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Divorce .
  • Starting the divorce process

Starting Divorce Process

Start Divorce Process

In the divorce process, there will be forms and documents you will need to complete and sign. One of those forms is called a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure (PDD). The PDD is used to provide full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in in the marriage. It’s called preliminary because it is a starting point and a way to get all parties working towards providing accurate information so the divorce process can go as smoothly as possible.

Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure

The Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure is completed in the early stages of the divorce process. All assets and liabilities are disclosed regardless of the characterization as community or separate, along with a disclosure of all income and expenses of each party.

The Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure must meet the following guidelines:
• There must be a full disclosure
• Must be accurate
• Include all assets
• Include all liabilities
• The disclosure must be made early on in the proceedings, although there is no specific time rule
• It doesn’t matter whether you think the asset or debt is a separate property item, you still must disclose
• You must also fully and accurately disclose all income and expenses

Divorce Lawyer Matters

It is important to seek counsel from an experienced family and divorce lawyer to avoid any mistakes in the disclosure forms. These disclosure forms are not simply another document that needs to be prepared in order to complete your divorce, but rather they are the proof that you have complied with important spousal trustee duties after your physical separation.


If you have specific questions or need help with starting your divorce or another family law matter, contact Brett Thorsteinson, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney. Brett will help you resolve your family law issues quickly and efficiently. Handling all family law matters including child custody, divorce, spousal support, and more.

  • talking to your children about divorce

Talking to Your Children About Divorce

Talking to your children about divorce is difficult but not impossible. While there is no easy way to talk about divorce, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make it as stress free as possible for them.

When you sit down to tell your children you have decided to divorce, it’s best to:
• Practice what you are going to say and how you will say it
• Leave anger, guilt, or blame out of the conversation
• Have both parents present for the conversation
• Keep the conversation appropriate for your child’s age, maturity, and temperament

One of the most important things to make sure you communicate to your child, is that it is not their fault. It’s easy for children to feel they are to blame. Even long after the initial conversation, be sure to reassure your children that it is not their fault.

Prepare them for the change

Give your child enough information to prepare them for the change and answer their questions truthfully. Keep in mind that children don’t need to know all the detailed reasons behind a divorce just try to make sure they understand what will change in their daily routine, and what will not.

Remember that as much stress as a divorce can give to you, you can actually transfer that to your children, which is what you want to avoid at all costs. Children tend to carry the experience of their parents separating to their adulthood. Making this conversation civil, light, and easy to comprehend as possible will benefit your kids understanding of the divorce now and in the future.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group in Long Beach and Huntington Beach to help you with your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and we are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process. Brett Thorsteinson is a divorce lawyer who will advocate for your rights.

  • Long Beach divorce documents

How to Divorce in California

This is an overview of how to divorce in California, which is a no-fault divorce state. A dissolution of marriage can be granted under the cause of “irreconcilable differences”. This essentially means that a married person who would like to end the marriage can do so, even if the other spouse would like to stay together.

When you are curious how to divorce in California, here is the general process:

1. One spouse files a divorce petition and serves it on the other spouse (called the respondent).
2. The respondent then has thirty days to file a response to the petition.
3. One of the spouses may request temporary court orders by filing for an Order to Show Cause hearing.
4. At this hearing, the judge will make temporary child custody, support, and restraining orders.
5. The spouses then engage in discovery, which is the process by which they exchange information and documents that are relevant to the divorce. One of the required aspects of discovery is the preparation of the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure.
6. After the discovery is complete, the spouses and their attorneys will discuss settlement of the case. If the case is resolved by agreement, one of the attorneys will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement, which should include all of the terms of the agreement.
7. If the parties are not able to agree on all of the issues in the case, a trial will take place.
8. After the parties sign the Marital Settlement Agreement or after the trial has concluded, one of the attorneys will prepare a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This is the document that contains all of the court’s orders. The judgment is filed and the court mails a Notice of Entry of Judgment to each attorney.

The exception, is that under some circumstances you may qualify for a summary dissolution.

To qualify for a summary dissolution, you must have been married for less than five years, have no children, don’t own real estate, and have relatively limited property and debts. There is still some paperwork that needs to be filed and you still have to wait six months before your divorce becomes final, however, you don’t have to go through a lot of the procedures and appearances required for a regular divorce.

How to divorce in California | Thorsteinson Law Group | Huntington Beach divorce attorney| Long Beach divorce attorney. Contact Thorsteinson Law Group  to help you with your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to bringing you a lasting resolution.

  • High net worth divorce

Things to Avoid in a High Net Worth Divorce

In a high net worth divorce, the list of assets is so large that divorcing couples find they agree on dividing some things, but not on others, and neither wants to budge. Stress is high when large amounts of money, property, businesses, assets and other items are at stake. The divorcing party can be very emotional and often feels betrayed, angry, aggrieved, disappointed and might let these emotions influence their decisions.

These factors create a recipe for mistakes on both sides of the divorce, which have long-term effects on both spouses and/or their children. Here are a few things to avoid during a high net worth divorce:

• Guilt: When a spouse wants a divorce, they are bound to feel guilt for the other, despite justification. The spouse feeling guilt tends to give more money than hey should. When it comes to financial assets, decisions should be made similar to dissolution of a business rather than with emotions.

• Agreeing to anything to be out of the divorce: A spouse filing due to domestic/physical violence, or being in love with someone else is willing to do anything to be away from their current spouse. It is important to have a thorough analysis because this can lead to damaging effects on you financially.

• Failing to account for, or hiding assets: It is common to want to hide or transfer assets in a high net worth divorce. Transferring valuable assets to another person, such as, a business partner, will be seen as fraudulent and you will lose credibility in court. It is important to take the research process seriously for the law mandates the financial documents you find.

• Listening to non-professionals: During difficult life changing experiences, we often seek council from the people closest to us. While that might be good for your emotions, it may not be the best legal and financial advise you can get. Everyone’s experience is different and in a high net worth divorce, protecting your financial assets is key. Seeking professional guidance in the specific areas or getting a team together is a step in the right direction. Keep in mind that laws change and every judge is different.

These are only a few mistakes made in high net worth divorces, most all of which can be prevented when you hire a good divorce attorney.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you protect your net worth in a divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

  • child custody

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification
Whether the issues of custody and visitation were agreed upon by the parents or determined by a court after a custody hearing, the parents may later agree to modify the court order as to who has legal custody, who has physical custody, who has rights of visitations, and the terms and periods of custody and visitation.

Basis for a Change
As a child grows older and has different needs or the parents form new relationships or get a new job, changes in the activities of all involved sometimes require a modification or change in the terms and conditions of custody and visitation. A parent with shared physical custody may move out of the state, making the terms of the custody order impractical. A parent with visitation may get a new job with work hours that conflict with periods of visitation. A child might have a special talent and may want to attend a school in a different state that will provide an opportunity to foster that talent, but only a grandparent has the ability to pick up and move with the child. A child who lives with a mother may want to spend more time with a father and choose to switch custody. Where there is a change that affects the child, there is a basis for changing the custody arrangement ordered by the court.

When the issue of child custody modification arises, the parties may discuss whether a change of custody is warranted and what the new terms should be. Any new agreement may be permanent in nature or only temporary. If the parties cannot mutually work out their differences or agree to a new custody arrangement, the parties can seek arbitration or mediation of the dispute. The same avenues of resolving changes of custody are available as to disputes between a parent and a nonparent.

When new terms are agreed upon by the parties, a new written agreement should be drafted clearly stating all of the terms agreed upon by the parties. The agreement should be signed by the parties and presented to the court for approval. It should be noted that where a change in custody requires a change in child support obligations, the new child support terms and the basis for the new terms must be incorporated into the agreement. Only in very rare circumstances will the court refuse to accept the agreement to modify custody. Court approval is required if either parent finds it necessary to seek enforcement of the modification agreement.

Brett Thorsteinson is a divorce and family law attorney with offices in Long Beach and Huntington Beach. Our divorce attorney will fight for your rights and work to resolve your child custody modification. Contact us at (714) 375-6619 or use our form here, to talk to a family law attorney today.

Long Beach Office
3780 Kilroy Airport Way, Suite 200
Long Beach, Ca. 90806
Phone: (562) 430-7676

Huntington Beach Office
17011 Beach Blvd., Suite 900
Huntington Beach, Ca. 92647
Phone: (714) 375-6619

  • divorce lawyer Huntington beach

Five things to know before you file for divorce

When you file for divorce, it can be easier if you are informed about the process before it begins. Depending on the type of divorce, you might find yourself in any of the following scenarios like, new living arrangements; parenting schedules, and decisions about assets like property and money. The following are important five facts to help guide you in your divorce:

1. Grounds for Divorce: California is a no—fault state which means that neither spouse has to prove that one person is solely responsible for the end of their marriage. Instead you may file for irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity as long as sufficient proof is presented in court.

2. Residency: In California, there are residency requirements for to file for divorce as well as a waiting period. At least one spouse must reside in the state for six months, and in the county were filing 3 months before filing the petition. The earliest the court grants a divorce is 6 months after the non-filing spouse was served.

3. Property Division: Before you file for divorce, it’s important to document the date of separation, as it will be the deciding factor in concluding how property and assets will be divided. Any assets acquired before the date are considered community property and will be equally divided, where as anything after the date cannot. The court will also equally divide any debts acquired during the marriage.

4. Alimony: The court can determine if one spouse may be required to provide support for the other. The factors the court looks at are: each spouse’s income, the standard of living during the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and the duration of the marriage.

5. Children: When you file for divorce, the court basis decisions of child support and/or child custody with consideration of the health, safety, and welfare of the child. For child support, guidelines are based on the income and percentage of time spent with the child, of each parent. A child support order in California continues until the child graduates from high school or reaches age 19, perhaps longer if the child is disabled. For custody, the court allows the parents to create a schedule, but if they are unable to agree, a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Brett Thorsteinson can help you file for divorce, contact us now to schedule your complementary consultation. Long Beach Divorce Lawyer | Huntington Beach Divorce Lawyer | Brett Thorsteinson

  • High net worth divorce

Divorce and High Net Worth

If you have a significant amount of assets and property, then you might have more to lose in a divorce, especially when it comes to dividing up the property and paying things like alimony and child support. If you are worried about the outcome of your divorce and fate of your financial assets, then taking up proper legal protection to ensure your assets are protected is the best option. This is especially necessary due to the extensive amount of research, investigation, and documentation, which makes these types of divorce cases a lot more complicated than other divorce cases.

The individual with a high net worth should definitely consider a few things such as, organizing and identifying the estate’s financial information and seeking the right qualified attorney and forensic accountant to review it. Some things to identify include non-marital assets acquired before the marriage, inherited assets and anything received as a gift to be considered as separate from the marital estate. Non-marital assets, for example, can be money or property obtained before marriage. If you received a gift or inherited property or a large amount of money, that is not considered shared assets between you and your soon to be ex-spouse. After listing the things that are not marital assets you must then identify the marital assets and liabilities that constitute the marital estate that will form the basis for all future legal proceedings concerning the distribution of the marital estate.

Depending on the spousal relationship during the early stages of the divorce, you may need to hire a private investigator to ensure your spouse is not hiding any assets from you. Lastly, partnering with your attorney and forensics accountant to gather the relevant information and create a strategy.

Contact Brett Thorsteinson divorce lawyer to help you protect your net worth in a divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

  • child custody

Legal and Physical Custody

In California, there are two types of custody, “legal” and “physical”. Parents typically share both types unless one parent is deemed unfit or the parents cannot make decisions together.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about a child’s welfare, such as where a child will go to school or whether a child will engage in religious activities, and whether a child should receive medical care.

In California there are two types of legal custody, Joint and Sole. Joint legal custody means that both parents share in the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.

Sole legal custody means that one parent has the right to make all major decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child, and may make decisions without input or approval from another parent.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where a child will live after a divorce or separation. The parent has the right to have the child physically present in the home. If a child lives exclusively or primarily with one parent, that parent is usually referred to as the “custodial” or “residential” parent. The other parent is considered the “non-custodial” or “non-residential” parent and typically has visitation rights.

In California, there are two types of physical custody, Joint and Sole. Joint physical custody means that both parents have significant periods of physical custody. If a child’s time is divided equally between the parents, or close to equally, the parents are sharing joint physical custody. Sole physical custody means that a child resides with one parent, subject to the court’s authority to order visitation time with the other parent.

Thorsteinson Law Group | Huntington Beach divorce attorney | Long Beach divorce attorney. Contact Thorsteinson Law Group  to help you with your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to bringing you a lasting resolution.

  • divorce and designated beneficiaries

Divorce and Designated Beneficiaries

Married couples typically name their spouse as the beneficiary on their company 401(k) plan, individual retirement plans, annuities, life insurance policies and other accounts with designated beneficiaries. It’s important to keep in mind that a divorce does not automatically change all your designated beneficiaries. The best way to avoid potential problems in the future is to make a note to update your beneficiaries after your divorce is final.

There is so much going on during a divorce that one of the easiest mistakes to make is to forget to update the beneficiary information on all accounts. The result of which is often realized too late, when years later a family member is told that your ex-spouse will receive all assets from a retirement or pension account.

In the case of a life insurance policy, remember that the divorce judgment itself does not automatically cancel a spouse’s right as the beneficiary. To remove the ex-spouse as the beneficiary, the insurance company may require the spouse’s consent or a clearly worded divorce judgment stating who owns the insurance policy, who shall be the beneficiary, or who has the right to designate the beneficiary.

If you are currently in divorce proceedings, you have to wait until the divorce is final to make changes. However, immediately after the divorce is final you are free to make changes and it is in your best interest to make those changes sooner rather than later.

If you are unsure whether or not you want to update your beneficiary designation, you should set a reminder in your calendar for one year later to remind you to revisit the issue and make changes if you need to.

Contact Brett Thorsteinson, your trusted divorce and family law attorney to help you with your divorce. Brett listens to your needs and works diligently to protect your interests.

  • Child Custody

In Child Custody Can A Child Decide Where To Live

In any child custody case, talk to a young child about which parent they would prefer to live with and you might hear something like “I want to live with dad because he lets me eat ice cream” or “I want to live with mom because she buys me cool clothes”. While a cool t-shirt or a bowl of ice cream may not impact the perspective of every child, a child’s current frame of mind and understanding is something that needs to be taken seriously when deciding which parent gains child custody in a divorce.

So the question is, in child custody can a child decide where to live? The most plain and simple answer is no. Currently, in California law, a child’s wishes for custodial parent is up to the judge’s discretion and there is no specific age where the court will consider the wishes of a child in deciding custody.

However, the law does state that a judge must consider a child’s wishes regarding visitation and further states that a child who is at least 14 years old must be allowed to directly address the court regarding custody and visitation, unless the judge finds that it would not be in child’s best interests.

For more on child custody you can visit Brett Thorsteinson’s child custody pages here. Child custody and visitation are some of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Divorcing spouses must never use children against one another. Under California law, the health, well-being and safety of the children are top priority.

Contact Brett Thorsteinson and speak directly with an experience divorce and family law attorney who will protect your interests. Brett is your trusted divorce lawyer who can help you with child custody and all family law matters. Offices are located in Long Beach and Huntington Beach with free initial consultations.