Family Law Blog

How is Visitation Decided in California?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

When a couple gets divorced, the court will identify one person as the physical custodian of the child, which means that he or she will have primary physical custody of the child. At the same time, the court will also sign off on a visitation schedule which allows the noncustodial parent visiting hours with the child.

The visitation schedule must be specific, and must include details like the number of hours the child will spend with the noncustodial parent, vacation breaks and so on. The visitation schedule is typically decided on by the parents. In fact, Los Angeles divorce lawyers recommend that you work together with the other parent to decide on a schedule. Even after a couple has agreed on a visitation schedule, it must be submitted to a court for approval. Your visitation schedule is not valid until the judge signs off on it.

However, if the parents can't come to an agreement, the court will intervene, and will issue a child custody order. This child custody order will also include a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent.

Apart from the times of the week, vacation breaks and other details about the amount of time the child will spend with the noncustodial parent, your visitation schedule must also include other details, including pickup and drop-off times, who is responsible for making the pickups and drop-offs, and other details. It is important to have all of these details in order to avoid legal wrangling later.

The visitation schedule must also identify how the custody will be shared during special times like birthdays and holidays. The summer break must also be divided with the noncustodial parent getting a fixed number of days over the summer.

Murder-Suicide Linked to Child Custody Battle

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

When ex-veteran Bradley William Stone recently killed his ex-wife, five relatives, and then himself recently in Philadelphia, it wasn't immediately clear that the reason was linked to a family dispute. However, in the aftermath of the tragedy, it is becoming more and more clear that the man was in an ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife, and that the dispute likely sent him off the edge.

Stone was involved in a dispute with his ex-wife Nicole Stone over the couple's young daughters. Stone first went to his ex-wife’s sister's house, where he shot and killed the sister and her husband. He also assaulted the couple’s children leaving them with severe injuries. He then went to his ex-mother-in-law's house, where he killed both the ex-mother-in-law and her mother. After that, he went to his ex-wife's home where he shot and killed her too. Police officers found him two days, dead of self-inflicted stab wounds. The couple's two young girls, as well as his current wife and their infant son are currently in protective custody.

While the custody dispute has been mentioned in most news stories related to the murder, it is clear that this was a man with very serious psychological problems. However, this tragedy is also a reminder of what can happen when such important matters are left unresolved during a divorce.

Not every marriage will end with all strings neatly tied up. Resentment and bitterness may continue even after the divorce, which is why it is very important to try out all possible ways of alternative dispute resolution, like arbitration and mediation, before taking a matter to court. It’s also important to seriously consider psychological counseling during such traumatic times in one’s life. In fact, counseling or therapy, if you can afford it, is one of the important pieces of advice that Los Angeles divorce lawyers give persons who have just begun divorce proceedings.

How to Survive the Holidays after Divorce

Monday, November 24, 2014

In the first year following a divorce, few times are as painful as the holidays. This is the time when families are meant to be together in the spirit of joy and cheer. However, if you have recently been through a divorce, putting on a cheerful front is the last thing you feel like doing.

The holidays do not have to be a disaster. Plan ahead to make sure that your holidays this time involve people that you're the closest to, and who you really care about. In other words, don't make plans to include people that you don't have much in common with. Keep your holidays intimate this year.

Many people who have just been divorced prefer to take a vacation, either by themselves or with a group of friends, to get away from all of the festivities. Los Angeles divorce lawyers do recommend this option.

It's also good to break away with past holiday traditions. Consider celebrating your holidays on a different date than you did last year. Consider different types of festivities, or a different guest list. Change the menu entirely. Making a clean break with the past is is very therapeutic, and the holidays are a good time to do it.

Children can find divorces traumatic, but they will expect holidays to be just as enjoyable and memorable as they always have been. Encourage your children to participate in any new rituals or traditions that you want to start this holiday season. Ask them to pick out a ritual that they would like to begin with this year. Children are much more likely to be receptive to all the changes happening in their lives over the holidays, if they get to participate.

The key word to make holiday celebrations memorable is “simple.” Simple menus, easy guest list, easy parenting schedules and visitation time - all of these can make your holidays enjoyable.

How to Cope with Divorce Anger

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Divorce anger is what people who find it difficult to let go of their anger at their ex-spouse over their divorce, experience. That anger can continue to fester in a person's heart for years after the divorce. That kind of anger and resentment towards an ex-spouse is unhealthy, not only for the person, but also the children involved.

If you're currently dealing with a spouse who continues to be bitter or resentful against you because of the divorce, here's how you can handle it responsibly.

First of all, acknowledge that this is your ex-spouse’s issue, not yours. You are not the ones with the problem.

Understand that this is not something that you can control, and therefore, know that you shouldn't let it bother you.

Also understand that your children are watching whatever happens between the two of you, and can easily gauge the resentment by the other parent. Don’t worsen things by stooping to your ex’s level. Remember, your children also will remember how you spoke to their other parent.

Try not to let the anger affect you, and stop hoping that things are going to change.

Prioritize your children, and continue to be polite to your ex because it is what your children need. Stop focusing so much on the other person's anger.

Once you stop thinking so much about how to deal with your ex’s bitterness towards you, you will find that it is not a priority in your life anymore. Ultimately, you aren't responsible for your ex-spouse’s happiness, and are not responsible for his psychological well-being. If he or she can't deal with the divorce, you don't need to make it your problem.

Are Divorce Rates Declining?

Monday, November 10, 2014

For decades now, Americans have been told that as many as 50% of American couples end up in divorce court. However, those statistics may not be entirely accurate.

According to a new article in the New York Times, the divorce rate isn't rising, and in fact, has actually been declining since the 1980s. Many social scientists and demographers now agree that the divorce rate in the United States far from increasing, is actually dropping, or somewhat stable. In fact, they deny that the 50% divorce rate is true, and say that young couples in America today are much less likely to get divorced, compared to their parents’ generation.

Why then is there so much focus on the 50% divorce rate in this country? It could be that when divorce rates increase, it tends to fit in with society’s sense of moral outrage. Declining divorce rates, you may notice, do not elicit much response.

In fact, all the evidence seems to prove the divorce rate actually fell after 2005 and has been down ever through the recession. However, that decline is not significant, and the divorce rate has remained more or less stable since 2005.

Those are still optimistic statistics. Further statistics reported in the New York Times suggest that approximately 70% of the marriages that began in the 1990s recently celebrated their 15th anniversary. Couples who married in the 2000s are filing for divorce at lower rates than couples who got married in the 70s and 80s. The feminist movement of the 1970s far from triggering a massive increase in divorce rates has actually helped make marriage more stable with more women working. In a two-income household, marriage is based on shared housekeeping, and shared responsibilities. Additionally, the fact that people are marrying much later has made for much more mature people in marriages.

Celebrating a Divorce: Does It Help?

Sunday, November 02, 2014

A new trend has the newly divorced celebrating their single status in a number of ways including throwing parties and flying friends to a fancy resort. In fact, so popular are divorce parties that they have become one of the hottest and fastest growing sectors in the hospitality business.

There are entire new destination venues that are springing up around divorce celebrations, and party planning companies are falling over each other in an attempt to lure the newly single, who wants to celebrate the end of his or her marital relationship. Divorce parties have been around for a while now, and have included fancy elaborate divorce cakes. Now however, newly divorced persons are choosing more elaborate and adventurous ways of announcing their single status. Skydiving, shooting party at shooting ranges - there's no end to the innovative ways the newly divorced are celebrating the end of their marriage.

Do these celebrations help heal the psychological scars from a divorce, or help people move on after a divorce? Many psychologists believe that they actually do. According to psychologists, people who have just been divorced can benefit from a ritual. Divorce is a traumatic life experience, and there is an entire body of research that has compared divorce to a death in the family. Engaging in some kind of ritual, whether that involves skydiving, or celebrating with friends can actually help you attain a sense of closure. It can help you put the past behind and move on, which any Los Angeles divorce lawyer would recommend.

However, if the main point of the celebration is to get into another relationship quickly, you might want to exercise caution. It isn't a great idea to begin a relationship so soon after the first one has barely ended.

Expensive Weddings Linked to Divorce

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Could a fancy expensive wedding with designer wedding gowns and eye-blinding bling, increase the risk of a divorce? New statistics definitely seem to indicate so.

Researchers recently analyzed data on 3000 American couples, and investigated their wedding expenses and the duration of their marriage. They were specifically investigating whether more expensive weddings were less likely to last. They found that women who spent more than $20,000 on the wedding were much more likely to find themselves needing a San Jose divorce lawyer over the next few years, compared to women who spent less than that amount.

In fact, the risks were 60% higher for women who had expensive weddings. Men who lavished approximately $2000-$4000 on their engagement ring, had a higher likelihood of divorce, compared to men who spent $ between $500 and $2000 for the engagement ring.

So, what kind of weddings are the most successful? The study seems to find a surprising link between marriage success and weddings that have more numbers of guests, compared to those that are more intimate affairs. The trend seems to be towards expensive weddings that have fewer numbers of guests. But, people should be probably cut down other types of expenses, and invite more numbers of guests to the wedding.

The researchers speculate that many people go for expensive weddings purely to show off, and that doesn't necessarily bode well for the marriage. Additionally, the more expensive a wedding, the less likely the bride or groom is to call the wedding off, if he or she develops cold feet, or premarital jitters. Precious studies have indicated that persons who suffer from premarital jitters are much more likely to end up getting divorced, compared to those who did not suffer from second thoughts.

How to Handle a Divorce from a Difficult Spouse

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Divorce is never easy or painless at the best of times, but it becomes infinitely more difficult when the one of the spouses chooses to be difficult or has a difficult personality. In such cases, you can expect the divorce to be prolonged, delayed, and even more expensive.

Some spouses are much more likely to refuse to compromise, refuse negotiations, and will want their day in court. How do you deal with a spouse who insists on making the divorce as ugly as possible?

Unfortunately, there isn't much that you can do to change your spouse’s behavior. In fact, it is probably better for you to come to the understanding that a person can't change his or her ways, and therefore, you need to make the best of your situation. If you plan to try mediation, get a mediator who is very well experienced in handling a contentious or difficult client.

Hire a Los Angeles family lawyer, who has experience in practicing trial law. In other words, you need an attorney who is ready right from the start to take your case to court, because that is where your case will probably end up.

If it's difficult for you to maintain face-to-face communication with your spouse, then limit personal contact to the minimum. Use e-mails and messages to communicate as much as possible.

Realize that just because your spouse is being difficult doesn't mean that you have to be too. That means that you don't necessarily have to dispute every little point that is brought up. Compromise on some issues simply to end the matter, and if the issue isn't really that serious anyway. In other words, don't try to prolong the divorce, simply because he or she is doing so.

Longer Commutes Increase Divorce Risks

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Couples who have longer commutes to work are at a much higher risk of meeting with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer. According to new research by three scientists, couples who have at least a 45-minute one-way commute to work every day, are much more likely to find themselves in divorce court, compared to those who have shorter daily commutes.

The study, which was published recently in the British journal Urban Studies, monitored millions of Swedish citizens between 1995 and 2005. The researchers found that 11% of the couples that were monitored as part of the study had divorced by 2000. They also found that couples who divorced, were much more likely to commute long distances to go to work.

13% of the couples in which one or both of the spouses had at least a 45-minute commute to work every day, ended up divorcing. However, according to the analysis only 10% of the non-commuter couples had divorced.

The results of the study point to the effect of stress on the relationship. Couples, who have long 45-minute commutes to work every day, are probably more stressed, especially when both of the couples have such long-distance commutes to work every day.

Stress can kill any marriage. Very often, that stress may simply compound problems that already exist in the marriage, and the couple may have no other choice but to call it quits. If you are currently considering divorce, speak with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, who can advise you about your options for alimony, child custody arrangements, parenting time, and child support payments.

There are several issues that must be ironed out before you finalize the divorce papers. Divorce can be at testing time for you, and if you aren’t careful can seriously impact your rights over your assets, home or children.

New Hotel Promises to Remove the Stress of Divorce

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Divorce is a traumatic and stressful affair at the best of times. Even if yours is an amicable divorce, and you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on the best of terms you're still going to find it very stressful to deal with the fact that your marriage no longer exists. In New York, a team of enterprising entrepreneurs has announced the opening of a divorce hotel, which promises to help persons going through a divorce, get the process over with in the most stress-free manner possible.

For a price price tag of $5,000, couples who are going through a divorce can enjoy a weekend that comes complete with separate rooms, and a divorce mediation service. While you are finalizing custody arrangements, and parenting time schedules, you can also avail of the hotel facilities, including a number of swimming pools, a golf course and a spa.

According to the promoters of the hotel, a couple going through a divorce can check into the hotel over the weekend, and leave by the end of the weekend, feeling rested, refreshed and having sorted out all those prickly, divorce-related issues. By the time you walk out of the hotel, you will be single, although the judge will have to review the divorce papers that you signed.

According to the promoters of the hotel, there was definitely a need in the market to target people getting a divorce. That works out to approximately 50% of all married people in the country. Going by current statistics, close to half of all American marriages end in divorce. That means a lot of people, at any given time in the US, are either considering divorce, or in the process of divorce, and it is this category of persons that the promoters want to target. Although the concept is new in the United States, such hotels have operated and flourished for years in Europe.