Debra A. Opri
Divorce & Family Law - California
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Los Angeles Divorce Law Blog

When love fades into the past, alimony might be in your future

People come to California looking for many things. Years ago, they came looking for gold. Many have come looking for work, and some seek nothing more than good weather and righteous waves. Of course, for many, it's a quest for fame and fortune. And, whether they came for it or not, many men and women find love in the Golden State.

All of the goals listed above can be elusive, and even when found, one may not always easily hold on to them. If the love you found seems to have slipped away from you, you might be worried about what the future will bring. After devoting yourself whole-heartedly to your marriage and your spouse's career, what means of support will you have when it is over and done?

Your amicable divorce might turn out to be contentious

For many Californian couples, happily ever after never happens. Many couples manage to end their marriages in an amicable manner. In fact, it has become so common that more and more people think they can handle the process without legal guidance. If you and your spouse both wish to divorce and are considering navigating the process on your own, you might be surprised at how challenging it can be.

Along with the financial decisions, other issues to negotiate will include who gets the car, the dog, the kids, the house and more. If any children are involved, you must draft visitation and parenting plans. Making the wrong choices now can lead to litigation in the future. If yours is a high asset divorce -- and you were mostly uninvolved in the family finances -- a lot can be on the line, and you might be much better off in the end if you secure experienced legal counsel from the onset.

The big step before the biggest step

Are you thinking about getting married? Have you been single for quite some time? Have you already invested many years of hard work to fulfill your California dreams?

Perhaps you're a little worried about the future. Given the fact that divorce rates are extremely high in this nation, you wouldn't be the first person to feel anxious about making such an important decision.

How to protect your business during divorce

Starting and running a business of any kind requires dedication and a lot of resources. If you've poured your heart, soul and life savings into a business, you certainly don't want to see that disappear just because your marriage doesn't work out.

Of course, most savvy entrepreneurs don't think that this will ever happen to them. Even though 40 percent of marriages in the U.S. are ending in divorce, we still want to believe in the happily ever after. If you own a business, it's more important than ever that you protect your assets if you're considering marital bliss.

Is a prenup a smart idea for your California marriage?

Sometimes prenups are sensationalized by the press, characterized as controversial contracts that can outrageously disinherit or deprive one spouse of assets or spousal support at divorce or death of the other spouse. On the contrary, once you take the stereotypes and emotion out, a prenuptial or premarital agreement can be a smart, solid tool for financial and estate planning that creates a predictable plan for disposition of assets brought in to or accumulated during the marital relationship.

A prenup is a valid contract between two people engaged to be married that becomes effective upon the marriage. Most premarital agreements deal with property ownership and spousal support by changing how those issues would otherwise likely be resolved by law upon divorce or death.

Is your ex hiding assets? Learn about the common warning signs

Splitting assets during divorce is like a game. Each side wants to win and neither party wants to feel like the other side cheated. Unfortunately, some individuals may try to hide assets when it comes to the property division process.

Cheating a party out of their fair share of marital assets is a dirty move and illegal. You need to be aware of the ways your spouse may try to hide assets to protect your life after divorce.

The importance of planning for your divorce

Planning for your divorce may seem unnecessary but it is actually quite the opposite. If you know you are going to file for divorce or that your spouse is going to serve you with divorce papers, the best thing you can do is to create a plan.

Proper planning takes time and knowledge of the divorce process can help you understand what steps to take now before you file for divorce. California is a community property state, which means that any property and debts acquired during the course of the marriage are considered "community property" and will be divided between both spouses.