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FAMILY LAW ARTICLES

May 11, 2021
Long-Term Marriages and Conservatorships

Long-term marriages and conservatorships. This blog post will be discussing how these two topics are important for finances. One of the reasons that someone files for divorce can be due to their spouse’s illness. These are long-term marriages, and while this is not one of the most common reasons for long-term marriage break-ups, it is becoming more frequent. California considers anyone married for ten or more years as being in a long-term marriage.

Many times, a caregiver or younger person will marry an older person. In some cases, the relationship turns sour – maybe because they genuinely don’t have anything in common, but more often because the more senior person becomes ill. Some diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, usually cause docile people to become violent. The spouse cannot handle this, or the violence gets to be too severe.

In some cases, the spouse cannot emotionally handle the caregiver position. Instead of filing for divorce and breaking up the estate, those in these and other circumstances could consider a conservatorship.

What is a Conservatorship? 

In a nutshell, a conservatorship protects a person’s finances if they can no longer manage themselves. The problem with a divorce is that the estate is not going to preserve, and many try to put their hands into the pot to get a piece of the disabled person’s estate. In many cases, this depletes the children’s inheritance.

If the court appoints a conservator over a disabled person, it takes the stress off the spouse and protects the community estate. The same person can serve as the guardian and conservator.

Difference Between a Conservatorship and a Guardianship

In most cases, the two terms are not interchangeable. However, some jurisdictions refer to overseeing a person’s medical and physical care as a conservatorship instead of guardianship. A conservator generally oversees a disabled person’s finances, while a guardian oversees the maintenance of the person. 

How a Conservatorship Protects the Community Estate

In a divorce, the couple’s assets get divided. The person who cannot manage their estate might have someone sell his share of the assets. This means that the children of the marriage do not get the entire estate. 

Instead, the community estate stays intact if the couple creates a conservatorship for the disabled spouse. Both spouses benefit from this, as do their children. When the estate becomes divided, a spouse might not afford a home as lovely as they had and might have a hard time paying the bills. With an intact community estate, both spouses can continue living the way they have become accustomed to. 

Retaining a California Family Law Attorney

Conservatorships are complicated matters. A California family law attorney at Hartley Lama et al. can help you set up a guardianship and/or conservatorship so that the community estate stays intact and both spouses can continue living comfortably.

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