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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33166
Experience:  JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
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I am going thru a divorce...weve filed papers at the beginning

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I am going thru a divorce...we've filed papers at the beginning of the year with the court but we are not currently using lawyers. We were married for 4 years, she's now 31 and I'm 40, and have no children. I've offered her a sum of money that seems fair based on our length of marriage and our financial assets. While we were together, she wasn't working regularly, and I supported both of us in a 70/30 or 80/20 split. So the amount I offered was about 25%. She's countered asking for a 50/50 split. Since we've split up, over a year ago, she's quit her job and I've given her some money to help with things like her getting a "new" used car, I'm still paying her health insurance etc.
So my question is, do you think if we go to court I will have to give her 50% or is there a chance it won't automatically get split down the middle? Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

The 50/50 split you refer to involves your income or are you referring to assets you acquired during the marriage?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Assets...no houses, but income earned on investments and money deposited into savings accounts

I see. Thank you for providing this additional information, Sam.

CA is a community property state, such that all assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property no matter which spouse acquired them. At the time of divorce, the community property is split 50/50, so your spouse would typically be entitled to a 50% share of the property even though she did not earn them.

Some states take into account who contributed what to the marriage, but in CA such factors are irrelevant and the community estate is divided evenly between the spouses. Who earned the assets is irrelevant to that division.

Here is a link which describes the difference between community property and equitable distribution states:

http://www.divorcenet.com/states/nationwide/property_division_by_state


I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I guess what I'm asking is if there are any ways, whether thru mediation or any other legal actions that a lawyer would be able to negotiate a different settlement. I know that there are considerations for alimony and such, so is there any chance that I might be able to get a different settlement award?


 

I see. Yes, the spouses can negotiate a different division of property. For example, if one spouse waives the right to request alimony, they might agree to a greater than 50% award of the marital property in return for that waiver.

It depends on the leverage you have to negotiate with typically. If you both agree to mediation, that is a very good way to settle such disputes, often saving time and money.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What would qualify as leverage?


Because she earns less than me it seems as though the award would automatically go in her favor, and I didn't think she could get alimony, but is that possible?

It is possible that she could get temporary support while she regains her financial independence since you were supporting her. A rule of thumb in CA is 1/2 the length of the marriage, so approximately 2 1/2 years of support would be reasonable.

I don't see a great deal of leverage in your situation based on the facts you have provided unfortunately. She would have more leverage since she has been supported through the marriage and is already entitled to 50% of the marital property under CA law. So the best you could likely hope for is to split the marital assets 50/50 and she waives support.
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