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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

When a child custody order may be modified

When California parents first separate, the court may finalize a custody arrangement that benefits the child. Over time, however, the child custody arrangement may no longer work, especially if one parent wants to move or remarry. Although the court generally will not alter a child custody arrangement, there are very specific cases where a modification may be granted.

A court may consider a child custody modification if there is evidence that the child is in immediate danger if they remain in their current household. For example, if the noncustodial parent has evidence of domestic violence occurring in the other home or that the other parent can suddenly no longer provide proper care for the child, the custody order could be modified. Furthermore, the arrangement may also be modified if the other parent refuses to cooperate with the visitation schedule and continuously withholds the child from the other parent.

Child support payments after a child is emancipated

In most cases, a California noncustodial parent is required to pay child support until a child reaches the age of majority, which generally is 18. However, there are some situations where a child may decide to become emancipated, which means that they no longer require the support of their parents, and children may become emancipated as early as age 14 in some cases.

Some of the most common causes of a child to become emancipated before the age of majority include joining the military, getting married, becoming economically independent or abandoning the parental home. However, as long as a child is still in the care of a parent or parents, he or she cannot become emancipated.

How child support is affected if a parent becomes disabled

If a California parent relies on child support to help pay for a child's shelter, education and medical costs, it can be a cause for concern if the noncustodial parent who is required to pay child support suddenly becomes disabled. However, parents should be aware that, generally, a disability should not prevent a parent from paying some, if not all, of the child support that they were court-ordered to pay.

The obligation to pay child support does not go away if a parent becomes disabled. If disabled parents suddenly cannot afford the child support payments, they must go to court and request that the child support order be modified to reflect their new financial status. If they are receiving disability insurance benefits, it is likely that some of those benefits will go towards paying the child support that is owed. In fact, if the parent is in arrears, the court can potentially even garnish the benefits to pay some of the back child support.

How does a forensic accountant help in high asset divorce?

Divorce is complicated and frustrating under the best of circumstances. If you and your former spouse are having difficulty agreeing to a fair division of assets or custody arrangements, it can be a very difficult process.

The greater your overall assets, the more likely it is that your former spouse could try to hide assets. Doing so is a way to create an uneven and unfair split when the divorce is finalized. After all, the courts can only rule on assets they are aware of at the time.

Divorce court lacks authority over bankruptcy

California residents who are concerned about how bankruptcy may affect their divorce settlement may be interested to learn of a March bankruptcy court ruling. According to a federal bankruptcy judge, a divorce court does not have the authority to determine which obligations can survive bankruptcy.

In the case, an ex-husband filed for Chpater 13 bankruptcy shortly after his divorce became final. Chapter 13 bankruptcy permits debtors who are receiving regular income to obtain debt relief and retain their property. A debtor is required to submit a three-to-five year payment plan that details how future income will be applied to the obligations. Once all of the payments are made, most of the remaining unsecured debts will be discharged. However, only certain types of debts can be discharged by this type of bankruptcy. While support obligations related to a divorce cannot be discharged, the property settlements that are separate from support obligations can.

Stopping child support payments

Parents in California are responsible for ensuring that their children receive the financial support they are entitled to until they reach the age of majority. However, in situations in which there is a child support order in place, the receiving parent may request that the child support payments stop.

Circumstances in which parents may want to stop receiving child support payments can include instances in which the parents have gotten back together, eliminating the need for one parent to have to continue to make payments. If the financial situation of the parent who is receiving payment has improved, such as with new employment or a substantial inheritance, he or she may petition to have the payments stopped. There may also be a desire by the receiving parent to have the payments stopped if the other parent is experiencing financial difficulty.

Dean McDermott threatened with jail time in child support case

In a California courtroom on March 9, entertainer Dean McDermott, the husband of actress Tori Spelling, was read his Miranda rights and threatened with jail time. McDermott was taken to court by his ex-wife, Mary Jo Eustace, with whom he has an 18-year-old son.

McDermott, who had not paid child support since October, said he had been struggling recently. He was facing one count of contempt of court for each month of a missed support payment for a total of eight counts. The judge gave the two an opportunity to negotiate but said that if McDermott did not pay half of what he owed by March 13, he would be sent to jail. Reportedly, McDermott owes thousands of dollars.

Focusing on children during divorces

Many California couples whose marriages are ending are concerned about how their children will deal with it, but they're not sure how to make the process easier for their kids. Studies have shown that divorces can have lasting emotional effects on kids, but there are several ways that people can make the process smoother for kids. The parents should provide as much stability as possible for their children, and above all they should refrain from arguing in front of them.

One of the many issues that will be determined during a divorce is when the non-custodial parent will have visitation with children. However, until the process is complete, it may be up in the air which parent has custody, and a visitation plan is just as unknown. Until these matters are decided, putting in a temporary visitation plan will allow kids to know when they'll be with which of their parents.

3 considerations for women in high asset divorces

Once your husband files for divorce, you must take steps to protect yourself. This doesn't mean in the physical sense. Instead, you have to ensure that you protect your financial future. The property division settlement is the way that you do this. If you are going through mediation, you and your ex work together to determine the settlement. If this isn't possible, the court determines how to handle the division. In either case, knowing what to expect and what to consider can help you to remain as stress free as possible.

Fathers who pay more child support spend more time with children

California children whose fathers are behind in child support payments may also spend less time with those fathers according to research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The study looked at nearly 5,000 families over nine years and based its findings on how much child support the child was receiving and how much contact the child had with their father at the age of nine. More than 1,000 noncustodial fathers were included in the study.

Fathers spending less time with their child also tended to mean they give less in-kind assistance such as toys and clothes and less time doing regular activities together like homework. Fathers who fell behind in child support were more likely to have been incarcerated and had lower education levels than fathers who were not behind. They were also more likely to have children by multiple partners. Researchers found a link between regularity of support payments and the father's mental health, hours worked and relationship with the child's mother.