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August 2015 Archives

Courts unsure how to treat frozen embryos after a divorce

Some couples in California choose to freeze embryos so that they can still have biological children of their own even after one spouse becomes infertile. When the couple divorces before the frozen embryos are used, there are a lot of questions about what the parties can do with them. Courts have long struggled with these issues, and it is still unclear whether frozen embryos should be subject to property division or child custody laws in a divorce.

Child support and jurisdiction issues

California noncustodial parents who have been ordered to pay child support will often later have a change in their finances that makes it difficult for them to afford the amount they were ordered to pay each month. When the change is a substantial one, courts may modify the amount that was ordered to a lower one.

The importance of divorce disability insurance coverage

A California divorce decree may have to be revised if an individual obligated to pay child support or alimony becomes disabled and unable to continue to make the required payments. Both parties to the divorce agreement can be affected negatively by a disabling disease or injury because of the impact on the injured party's income. Without a modification to the terms of the divorce, the injured party could fall behind and face legal consequences, while the other party would suffer financially due to the lack of funds. Planning for this possibility with special insurance policies could save both parties from such difficulties.

Claiming Social Security benefits from spouse's earnings

Individuals in California whose spouses have paid into Social Security may be entitled to collect benefits based on those earnings, even if they are divorced. However, in order to collect these benefits, the individual must meet several important requirements, including how long the couple was married and how much he or she currently earns. The younger the individual and the higher his or her earnings, the less likely it is that a Social Security benefit will pay in the short term.

Court rules it has no jurisdiction in actress's custody dispute

On July 23, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that California does not have jurisdiction over actress Kelly Rutherford's custody case. The judge stated that the children no longer had the requisite connection to the state as they had only visited for one week within the last two years.