Family Law Blog

You Can Get Help Collecting Child Support

Friday, November 03, 2017

Custodial parents sometimes find it difficult to collect the child support they need to take care of their children, child support that was court ordered. Help is available.

Child support payments are not voluntary. They are ordered by a court during child custody hearings. These cases may be part of a divorce, separation, or a paternity determination. Child support is usually paid by income withholding from employment. If child support is in arrears or unpaid, additional measures can be imposed to collect it.

Passports can be denied or seized if more than $2500 in unpaid support is owed. 

Federal and state income tax refunds may be offset by the child support debt.

Child support orders cross state lines. States communicate with one another about scofflaws of child support. Orders are enforceable across state lines.

Child support payments that are in arrears are often reported to credit bureaus.

States can fail to renew drivers or business licenses for those in arrears on child support. Their licenses can also be suspended.

Unemployment, Social Security, and retirement payments can be garnished. Military pay can also be garnished. Liens can be placed on property held by the person owing back child support.

Some payments are not subject to garnishment. These include Veterans disability payments, some Social Security payments such as Supplemental Security Income(SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) as well as student loans.

Payments in arrears may or may not be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. There are different circumstances regarding debts under bankruptcy laws. Child support payments are not usually forgiven. It is a valid debt.

Modification of child support orders is possible if circumstances change. Either a custodial or non-custodial parent can ask the court for a modification. Significant changes in the financial situation for either parent may qualify for a modification, either to increase or decrease support payments.

Contact our firm for any issues regarding paying or collecting child support. We are here to help.

What Can’t Prenuptial Agreements Cover?

Friday, October 27, 2017

What Can’t Prenuptial Agreements Cover?

Before tying the knot, it benefits both parties if they sign a prenuptial agreement to protect their individual assets. Prenuptial agreements don’t mean that you expect a divorce to happen, merely that you acknowledge that people might change and your directions in life might head in opposite ways. However, while you can put a number of different provisions in a prenuptial agreement, sometimes some really quite wacky ones, there are some things that a prenuptial agreement can’t dictate.

There are only a small handful of items that you can’t put in your pre-nup, but they are still important to know. Clauses you can’t put in your pre-nup include:

  • Custody of Children – If you decide to have children together, your prenuptial agreement cannot dictate who gets them in the event of a divorce. Typically this must be worked out by the couple at the time with the court dictating who can provide the better home life.
  • Child Support and Visitation – Like custody, a pre-nup cannot set an amount of child support that one party must pay nor can it set visitation rights. These based on court decisions.
  • Anything That Encourages Divorce – This is an incredibly vague clause that can cover a number of things. A common example is that while you can define individual property, you cannot put in how it is split in a divorce since that is basically saying it will happen.
  • Anything That Is Illegal – If you have an underground gambling den or are the Don of a Mafia family, you should probably leave that out. Courts can’t overlook illegal activities.
  • Anything That Is Unfair – Like things that encourage divorce, anything unfair is another cover-all clause. The best example of this is alimony. While you technically can set alimony in a pre-nup, a judge can completely throw it out if it is deemed to be unfair to one side.

If you are getting married soon, a pre-nup can be an awkward thing to bring up, but it can protect both sides. To create prenuptial agreement or check that your existing one is valid, contact us today.


What to Do When Spousal Support Payments are Late?

Friday, October 20, 2017

If your ex-spouse has agreed to make spousal support payments, then you have a reasonable expectation that those payments will show up on time. After all, this isn't fun money, spousal support is awarded because you became accustomed to a certain standard of living or just plain old need those payments to live on your own. So if your ex-spouse is no longer sending regular payments, what do you do?

Your first step needs to be obtaining the court order that awarded the payments. If you and your spouse agreed to a deadline or the court set one, then you have proof that they are knowingly ignoring a court order. Do note that if you have a voluntary agreement of spousal support, if you did not get it written and notarized, this will make receiving payments near impossible.

Once you have found the valid court order that demands payment, the quickest and most efficient way to make sure a spouse makes their payments on time is to seek wage garnishment. If they have knowingly been skipping payments, then it will not be a difficult court battle to win what is called an Income Withholding Order that garnishes wages. However, if your ex-spouse has lost their job and cannot make payments, your spousal support payments may be put on hold.

If your ex-spouse has stopped the spousal support payments that you need, contact us today. Divorce and spousal support non-payment is a tricky business and both sides of a divorce can benefit from having a knowledgeable lawyer by their side.

Informing A Child About The Decision To Divorce

Thursday, October 12, 2017

If you have a child, and you and your spouse have decided to get a Divorce, it is likely you are pondering the best way to go about informing your offspring about the changes they are about to endure. Letting a child know that their parents are about to go separate ways can be a bit challenging, and extremely heart-breaking. Here are some points to keep in mind when starting the divorce process.

Be Sure To Let Your Child Know The Reasoning

Without getting into specifics, let your child know why you are deciding to get a divorce. Alerting them that you do not get along with your spouse as much as you did in the past or that you both believe you will be happier apart may not make your child feel better, but they will realize the truth in these words may lead to you having less stress and an overall positive outlook in the future. Let your child know they are in no way responsible for the divorce. Hearing this from their parents is important.

Work Out A Plan For Visitation If Possible

Do your best to work with your soon to be ex-spouse regarding the time each of you spend with your child. A sit-down discussion one-on-one about their well-being can be enough to get both parties to realize that your child should not be used as a pawn or for negotiating purposes. Their lifestyle and what is to happen soon should be foremost on your mind, as well as your spouse's. Keep their interests in mind with any decision you make throughout the divorce process.

Keep Things As Close To Normal As Possible

It is a good idea to stick with the same routines as much as you can. Incorporate visitation time with the other party into the schedule, making sure your child is well aware of the dates and times they will be seeing your spouse. Do not speak poorly about your spouse to your child, no matter how angry you are. This will help to keep your child from feeling as if they have to pick sides, leading to possible depression as a result.

The divorce process is extremely difficult. Pick up the phone and contact us to find out more about child custody, visitation rights, in addition to property and asset distribution today.


Social Security and Divorce: What Happens To The Benefits When You Split?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Social security is meant to help support you when you reach retirement age, and if you get married then you and your spouse's social security benefits are entwined. But what happens if you get divorced? Well, it really depends on how long you were married as the Social Security Agency points out.

10 Years is The Sweet Spot

If you were married for ten years, or longer, then it is possible to receive benefits based on your spouse's income. As long as you:

- Are 62 years of age (or older)

- Have not remarried

- Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive either retirement or disability benefits, and those benefits are greater than what you would receive for your own retirement or disability

If you meet the above qualifications, then you could be entitled to one-half of your ex-partner's social security benefits. Additionally, if you have remarried but you divorce, your marriage is annulled, or your partner dies before you reach the ten-year mark, then you could become eligible for benefits under your former partner's social security once again.

It's also important to remember that your ex-partner doesn't necessarily need to be receiving social security in order for you to claim your portion of it. If your ex-partner qualifies for social security (whether or not they're currently receiving any benefits), and you have been divorced for at least two years, then you can start receiving your benefits as soon as you qualify for them.

Divorce complicated social security, but the system can be navigated with relative ease if you pick up the phone, and contact the agency in question. They're typically more than happy to answer your questions, and walk you through the process until you're comfortable with how it works.

For more information on divorce, division of property, and how you can move on with your life after your split, simply contact us today!

Reasons to Choose Annulment Over Divorce

Thursday, September 28, 2017


It happens every day. Couples come to the decision that they no longer want to be together. If they were dating, the split is heart-breaking but simple. However, if they are legally married, splitting up is just ever so much more difficult. When it comes to dissolving a marriage, there are two choices: divorce or annulment.

Contrary to the belief, annulments aren't just for quickie weddings in Las Vegas, they can be employed for a number of reasons. Unlike divorce, an annulment can only happen if there are specific situations about the marriage. In most states, these include reasons of fraud, bigamy, underage or incompetent spouse, or the marriage has not been consummated.

Typically the difference between an annulment and a divorce is that an annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened, but a divorce will always be on record. In days past when divorce had a negative stigma, seeking an annulment was the preferred course of action. However, today most people seek annulments in order to protect their property and possessions. If you can prove that a spouse was already married or lied about who they were, then a marriage can be annulled and even in an equal division of property states, they will have no claim on what is yours.

Annulments may be the preferable option for some, but if you do not fit the strict requirements, then you will have to settle for a regular old divorce. However, that doesn't mean you have to lose everything. With the right divorce lawyer, you can make sure your divorce goes smoothly and in your favor. If you are considering a separation, contact us today.

Inheritance Rights of Domestic Partners

Thursday, September 21, 2017

When it comes to registering domestic partnerships, couples share many of the same rights as marriage. However, there is no argument that there are some distinct differences in rights when it comes to domestic partners and married couples, which is why it is always worth looking into your rights as a domestic partner.

One of the many things that domestic partnerships often overlook, or just plain don't want to think about, is the end of life. Do inheritance rights of domestic partnerships differ from marriage? Knowing and not knowing could mean the difference between being well cared for and losing everything.

In marriage, when a spouse dies without a will or intestate, the estate will still pass on to their living spouse, but is it the same with a domestic partnership? In California, yes it is. California recognizes many of the same rights of domestic partners as it does with married couples, meaning that if one partner dies, even without a will, the other partner will still have inheritance rights akin to a spouse.

However, not all states are as understanding. If the domestic partnership couple moves to another state, they may not be afforded the same rights. Some states will not recognize the inheriting rights of domestic partners at all. This means if they are not specifically written into a will as an inheritor, the living partner will receive nothing.

If you are in a domestic partnership in California, you enjoy a number of liberal rights, but that doesn't mean you don't need a lawyer when things go south. If you need legal representation, contact us today.

Four Reasons You Need a Prenuptial Agreement

Thursday, September 14, 2017

More and more marriages end in divorce. No matter how much you want your marriage to last forever, the odds may be against you. Because of this, prenuptial agreements are becoming popular.

Here are some reasons why you should have a prenuptial agreement (no matter how much you love the other person and don’t believe it will end).

  • Prenuptial agreements are there to protect you. Odds are against most marriages so if you have things that are valuable to you, you really need to protect yourself. It allows you to leave the marriage with what you came with. Your ex-spouse will not be able to take your valuables away from you. 
  • Prenuptial agreements are not just for rich people. If you (or your soon-to-be- spouse) have significant debt, a prenuptial agreement will protect each other. If there is still debt when you break up, you won’t have to pay your ex’s debt. He or she also will not be responsible for yours.
  • If you own a business, you need a prenuptial agreement. This will, not only ensure that the business stays in your name but will make sure that you get what you earn. It also goes the other way. If your business fails, your partner is protected against the loss.
  • Prenuptial agreements can also make divorce much easier. You will already know who is getting what in the event that you divorce so there will be less fighting. Couples with a relatively easy divorce are more likely to stay friends which is really important when there are children involved.

Though nobody wants to think about their marriage ending (especially right before the wedding), odds are that your marriage may not last. For this reason, it is important to have a prenuptial agreement in place. It will protect you and your soon-to-be-spouse.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Three Ways To Know that Divorce is Right for You

Friday, September 08, 2017

Getting divorced is a difficult decision. Though it can be a long hard road, especially if you have children, it may be the best thing for your family. Before, during, and afterward, many people struggle with their decision, even if it was the right one to make.

Here are some ways to know that divorce is right for you (and your family).

There are no more feelings between you and your spouse. Many times couples still love each other but they see no way to make their marriage work. Throughout these divorces, there are too many hurt feelings. One or both of you may think that you can work it out eventually. However, if neither of you love each other anymore, a divorce could be a good thing.

You need to know if you are truly serious about divorce or you are just threatening with it, in order to change something. Many people threaten their spouses with divorce to make them change their mind about something. They may want to gain some control in the relationship or they may really just want to give their spouse a wake-up call.

You need to be ready for your life to change completely. Not only are you going to lose the person who was supposed to be the most important person in your world, your living situation, finances, and your whole life is going to change. If you have children, they may go through phases where they are angry and unhappy and you have to be prepared to deal with that.

Getting divorced may be the best thing that ever happens to you. However, if you are not ready, you will just spend more time grieving the life that you thought you were going to have. You need to make sure that you don’t have any more feelings for your spouse as well as be ready for all of the changes that are coming!

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Child Custody Issues When One Parent Wants to Move to Another State

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What happens when one parent decides to move to a different state? The first thing to know is that if there is joint custody, you’re not permitted to move without the consent of the other parent or a court decision permitting it. Here are some other things you should be aware of.

Physical Joint Custody Vs Legal Joint Custody

Legal joint custody is when the child is staying with only one parent, but both parents have a legal say in the future of the child. In such cases, making a move will be a lot easier to accomplish. When there is joint physical custody, however, things will get a little more complicated.

Getting the Courts to Agree to a Move

It won’t be easy to get the courts to agree to a move. The court will take the ultimate well-being of the child into account, and that includes the emotional effects of moving away from a parent. You will have to prove that moving will be in the best interests of the child. If you can prove that moving is the only way to get reasonable employment, for example, or that the move is necessary for the educational needs of the child, the court may approve the move. Otherwise, you can move only if you leave your child behind. 

Visitation Rights After Moving

If the court agrees to the move, they will work out some sort of visitation agreement for the child. For example, if you are moving far away, the child may spend the summers with their other parent. Other communication method plans such as phone calls may also be set up.

For legal help with your child custody case, just contact us!