3 Characteristics of The Best Divorce Attorneys

What makes the best divorce attorney in Vacaville? When you are searching for the right person to represent you and your rights, it pays to do a little research. At David Knecht Law, we represent your legal rights and focus on ensuring your voice is heard in the court of law. Here are our three recommendations as to what makes a good attorney.

Communication

The MOST important quality of a good divorce attorney is having the ability to communicate with their clients. If you meet your attorney once, and never hear from them again, except when it’s time to pay the bill, you did not choose the right person. You can tell if the attorney will be difficult to deal with based on how they interact with you. If they always cut you off before you finish a sentence, or they do not explain things clearly, move on. 

Compassion

Divorce is one of the most difficult things to deal with, and many clients are not emotionally ready to start making challenging, life-altering decisions. No matter how amicable the relationship is between you and your ex, it is important to cover yourself and make sure you are making the right decisions. Your attorney will show empathy for your situation, but they will also be compassionate to you and will help you through this journey. Their job is to focus on helping you navigate through the divorce and they will do so without judgement or disrespect. 

During the time you are going through the divorce, your attorney will help you to make informed decisions. Their goal is to ensure you have the right information needed to determine certain choices pertaining to retirement accounts, cars, homes, debt, and more. Make sure you hire someone you know you can trust to protect you during this time!

Availability 

Another good characteristic of a divorce attorney is how available they are to their clients. Do they return your phone calls, emails, and text messages? Is it easy for you to get in for an appointment? A good attorney will make their clients a priority, and that shows in how they treat you.

At the Law Offices of David W. Knecht, we are here to protect your legal rights. If you are dealing with a divorce in the Vacaville area, we are here to help. Our legal experts have been practice law for the past three decades, let us represent you. 

3 Things to Do When You Think You Wife is Cheating

Anger, hurt, grief, all of these feelings come to full light when you find out your spouse is cheating. If you have suspicions, it is a good idea to find out if your wife is cheating as it can assist you in the divorce process if you do end up taking this road. Sometimes it can be challenging to know if your spouse is cheating. There are some signs to watch for such as changes in social habits, their behavior at home, and changes in their appearance. 

Stay Calm and Gather Information About Your Spouse 

If you have confirmed that your spouse is cheating, you need to remain calm. Collect information about your partner to help you in the decision-making process from this point. Was this affair a one-time thing, or is this on-going? If it seems the marriage is destined to fail, you’ll need as much information as you can when you move into the legal proceedings. 

Step Away and Surround Yourself with Support

Staying with the person who has hurt you deeply can make it almost impossible to make decisions, and to start the healing process. Take a step back from the relationship and find people to help support you. Surrounding yourself with good company will allow you to start to process these feelings you are dealing with and can help you walk through several scenarios to start this new chapter in your life. 

Carefully Consider Your Future

Once you know if divorce is right for you, it is time to call a divorce attorney. The attorney can help you with multiple elements in separation of you and your soon to be ex. Here are some things you need to carefully consider:

  • Children – who will be the primary caregiver? How can you protect your children as much as possible including their education costs, housing needs, and custody?
  • Assets – how do you plan on dividing the assets? 
  • Alimony and child support – there will be new costs to deal with, are you planning to ask for alimony or child support? Will you need to pay alimony and child support? 

Emotions run high when you find out your wife is cheating. It is important to compose yourself and carefully deal with the situation. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help you navigate your divorce tactfully and ensure that you are taken care of and able to start building a new future. Contact the Law Offices of David Knecht to help you with your divorce case. 

 

The Dangers of Social Media in Divorce

Most people understand that posting on social media on divorce can impact the divorce process, and article will discuss what information you need to keep off of social media.

  1. Even posts to friends typically do not stay private.

You may be posting just to a small audience of friends and family and think that the information will stay private.  Remember that posts can be shared, saved, forwarded and discussed.  When you put information out in the internet, you lose control over how it will be spread.

  1. Pictures and comments can be evidence of bad parenting behavior.

A disparaging or threatening comment can be evidence that is used against you in a divorce trial.  Pictures or post indicating excessive drinking or drug use could be detrimental to your case.  This applies to any boyfriends or girlfriends that you may be in a relationship with because their behavior can impact custody also if you cohabitate.

  1. Do not post violations of court orders.

Whatever you do, don’t post anything that shows you are violating a court order.  If you are not supposed to see you ex, do not post pictures or comments to indicate that you have violated that order. If you have been told by a judge certain parameters about your posts, your kids, your finances, etc., it goes almost without saying that you shouldn’t incriminate yourself by showing that you have disregarded the judge’s order.

  1. Statements on dating aps or elsewhere that are not truthful can impact your case.

Be wary of making any statements on social media that aren’t accurate.  For example, if you claim to be single without kids, that may be perceived indicate that you have less interest in parenting.  If you make false statements about your ex-spouse, those can potentially get you into even more hot water as they may be perceived as harassing.

  1. Posts that put your mental health in question can have an impact.

It is not uncommon when going through a divorce to be depressed, anxious and angry and perhaps even to have an occasional suicidal or even violent thought. Be careful about posting these feelings.  Although it is natural to have strong emotions during this time, posting about those feeling publicly will not help your case.  See a therapist or an in person conversation with a close friend or family member.

  1. Watch out for posting information about money.

Finances are a key part of a divorce, so be careful about what you post when it comes to money.  Be cautious about posting about vacations, expensive entertainment, food or purchases.  Be aware that anything you post on a site such as LinkedIn or Facebook about your income, promotions, bonuses, etc. will be in the public domain and could impeach you if that doesn’t match up with the information you have presented in court. Be aware that anything you post about your earning capacity is important as well.

It isn’t easy to watch your posts and pictures on social media, but the divorce process will only be for a limited time.  By being aware of the pitfalls discussed in this article, you can avoid negatively impacting your case by inadvertently social media disclosures.

 

 

Why Is Divorce So Expensive and Tips to Bring Down Cost

If you are considering divorce, you may be concerned about the financial impact the divorce will have on you and your family.  While some costs are unavoidable, this article will discuss some tips to consider to determine if they can help bring down the cost of the divorce in your particular case.

  1. Legal fees – keep them down through planning and organization and negotiation.

If both parties hire attorneys, legal fees can be significant.  Your attorney may charge a flat rate fee or the fee may be hourly.  The cost may be set or may be negotiable.  One way that my help lower the legal fees if for you to come in prepared and organized with clear objectives.  If you gather all the financial information into an organized manner and approach a potential attorney with that information, you may be able to reduce the bill by showing him or her that their time can be directed to advocating on your behalf as opposed to helping you gather or organize evidence.

  1. Adversarial – set reasonable goals.

An adversarial divorce may be out of your hands if your ex is one that wants to fight.  However, if you set reasonable and realistic goals for what you want to achieve then you may be able to keep these costs in check. This does not mean you shouldn’t fight for what is validly your right, but consult with your attorney to get a realistic view of what has been successful and typical in the past in order to set realistic and achievable expectations.

  1. Dragging out discovery – be prompt in responding to your attorney.

During the discovery phase, you will typically need to provide written responses to questions and provide requested documents.  By being prompt, thorough and organized in providing this information to your attorney, you can avoid costs if you attorney is charging you by the hour because he or she will not have to bill you to follow up.

  1. Going to court – consider mediation or settlement.

It’s not unusual for an initial reaction to divorce to be “I want my day in court!”  Emotions run high during divorce and a judge is perceived as an advocate who will right the wrongs that your ex has imposed on you.  In some cases trial might, in fact, be the right move.  However, if you are looking to minimize the financial impact of a divorce, then mediation or a settlement without mediation might be a more cost-effective process.  The decision is very personal to your case and depends on your goals and the reaction from your ex to alternative means of resolving disputes.

  1. Education – don’t be afraid to research, study and be informed.

In some cases, the high cost of a divorce can stem from the cost of education.  You may spend money on the wrong attorney.  It is not uncommon for a person to hire an attorney only to discover that the person you hired isn’t experienced or just doesn’t have the personality that works well with yours.  Do research. Talk to people. Find an attorney who has the experience and demeanor that works for you, so that you don’t get down the road with someone only to have to incur the additional expense of changing course and starting over with someone else.

The costs of a divorce can seem daunting, but with planning, preparation and information, you may be able to lessen the impact of the divorce process on your pocketbook.  If you need a highly effective and experienced family law attorney who will be mindful of your budget constraints, consider David Knecht Law, davidknechtlaw.com.

 

Should I Stay or Should I Go:  Thinking About Divorce

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, you are not alone.  The decision to pull the trigger can have consequences for your finances, your family, and your freedom to move or make decision.  This article will help walk you through questions to ask an experienced divorce attorney if you are on the fence about whether you should get a divorce at all or if you are deciding when you should get a divorce.

What will be the effect on my time with children?

If you have children, your time and decision-making power for them are likely to be two of your top concerns.  Discuss with your attorney some of the typical parenting plan arrangements so that you can get an idea ahead of the divorce of the options that are best for you.

How will a divorce impact my ability to move out of state?

If you have children, a divorce can impact the ease with which you can move out of state.  Consider your long terms plans for yourself and your children, and if you prefer to settle outside the state you are currently in, then that’s definitely a topic you should discuss with your attorney.

How will divorce impact my standard of living?

Think about the property/assets that you had prior to marriage and those that were acquired during marriage.  Discuss how these will be divided.  Consider timing.  Are you or your spouse eligible for a raise or bonus in the near future.  Is now a good time or would a short wait be more or less advantageous to you?  It’s important to think in advance about the optimal timing.

What are the tax consequences?

Evaluate how taxes will likely play into the mix.  Will keeping or selling property have tax consequences?  How do the retirement accounts play in?  How will claiming the children on taxes factor in?

How adversarial is my spouse likely to be?

Planning ahead includes thinking through your spouse’s reaction to divorce and preparing to manage his or her reaction.  If you can find a fair middle ground with your and your spouse, you will both save on legal fees that come with an adversarial posture.

What would be the consequences of losing at trial?

Be sure to understand all the consequences of a plea and all the consequences of losing at trial so that you can make an informed choice.  Get the whole picture of counseling, probation, and fines.

The choice of whether to call it quits on the marriage or keep trying to work things out is a difficult one with many unknown consequences.  If you can get an idea of what you would be entitled to and how you will be impacted overall, you can make a better decision about the right way and time to end the marriage.

 

 

Changing the Terms of Your California Divorce Decree

Circumstances change over time, and sometimes that means that the divorce decree, or Final Judgment of the Dissolution of Marriage, needs to be modified. There are two ways a divorce judgement can be changed.

  1. Appealing the judgment to the California District Court of Appeals.

Appealing the judgment is a method that is not used as often because appeals are usually only granted If the trial court did not apply the law correctly or if the judgment was the result of one of the party’s bad faith, such as intentionally hiding assets.

  1. Motion to Modify the Terms.

A motion to modify the terms is the more commonly used approach to change the divorce decree.  Modifications are usually more likely to be successful, less expensive, and faster.

  • Can modifications be temporary?

Yes, modifications can be either temporary or permanent.  For example, if a party has lost his or her job, the divorce judgment may be modified to change child support or alimony temporarily.

  • Can modifications be permanent?

Yes, modifications can not only be permanent, but they can change some or even all of the divorce decree.   Examples of a permanent modification might be where one party permanently changes careers or acquires a disability or injury which permanently changes that party’s ability to pay child support or alimony.  Other changes could be to child custody, where the changes accommodate the growing and changing needs of children.

Some people feel locked into the divorce decree, perhaps because they don’t realize that changes are possible or perhaps because they fear the pandora’s box that may be opened if they readdress the current terms.  An experienced divorce attorney, such as David Knecht, can provide advice about how to modify your divorce decree to make it right for you.

California Divorce:  What Happens if You Want to Move Out of State With Your Children?

Your rights with respect to your children will be governed by your own specific custody situation, but this article will discuss some of the general topics relating to relocation that you can discuss with your attorney.

  1. Can one parent relocate out of state and take the children?

In general, a parent who has sole custody of the children can move out of state, unless the other parent can show that the children will be harmed.  If the parents have joint physical custody and one parent opposed the other one leaving, the parent who wants to relocate will have to show the court that the move is in the best interest of the children.

  1. Can a parent take a vacation or trip out of the state or country with the children?

If the other parent is going to miss their visitation, you will typically need that parent’s permission to travel out of state with your children.  You can also look at your order and see whether it contains restriction on travel.  If so, you will need a special order to modify those terms.

  1. Can custody decisions be made in the states of each parent, if they are not in the same state?

 

No, custody decisions are only made in one state.  Here is some general information in what courts look at for determining the right state for the decision:  if the state is the child’s home state (living in the state for the last 6 months), or if the child has significant connections to people in the state, so that it can be proven that the child’s care, personal relationships, etc. are based there, or if the child is at risk of being abused or neglected if sent back to a different state.  (See the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act for complete information on this topic.)

Taking your child out of state in violation of the order can be serious business, so consult an attorney experienced in family law to get answers on whether you can take a trip or relocate with your family.  David Knecht is an experienced family attorney who can find the answers for you.

 

Dating and Divorce:  Can Dating Impact Your Divorce in California?

If you are in limbo during the sixth month waiting period for a California divorce, you may be wondering if you can start dating again.  This article will discuss the ramifications dating may or may not have on your California divorce.

California is a no fault state, so dating will not impact your ability to get a divorce.

In California, you do not need to prove that one party did something “wrong” in order to file for divorce. Divorces are generally filed for “irreconcilable differences,” so if whether you are dating or not dating during the marriage or separation period is irrelevant to your divorce.

Dating could impact spousal support if you are living with the new boyfriend/girlfriend.

Section 4323 of the Family Code states: Except as otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, there is a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of decreased need for spousal support if the supported party is cohabitating with a nonmarital partner.

This does not mean that living with your new boyfriend/girlfriend will for sure impact the spousal support.  With a rebuttable presumption, you can present evidence to show that your need for spousal support is not reduced by the cohabitation. For example, if you showed that the new partner did not provide any of the money used for the cohabitation, then that may be sufficient to overcome the presumption.  The facts will vary depending on your circumstances, so consult with an attorney about your case, but the point of this section is to make you aware that living with someone new could impact your spousal support so that you can research the issue further.

Dating could impact custody.

The court will be looking at the best interest of the child to determine custody, so the person that you are dating could potentially impact that analysis in many ways:

  • Will the person you are dating be involved in child care?
  • Does the person you are dating have any criminal history?
  • Does the person that you are dating have history with your ex such that your ex may be able to argue that the person is a bad influence on the child?

The choice of whether to begin making friends or romantic connections before your divorce is final is one that faces many couples going through a divorce.  Although dating may not impact your case itself directly, you should certainly consider all the collateral ways in which a new relationship may affect you and make an informed decision about how to incorporate someone new into your life.

 

 

 

Why the Separation Date is Important for California Divorce

If you are considering a divorce in California, your separation date is a very important issue.  This article will discuss why that date is significant.

The separation date defines the line between community property and separate property.

  • Community property in general is assets, income, or debts earned or acquired during the marriage.
  • Separate property in general is property owned before the marriage, property inherited or gifted to one part during the marriage, money from the rent or sale of a separate property, money earned while legally or physically separated from the spouse, and items given from one spouse to the other with the intention of designating it as separate property.

Community property is shared by the spouses, separate property belongs to the individual.

  • The separation date is important because the determination of the type of property determines how it is split. Community property is shared by the spouses.  Separate property is for the individual.

How is the date of separation determined by a court?

If the date of separation is unclear or the parties disagree, the court will look at two methods for determining the effective date:

  • Objective test: Here the court will determine when you started living apart from each other. However, in some instances the spouses may be living in the same home but be physically separated within the home if the evidence suggests that the spouses unambiguous conduct indicates an intent to be separated.
  • Subjective test. Here the court will look at your conduct toward each other. At what point did one or both of you think you were done? When did you decide you no longer wanted to be married?

What should you watch out for?

  • The higher earner is typically incentivized to have a date of separation sooner rather than later. It is often in that person’s interest to have an earlier date so that more of the income or assets will be earned after the separation date.

In some cases, the date of separation is agreed upon by the parties, but this article should alert you to concerns and questions that may arise if the date of separation is contested.  Consult with an attorney early in the process of considering a divorce to find out how to navigate the date of separation mostly advantageously to your case.

 

 

 

 

California Divorce:  Custody Issues with Teenagers

Do you have a teenager?  If so, you’ll want to know what rules are specific to teens when it comes to custody.  This article will focus specifically on teens and outline some of the rules and considerations that will help you create a smoother experience for your teen in coping with divorce and change.

 

  • Does my teenager have a say in custody?  Typically, yes.

 

Children of any age can address the court, but as per Family Code 3042, children 14 years of age or older specifically can address the court regarding custody and visitation, unless the court determines that it is not in the child’s best interest.  This means that unless there is a special circumstance, your teenager will get to have a voice in the process if he or she so desires.

 

  • Will it matter what my teenager’s preferences are?  Typically, yes.

 

California judges must promote the best interest in the child after considering the factors, which can include the preference of the child.  There is no exact formula as to the weight the child’s preference has in the overall determination. What this means is that your teenager’s choice isn’t necessarily the final answer, but it will likely weigh into the judge’s decision.

 

  • How does the court hear the teen’s preferences?

 

The judge has discretion to talk to the child in open court or in chambers. The parents may be present but they may not.  The judge has a wide latitude in determining how to get the information needed, and as always must take into consideration the best interest of each child.

 

  • What issues should I think through with my teenager and the divorce?

 

Often teens go through a lot of changes at this time of their lives, so you can probably expect some adjustment challenges that may need to overcome.  Does your teenager have a car that will enable the teen to ignore custody plans? Do you and the other parent have similar rules for curfew, financial support of the teen, etc.?  What will be your strategy if your teen’s preferences for custody change over time? A wise parent will think through the potential issues and challenges that may arise with the teen and talk about those issues before they become big problems.

 

  • Can I modify the custody arrangement?  What if my teenagers preferences change?  Yes.

 

Yes, the existing custody order may be modified when there has been a change in circumstances. It may be that the teen’s preference is the change in circumstances, or it may be that other changes are prompting a modification. Again, the court will consider what suits the best interest in the child and will consider all the same factors that were used initially to establish custody. The teen can play a role in voicing opinions for the modification just as the teen’s preferences factored into the original custody determination.

You teenager is going through a lot of changes themselves and in their environment, so a divorce can be an additional stress.  However, your teen is likely also more capable of understanding and processing the divorce process than small children, and the opportunity for your teen to participate in the custody process can be a step in the right direction of helping them navigate the future.