La Jolla Divorce Lawyer

A divorce is not a single-moment event. What leads to and what follows a divorce is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a person. Questions about children, family, safety, security, finances, property, and homes are unanswered. A La Jolla Divorce Lawyer understands the heaviness of an uncertain future, and they will try to answer those questions for you before they become overwhelming.

Moving forward depends on having the answers and resolving the issues. We are here to make that happen. Divorce is complicated, but finding the right legal team is not. Contact Ratzer Dobis today. We can help.

Why Choose Ratzer Dobis for a Divorce Case?

  • Our firm is focused on easing this difficult time for our clients so that they come through their divorce successfully and with as little stress as we can provide.
  • Jim Ratzer and Morgan Dobis are certified legal specialists in family law. They offer cost-effective legal services paired with effective communication.
  • We grasp how the outcome of your divorce will affect you in the future, and we want to ensure that you thrive in the future.

Divorcing When Children are Involved

Typically, divorces in La Jolla award the parents’ joint custody. Both parents play an equal part in deciding how to best parent the children. Together the divorcing parents will make choices for their children concerning:

  • Residences
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Schools and Educational Concerns

With joint custody, the child could reside in one home, but visitation is allowed to the other parents. But, often, joint physical custody is decided to be in the best interest of the child.

Child support may be ordered if one of the parents spends more time with the children or if a parent makes less money. If the parents have a similar income and divide their time with the child equitably, there is not a need for child support.

Division of Property

Behind children and custody battles, property distribution is one of the most contested parts of a divorce. California, unlike a lot of states, is a “community property” state according to Family Code 760. The state uses three steps to determine that the property is evenly divided.

  1. It must be determined whether the property in question was marital property or was owned by one of the individuals in the marriage.
  2. The property value must be evaluated.
  3. A determination about how it will be divided is made.

Sometimes, the waters get muddy when it comes to deciding if the property belongs to one or both parties. It seems like it would be clear. For instance, if a person owns a business outright, the thinking would follow that the property was all theirs in a divorce. But, if the other partner contributed to the building of the business and this caused an increase in its value, then the contributing partner may have a stake in the business as well.

Another time that property rights can be unclear can be when an inheritance is involved. It would seem that heir to an estate would own the property they inherited. But, an inheritance can easily be absorbed and merged with marital assets. When that inheritance is used on family expenses, it is considered fully or partially marital property.

Once the property is divided, that cannot be modified. Each partner can take forth from the marriage the property they have been assigned. Different standards apply to spousal support.

When is Spousal Support Applicable?

When one spouse earns more than the other, the spouse who makes less money may be awarded spousal support. This could be a temporary award or permanent, with factors like the length of the marriage coming into play. There are a few questions that are asked in order to determine the amount of spousal support that will be owed.

  • What sort of education does the spouse receiving support have?
  • What sorts of employment opportunities are available locally?
  • Was the spouse’s career stalled or stopped altogether because they chose to care for the children of the marriage?

As mentioned above, once the marital property is divided, that is a done deal. The same is not quite true for spousal support. The amount paid can be modified when life changes make it appropriate.

These circumstances can warrant modification of the spousal support agreement:

  • Involuntary wage decrease
  • Loss of employment
  • Illness or Disability
  • Salary increases for the former spouse who receives the alimony
  • Remarriage or cohabitation of the spouse on the receiving end of the spousal support

Insignificant changes will not be heard from the court in most circumstances. Your La Jolla divorce attorney can offer guidance if you feel that there is cause to renegotiate an alimony judgment.

High Net Worth Divorces

Property division becomes much more complicated when high-net-worth individuals are involved. A high net-worth divorce involves a million dollars or more in liquid assets.

Residential homes, commercial real estate, and certain personal businesses are not included in determining a high net worth divorce. These assets will be considered, discussed, and possibly redistributed as well.

Prenuptial Agreements

In a high net-worth divorce, your Divorce attorney in La Jolla understands how prenuptial agreements work and can offer you the advice you need if one is in place in your marriage. In California, they can be contested for a few reasons. These include:

  • An agreement that was signed under duress can be contested. If fraud, force, or manipulation led to the signing of the prenup, it could be overturned.
  • Some prenuptial agreements are unfair from the beginning. When the challenging party did not have access to knowledge about their future spouse’s assets and financial obligations, and they did not waive the right to such knowledge and could not access the information, then the prenuptial will likely be contested.
  • At the time of the signing, if the challenging partner did not have the mental capacity to do so legally, the courts may overturn the agreement.
  • Suppose the spouse agreeing to the prenuptial contract was drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of the signing. In that case, this will nullify the agreement because of mental incapacitation.
  • Both potential spouses need an attorney present when a prenuptial contract is signed. Each participant can sign a separate agreement to waive that. But, if legal representation were one-sided at the time of the signing, it would be contested.

A prenuptial agreement in a high-value divorce will be under strict scrutiny. Your divorce lawyer in La Jolla is ready to look over your case, analyze it and offer their services throughout your divorce.

Your La Jolla Divorce Attorney is Ready to Help

Ratzer Dobis understands how complicated a divorce can be. We are here to help you with custody agreements, division of property, high-value divorces, prenuptial agreements, and more. Contact a divorce attorney in La Jolla now so we can begin supporting you during this difficult time.


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