Same-Sex Divorce Attorney Explains What to Expect

same-sex divorce attorneyWith the rise in same-sex marriages, there are subsequently an increases in cases where the marriage does not work. With the guidance of same-sex divorce attorney Rick D. Banks, you can dissolve your marriage or domestic partnership. Under California law, same-sex couples have the same divorce rights as any other couple. Thankfully, same-sex divorce cases do not face the same gender bias issues that may afflict heterosexual divorce cases.

What Is Divorce?

A divorce is when you dissolve your marriage and/or domestic partnership. Once your divorce is finalized, you are, under the eyes of the law, single and able to remarry or have a new domestic partnership.

Do I Need a Reason to Divorce?

As a no-fault state, California permits divorce for “irreconcilable differences” — no one is to blame. The court’s interest is helping a divorcing couple reach a fair agreement regarding the restructuring of their life post-divorce so they can rebuild their lives. Some issues to be considered include:

  • Child visitation and custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal or partner support
  • Division of property and assets
  • Responsibility of debt repayment

What If I Am in a Same-Sex Marriage and a Domestic Partnership?

California views domestic partnerships similar to marriages. Unlike heterosexual divorces, if you are bound by both marriage and a domestic partnership, you may be required to dissolve both to be considered single. A same-sex divorce attorney can help you dissolve both covenants.

Divorce Requirements

If you are in a marriage or a domestic partnership that was not registered in California, you or your spouse/partner must live in California for six months prior to the time of the divorce request and one of you must live in the county where you plan to file for divorce for three months. However, if your domestic partnership is registered in California, you do not need to meet the residency requirements.

If you do not meet the residential requirements, you may still obtain a legal separation. You can then file an “amended petition” and request for a divorce once you meet the residency requirements.

Summary Dissolution

You may consider obtaining a summary dissolution if you have been in a marriage or in a partnership for less than five years and do not:

  • Have children,
  • Own or rent land, or
  • Have certain debt obligations.

A same-sex divorce attorney can assist in this easier method of dissolution.

Child Custody

One challenge same-sex couples face is custody rights. If the couple does not reach an amicable agreement regarding child custody and visitation, the court must take certain information into consideration, such as:

  • Biological information
  • Perceived caregiver roles

Until courts can create standardized judgment rules through legal precedents, custody battles may complicate same-sex divorce.

Asset Division

Another challenge same-sex couples face is that although they may have been together for over ten or twenty years, they may have only been in a marriage for a short time. Thus, courts may forgo traditional asset division precedents in favor of dividing assets equitably.

A Same-Sex Divorce Attorney Can Help

If your same-sex marriage is not working, a knowledgeable and experienced same-sex divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help you decide your best options for dissolution of your marriage and/or domestic partnership. Call (559) 222-4891 for assistance today.

Alimony Lawyer Explains How to Calculate Your Spousal Support

alimony lawyerIf you or our spouse is seeking spousal support, you may wonder how spousal support is calculated and if there are any special challenges. A knowledgeable alimony lawyer can educate you on these issues.

Calculating Temporary Alimony

The purpose of temporary spousal support is to preserve, at the greatest extent possible, the couple’s financial status quo. When calculating temporary spousal support, courts generally use formulas and input numbers into a computer program to arrive at an amount. An experienced alimony lawyer can help you determine what formula the court uses and provide you with an estimate of temporary spousal support.

Calculating Long-Term Alimony

The purpose of alimony after divorce is finalized is to help the supported spouse maintain a standard of living close to the marital standard. The ultimate goal is for that spouse to become self-supporting. When determining final spousal support, the court must take into consideration the factors set forth in Family Code 4320, such as:

  • Supported spouse’s marketable skills;
  • Job market for those skills;
  • Time and expense the supported spouse needs to acquire education or training for employment or enhanced employment;
  • Extent of supported spouse’s unemployment periods because of domestic duties during the marriage that impaired that spouse’s present and future earning capacity;
  • Extent the supported spouse contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, professional licensing, or career advancement;
  • Ability for the supporting spouse to pay support, taking into consideration that spouse’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living;
  • Needs of each party based upon marital standard of living;
  • Each spouse’s obligations and assets, including separate property;
  • Duration of marriage;
  • Ability of the custodial parent to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with dependent children’s interests;
  • Each spouse’s health and age;
  • Any documented history of domestic violence or abusive spouse’s criminal conviction;
  • Immediate and specific tax consequences to each spouse;
  • Balance of each spouse’s hardships;
  • Supported spouse to be self-supporting within a reasonable time; and,
  • Any other factors the court determines are equitable and just.

A seasoned alimony lawyer can help you maximize the alimony you deserve.

Special Challenges

Courts may be faced with special challenges when analyzing your marital standard of living.

Frugal Lifestyle

The court must decide whether the marital lifestyle is consistent with the same level of unusual frugality. If the couple accumulated savings and other investments then the court can set alimony consistent with the modest lifestyle to permit for savings.

Living Beyond Financial Means

Some couples live well beyond their means, accumulating debt. In these situations, the court will typically view the spouses’ income rather than debt. Living bey

Workaholic Spouse

When one spouse works very long hours that cannot be maintained in the long run, the court has the discretion to order alimony based upon reasonable work hours.

An alimony lawyer can review your circumstances and help you obtain complete evidence to fully support your position.

An Alimony Lawyer Can Help

If you are seeking alimony or if your spouse is seeking spousal support, contact a skilled alimony lawyer with the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 for assistance.

A Paternity Lawyer Can Help You Establish Parentage of Your Child

paternity lawyerAsserting your parental rights may seem daunting – especially without the help of a knowledgeable paternity lawyer. Whether your ties to your child are biological or not, you have parental rights. However, you must first establish your paternity legally.

What Is Paternity?

California interchangeably uses “parentage” and “paternity” in referring to a child’s legal parents. In a paternity case, the court makes an order that establishes who the legal parents are. Once the court establishes you as a legal parent, you are then subject to the rights, obligations and responsibilities for the child.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity means either the government or parents determined the identity of the child’s legal parents. When a couple is married and a child is born into that marriage (or, after January 1, 2005, when a child is born into a same-sex couple who are registered as domestic partners), the law assumes that the married persons or domestic partners are the child’s legal parents. This automatically establishes paternity. However, unmarried persons may need to legally establish a child’s parentage before the biological parent has any legal rights or responsibilities towards that child.

Reasons to Establish Paternity

The biggest reason to establish paternity is for the sake of the child. Not only will the child benefit emotionally from having both parents, but he or she will also have the rights and privileges of those children whose parents are married. These include:

  • Both parents’ financial support
  • Legal documentation identifying parents
  • Access to family medical records and history
  • Covered health and life insurance
  • Right to inherit from either parents
  • Right to receive veterans or social security benefits, if available

Establishing paternity also gives you all the rights and responsibilities of a parent, such as parenting time and financial support for your child.

Once paternity is established, the court can then make orders for health insurance, child support, child custody and/or visitation, name change, reimbursement of pregnancy and birth expenses, and reunification services (services to help you get your child back into your care). An experienced paternity lawyer review your case and guide you through the paternity process.

There have been instances in California where the court recognizes that a child has more than two parents, usually when the child would be hurt if additional parents were not legally recognized. A paternity lawyer can help you navigate complicated parentage laws to help you understand the details of your circumstances.

How to Establish Paternity

There are two ways to establish paternity:

  1. Signing a Declaration of Paternity – both parents must voluntarily sign this governmental form, establishing them as the legal parents of the child.
  2. Obtaining a court order establishing paternity.

If a biological father denies paternity, the court may order genetic testing of the mother, child and alleged father. Unmarried or unregistered same-sex couples could also establish paternity by proving that they intended to be the child’s parents and they behaved like the child’s parents.

Speak to a Paternity Lawyer

A seasoned paternity lawyer with the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can review your situation and help you throughout the paternity process. Call (559) 222-4891 today.

Father’s Rights Attorney: Fathers Have Equal Parental Rights

father's rights attorneyMany believe that family courts are gender biased. The truth is that California courts assume that each parent has equal rights and responsibilities regarding his or her child. Unfortunately, however, some fathers fail to adequately assert their rights — especially without a father’s rights attorney fighting alongside them.

What Are My Parental Rights?

California’s policy encourages parents to share child rearing rights and responsibilities so the child can benefit from having both parents. This is because children should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, even after the parents choose to divorce or separate.

Parenting Time

You may consider seeking joint physical custody if you are able to devote your evenings and weekends to your child’s care. The amount of time shared between you and the child’s mother may depend on your child’s age and other factors. As the child grows and becomes more independent, you should consider modifying your child custody or visitation order to seek more parenting time.

Parental Decisions

Unless there is extenuating circumstances, you should seek joint legal custody. This means that both parents are equally involved during the decision making process of all major decisions concerning your children, such as your child’s education, health, welfare and safety.

Child Support

Generally, the custodial parent will request that the non-custodial parent pay child support to help financially support the child’s health, education, and child rearing. If you are a father paying child support, and you have fallen on hard times, then a father’s rights attorney can help you request a modification of your child support order to reduce the amount of child support the court requires you to pay. It is important to seek a modification of child support rather than missing payments, which could result in prison time.

What Can Affect a Father’s Parental Rights?

There are several circumstances that could affect your father’s rights and result in the other parent obtaining sole physical and/or legal custody:

  • Domestic violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Inability to co-parent

Unfortunately, there have been circumstances when one parent false accusations in order to obtain sole custody. A tenacious father’s rights attorney will help you fight against any false allegations, especially of domestic violence or child abuse. This includes the following:

  • documenting any past false statements and accusations the accusing parent,
  • obtaining witnesses,
  • deposing the accusing parent,
  • demanding corroborating evidence, and
  • conducting other discovery and investigatory methods.

Further, if a custody order is in place and the accusing parent continues to make false allegations and alienate you from the children, you may wish to seek a modification of your custody order. It is not in the best interest of the child to expose him or her to a situation that may cause emotional damage, especially when one parent constantly disparages the other.

Obtain a Father’s Rights Attorney

As a father, you are entitled to the same rights as your child’s mother. An experienced father’s rights attorney with the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help you effectively assert those rights. Contact us at (559) 222-4891 for immediate assistance.