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Divorcing with Pets

Couples have been mercilessly fighting over pets in courts for decades. In recent years, California lawmakers have made some major changes to how animals are shared and divided between divorcing couples. While following along below, keep in mind that the California laws that have been passed are not obligatory, meaning judges still have the authority to call these cases as they see fit.

The Best Interest

At the start of 2019 California legal experts had to begin adjusting the way they handled pets and divorce in court due to a newly passed law. In late 2018 NBC reported on the new law saying, “The measure provides judges with the power to consider what’s in the best interests of the animal in divorce cases, instead of treating them the way they’ve been treated by courts in the past — as physical property.”

This means judges should consider what’s in the best interests of the animal, very similarly to how child custody cases are resolved in court. It’s up to judicial discretion to create a shared custody agreement by taking into consideration factors like who walks, feeds and plays with the pet when deciding who the animal should live with and when.

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

As of present emotional support animals don’t qualify as service animals in the legal system and are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, under the ADA only dogs can legally be considered service animals, with a rare exception only for miniature horses. 

In a California divorce case service animals will go on to continue living with the individual that the animal was initially placed with for medical reasons. However, since ‘emotional support’ animals are not typically recognized as legitimate by the courts, each individual judge will have to establish custody agreements based on their personal discretion which can vary case to case. 

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you know is going through divorce with pets call on the local pros of Orange County Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates for help. We are the easiest law firm to work with in the county and have an A+ rating among our local community. Our team specializes in divorce and family law including custody, trusts, visitation, domestic violence, bankruptcy and much more!

Things You Need to Know About Divorce during a Pandemic

Divorce or separation during the pandemic has brought new challenges. CNN comments, “For marriages and relationships involving the usual strife, the stress of job losses, shared housing, co-parenting and health insurance worries have been exacerbated by the pandemic.” Couples that are making the decision to divorce should know about how the pandemic is currently affecting the separation process. Learn more about some of the divorce factors impacted by COVID-19.

Slower Response Time for Court Cases

As family courts are starting to re-open, there are still a backlog of cases in the system. To remedy the response time, many cases are being switched to Zoom meetings, where couples are communicating virtually instead of face to face. However, even with the technology of Zoom, many couples still cannot make a joint decision about their children attending in-person school, asset division, and other crucial aspects of a divorce. If you are needed for in-court appearances, be prepared that it might take some time.

Asset Division May Be Harder to Value

Because of the volatility of the market due to COVID-19, market-based assets such as your retirement and savings plans, might be harder to value. Even so, items are valued as the day you officially separate. However, given the circumstances of the pandemic, things might not be paid out until later. Even valuing your home, if you are choosing to buy or sell, is harder to determine because of the changing housing markets. Talk with a lawyer to get more certainty before making a big decision.

Complications with Work Stability

With multiple waves of lockdowns and restrictions, job stability has been shaky. Many people have lost their jobs and are struggling to recover, which puts more stress on spouses having to make support payments. Divorce Mag writes, “If you think you might be the one making support payments, know that if you lose your job, you may have to continue to make payments until a court agrees to lower them. And if you are the one receiving payments, know they can be cut back at any time.”

What Now?

If you need a divorce lawyer in Orange County, contact the professional attorneys at Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates. We are offering remote and internet services for your legal needs. CALL FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION AT 949-951-9529 TODAY!

Challenges You Might Face During a Divorce

A divorce can be more complicated than one might think. Couples may encounter unforeseen circumstances and face situations where they have to make hard decisions. In order to be prepared for those challenges, read our blog to learn about the hardships some couples deal with during a divorce.

Emotional Instability

When one partner wants to make the marriage work and the other doesn’t, this can be emotionally draining for both people. There is heartbreak, frustration, and other emotions involved. This is why a divorce can be so complicated. It’s also difficult if the couple share a child together. This not only makes the divorce process more complex, but can have an adverse effect on the child as well.

Co-Parenting

As stated by lawyer Michael Rehab, “Each situation is unique, and some parents may thrive in a co-parenting environment while others may not be able to see the silver lining.” If a couple is having a hard time agreeing on certain terms, confrontation and fighting can happen. To move the legal process forward, a mediator or lawyer is sometimes needed to find a resolution.

Financial Burden

A main concern for couples when they are going through a divorce is finances. Going from a two-person income to a one-person income is a significant change, along with other financial adjustments such as alimony, child support, and asset division. Individuals can feel overwhelmed by certain financial requirements and turn to a lawyer for assistance.

Final Thoughts

You shouldn’t have to be alone during your divorce. The attorneys at Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates are dedicated and steadfast to move your case along, giving you reassurance and confidence knowing you’re in good hands.

We invite you to schedule a FREE consultation today.

Let us meet your legal needs!

Annulments vs. Divorce

While most people know what a divorce is, an annulment is a less commonly known term that describes a similar legal process. In this month’s blog post we will explore the major differences between the two and exactly what should be understood about them before seeking representation and beginning their official legal processes.

Annulments

Those who are hoping to be granted an annulment have to meet a certain criteria, otherwise by default they will have to instead file for a divorce. In order to qualify for an annulment both parties have to agree that the marriage wasn’t ever legal or legitimate in the first place. Couples who have been granted an annulment move forward as if their marriage never existed.

Divorce

When a couple files for a divorce, it’s typically after an extended amount of time has passed since the marriage began and both parties have decided to part ways for any number of reasons. In a divorce both people have to agree on the fact that their marriage was always a legitimate union, however they also agree that it should not continue any further.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, both a divorce and an annulment effectively end a marriage. Some consider annulments much simpler processes because couples don’t have to go to court to divide their estates, pay alimony, or child support. If you or someone you know is seeking a highly skilled family lawyer who specializes in divorce and annulments, visit our website here.

Dealing with Retirement Funds during Divorce

You may be wondering how your retirement nest egg will be affected during your divorce settlement. Some mistakenly believe these funds are completely off-limits from the other spouse. However, generally that’s not the case. Any money in an IRA, 401K or pension is fair game in a divorce settlement.

Retirement funds are one of the most complex divorce issues to sort out. There are many moving parts to consider when splitting retirement. Such factors will determine how much a spouse will receive from your retirement plan. Certain issues must be determined while working out how to split these assets, including:


  • Does the other spouse have retirement savings?
  • What type of retirement fund is it– IRA, 401K or pension?
  • What is the current age of the spouse?
  • Was the retirement fund started before the marriage began?
  • How many more years will the spouse with the retirement fund continue to work?

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

A qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO (pronounced “quadro”), is a legal order by a judge that determines how assets will be split. A QDRO is used for alimony, child support and other divorce issues, not just retirement. A spouse must have a separate qualified domestic relations order for each separate retirement account.


“A qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO (pronounced “quadro”), is a legal order by a judge that determines how assets will be split. “



For a 401K account, your legal representation may need to consult the plan administrator before drawing up a QDRO on your behalf. If your QDRO does not comply with the plan regulations it could extend the length of time it takes to settle your divorce. However, an IRA does not require a QDRO. In some cases a QDRO can prevent taxes from being levied on withdrawn 401K funds, but there are many factors that must be considered before determining if this is possible. If 401K money is withdrawn before the other spouse is 59.5 years old, there are generally penalties unless the money is rolled into another 401k account.

“Retirement funds are one of the most complex divorce issues to sort out.

Splitting retirement during divorce should be handled under the guidance of an experienced attorney. Don’t risk losing your entire retirement savings! Get a lawyer on your side who will advocate for your interests by contacting Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates today.

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