Attorney Michelle Sherwood Dispels Myths About California Divorce Law

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Orange County family law attorney Michelle Sherwood, of R & S Law Group, LLP, lists the top six tips pertaining to misconceptions about divorce law in California.

R & S Law Group, LLP

R & S Law Group, LLP

It can also be quite confusing for people who don’t have any knowledge of divorce law and rely on popular misconceptions to guide them.

The divorce rate in Orange County, CA, is typically higher than the national average. Furthermore, according to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate nationally has nearly doubled since the 1990s among U.S. adults ages 50 and older, and for those younger than 50 it is about twice as high as it is for adults 50 and older.

“Dissolution of marriage is an extremely emotional experience,” said family law attorney Michelle Sherwood, a senior partner at R & S Law Group, LLP. “It can also be quite confusing for people who don’t have any knowledge of divorce law and rely on popular misconceptions to guide them.”

To help dispel misconceptions about divorce law in California, Sherwood lists the following six myths and facts:

Myth No. 1: “Only my name is on the bank account so it’s my money.”

Fact: No, California is a Community Property state. “Generally, the date of acquisition of the asset controls,” said Sherwood.

Myth No. 2: “My spouse was cheating, so he or she was at fault.”

Fact: California is a no-fault state. “This means the court does not care about adultery or any other action that would lay the blame for the end of the marriage or partnership on one party,” stressed Sherwood.

Myth No. 3: “The court will automatically give me custody because I’m the mother, or the court will automatically give us 50-50 as we’re both good parents.”

Fact: The court has wide discretion to make a child custody order that is in the best interests of the minor children.

Myth No. 4: “I purchased my home prior to marriage, so it’s 100% mine.”

Fact: “Not necessarily. The community can gain an interest in the real property,” added Sherwood. “There exists a law called ‘Moore Marsden’ that determines how to calculate the interest on a home that one spouse purchased before the marriage.”

Myth No. 5: “If we live together for seven years it results in a common law marriage.”

Fact: There is no common law marriage in California. “It does not matter how long you cohabitate with your significant other. You will not become married simply by living together,” noted Sherwood.

Myth No. 6: “If we have 50-50 custody, neither party pays support.”

Fact: “This is also a myth,” concluded Sherwood.

About Michelle Sherwood, R & S Law Group, LLP
Michelle Sherwood is a member of the Orange County Bar Association Family Law Section and the California Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in the Superior Courts of California as well as the United States District Court for the Central District. R & S Law Group, LLP focuses on family law, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child custody and visitation, child support, domestic violence, guardianship, and more. For more information, please call (949) 825-5245, or visit The law office is located at 265 S. Anita Dr., Suite 260, Orange, CA.

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