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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

Child custody and visitation in California

Parents in California who are divorcing will also have to decide on issues surrounding custody, visitation and support. These issues may be complex and may be agreed upon by both parents or decided by the court if they cannot agree.

There are two kinds of child custody. Legal custody deals with making important decisions for the child relating to school, religion and health care among other matters. Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will live.

Child custody and parenting plans in California

When two California residents have a child together before deciding that they no longer want to be together, it must be determined where that child will live and who will make the decisions regarding the child's upbringing. If both parents decide to be a part of the child's life, they will need to reach an agreement called a parenting plan.

Requesting child custody can be a lengthy process. First, the proper forms requesting custody must be filled out. Once the forms are reviewed by an attorney or the family law facilitator for accuracy, they can be submitted to the court clerk. It is always recommended that the petitioner keep a copy of the request for themselves. Next, the court will schedule a mediation or court date. Once the date is set, a third party must serve the other person at least 16 days before the date and file a proof of service. It is then up to both parties to attend the court date.

How do I get a restraining order in California?

California residents who fear for their safety may be eligible to seek a restraining order. A restraining order legally protects an individual from unwanted contact, harassment and other forms of physical or emotional abuse.

Once it has been determined that the person is eligible to file a restraining order, there are five steps. The first step is to fill out the order form. If the person also wants to request that their children be protected, they will need to file a request for child custody and visitation. Once the form has been reviewed, the next step is to actually file the forms with the court. These forms are dropped off with the clerk. If the judge grants the order, the person who filed will need to pick up the paperwork and distribute them to those who are protected by the order and to any security officers in his or her workplace. If the temporary order is not granted, the person can request the order at the court hearing.

Man flees scene of domestic violence incident in California

A man wanted for a domestic violence complaint managed to escape from his home in Prunedale during a police standoff on July 30. Police officers were called to the scene of the alleged domestic violence incident on Crazy Horse Canyon Road shortly after 4:50 a.m. The man's wife had apparently dialed 911 after the 51-year-old man fired a shotgun into the air during a verbal and physical altercation.

While Monterey County sheriff's deputies surrounded the man's home, California Highway Patrol officers shut down the Crazy Horse Canyon Road exit on Highway 101. Over the next six hours, deputies held a standoff in which they attempted to convince the man to surrender himself.

The changing views on domestic violence

Domestic violence has been a concern for generations, and the first recorded mention of it in what would become the United States actually dates back to 1641. In that year, the Puritans took the step of passing a law that banned husbands from beating their wives unless the wife was the aggressor and the husband was defending himself. The Plymouth Plantation settlers took it a step further 30 years later by decreeing that a man who subjected his wife to physical abuse could be penalized with a fine or even public whipping. However, these two societies were the exception in early America.

In another well-known case, a woman in North Carolina requested a divorce in the mid-1800s. She cited physical, verbal and emotional abuse as her basis, and the lower court awarded her the divorce and alimony. The decision was overturned on appeal when the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the husband had the right to use whatever power and force necessary to get his wife to 'know her place."

California parents not paying child support could get busted

Social media has become a useful tool in finding those noncustodial parents who can afford to pay child support but choose not to do so. An assistant district attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is working toward bringing charges against these parents. At least three individuals who bragged about their finances when they were overdue in paying child support are facing charges.

The father of one 3-year-old boy who is battling leukemia has only paid $189 in child support during the child's life, but the man supposedly posted comments on Facebook boasting about his hefty income. Another parent who was ordered to pay $100 a month in child support made the payment once, but he was discovered in a Facebook photo with his hands full of cash. A third person who allegedly failed to pay child support is believed to have purchased a music studio, and one mother chose to get a nose job instead of making payments.

California divorces and how to split the home

Since California is a community property state, one of the biggest complications when dividing assets can be determining what to do with the house. The only way to divide a house equally is to sell it and split the proceeds, but for many people this is not a workable solution because they want to remain in residence. Although more complicated, having one spouse move out and the other keep the house can work in some divorce cases and still allow for an equitable division of marital property, but there are steps people should take to protect their financial interests.

When couples in Oakland and Alameda divorce, any jointly owned debt does not uncouple along with the marriage. This means that if both peoples' names are on a loan, like a mortgage, then each of their credit reports will suffer if they miss a payment or default on the loan. If one person takes ownership of the house, that person should take sole responsibility for the mortgage. The only way to achieve this is to refinance.

Property division during divorce in California

Ending a marriage can be a stressful and difficult process, and there has been significant growth in divorces among adults over 50. According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the divorce rate for this age bracket doubled between 1990 and 2010. Older individuals are much more likely to have retirement accounts, and many people do not realize that they are entitled to a share of those assets in a divorce. In California, retirement accounts are considered community property as outlined in sections 760 and 771 of the state's Family Code.

Rather than focusing on material possessions like homes, jewelry and cars, it may be more prudent for someone going through a divorce to claim a share of his or her spouse's retirement benefits. Generally, retirement assets that qualify as marital property can be divided in a divorce agreement. If, however, a spouse enters the marriage with money already in a 401(k), those funds are considered separate property.

Former Dodgers' owner wins in divorce case

Two years after the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold for $2 billion, the former owner's divorce case is nearing completion. The high-asset divorce centered around the ownership interest of the team.

The ex-wife walked away from the divorce with $131 million. She also left with several luxury properties after their nearly three-decade marriage came to an end. The divorce settlement was entered into in 2012, and it included a provision that stated that if either spouse contested the settlement, he or she would be required to pay the legal fees necessary to defend the settlement. The husband later sold the team in 2012 for $2 billion. The wife brought forth a lawsuit claiming that the husband had undervalued the value of the team in their divorce case to shortchange her of her fair share.

Revamped child support for Marc Anthony and Dayanara Torres

California celebrity followers may be interested in the outcome of the child support battle between singer Marc Anthony and former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres. Torres had asked for a nearly $100,000 a month increase in Anthony's child support payments for their two sons, but what she got was much less, although it is double what Anthony was paying previously.

Torres' lawyer contended that Anthony, who had been paying $13,400 a month in child support, should be paying an amount based on his income and expenses. State calculations, according to the lawyer, put the amount in the range of $80,000 to $125,000. The lawyer and Torres asked for $113,000. Anthony's lawyer offered an increase to $28,000, plus a hike in the travel budget for the children to $30,000 a year.

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