Under California law, husbands and wives to a dissolution of marriage or legal separation may be entitled to spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance. At the Law Office of Michael Steiner, we have extensive experience advising clients on spousal support issues, negotiating spousal support on behalf of our clients, and litigating spousal support issues in court.
Either party may request temporary support as early as the filing of the petition or response in a dissolution of marriage or legal separation case. Temporary support enables the party with less income to maintain the marital standard of living while the case proceeds. Individual counties in California have their own rules and formulas for determining temporary spousal support. Some counties use a guideline spousal support formula that is calculated with software such as Dissomaster. In other counties, including San Diego county, temporary spousal support is based on the court's discretion and a series of financial and lifestyle factors.
Unlike temporary spousal support, the support set at the time of the dissolution of marriage, known as long-term or permanent spousal support does not differ by county and is not calculated with a formula. The court must consider a group of support factors, and then has the discretion to order permanent spousal support that it believes is appropriate.
These factors include:
Whenever possible, spousal support should be negotiated and agreed to between the parties outside of court. A prolonged court battle over spousal support can be both financially and emotionally costly, and can lead to an unpredictable result. If negotiation fails, a San Diego spousal support lawyer at Law Office Michael Steiner can protect your spousal support interests in court.
The division of marital property (aka the "marital estate") can be the most emotionally charged part of a divorce. At the Law Office of Michael Steiner we are experienced in the valuation and division of assets and debts including real estate holdings, businesses, retirement benefits and pensions. We can help you to safeguard your property by properly evaluating, valuing and dividing your marital estate to avoid unnecessary tax penalties and litigation.
Before property can be divided, it must be located and identified. California law requires each party to a dissolution of marriage to provide the other with full, current, and complete disclosure of all financial information. Hiding an asset or providing false or incomplete information can be punished by fines, sanctions, or even loss of the asset. Even so, it may be necessary to use other discovery methods such as depositions and subpoenas to locate any hidden assets. Once the property has been identified, it is then characterized as either separate or community property. In California, all property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be community property and each party is entitled to an equal share. All property that is not community property is presumed to be a party's separate property and not subject to division. The character of an asset or debt is determined by factual matters like the date of marriage, date of separation and source of the asset. An argument over any of these facts may change the party's entitlements or obligations regarding an asset or debt.
The community property is then valued. Parties may disagree over the value of certain assets. In some cases it is necessary to use specialists like real estate appraisers or forensic accountants to determine the value of an asset such as a house or a business. After valuation, the property is divided. Dividing certain assets requires specialized services to take advantage of tax laws and to avoid penalties.
Our San Diego marital property lawyers are experienced in working with legal and financial specialists to make sure your finances are properly divided and in compliance with the most current state and federal tax regulations. We can provide you with a variety of negotiation and litigation services to help you properly protect and divide your marital estate.