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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

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.

Past due child support rarely goes away

In California, noncustodial parents are generally required to make child support payments until a child turns 18. In some cases, support payments continue until a child is 19 if he or she is not yet out of high school. However, if a parent owes back child support, he or she is still required to make those payments regardless of how old that child is.

When a parent is behind on child support, he or she is said to be in arrears. The penalties for being in arrears include the loss of a passport or a driver's license. Other possible penalties include wage garnishment, having a tax refund seized or spending time in jail. Enforcement actions may still take place after a child turns 18, and a parent may not file for bankruptcy in an effort to have the debt discharged.

Avoiding troubles during child custody exchanges

Readers from California may be interested in learning more about what can be done to facilitate a smooth transfer during child custody exchanges. Many difficulties can arise during the exchange process due to lingering animosities amid the parties involved. Although it's usually possible to work through them, some cases may require more detailed attention.

The child custody exchange process is often decided during the divorce itself. One of the purposes of visitation schedules is to determine the nature of physical custody, such as resolving where and how the child will pass from one parent to the other. However, agreeing to a satisfactory exchange process can be challenging in situations where the parties involved find it difficult to communicate with each another. Moreover, the exchange process itself can be emotionally charged, and there can be unwelcome repercussions if things ever turn hostile.

The benefits of co-parenting and parenting plans

The primary concern of divorcing parents in California and around the country generally is the welfare of the children involved is. Even spouses embroiled in acrimonious disputes are often able to put their differences aside during child custody and visitation discussions. When spouses accept that their former husbands or wives generally act with the best of intentions as far as their children are concerned, minor misunderstandings or questionable decisions can be less frustrating and easier to forgive.

Most experts agree that co-parenting solutions work best and bitter child custody disputes should be avoided whenever possible. As a rule, children raised in a co-parenting environment have less emotional problems because they know that both of their parents care about them and both lay down similar rules and have similar expectations. Seeing their divorced parents acting rationally and responsibly also sets a good example.

Protecting your small business in divorce starts yesterday

Divorce is rarely a simple matter. For those who have built a business from the ground up, the prospect of ending a marriage takes on a much greater weight than it does for those who are merely ending a marriage.

Depending on the measures you took ahead of time to protect your business venture and when you founded the business in relation to your marriage, a poorly handled or vicious divorce could spell disaster. It could mean watching the business you've worked so hard to build get cannibalized like any other asset that is subject to asset division in a divorce.

Community property laws in California can be unforgiving

The community property laws in California require family law judges to divide marital assets equally even if the couple involved have only been married for a short time or come from very different economic backgrounds. This is one of the reasons that prenuptial agreements are so popular there, and worries about the outcome of costly and public litigation may prompt affluent California couples to make every effort to reach an amicable settlement during property division negotiations.

Going to court can be especially risky for divorcing couples when significant assets are involved, and spouses with high incomes may offer to pay substantial alimony in return for concessions during property division talks. These negotiations generally focus on tangible items like real estate, jewelry and artwork, but assets like retirement plans, investment portfolios and stock options can be just as valuable and should not be overlooked.

Child support regulations revamped for incarcerated parents

California parents may be interested to learn that, on Dec. 19, the Obama administration issued rules that were designed to assist prisoners with child support while they were incarcerated. It is hoped that the rules will make it easier for inmates to reenter society once they have finished serving their sentence.

A study of 51,000 federal inmates in 2010 showed that approximately 29,000 of them were behind on their child support payments. The average amount that the inmates owed was approximately $24,000. The problem is that many states treat incarceration as "voluntary unemployment". This prevents incarcerated individuals from being unable to modify their child support orders while they are unable to work and earn an income.