Family Law FAQs
Family Law FAQs
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What Is Community Property? 

Community property generally is everything that spouses or domestic partners own together. It includes everything you bought or got while you were married or in a domestic partnership – including debt – that is not a gift or inheritance.

Quasi-community property is another form of property that you or your spouse acquired while living in another state. It is considered community property if you had purchased it while living in California. See Family Code § 760.

What Is Separate Property?

Anything that you purchased or owned before you were married or filed for domestic partnership is considered separate property. It is important to note that this also includes inheritance and gifts. If it was given to you, and you alone, it is considered yours. This also includes any profit you make from property you owned prior to your marriage or partnership. See California Family Code § 770.

Mixed Community And Separate Property – Commingling

“Commingling” is when assets are considered both separate property and community property. It can be difficult to determine how to fairly divide these possessions, as they become mixed together over time.

What Is Legal Custody?

Joint legal custody means that both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and welfare. See California Family Code § 3003.

With sole legal custody, a parent may be awarded the exclusive right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the child’s health, education and welfare; but unless exclusive physical custody is also granted, that parent does not have sole control over the child’s residence and supervision. See California Family Code § 3006.

What Is Physical Custody?

A joint physical custody award means each parent has “significant periods” of physical custody. Physical custody must be shared in such a way as to assure the child “frequent and continuing contact with both parents,” subject to Cal. Fam. §§ 3011 and 3020; but that does not mean the child’s time must be equally divided with each parent (i.e., one parent can still be the “primary caretaker”). See Cal. Fam. Code § 3004.

Sole physical custody means a parent may be granted exclusive physical custody without exclusive legal custody. This means the child resides with and is supervised by one parent, subject to the other parent’s visitation rights; but the custodial parent does not have sole decision-making power regarding other matters affecting the child. See Cal. Fam. Code § 3007.

Do I Have To Pay Child Support?

Each parent is equally responsible for providing for the financial needs of his or her child. But the court cannot enforce this obligation until it makes an order for support. When parents separate, a parent must ask the court to make an order establishing parentage (paternity) and also ask the court to make an order for child support.

Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18 (or 19 if they are still in high school full time, living at home, and cannot support themselves).

California has a statewide formula (called a “guideline”) for figuring out how much child support should be paid. If parents cannot agree on child support, the judge will decide the child support amount based on the guideline calculation. Something other than the guideline amounts are ordered in very limited situations. See Cal Fam. Code §§§ 4052, 4057, and 4058.

Am I Entitled To Spousal Support?​

When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order one spouse or domestic partner to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month. This is called “spousal support” for married couples and “partner support” in domestic partnerships. It is sometimes also called “alimony.”

When it comes to temporary support, the court uses a formula to calculate the appropriate amount due. Every county is different, and your court’s local rules should explain how temporary support is calculated in your county. How long spousal or child support is paid typically depends on the length of the marriage or partnership. In general, the law states that payment is due for one-half of the length of the relationship. However, a judge has the final say and can change this.

A judge will often consider a marriage of partnership “long-term” when it has lasted 10 years or more. In these cases, the judge may not list a specific end date to financial support. When it comes to a divorce and property issues are at stake, you need a highly skilled attorney as your advocate and adviser.

To Learn More, Call Today

Customers may have questions, and we have answers. We will display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits. The Law Office of Robert Rodriguez has extensive experience in court litigation that includes divorces, personal injury, automobile accidents, trials and civil litigation. If you pose a question, we will answer it.

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