Solana Beach Family Law Blog

Property division involving 401(k) not straightforward process

Getting divorced can quickly take a financial and emotional toll on an individual in California. A major area of concern for those going through divorce is how to handle property division with their retirement funds. Here are a couple of tips for protecting a 401(k) during a divorce proceeding.

First, it is critical to understand the regulations and rules for one's retirement plan. The reason for this is that dividing retirement assets is not like dividing other kinds of assets. Unlike with other assets, the divorce court cannot simply require two divorcing individuals to divide their retirement accounts down the middle. Instead, a summary plan description provides important details regarding how a retirement plan should be split during a divorce proceeding.

Know when you can end child support payments

Your child is approaching their 18th birthday, and you are elated. They're happy, healthy and have reached adulthood. You couldn't be more proud.

Another huge benefit of your child reaching 18 is that you believe you can stop paying child support. You don't intend to stop taking care of your child, but not having that monthly withdrawal from your accounts makes you feel great.

Child support is modifiable based on circumstances

Divorce is understandably a complicated emotional process in California, particularly when it involves young children. Families differ in how they handle child custody. However, courts usually require the noncustodial parent to make child support payments to the other parent so that the custodial parent does not have to financially support the children on his or her own. Here are a couple of important things to remember about child support.

First, child support can always be modified. Calculations for child support are usually based on both parents' incomes, the quantity of children being supported and how much time both parents spend with their children. Courts might also take into consideration spousal support and who covers costs such as school expenses, health insurance and child care. No matter which formula is used, the decision of the court can be changed as the parents' financial or health circumstances change.

Property division can impact financial wellness long term

Money matters can be complicated to address during divorce proceedings in California. The reason for this is that divorcing spouses must figure out all of the assets they share and then how to go about property division, including debt division. Still, a couple of tips might help those facing these concerns to protect their financial situations following divorce.

First, defining one's post-divorce goals is paramount. As an example, an individual may decide to return to school and switch careers to achieve his or her financial vision for the future. This is a big decision, though, so approaching it carefully rather than with urgency is wise. Speaking with a financial advisor may help a person to think through such a decision and figure out how to get in the best shape financially long term.

The myths about divorce mediation in California

Television is great for fantasy shows. The problem is some people who watch TV take a lot of what they see at face value, including what happens during the divorce process and what divorce mediation entails. California residents should know that there are a few myths perpetuated by TV dramas and movies regarding divorce. The first inaccuracy is that a divorce mediator will tend to favor the spouse who appears to be more dominant.

Another misconception is that lawyers may not be a part of the process and can't protect their clients during mediation. Lawyers can provide a client with direction, review any potential decisions made and generally make sure a client's best interests are taken care of. When individuals partaking in the mediation process believe the mediator will ensure a positive outcome that is fair for both parties, they are mistaken. A mediator helps the two people make those important decisions and does not have a vested interest in the way a final agreement looks.

Property division, career change may spark concern during divorce

Financial issues can quickly become a source of contention during a divorce proceeding in California. However, in addition to worrying about matters such as property division, a divorcing individual may be concerned about his or her career trajectory during and after the divorce proceeding. In some situations, people going through divorce may consider beginning new careers so that they can better meet their families' needs. Here is a look at the pros and cons of making a career shift during divorce.

A major benefit of switching careers while getting divorced is that the new career may come with less overtime or travel, which may be especially helpful for parents of young children. A new job might also allow a person to more easily go to doctor's appointments or participate in school functions. For stay-at-home parents, jumping into careers outside of the home can help them to establish themselves financially and gain the confidence they need as they move forward from their divorce proceedings.

Fighting it out? Try arbitration instead

Arbitration can be a wonderful tool in divorces as a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). With ADR techniques, it's possible to avoid going to trial over concerns during your divorce, instead turning to other professionals to help you.

Arbitration has benefits and downsides, just like anything in life. The benefits may make it worth the trouble, though, if you are involved in a somewhat contentious divorce.

Property division fears common during divorce

When spouses in California opt to get a divorce, they may naturally feel stressed out and fearful of the future. This is because they may not know how their approach to property division and child custody, for example, will affect their futures. However, they may more easily overcome their fears by jotting down what scares them about divorce and then creating solutions for dealing with these issues.

As an example, maybe a person going through divorce would like to stay in the couple's marital home long term. This individual can talk to his or her attorney about the options available or staying in the home. For instance, he or she could buy out his or her partner. The attorney may also advise the divorcing party to sell the house and buy a less expensive one with the proceeds from the sale.

Conflict over family home can complicate property division

Ending a marriage in California can easily present financial challenges, particularly when high-value assets -- like a house -- are involved. For instance, two divorcing spouses who are tackling property division may not agree on what to do with their house, which is often a couple's biggest shared asset. Here is a glimpse at two courses of action they can take with the house.

First, one spouse may choose to stay in the house due to his or her emotional connection to the home. Also, this person may plan to pursue physical custody of the children and thus may wish to remain at the home to avoid uprooting the children. In this case, buying out the other individual may be in his or her best interest.   

Property division does not have to cause conflict during divorce

The divorce process is never an easy time mentally or financially. This is particularly the case when two spouses are experiencing hurt or anger. However, some tips may help these individuals to tackle issues like property division and alimony in the most peaceful manner possible in California.

First, when getting divorced, two spouses might want to try to remain respectful of each other. This can be especially difficult if the cause of divorce is adultery or drug addiction, for example. Still, if the pair decide to drag out their divorce battle at trial, this can cause them extra emotional pain, as well as physical and financial strain. This is why staying civil is so critical during the divorce process.

In Solana Beach and throughout the greater San Diego area, Ratzer Family Law is your best choice for experienced representation with personalized service. Contact us online or call 858-925-8099 today.


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