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Divorce can be extremely traumatic, and an experienced attorney can make all the difference. What will happen with the children, how much support will be paid, and how will the property be divided, are all questions an experienced attorney should be able to provide quick and easy to understand answers for. And this is true even if the issues become complicated.

For example: California is a Community Property state. This means all property acquired during the marriage, including earnings, must be divided equally. But what if one party pays the monthly mortgage with their earnings on a home the other party bought before marriage. Does that person get any of their money back if the house goes up in value?

The answer is yes. With some exceptions, the community acquires an interest in the house under the "Moore / Marsden" formula, and several software programs are available for the calculation. Essentially, the formula gives the "community" an interest in the equity equal to the ratio the pay down of principal with community property, i.e. earrings during marriage, bears to the pay down of the principal with separate property.

What if one person works at a business during marriage they owned before marriage. If they’re married aren’t their efforts community property? And shouldn’t the other spouse benefit from all the work? The answer is again, yes. In California the community’s interest is calculated using one of two approaches, either the "Pereria", or the "Van Camp" approach.

An experienced attorney will be able to explain the different approaches to you, and discuss with you the Court’s perspectives when dealing with them. Under either example, of course, the experienced attorney will also be able to advise you on how best to approach these issues from the perspective of either the owner or non-owner spouse. They will also be able to explain the exceptions, the costs involved, and help you to make informed decisions regarding whether to litigate or settle.

The same is true with custody, visitation and support. Your attorney should be able to give you quick and easy to understand explanations about what to expect, how to proceed to capitalize on those expectations, and how to secure the benefits in the long term.

More detailed discussions on each of these topics can be accessed by clicking on any of the areas listed on the home page. But be certain that at the Law Offices of Michael J. Smith, Esq., we have been dealing with these issues for more than 25 years. You will know what the issue is, how it will be dealt with by the Court, and whether the cost is outweighed by the utility. Remember, "an informed client will invariably make the right choices."

The Law Offices of Michael J. Smith are located directly
across the street from the Ventura County Court House
789 S. Victoria Avenue
Suite 208
Ventura, CA 93003

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