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Palo Alto California Family Law Blog

What types of things can our prenup cover?

If you and your beloved are a California couple looking forward to your upcoming marriage, this is one of the happiest and most exciting times in your life. Your world is beautiful and your future is full of promise. Both of you fully intend to live out the fairytale of happily ever after.

While such plans and intentions are laudable and expected at this stage of your relationship, the reality is that the American divorce rate hovers somewhere around 50 percent and has done so for the past 30 years. Just because the two of you are madly in love now does not mean that you will remain so 10 or 20 years from now. While it may seem that bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement only throws cold water on your present idyllic situation, neither you nor your soon-to-be spouse is a child. Marriage itself is an adult commitment and adults, among other things, responsibly manage their assets now so as to avoid nasty surprises in the future.

How you can prepare for your upcoming divorce mediation

A divorce mediation in California is worth striving for. While a divorce proceeding could bring out the worst in both parties, a mediation encourages cooperation and mutually agreed upon solutions between spouses. If you see mediation as a worthy alternative dispute resolution, there are important steps you can take to get yourself ready for an upcoming mediation.

First, Findlaw recommends that you retain the services of a qualified attorney. A mediation may not be the same as a court hearing, but that does not mean you do not need legal representation. It is important to receive quality legal advice during the process up until the final agreement is presented. While your mediator might also be an attorney, the mediator is not permitted to provide you or your spouse with legal advice.

Understanding California’s child custody laws

California couples contemplating divorce should be aware of the state’s child custody laws. For instance, as set out by the California court system, there are two types of custody: legal and physical.

Legal custody has to do with which parent makes important decisions about the child, such as the following:

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Child care
  • Religious affiliation
  • Sports and other extracurricular activities
  • Vacations and other travel

Women may still need alimony more than men today

Regardless of your financial status when you were married, getting a divorce can present a hardship. The prospect of a lengthy, contentious divorce, going from a two-income household to being the sole source of income and raising young children are just a few of the challenges newly divorced people face, especially women. At the Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin, we are prepared to answer your questions about spousal support in California.

Forbes points out that even in this day and age, woman are more likely to suffer financially after a divorce than men. You may have stayed home to take care of the children and home during your marriage while your husband advanced his career. This decision may also have included forgoing your college education. To save on childcare costs, you might have cut your hours to part-time, intending to return to the workforce when your children were older. These plans are good when you are in a stable marriage, but when you are faced with a divorce, you may find yourself left in the dust when it comes to your career.

What is the role of a postnuptial agreement?

Most California residents know someone with a prenuptial agreement, or is at least familiar with the concept. These agreements allow a couple to make important economic decisions before entering into marriage.

People are less familiar with postnuptial agreements. Postnuptial agreements are a more recent concept, but they are similar to prenups. Postnuptial agreements also establish a legally-binding economic agreement between spouses; however, it is created after their marriage takes place.

Can I still take a tax deduction for my spousal support payments?

Tax day is nearly here, both nationwide and in California. With all the rumors floating around about the alimony deduction, you may be uncertain about whether or not you can still deduct your spousal support payments from your federal income tax. The answer is, yes, you can.

It is true that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Congress passed and President Trump signed into law last December eliminated the alimony deduction. It also eliminated the necessity for those receiving spousal support to claim it as income and pay tax on it. However, as reported by Market Watch, the new law does not apply to you if your divorce or legal separation is already final of if it becomes final this year. It also consequently makes 2018 what many divorce experts are calling "a wild year for divorce."

Mediation, an alternative divorce process

If you are preparing to divorce, you have probably been given a lot of unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends and family. Most divorced couples have gone through a process which is combative, frustrating, and ultimately emotionally damaging. But it does not have to be like that.

For couples who want to avoid the trauma associated with a traditional divorce, mediation can be a good option. For parents, it helps to set the tone for amicable dispute resolution in the years to come as divorced co-parents. It also allows much more control over the process and a focus on what is important for you to move on with your life.

Understanding collaborative divorce

At the Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin in California, we know that many of our clients are looking for a more amicable, cooperative and less stressful way to obtain a divorce than that offered by the traditional litigation process. If you fit this description, FindLaw explains that a collaborative divorce may be exactly what you are looking for.

The only similarity between a collaborative divorce and a traditional litigated one is that you and your spouse each retains your own attorney.  However, your respective attorneys do not see themselves or their clients as adversaries. Rather, the attorneys help you and your spouse iron out your differences, negotiate in a cooperative and non-threatening atmosphere, and arrive at mutually agreeable solutions, all while looking out for your respective best interests.

Hastily presented prenuptial agreements may not hold up in court

Whether or not you consider yourself wealthy, you likely have some personal assets that you'd like to protect if you ever get divorced. Young Americans are waiting longer to get married, which means they are often more financially secure going into the relationship.

If you are considering marriage, you have hopefully also considered a prenup. In the event of divorce, these documents can make the process much faster, cheaper and less contentious. But this is only possible if the agreement is constructed properly.

Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin
2225 E. Bayshore Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303-3220

Phone: 650-473-0822
Fax: 650-473-0812
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