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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

Making a child support agreement

When California parents of young children get a divorce, one will in most cases be required to pay child support to the other. There are a few ways in which child support may be decided. The parents might negotiate with one another, often with the help of their respective attorneys, and reach an agreement. There may be a more formal process of alternative dispute resolution that still takes place outside of court. In cases where the divorce is contested, the judge presiding over the trial will make the determination.

Issues that must be addressed include how often payments will be made, what the amount will be and how long child support will continue. Parents might conduct this negotiation entirely through their attorneys. Both mediation and collaborative divorces fall under the umbrella of alternative dispute resolutions, and these tend to take a more cooperative stance compared to the more adversarial experience of litigation. Arbitration is another option although it is not very common in family law disputes.

How to organize finances and prepare for a divorce

California couples who are considering divorce may wonder how they can prepare their finances. They may be getting advice from family and friends, but if that advice comes from other situations, it may not apply to them. It may be better to consult professionals, such as an attorney or a certified divorce financial analyst, rather than relying on the experiences of others.

People should begin keeping track of expenses so they can make a budget and also start to get a sense of how property may be divided. They should gather financial documents including tax returns, retirement account and credit card statements, information on loans and pay stubs. Later, if one spouse becomes reluctant to share financial information, this documentation may be valuable. However, people should be aware that if a couple shares accounts and requests information about those accounts, the request could be shared with the other person.

Your business: 3 tips for a smooth division during divorce

You and your spouse built up your business from nothing. The business and the hard work you put in has worked out, but your marriage isn't in a good place. You both believe a divorce is the right answer, but you need to make sure your business is assessed fairly and divided in the correct manner.

Dividing a business can be hard, but if you're willing to consider different options, you may find exactly what works for your situation. Whether you keep your business open or close it, there are ways you can divide it fairly during divorce.

Options for sharing child custody

California parents who are getting a divorce might wonder what type of custody arrangement would suit them and their children. There is a growing trend toward joint custody as recognition grows that children benefit from building relationships with both parents. However, joint custody can create instability for children as they have to move back and forth between their parents' homes. In some cases, a solution to that is an arrangement called "nesting".

Here, it is the parents and not the children who move between homes. The children remain in the family home while parents alternate staying there. One couple who chose nesting but could not afford to buy a second home rented a small apartment nearby that they took turns living in when not staying with the children. This arrangement lasted 18 months until one parent found another partner. The parents said they felt the nesting period had helped their children feel a sense of stability. It had also helped the parents understand some of the emotional and logistical difficulties their children would face in moving between residences when they switched to a traditional joint custody arrangement.

"The Talk" co-host will pay ex-husband $2 million

There are some California assets that are being divided in the divorce between the co-host of the TV show "The Talk," Aisha Tyler, and her husband of more than 20 years, Jeff Tietjens. However, rather than have the decision be made by a judge, the estranged couple was able to come to an accord in an amicable fashion.

The couple do not have children together. Tietjens is an attorney and was the party who initially filed for divorce.

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.