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San Mateo California Family Law Blog

Who pays student loans after a divorce?

California is a “community property” state, which means that when you divorce, assets along with debts get divvied up between the spouses. It doesn’t matter who produced more during the marriage: everything gets divided between the partners.

The same is not true of assets and debts brought into the marriage. Those follow the originator. This is important when determining who pays student loans after a divorce.

Judge signs off on Anna Faris and Chris Pratt's child custody

Even for California couples who understand that ending their unhappy marriage is for the best, divorce can be an understandably emotional process. As with almost any emotional task, figuring out some of the more difficult details -- such as child custody, support and asset division -- can be even more complicated. One celebrity couple, however, has seemed to find agreeable solutions to these issues without much problem.

Chris Pratt initially filed for divorce back in Dec. 2017, and the couple recently finalized everything in early Nov. 2018. The couple will share joint custody of their 6-year-old son. Both parents seem exceptionally committed to their new co-parenting situation, and even spent the recent Halloween holiday together so that they could both take their son out trick-or-treating.

Want a cooperative divorce? Mediation can help

You have likely watched a familiar scene play out in many of the popular TV shows and movies that you watch -- a divorcing couple battling things out before a judge. In the end, one person wins and the other loses. While this might make for an entertaining scene, it is not necessary a very good approach to divorce. Instead, you may want to consider mediation.

As an alternative to full-on litigation, mediation in California is usually both more time and cost effective. During this process, you work with a third-party professional, who helps you and your soon-to-be ex facilitate negotiations. You will address all aspects of your divorce, from property division to child custody.

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt reach agreement on child custody, more

Although Chris Pratt and Anna Faris might be most well-known to people in California for their roles in popular movies, they have been in the headlines more recently for their ongoing divorce. However, unlike many celebrity splits, the couple reached a settlement in a relatively quick and collaborative manner. Their settlement addresses important topics, such as alimony, child support and child custody.

Pratt and Faris filed for divorce back in Dec. 2017, at which time they cited irreconcilable differences. Less than a year later, their divorce is officially over. This may be due in part to their prenuptial agreement, which outlined how they would handle certain issues if they decided to end things.

Don't fret over property division -- get a prenup

You probably already have an idea of the type of people who use prenuptial agreements -- wealthy and perhaps not totally committed to their future nuptials. Unfortunately, this long-standing stereotype makes it difficult for the average person in California to fully grasp the true benefits of a prenup. Whether addressing concerns about property division or protecting yourself from your partner's debt, a prenup is an invaluable tool from which virtually anyone can benefit.

So why is it important to tackle issues like property division if you have no plans of divorcing in the future? Aside from the fact that divorce is a possibility for anyone, thinking about your assets and finances before marriage is actually a very healthy step. This gives you and your soon-to-be spouse the opportunity to be open and honest about your property and debt, laying the groundwork for future open lines of communication within your marriage. Plus, having your financial ducks in a row before you even walk down the aisle can make embarking on this new path in life much easier.

The realities of divorce

Though you may not imagine your divorce will be pleasant, your expectations might still be sugar-coated. Divorce brings many harsh realities that aren't always easy to accept.

The sooner you're able to come to terms with the following, the easier it will be to cope with the long road ahead.

Important components of a child custody agreement

As a parent, your child's well-being is the most important thing to you. Unfortunately, making sure that the child's best interests are respected and upheld during a divorce is not always easy. If you and your ex are negotiating child custody, it is important for both of you to fully understand the implications of the different types of custody.

When most people in California think of child custody, they think that you either have it, or you do not. However, the situation is usually more nuanced than that. Custody can refer to either legal or physical custody, both of which may either be sole or joint custody.

Am I eligible for alimony?

Post-divorce support payments are often necessary aspects of California family law. For those who earned significantly less than their ex-spouse or left the workplace altogether, alimony -- often referred to as spousal support -- can be an important lifeline. But how can an individual know whether he or she will receive alimony? There are a few factors that usually go into the decision. 

Barring extenuating circumstances, a marriage that lasted a few years or less is unlikely to yield alimony payments. However, limited alimony might be appropriate if one person earned a much higher income. Those who were married for longer periods of time -- usually 10 years or longer -- can expect alimony to come up during divorce proceedings.  

Don't split up Fido during property division; see a judge instead

Owning a pet is about so much more than simply feeding an animal. For most people in California, pet ownership means treating an animal like another valued member of the family. Unfortunately for most pet parents, this familial bond has not always translated well during divorce, putting beloved animals in the middle of heated property division disputes. Now, a new California law aims to help these individuals handle things more easily. 

The bill was recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown, and although it does not change the designation of pets as community property, it does improve matters during divorce. Instead of automatically shuffling pooches into the mix during property division, judges will have greater discretion to rule on these matters. Some have likened it to child custody, but for pets. 

Will I have to pay support if we do joint child custody?

Most people know that, in California, child support is usually paid by the noncustodial parent to the parent with primary physical custody. As family law trends are shifting toward more shared child custody situations, will child support roles change to match? Even in cases where parents share roughly equal physical custody, support can still play an important role in the financial well-being of the child. 

Historically, mothers were usually given primary physical custody. Dads would see the kids during visitation weekends and would shell out for child support. This arrangement reflected past generations' societal expectations, especially that of a breadwinning man who continued to provide necessary financial support. Current families look much different, though, with many households functioning with two working adults even before divorce, giving women stronger incomes to fall back on. Shared custody also means that women are taking on less of the financial brunt of child-rearing. 

California Family Law And Litigation

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