Few things are more emotional or stressful than divorce and other family law disputes. You don’t just have money on the line but your personal relationships and emotional well-being, and the conflict is often with someone who you thought you would love for life. Coupled with these feelings is having to use a legal system that can seem intimidatingly complex to someone with no legal experience. Working with an attorney who is compassionate enough to understand your needs while aggressive enough to fight for you when necessary can help you get through this uncertain time.
Carlsbad and Oceanside Family Law Attorney
Steven L. Fritsch can help you in all areas of divorce and family law including legal separation, nullity, paternity, child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, property division, modification orders, and domestic violation restraining orders. Attorney Steven L. Fritsch has demonstrated his knowledge and experience by earning certification as a State Bar Of California Family Law Specialist. Certified specialists must complete additional education in family law topics, demonstrate past experience handling a variety of family law matters, participate in continuing legal education programs, and continue to actively represent clients in family law matters while they are certified.
Helping All Types of Families
Families come in all forms and sizes, and each family type has its own unique legal needs. Whether you’re in a traditional nuclear family, second or third marriage, same-sex marriage, military marriage, domestic partnership, or any other type of relationship, we’re here to help you with all of your legal needs. Our experience representing a diverse group of clients from all walks of life allows us to efficiently handle even the most complex or unique situations and to provide you with guidance even when the law is unclear or still evolving.
What are the Advantages of a Prenuptial Agreement?
At one time, prenuptial agreements were almost exclusively used to protect the wealthy. The spouse with a lower income and/or fewer assets was essentially asked to give up any claim to their partner’s wealth if the marriage ended in divorce.
Today, any prenuptial agreement that is too one-sided likely won’t be upheld in court. Consequently, their purpose has changed from protecting wealth to clarifying expectations should a couple later divorce. Advantages include:
- Both spouses get on the same page financially. With a valid prenup, you and your fiancé(e) must be completely honest with each other about your respective income and assets. This clarity can prevent assumptions that may impact the relationship later on.
- Protect children from an earlier relationship. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, your spouse may receive assets that you intended to give your children. Identifying these assets in an agreement can help ensure that they end up with the intended recipients.
- Protect a business. If you own a business before getting married, any subsequent increase in value can be subject to division upon divorce. You can specify in your agreement that if you divorce, you keep the business while your spouse receives marital property of comparable value.
- Make divorce settlements easier. By defining expectations and clearly designating separate property, prenuptial agreements can help avoid lengthy court proceedings during a divorce.
Attorney Steven L. Fritsch can help you start your marriage on a solid note by drafting a prenuptial agreement that’s fair and gets you both on the same page before you say, “I do.”
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
The length of time it takes to get a divorce in California will largely depend on whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce. Uncontested dissolutions usually proceed more quickly because both spouses agree on key issues like child custody, child support, property division, and spousal maintenance. With contested divorces, the timeline will depend on how long it takes for the parties to reach an agreement or the court to make a decision.
It should be noted that even a straightforward, uncontested divorce will take at least six months due to California’s mandatory waiting period. Divorcing couples receive this statutory waiting period in order to resolve their conflict and potentially reconcile, thereby ending the divorce. Even when both you and your spouse agree that the relationship is over, you will still need to wait six months for the divorce to be finalized.
How is Marital Property Split in a California Divorce?
California is a community property state, meaning that any property or obligation (e.g. loans, credit cards) acquired during the marriage is presumed to be owned by both spouses equally, regardless of who actually bought it or whose name is on the paperwork. Should a couple divorce, the value of marital assets and debts are split 50/50 between them unless they negotiate a different arrangement or a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement states that certain assets remain separate in the event that the marriage ends.
Assets that are NOT typically subject to distribution include those acquired by each spouse before the marriage as well as gifts and inheritances received by one party during the relationship.
In California, divorcing couples may decide on their own how they want to distribute their marital property and obligations. If they are unable to agree on how to divide everything, then the court will make the final decision according to community property laws.
Providing Alternative Solutions
In family law, the end result isn’t the only consideration. Even in a bitter divorce, you may need to preserve relationships with children, extended family, or mutual friends. You also probably want your case to be resolved as quickly as possible and to avoid any unnecessary legal expenses. While we are prepared to battle for you in court when necessary, we recommend pursuing informal negotiations, mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution options whenever possible. When you come to our firm, we will have a thorough consultation to better understand your legal needs and end goals, and we will then work with you to develop a custom-tailored approach to resolving your specific situation.
The Law Office of Steve L. Fritsch is located in Carlsbad, California and proudly serves clients throughout San Diego County along with neighboring Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.