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The Carmel Valley community in Northern San Diego is an attractive development just minutes from the coast east of the Torrey Pines State Reserve. If you are one of the residents of this scenic area, you probably enjoy many of the amenities that make it such an attractive home for families, including golf courses, shopping, recreation centers, and good schools. Unfortunately, not every family stays together, and when a divorce happens, strong legal representation is essential. For residents of Carmel Valley who need legal advice or representation in a family law matter, the Carmel Valley divorce lawyers at Doppelt and Forney, APLC are prepared to assist.Complicated Issues Arising During Family Law Proceedings
Before a divorce decree can be finalized, a number of issues must be resolved, often including the division of marital assets, spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support.
When it comes to the division of assets, California is a community property state. This means that, under California law, all property acquired by the couple during the marriage—except for gifts and inheritances—is marital property, subject to equal division upon divorce in the absence of a prenuptial agreement that provides otherwise. The same is true of debts: debts acquired during the marriage belong to the community and must be divided equally between the spouses with some exceptions, such as student loan debt.
Consequently, one of the matters that divorcing spouses must address is figuring out which property belongs to the community and which property is the separate property of the respective spouses. Once they determine which assets and debts belong to the community, they must then try to allocate them equally. While not every community asset must be split, the parties must agree on a settlement in which each of them gets an equal share of the total community assets. Otherwise, a court will need to make an allocation for them.
This often requires the parties to obtain appraisals of various items of real estate and personal property. In addition, the parties should also have some understanding of the relative long-term investment value of various assets and debts to make sure that their share of assets truly has the value assigned to it. A Carmel Valley divorce attorney can assist spouses with this process.
For example, a house may appreciate in value or, at least, retain value, while automobiles, boats, motorcycles, and other personal property will generally decline in value. Thus, even if the parties divide up property such that each has “equal” value at the time of the divorce, their respective property holdings might have a widely disparate value just a few years down the road.
Spousal support—often called alimony—must also be addressed in a divorce. Spousal support is money paid by one spouse to the other spouse following the divorce, which provides the lower-earning or non-earning spouse with financial support. It is intended to be a temporary measure that allows time for the payee spouse to acquire the necessary education, training, or skills to be able to support themselves independently. In some cases, particularly in marriages of long standing in which one spouse was the primary breadwinner, spousal support may be imposed for a relatively long term.
In divorce cases involving minor children, child custody and support are treated separately from the divorce itself. Parents must address custody and visitation issues prior to the finalization of the divorce, and each will be required to provide financial support to the children according to their means following the divorce. In all matters dealing with children, California courts will make determinations based upon the “best interests of the child.” In some cases, this means that the court may impose conditions, obligations, or restrictions on custody and visitation that go against the wishes of a parent.Contact a Skilled Divorce Lawyer in Carmel Valley
These are just some of the complexities related to family law proceedings that Carmel Valley residents may encounter when undergoing a divorce. For help with these and any other family law matters, contact one of the attorneys at Doppelt and Forney, APLC at 800.769.4748, or contact us online.