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Alameda County Family Law Blog

Protecting children through a parental divorce

Parents in California who decide to divorce may be concerned about how the end of their marriage will affect their children. Divorce can lead to significant disruption in a child's life, especially as he or she now moves between separate homes and deals with the confusion of even part-time separation from a parent. Of course, divorce can also lead to greater financial challenges and a change in a child's standard of living as well as serious emotional fallout. However, parents can help to protect their children in this difficult time by keeping some key pointers in mind.

In particular, children should be kept out of the dispute between their parents. Parents going through a divorce may have a great deal of anger toward one another, but that information needs to be shared with friends or therapists, not with children who continue to love both of their parents. In addition, children should be reassured that they were not the cause of their parents' separation. They did not cause the divorce and cannot make their parents get back together. At the same time, it is also important to keep a framework of openness and honesty even while protecting the children from adult conflicts.

How to prepare for the possibility of a divorce

Summer is often a time when families spend more time with each other. That can be a bad thing for California couples who are already having problems in their relationship as the extra time together only makes things worse. In some cases, the stress becomes too great to handle, which results in a divorce. Statistics show that people are most likely to file for divorce in August and September. January and March are other prime months.

Prior to ending a marriage, it may be a good idea to for a couple to go through counseling together. This may make it possible to determine whether it is best to stay together or go through with splitting up. If the choice is made to get a divorce, parents should limit the information that is given to their children.

Marriage fraud: Protect yourself against being used

When you've only been married a short time, you probably feel like you should be in the honeymoon phase. However, some people quickly find that their lives aren't what they expected, even just a few short months after their marriage.

If you've been in a short-term marriage and have a spouse who decided it was a mistake, a divorce can still be a good option. However, the property division situation might be a little complex, depending on how much you've commingled your property.

Considerations for moving with children after a split

The end of a relationship often brings many changes. While some are easy to assimilate, others might be more difficult and even involve legal issues. As some California parents might discover, that includes the possibility of relocating with children after a divorce.

Since the children's best interests are the standard by which courts make decisions regarding child custody and visitation issues, relocating with children after divorce can be complicated. In some cases, the court will immediately support the idea that it is in the child's best interest to experience as little change as possible after his or her parents end their marriage. This means that the parent doing the relocating will need to convince the court of the benefits for the children for relocation, including possible schools and activities for them. Additionally, the individual who wants to move should have a plan to make visitation with the other parent more convenient and for how often these visitations can happen. On the other hand, the parent who is trying to prevent the move will need to prove why the move is not beneficial for the children.

Modern marriages and shifting gender roles

Traditional marital roles have been changing in the United States over the past several decades. While most modern husbands are OK with their wives having careers outside of the home, there may be some complications surrounding this issue. According to a study conducted in Sweden, a wife who experiences a sudden boost in her career may be more likely to face an unwanted divorce. It seems as though husbands and wives who change from traditional gender roles to gender-equal roles tend to experience rockier marriages.

The problem centers on the reality of a wife who no longer has time to cook dinner, wash the dishes, mop the floors and take care of the children. In a traditional marriage, the wife stays at home and the husband earns a living. In a gender-equal marriage, a wife earns the same, or even more, money than her husband. In this situation, the husband might not wish to perform household duties while his wife is at work. Husbands have traditionally looked at their careers with pride. When a wife suddenly has a career as a professional, the husband may feel weak and inferior.

3 things you should do before filing for divorce

So, your marriage hasn't been going well in recent months. You find yourself feeling frustrated with your spouse or even unhappy just to be in their presence in the evenings and on weekends. Perhaps they have developed new, unhealthy habits, or maybe you discovered an extramarital affair.

You can't help but imagine that your life would be better without them in it. Divorce is the obvious solution for those whose marriages no longer seem to work. However, before you jump the gun and head down to the courthouse to file, there are three things you should do first.

More divorces happening because of stress from student loan debt

Financial problems have never been romantic, and the high levels of student loan debt held by people in California appear to be straining marriages. A website service that helps users manage education debt conducted a study and found that 13% of respondents specifically cited student loans as the reason that they got divorced.

In the last 10 years, student loan debts have gone up by 62%. The average amount owed by people for schooling today equals $34,144. The number of people borrowing excessive amounts of $50,000 or more has tripled as well. Reliance on loans for school is the result of tuition costs increasing at a substantially higher rate than inflation since 1983.

You can seek more, even in a community property state

Your spouse just came to you and explained that they no longer want to be married. You've been blindsided by this, since you thought everything was fine. Both of you work regularly, but you were still spending time together and seemed to get along well. You suspect there is more to your spouse seeking divorce than just being unhappy with you, but at the end of the day, your biggest concern is just to get out of the divorce intact.

Your finances have not been mixed much during your marriage. You and your spouse worked your own high-paying jobs, so you both had your own accounts. Now, based on California's laws, your bank accounts, home and other assets could all be split 50-50. You're not happy with that, since you have always paid your half but have far more in savings than your spouse, since you chose not to spend as often as they did.

How parents can retain their authority

Partners who are controlling or narcissistic during a marriage are unlikely to change after a divorce. This may present a variety of challenges as it relates to raising a child after the marriage is over. However, there are a variety of ways that parents in California can meet and overcome these challenges in an effective manner. It is important for someone who is raising a child to know that they can only control themselves.

This means that these individuals need to model the behavior that they want their children to exhibit now and in the future. It is also important to create rules and enforce them in a consistent manner. While the other parent may not hold a child accountable for his or her actions, that child can still benefit from the structure in one household. It is also a good idea to limit the amount of contact that a person has with an ex.

How California parents can co-parent effectively

Divorced California parents who are going through the struggles of co-parenting their teenager should be aware of a few tips that will make things easier for their child. Divorce is difficult for many teenagers, who are already struggling with their own trials as they go through the changes associated with adolescence.

First, a divorced parent should make sure he or she never makes assumptions about what the other parent knows. For example, it is potentially dangerous to assume the child's other parent knows all of his or her friends. It is of utmost importance that each parent knows who is in the child's life, as friends are easily able to influence a teenager.

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