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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

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.

Divorce and the family business

When California couples divorce, if they also own a business together and do not have a prenuptial agreement in place that deals with it, they will have to decide how to divide it. While one person might want to buy the other out, this could be difficult if that individual's money is largely invested in the business itself. In this situation, it may be possible to get a bank loan or to sign a property settlement note that allows the individual to pay the other person back over time with interest.

Another option is that the two can sell the business. Both this and the buyout option require a valuation of the business, and this could be time-consuming. Furthermore, the business may not sell immediately. Therefore, even though this may be an option individuals choose because they would like to put an end to any financial ties, it could actually take much longer than desired.

When a third-party trust is considered shared property

Since California is a community property state, most assets acquired during marriage are considered marital property to be divided in the case of a divorce. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, including inheritances. To maintain an inheritance as separate, the beneficiary should not commingle that money with jointly owned assets.

If the inheritance is set up as a third party trust, it might be considered a marital asset. Therefore, unless the people who created the trust were specific about its uses, the beneficiary's former spouse could be entitled to half of the trust assets. This works two ways. A third party trust can also be created to support both people in a marriage. An example of this might be if parents have a child who is ill or has substance abuse issues. The parents may have a good relationship with the child's spouse, and they might want to ensure that this individual is also taken care of if the marriage dissolves.

Trump leaves Obama's child support changes untouched

Some California parents may be pleased to learn that the Trump administration has not yet interfered with an executive order by Barack Obama that changed the way some states collect child support payments from parents who are imprisoned. The new rule took effect on Jan. 19.

Before Obama's executive order, 14 states did not allow parents to modify payment plans when they were sent to jail, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This condemned many parents to a pile of debt from which they could not recover. The new rule requires states to formulate payment plans that match a parent's actual income, which could help prevent them from becoming trapped in a cycle of poverty. The Obama administration took two years to draft the final rule, and it was hailed by the National Child Support Enforcement Association.

High-asset divorce on the way? Invest in your future now

If you have been fortunate enough to acquire significant assets, then you know that more money can indeed mean more problems. This is exceptionally true when it comes to divorce. While couples who do not have much of an estate may be able to call it quits with relative ease, significant potential marital property makes the process exponentially more difficult.

In part, this is because the law requires a fair division of assets, in some form or another. Even in an ideal scenario where both parties would like to go their own ways, a court must still approve a divorce settlement.

Developing a housing budget after divorce

Emotional issues often drive people's decision to end a marriage, but the divorce process entails many important financial considerations. Once a couple splits, each party must establish a new household with a single income, which could be difficult in many housing markets in California.

Financial advisers recommend that people set emotions aside when making choices about housing. Although keeping a home in a divorce might tempt some people, moving out could present the better option. A new place to live might provide a fresh start in life and save money. The mortgage, taxes, and insurance on the home bought during a marriage could strain a single-income budget too much for comfort.