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Orange County Family Law Blog

We can assist you with changes that affect child support

Money is oftentimes a factor in family law conflicts and disputes. This also applies to child support issues in California. Child support is the amount of money that a parent or both parents should pay every month. It is often determined by a court and based upon California's child support formula and guidelines. Child support guidelines are subject to changes that impact the outcome of divorce cases and the welfare of the child.

Fortunately, our firm is always current with these guidelines. We know the potential impact of these changes in California's family law on your child support and divorce case. For one, child-care expenses are rapidly increasing nowadays, which can affect the child support amount being awarded by the court.

The complexities of alimony in a California divorce

Alimony is one of many issues that can complicate a divorce settlement. Many Californians may know something about alimony themselves or from the publicity surrounding high-profile divorce cases. What many people do not realize, though, is that alimony is more than a request for monthly financial support from a higher wage-earning spouse. It also emphasizes the lack of financial control one spouse had during a marriage.

Basically, alimony is the legal obligation of one spouse to provide monthly financial support to the other. In the past, spousal support was thought to be a right. But once no-fault divorce laws were enacted all across the country, including in California, the right of spouses to seek alimony became conditional.

New law will protect California children from violence

Domestic violence in California is usually associated with conflict between spouses or unmarried couples. These cases often involve physical violence or emotional abuse. When children are involved, however, the consequences of domestic violence can be even worse and are often tragic. Current California law provides substantial protection for adults, but has left children more vulnerable to abuse.

Spurred in part by incidents such as a father punching his 4-month-old infant in the face because the baby was crying, a recent bill that will more adequately protect children recently passed the state senate and will soon be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Once enacted, Senate Bill 910 will provide the same levels of protection to children from abusersthat granted to adults.

How does domestic violence affect child custody in California?

As in any other state, any history of violence in a relationship in California, regardless of the marital status of parents, is very likely to affect custody decisions made by the courts. This determination is within the primary consideration of all courts governing child custody and the mandate that a child's well-being is first and foremost when identifying whether parents are fit and capable. However, this does not mean that a parent who has a history of domestic violence would not be able to visit his or her child or be involved in the child's life.

Before any history of domestic violence influences a judge's decision, he or she must first determine whether acts of domestic violence are directly associated with the case under consideration. Domestic violence cases or allegations in the preceding five years can affect a child custody decision. This involves convictions of domestic abuse or any court decision that says one parent committed abuse against the other parent or the child.

Factors that affect prenup's validity in California

A prenuptial agreement is a way to secure a California residents' financial stability from the impact of a divorce. By signing a prenuptial agreement before marriage, the legal document can establish and protect rights of each spouse. It may also protect the family-owned business from being divided upon a divorce and even secure the financial assets and inheritance of one party. However, there are cases where a court can invalidate a prenuptial agreement.

The advantage of a having a prenuptial agreement in California is certainly evident, considering celebrity divorce and high-profile couples. But just like any other agreement, a prenuptial agreement can be considered null and void. One of the factors that affect the validity of a prenuptial agreement is if no written agreement was made. A prenuptial agreement must be in writing, which includes the agreement both spouses signed, the conditions and any provisions. If one party fails to read the whole legal document or even provide complete information, a prenuptial agreement is not enforceable.

Divorces are more complex and emotional than many people realize

Most people think they know all about divorce, both the legal process and its long-term effects. They may be somewhat familiar with the broad outlines of this family law issue, especially if they are not among the 50 percent of married Americans who have undergone divorce. However, they are less likely to understand and appreciate the highly emotional nature of divorce, particularly when children are involved.

This is one reason why our firm stands out. We understand that divorce means significant life changes to everyone in a family. A divorce not only affects the couple but also their children and other family members for years to come. For example, how child custody is determined can affect children's relationship with parents for years. To help solve these issues, we can help you make decisions that best protect your children's best interests.

What is the court's role in child support disputes in California?

Basically, the amount of a child support award in California depends on the sources of income for both parents, financial needs of the child and other expenses. However, the final decision regarding child support is in the hands of a family law judge or court commissioner.

When you think about the role of a family law judge, you might think that the judge is only responsible for settling disputes over child custody and family law matters, such as divorce. The family law judge also has the final authority to make a decision regarding the financial issue of child support. The court has the right to decide which parent will have primary custody and who will be obligated to make child support payments and how much that payment will be. In California, the court will set the amount based on the following factors -- both parent's incomes and the percentage of time the child will spend with each parent. If both parents spend an equal amount of time with the child, the child support amount will likely be lower.

Reducing the stress of child custody during school year

For many Orange County, California, residents, "New Year's Day" is traditionally the day for new beginnings. For couples contemplating a new life without their spouse, the start of their new beginning is the day they start divorce proceedings. In fact, New Year's Day is also the beginning of the divorce season and if a spouse filed divorce papers that day, the divorce will likely be finalized by the end of a summer. This can be bad timing for divorcing parents because it means that any children involved will deal with many adjustments as a new school year starts.

Why prenuptial agreement may be necessary in marriage

Protection from the financial impact of divorce is one of the reasons why couples getting married in Orange County, California, opt to draft a prenuptial agreement. Whether it's a celebrity marrying, a spouse with a thriving business or just an ordinary couple who wants to start a family, a prenuptial agreement may be a great foundation for each party's financial security.

An expert clarified that a prenuptial agreement is not always about dividing assets upon divorce. She said that the necessity of prenuptial agreement before marriage is not primarily based on each party's income or properties. The potential benefit of a prenuptial agreement also applies to the financial relationship of two individuals as a couple. For example, this marital contract may discuss major financial obligations or debt. Regardless of income, all couples have debt, ranging from credit card bills to student loans to child support obligations. Using a prenuptial agreement to determine who would pay for what is a good way to avoid further consequences of dealing with marital debt upon divorce. The couple may also talk about how to share household expenses and other bills after the wedding.

Avoiding the potential cost of a separation in California

Cohabitation is common in Orange County, California. Many couples move in with their significant other and enjoy its benefits. Given the fact that the cost of living is higher in California than any other state, living together is a cost-effective way to lower everyday expenses and monthly bills. As more and more people take advantage of the benefits of cohabitation, more couples are bound to face property division challenges in the event of separation.

When the relationship ends, moving out may cost a lot as well. Expenses that may arise from moving include transporting furniture and old items from the shared home, relocation costs and other living expenses. For one writer who shared her breakup story, moving out cost her more than $2,000. Fortunately, Californians can prevent such a situation from happening, easily avoiding this financial and emotional stress, together with other family law concerns.

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Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers
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Orange, CA 92868
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