Divorce Child Custody Family Law Attorney
Spousal Support .
  • 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.

  • 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.

Four types of alimony

Alimony is payment made by one ex-spouse to another to help support them during and after divorce proceedings. It is usually ordered when the judge finds that the divorce caused economic consequences for one ex-spouse. Below are the four types of alimony along with the factors in alimony/spousal support.

Four types of Alimony

Temporary – This is also known, as “alimony pendente lite” is an ongoing payment that is made when a couple is separated or in divorce proceedings, but not yet divorced. It can include payment for divorce costs, daily expenses, and continues until the court determines permanent alimony.

Permanent – The amount awarded after the conclusion of divorce proceedings, paid on a regular, recurring basis. Permanent alimony is usually due indefinitely, but is subject to change under certain circumstances such as remarriage or cohabitation.

Rehabilitative – In situations in which one ex-spouse is not self-sufficient, the judge may order payment of rehabilitative alimony to provide financial support while searching for a job or while attempting to expand employment skills. This is typically ordered for a fixed period of time.

Reimbursement– This type of alimony was intended to balance the scales on any support provided for higher education or work training by one ex-spouse. It requires a regular payment to reimburse the sponsoring ex-spouse the tuition costs paid, or a portion of those costs.

Lump-sum – This is also known, as “alimony in gross.” If one ex-spouse does not want any property or items of value from the marriage, the judge may order a one-time lump-sum payment in replacement of the property.

How the court awards

Spousal support awards are generally based upon the needs and abilities of each party, and when deciding, judges look at the following factors:
• The duration of the marriage
• Health and physical condition
• The earning capacity of the parties
• Present income of the parties
• The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party;
• The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support
• The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage
• The jurisdiction of the marriage

If you have specific questions about alimony and divorce contact Brett Thorsteinson, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney. Offices in Huntington Beach and Long Beach with free consultations.

  • alimony

Alimony and Temporary Support Divorce

California alimony laws allow for temporary support to the necessary party before there is final judgment. The court has the power to order temporary alimony based on a spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

Alimony and Temporary Support

Temporary spousal support generally has nothing to do with the length of the marriage. A party seeking spousal support isn’t deprived on the right to receive support even if they have income. What is reviewed is the comparative income circumstances of the two parties. The greater the difference in income, the higher the support the paying party must give. Temporary orders are traditionally ordered to be paid directly to the deemed party. The duration of the alimony generally lasts until there is a final judgment or any other date set by the court.

Courts normally use one of two computer programs to calculate temporary support: the Dissomaster or Xspouse. These programs are the same systems used to calculate child support in California. Whether the program Dissomaster or X-spouse are used, the same limitations as you would enter for child support, which include income, tax filing status, exemptions, are entered for alimony. The program determines what the net disposable income is and what alimony should be on a temporary basis. The program is not used for long term alimony, that would be forbidden in California.

Calculation

If the spouses have children, this calculation is typically made with the child support calculation. The amount of the alimony is dependent on the amount of child support ordered, which means that if the child support amount is eliminated, the alimony may increase. The final support numbers depend upon how much income the court is attributing to each party. Only certain expenses matter for purposes of temporary support in California. What doesn’t matter much at the temporary phase are most personal expenses like credit card bills, rent and other costs of living. When calculating income to determine temporary support, the court will typically go back approximately 12 months. That time period is typically a fair and representative one of income, especially when income is fluctuating. The court can go longer especially if a spouse is self-employed.

Your Trusted Long Beach Divorce Attorney

For matters on alimony and temporary support, contact an experienced long beach divorce attorney. Thorsteinson Law Group is your trusted divorce and family law attorney. With offices in Long Beach and Huntington Beach, we serve clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

  • Divorce and Debt

Divorce and Debt

In many divorces there is debt that needs to be considered. The type can vary but typically includes mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and vehicles. During divorce proceedings, couples will need to divide assets and debt.

The general rule is that if your debt was incurred at any time during the marriage, it will be divided between both spouses. For example, if you had opened a joint credit card, each of you will be responsible for the balance regardless of who did the spending.

Instead of dividing each debt in half, the court may assign one debt to one spouse and another debt to the other spouse. This means that if you and your spouse had multiple credit cards, you may be asked to pay off one of the cards and your spouse may be asked to pay off other cards, keeping the total debt for each of you equal. Keep in mind that no matter which spouse is responsible for paying the debt, all jointly held account debt will remain on your credit report.

Credit Reports and Divorce

It is important to check credit reports after a divorce to make sure that they do not include any debts that have been paid off or that are attributed to the opposite party. However, if a joint debt was incurred during the marriage both names may still appear on the report.

Be sure to consult your divorce and family law attorney for recommendations on how to handle your divorce and debt. There are strategies that can be put in place before the divorce proceedings that can make debt easier to manage after your divorce is final.

Thorsteinson Law Group is your trusted divorce and family law attorney. With offices in Long Beach and Huntington Beach, we serve clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Contact us today, we are here to help.

Huntington Beach Office

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

Phone: (714) 375-6619
Fax: (714) 375-6621

Driving Directions:
Google Map

Long Beach Office

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

Phone: (562) 430-7676
Fax: (714) 375-6621

Driving Directions:
Google Map (By appointment only)

  • Forensic accountant in a divorce

Benefits of a Forensic Accountant in a Divorce

Using a forensic accountant can assist the filing spouse in revealing essential information during the preparation stage of the divorce. The accountant can also help provide vital divorce documentation once the divorce process starts. Some forensic accounting services include calculating how much money is available for alimony payments and child support, trace community assets and liabilities, and uncover hidden assets and income streams.

When to use a forensic accountant

Typically forensic accountants are brought on to the divorce team which includes a divorce attorney and depending on the case, a private investigator.

In a collaborative divorce, the accountant acts as a “neutral advisor” who provides the divorcing couple with unbiased financial advice. However, a forensic accountant can benefit the spouses regardless of the type of divorce.

Some benefits include

• Identify and Clarify any inconsistencies between financial information and documentation to determine whether or not the other spouse is hiding assets
• Validate financial information with non-financial information.
• Calculate the cash flow, which may be used in calculating support payments
• Assist your attorney in preparing document requests of the other party, preparation of subpoenas, contacts with computer forensics and other professionals, and deposition or trial questions to be asked of the other party’s forensic accountant.
• Testify and provide input in court or at depositions and during the settlement process.

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

  • Huntington Beach Divorce

Using a Forensic Accountant in Divorce

Using a forensic accountant can assist the filing spouse in revealing essential information during the preparation stage of the divorce. The accountant can also help provide vital divorce documentation once the divorce process starts. Some forensic accounting services include calculating how much money is available for alimony payments and child support, trace community assets and liabilities, and uncover hidden assets and income streams.It is helpful and beneficial to gain assistance from this type of expert.

Typically forensic accountants are brought on to the divorce team which includes a divorce attorney and depending on the case, a private investigator. This team of experts can be extremely helpful in an non-collaborative or uncontested divorce. Even in a collaborative divorce, a forensic accountant can assist by acting as a “neutral advisor” who provides the divorcing couple with unbiased financial advice. However, a forensic accountant can benefit the spouses regardless of the type of divorce.

Some benefits include:
• Identify and clarify any inconsistencies between financial information and documentation to determine whether or not the other spouse is hiding assets
• Validate financial information with non-financial information.
• Calculate the cash flow, which may be used in calculating support payments
• Assist your attorney in preparing document requests of the other party, preparation of subpoenas, contacts with computer forensics and other professionals, and deposition or trial questions to be asked of the other party’s forensic accountant.
• Testify and provide input in court or at depositions and during the settlement process.

Having a forensic accountant paired with your family divorce lawyer would be an asset to your divorce process team. Non-expert advice always is comforting, but leave it to the experts to get you the best legal advice to help you in the long run.

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

  • Spousal Support Order, Divorce Long Beach

Spousal Support Order

After you get a spousal, or partner support court order, your former spouse, or domestic partner must start making support payments to you. These payments come into effect by a specific date issued by the court. It is a court ordered earnings assignment, or “wage garnishment,” which tells the employer of the person ordered to pay support, how much to deduct from each paycheck, and where to send the payment to. If the spouse/partner ordered to pay support is regularly employed, the employer will take support payments directly out of his or her paycheck.

Most support during/after separation is paid this way, and federal and state laws require it in almost all support cases. It is the employer’s responsibility to withhold the wages if there is an earnings assignment. If your former spouse or partner also has a child support earnings assignment in place, child support is deducted first. In this case, there are exceptions to wages being automatically deducted by the employer depending on whether or not the local child support agency is involved.

When the local child support agency is not involved, both parents can agree that payments can be made in some other way and can ask that service of the earnings statement. In this situation, the former spouses/partners work out how spousal or partner support will be paid and handle it between themselves. If the local child support agency is involved in your case, they will automatically issue an earnings assignment and begin collecting from your former spouse or domestic partner’s employer. Regardless of whether the support is an agreement between the former partners or garnished from their employer, the spousal support is always deducted after child support.

If you have specific questions about wage garnishment and divorce contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.

  • Military Divorce, Long beach divorce

Military Divorce Eligibility of Former Spouse for Pension

A former spouse is eligible to receive direct payments from a retiree’s retired pay if the court order pleases the requirements and conditions specified for such payment. In the case of a division of property, the court order specifically must provide that payment is to be made from disposable retired pay. Disposable retired pay is a service member’s monthly retired pay minus qualified deductions.

To establish eligibility for a court-ordered division of retired pay as property, the former spouse must have been married to the member for 10 years or more during which time the member performed 10 years creditable service. Court-ordered payments for child support and/or alimony do not require a specified length of marriage.
In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that military retired pay could not be treated as community property in divorce cases. In response, Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) which decreed that state courts could treat military retired pay as property in divorce cases if they so choose. For the service member, it is important to know the options when considering division of retired pay in a military divorce.

There are four potential options when bearing in mind a division of retired pay:
• Stated dollar amount: When expressing the award using a dollar figure, the Former Spouse is not afforded a COLA adjustment and the member would receive that portion added to their portion of the retired pay.
• A percentage amount: This method is not usually used when you don’t know the exact date of retirement, due to un-matured pension
• Coverture fraction formula: The most common way to divide a Military pension that has not yet matured would be through the use of a marriage coverture fraction formula. This formula simply divides the number of years of creditable service during marriage (numerator), into the total number of years of creditable service at the time the Member would retire (denominator). The payment of an amount of retired pay must be expressed in dollars or as a percentage or fraction of disposable retired pay
• Delayed order option: A deferred percentage is simply placing an order with the Military today, but leaving the calculation and conclusion, open. This is so when the member applies for retired pay, all the parties would be notified and a “clarifying court order” would then be required.

Each has its own advantage and/or disadvantage to you and/or your former spouse. It is important to know how each method effects your financial situation and even more important to get the best legal advice to clarify any confusion in your options.

If you have specific questions or need help with your military divorce, contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.

Questions About Spousal Support and Alimony

One of the questions that come up when I am helping someone through the divorce process is regarding spousal support and alimony. The terms “alimony” and “spousal support” mean the same thing and are interchangeable when talking about support after a divorce.

Spousal support in California is meant to help ensure a divorced spouse can maintain a standard of living that resembles the standard of living they had during their marriage. This is important because it is common for one spouse to be untrained or out of the workforce for a significant amount of time and it is difficult for them to quickly attain work that provides the income they need to maintain an expected standard of living.

Spousal support in California is meant to help financially support the divorced spouse during the time it takes them to obtain employment that can provide enough income for the expected standard of living.

Only about 10-15% of all divorces or separations include any spousal support as part of the final divorce judgment or decree. However, it’s important to keep in mind that alimony will probably be the largest financial obligation you will incur as part of a divorce.

Typically alimony payments can be greatly reduced or eliminated when an ex-spouse moves in with their new partner or gets married.

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