Property Considerations During Divorce
California is a community property state, which means all property acquired during a marriage is generally split 50/50 in a divorce. In some cases, one spouse may be reimbursed for separate contributions they made during the marriage.
In our family law practice, we focus our efforts on finding a division of assets that is as fair as possible. We work with forensic accountants to ensure that our clients understand the costs and benefits involved in dividing up marital property. At the Law Office of Stephen W. Penn in Morgan Hill, we’re committed to helping you through the process.
How Spousal Support Is Different From Other Payments
Spousal support, commonly known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is a separate money allowance from child support. It is usually paid to a spouse who did not work during the marriage, helping them to establish themselves financially following the divorce. It may cover the spouse’s living expenses, education and other costs.
There are two different forms of spousal support — temporary and permanent:
- Temporary spousal support is largely income driven.
- Permanent spousal support, however, is largely a subjective determination made by the court and takes into account many different factors set forth in California law.
We have a firm philosophy on matters related to spousal support:
- Both parties should be employed at a level commensurate with their earning capacity. If there are very young children, then we assess whether employment is in the best interests of the children. If there are physical factors that affect employability, then we assess those as well. However, as a general rule, parties are obligated to make reasonable efforts to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.
- We do not tolerate efforts to suppress income, efforts to avoid working or nonpayment of spousal support.
- We work diligently with a forensic certified public accountant to determine the appropriate level of spousal support (both temporary and permanent) and to ensure that good financial planning is done on behalf of the client. We also work closely with vocational assessors who will tell us (and the court as appropriate) what a nonworking or underemployed spouse can and should be doing to become self-supporting.
- We ensure that our clients are well-educated in this area, both as to the law and the practical aspects of spousal support (i.e., marital standard of living, post separation increase in earnings, etc.), so that clients can make well-informed financial decisions.
We use multiple resources to assist our clients in this area, and we work closely with our clients both financially and emotionally to achieve the best possible financial outcome for the client.