Law Offices of John A. Guthrie
Free Initial Consultation 925-271-4342

Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

Jon and Kate Gosselin in reported custody dispute

California parents may be interested to learn that Jon and Kate Gosselin of the former TV show "Jon & Kate Plus 8" are reportedly involved in a custody dispute over one of the couple's 11-year-old daughters. Kate Gosselin has had primary custody of the couple's eight children for six years, and they appear with her on the TLC reality show "Kate Plus 8." Allegedly, one of the girl's claims is that her mother forces her to appear on the show. Jon Gosselin reports that he and his ex-wife do not have a good relationship.

However, experts say it may be difficult for him to prevail. Generally, a change in material circumstances is required, and the burden of proof of those circumstances will fall on Jon Gosselin as the noncustodial parent. Courts will consider the best interests of the child and weigh factors such as the child's relationship with parents and siblings.

Over 1,000 children are abducted and taken abroad each year

Parents in California likely prefer not to think about children being abducted by a parent and taken abroad, but U.S. Department of State figures reveal that this happens more than 1,000 times each year. The department attempts to help parents to secure the return of these children, but their efforts are only successful in about half of the cases that it becomes involved in.

One of the problems that the Office of Children's Issues runs into when it seeks to resolve international child custody disputes is a lack of cooperation on the part of the governments of some foreign countries. This is sometimes blamed on a fear of negative publicity or a concern over trade agreements. The issue has been addressed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and the United States is one of 93 nations that are signatories to the resulting treaty.

Lack of prenuptial agreement does not guarantee loss of assets

However, many couples anticipating marriage do not execute a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. However, an individual can protect his or her assets even without a prenuptial agreement.

In a community property state like California, the pre-marital assets of each spouse are not subject to property division upon divorce. Assets acquired during the marriage, other than gifts, are considered marital property, and each spouse is generally entitled to one-half of those assets at divorce. By keeping pre-marital funds in a separate account, there is no danger of commingling, which may raise questions down the road of when the funds were acquired. A spouse can protect pre-marital real estate by keeping it in his or her name and by using non-marital funds to maintain it. Using marital funds to maintain or improve pre-marital property can create a community property interest, possibly resulting in some part of the property being subject to division.

The tax consequences of property division in divorce

When California married couples decide to divorce, matters such as spousal support, asset division, and child support and custody are the main issues that they have to resolve. However, some of them overlook the impact that some of their decisions will have on their tax situations in the near and far futures. The division of property is a matter that could have a significant and lasting effect on tax liability.

The first fact that spouses need to understand is that the transfer of assets in a divorce is not a sale or income for either party that can be taxed. As long as the spouses show that the transfer is the result of divorce, they can transfer cash and property between each other tax free. There is also no gift tax as long as both of the spouses are U.S. citizens.

Children experience less stress when parents share custody

Children in California who go back and forth between their parents' houses may not be too stressed out by the arrangement, according to a new study. Researchers in Sweden, where 40 percent of divorced parents have joint-custody arrangements, say that children who regularly see both parents after a divorce report fewer psychosomatic health problems.

In the recent study, researchers from the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden, analyzed national data about children of married and divorced parents. During their research, authors of the study discovered that children who lived with only one parent had significantly more headaches, sleep problems, feelings of dizziness and other psychosomatic problems than children who went back and forth between two parents who were divorced. Children who lived with married parents had the least amount of these problems.

Determining child support amounts in California

In California, courts base the amount of determined child support on the parents' income. However, only certain monetary sources are considered as income.

The court takes the noncustodial parent's gross income into account when determining how much child support should be paid. Gross income includes all work-related income, including earnings from self-employment, severance, contracts, commissions, annuities, pensions, dividend payments, investments and fringe benefits. Government benefits such as Social Security, Veterans' and other military-based payments are also considered income by the state. Supplemental benefits such as workers' compensation, disability or unemployment qualify as income as well.

Problem of domestic violence

Although many California residents are aware of the problem of domestic violence, they may not know how prevalent it is, both in the state as well as across the nation. The problem impacts millions of people in the United States every year, and domestic violence victims include both women and men.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million men and women suffer abuse every year. Statistics show that 20 people are abused by their partners every single minute. Approximately one-third of all women and one-quarter of all men will suffer such abuse at some point during their lives.

12-year-old California boy abducted by his mother

According to authorities, a 12-year-old boy was abducted by his mother in Anaheim Hills. The victim's father reportedly has custody of the child, with the mother being granted supervised visits.

The boy's mother reportedly went to the supervised visit on April 6, assaulting the visitation monitor before snatching the boy and fleeing. Police reported that the woman's vehicle was found at LAX. They apparently learned that the woman and the 12-year-old boy had boarded a flight bound for Chicago.

Business ownership and divorce in California

If you are a business owner and are preparing to divorce, protecting your business interests may be of preeminent concern. Your business may be considered to be the community property of you and your estranged spouse, and if it is not handled correctly, your continued ownership could be in jeopardy.

You will need to have your business assets valued. In order to determine the worth of the assets, you may need to employ forensic accountants who specialize in business valuations and the determination of the portion of assets that are community property. You will also need to be able to prepare projections of your business's expected future profits.

Collecting unpaid child support from payor's Social Security

Sometimes, a parent who is ordered to pay child support does not make the payments, whether it is because they are having trouble coming up with the money or they are simply refusing to pay. No matter the reason, California parents who are not receiving the payments could collect from the payor's Social Security benefits.

Whether a parent can collect back payments is based on the type of Social Security benefits the payor is receiving. For example, Supplemental Security Income is a welfare benefit, not an earned benefit such as survivor, retirement or disability benefits. The federal government, therefore, does not permit the garnishment of child support payments from SSI.