Areas of Practice
Areas of Practice
In Fresno California, a “divorce” is also called “dissolution of marriage.” Both terms are used and they mean the same thing. If you want to end your marriage, the court will allow you to end it whether or not your spouse agrees. California is a no-fault state. You will never have to tell a Judge why you want to end the marriage. It is not necessary for either party to air “dirty laundry” about the other person in order to be divorced. However, because California is a no-fault state, this also means that if you want to stop a divorce, the judge cannot make that happen.
There are three issues that must be resolved to complete any divorce in Fresno ca: Determine a parenting and support plan if there are children; Divide the community estate (the assets and debts of marriage); and Determine whether either of the parties is entitled to receive or required to pay spousal support (alimony). Each of these issues is complex and many people who try to represent themselves in divorces often make agreements they shouldn’t, simply because they don’t know how the law affects them.
Rich R. Myers a Fresno Divorce Attorney has over three decades of experience in handling all types of divorce cases, and our firm can assist you with your case, so that you can be assured you know exactly what your rights are in your particular circumstance.
If there are children resulting from any relationship, even those relationships which do not include marriage, then your case will involve the negotiation of a parenting plan. All parents need an enforceable parenting plan to get you through those times in which the two of you cannot agree on all issues concerning your children: visitation times, holiday schedules, transportation of the child, choice of schools, medical treatment, religious choices, social activities, and etc.
Coming to a reasonable parenting plan can be difficult, as the rules are complex and depend on many factors. The overriding concern is what is best for your child. Obviously, if you can agree what is best, you may only need the help of an experienced family law attorney to write your parenting plan correctly so that it will be approved by the Judge without a court hearing. However, most of the time parents disagree about what is best for their children, and if this is the case, a motion must be filed with the court, and a court hearing scheduled.
I can help you determine what is best for you and your children by showing you how the judge hearing your case could decide who is going to be primarily in charge of the children, who is to make the decisions for them, and when each of you will be able to care for them.
If you and the other parent are not able to reach an agreement regarding all terms of a parental plan, you will be both required to participate in mediation with Family Court Services, which is part of the Fresno Superior Court. In cases filed in other counties, you will attend a similar court mediation service, but all counties are now guided by the same state law. Recent changes by the state in mediation procedures have postponed when you will receive a recommendation from the mediator.
In fact, while you both are required to attend mediation, if you cannot agree to a plan with the mediator, no recommendation will be made to the court by the mediator. You will have to tell the judge at the next hearing what it is you want and why you want it. It is no longer true that you can count on a mediator to listen to your situation and then recommend your position to the judge. A recommendation is made later, usually after you have met with the mediator three separate times. However, the reality is that the courts want to have all cases decided as soon as possible after the first mediation session.
Since you do not know what the thousands of appellate cases say about custody, it may be impossible for you to explain to the judge what codes and cases support your position. Rich R. Myers can represent you in your custody case and emphasize your concerns to the Judge, hopefully cutting back on the number of mediation sessions and court hearings in your case, giving you the best possible outcome possible.
It would seem that dividing a community estate would be easy, but it isn’t. Many years ago, most couples didn’t have pension plans, deferred compensation, and investment plans. Today they do. Determining what the estate is worth and who is legally entitled to it involves a number of laws, particularly when people mix their community property with their separate property. Different rules will apply if you used savings you had before marriage to make a down payment on an asset such as a new house, or if you move into a house that your spouse owns and is still making payments.
This is but one of the many areas where individuals acting without an experienced attorney can make mistakes and throw away tens and thousands of dollars, which they would otherwise be entitled to receive. Our firm has many years of experience in the division of all types of community estates, and we can help you with your case, no matter how small or large it may be.
On the surface, it would seem that determining child support should be easy because the court uses a computer formula mandated by the Legislature. Why is it, then, that support calculated by a parent, or by the county child support officers enforcing support payments, can be so different from your calculation? Like any computer program, if there is garbage in, there will be garbage out. Even the way in which individuals calculate the time share each parent has with their child/children can differ.
We cannot guarantee that you will receive or pay a particular amount of support. However, Rich R. Myers your Fresno attorney can make certain that the information used in the calculation and therefore the amount determined by the formula is correct.
Spousal support can sometimes be calculated by a computer program, which has been approved by the court that suggests the amount of spousal support to be paid or received, but in other circumstances, the court is forbidden from using the program. Instead, the court must weigh more than 30 factors to determine what the amount should be and how long it should last. Rich R. Myers can help you determine whether or not a spousal support order is appropriate.
Support can always be modified if future circumstances change, unless the issue has been previously ordered as non-modifiable by the court. There are limited circumstances when the court can set the amount of support without the possibility of modification. In Fresno, Some spousal support orders are open-ended as to time, and others have a specific date in which the payments will cease.
Overall, the setting of a spousal support order is not a cut-and-dried situation for anyone, and the rules can be confusing for a party if they don’t have experienced representation. For this reason, Rich R. Myers your Fresno Spousal Support attorney can help you make informed decisions about your financial needs, taking a rational view of whether or not support should be ordered, what the tax implications are for doing so, and if so, how long the payments should last.