Family Law Blog

Obama Administration Family Law Changes Affect Child Support

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Many divorced parents who have child support obligations may have found themselves facing difficulties making their payments. As a result, they may have fallen behind on their support and ended up incarcerated as an outcome. This type of family law situation is not uncommon, and it can often lead to a vicious cycle.

When many parents are in jail, they lack the ability to effectively make their payments, which only leads to their falling further behind. In turn, after their releases, they may return home only to find themselves potentially on their way to being locked up again due to having been unable to make their support payments regularly while incarcerated.

According to recent reports, in order to address this issue, President Obama's administration has made changes to child support rules that may help parents in such a predicament. These rules would supersede state law and require that states examine the true circumstances of each case when it comes to potentially allowing for support modifications. In many cases, incarceration is considered "voluntary unemployment," and this classification makes it nearly impossible for individuals to pursue more manageable support amounts while in jail. 

By having incarceration not deemed voluntary unemployment, individuals may be able to seek a lower support payments. As a result, they may be better able to make their payments while in jail or at least have the opportunity to not fall as far behind.

These child support rule changes could affect many California parents who have found themselves facing such predicaments. Individuals who are interested in how these rules could potentially affect their circumstances or who would like more information on child support modifications in general may wish to consult with experienced Beverly Hills family law attorney

What if My Spouse is Hiding Assets in Our Divorce?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Divorce is sometimes messy, and sometimes it involves one spouse hiding assets from the other.  Because California is a "community property" state, meaning that all property acquired during a marriage is marital property and jointly owned, spouses are occasionally tempted to keep some assets a secret so that they are not evenly split with their soon-to-be ex-partner.  

In fact, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, nearly one-third of people admit to financial deception with their partner. It is logical to assume that divorce does not improve these percentages. Automobiles and other tangible items are hard to hide, but bank accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts are more easily concealed.

California Family Code Section 2100 states that divorcing parties must provide "full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which one or both parties have or may have an interest."  Although not doing this might be tempting, it is a bad idea and carries severe penalties.  

If one party does not accurately disclose all assets and engages in "oppression, fraud, or malice" as outlined in Section 3294 of California's Civil Code, then the court must award 100% of the hidden assets to the spouse from whom they were concealed. In other words, if a husband hides his $50,000 savings account from his wife during the divorce and meets the "oppression, fraud or malice" criteria, then a judge will award the $50,000 to the wife.  The court might also award attorney fees.

If you are considering divorce, then please contact us.  Our skilled, dedicated attorneys will review your situation and determine the best path forward.  We are here to protect your rights.

Dealing With Tardiness in Child Custody Matters

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When figuring out a parenting plan and child custody schedule, parents might work something out before finalizing a divorce or have matters settled by a judge. Either way, everything won't always go according to plan. A visitation order might list how often and at what times a noncustodial parent receives access to a child or children. Problems may arise if one parent stops following the schedule by showing up late or not showing up at all. Here are some tips for dealing with tardiness or absences.

Occasional Slip Ups

Parents should try to work with each other when possible and realize that unplanned events do arise every now and then that could interfere with the regular schedule. Being late once or twice will happen, and it's better to not get worked up if little things like this occur.

When It Becomes A Habit

If a parent is always late or frequently changes plans without warning, start by talking to them. Maybe there is a reason and an easy fix for the problem or the person doesn't even realize there is an issue. Though a fixed schedule is helpful for kids and adults, real life can get in the way. Changes to a schedule might be needed as time passes.

When Parents Can't Work It Out

Mediation could be the right solution if both parents want to reach an agreement but are unable to communicate and solve the problem. A mediator could help parents find and agree on a compromise. If mediation doesn't work and nothing improves, going to court to enforce or change an order might be necessary. Try to document what is happening and how it affects your children.

When divorcing or trying to raise children after a divorce, an attorney's assistance may be needed. Contact us today for information about how we could help you.

What To Do When Your Ex Is Alienating You From Your Child

Thursday, January 12, 2017

After undergoing a divorce, you may find that your ex-spouse is alienating the child from you. When they are preventing the child from meeting you, it is simply known as parent alienation. The case becomes more complex, however, when the other parent is having a damaging psychological effect on your child’s relationship with you.

The other parent may be denigrating you in front of your child or telling them that you do not love them. When the child develops negative feelings towards you, it is called Parent Alienation Syndrome, which was researched by Richard Gardner some decades ago.

The problem over here is to get the court to recognize what is going on. Parent Alienation Syndrome is not a medically recognized syndrome. Of course, if the court determines that the other parent is undermining your relationship with your child, they will probably step in and attempt to remedy the situation by setting up therapy sessions for the child or even by giving you child custody (in severe situations). The court is looking out for your child's best interests, which is to have a healthy relationship with both parents. 

However, before the court will take action, they will usually order a third-party psychological evaluation for the child. This can take time, and before you know it, the case can drag on for a year, with the alienation only getting worse.

The key to winning over here is to get the court to take action quickly, without dragging their feet. That’s why you need a lawyer who is knowledgeable in child support and alienation matters. For legal help, and to save your relationship with your child, make sure to contact us.

Child Custody: What Are The Best Interests Of The Child?

Thursday, January 05, 2017

One of the most heated and intense moments in your life can happen when child custody becomes the topic. For years, people have made their claims on why they should obtain custody of the children when a marriage or relationship ends. 

This is why it is so important to have the help of an experienced child custody attorney who can help protect the rights you have as a parent. You are fighting for your children, and you deserve to get the best results for the children you love so much.

Many people think that child custody cases are always ruled in favor of the mother. However, this is no longer the case. Many states across the United States will view both sides of the situation and determine the best situation for the child.

The child's best interest should always be number one. Several factors will determine where the child will live and who gets to make the important decisions in the child's life. 

If you do not understand how child custody battles work and you need someone to fight on your behalf, an experienced family law attorney will explain everything you need to know so that you can move forward with getting the results your child needs.

Some of the factors that are taken into consideration during a child custody case include the following:

  • Where the child wants to reside(if he or she is old enough to determine what he or she wants)
  • What the parents want
  • How well the child adjusts to the current environment
  • The mother/child and father/child relationship
  • The type of home life each parent can provide

This is only a small list of the things that will be considered when you are in the middle of a child custody battle. It is important to remember that the best interest of the child is what the judge will consider. 

If you need to be advised on what your chances may be in obtaining custody of your child, Contact a California child custody attorney today.


Can Social Media Impact Your Divorce? The Answer Is Yes

Thursday, December 29, 2016

We are living in the days where almost everyone has signed up for a social media account. While using social media can certainly be fun and entertaining, you have to be careful about the type of things you post to those social media websites. 

The information you post can be seen by a significant amount of people. If you are going through a divorce, you need to be very cautious about the type of things you post on any of your social media pages. If you think you may post anything that may get you into any trouble, you may want to avoid logging into your account until your divorce has been finalized.

Anything On Social Media Can Be Used Against You

If you are in a heated divorce, your husband or wife may be looking for anything that can make you look bad so he or she will receive everything they are looking for.

Since many people share a significant amount of information online, people who are divorcing will turn to social media for information they can use against one another. Social media postings cannot only impact spousal support and child support orders, but it can also impact a custodial agreement. 

If you are fighting for custody of your child or children, you should definitely avoid posting any photographs or videos that will show you using illegal drugs, drinking alcohol, fighting, partying, etc. 

If you tell the judge you cannot make spousal or child support payments, but you are posting photos of your money, posting photos of expensive merchandise, or posting vacations pictures, your spouse can use those photographs or videos against you to prove that you can indeed make those payments. 

We understand that divorces can get heated and difficult, but social media can get you into more trouble than you think. If you are going through a divorce, do not hesitate to contact us for information on how social media can impact your divorce. 


California Property Division is Complicated

Thursday, December 22, 2016

When two people enter into marriage, they are not thinking about the day that they might divorce and have to divide their property.  Maybe they should, though, because in California the divorce rate is 60 percent, ten percent higher than the national average.  

Most people know that California is a community property state, meaning that when it comes to divorce and property division, all assets, income and debt acquired while living with a spouse (or domestic partner) are divided and distributed equally.  Assets or debts acquired during the marriage through a gift or inheritance do not count as community property.

Although the idea of community property is fairly straightforward, in practice it is more complicated, particularly if the parties involved have accumulated a lot of assets and debts during the marriage.  A complex married financial life often makes for a complex divorce.

For example, a couple's community property might include a house, a rental property, automobiles, furniture, clothing, a business, checking accounts, retirement plans, stocks and bonds, life insurance and more.  Dividing these equally is often a challenge.  To illustrate, how is the marital home split since the court cannot physically divide it?  In some cases, the couple sells the house and evenly distributes the proceeds. In others, one spouse keeps the house and buys out the other's share.

Sometimes items that seem as though they belong to one person actually belong to both.  For example, suppose the husband saved $100 every month from his job income to buy a boat.  Even though he paid for the boat, it actually belongs to the husband and his wife because the husband bought the boat with money earned during the marriage.  Any income generated during the marriage is community property.  By extension, so is anything purchased with that money.

If you are contemplating divorce and wondering about property division, then contact us. Our experienced, skilled attorney will review your case.  We are here to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.

 

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3 Mistakes That Could Inadvertently Hurt Your Child Custody Case

Friday, December 16, 2016

If you are going through a divorce, this can be a stressful time. If you have children involved, this can be an even tougher process. It is important not to make any quick decisions while separating that might hurt your child custody case. Here are three mistakes you should try to avoid during your divorce process that could give your ex leverage when it comes to custody.

1. Moving for a New Job

You may feel as if your financial resources are being depleted or you need to protect your personal assets during a divorce. The thing is, needing to move for a job or adding significant commute time might come off as not putting your child’s needs first, especially if this will limit your time for visitation. Wait until the dust settles to make any significant career changes.

2. Moving in With a New Significant Other

While you may have quickly found love after your divorce, it is important to focus on custody matters before fully moving on with your life. If you quickly move in with a new significant other, those making decisions on visitation and custody might not think you are putting your children's needs first.

3. Moving into a Home That Doesn’t Accommodate Your Kids

If you are the spouse that will be expected to move out of the family home, you might be worried about finances and want to move into a smaller space. It is important that you find a home that can accommodate your children, or your visitation and custody might be limited. This doesn’t mean you need a space as nice as your family home, but having a room designated for your children or an apartment with a pool or near a park can go a long way when it comes to being granted visitation.

While you might be in an emotional and working through personal issues during your divorce, keeping your children's needs in mind should be priority. If you are separating from your spouse and need guidance with your child custody case, contact us to ensure that your children's needs are protected.

Divorce: Making Things Right During The Holidays

Friday, December 09, 2016

Anyone who has experienced a divorce or is currently experiencing a divorce knows that a divorce can turn things upside down. Everything can change during a divorce. When parents make the decision to split, it seems that everything will be impacted. This is especially true when it comes to the holiday season.

The holidays can be a very difficult time for a divided family who has to make arrangements so the children can spend time with both parents. The old holiday traditions are a thing of the past, and parents now have to create new traditions and start new memories.

If the parents are going to work together to give their children the best holiday experiences, there needs to be a detailed visitation schedule when the parents agree to co-parent. The schedules and agreements should not be vague because these types of agreements will likely fall apart very quickly.

The holidays should be an enjoyable time for families, but this is not always the case when families have separated and the children have to spend the holidays in two homes. However, when parents can agree and stick to a schedule and any other agreement, there will be a less amount of stress and there will be no arguments and disagreements.

The court system is available to help families figure things out and do what is best for the children, but one of the best things parents can do is try to work things out on their own. If families do not want to be stress and burdened with going to court, they should try to work together and keep things positive.

We do understand that sometimes families need to go through the court system so they can be advised of the best steps to take. If you need advice about your situation or if you would like a consultation, do not hesitate to contact us today.


Can a Divorce Include a Clause Negating Child Support Obligations?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Is it possible, at the time of the divorce, to include a clause in the divorce contract whereas one parent is absolved, with the agreement and consent of the other parent, of child support obligations?

The first thing to know is that child support is something obligated by law -- parents must support their children, even if they are not currently married to the other parent. Child support obligations do not stem from divorce contracts and agreements.

This law is in place to ensure that children are adequately taken care of. It also is in the government’s best interests not to have too many welfare recipients.

Usually, clauses negating child support obligations will not be recognized by the courts. Unless you are able to prove that this clause is, in fact, in the child’s best interests, it will generally have no legal standing.

It goes even further. If there was a clause under which one parent paid a lump sum for the child’s needs, instead of having to pay monthly payments, and the money was squandered by the other parent who has custody of the child and the child now needs financial assistance, the first parent may have to start paying again for child support. This is because child support obligations are in place to benefit the child, and a parent's self-interest has no bearing on the issue, unless the parent is financially unable to support the child.

Child support laws are extremely complex. If you are considering a clause in your divorce contract concerning child support, it is best to contact a lawyer for legal help.