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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.

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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

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Summary Dissolution

For couples that have been married less than 5 years and are looking to end the marriage without a court appearance, might look into a summary dissolution. A summary dissolution is a divorce without the hassle of talking to a judge and waiting for final divorce documentation. Couples that have been married or in a registered domestic partnership for less than 5 years can get a summary dissolution as long as they also meet other requirements.

What is a summary dissolution

A summary dissolution is an easier way to end your marriage or domestic partnership (or both) because it has forms and a guide for filing your own case. To find out if you qualify for a summary dissolution read the requirements below.

For both domestic partners and married couples, in order to qualify for a summary dissolution, both must meet all of the following requirements:

• Have been married less than 5 years or have not been registered as a domestic partnership for more than 5 years
• Have no children together
• Do not own any land or buildings
• Do not rent any land or buildings (except for where live)
• Do not owe more than $6,000 for debts gained since the date you got married (car loans do not count)
• Have less than $41,000 worth of property acquired during the marriage
• Do not have separate property worth more than $41,000;
• Agree that neither spouse will ever get spousal support
• Have signed an agreement that divides your property and debts and debts or says there is no community property or debts to divide.
• Meet the residency requirement (either you or your spouse must have lived in California for the last 6 months and in the county where you file for summary dissolution for the last 3 months)

Once you find that you qualify the processes then differ between married couples and domestic partners. Keep in mind that although summary dissolutions are meant to be easier than the court divorce process, it is in your best interest to see a lawyer about ending your marriage.

If you need help, please contact Brett Thorsteinson to help guide you. I provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce and post-divorce process.

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Five Steps After Filing For Divorce

There are different strategies and ways a divorce can be handled after the initial filing. Your choice in divorce attorney can greatly effect your results. However, generally speaking, the divorce process consists of five steps after the initial filing.

The paperwork to file for divorce is called the summons and petition for dissolution. There may be additional documents needed depending on your circumstances.

After you file the initial paperwork for divorce the following five steps will occur, each with their own nuances and additional processes to help your divorce go as smoothly as possible.

Five steps after filing for divorce

1. Temporary divorce order: You or your spouse may ask for a hearing so a judge can decide any temporary child custody, visitation, and support or restraining order disputes.

2. Discovery process: This is an exchange of information about each party’s assets, income and liabilities. In California, there are mandatory preliminary and final disclosures that must be made by both parties.

3. Agreement: You, your spouse and your lawyers will work on permanently resolving the issues mentioned in the dissolution.

4. Trial: If you are unable to reach an agreement, you and your spouse will go to court and a judge will make the decisions to resolve the conflicts.

5. Judgment: A final judgment ending your marriage can be entered six months after the day your spouse was served with the initial divorce paperwork. The court does not automatically end your marriage when the six months have passed.

Keep in mind that not every divorce will require all these steps, but these are the steps that occur in most divorce cases.

Your trusted divorce attorney

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group , to help you file for divorce and take the steps after filing. We are compassionate and here to help you.

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First steps when starting divorce

When starting a divorce, 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. It is a way to get all parties working towards providing accurate information so the divorce process can go as smoothly as possible.

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
• It must be accurate
• It includes all assets
• It includes all liabilities
• It applies to assets or liabilities one has or may have
• 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

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.

Selling a Home During a Divorce

Whether you are selling a home during a divorce or buying a home, every divorce is unique and has it’s own challenges. Working through your divorce with a skilled and experienced divorce attorney can help reduce a big challenge to a small problem with a quick resolution.

One of those potential challenges people face during divorce is selling a home. If you are thinking about selling a home during a divorce here are some things to consider:

First, understand that if either spouse moves out during the divorce process, it will not impact whether the house loses community property interest. However, it does mean having to plan ahead as to paying mortgage, insurance, and taxes. Community property refers to property owned jointly by a married couple. Remember if property is held as community property, each spouse technically owns an undivided one-half interest in the property.

Second, understand the agreement set by you and your spouse before considering selling a home. This is where it gets complicated because of the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders that goes into effect as soon as the divorce petition is filed. These restraining orders generally prohibit a sale lacking a written agreement or a court order. The easiest way to sell the house during a divorce is through a written and signed agreement between the spouses that then becomes a court order. Effective legal representation is important so remember to speak to your family law attorney about the terms that fit your needs.

Third, you can consider other options. One would be to ask the court for an order to sell the house before the divorce trial. You would need a very good reason such as: selling the house during divorce because of the threat of foreclosure or selling the house during divorce to pay for attorney fees and costs. The reason the court would grant your request under these circumstances is because a house is only an asset. The family court does not attach any emotion to it. Hopefully, one or both of the spouses will move diligently if such issues arise, as a foreclosure or financial instability are rarely in either spouse’s best interest.

If you are unsure of your situation about selling your home during a divorce, Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with understanding the processes. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you.

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Subpoenas in a Divorce

A California subpoena is a legal document that requires the person receiving it to do something as a mandatory request. The recipient cannot refuse to obey the document unless he or she has a legally sound reason. For example, a doctor can refuse to comply with a subpoena asking for medical records. Subpoenas are typically used in divorce cases to compel nonparties to attend court and testify and/or deliver information such as business documents. The subpoena is issued by the attorney, by legal counsel, or by the clerk of the court; if you are representing yourself.

There are different types of subpoenas, depending on a person’s needs:

• A Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Trial or Hearing: This commands a nonparty to appear and testify. This type of subpoena is useful if a party wishes to make a person appear at an evidentiary hearing or trial and be a witness to testify against the divorcing party.

• A Subpoena for Production of Business Records: This commands a nonparty to produce business records. The subpoena includes a request that the witness bring certain documents with them at the trial or hearing. In most cases, the witness is asked to bring business documents, such as financial records. For example the wife/husband may include in this subpoena a request that their employer bring a printout of the working calendar where wife/husband is scheduled—in order to show what days husband worked during a certain period of time. This would be used to prove husband is dishonest about being unemployed.

• A Deposition Subpoenas For Personal Appearance and Production of Documents and Things: This commands a nonparty to appear, testify, and produce records and/or other things. Typical records in a divorce or support matter would include: bank records, credit-card statements, investment accounts, employment records, medical records, etc.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Case not settled at Marital Settlement Conference

On the date of the Marital Settlement Conference (MSC), the parties and attorneys show up in court, check in with the department where the case is being heard and listen to a few words offered by the courtroom judge before proceeding with the meeting. Then the parties, attorneys and settlement judge begin their meeting and attempt to work out a settlement of all disputed issues. Make sure to listen carefully during the conference to both the hearing officer and your own attorney before making a decision to proceed to trial or settle your case. If by the end of the conference, parties can reach a settlement, the court will allow them to put everything on the record and your divorce can be final on that very day of the MSC, again if you both agree to the terms settled upon.

If parties do not reach a resolution at the mandatory Marital Settlement
Conference, the court shall set a trial date for a full trial. Before the trail, the parties shall file a pre-trial conference statement. In this pre-trial statement, each party will note the specific issues in dispute, each of their proposed permanent disability rating, and list the exhibits and disclosing witnesses. Evidence not disclosed or obtained after the MSC will not be acceptable in court unless the provider of the evidence can demonstrate that it was not available, or could not have been discovered prior to the settlement conference.

Due to the parties being unable to reach an agreement, the court sets a trial date within 75 following the MSC. Once the case is set for trial your attorney will tell you when the trial will be held and will arrange an appointment before that day for you to prepare for that trial.

If you have questions about the Marital Settlement Conference process, contact Thorsteinson Law Group. Los Angeles Divorce Attorney | Long Beach Divorce Attorney | Orange County Divorce Attorney.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Legal Separation

Legal separation is different than a California divorce for various reasons. With these reasons come advantages and disadvantages for legal separation versus divorce. Depending on the relationship, a big difference between the two is that in a divorce, you are able to remarry whereas in a legal separation you cannot because a legal separation will not change your marital status. Being legally separated does not translate to being single and able to marry once more and would have to get a divorce to change that status.

Advantages of legal separation include the following:
• Regional Requirement: In California divorce it is required that you have lived in the state for at least six months to file for divorce. In a legal separation, there is no regional requirement.
• Timing: Legal separations take effect as soon as the separation is written, whereas a divorce takes six months to complete, sometimes longer
• Trial separation: Some couples are not entirely ready to divorce and with a legal separation, they are able to save time and money by going through a trial to see if divorce is really what they want.
• Similarities to CA divorce: Legal separation in California is very similar to a divorce where parties divide assets and talk financial issues, they arrange child custody and child support, and most parties live apart, just as in a divorce. The difference is primarily in the title.
• Religion integrity: Because a legal separation is not technically a divorce, the status allows religious parties to maintain integrity with their particular faith.
• Potential Benefits: A legal separation can in some circumstances allow the parties to continue with coverage under the other spouse’s plan. This is important to parties where one might have a chronic illness that prevents him or her from obtaining adequate health insurance.

To be well versed and clear on the details to legal separation, checking with an experienced California Lawyer before proceeding with the process is necessary.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with your separation or divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.