DIVORCE / LEGAL SEPARATION

Division of Assets

We help you identify community and separate property assets to prepare for divorce or to assist in mediation. We also help you determine and divide your assets in mediation. Most of the time, all assets acquired during marriage or registered domestic partnerships (excluding gifts or inheritance) are community property.

Support

We file the necessary paperwork with the court to establish temporary and permanent spousal support for married couples or registered domestic partners. We also establish child support and assist in modifying support obligations. 

A few important notes regarding support: 

Until the end of 2018, in a dissolution of a marriage, Federal law stated that the spouse paying support could deduct the payment and the spouse receiving support would be taxed on the payment.

In divorce agreements made after January 1, 2019, spousal support will no longer be deductible to the payor spouse nor taxable to the payee spouse. However, modifications of support orders made prior to January 1, 2019, may still be deductible to the payor spouse and taxable to the payee spouse.

In the dissolution of a Registered Domestic Partnership, the partner who pays support may not deduct the payment from federal taxes, but the partner receiving support may be taxed on the amounts received.
Child support is not deductible or taxable in most cases.

Same Sex Marriage/Domestic Partner Dissolutions

We handle dissolutions for Registered Domestic Partners and same sex married couples. Registered Domestic Partners have the same California state rights and obligations as married couples. This means that Registered Domestic Partners accrue community property and have support obligations to each other on dissolution of their marriage the same as married couples do. However, Registered Domestic Partners have no Federal rights or obligations.

Same sex couples who married or registered as domestic partners in California may dissolve their marriage in California even if they do not reside in California, if their home country does not recognize their marriage or their home state/country does not recognize their domestic partnership.

Note that since January 1, 2005, California Registered Domestic Partners are required to dissolve their relationships in family court, the same as married couples.

Child Custody

Our philosophy is very simple: we do what is best for the children. We assist clients in developing parenting plans and help them determine sharing of custody after separation.

We have the resources to make sure that the emotional and psychological needs of the children are met after their parents' separation.

Same-Sex Parenting

A significant decision in the state of California has serious implications for same-sex couples and their children. In the California Supreme court case of Kristine H. v. Lisa R., this same-sex couple had a child using assisted reproduction.

Before the child was born, the couple sought and was granted a court judgment declaring that both women were the child's legal parents. After the couple ended their relationship, two and one-half years later, the birth mother filed an action seeking to vacate the judgment and have the court declare that she is the child's only parent. 

As co-counsel on the case, Diane Goodman argued that both women remained the child's legal parents. In their groundbreaking decision, the California Supreme Court held that the birth mother was barred from challenging the judgment and indeed, both women were the legal parents.

We assist clients who are same-sex couples in legalizing their relationships with children — Family Formation.

And, for those times when court is the only option, we are here to act as co-counsel with your litigation attorney or to refer you to a litigation attorney.

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