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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

Child support and TANF payments

For some California parents who pay or receive child support, the funds may move through the state's disbursement unit. The SDU is responsible for child support payments that are done through income withholding from a parent's employer. The responsibilities of the SDU are to receive and identify the payments and to disburse them to parents within two days of receipt. The exception to this two-day rule is if there are arrears that are in dispute.

If the family receiving child support also receives Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the state has the option of reimbursing itself and the federal government for the TANF payments out of the child support payment. However, studies have shown that a pass-through of TANF has a number of benefits for families including reducing the likelihood of fathers participating in the underground economy, more child support paid, more financial security for families receiving TANF, and a smoother transition from welfare to work.

When one parent is accused of substance abuse

California estranged parents of young children may be concerned if they believe that the other parent is abusing alcohol or drugs. If this happens during a custody dispute, the parent may want to bring it to the judge's attention at the custody hearing. The court's standard for making a custody decision is the best interests of the child, so the judge will consider how the substance abuse affects the parent's ability to care for the child.

In other cases, a parent might discover the substance abuse after a custody and visitation order has been issued by the court. A parent might deny the other parent visitation rights or take out a restraining order if they are concerned about the child's safety.

Prohibiting contact with a child after a divorce

When going through a divorce, one California parent may gain primary or sole physical custody of a child or children. While the children will not physically be with the other parent, modern technology makes it easier for a noncustodial parent to stay in touch. Some custodial parents may not want to allow virtual correspondence, however, and this can become awkward.

While not a replacement for face to face time, courts typically like calls, texts, video messaging and anything else that allows noncustodial parents to foster a relationship with their children despite distance. Some courts even award virtual visitation in cases where parents live too far away for regular contact.

Former teen bride celebrates separation with divorce party

Most people are highly critical of spring-autumn marriages, wondering about the motives of both parties involved. It should come as little surprise then that young Courtney Stodden and her mother both received a lot of negative press when Courtney married. She was only 16 years old, but her mother signed off on her marriage to her then 50-year-old husband, Doug Hutchinson.

Now, only six years later, the pair have filed for divorce after several close calls in the past. This time, it appears that the separation will last, though the two are trying to maintain a friendship throughout the divorce.

Rapper Flo Rida sued for child support for the second time

Hip-hop fans in California likely know Tramar Lancel Dillard better by his stage name Flo Rida, and they may be aware that the 37-year-old rapper and songwriter became embroiled in a paternity and child custody dispute with a woman in September 2014. The woman sued Dillard claiming that he had made her pregnant and urged her to get an abortion, and a court-ordered paternity test subsequently proved him to be the father.

Celebrity gossip websites became interested in Dillard again on April 20 when a woman made similar allegations in court papers filed in New York. The woman says that she became pregnant after becoming involved in an affair with Dillard in December 2015 and gave birth to a baby boy in September 2016. As with the earlier case, a paternity test has proved that the rapper is the child's father according to reports.

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.