5 Questions – California Divorces – The Law Offices of Andy I. Chen


Hey everybody! Its Andy and welcome again to my office in Los Altos, California. I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in
California as well as New York. In this video, uh, I’m going to go over five
questions that I would be prepared to answer if I was getting a divorce.
So if you are trying to get a divorce, if you’re looking to hire a divorce
attorney, these would be five questions I would say your, you know, the lawyers that you’re interviewing, for example, would want to ask you. So if you’re talking to
a bunch of divorce attorneys, for example, trying to decide which one to hire,
if you have the answer to these five questions hopefully, you know, it’ll make
the hiring process easier. You’ll stand out as a client who is, you know, more
prepared, for example. So hopefully that’s going to be helpful for you. So anyway
all of that said then, let’s go ahead and get started. Number one is if you’re
trying to do a divorce in California, you’re talking to divorce attorneys, one
thing that you should be prepared to, you know, you should be prepared to disclose
is what your date of marriage is. So when I say date of marriage, I don’t mean like
when you had your wedding reception with, you know, your friends and your family
the wedding cake, etc. I don’t mean the church service either, if you had a
church service. What I basically mean is the date upon which the legal paperwork
was signed, so the marriage license, marriage certificate, you know, if you went to the
justice of the peace, if you went to the courthouse to get married, whatever. So
whatever date the legal part, I guess, of the marriage happened, not the
celebratory part with the church, the wedding reception. Not that part. The
legal part were all the paperwork was signed. The date of marriage basically is
going to be those dates when the paperwork was signed. So that’s number one the date of marriage. You should be prepared to disclose that. You should know it.
Number two is going to be the date of separation. So the date of marriage is
important because that’s the date upon which community property rights in
California begin. The date of separation is important because that’s the date upon
which community property rights in California end. So the date of separation,
you can look it up, the definition is in California Family Code section 70. 7-0
which I’ll try to write down over here somehow. But I’m gonna go ahead and link section 70 down below as well. The basic idea is going to be, you know, that the
date of separation is the date upon which one of the parties determines that the
relationship was over. You know, there is, unfortunately, no hard and fast criteria.
There’s no definite criteria to say ‘yes this is definitely the date of separation’
or ‘no this isn’t.’ Well I’m not sure if this is a Silicon Valley specific thing, but
in the San Jose, San Francisco sort of Bay Area, date
of separation, rather is what I was trying to say, date of separation often
times is fought over because, as I said earlier, date of separation is when the
community property rights end. So let’s say, for instance, that the scenario or
the facts are such that if the date of separation was August 1st, let’s say,
the wife – I’ll just use the wife in my scenario – the wife gets a lot more
community property than if the date of separation was March 1st, for instance. So based on the date of separation,you know, one spouse might get more or less
community property. So if the spouse is going to get more by arguing that the
date of separation is later, they’re probably going to try and do that. So, um,
yeah. Anyway so that’s number two, date of separation. Number three is whether or not you have any minor children with the other spouse.
So that, I mean some of you might be wondering, ‘okay well yeah that’s obvious.
Yes I do have minor kids with them’ or ‘no I don’t.’ The reason why this is important
is because if you have minor children with the other party. Minor children
being age 18 or, or less. If you have minor children with the other party that
means that your divorce case has to go over parentage possibly, it has to go
over child support, child custody, visitation.
I guess, well, this is my kind of rule of thumb, if a case has minor children in it,
if everything else is equal, that case will be a lot more difficult, a lot more
complicated possibly, than a case where there are no minor children. Again
everything else being equal. So minor children in a case basically add more
complexity to a case. A divorce lawyer probably is going to want
know that in order to kind of evaluate your case completely. So that’s number
three, do you have any minor kids with the other party. Number four I would say
is a combination of work, like your work experience and education. So, for instance, if you have been a housewife for the last 25 years, I think your divorce
lawyer is going to want to know that because that will be relevant to alimony,
let’s say, spousal support. If you have worked constantly like, you know, if
you’ve been employed steadily for the last thirty years and you’re the VP of a
company or you are the founder of this company and you have all this stock and
you have all this wealth, your lawyer is going to want to know that also because
again it’s relevant for stuff like spousal support. Kind of
on the education front, if you have a PhD, for example, in physics and you’ve
been employed for years and years, you know, in terms of alimony, like you’re not
going to need help to go back to school to learn new skills. Based on your
educational background you should, hopefully, be able to support yourself. On
the flip side, let’s say that you basically have been a housewife – I’ll
pick on housewives for a moment – uh, lets say that you’ve been a housewife for the
last 25 years and you became a housewife because you dropped out of
high school when you were 15 and, you know, you got married when you were
16 and, you know, that’s basically the last time you went to school. So if you
have, like if that’s what happened to you, and now that you’re say 45, 50 years old,
you have to go back to school and re-learn, you know, social social studies, algebra, that kind of thing, that’s going to be
relevant for spousal support also, let’s say. So your work history and your
education history, that’s gonna be number four on my list and, yeah, so that’s going to be something that if I was interviewing a prospective client, that’s what I would
want to know. The last part number five, the last question number five is going to be like it’s not a simple yes/no sort of question but it’s going to be something
hopefully that the prospective client would be willing to, er, would be able to
kind of describe in general. Because California is a community property state,
that basically means that they’re, like in any divorce, there’s going
to be some amount of assets – debts as well – assets and debts that have to get
divided. So in order to divide it, however, you know, the divorce lawyers have to go
and determine what, what has to get divided – like in order to divide, you have
to know what you’re dividing. If you do, like if the, if the, if the prospective
client rather, if the prospective client has no clue at all about any assets that
they and their spouse own together, let’s say that this, this wife let’s say – I’ll
pick on wives – let’s say that this wife was completely clueless about the
finances, the husband handled everything. If the wife cannot tell me like, you know,
a rough idea of what, you know, what the community’s assets and debts were,
that’s going to make my job a lot more difficult because I have to basically
start from scratch. On the other hand, if the wife can basically give me really
specific info to say ‘oh, yeah, hey, you know, my husband has a 401k, an IRA. He
owns this house in Aspen. I own a house in Hawaii and, you know, this is, this is
where we keep all our money. These are the account numbers and this
stuff I had from before I was married. This stuff, you know, he had from before
we were married. If the prospective client can give that much detail,
fantastic. That makes my job easier. It makes the whole process more smooth. So those are the, basically the five, questions that I have, you know, I thought
of and came up with, you know, for this video. Number one, the date of marriage.
Number two, the data separation. Number three, whether or not you have any minor
children with the other spouse, like with the other party in the case. Number four,
you know, education history, your education history, your work history, and
number five, some description of the assets and debts that you and your
spouse have together. If you can answer, like those are the questions I think you
need to answer or be prepared to answer when you talk to any divorce lawyer. Um,
if you can answer these five questions, you know, that’s going to hopefully make,
make you stand out, I guess, as a prospective client. Hopefully make it so
that you get a divorce lawyer sooner rather than later. Yeah so if, these
are just my five questions. If you are, if you’re a divorce lawyer yourself,
you know, for. If you are a divorce lawyer yourself is what I meant to say.
If you’re a divorce lawyer yourself and you have a different set of five
questions, go ahead and leave me those in a comment down below. If you are, you know, if you’ve been through a divorce yourself and you have other questions
that, you know, you would have included on my list, I guess, if you were to make it,
go ahead and leave me those down below also, but yeah. So anyway, these five questions, like I said, are the ones that I came up with
for, you know, prospective clients in a divorce because these five questions, I
think, the answers will come up in the divorce case in one way shape or for. If you’re going to go through the divorce process it’s beneficial to kind
of, you know, think of the answers right now so that you’re prepared when the, when you actually need to, you know, disclose
those. So yeah. Hopefully that made sense. Again these are just my five questions.
Go ahead and leave me a comment down below if you have other questions that
you would have included on this list or if you have questions, er, sorry,
if any of the questions rather that I have on here you would not have included, etc, etc. Go ahead and leave me a comment down below and tell me what you think. So again, hopefully that helps. Go ahead and comment, share, like, subscribe,
etc, etc, and I will talk to you guys next time.
Thanks.

Michael Martin

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