Representing Spouses with Compassion and Tenacity
Divorce is not an easy decision, but it might be the best one for you and your family. If you are looking to file for divorce in Pleasanton, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced lawyer for legal support. Whether you and your spouse mutually agree to separate or are in conflict about it, good representation can make an important difference in the outcome of your divorce. It’s one thing to legally end your marriage, but it’s another to tie up all the loose ends that will result – including child custody, spousal support & alimony, and property division.
Ham Family Law, P.C. aims to provide compassionate legal counsel to support spouses through these difficult times. We understand the sensitive nature of divorce, so we will handle your case with care. That being said, we also know how to put up a tough fight, and we will be a shark if needed. While we believe in solving cases mutually in mediation, we are nonetheless prepared to take your case to court if it escalates.
Schedule an initial consultation with Ham Family Law, P.C. to discuss your divorce options today. Representing spouses in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
To get a divorce in California, either spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months or 180 days. Once this requirement is met, the couple can file for divorce and will have to wait 6 months from the date the served spouse received the divorce papers before the judge can finalize the divorce.
Depending on the couple’s situation, they may file for either uncontested divorce or contested (traditional) divorce. Uncontested divorce requires, however, that both spouses agree on all the divorce disputes, including child custody and property division.
Spouses do not need to establish a fault, or reason, for their divorce (e.g., adultery, violence, etc.), as California recognizes no-fault divorces based on “irreconcilable differences.” However, if a spouse does cite a fault in the divorce petition, the court may consider this when determining other divorce disputes like property division and spousal support (alimony). For example, if a spouse has a history of gambling that caused the breakdown of the marriage, the judge may consider awarding reimbursement spousal support (alimony) to the other spouse.
Child Custody Disputes
There is a range of divorce disputes spouses will need to settle when getting a divorce, such as child custody, child support, spousal support & alimony, and property division. Spouses can negotiate their own agreement on these issues outside of the court, but if they are unable to reach a compromise, they must proceed to court for the judge to make the final decision.
Recall that parents may be granted legal and/or physical custody, where legal custody refers to the parent’s legal decision-making authority regarding the child (e.g., what school the child will attend, what medical treatment they should receive), and physical custody is who the child will live with at certain times. Our Child Custody page goes into more detail about the custody decision, but keep in mind that the court will award custody based on factors impacting the child’s best interests, such as:
- the child’s health and medical needs;
- the child’s age;
- the emotional ties between each parent and the child;
- the child’s ties to school, home, and community;
- the ability of each parent to care for the child;
- any history of family violence or substance abuse.
Another important legal dispute spouses will need to resolve in all divorce cases is the division of property. Note that California is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts spouses have acquired during the marriage will belong equally to both of them and must thus be divided equally in a divorce. The only property that will not be subject to division is separate property, or property acquired prior to the marriage by one spouse or acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage to only one spouse.
As with all other divorce disputes, spouses can either propose their own agreement on how to divide all the property, or they will have to go to court if they cannot reach a decision together. If the case does go to court, the process will entail:
- determining what property is community or separate;
- deciding on a value for the community property;
- dividing that property between the couple.
Mediation vs. Litigation
Two ways to resolve divorce disputes are mediation and litigation. At Ham Family Law, P.C., we personally believe in mediation as one of the most favorable methods for resolving divorce disputes, as mediation allows both spouses to discuss their goals and interests with each other in the presence of a third-party mediator. The mediator’s job is to moderate the discussion and make sure the spouses are on track to reaching an agreement. Mediation can ensure that the couple drafts up an agreement that meets both parties’ needs they have vocalized (rather than an impersonal decision from an arbitrator or judge), which can also make the agreement more favorable to both parties.
However, if mediation is unsuccessful, the case will move to trial for a judge to make the final ruling. Our divorce lawyer at Ham Family Law, P.C. has a proven track record of trial room successes, so she is more than prepared to fight assertively for your interests in court if your divorce proceeds to litigation. She can represent all your needs and goals as a parent and a spouse for a favorable divorce settlement.
For more information on how Ham Family Law, P.C. can help you with your Pleasanton divorce, contact our firm online today. Let’s get started on this exciting new chapter of your life together.
Caroline is an amazing lawyer. She was well prepared for my case and was even complimented by the Judge on her preparation. Her professionalism and compassionate demeanor helped my family through a very emotional child surname change case.