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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

Domestic violence and California restraining orders

Domestic violence is an all-too-real problem for many men and women in California. In many cases, the domestic violence victim may be afraid to leave as they have very real concerns about suffering violence at the hands of their partner. In such cases, obtaining a restraining order against the other person can be a vitally important step to obtain protection.

Domestic violence restraining orders are available to people who have been abused by a current or former partner, not including a roommate, but only people with whom the relationship is or has been intimate. These types of restraining orders are also available to people who have other types of close familial relationships with the abuser, such as parent, child or grandparent.

Divorcing California couples and parenting plans

When California couples with children get divorced, they should have a parenting plan in place that will make their split easier on the kids. This plan should reflect what is in the best interests of the child, not just what is convenient for the parents.

Also known as a custody and visitation agreement, a parenting plan spells out how parents will make decisions about their child's welfare and how the time the child spends with each parent will be divided. It is easier on children when parents are in agreement in these areas, rather than fighting over custody, visitation and decision making.

Divorce and inheritance for California residents

In divorce proceedings in California, the question of what to do with inherited funds may come up. If one spouse's family member leaves assets to that party and if the other spouse was not specifically mentioned, does he or she still retain exclusive rights to those assets? Are they considered a jointly shared item to be split according to the divorce agreement? The answer largely depends on the details of how the assets are held.

By law, inheritance is not considered marital property in high-asset divorce. An inheritance is considered property belonging to whomever received it and may not be divided between parties. However, an inheritance has to be stored or used in some type of account or vehicle. If the account in which an inheritance is stored is a shared or joint bank account, this immunity from marital property is no longer in effect. This is known as "comingling of the inheritance."

High-asset California divorces

Some divorces in California are referred to as high-asset divorces. This term refers to marriages in which a significant amount of assets, property or business interests accumulated. When you are going through a high-asset divorce, determining the appropriate equitable property division in order to protect your interests may be extremely difficult for you.

When you are in a situation in which you are uncertain where all of the assets and accounts are located, it is possible you may need help from a forensic accountant. Such accountants are used by high-asset divorce law firms such as ours in order to locate hidden assets and accounts. You might thus be able to locate offshore accounts, insurance policies, hidden income streams and property interests that your spouse may be attempting to hide from you.

Child custody modifications in California

After a court has issued a child custody order, either one or both parties are able to seek a change to it by filing a motion to modify the order with the court that has jurisdiction over the case. Many situations can occur that necessitate the filing of such a motion.

A motion to modify child custody may be a stipulated one in the event both parents are in agreement, or it may be filed by one parent even if the request is contested by the other. People may need to file for such a change in such circumstances as when a party is required to relocate due to employment, the child's primary residence has substantially changed or when one parent's activities are presenting a situation that is contrary to the child's best interests.

Dealing with domestic violence issues in California

Allegations of domestic violence are serious, and regardless of whether a couple is engaged in the divorce process, these allegations may have a significant legal impact. Working with a lawyer who has an understanding of domestic abuse issues may be helpful in dealing with your situation.

Spouses who are concerned about domestic violence issues leading up to a divorce may want to discuss their concerns in depth with an attorney. It may be crucial to ensure that a strategy is in place for protecting abuse victims, both spouses and children. If a history of domestic violence exists, the lawyer may gather documentation and other materials necessary for obtaining a restraining order. Additionally, these documents and materials might be proffered when seeking to obtain child custody. For, state law emphasizes that a child should not be placed in the custody of an abusive parent, making domestic violence an important factor for custody decisions during a divorce.

Modifying a child support order

Sometimes, California parents who are either receiving child support or are under an order to pay it have significant increases or decreases in their incomes through no fault of their own. In such situations, it is possible for either party to file a motion to modify a previously-issued child support order to procure a corresponding increase or decrease in the ordered monthly amount.

There are certain procedural steps a parent who wishes to request a child support modification must follow. It is important to understand that until and unless the court grants the modification request, the ordered parent needs to continue complying with the existing order. Even if it is financially difficult, the parent should not cease to make his or her payment while the modification request is pending.

Property division in California

California spouses may benefit from learning more about the laws governing property division in the state. Divorcing spouses should be aware that until a judge approves an agreement and provides a final order, all assets and debt will remain community property, regardless of any mutual agreements that have already been made. Spouses are advised to split property, assets and debts as fairly as possible.

Some spouses are advised to use debt to balance out against those receiving more of the property. For many, the focal point of property division is to reach shares that are relatively equal for all parties involved. In order to achieve a comprehensive and equal division of assets, spouses should identify and list everything the couple owns, including both community property and separate property. Divorcing and separating couples are typically required to complete such a list when submitting the Schedule of Assets and Debts form.

California child custody and the child's true wishes

People who go through child custody disputes each year in California often have questions about how the courts make custody decisions and whether or not their child will have input. Like most other states, California law, while allowing judges to consider a child's true wishes, puts a minimum age requirement in the statute before the child's wishes are given much weight.

Children who are 14 years old or older do have a say in where they would prefer to live in custody cases. Judges may also take into account the preferences of children who are younger than 14 if they are sufficiently mature and informed enough to express their preference.

What types of restraining orders are there?

When a person in California, whether male or female, has been a victim of domestic violence, one of the initial steps that can be taken in order to gain some protection from their abuser is to get a restraining order from the courts. There are several different types of restraining orders that a victim is able to get.

When a person has been abused or threatened by another, they are able to obtain a domestic violence restraining order if they are a close family member of the abuser or if they have lived together in the past while in an intimate relationship with the abuser. People in other types of relationships, such as roommates or neighbors, can seek a civil restraining order instead if warranted.