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Alameda County Family Law Blog

The four different types of child support cases

When California parents split up or get a divorce, one parent may be required to pay child support to the other parent. However, child support payments can be confusing when parents are first starting to make payments. This is because there are four types of child support cases: IV-D cases, IV-A cases, IV-E cases and non-IV-D cases.

IV-D cases are cases in which the custodial parent receives assistance in some capacity from the Office of Child Support Enforcement. This assistance could include finding the non-custodial parent or going through the court to establish or enforce a child support order. In IV-A cases, the custodial parent is actively receiving financial support from the state. The Office of Child Support Enforcement may still go after the non-custodial parent in an effort to collect child support.

Keep your inheritance safe with better legal knowledge

When you're considering a divorce, one of the things you might be worried about is the potential to lose a great deal of an inheritance. The good news is that the majority of inheritances won't be considered marital property. However, if you share the inheritance or place it in a shared bank account, things could become more complicated.

There may be questions about whether or not you have a right to your partner's inheritance or if they have a right to yours. If the person who died did not mention your spouse when leaving you an inheritance, it's initially considered separate property. What you do with that inheritance is what matters most.

Student loans can lead to a divorce

People who graduated from college in 2017 did so with an average student loan debt of $39,400. Overall, someone who has a student loan debt has an average balance of $34,144, which is a 62 percent increase in the past decade. This debt load can have a significant impact on the success of a California marriage. According to a study from Student Loan Hero, more one in three who took part said that college debt had an impact on their marriage.

Furthermore, 13 percent cited their student loan debt as the reason why their marriages failed. In some cases, those with student loans don't tell their partners about them. A survey of more than 1,000 borrowers found that 24 percent didn't inform their spouses about it. Another 18 percent said that it was alright to lie about financial matters while 43 percent of respondents reported having frequent arguments about money.

How to co-parent effectively after a divorce

Estranged California parents need to prioritize the best interests of their children after a divorce. This means understanding that the other parent is important to the child despite the differences between the parents. Parents should allow their children to talk about their life with the other parent and avoid putting the child in the middle.

They should aim for their children to have consistent expectations between households even if they have different parenting styles. Plans around visitation, including vacations and holidays, should be on calendars at both parents' homes so children are able to see them easily. Parents may want to avoid phone or in-person communication and instead use online tools, text or emails to talk about schedules. This may cut down on conflict.

Yes, the courts will divide your debts in a California divorce

The average couple considering divorce probably doesn't agree on what fair terms for that look like. For many couples, property division is the most contentious issue other than child custody in a divorce. Each spouse may have his or her idea about what is fair, and it is common for those disagreements to result in protracted court battles.

One thing that many spouses don't consider until it's too late is the impact of debt on the marital estate. The courts will definitely be splitting up everything you own, but they will also be splitting up your debts. Understanding your liability for debts incurred during your marriage is important for planning your financial future.

How joint custody impacts child support payments

When a parent in California gets joint custody, they share time with their children with the other parent. Essentially, both parents are responsible for the emotional, financial and educational well-being of the child. This may cause some divorcing parents to wonder what impact joint custody will have on the amount of child support that will be paid.

The Child Support Standards Act is what stipulates how child support is paid out. However, this act does not discuss joint custody child support. The court looks at this with a different set of criteria and makes different arrangements.

The effects of money issues before and after divorce

For many California parents whose marriages end in divorce, money issues play a significant role in the separation. For some of them, financial issues continue to impact their interactions and decisions even after the divorce papers are signed. When these decisions are made from anger, they can even negatively affect the children's well-being. Finances can drive some parents to lose focus of what should come first: the children's best interests.

In a recent column, a man who once had a good executive job recounted his post-divorce money issues. While his family enjoyed the life his job provided, he himself was not happy and not healthy. When he lost his job, his wife was not receptive to the changes he wanted to make related to work-life balance and eventually, the marriage ended in divorce. As the man continued to struggle financially, he came to a point where he informed his e-ex-wife he would be late with the child support payments but would make it up as soon as he could. His ex-wife, in anger, reported him to the attorney general's office.

Considerations for a sharing holiday time with your co-parent

Every family looks forward to the big celebrations like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Easter, birthdays and more. However, when you're a co-parent, it means that you probably won't be able to spend all of these holidays with your kids.

On some holidays, your children will be with the other parent. On other holidays, your children will be with you. When organizing your holiday sharing schedule, don't forget to consider the following:

How money problems can lead to divorce

Issues around finances could mean trouble for some marriages in California. A lack of communication about money usually leads to problems at some point. Couples may be able to avoid this by having monthly meetings in which they talk about finances and review spending and saving. In some cases, communication is so poor that one person might actually be hiding an account from the other. This can represent a serious trust issue that can potentially poison other aspects of the relationship.

Some couples fail to have any emergency savings. Like a lack of communication, this is almost sure to create trouble at some point since it is likely that something will come up, such as an unexpected car repair, that will require that kind of savings. The financial strain from a lack of savings could endanger a marriage. Couples can begin building an emergency savings account by putting aside a small amount from each paycheck. Saving may be difficult if both people tend to be spenders, and overspending could also create stress in the marriage.

Divorce's effect on retirement planning

When people in California make the decision to divorce, especially after years of marriage, it can have an effect on their plans and readiness for retirement. In many cases, retirement funds are among the largest marital assets shared by a couple, and the division that takes place during a divorce can spark a need for serious financial work to rebuild retirement savings. While many people expect the financial repercussions of divorce to be significant, the most commonly cited issues are those that occur immediately after a split.

However, a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College indicates the importance of long-term financial planning to handle the repercussions of divorce. The study looked at Americans' retirement risk, an index developed by the center to assess working-age people's ability to retire and retain their standard of living. While around half of all households in the country are at risk of being unable to do so after retirement, the risk is 7 percentage points higher for households that have been involved in a divorce in the past.

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