People are not at a loss for information about getting a divorce. If you are going through a divorce or thinking about it, you have probably already surfed the internet or talked to your family, friends and colleagues to find out about what happened in their divorce. I always encourage people to obtain as much information as possible so that they can make informed decisions. However, there are inherent problems when divorcing parties rely solely on the internet or friends for legal information. For example, when searching the internet, you may be reading about divorce laws in Texas or New York. That is a problem because the laws in those states are different than in California. I find that part of my role as a Riverside divorce attorney or mediator is to inform the parties about the law that applies to them and in the process answer common divorce questions and myths they have read or heard about.
Here are the top 5 questions/divorce myths, debunked:
1. If I move out of the house, do I lose my property rights?
No. The characterization of the house as community property does not change just because one person moves out of the house. Each party is still legally entitled to 50% of the community property interest in the house.
2. Do I get more of the assets because my spouse cheated on me?
No. Adultery is emotionally devastating to many people and they feel that they should be compensated in some manner. However, California is a no-fault state. This means that each person is entitled to 50% of the community assets, regardless of whose fault the divorce is, which person wants or initiates the divorce, and regardless of why the parties are getting a divorce.
3. I don’t have to pay child support since the kids spend the same amount of time with each parent, right?
Not necessarily. Child support is based on several factors. In California, the two primary factors are the amount of time each party spends with the children and the gross monthly income of each party. There are a few other factors that will impact child support (ie, health insurance premiums, union dues, mortgage interest, and property taxes, among others). Therefore, even if each party spends 50% of the time with the children, if one spouse earns more money than the other, it could result in that spouse paying child support. Divorce mediation can help the parties determine what child support should be under the current laws.
4. Do I have to pay child support until my kids graduate from college?
No. In California, a parent’s legal duty to support his/her child is until the child reaches the age of 19, reaches the age of 18 and is no longer a full-time high school student, marries, emancipates, or dies, whichever occurs first. Neither parent has a legal obligation to financially support their child through college, or even pay college expenses. However, many divorcing parties choose to financially help their kids through college. In divorce mediation, I explore these issues with the parties so that they can decide what is best for their situation.
5. Should I file for divorce first, before my spouse does, so that I get a legal advantage?
You will not receive more of the community assets just because you file for divorce before your spouse does. Similarly, you will not receive more child or spousal support, or get more visitation with the kids because you filed for divorce before your spouse did. That being said, there may be reasons why you should file for divorce. A divorce attorney or mediator can help you determine what is best for you.
Divorce mediation is an excellent way for the parties to get the right legal information that applies to them. In mediation, the parties learn about the laws that apply to them and what their options are so that they can reach an agreement that work best for them. Divorce mediation resolves your divorce without you going to court. Contact California Mediation Solutions today for a free consultation and learn how mediation will help you make the right decisions in your divorce.