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Things Often Overlooked in Divorce Agreements

Things Often Overlooked in Divorce Agreements

California is a no-fault divorce state, many divorcing people falsely assume the process is simple. Divorces in any state can be complex, even if you are amicably splitting with a separation agreement in place. There are many things you don’t want to overlook in a divorce agreement.

Reliable legal representation and a divorce settlement agreement checklist are a must when drafting your divorce agreement.

Things Often Overlooked in Divorce Agreements
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Things Often Overlooked in Divorce Agreements 

California is a community property state and requires no reason to start the divorce process, so it seems it should be a straightforward process. 

Seemingly unethical tactics may be used from the opposing party during the divorce settlement agreement. With over 50 years of combined experience in family law, the Moore Family Law Group offers our family law expertise to ensure our clients receive the best settlement in their divorce agreement. 

Community property understanding

In California, all marital assets and debts are split fair and equitably. According to California laws, community property is considered everything acquired during the marriage. However, exceptions to the community property principle arise when either party receives an inheritance or a gift during the marriage. A mistake that people make is failing to identify separate assets. 

While it is fairly well-known inheritance and gifts are separate property, other exceptions may exist including the following:

  • Monetary damages from lawsuits – If you collected compensation due to personal injury or other lawsuit, you may be entitled to keep the earnings as separate property.
  • Retirement benefits – Accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and pension plans are subject to division. All earnings made before or after your marriage are separate property. Your ex-spouse is not entitled to retirement funds you accrued before the union. 

Hidden assets and debts

Hiding assets or not being truthful on the income and expense declaration form to mask assets and debts accrued during the marriage is unlawful.

It is crucial for you and your lawyer to meticulously review every document to ensure that nothing is concealed, including both assets and debts. Overlooking this step may lead to unequal division.

Complex property valuation

Property division becomes even more complicated in high-asset divorces, and the likelihood of a spouse attempting to conceal assets increases. We will help you conduct a thorough inventory of all shared property to ensure a fair agreement.

If you are involved in a high-asset divorce, you must consider the following assets: 

  • Real estate – If you and your spouse have more substantial real estate assets, you must account for all of them. Don’t forget to include your primary residences, rental properties, vacation homes, and undeveloped land. 
  • Investments – This includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities, and other income-generating assets.
  • Intellectual property – This contains trademarks, patents, copyrights, licenses, etc. 
  • Business holdings – This includes closely held businesses, proprietorships, partnerships, and investments in other businesses. 

Child custody and support

The court generally strives for a 50-50 split in child custody, prioritizing the child’s best interests. Custody arrangements can be either shared (joint) or granted solely to one parent.

However, in contentious divorces, spouses may overlook making detailed parenting plans. This leads to disputes or inadequacies in custody arrangements. 

Child custody and support
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Child support calculations

In California, child support is determined through a formula called “guideline child support”. 

Spousal support (Alimony)

Spousal support may be awarded to the spouse earning less during or following the divorce in California. The purpose of spousal support is to allow the lesser-earning spouse to maintain a similar standard of living as during the union. 

Under California law, the amount and duration of spousal support are determined based on the following factors.

  • Length of marriage
  • Each party’s income and earning potential
  • Individual needs

The determination of spousal support is very different between a short-term marriage and long-term marriage. There are nearly twenty factors a court will analyze when determining spousal support in a long-term marriage.

Tax implications

If you are divorcing, it is important to note that you may file taxes together for the last time but are not obligated to do so. This emphasizes the importance of mutual agreement with your former partner.

Excluding this provision from your separation agreement may result in disputes regarding tax responsibilities.

Post-divorce modifications

You must also consider the types of future modifications that may be made to your divorce agreement regarding issues including child support, custody time, or alimony. If you overlook the potential post-divorce modifications, it may lead to long-lasting disputes in the future. 

Post-divorce modifications
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At Moore Family Law Group, we ensure to provide our clients with expertise and support during this tumultuous period so you do not have to worry about items being overlooked in the divorce agreement. Our attorneys are family law experts with experience helping our clients with the best settlement in their divorce agreements. 

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