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Alameda County Family Law Blog

How nesting may change child custody arrangements

Some California parents who are getting a divorce might be interested in a form of child custody known as bird nesting. This is an arrangement that allows children to stay in one place, often the family home, while the parents take turns living there with them.

Nesting works best with a few provisions in place. It can help if each parent has a separate place to go when not staying in the home. It may work better as a temporary arrangement with an agreed-upon timeline or at least an agreement for how to end the arrangement if one parent becomes unhappy with it. For example, parents might decide to stay in the home until a lease ends or until the house is worth more and they can put it on the market.

Challenges faced by older people after divorce

Twice as many older couples are divorcing today compared to the 1990s, but this could leave some people in California having to deal with financial matters for the first time in their lives. A survey by UBS Global Wealth Management found that a majority of women said they left financial planning and investing up to their husbands. The survey included 1,500 couples and 600 women who were divorced or widowed. Participants had to have at least $250,000 in liquid assets.

With 61 percent of millennial women and 54 percent of baby boomer women saying their husbands made the investment decisions, this traditional arrangement does not appear to be a trend that is going away. However, women who did not participate in financial decision-making and whose marriages later ended expressed regret that they were not more informed. Over half said they encountered surprises whether it was a positive one, such as a retirement account, or a negative one, such as debt or a spending habit. Some said they were simply surprised at how little they knew about finances.

Protecting children from parental hostilities during divorce

Most parents in California understand that divorce inflicts emotional challenges on children. While disruption cannot be prevented, parents can avoid behaviors that could make the transition even more difficult for the family.

Concerned parents should not place their children at the center of their adult disputes. The issues causing the divorce should not be discussed in intimate detail with children as they may not fully understand the intricacies of a married relationship. Since children tend to place blame on themselves for parental breakups, parents should strive to reassure them that this is not the case.

Divorce during pregnancy: What to consider

As a soon-to-be parent, one of the things you never thought you'd hear yourself say is that you want to get a divorce. After you said the words and thought about the implications for yourself and your child, you grieved over the situation. But at the end of the day, you still believe it's the right decision.

Divorcing during pregnancy isn't always easy, and in some states, you may not be able to. States including Arizona, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas may not allow it at all. Comparatively, you may find it harder to get a divorce during your pregnancy because of the potential for having the child during the waiting period for the divorce. Many people simply wait until the child is born to decide what to do next.

Protecting assets during a split

Regardless of who earned an income during a marriage, both parties have their own financial interests to tend to if the marriage comes to an end. California residents should look to open their own bank accounts, learn the basics of financial management and close all joint accounts as soon as possible. Doing so can help a person gain leverage in divorce settlement talks. It can also prevent any new joint debt from accruing before the divorce is finalized.

If one person chose to stay home during the marriage, it may be up to the other spouse to handle a larger share of marital debt. At the very least, that person could be required to make payments until the other can find a job and start contributing financially. Those who are worried that the other spouse will hold onto or destroy valuables that don't belong to them should secure them quickly.

How child visitation schedules help parents and children

When parents in California go through a divorce, they or the court may create a child visitation schedule. This legally binding schedule details the time the noncustodial parent will spend with the child.

Courts operate on the assumption that it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with both parents as long as there are no issues that endanger the child's well-being. Parents who share physical custody will have a custody schedule. Both custody and visitation schedules may also address holidays and vacations since this is often a point of contention. Making a holiday schedule may also keep children from being caught in the middle and feeling as though they must choose between parents.

Divorce stress: How to handle a contentious divorce

There is no question about the emotional distress a divorce can cause. You're losing someone whom you believed you would be with for many years, if not a lifetime. Unfortunately, the reality is that the situation calls for you to separate.

Knowing that your marriage can't be saved is devastating enough, but sometimes, people's personalities become hard to handle in a divorce. They become headstrong and demanding. Some become overly sensitive. What can you do to reduce the stress of a divorce and try to get it over with quickly? Here are a few tips.

Changes ahead regarding child support information

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement collected almost $33 billion in fiscal year 2016, and most of that was through income withholding. California payroll department employees may have received new guidance from the agency about child support payments and workers.

Child support agencies make verification of employment requests to check on information such as health insurance availability, withholdings and wages to determine child support. Some employers have been passing off employment verification to third-party processors who in turn charge a fee to child support agencies. While the OCSE is working to find a solution for everyone, it is likely that states may begin telling employers they will not pay for third party processors. There is a plan for child support agencies to look more carefully at how often verifications are done and what the information is used for among other assessments.

Your new divorce: 5 tips for handling your divorce

You never thought you'd be someone who would go through a divorce. You loved your spouse when you got married, and in some ways, you still do. The reality just is that you can't be with your spouse and that your marriage isn't working.

Now, you want to make sure the divorce goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. How can you make sure you're not dragging out your divorce or focusing too much on minor things? Here are five tips.

Splitting retirement accounts while avoiding taxes, penalties

A 2016 survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that retirement plans were the second most common topic of conflict in a divorce. In first place was alimony and in third place was business interests. California couples may have to face this issue when their marriages are coming to an end.

The couple can avoid having to pay penalties or taxes on a distribution during a divorce by following certain regulations. For a 401(k) or pension, the couple will need a qualified domestic relations order. This is a complex document that an attorney should prepare and give to the plan administrator for approval. Couples should also review it to ensure that it is consistent with their divorce decree. Rolling the distribution over into an IRA avoids all taxes and penalties. The distribution can also be received directly although the person would need to pay regular income tax on it.

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