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Orange County Family Law Blog

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.

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.

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