Law Office of Lily L. Huang
More Than A Decade Of Family Law Experience

San Jose Family Law Blog

Understanding community property

A number of people in California and throughout the United States end their marriage by filing for divorce. During the process, they are forced to separate their marital items, or the property and finances they accumulated during the time they were married. When considering this marital or community property, most people think of the family vehicles, homes, furniture and the money in the savings account. There are, however, many other marital items that divorcing couples may not think of. Some of the property and assets that often get overlooked could total a considerable amount of money.

Couples should keep in mind the following items when separating property in a divorce. Lottery ticket winnings, term life insurance policies, tax refunds, benefits from past employers and capital loss carryover are just a few assets that could be considered marital property. Furthermore, expensive collections, including art, antiques, coins, horses, cars and furniture may also be divided between parties in a divorce settlement. Points that are accumulated on memberships or travel reward points may be divided as well.

Can you get an annulment instead of a divorce?

If you are in a California marriage from which you want to extricate yourself, divorce is the obvious answer. However, you may qualify for an annulment instead, based on the particular circumstances of your marriage.

As the California Courts System explains, if you get your marriage annulled, this means that it never happened because it was never legally valid in the first place.

How to amicably work through a divorce

Residents in San Jose have several options when it comes to divorce. Though some couples choose to take their case through the court system or cannot find a way to make agreements on their own, amicable divorce is an option open to many others.

For those who have a little bit of trouble with communication but are on overall decent terms, FindLaw brings up the possibility of divorce mediation. With this option, a neutral third party steps in. It's their job to help both halves of the couple reach an agreement that is beneficial to all involved, including potential children. It is not their duty to make decisions on behalf of the couple or enforce any decisions made. They are only there to ensure that things don't get too heated or end in an unfair outcome.

Can you change your divorce order after it is final?

Usually, the finalization of divorce brings relief. Even though dealing with an ex may still be necessary, the court proceedings, negotiations and legal paperwork are over, freeing up more time, effort and money for post-divorce life.

However, what if circumstances change? Is your divorce decree permanent in California? Some things are very difficult to change, but other aspects you can modify through the legal system so they accommodate your current situation.

Can I spend child support on gifts and other non-essentials?

After you begin receiving child support payments, you may feel as if your life is being watched under a microscope. Your ex-spouse makes assumptions as to how you spend the money and criticizes your financial habits. You may worry if your ex can dictate how to spend child support or whether the court will get involved. This is not an uncommon fear for many California parents who receive child support.

According to FindLaw, the purpose of child support is to provide for your children’s needs. You may not realize that family law courts consider children’s emotional needs to be important, as well as their physical requirements. You understand that you can use child support for such necessities as food, clothing, rent, utilities and medicine. You may also feel no misgivings spending the money on household items, school supplies and tutoring or saving it for a future emergency.

Bitcoin: hiding assets electronically

At the Law Office of Lily L. Huang in California, we sympathize with you if you strongly suspect that your spouse is attempting to hide marital assets from you so that (s)he will obtain a better property settlement than (s)he would if your family’s true financial situation were known. While suspicious spouses have struggled for years to discover and document hidden assets, today’s technology makes it even more difficult to do so. Are you aware of Bitcoin?

Per BlockGeeks.com, Bitcoin is the oldest and most popular of today’s cryptocurrencies, those ever more ubiquitous virtual currencies that people can buy, sell, invest in, obtain goods and services with, and easily hide from others. Unlike “real” money that you can see and touch, cryptocurrencies exist only as computer file entries.

Tips for dividing business assets

Whether young and in love or widowed and remarrying, most California couples with the starry-eyed gaze of fresh romance never dream of it ending. Sometimes they decide to take on another big risk, and the life partners become business partners, building their hopes on big dreams. 

Is going into business with a spouse a good idea? Some would say it depends. Business.com suggests it is not a problem, but the partners should think through the setup process carefully for the best chance at achieving the dreams they are building.

Will you have to pay manimony when you divorce?

At the Law Office of Lily L. Huang in California, we know that times have changed when it comes to alimony. Whereas these moneys once were paid only by men to their ex-wives, today both men and women can receive alimony when they divorce. Consequently, the payments no longer go by the name of alimony, but rather spousal support. In fact, when a woman makes these payments to her ex-husband, the Women’s Institute for Financial Education says their nickname is manimony

If you have heard your mother or grandmother talk about the Women’s Movement of the 1970s, you know that women have long sought equality with men, especially when it comes to equal pay for equal work. Much progress has occurred in this area during the past 40 years, as have the roles that men and women assume when they become husband and wife. For instance, a 2012 Pew Research study found that approximately two million men are stay-at-home dads while their wives work. A subsequent 2013 study found that in 40 percent of American households, the woman is the leading, if not the only, breadwinner.

Why joint custody usually is the best arrangement

Times have changed in California and across the nation when it comes to post-divorce custody arrangements. The prevailing opinion of courts, child psychology experts and parents alike used to be that children, especially young ones, should live with their mothers and only visit their fathers after a divorce. However, today’s prevailing opinion is that your children thrive best when they spend as much time as possible with both you and your ex-spouse.

Recent studies show that your children will benefit from maintaining a close, loving parent-child relationship with both of you after your divorce in the following ways:

  • They will suffer less stress, anxiety and depression at the breakup of your family.
  • They will continue to have both a strong mother figure and a strong father figure to emulate and from whom to learn life’s lessons.
  • They will do better academically.
  • They will be less likely to smoke, drink, use drugs or otherwise give in to peer pressure.
  • They will have a better relationship with their extended family, yours and that of your ex-spouse.

What do your kids need when you and your spouse split up?

Kids in California often get the raw end of the deal when parents make the difficult decision to split up. Adults get all the say when their relationship is on the line, and the youngest ones in the family just have to go along for the ride. Somehow it does not seem fair, and your kids might tell you that if they are honest about what is going on in their heads and hearts.

So what can you do as a parent to help your children navigate when your marriage - their world - is disintegrating? KidsHealth - a site set up by the Center for Children's Health Media, a function of The Nemours Foundation - offers some advice.

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