At the Land Legal Group, our divorce attorneys in Los Angeles understand that dissolving your marriage is a deeply personal decision, wrought with details that only pertain to you, your spouse, and your overall family dynamics.
Despite how private a divorce really is, many people cannot help but discuss how theirs played out, which leads to a lot of stories, speculation, and misconceptions when it is time for another couple to pursue their own journey.
To avoid approaching divorce with preconceived notions about how it is going to proceed, to follow are five common misunderstandings about divorce in California.
Misconception #1: Divorcing Spouses Split All Property Down the Middle
Of all the misunderstandings about how divorce works, this is the biggest: Each spouse gets half.
Property division in California is called equitable distribution, which means it must be fair, not even.
That means each spouse’s financial standing will be considered when it is time to distribute their assets and debts, which may leave the person with higher means holding more of the debt.
Next, the division turns to marital and non-marital property, which are assets you acquired during the marriage, and those you brought into the partnership, respectively. The latter remains with its original owner, no matter how long you two have been married.
Misconception #2: Spousal Support Will Be Awarded to One of You
First, it important to point out that either spouse no matter their gender may be awarded spousal support if he or she can show an actual need for financial support during and/or after the divorce.
Spousal support, while certainly a possibility in California divorces, is meant to provide financial maintenance when there is a serious income imbalance between the two spouses, but it is not guaranteed or automatically awarded.
Misconception #3: The Mother Will Get Custody of the Children
When divorcing couples are unable to outline a parenting plan on their own, our California Family Law Courts will focus on awarding joint child custody and equal parenting time, based on the best interests of the child.
Gone are the days when the mother was automatically awarded custody, and dads took over every other weekend.
Misconception #4: You Cannot See Your Kids if You are Behind on Child Support Payments
Child custody and child support are only linked by the amount of time the kids spend with each parent, as that is just one of the measuring factors when determining the amount.
However, if the noncustodial parent does not pay child support, or falls behind on child support, that does not give the custodial parent the right to withhold visitation.
Likewise, if the custodial parent is withholding visitation for any reason, the noncustodial parent does not have the right to withhold child support.
They are two separate issues with different rules and standards, and one has no bearing on the other.
Misconception #5: You Do Not Need a Divorce Attorney in California
Many spouses assume that since California is a no-fault divorce state, they have nothing to prove during the proceedings, so there is no reason to partner with a divorce attorney.
No matter how amicable your divorce, you will need an experienced divorce attorney to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process, and that no detail is left to chance during mediation negotiations.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on any of your divorce details, you will need an attorney to litigate your case inside the courtroom.
You may know what you want out of your divorce, but it is going to be difficult to achieve on your own.
Our Los Angeles divorce attorney will guide you through the process with an experienced and knowledgeable approach to producing a positive outcome.
Contact Our Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles at the Land Legal Group (310) 552-3500
If you are pursuing divorce and have questions about how the process will unfold, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at the Land Legal Group today at (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique needs.