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

San Jose Family Law Blog

Assets, debts and your divorce

People in California who are married and make the tough choice to get divorced might wonder how the state's laws about community property might impact their divorce. Some may feel this could be a good thing for them as it means assets obtained during the marriage might be equally owned by and divided between both spouses. While this may be true, it is also true that the debts incurred during the divorce may be viewed as equally owned and thereby divided equally between both spouses.

As explained by Money Management International, credit card debt can plague divorced spouses if they do not manage it properly from the beginning of their divorce. If it best for a couple to cancel or freeze their joint accounts from the outset of their separation or divorce. This prevents any further debt from being amassed. It is also wise for a couple to pay off joint debt before they finalize their divorce.

How can you avoid dividing 401(k) plans during divorce?

Your retirement accounts are not all yours when it comes to California divorce law. If you or your spouse have a significant 401(k) or IRA investment, it would probably be divided. This is one of the most frequent sources of contention between divorcing spouses, but it does not have to be that way for you. 

Below you may find two common paths for dividing retirement assets or pensions. However, these simple solutions may not be the best way forward for you and your spouse. More specific strategies could be an option, but they would require a high level of cooperation and attention to detail.

What factors cause an increase in gray divorce?

While you may enter into marriage with the belief of staying together forever, a surprising number of marriages end in separation or divorce. The growing trend of gray divorce is proof that even marriages that have lasted for decades can end in divorce. More couples over the age of 50 are filing to terminate their marriages than ever before.

A study released by Bowling Green State University found that while 1 in 10 people over the age of 50 filed for divorce in 1990, 1 in 4 of this population filed in 2011, and the numbers continue to grow. What is the cause for this increase in divorce for people later in life?

Dealing with an abusive ex

When it comes to family law, handling your affairs can be tough for many reasons. Some people are uncertain whether they should move forward with a particular idea (such as moving to a new city with their child after splitting up with their spouse), and many people feel stressed out by the entire process. Some people, however, have a particularly difficult time when it comes to family law issues. For example, those who have been subjected to domestic violence may be worried about their own safety or the well-being of their kids, not to mention many struggle with mental trauma in the wake of abuse.

If you have an abusive ex, it is pivotal to take whatever steps are necessary to protect yourself and your kids. This may mean moving forward with a restraining order, moving to another state or looking into other options that may be open to you. Some people are hesitant to take such actions, but ultimately you should do whatever you must to ensure that you are safe.

What happens to the pet in a California divorce?

When you make the difficult decision to split from your California spouse, you will undoubtedly need to work through certain issues, such as how you will split custody, if applicable, and whether you will pay or receive alimony once your divorce becomes final. Increasingly, though, many California couples navigating their way through divorces must also figure out what to do about another important matter: who will keep the family pet.

According to NBC News, a new state law that took effect earlier this year is striking a chord with animal activists because it asks judges to consider the family pet in a similar manner they would a child. In other words, the new law dictates that California judges must now consider what might be “in the best interests of the pet” when determining who gets to keep it after the divorce.

Being there for your kids after divorce

What is the most important time you have with your child? While holidays or big vacations are important, joyful times, you would probably agree that there is more to parenthood than the big events.

Watching children grow, helping them succeed and supporting them when they need help: These activities define parenthood. When facing divorce — at that moment when you realize you may not be there for all these important little moments — it is completely natural to want to fight harder for custody over the holidays, birthdays or for other major milestones. However, reasons exist why you may want to take a more collaborative approach.

Tips for a low-stress divorce

If you and your spouse have not been getting along for a while, and you are considering divorce in San Jose, there is a good chance neither of you want the process to be difficult and stressful. While a break up is never fun, ending a marriage comes with many layers and has the potential to be stress-filled. The good news is it is possible to go through a divorce without it taking a toll on either of your emotional states.

According to The Guardian, there are modern ways to deal with divorce that are more amicable and make the process seem less daunting, especially if no one is especially to blame for the break up. Following the lead of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, more couples are choosing to respect and love their ex as they are going through a divorce and minimizing things that increase conflict. If there are children, maintaining the family home and having the parents move during custody time can keep stress at minimum for the young ones.

Preventing divorce from destroying a child's focus in school

When parents in San Jose make the difficult decision to separate and get divorced, one of their primary concerns is often the well-being and understanding of their young children. Balancing how to disclose information about the split without divulging too many details that the child may be unprepared to hear, is one of the biggest challenges that many parents face. 

Children will respond to the news of their parents' separation in very different ways depending on their gender, age, personality and even based on the relationships they have with each of their parents. Divorcing couples should be prepared to witness their child's frustrations as they request answers to difficult questions. Some of the changes that parents may notice are that their child is confused, apprehensive, scared or unable to focus. The latter issue can be an especially difficult challenge if children are unable to focus in school. 

What steps can you take to prevent international child abduction?

When you live in California and have a child with someone from another nation, you may face unique challenges if the relationship between you and your one-time partner turns particularly sour or acrimonious. More specifically, you may have justifiable concerns about your former partner attempting to abduct your child and take him or her to the other parent’s country of origin, at which point getting your child back can prove especially difficult.

There are, however, per the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, some preemptive steps you can take to help prevent your child’s other parent from taking him or her overseas without your permission. Arguably one of the most effective and important things you should do if you are facing such a scenario is attempt to secure either a custody decree or a court order that will help keep your child on U.S. soil.

How to know if your spouse is hiding marital property

Whether you are currently going through a divorce or just thinking about starting the process, there are many factors to consider. Property division may be one of the most difficult issues to tackle, as it can be hard to part with property and possessions that you have accumulated throughout years of marriage. Although both parties are required to disclose all property and assets amassed during the divorce, one party may be tempted to hide marital property in order to get full access to it once the divorce is finalized.

You should be aware of how to spot the signs that your spouse is hiding martial property from you, so that you can minimize the chances of losing property in the divorce. Some red flags indicating your spouse is hiding marital property may occur if he or she:

  •          Has complete control of financial accounts, including passwords
  •          Receives statements in a P.O. Box that you do not have access to
  •          Suddenly deletes a program used to keep financial information
  •          Reports a sudden decrease in investments or stocks
  •          Owns more than one cellphone

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