Jenkins P.C. - High Net Worth Divorce

Common Divorce Questions

The difficult circumstances of divorces can raise difficult questions. Some of the most common and urgent questions we receive are:

Will I have to pay my spouse's attorney's fees?

California law states that each party involved in a legal separation or dissolution action has a right to representation. This law also includes an income equalization statute that means if one party does not have the access or means to pay for a lawyer, they can request that the higher-earning spouse pay their attorney's fees.

The court will thoroughly investigate this request before they grant it to see if there truly is a significant difference in income between the spouses and to determine whether the higher-earning spouse has the ability to pay the lower-earning spouse's attorney's fees.

However, there is precedent in California that assets and other payments may be considered in a spouse's request for attorney's fees. For example, if the spouse has significant assets in their name or it is determined that you will pay a considerable amount of spousal support, you can bring this to the court's attention should your spouse request that you pay their fees.

How is spousal support calculated?

There are many factors involved in determining spousal support. Spousal support varies depending on whether it is a temporary or pendente lite spousal support award, or a permanent spousal support award. A temporary or pendent lite spousal support award is based on maintaining the status quo and is sometimes based on a DissoMaster calculation, or a computer program used by the courts, which can be run by the attorney in our office.

However, it is error for the court to rely on DissoMaster calculations for permanent spousal support orders. Permanent spousal support orders are generally lower than temporary support orders and are based on the marital standard of living or Family Code Section 4320 factors that include but are not limited to the following:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The marketable skills of the supported party
  • Whether a spouse contributed to the attainment of an education or career of the supporting party
  • Employment status of both spouses
  • The needs of each party
  • The obligations and assets of the parties
  • The age and the health of each spouse
  • Balance of the hardships
  • Documented evidence of domestic violence

There are other variables that the court considers while calculating spousal support but they depend on the circumstances of your situation. Generally, where the marriage is a short-term marriage, meaning under 10 years, a spouse will pay spousal support for half the length of the marriage. Where there is a long-term marriage, meaning over 10 years, the court does not have the jurisdiction to terminate support in its initial order and generally do not set end dates.

However, in long-term marriages, the parties can agree to the termination of jurisdiction for spousal support or an end date for spousal support. It is also possible to change a spousal support agreement or order after the divorce, depending on whether there is a significant change of circumstance to your life such your marital or employment status.

How is child support calculated?

Like spousal support, there are many components to calculating child support such as:

  • The number of children in the family
  • Time each parent spends caring for children
  • Total income of each parent
  • Other fees such as health insurance, mandatory retirement payments, property interest payments and property tax payments

Child support payments are calculated by a computer program called a DissoMaster that the courts almost always follow. However, there are circumstances where the courts can stray from the DissoMaster calculations. Talk to attorney Erik Jenkins today to see how much child support you would pay or receive based on your current circumstances.

How do I modify a child custody order?

As your life circumstances change, your child custody or child sharing agreements can also change. Examples of qualifying life changes may include a new job, new location, major event or a new marriage.

If both parents can come to a consensus about the modifications, it is simply a matter of altering the original parenting agreement.

However, if both parents cannot agree, then the parent wishing to modify the order can proceed by:

  • Filing pleadings requesting a modification
  • Reviewing these forms with an attorney
  • Submitting forms to the court
  • Serving the forms to the other parent
  • Attending the hearing for modification

We understand the stress of child custody and child sharing modifications and are experienced in handling these situations. They can advise you as to when to file, when not to file or when to hire a neutral third-party custody evaluator to assist you with your case.

When are domestic violence restraining orders appropriate?

A domestic violence restraining order is appropriate when you have reason to fear for your safety. According to California law, domestic violence includes, but is not limited to:

  • Intent or reckless behavior to cause injury
  • Sexual assault
  • Threats of imminent injury
  • Emotional or verbal abuse

It is possible to obtain a temporary domestic violence restraining order before providing notice to the other party and before the court has a hearing for a permanent order. However, you and your attorney must provide clear and convincing evidence of reasonable fear in the situation. This means you must prove that any other person in your position would also have reason to fear for their safety.

If you fear for your safety, seek assistance immediately. We are always here to talk.

We Are Always Available To Answer Your Questions

If you have any questions about your divorce, Jenkins P.C., will find the answers. We serve San Diego, La Jolla and North County from our office in La Jolla. Schedule a consultation with a lawyer online or call 858-314-2400.

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La Jolla, CA 92037

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