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Declarations of Disclosure Required in Divorce

The Declarations of Disclosure is required in divorce before a judgment of dissolution may be entered. The court requires that a “Declarations of Disclosure” be completed in all California divorces. Preliminary declarations of disclosure are exchanged after a spouse is served with the summons and petition at the start of the case. Final Declarations of Disclosure are usually required to be exchanged 45 days before the first trial date or at the time that a settlement agreement is filed with the court.

The Declarations of Disclosure should include completion of the following:

• Schedule of Assets and Debts where you list all of your known community and separate assets or debts
• Income and expense declaration which covers financial information

These two are the most time-consuming aspects of the disclosure declarations, and it is something you should begin working on promptly, as you will be required to gather various deeds, bank statements, credit card statements, etc. It is also very important for these forms to be filled out accurately and to give a lot of thought to the information you put down, as this information may be used in the future to cross-examine you in court and to call into question the expenses and/or your income.

Don’t be overwhelmed

You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information needed to be provided in these documents which is why you should rely on your divorce lawyer to help. Understand that it is up to you to provide all the necessary documents and to provide accurate information to your attorney so that they can properly prepare these forms.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group today for your free consultation. We fight to protect your rights and listen to your needs so that we can build a strong case for you.

Huntington Beach Divorce Lawyer Thorsteinson Law Group

17011 Beach Blvd., Suite 900
Huntington Beach, Ca. 92647

Phone: (714) 375-6619

Long Beach Divorce Lawyer Thorsteinson Law Group

3780 Kilroy Airport Way, Suite 200
Long Beach, Ca. 90806

Phone: (562) 430-7676

  • Determining income child support

Determining Income Child Support

Both parents are legally responsible for child support of their children whether or not they are married. Income is an important factor in figuring out how much child support is owed. However, some parents intentionally reduce their income in order to avoid child support. In that case, courts will “impute” income to parents.

What is Imputed Income?

Imputed income is income that is attributed or credited to a parent even though the parent is not actually earning that amount. Judges impute income to ensure that children’s needs are met and to deter parents from shirking responsibilities.

If a parent has been earning good income in a stable, full-time job and suddenly states that they make no income, the judge is going to want to know why.  If it comes to light that the parent voluntarily quit work, the judge may impute income. To determine the amount of imputed income, the court would likely use the most recent amount of income reported.

Courts look at three factors to determining whether to impute income:

  • willingness to work
  • opportunity to work, and
  • ability to work

It’s important for the judge to understand the reason for the unemployment or underemployment because it is important in determining whether to impute income.

How Much Income to Impute?

The parent’s earning capacity or income potential is determined and used when the courts are deciding how much income to impute.

Education, work skills, and employment history are used as a way to determine income potential. Willingness to work is determined by behavior or recent actions such as: searching for jobs, sending out resumes, and going to interviews. Opportunity to work takes into account the availability of appropriate job opportunities.

Courts determine how much to impute by reviewing salaries for a job that parent would qualify for as well as  the parent’s ability and opportunity to work. Occasionally, if it’s too difficult to determine income potential, the court will impute minimum wage.

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

Thorsteinson Law Group | Huntington Beach divorce attorney | Long Beach divorce attorney


  • Divorce and Legal Separation

Divorce and Legal Separation

The main difference between divorce and legal separation is that a divorce ends your marriage or domestic partnership and a legal separation does not. After you get divorced, you will be single, and you can marry or become a domestic partner again. When you are legally separated, you cannot remarry.

No fault divorce

California is called a “no-fault” divorce state, which means there is no “guilty” or “non-guilty” person, from the court’s point of view. When you start a divorce case, you can ask the judge to make orders about custody and visitation, child or spousal/partner support, the division of your property, and who will be responsible for paying debts. This process is the same for a legal separation.

How to decide

Reasons for choosing either process differ as well. Couples choosing divorce are sure they want to end the marriage and separate from each other in every possible way. Typically, couples decide they want to file for legal separation instead of divorce because of religious/personal reasons or they do not want to get a divorce but want to live apart and get orders from the court about money, property, and parenting issues.

Another reason for considering legal separation is when couples do not meet the required residency requirements to file for divorce in California, and they cannot or do not want to wait to get the process of separating started. For divorce, one of the parties must have lived in California for 6 months whereas for legal separation, at least one of you has to live in California, length does not matter.

Time is also a different for each case, the divorce process takes 6 months, or longer, from the date the person filing for divorce officially lets his or her spouse or domestic partner know about the divorce.

Divorce consultation

If you are unsure of your situation, and whether you want a divorce or a legal separation talk to a lawyer. Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with understanding the divorce and separation processes. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you.

  • 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.