Family Law in California encompasses the areas of Divorce, Division of Property, Child Custody and Child Visitation, Child Support and Spousal Support. At Ritter & LeClere A.P.C. Attorneys at Law
, we understand the importance of your family and we are here to help you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. We will endeavor to make the process of divorce as smooth and stress free for you as we can. We will provide you with legal advice based on the current status of the law and inform you of your options. We understand these legal decisions can impact your family for the rest of your life and have a profound impact on your relationship with your children.
There are two types of divorce in the State of California. If you both agree on everything then you and your spouse can have an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce the Court does not make the decision on how to divide your property or determine how your children will be shared between you. You can agree to Spousal Support and even agree to Child Support so long as neither party is applying for or receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children and both parties have been advised of the State Mandated Minimum Child Support guideline. You can never legally agree to terminate Child Support or make it nonmodifiable so long as the minor child is under 18 years of age but you can reserve jurisdiction on the amount under certain circumstances if both parties agree to it.
If you and your spouse can not agree then you have a contested divorce. In a contested divorce the Court makes the decisions over how your assets and debts will be divided and what the child custody and visitation arrangements will be. The Court will also set temporary Spousal Support if it is requested and temporary Child Support if requested. The Court will use the Child Support formula to determine what the appropriate amount of support should be both as temporary support and permanent Child Support in the Judgment. The Court will apply the factors listed in Family Code Section 4320, relevant case law and will determine permanent spousal support.
In a legal separation, the parties do not divorce but live separate and apart from one another. Their assets and debts are divided, spousal support and child support are set and the Court sets forth the terms by which the parties will share the children if they cannot agree on a share plan. Legal separations are not commonplace. They can be useful in a situation where the parties need to remain married for health insurance purposes, for social security purposes or in some cases to allow the division of a retirement or pension. Often parties choose legal separation when they have a religious reason for not seeking a divorce but can no longer live together.