After 18 years of marriage, do I have any rights after my divorce in California? 8 Answers as of March 17, 2011

My husband is divorcing me, and he is telling me that he doesn’t need a judge to tell him how much alimony to pay me for our kids. He thinks I just need to find a job and take care of the kids that way. I was a stay at home wife for most of our marriage. Do I have any rights?

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Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
You have lots of rights including support, hire an attorney now.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/17/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
Your husband is headed for a rude awakening. If you make the proper application, and have good representation, your husband will be paying spousal support, and child support, and it will be a Judge who makes the order. If your husband fails to follow the order, and make the payments, there are many ways to cure that problem too.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/11/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
You husband is joking, right? That is absurd. He might not want the Court to to set spousal support (alimony), but you need the Court to do so.You spoke about rights. You certainly have the right to a hearing in Court regarding child and spousal support. You spoke about alimony"for the kids", but alimony is for your support. Child support is for the children (who are either under 18 years of age, or still in high school). I would file an Order to Show Cause (FL-300 and FL-310) as soon as possible. It might take about a month to get a Court date. You have to serve your documents on your husband or his lawyer, with a blank FL-320 and FL-150. You have to serve and file your own Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150), too. You cannot personally serve your documents, but anyone eighteen years or older can do so. You need to have them complete and file (you can file it) a Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335).

Ultimately, you will probably have to return to work, but since your marriage was for far longer than ten years, it is presumptively 'long-term', and there is no set limit to how long you can collect spousal support. The Court will not expect that you have the ability to earn right away, or may just impute your income at minimum wage for now.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/11/2011
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
Yes, you have rights. You have the right to proper spousal support, both temporary (called guideline support) and long term support so you can maintain as best as possible the "marital standard of living." Look up on Google California Family Code 4320.

There are 14 factors a court can consider to determine the proper amount of long term support, which is typically payable for half the length of the marriage, perhaps longer in your case, since you were married for 18 years (and hence is classified as a marriage of long term duration). You have many other rights, which are hard to properly describe in a few paragraphs. Best to call a local family law lawyer who can advise you of all your rights. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/11/2011
Maclean Chung Law Firm
Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
Yes you do have rights, and he will be required to pay you support. You should consult an attorney to understand your full rights in a divorce under California law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/11/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Indeed you do. You have a "long term marriage", which qualifies you for Spousal Support until your death or remarriage. Not only do you need a Judge to tell your husband how much Spousal Support he has to pay, but you need an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you against your bullying husband, to file an Order to Show Cause for Spousal Support, Child Custody, Visitation, Child Support, and Attorney's Fees, so that the Judge will make enforceable orders on each of those issues in your favor.

    Once those orders have been made in your Husband's presence, and/or served on him after they are made, those orders will be enforceable by various means, including wage assignment, and if he fails to pay support, his wages can be garnished and he can be prosecuted for contempt of court,and his driver's license and other licenses can be suspended, as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/11/2011
    Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP
    Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP | Hal D. Bartholomew
    Yes - you have many many rights after being married for 18 years. You are entitled to spousal support and child support (if the children are 18 or still in school and have not reached the age of 19). You are entitled to an equal division of all assets acquired during the marriage including retirement benefits. Please consult with a Family Law attorney in your area to fully understand your rights. Do not worry about what your husband is telling you. Find out all of your rights from an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/11/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    I would suggest that your soon to be ex-husband is living in a fantasy world from which he will shortly have a rude awakening. You are involved in a marriage of long duration (longer than 10 years) and given what is likely to be the significant disparity of income, I would imagine that you would be in line for spousal support, child support (if there are minor children) and perhaps attorney's fees and costs. I would strongly suggest you seek the help of any attorney. If you are looking for assistance with your case, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/11/2011
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