San Diego Divorce: An Overview
Certified Family Law Specialist Sarah T. Schaffer, protects and advances her clients’ rights and interests in Divorce, Child Custody & Visitation, Spousal Support and other family law proceedings throughout the San Diego area, whether at the bargaining table in a mediation or in the courtroom in a traditional trial setting.
Why Choose a State Certified Family Law Specialist? (CFLS)
Attorneys may identify themselves as a State “Certified” Specialists in California only if they are certified either by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, or an organization whose certification program has been accredited by the California State Bar. California attorneys who are certified as “Specialists” must have taken and passed a written examination in their specialty field, demonstrated a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfilled ongoing education requirements, and been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work. Certified Family Law Specialist, Sarah T. Schaffer has the proven qualifications that every divorce or family law matter deserves.
When you chose a divorce and family law attorney who is a State Certified Specialist, you know that he or she has devoted those time, energy, study, displayed professionalism noted by fellow attorneys and judges and maintains the highest standards of legal knowledge and ability for their chosen specialty.
Very few attorneys ever earn “certified specialization” in their law section. In fact, fewer than 1 in 200 California attorneys are certified specialists in their law specialty. Considering there are more than 200,000 lawyers in California, it is very difficult to be “certified” such that there are less than 1,000 board certified attorneys in Family Law.
Divorce Mediation, and Litigation
Different couples take different paths to arrive at a divorce. A divorce is a legal process which begins with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of marriage in court and becomes final when the court enters a decree granting the divorce. Depending upon the complexity of issues at trial, the hostility of the parties toward one other, and the valuation of property and its characterization as community property or separate property, this process can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining.
There is an alternative to litigation, however. Mediation is a process where the parties work out their differences between themselves with the assistance of a trained mediator who facilitates communication.
San Diego Divorce Attorney Sarah T. Schaffer is experienced in both approaches, and can help you determine which method is best for you.
Legal Separation in San Diego, CA
Gaining a legal separation in California requires much the same process as does getting a divorce. You have your attorney petition the court and serve your spouse with legal notice, petition for legal separation. A California resident can get a legal separation and have the agreement cover all aspects of the relationship except that it does not change the marital status. Why would someone want a Legal Separation? Most commonly, a Legal Separation is desirable when one of the spouses wants to stay married for religious reasons; or wants to maintain various insurance coverages.
A divorce may be based on the “no-fault” ground of irreconcilable differences between the parties, which does not require one party to prove fault or misconduct on the part of the other spouse. Contact Divorce Lawyer in San Diego: Sarah T. Schaffer.
Classification of property is an important step in the division process. The court has jurisdiction only over the community property of the marital estate, defined as any asset acquired or income earned by a spouse during the marriage. A spouse’s separate property is property acquired before the marriage, as well as gifts or inheritances acquired during marriage by one spouse alone.
The job of the court is to divide all of the marital property as equally as possible. Obviously, some assets such as a single automobile or a marital home that is shared by both spouses cannot be divided equally unless they are sold and the proceeds then divided between the parties. The court may award different assets of roughly equivalent value to the parties. For these reasons, valuation questions are often sticking points and can often become quite contentious.
In a divorce case, the court will make decisions as to both legal and physical custody of minor children. Legal custody is defined as the right to make decisions about the child, while physical custody is defined as having actual custodial care. Custody can be sole or joint, depending upon many factors affecting the best interest of the child. The court will take into account many issues including any history of domestic violence.
The Court cas assist the parties develop a visitation plan that will specify when and how long the child will reside with each parent. When deemed necessary, the court might order visitation to be supervised either by a professional outside agency, another adult, or the custodial parent. In the most extreme situations, the court may deny visitation rights altogether.
Generally, the court will order the higher earning parent to pay a monthly support amount to the parent with less income. This obligation will continue until a child reaches the age of 19, reaches the age of 18 and is no longer a full-time high school student, marries, becomes an emancipated minor or dies. The amount of support is calculated according to a statutory guideline that takes into account a number of factors. Under certain circumstances, your attorney can request the court deviate from a guideline child support order.
While spouses have an inherent obligation to financially support each other during a marriage, the goal with an order of spousal support — also known as alimony or maintenance — is that the party receiving spousal support will become self-supporting within a determined period of time. Support can terminate earlier if the receiving party remarries, and sometimes if the party cohabits with another an the paying spouse has their attorney seek a modification. Whether or not spousal support will be granted and how much will be ordered is based upon a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of the spouses, the unique needs of each spouse, and the calculated expenses related to the adequate support of the children.
A party can bring an action to establish or challenge paternity at any time, although it is typically used during child support proceedings where issues of custody and visitation are being decided.
Premarital Agreements or “Prenuptial Agreements” allow spouses to decide — prior to marriage — how issues of property division and potential future support will be handled in the event of divorce. A premarital agreement must be in writing and must be signed by both parties in order to be valid. Moreover, it must be agreed to voluntarily after a full and fair disclosure of the assets and liabilities of both spouses. Each party (each spouse) must be represented by an attorney in the transaction. Such agreements are time sensitive and require advanced planning before your wedding date.
San Diego Divorce Lawyer Sarah T. Schaffer is experienced in all areas of San Diego Family and Divorce Law and can provide you with the best representation possible. We are here to support you in circumstances such as:
Contact a San Diego Family Law / San Diego Divorce Attorney Today
To find out how an experienced San Diego Family Law Attorney can assist you and your family, contact me, Attorney Sarah T. Schaffer today. Call me at (858) 509-7907.