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Orange County Family Law Blog

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.

Child support programs and enforcement in California

Child support has an important role in the life of children who live in California. It can help cover the child's living expenses, basic necessities, health care and other financial needs. However, there are certain instances where the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support. This is the right time for authorities to step in and help. California has a child support program to help collect payments from child support obligors. The program also assists parents in establishing paternity and enforces child support orders, helping many families and children obtain what they need.

There are different steps one must undertake before collecting child support. First, the legal status of the child toward the parents should be established. If the child was born out of wedlock, the father should establish paternity through a blood test or DNA testing. Second, it is important to establish the parental obligation in accordance with state guidelines. The state of California uses the "Statewide Uniform Guideline Formula." Under this formula, factors like the number of children, the income of both parents and the custodial rights of each parent are used to help determine the proper obligation.

How same-sex couples fare with divorce around the country

Property division, spousal support, child custody and child support are among the legal issues that can be a point of contention when a marriage ends. Over the last decade, though, another issue has brought more than a little confusion, anxiety, uncertainty and bitter court battles and challenges for many Americans: same-sex divorce.

California is one of some 20 states that recognize same-sex marriage. This means that gay and lesbian couples throughout the state have the right to marry. These couples are entitled to many of the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Although California is among the states that celebrated the demise of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, the LGBT community still must work to help resolve various issues related to same-sex divorce.

Is a nasty child custody battle worth it after divorce?

Most divorcing parents would fight to the bitter end for their rights when it comes to living with their children, and divorce can put their parental rights at stake. In California, child custody is the legal process that determines each parent's rights and responsibilities to their children after divorce. Child custody also includes the custody agreement that indicates visitation rights and arrangements for the non-custodial parent.

Rather than negotiating and agreeing to terms involving their kids, some divorcing parents in California prefer to fight child custody issues in court. When this happens, the child can be prone to stress, anxiety, depression and other consequences. Parents are also exposing the child to constant disagreements that can affect their emotional and mental health. Unfortunately, many divorcing parents forget this consequence. For that reason, a family law expert developed a short film that may encourage parents to think carefully before engaging in contentious custody battles. The film is called "Talk to Strangers" and discusses the different impacts of divorce issues on children, in particular, a contentious custody battle.

Personal data impacts divorce and family law issues

Identity theft is common these days and can ruin a person's finances, reputation and life. The risks brought by identity theft are not the only reasons why California spouses should protect their personal data. Digital information should be protected from spouses, especially in the event of a divorce and other family law issues, such as child custody and child support disputes.

A new study from McAfee reported troubling results regarding divorcing spouses and digital information. According to the study, 96 percent of adults trust their partners with intimate photos, passwords and other personal information they have shared on mobile devices. Of this, only 32 percent of participants have asked their former spouses to delete that personal data after separating. Also, former spouses occasionally cyber stalk or log onto their ex's social media account if passwords remain unchanged. One in five said they have opened their spouse's Facebook account, and 30 percent admitted that they viewed their current partner's ex on social media.

Trendy prenuptial agreement for social media use

For more and more Americans, Californians included, prenuptial agreements are just part of the process of getting married. This is largely because people are aware that half of all marriages fail and people who did not protect themselves often said they wish they had. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to preserve an individual's wealth, property rights and assets in case marriage does not work out. It is not, as many people believe, a lack of commitment to a marriage, only the sober realization that divorce is always a possibility.

Some prenups are now including social networking clauses or elements that address the common use of such social media sites and applications as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. One recent study found that married couples' use of social media can cause strains in a relationship that are severe enough to lead to divorce. One problem is that unhappy spouses can more easily reconnect with old flames online now. Rekindled cyber romances can torpedo real ongoing relationships if the former partners reunite in person.

When debts can become a problem in divorce

California couples who are ending marriages are often concerned about whether they will take away their fair share of marital assets. But just as important as assets is something that can make property division more complicated, debt.

Division of debt in divorce is different from the division of assets because creditors do not automatically recognize a couple's divorce decree. For example, if both spouses share a credit card account, then both of them can be responsible for paying any debts accrued on the credit card. Unfortunately, failing to consider marital debts before and during property division can have long-term effects on a spouse's credit rating and ability to get credit in the future, something that may be critical in the months and years following a divorce.

Valid prenuptial agreement are harder than many think

Over the last few decades, large numbers of celebrities have been creating prenuptial agreements to financially protect themselves in the event of divorce. Seeing this, many Californians have drafted their own prenups the last few years. Anyone who signs a prenup should note, however, that marital contracts, including prenuptial agreements, are not necessarily air tight and often can be challenged and even declared invalid during divorce proceedings.

A prenuptial agreement can be nullified if the contract is signed under duress or through fraud. For that reason, prenuptial agreements signed a day before a wedding are often considered invalid, as is a prenuptial agreement that fails to fully disclose all assets and properties.

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