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Alameda County Family Law Blog

Treat your divorce like a business deal: Set your emotions aside

Emotions are what make us human and they're also what make us suffer. Few people would give up having an emotional perspective on life, but sometimes it's important to set our fiery and toxic emotions aside.

In business, the best way to navigate a caustic negotiation is by looking at the facts and paying more objective attention to the numbers and the laws than to how you subjectively feel about them. People who do that often succeed in business. It may surprise you to learn that a divorce is no different.

How to handle child support payers who refuse to make money

Ideally, parents in California and throughout the country will do what is best for their children. However, some choose to either not report their income or make less than their true earning potential to avoid paying child support. If a person chooses to engage in such activity, it is referred to as voluntary impoverishment. While it can be frustrating for a custodial parent to not get the support that they may be entitled to, there are ways to compel payment.

If a parent doesn't have a formal support order, they should go to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). A formal order can be created, and the OSCE has the power to review a noncustodial parent's financial and employment history. It can be possible to determine how much a parent makes even if they are self-employed or work as part of the gig economy.

The effect of new marriages on child support payments

Divorced parents in California sometimes enter new marriages. Although those unions might influence a person's income, the act of getting married again does not necessarily alter existing child support orders. Courts will still look at the earnings of the biological parents when considering the payment amounts. The income of new spouses does not play a role.

An ex-spouse receiving child support cannot use the other parent's remarriage as a reason to request a child support modification. A change in the biological parent's income, however, would provide a valid reason for a court to reconsider the child support order. For example, a remarried parent could cite household expenses arising from the formation of a new marital household. These expenses could include childcare or health care expenses for the new spouse's biological children.

Child support statistics highlight single parents' struggles

Child custody and support can be challenging issues for divorcing spouses in Alameda County to sort out as they move forward. There are a lot of popular misconceptions about the amount of child support that people receive and how much financial freedom that it provides, especially related to major media coverage of celebrity divorces. For most Americans, however, the picture is far different. U.S. Census Bureau statistics present a clearer picture of the child support situation for people across the country.

The government statistics note that there are 13.4 million single parents with child custody living across the country. Even so, child support is hardly universal; only 48.7 percent, less than half, have any kind of regular support agreement in place. Most of them went to the courts to verify their child support plans, an important step to protect both parents. Nearly 90 percent used the family courts or a state agency for their support agreement.

How does accommodation affect custody in California?

When you are going through a divorce or separation where children are involved, you will have to establish where the children will spend their time in the future. In most circumstances, spending a portion of time with each parent is in the best interests of the child. However, when it comes to deciding how much time should be spent with each parent or whether the child should stay overnight at one parent's house at all, the child custody court will take the appropriateness of accommodation into account.

As a parent, you will want to make sure that your child is living in appropriate conditions at all times. Therefore, if you have reason to believe that the other parent does not have appropriate accommodations for your child when your child is staying with him or her, it is important that you know where the child custody modification process stands when it comes to taking action in regard to suitable accommodations.

Paying for college following a divorce

When a child is planning to go to college, California parents may become worried that their plans to get a divorce could have an impact on whether or not their child actually gets to go. However, careful planning, even if a divorce is just around the corner, can help keep a child's education on track.

The costs of going to college, which include tuition, fees and room and board, go up by about 3 percent every year. In the 2017-2018 school year, the costs of college amounted to an average of $47,000 for a nonprofit private school and about $21,000 for an state public school. However, only about 66 percent of married parents have a financial plan in place when it comes to their children's college educations.

The importance of protecting family wealth with a prenup

Many California couples who tie the knot expect that they will be married their spouse for the rest of their lives. However, there are many cases where the couple decides to get a divorce several years or even decades later. Although couples can protect their family assets with a prenuptial agreement, not everyone chooses to get one drawn up before getting married.

For those who have family wealth, getting a prenuptial agreement may be of more importance than for those who are starting out with very little. If the family has had wealth for many generations, the parents may be more likely to push their children to get a prenuptial agreement to protect those family assets. The prenup can help keep the family wealth within the biological family by documenting the fact that a spouse had those assets prior to the marriage. If a divorce does occur, the ex-spouse may not be entitled to seek access to those assets.

The purpose of child support: More than necessities

Child support is sometimes a point of contention in divorce, but it really shouldn't be. It's there to support the healthy growth of a child who now has to live in two separate homes with his or her parents. In most cases, the child has a primary caretaker, either his or her mother or father, and the other parent participates through visitation or custody in shorter spurts. For the parent who provides the larger amount of care, child support is a necessity.

What is child support used for?

The benefits of being the custodial parent

When a couple with children splits up, the state of California often designates one parent as the custodial parent. The custodial parent generally has more responsibilities when it comes to raising the children.

In general, the children live with the custodial parent most of the time. However, there are steps that a parent must take before he or she is considered to be the custodial parent. Parents still have to file for child custody in order for the courts to give them custodial rights, even if the other parent is voluntarily not involved. It should also be noted that the noncustodial parent may still have visitation rights.

Study identifies one factor in divorce

The roles assumed by men and women in California at the start of a marriage could play a role in that marriage's longevity according to a study by Swedish researchers. Marriages in which women start out making less than half of their husband's salary or have no income and all and later embark on a successful career are more at risk than those in which husbands and wives start out on equal footing.

In more traditional relationships, women may put off developing their own careers in favor of relocating for their husband's and taking care of the children and the home. When they start to focus on their careers and their salaries surpass what their husbands are making, their husbands may become resentful and defensive. They might try to control any household spending. Others may start working less, but those who do often do not step in to take on the child care and chores. This can create resentment that leads to divorce.

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