Frequently Asked Questions

What is community property?
California is a community property state. This means that all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during marriage while domiciled in California is community property, owned by both spouses.

What is separate property?
Separate property of a married person includes:
(1) All property owned by the person before marriage
(2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift or inheritance
(3) The rents and profits of any property described in (1) and (2) above.

How is child support determined?
The parents of a minor child have equal responsibility to support their child in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances. The court uses a computer program to determine a guideline amount of child support. The main factors that determine the guideline amount of child support are the incomes of both parents and their respective timeshare with the minor child(ren).

How is spousal support determined?
The court uses the computer program that is used for determining child support in determining temporary spousal support, or support until the final divorce judgment. This program takes into account the incomes of the parties. After the judgment of dissolution, permanent spousal support is determined after consideration of statutory factors set forth in California Family Code §4320. These factors are:
(1) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage;
(2) The extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the attainment of education, training, a career position or license by the supporting spouse;
(3) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support;
(4) The needs of each party;
(5) The obligations and assets of each party;
(6) Duration of the marriage;
(7) Ability of supported party to work as weighed against interests of dependent children in that party’s custody;
(8) Age and health of the parties;
(9) History of domestic violence;
(10) Tax consequences to each party;
(11) Balance of hardships between the parties;
(12) Goal of state that each party becomes self supporting within reasonable period of time
(13) Criminal conviction for spousal abuse considered in making reduction or elimination of support
(14) Any other “just and equitable” factors determined by the court.

Must I register as a domestic partner?
A domestic partnership is established in California when both persons file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State and at the time of filing, all the following requirements are met:
(1) Both persons live in the same residence;
(2) Neither is married to someone else or a partner in another domestic relationship;
(3) The parties are not related by blood in a way that would prevent them from marrying if they were of opposite sex;
(4) Both are 18 years of age or older;
(5) Either of the following:
(a) Both are of the same sex; or
(b) One or both of the persons is over the age of 62 and are of the opposite sex;
(6) Both are capable of consenting to the partnership.
Registered domestic partners have the same rights, protections and benefits and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under California law as are granted to and imposed upon married persons.