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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

Problems that arise around child custody

California parents who are divorcing should keep the well-being of their children in mind. As they work out custody and visitation, a number of problems can arise. One is that parents may struggle to set aside conflicts. Unfortunately, not being able to work with the other parent can result in an inability to establish a functional coparenting relationship. One parent may begin to ignore custody, visitation and support agreements, and it might be necessary to return to court.

Another issue is that one parent may let the other child down by not turning up for visitation. This can be confusing and upsetting for children because consistency is important to them in a time of such turmoil. Parents need to balance the demands of their own schedules with time for their children.

Costs of divorce can quickly add up

California couples who have been through one know divorces aren't cheap. Not only are the emotional costs high, but so are the financial costs. The average divorce can cost $15,000 to $20,000 in legal and other professional costs alone, and when it is bitterly contested it can cost quite a bit more.

When they're contemplating a divorce, many people do not consider the costs of starting over, of setting up a new household. Those who are moving out of their family homes may be able to negotiate a property division that includes some furnishings and household goods. If not, they are going to have to buy it to set up their new household. Buying everything at once is a lot more expensive than buying a few things at a time over the life of a marriage. Plus, a divorced person will need money for other costs, such as mortgage payments or rent and child care.

What to know about the divorce process

The end of a marriage can be a source of both emotional and financial stress for many California couples. One of the first steps to take is filling out an asset inventory sheet. This will help each side get a full picture of what assets the couple has and how much they are worth. Getting on the same page regarding assets and valuations may lead to a timelier resolution of the divorce itself.

Completing the divorce process as quickly as possible can save money and possibly preserve relationships. If a couple had a primary residence, it may be worthwhile to sell that property immediately following the divorce. An alternate solution is to have just one person on the mortgage, ideally the person who is living in the home. This ensures that the resident doesn't experience negative consequences if the other fails to make mortgage payments.

The importance of child support

For single or divorced parents, child support can be critical to their financial independence. However, there are many issues to consider when paying or receiving support. For instance, a father may not be required to financially support a child until paternity is established. After that has been done, both parents are required by California law to support the child.

There are many consequences for those who fail to pay their child support. In some cases, penalties may include jail time in addition to paying interest on the amount owed. Wages may be garnished or tax refunds garnished to pay back support. It is also possible to have professional licenses suspended until the past due amount is repaid.

How your spouse might be hiding money in your divorce

For couples going through a divorce, dividing the marital property is one of the most difficult things that they will have to do. Under California law, each spouse is entitled to half of the assets they accumulated during the marriage.

Some spouses may be reluctant to reveal the extent of their finances. They look for ways to deceive the court and subject less of their assets to the divorce process. This post discusses some of the tricks that they may use, and what you can do to prevent this from happening to you. 

Can brainwashing influence child custody cases?

Although a California judge might find child abuse allegations to be quite serious during a custody hearing, this issue can have unexpected results in the context of a messy divorce. Contentious behavior on the part of one or both spouses may be common in proceedings that are handled through litigation, but when allegations bring child abuse into consideration, the accusing parent could see this action backfiring.

Statistics from a study of 240 cases in which parental alienation was a consideration showed that in 80 percent of the situations, the accusing parent lost part or all of their physical custody rights. Parental alienation is the idea that a parent can negatively influence their child's view of the other parent through brainwashing. While there are medical experts that doubt that this is truly a mental disorder, the view of a judge is what matters when custody and visitation decisions are made.

What you should know if your divorce ends up going to court

At our firm, we have a lot of people who come to us looking for assistance with their divorce. While the great majority of these cases are resolved prior to trial, there are instances where it is necessary to head inside the courtroom.

In situations where a trial or hearing will happen, we often will spend time with our clients to prepare them for going to court. We wanted to take a few moments to discuss some of those things with you now, so that you understand more about the divorce process. The more you know, the easier it will be for you as you go through your divorce. 

Custody issues in California

There is a perception that the legal system seems to be slanted towards mothers when dealing with child custody issues. Divorced fathers often face an uphill battle when it comes to seeing their children or making choices related to their upbringing. Many court systems feel that it is important that children stay with their mother, and fathers are often painted as deadbeats or abusive to ensure that the mother is granted custody.

While there are certainly situations where fathers don't care about their children's welfare, many good fathers are kept away from their children by overly controlling mothers. Even if parents are granted joint legal custody, where decisions about a child's life are supposed to be made by both parents, a father may find himself not being told about school events and doctor's appointments.

Man ordered to pay support for estranged wife's child

People in California may be surprised to learn that a man is facing having to pay child support for a 1-year-old child he did not father by a spouse he has not seen since 1999. The man, who lives in Iowa, received a letter and immediately phoned the Child Support Recovery Unit to explain the mistake. However, since he never divorced his wife, he is responsible for the child support. Under state law, a woman's husband is considered the father of any children she may have.

The man said that he offered to take a paternity test, but he was told it would not matter. He is trying to raise money to hire a lawyer in order to get divorced and de-establish paternity.

The effect on children of prolonging a divorce

Some California parents who consider ending their marriage end up prolonging the ultimate decision. While this may make sense in some situations, especially if one or both parties need time to think things through, it can have a detrimental impact on their children.

Taking the time to think about whether or not a divorce is really what a person wants is important. However, once the decision is made and the parents separate, it may be a good idea to go ahead and file the petition rather than letting months or even years pass by.