Can I Get More Money if My Spouse Cheated?

A commonly asked question in divorce is whether cheating can be used as leverage for the other spouse to get more money or custody in a divorce.  Cheating is typically defined as a physical relationship with a person who is not in the marriage.  This article will discuss the legal consequences of cheating and explain why it is almost always irrelevant to financial or custody issues in a divorce.  

  1. Cheating is not one of the grounds for divorce in California. 
  • There are two grounds for divorce in California:  irreconcilable differences and permanent legal incapacity.  You don’t need to prove cheating to get a California divorce because irreconcilable differences covers all problems or differences that make one person in the divorce want to leave the marriage.

 

  • Typically cheating will not result in greater alimony for the other spouse. 

 

California does not consider marital fault when determining alimony payments, so cheating typically does not factor into alimony.

 

  • What are the factors a judge would consider in awarding alimony?

 

California has a list of the factors that a judge should consider when making a spousal support/alimony determination.  This statute can be accessed in its entirety here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=4320.&lawCode=FAM

(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:

(1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.

(2) The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.

(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.

(c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.

(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.

(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.

(f) The duration of the marriage.

(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.

(h) The age and health of the parties.

(i) All documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, 

(j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

(k) The balance of the hardships to each party.

(l) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a “reasonable period of time” for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court’s discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.

(m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4324.5 or 4325.

(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED DIVORCE ATTORNEY

An experienced attorney can help make the divorce process easier for you and help you make important decisions.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, at 707-451-4502, we have extensive experience in divorce in California.  Call us today!

 

How to Calculate Child Support in a California Divorce

One of the most important questions parents face when considering separation or divorce is how to calculate child support in a California divorce.  The information provided by the California Courts and summarized in this article is a good place to start in informing yourself on the process.  Go to https://www.familieschange.ca.gov/en/parents/how-do-we-calculate-amount-child-support

 

  • California Child Support Calculator

 

California law requires courts to adhere to statewide uniform guidelines in setting child support orders. The Payment Estimator applies the statewide uniform guideline calculation to the information that you enter into the blank fields. 

https://childsupport.ca.gov/guideline-calculator/

 

 

  • Calculate Annual Income.  

 

The court bases child support on a parent’s “net disposable income.” This means the parent’s income after state and federal taxes and other required deductions. The court may order support based in part on bonuses, commissions, overtime, and other supplemental or non-wage income if the court determines that this income occurs regularly.  Certain income is NOT counted when determining a child support obligation, for example SSI (Supplemental Security Income).  

 

 

  •  The Amount of Time.

 

There is a wide variety of time share arrangements which have consequences for how child support is calculated.  If the children live with one parent most of the time, then the parent who has the children predominantly will typically receive child support.  However, that isn’t always the case  There are situations where the parent who has the children most of the time will still have to pay the other parent support.  An example of this is where one parent has a much larger income than the other parent.

 

 

  •  Health Insurance

 

 

Medical support is related to child support because Federal and California State Law requires that every child support order include an order for medical support, meaning that the court will order either or both parents to provide health insurance for the child as long as it is available for reasonable cost.  If you do not think you can afford the medical support order, you can file a request to ask the court to modify or terminate the order. 

 

Consult with the Law Office of David Knecht

For a consult with a knowledgeable and professional attorney about your questions relating to child support or any other family law issue, the attorneys at the Law Office of David Knecht, have extensive experience in family law.  Contact us at 707-451-4502 for more information.  

 

Do I Have to Pay My Spouse’s Attorney Fees in a California Divorce?

A question that often arises in a divorce is whether one spouse has to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees, and like many areas of the law, this legal question does not have an easy yes or no answer.  This article will talk about how the process works in determining whether the wife has to pay the attorney fees or whether the husband has to pay the wife’s attorney fees or whether each party pays their own.  

Family Code 2030

You can read the California Family Code Section 2020 that talks about this question here:  https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=2030.&lawCode=FAM

Each party needs to have equal access to representation

One key part of this law states that the court should ensure that each party has equal access to representation.  To accomplish this goal, the court can order one party to pay the other party or the other’s party’s attorney.  

What does “equal access to representation” mean?

A legal case from 2009, known as Alan S. v  Superior Court of Orange County, helps explain what “equal access to representation” means.  You can read the full opinion here:  https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9789715232219912999&q=divorce+attorney+fees+alan+s.+&hl=en&as_sdt=6,45

The Alan S. case clarified that a  common misconception is that the purpose of Family Code 2030 is to redistribute money from the greater income party to the lesser income party.  In other words, some people incorrectly believe that this law is in place to make the money “fair” by forcing the richer party to pay the fees of the poorer party.  The Alan S. case clearly explains that equalizing disparate incomes is not the purpose. The purpose is to equalize access to legal representation. 

The idea is that both sides should have the opportunity to retain counsel, not just the one with the greater financial strength.  In fact, the Court in this case was quite clear on that point, and even italicized the take-away message of the case with this explanation: “The whole point of this case, after all, is that each side should have an equal opportunity for legal representation in the upcoming child custody hearing.”

Does the party with greater financial resources always have to pay for the other spouse’s legal fees?

Another common misconception is that the party that is wealthier always has to poay for the other spouse’s legal fees.  That is not the rule, as the decision turns on access to legal representation and not just the difference in incomes between the two parties.  For example, in the Alan S. case, the lower court’s ruling that Alan S. had to pay his wife’s attorney fees was reversed because the court reviewed the  circumstances and concluded that the equal opportunity standard in this instance did not justify an attorney fee award.  

How can you find out whether one spouse will have to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees in your divorce?

If you have questions about paying a spouse’s attorney fees, please contact us at the Law Office of David Knecht.  We have extensive experience in all aspects of family law and can answer your questions.  Contact us at 707-451-4502 for more information.  

CUSTODY AND PARENTING IN SOLANO COUNTY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC Custody and Parenting in Solano County During The COVID-19 Pandemic

 

The Solano County Superior Court has issued recommendations for custody and parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article will summarize these recommendations as a helpful resource to parents who are navigating custody and parenting during these challenging times. For the complete list of recommendations, go to https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/materials/SSC_EO/Notice_to_Parents_Regarding_Custody_and_Parenting_Time_During_COVID-19_Pandemic.pdf

1. Vacation/Holidays Are As If Children Were Still Attending School.  

If schools are closed, parenting time shall continue as if children are still attending school and the closure of school for COVID-19 shall not be considered an extension of any break/vacation/weekend.  

 

  • COVID-19 Should Not Be the Sole Basis For Denying Time. 

 

Generally, COVID-19 should not be the sole reason to deny parenting time and the presumption is that parents are considered fit to make day-to-day decisions about the children, with the recommendation that parents follow state and local guidance on social distancing and sanitation. 

 

  •  Parenting Time in Public is Not Prohibited If Locations Are Permitted Under State Guidelines. 

 

If state guidelines allow for the public to be in a place, such as a public park, then parenting time in such places is not prohibited.  However, parents are encouraged to avoid locations such as parks and play equipment where virus transmission via contact would be risky.  If safe parenting time in public is not possible, then videoconferencing or telephone visits should be made available. 

2. Parties Should Work Collaboratively Where Supervised Parenting Time Is Not Available.

If a supervisor is not available due to COVID-19 or government orders for supervised parenting time, the parties should work together to make sure that the parenting time is effectuated in a way that is conducive to their children’s safety and well being, and parties may consider videoconferencing or telephone visits. 

 

  •  Travel Should Be Limited 

 

Travel should be limited to essential activities, which include caring for minors, dependents and family members. 

 

  •  CDC Guidelines Should Be Followed During Exchanges

When children are being exchanged, all parties should follow the CDC guideline for limiting the spread of the virus.  This means making reasonable changes in light of the risk, which may be choosing an alternate place for exchanges with fewer people.  

 

  •  Be Aware of Other Needs for First Responders When Calling for Parenting Disputes

 

Parents are encouraged to consider the need for first responders to be available for emergencies and support related to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

 

  •  Communication and Transparency are Encouraged During the pandemic

 

Parents are encouraged to work together and talk about the precautions they are taking to protect their children.  However, a parent cannot deny parenting time to another parent who does not want to discuss safety measures or on the basis that one parent thinks the other is not taking enough precautions. 

3. Parents are Encouraged to Schedule Makeup Parenting Time

Parents are encouraged to collaborate to schedule make up parenting time for time that was missed due to COVID-19 or other government orders.  Parents should prioritize their children’s health and safety and work together to create a plan that promoted the best interests of their children.  

 

4 Reasons David Knecht is The Right Vacaville Family Attorney

When it comes to finding the right Vacaville attorney, it is vital to go beyond a Google search to identify the right person. Hiring an attorney to represent your legal rights is one of the most important decisions you will make. Family law matters require a person you can trust, and one that will have your best interest in mind when representing you. Here are four reasons why David Knecht is the Vacaville attorney you need to represent your legal rights:

  1. Effective Communication
  2. Experience 
  3. Ethics
  4. Fees

Effective Communication with an Attorney

One of the main signs of a good attorney is one who always returns your phone calls and focuses on making sure you are in the loop. Communication problems are one of the biggest issues people cite when working with attorneys. With over three decades of family law experience, David Knecht knows how vital it is to keep the lines of communication open with clients. A good attorney will provide information about case progress. Here are some things to discuss when you meet with various attorneys:

  • What legal options available for my case?
  • What should the strategy be to approach my case?
  • What is the timeline to move forward?
  • How often will you communicate with me?
  • What type of communication methods are available and when can I expect updates on my case?

While it is expected for an attorney to be busy, it is important to know that most attorneys have several people working with them and part of their role is to assist in case updates.

Experience in Family Law

Hiring an ethical attorney is vital to your case! In 2019 alone, there were 300,000 family law petitions filed in the state of California. With family law being filled with a variety of different attorneys, how do you know you have chosen the right one?

A good attorney will have years of experience handling similar cases to yours. Family law is a complex matter. Seek out a lawyer with a skillset in your particular area. For some people, this means looking for an attorney who not only specializes in divorce cases, but also handles child custody. List out your needs to make it easier to find the right attorney for your needs.

One simple mistake such as failing to file a lawsuit on time can derail your entire case. Do yourself a favor and meet with multiple attorneys so you can be sure you have chosen someone you know you can trust.

Finding an Ethical Family Law Attorney in Vacaville

Going along with experience, you need to seek out the attorney you know will represent you ethically. David Knecht has built his firm on the foundation of trust and ethics. We don’t use improper tactics to try and win a case. We work directly with our clients to ensure we are putting together an ethical case with your best interests in mind. Some additional elements to consider about your attorney include:

  • Ability to maintain client confidence
  • Represent clients with undivided loyalty
  • Represent clients within the bounds of the law
  • Place client interests above their own

California has a disciplinary agency to ensure all attorneys are meeting the correct standards. A good attorney won’t be found on this site as they are always making sure they are practicing within the correct parameters of the law.

Read through our testimonials to learn for yourself how David Knecht maintains high client-attorney trust. We are proud to provide honest and fair family law services for Vacaville and surrounding communities.

Fair Legal Fees

When you are dealing with family law, you should always be able to understand the legal fees. When you hire an attorney, be upfront with them about your case and what you are expecting. Some of the common complaints people have about legal matters include:

  • Expensive bills
  • Bills are not itemized
  • Feeling that attorney is being paid too much for an inadequate job
  • Feeling that the paralegals did more work than the attorney
  • Nickel and diming the bill for every text message, short phone call, and other contact with the attorney or paralegals

As we have been in family law for many years, we know how infuriating it is for a client to have a large bill with no clarification or knowledge about the bill. We always discuss our legal fees with you directly so you know what to expect. In California, a written retainer is required in order to make sure all clients have a written retainer that discloses the billing system and charges. We show how you will be billed, itemize the statement, and make sure clients understand all charges. If you ever have a question pertaining to legal fees, please contact us directly at 707-451-4502.

The Law Offices of David Knecht is dedicated to providing you with the best family law services in the state. We are proud of our reputation, and always put our clients’ needs first. Contact our office to schedule a consultation or contact our office today at 707-451-4502!

How to Find The Right Vacaville Divorce Attorney

Hiring an attorney can be one of the most stressful decisions you need to make. It pays to do some research to find someone that you can trust and will be able to help you win your case. Unfortunately, this is not always as easy as it seems. With over 165,000 California attorneys currently in practice, how do you find the right one? Here are some tips to follow that will help you find the right Vacaville divorce attorney.

Tip # 1 – Experience

A family law case is not always the easiest thing to handle as there is a lot of emotion with the case. A good attorney will have experience in handling a number of divorce cases similar to yours, and their goal is to handle your case with compassion, empathy, and understanding. Since the judges can change their minds quickly, it pays to hire an attorney who has dealt with the judges in the past. Having experience in the courtroom and with the judge can make a difference in how well your case is handled.

Tip # 2 – Attention and Communication

A good attorney will give you the attention you deserve. Hire someone who returns your phone calls and emails. A good attorney will make you a priority, and they will want to do whatever they can to help you stay connected. A good attorney will be prompt in returning phone calls and emails and showing you that they do have your best interests at heart.

When you meet with the attorney, pay attention to how they talk to you. Do they give you eye contact? Does the attorney seem distracted when they are talking? Are they always playing on their phone when you are talking? Eye contact is critical as it shows they are paying attention and have a vested interest in helping you.

Tip # 3 – Deadlines

When it comes to divorce, you will have multiple deadlines for paperwork and other filings. A quality attorney will not miss a deadline. One of the biggest red flags is when you have an attorney who misses a deadline. Missing a court filing deadline can hurt the outcome of your case, and ultimately hurt your future.

Tip # 4 – Clear Billing Practices

Getting divorced is an expensive process, so it pays to hire someone who is clear with their billing practices. Family law is a specialized field, so it is common for some of the attorneys out there to hike up their rates and promise large victories. A good attorney will never guarantee a win, they will be cautiously optimistic when it comes to “predicting” a case. An attorney will be clear about their billing practices and will let you know what you will be charged for, and if there will be additional costs. There are fees that can occur later on, but a good attorney will make sure to bring up this information ahead of time, so you are aware. Trust is critical when it comes to family law matters and a good attorney knows the importance of transparency.

Tip # 5 – Questions

A good family law attorney will give you answers to your questions. Before you hire the attorney, come prepared with a list of questions. Most attorneys will give you a free initial consultation, which is the time you want to start asking questions. Take notes during the consultation and write down personality traits of the attorney. You need to hire someone you can connect with, and make sure you have someone that you can trust.

Contact the Law Offices of David Knecht if you want to hire the best Vacaville divorce attorney. Our experts specialize in divorce, child custody, domestic violence, child abuse cases, and more. We have the experience and expertise you need to move forward with your divorce case.

3 Differences Between Top Notch & Mediocre Family Attorneys

With the number of attorneys in the Vacaville area, how do you know if you are hiring the right one? Here are three key differences that will help you identify a top-notch attorney from a mediocre family attorney.

Time

A big indicator of a good attorney is how much time they spend with their clients. If you struggle to get them on the phone, or even to get a response to an email, they may not have the dedication to you that you desire. A good attorney is focused on spending time with you and focusing on your case. The attorney should have one of their paralegals send you updates on the case so you do stay informed, even if nothing changes.

A top-notch attorney will spend time studying the facts of the case and looking at the case from all angles. Attorneys will also consult with experts and other attorneys to ensure they have identified all problems and possible issues that could arise with your case. Speak to your attorney and find out how many other cases they are currently working so you know how much attention they will provide to you.

Empathy

Family law is a personal matter, leading to many emotions for clients. You need to have an attorney that understands the sensitive nature of your case and wants to help. A good attorney will know how the decisions they make with you can impact your children and your future. Here are some of the signs that show the signs of a good attorney from a mediocre one:

  • The attorney gives you the confidence to talk candidly.
  • The attorney will listen to you.
  • The attorney makes you feel comfortable with everything that you are facing.
  • The attorney will answer questions you ask.
  • The attorney will be honest about your case including fees, timeframe, and how the process will work.

A good attorney has a heart and they understand how difficult this entire process will be for you. If you do not feel good about the attorney when you meet with them, contact a new attorney to find one that shows empathy for your situation and your case.

Trust

A good attorney is understandable and wants to help you through your case. If you ask questions and the attorney cannot give you clear answers, it may be wise to look for a different attorney. Everything you provide to the attorney is in confidence with them. Your attorney will listen and take the information and will not share it with other people. Trust is critical when it comes to family law case and you deserve an attorney that cares about you and will not break your trust.

After you meet with multiple attorneys, go over the pros and cons of the attorneys and determine which one checks all the boxes you need. David Knecht Law in Vacaville is here to help with all your family law needs. Our professional team has extensive family law experience, and our goal is to ensure the best outcome for you and your case. Contact our office to schedule a consultation today.

Tips for Working with a Custody Mediator

There are different types of custody mediation.  In one instance the court may order mediation to resolve contested issues.  In other cases, the parties may participate in a private mediation with a retired judge, attorney, etc.  In either case, there are some general rules of thumb that will help you prepare for a successful interaction with the mediator.

  1. Always look through the lens of the best interest of the children.

As you prepare for mediation, remember your focus:  the best interest of the children. Other motives such as your convenience, getting revenge for past wrongs, or being unyielding to send a message will not be well-received by the mediator.  As you consider what you want, always put the child first.

  1. Review important documents.

Brush up on any active orders or other important documents.  In order to focus the discussion on the right issues, it will be helpful for you to remember clearly the decisions that have been made already in the case.

  1. Organize your goals but stay open to other possibilities.

Consider what you want to accomplish in the mediation and focus on the big picture.  Walk in knowing what you would like to accomplish but be open to different solutions on how to achieve what is best for the child.  Try to stay reasonable and keep an open mind, but be organized enough to know what you would like to achieve.

  1. Try to stay logical and calm.

In a mediation, you can speak honestly about your position. Do not feel pressured to agree.  However, staying logical and calm is very important.  Disparaging the other party will only waste time.  Make your position clear and keep your focus on the best interest of the child when you explain that position.

  1. Take your turn to talk when you have the floor, but don’t interrupt others.

Listening is a skill often underestimated by many. Listen carefully to what the mediator is saying. Don’t be so concerned with your argument that you don’t take time to understand other points of view.  Interrupting others is an easy pitfall in a highly emotional situation, but it can put a mediator on the defensive. Listen to what he or she has to say and then respond at the right time, and your arguments will likely be better received and understood.

With the right preparation and attitude, you can have a very successful mediation experience. The bottom line is to always focus on the children and keep yourself professional, articulate and calm.

 

3 Basic Facts You Need to Know about Custody in California

That you love your kids is a given, so if you are considering a divorce, you are probably wondering what will happen to your children and how will the divorce impact your parenting.  This article will discuss three basic facts about custody, which will help you plan for the future.

What is legal custody and what is physical custody?

  • Custody is the legal rights and responsibilities of the parents or caretakers. Visitation is how and when each parent spends time with each child. Either parent can have sole custody of the child, or the parents can share the custody.
  • Legal custody involves the right to make decisions on behalf of your children relating to school, health care, etc.  Physical custody refers to where the kids actually live.
  • It is common for sole physical custody to be granted to one parent and then visitation to the other. For legal custody, the preference if for the parents to share legal custody.  Joint legal custody can be tricky because it means that the parents must share in the making the important decisions for their children.

What are some common schedules?

  • Schedules can vary as per the best interest of the child, but some that are commonly used are as follows:
    • For joint physical custody, common schedules include one week per each parent, 2-2-3 schedules where a parent has Mon/Tues, the other parent has Wed/Thursday and the first parent has Friday, Sat Sun.  
    • For sole custody, weekend visits from Friday-Sunday with one or two weekday visits.

Can the court favor one gender over another?

  • No, the judge cannot favor one gender over another.
  • The standard question in any analysis is what is in the best interest of the children.
  • Judges have discretion, which allows for gray areas and wiggle room.
  • Bonding is an important factor in child custody cases, and goes to the emotional attachment a child and parent have.  

 

3 Tips on How to Create a Perfect Parenting Plan for Your Children

A parenting plan is required in every divorce case because it establishes the rules for physical and legal custody for the children.  If you and the other parent can agree, then it is a stipulated plan, or if you cannot agree then the court can establish a parenting plan for you.  You can tailor the parenting plan to the needs of your family, and this article will help you think through some important points you will want to include in the plan.

What are important issues for physical custody you should think through in creating the plan?

  • When will visitation occur
  • How will children be exchanged
  • Holidays, school breaks, special events
  • Accommodations for a parent’s illness or travel
  • Parent wants to relocate
  • Extracurricular activities and lessons
  • Resolving disputes
  • Phone/email/social media access with other parent
  • Military or other prolonged absence
  • Discipline or punishment methods
  • Children’s clothes and other belongings and how they are exchanged
  • Cancelations and delays

What are important issues for legal custody you should think through in creating a plan?

  • Religious attendance
  • Immunizations
  • Medications
  • What school will the children attend
  • Babysitting/Daycare arrangements
  • Emergency care

What needs are specific to your child that should be considered?

  • How old is each child
  • What routines would work best for your child’s personality
  • How do the school schedules of each child fit with the plan
  • What will give your child a sense of security and routine

A parenting plan can be unique and tailored to your children or it can be more general.  If you have questions or need help in formulating a great parenting plan, we here at http://www.davidknechtlaw.com/ can help!