Divorce is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever go through, but you don’t have to go through it alone. You deserve to work with a divorce lawyer in Beverly Hills who understands what you’re up against – and who’s willing to fight hard to help you get the best possible outcome.
What Can a Divorce Attorney Do for You?
Whether you’re still contemplating divorce or your spouse has already filed, you need legal representation. Your attorney can do several things for you, including:
- Help you reach a child custody agreement
- Navigate the complications of a prenuptial agreement
- Work through property division
- Deal with spousal maintenance
- Handle special circumstances unique to your divorce
You’ll have to address these and many other issues during your divorce, so it makes sense to have a seasoned legal professional by your side every step of the way.
Child Custody Agreements
Custody is one of the most difficult areas of divorce. In the vast majority of cases, both parents will have legal rights to their children – but during negotiations, many parents don’t see eye-to-eye on how to make that happen. Your Beverly Hills divorce lawyer can help you work out a child custody agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse that fits your family’s needs.
Although most parents are able to reach a custody agreement on their own, there are cases in which it’s necessary for a judge to listen to both sides and make a decision for the family. Sometimes that happens when one parent tries to use custody as a weapon against the other; sometimes it’s because one parent doesn’t believe the other one is good for the children. Regardless of the reason behind it, you need an attorney who’s well-equipped to fight hard for your – and your children’s – rights in court.
Working Through Prenuptial Agreements With a Divorce Lawyer in Beverly Hills
Many people have prenuptial agreements that clearly establish the means by which each spouse is able to keep his or her property and businesses. However, the judge in your case will be the one who determines whether your own prenup is valid and enforceable.
There are some circumstances that render a prenuptial agreement void, such as when one spouse didn’t have complete information when he or she signed or wasn’t given the appropriate amount of time to consider the agreement before signing it. Spouses must be represented by separate attorneys, as well, unless one received full information about the terms and effect of the agreement and signed a document acknowledging the receipt of that information. Even then, a judge may determine that your prenup – or parts of your prenup – are invalid and don’t apply in your case.
Your attorney can represent your best interests in court, whether or not you have a valid prenuptial agreement. Typically, these agreements are geared toward assets and debts, as well as other financial matters, but they can never address child custody or child support. That’s because in California, the best interests of the child are more important than anything else.
Next to child custody, property division is one of the most hotly contested areas of divorce. Your divorce attorney can explain in more detail, but California is a community property state. That means the property you and your spouse acquired while you were married belongs to both of you equally (in the absence of a prenuptial agreement). The property you brought into the marriage typically remains yours alone, and it’s called separate property. Sometimes property becomes commingled, though, such as when one of you owned a home before the marriage but continued paying for it after your marriage. Finally, some property is considered quasi-community; that occurs when you acquired property during your marriage but you acquired it in a state that doesn’t recognize community property.
Property is anything that can be bought or sold or that has value, such as:
- Bank accounts and cash
- Pension plans and 401(k) plans
- Life insurance that has cash value
Property division can be quite complicated, and it may require you to hire professional assessors to determine the value of the things you own. Your attorney can find experts to value your property so that you can divide it fairly in your divorce.
Dividing Debts in a Beverly Hills Divorce
The division of debt in a divorce must be equitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s 50-50. You and your spouse are free to reach a fair agreement about dividing your community debt, but if you cannot, the judge in your case will decide for you. The lower-earning spouse may receive a lower share of the debt, for example. However, every case is different, and if you’re not sure how yours is likely to work out, your lawyer can guide you.
When you work with a divorce lawyer in Beverly Hills, one of the first questions he or she will likely ask you is whether you’re seeking – or whether you expect to pay – spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance, which is commonly called alimony, is money the court orders one spouse to pay the other. The amount and duration of the support one spouse will pay is based on several factors, including:
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- Whether the party seeking support has marketable skills, and whether there is a market for those skills
- How much the party seeking support contributed to the other spouse’s career
- Whether the party seeking support has limited present or future earning capacity due to periods of unemployment during the marriage, typically because of domestic duties
- Each party’s needs
- The ability of the paying spouse to pay
- Each party’s obligations and assets
- How long the couple was married
- The age and health of both parties
- Tax consequences to both parties
- The balance of hardships between the parties
Courts award spousal maintenance with the goal that the supported spouse will be able to support him- or herself within a reasonable period of time. Sometimes, however, particularly with long-term marriages, the courts may determine that the support-seeking spouse will never become self-supporting.
Your attorney can fight hard for you, whether you’re being asked to pay alimony or you’re seeking it. Your lawyer will explain your options and discuss possible outcomes with you before arguing your case before the judge.
No two divorce cases are identical, and you’ll most likely have special circumstances that arise as a result of your divorce. Your attorney can walk you through your legal options in every aspect of your divorce.
Remember, there’s no way to predict how a judge will rule – but when you work with a divorce lawyer in Beverly Hills who’s familiar with our court system and has been practicing long enough to know the judges in our community, he or she will be able to create a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.
Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer in Beverly Hills?
If you’re considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you. Get in touch with us to schedule your free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate divorce attorney by calling 877-959-0963 or 310-683-4623. We’ll schedule a time that works for you, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. Our team of divorce lawyers in Beverly Hills can help you get the best possible outcome.