Divorce

Southern California Divorce Lawyer“If you have to go down this road, it’s best to do so with someone who not only has the experience and knowledge, but a personal understanding of what it is to go down this road.  Steven isn’t only your lawyer, he is your friend.”  Charles D., Valencia

Family law is large practice area, which includes many sub-specialities. We practice in the following areas:

  • Valuation of a business for purposes of a California divorce.
  • Apportioning community versus separate property interests in a business owned before marriage based on efforts by the business owner during marriage in a California divorce action.
  • Determining income or cash flow available for purposes of spousal support or child support under California law.
  • Characterizing assets or debts as community or separate property, including real estate, royalties, intellectual property, investments, and life insurance for purposes of divorce.
  • Disputes concerning inter-spousal property transactions under California law.
  • Negotiating and preparing California prenuptial or premarital agreements, post-marital agreements, and cohabitation agreements by our Los Angeles divorce attorney.
  • Litigation concerning the meaning or enforceability of a California prenuptial or premarital agreement, post-marital agreement, and cohabitation agreement.
  • The fiduciary duty between spouses under California law during marriage and after separation.
  • The tax consequences of a divorce settlement, property agreement, or support agreement under California and federal tax laws.
  • Interstate child support actions involving professional athletes and entertainers are handled by our Los Angeles divorce attorney.
  • International child custody matters for the return of a child to either the United States or another country based on an alleged parental abduction.
  • Trial consultation to other divorce lawyers when difficult questions of California family law arise.
  • Expert Witnesses as to the standard of care for California family lawyers.

Child Support

Child support is the amount of money the court will order one parent to pay the other parent each month for the support of a child. California has a formula for calculating child support called “guideline child support” which is calculated by using a computer program. The program bases its child support order on the income of both parties, the time each parent spends with the children, and other factors. Parties can always agree to a different amount of child support as long as the child’s needs are met. Our team can calculate a guideline child support order. Child support orders generally last until a child turns 18, or until up to age 19 for a full-time high school student living at home.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, is the amount of money the court orders the higher wage earning spouse to pay to the other spouse every month. Spousal support can be a temporary and/or a final order by the Court. Temporary spousal support is typically based on a formula. Generally, the guideline for temporary spousal support is 40% of the higher wage earner’s income, less 50% of the other party’s income. A final or “permanent” order of spousal support can have a termination date or be ordered indefinitely. In short-term marriages, generally those that are less than 10 years in length, the court will usually order spousal support be paid only for a time period often equal to half the length of the marriage. In marriages of long duration, the court may order support indefinitely. Either spouse can ask the judge to change the support amount if the situation changes.

Property Division

One of the objectives of the divorce process is to divide your real and personal property. In California we divide property according to community property law. This means that all property that is acquired by you or your spouse during marriage will be divided between you and your spouse equally – unless it was a gift or inheritance, or was acquired before marriage. For most divorces, the division of property will probably include a division of the family residence, bank accounts, retirement accounts and vehicles. More complex divorce matters will include a division of other real property, multiple bank accounts, retirement accounts, stock options, patents, copyrights, royalties, and one or more businesses. More complex matters can also involve a division of work efforts you have put into your separate property, or proceeds of a loan taken out during marriage. There are various exceptions to the equal division rule. For example, in some cases education loans are assigned to the party that incurred the debt. In cases where there are more debts than assets, the court can divide the community estate unequally. Certain personal injury awards are not divided equally. Social security benefits are not divided at all and are subject to federal law. When people go about the task of dividing property they often disagree about the value of certain property. In some cases they differ about the date property should be valued. They also fail to consider potential tax consequences in arriving at a fair division of the property. The Law Office of Steven B. Chroman has the expertise to handle the division of assets in simple and complex cases. While most of our cases are settled out of court through negotiation, we are prepared to litigate issues that cannot be resolved between the parties. For more information regarding property division, please call us to set up a consultation.

Paternity

A paternity action establishes the parentage of a child. Establishing parentage means determining who are the legal parents of a child. Parentage must be established before a court can order visitation, custody, or child support for a child whose parents were unmarried at the time of his birth. There are many legal, financial, and ethical issues involved with paternity actions and they can be very overwhelming for both parties involved. If the parties cannot agree on parentage, the Court can order genetic testing. If DNA tests show that you are the biological parent of the child in question, you can be held responsible as a parent even if you only had one sexual encounter. This means you will be responsible for paying child support. You also have rights to custody of your child.