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San Diego Family Law Blog

When divorce isn't possible, is legal separation a better choice?

There are many reasons why a California couple may choose to end their relationship and still choose to wait to divorce. In many cases, it is not prudent for one party to simply move out, yet living together may no longer be a feasible option. In these cases, it is can be beneficial to understand more about how a legal separation could work.

Legal separation is a formal process for a couple that is currently married but no longer wants to live together. It is not quite a quite a full divorce, but there are many elements of a separation agreement that function much like a divorce. If it is the right choice for you and your spouse, you would benefit from a formally drafted separation agreement in order to protect the interests of both parties.

Three most common money mistakes in divorce

When a couple experiences significant problems in their marriage, they might start to think seriously about filing for divorce. One or both of the spouses may begin taking active steps toward bringing the marriage to an end.

Unfortunately, many who find themselves in this situation often fail to focus on some important issues that may arise during the divorce process. In this post, we discuss three of the biggest money mistakes that couples make during and after a divorce, and provide you with some practical information that you can use to avoid a similar fate.

2016 AMENDMENTS TO CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE

The New Year brings new changes to many laws including California's Family Code. Some of these changes or amendments to California's Family Code include:

DO STEPPARENTS HAVE CUSTODY RIGHTS IN DIVORCE?

Do stepparents who have been a positive and lasting influence on their stepchildren's lives and helped to raise them have any custody rights in the event of a divorce?

NON-PARENT VISITATION

When family relationships become complicated by divorce or the death of a parent, there are sometimes disagreements about who should be allowed to visit with the minor children involved. A case in the California Court of Appeals, Herbst v. Swan, delineates some of the issues involved in deciding the rights of non-parents to visit minor children.

DO INSURANCE POLICIES QUALIFY AS COMMUNITY PROPERTY?

California is a community property state. What this means is that (generally) all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is deemed to be jointly owned by both. Generally, if a life insurance policy has been purchased by one party using "community funds" (i.e., joint funds) during a marriage, it will be considered to be a community asset or community property in the case of divorce. Similarly, the surrender value of a life insurance policy purchased with community funds may be considered community property in California. If a life insurance policy is purchased prior to marriage using separate funds, the policy will generally be considered an individual asset and not community property.

IS SEVERANCE PAY A COMMUNITY ASSET?

Going through job loss can be an incredibly stressful time in an individual's job losses and the resulting economic pressures can sometimes result in a divorce. If you are facing divorce and have been recently laid off and received severance pay from your former employer, you need to be concerned about whether severance pay is considered a community asset subject to marital division upon your divorce. For over 40 years, the Law Office of Steven M. Bishop has been assisting San Diego area residents navigate the complex legal system and divorce laws.

RE-MARRYING YOUR FORMER SPOUSE

Sometimes couples who divorce find their love rekindles later in life at a time when they are in different places in their lives than they were during their marriage and they decide to give their relationship a second chance. Although it is not especially common, it is also not unheard of for former spouses to discover the things that initially drew them together in the first place still exist, drawing them together once again. Some experts estimate that about 10% of all married couples who separate will eventually reconcile at some point in their lives. If you have rekindled a relationship with your former spouse and are contemplating a remarriage, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you say "I do", again.

WHO KEEPS THE RING (AND OTHER GIFTS) IF AN ENGAGEMENT IS CALLED OFF

When you have found your soul mate and you plan to get married, most couples will purchase an engagement ring to memorialize their relationship and their road to marriage. Sometimes the ring will be purchased by one party and sometimes it is a joint purchase made with joint funds.

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