Divorce is always a possibility. The number of divorces annually in the United States has declined significantly over the past two decades from an average of 4 per 1,000 people in the population in 2000 to an average of 2.9 in the same population in 2018 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, these numbers may not tell the entire story for California because for several years, we had a higher percentage of divorces than many other states, in some cases, as much as two times the national average.
California Divorce Rates Show Improvement Over Time
In 2012, Orange County CA was highlighted in an article in the Orange County Register. The article showed that on any given day, 33 people were filing for divorce. This is a staggering number of divorce cases which reflected the overall area could have a divorce rate of as much as 10 times higher than the national average.
Most recently, U.S. News published a list of states with the highest and lowest divorce rates. In this study, which was a 1 year American Community Survey where California ranked among the 10th lowest states for divorces, 6.5 percent for every married woman. By any count, this is still a high number and anyone who is currently married should take the steps needed to protect themselves today in the event their marriage does end in divorce.
Most Common Reasons For Divorce
There are no two couples who are the same, and as a result, divorces occur for any number of reasons. There have been studies in the past which indicated the major contributing factors which led to divorce were infidelity, conflict, and lack of commitment. However, when these major factors were mixed with domestic violence, or substance abuse, the chances of a divorce occurring were even higher.
Complex Divorce Issues When Couples Cannot Agree
While statistics are fascinating to review, it is important to remember there are people behind the numbers. Every divorce statistic represents at least two people and in many cases, they also represent children of the marriage. Divorce proceedings, despite no fault divorces, are difficult for everyone involved.
A divorce requires couples to deal with issues such as child custody, property division, and support issues. Both parties believe they are right, neither wants to give up their grasp on their children, and both are concerned about finances moving forward. A skilled divorce attorney can help you look beyond the statistics and navigate the issues which are common in a divorce proceeding. Some issues you will have to resolve include:
- Property Division – California is a community property state which means most assets acquired during the marriage will be divided equally between the spouses at the time of a divorce. This can be complex when there is a large marital estate with more than one home and a business. This is one reason it is important to speak with a family law attorney to help you preserve your interests.
- Child Custody and Parenting – coming to an agreement about where your children will live and what visitation schedule will be followed is important. For most parents, making this decision together is generally in the best interest of the children. Rather than allow the courts to make this decision on your behalf, it is almost always preferable to attempt to work this out between the parents.
- Child and Spousal Support – both parents have a moral and legal obligation to ensure their children’s financial stability. In California, there is a formula used by the courts to determine who pays child support and how much is paid. Spousal support depends on numerous factors and may be temporary to allow one spouse to return to work. You should speak with your attorney whether you may be a recipient of support, or a payer of support. The determination is generally based on factors spelled out in California’s family law code.
Several issues must be resolved between partners or it is left up to the courts to make those decisions on your behalf.
Post Divorce Issues to Be Resolved
Just because a divorce is final does not always mean all issues are resolved. Problems with payment of support, failure of one partner to liquidate assets and provide the other partner with their share, and other issues can occur even after a divorce is finalized. In these cases, it may be necessary to file with the courts to request the non-compliant ex-spouse be held in contempt of court.
Partners who have previously created estate plans will also need to consider modifying their plans to reflect their new reality. An estate plan can also help protect your children’s future, making it even more important.
The Varying Impact of California Divorce Costs
Every divorce is different and the more you and your soon to be ex-spouse can agree upon, the less costly it will be for everyone both financially and emotionally. Since California is a no-fault divorce state, when the two parties can reach an agreement, the costs associated with a divorce will be lower.
Parents must remember they should keep the lines of communication open, particularly when there are children. Parents with children will have to continue to be involved in each other’s lives as they make important decisions about their children’s health, education, and other life events.
Remember, the courts will make decisions on your behalf when you cannot reach an agreement between you and your spouse so it is important to have an attorney advocating on your behalf. The courts seldom, if ever, automatically defer to one parent or another when determining custody issues, instead their goal is to make a decision based on what is best for the children.
Divorce is traumatic for everyone and you need someone who can guide you through the process. The Law Office of Steven M. Bishop, CFLS, has the experience necessary to achieve your goals. Let a lawyer who is a Certified Family Law Specialist help you with all issues pertaining to your divorce for the best possible outcome. Call us at 619-724-4547 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.
Orange County Register: https://www.ocregister.com/2012/06/25/oc-divorce-rate-one-of-highest-in-nation/
I did not directly link to this because the piece is highlighting a local mediator.