Issues When Dealing With Commingled Funds In A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsPrior to getting married, the property owned by you is regarded by the court as your “separate property”. This dignified that such a property is owned only by you and not by your spouse. For example, if you have $15,000 in your bank account and own a property while getting married, you are bringing your separate property in the marriage. Such a property remains your separate property if it is not “commingled” with your spouse’s separate property brought into your married life. For instance, in case you get married and both of you stay in the same house that is owned by you prior to the marriage. However, if the incomes of both you and your spouse are being contributed toward paying the mortgage, such a house is automatically counted as a marital property. In other words, it becomes a property your spouse may be interested in,provided both of you decide to divorce in the future.

The job of splitting property as well as other marital assets could be a tough one and full of conflicts especially for those couples where there has been a commingling of funds in the course of the marriage.

While negotiations continue for divorce settlement, determining which property should go to whom while depend on the degree of the occurrence of commingling of funds during that marriage as well as the complexity of transactions like home or automobile purchases, a big and crucial role is played by commingled funds during a divorce.

In case you fail to keep a thorough accounting of what is being done with your assets and properties during your marriage, it is not easy to prove that the purchase of that property was not done with commingled funds. The following are some of the tips for all those spouses who do not want to commingle during their marriage.

Enter into a prenuptial agreement

It makes sense to have your prenuptial agreement in place, which will clearly state, which properties will be counted as marital properties and which will be not in the event of a divorce.

Avoid paying off marital debt using your separate property

You should not use your separate property for paying off any marital debt. For instance, if you receive a hefty amount of money from your parents as a gift, the money should be used towards paying off a credit card debt or your home debt. You need to note that when funds benefit a marriage, they become marital property.

You should have separate bank accounts

Funds should only be deposited in a joint account when you want to count it as marital funds. When you deposit funds in your separate and individual bank account, it is regarded as your separate property.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Tips for Splitting Marital Property During a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in orange countyBefore understanding how your marital pretty should be split during a divorce, it is important to recognize what a marital property means. Any property owned by you or your spouse during the course of your marriage is counted as a marital property. The properties you owned prior to getting married or any property that you inherit while being married is not considered as your marital property. Some spouses are under the impression that they can escape the process of splitting their marital assets; however, a divorce lawyer is a smart professional. Hunting for hidden assets is one of their top priorities when they fight cases for their clients. If you do not want to get penalized by the court for tucking your marital asset, later on, it is better to disclose such properties in the beginning. Check out the following tips for splitting your marital properties while your divorce proceeding is pending.

Take help of a mediator

It is a good decision that you hire a mediator who will help you by working on sticky issues, which may pop up while the marital properties are being split. While it is a requirement in some States to have mediation while the divorce process is on, other States do not have such a requirement. It is better to save your money and time by hiring a reputable mediator who will help you in this process prior to the involvement of the courts.

Stop fighting on small issues

When you let emotions rule over your good sense, your objectives may not be fulfilled. For instance, there could be a portrait in your bedroom, which you are emotionally attached to and want to take it with you by any means and you do not agree with your spouse that he or she should have it. In case you fail to arrive at an amicable settlement on such trivial issues, your judge may not care about your emotional attachment to certain objects. A court’s job is to find out the assets acquired by you during your marriage, As such, it will instruct the property to be split according to the laws of your state and not according to what you want. To put it simply, it is you and not the judge who has made an emotional and financial investment in your marital property. A judge cannot and is not in a position to order for the split of marital properties in a manner that will satisfy both the parties involved. If the couples can mutually sort out those issues, then only both of them can be satisfied. Any attempt made to hide marital assets is a legal offense, which means you are violating the law.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation 

Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2017. Filed under California divorce, California Family Law, Division of Property, Division of retirement plans, Divorce, Divorce & Debts, Divorce & Division of Property, Divorce & Family Businesses, Divorce advice, Divorce court proceedings, Divorce Mediation, Family Law, Frequently asked questions, Orange County divorce, Orange County divorce mediation, Orange County divorce mediators.
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How to Determine Your Financial Needs After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsYou may think that estimating your expenses after the divorce is an easy task but in reality it may not be true. In fact many people are unable to name a proper estimate of their current lifestyle expenses. Majority of the people are practically clueless about where their money is going. Even if they have a tough idea, they are unable to articulate it properly when queried about it. When someone prompts them about what their expenses and requirements could be at present, they may agree to that.

What could be a big mistake?

Usually, your attorney may request you to prepare a budget based on their expenses. You may not down the obvious expense heads such as phone bills, Internet bills, cable TV/ satellite TV charges, cat insurance, loan payment for car, utilities, rent and mortgage. However, you may still feel that something is still amiss. Since you are well e not certain, you do not hand your budget to the attorney. Although your attorney may be constantly after you, you cannot be specific though your time could be running out.

In fact may find that the process has a strong likelihood with done or being asked the sand question repeatedly in a torture like situation.

While you may not have a sure shot answer to their question, you may eventually give your attorney something so that they do not pester you again. You should remember the figures you hand them over will be used for ascertaining some major monetary issues in your divorce case.

A financial consultant specialized in divorce cases suggests their clients that in case they want spousal support but do not know what their exact requirements are and what they should ask for, there are high chances of not getting it. On the other hand, when you are supposed to provide for spousal support but are ignorant on what are your needs. It is a tough job to hang to it. Plus it may not be there if you require it.

Merits of consulting a good divorce financial professional

When you work closely with a reputable divorce financial professional, the financial aspects of a divorce can be smoother. Additionally, it will also be more financially sound. Remember that it is the most crucial financial decision in anyone’s life. A divorce financial expert is well-equipped with the knowledge of a detailed list of all possible costs that could either be applicable to you or may help in reminding you to add it to your expense list. A well-prepared statement of expenses as well as a proper understanding on how up use your money can be the foundation of your financially secure future.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Issues Related To Retirement Benefits and Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsThe entire divorce process is quite a complicated one as there are various issues to be handled and sorted out such as distributing marital assets, parenting plans, custody issues along with the emotional trauma a spouse may go through during this period. Moreover, there could be a million other things hovering around in your mind. One of the most crucial issues to be sorted out at this juncture is how to treat the retirement assets since distributing them could be a time-taking process. In case you have recently filed your divorce petition and contemplating about the retirement benefit solution that you should get, you need to keep the following factors in your mind so that the process operates in a smooth manner.

Equal distribution of marital assets

Since all divorces are not sane, a single solution cannot fit all of them. There are many couples who are in agreement regarding maintaining their individual personal retirement benefits. They also decide to take leverage of the other assets so that the distribution of the property can be balanced out. Ideally, each asset is not split in a divorce. Rather piles are made on both sides so that there is a more or less equal distribution of assets at the end. But the real issue is that all couples do not have sufficient retirement plans with them. There are many cases where one of the parties has been relying on the other spouse for the retirement benefits. Where sorting out of retirement benefits is concerned during a divorce, when one spouse does do not have any kind of a retirement plan or the plan is not sufficient, there are several ways to make sure that the person gets something to depend on after his or her retirement. But there could be scenarios where each party getting their assets and individual retirement plan equitably distributed fails to work there could be other options like social security benefits discussed below.

Treatment of social security benefits

This is another kind of retirement financing. But, it is distinct from an arrangement like QDRO. According to the Federal Law, these benefits cannot be distributed among the two parties. There are certain cases where one party is legible for the social security benefits, which is based on the employment of their ex-spouse. In case, it is so, the said spouse may agree to that benefit provided it is more than what they would have got in accordance with their individual work history.

Moreover, in some cases, one of the two parties can instruct the payment of the spousal support for the other party from his or her individual social security. However, regulations vary on the basis of circumstances and regions.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How Is Legal Separation Different From A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsLegal separation is the formal process of confirming an actual separation of the parties, as opposed to filing for divorce.  Parties that chose legal separation do so for religious reasons, do not believe in divorce, or have concerns about medical insurance coverage, among other reasons.  If the parties proceed all the way to a final judgment in a legal separation case, they can obtain the same orders that they would have in a divorce case.  The biggest difference is that in the end, the parties are technically still married after a legal separation case and cannot get legally remarried.

Agreement for separation

An agreement on separation includes terms that are quite similar to those if the concerned couple was getting a divorce. This means there will be a distribution of their marital property, agreement on child visitation and custody if applicable. Not only this, the couple opting for a legal separation will also have to come to a decision on dividing any debts that were incurred by them after they got married.

Ideally, the above-mentioned terms should be binding in case the couple wants to get divorced. Moreover, both parties should hire their individual attorneys for negotiating all the details of the agreement on their legal separation. In case the spouses eventually make up their mind to go one step ahead and file for a divorce, it has been observed that the judge usually keeps the same terms as both the parties agreed to them earlier.

Differences between a legal separation and a divorce

Check out some of the following key differences between a divorce and a legal separation.

Name

While the spouse continues with the legal married name in the case of a separation, a wife may revert back to her maiden name after the divorce comes throughout the divorce be.

Child support

The conditions related to child support are ascertained when the legal separation takes place. When a couple decides to go for a divorce after being legally separated, ideally, the same terms are followed that were mentioned in the document for legal separation.

Marital status

A couple is still married even though there is a legal separation going on. But when the divorce is finalized, the marriage ends.

Child visits

Visitation rights of the child are decided when the legal separation takes place. If a divorce comes through after the legal separation, most of the times, the same terms are followed as mentioned in the document of their legal separation.

Alimony

The terms for alimony are ascertained during the legal separation. The conditions are typically kept same if the divorce gets finalized in the future.

Split of marital property

The couple agrees to the terms while going for a legal separation. When they do decide to finally divorce, the sane conditions that are mentioned in the document for legal separation are followed.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Is it Necessary to Sell Your Wedding Ring During Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsYour marriage has finally ended and your former spouse is no longer staying with you. Is this the time for you to dispose of your wedding ring by selling it off? Or do you want to postpone the selling process for some more time? In case your divorce is yet to be finalized, you may give some serious thoughts over considering selling your wedding ring either now or later. This is because re-purposing or selling the wedding ring may free you from your unpleasant and negative memories.

You may sell the ring due to financial reasons

Divorce can be quite an expensive process. Very few people will deny the fact that it can be a big financial burden due to costs related to the distribution of assets, legal fees, tax consequences and much more. When you are going through a great mental agony, handing such financial strains can be quite overwhelming. It is crucial to find fresh sources of income so that such a pressure can be alleviated.

In this context, it is important to note that at this juncture of your life, a precious yet least important possession will be your wedding ring as well as the engagement ring set. Since your relationship has ended, selling these rings to gather funds for meeting your divorce expenses could be a financially smart move on your part. Not only will such a step be helpful to financially improve your future, it will also enable you to sever your past ties. Selling your wedding ring need not essentially be a drawn out or tough process.

Emotional advantages of selling a wedding ring

It is not an easy job to bounce back from your broken marriage at any age. This is true for both men as well as women. After all, both the parties have to deal with varying emotions.  One may start missing his or her former spouse and wonder if the decision to split was the right one to do or not. Alternatively, you may be still full of anger and disillusionment and accuse your ex of whatever happened. Such powerful emotions related to the past can have an adverse effect on your peace of mind and health.

In order to start your life fresh after the divorce, you have to control your emotions and give yourself another opportunity to experience new and positive emotions. One way to get hold of your emotions is to dispose of your wedding ring.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Why Material Disclosure of Assets is Significant in Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorcing parties have a natural tendency to conceal their material assets from their spouse and understate their income. Lawyers across California have faced this problem for many years now. However, disclosure of material assets, facts, income and information in a divorce case has great significance in financial settlements between the divorcing parties. The divorce law in California makes it mandatory for both parties.

The mandate to disclose financial and material information is based on the state’s policy, which aims to achieve the following:

  1. To preserve and protect the community assets and liabilities that are existing at the date of separation to avoid squandering of the assets before actual distribution.
  2. To ensure that sufficient and fair spousal and child support is provided.
  3. To achieve a proper division of community assets and liabilities on the legal separation of parties.

In order to achieve the aforementioned objectives, the family code under California divorce law requires accurate and full disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which the separating parties have interest, regardless of the property being characterized as either separate or community. The separating parties are also required to make a full disclosure of all income and expenses.

The divorcing parties also have a persisting duty to update and augment the disclosures. The purpose of this is to ensure that each party will make the final settlement with sufficient and full knowledge of all relevant facts underlying the divorce case. The separating parties make the disclosure by serving each other with a preliminary declaration and final declaration of disclosure.

The preliminary declaration should be served within 60 days of serving the divorce or separation petition. The declaration is not filed with the court but served only to each other. The declaration lays down the identity of all assets and liabilities, the share of the declaring person(s) in the asset or liability and the characterization of such assets and liabilities.

The final declaration of disclosure should be served at least 45 days before the first trial date. The final declaration includes all material facts and information regarding the characterization, valuation, amount, income and expenses of each party entering into the divorce case. Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements would be considered a breach of fiduciary obligation of the party. The court may sanction the party committing the breach by awarding sanctions and attorney’s fees to the other spouse as observed by section 271 under the California Family Code.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation