rights and help ensure a more positive case outcome:
- Hire a divorce attorney as soon as possible.
- If you have children, do not move out of your family home.
- Remove all personal and financial records and property from your marital home if you have to move.
- Do not post about your spouse or your divorce case on social media.
- Do not hide or move your children.
- Keep a journal of your day-to-day interactions and communications with your spouse.
- Do not sign any legal documents sent to you without first consulting with a lawyer.
- If you fear for your own life or your child’s safety, have a lawyer help you get a protective order.
- Call the police if you have an emergency involving domestic violence.
THE SCHOENBERG FAMILY LAW GROUP, P.C., COMPASSIONATE MOUNTAIN VIEW DIVORCE ATTORNEY
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., our attorneys are experienced advocates who will provide you with the effective guidance and representation you deserve. We care about your family and your future and work hard to keep you informed at all times. Contact us today!
We will compassionately listen to your issues and champion your cause, whether it is protecting your children, achieving a just financial outcome, or navigating the divorce process efficiently. The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., is here for you.