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Roseville Family Law Blog

Some tips to make co-parenting easier

Preparing for divorce can be an emotional process for some California residents. Sometimes, these individuals do not necessarily want to get divorced, but they recognize that their spouse may have fallen out of love with them, or maybe each spouse's life goals just make marriage unmanageable. As difficult as the divorce process can be, the issues don't end when the final divorce decree is entered. Instead, individuals can find themselves butting heads with their ex-spouse over a number of issues for years to come.

One of those issues is parenting. Child custody, visitation and child support are all of critical importance because they can completely shape a child's life and a relationship with parents. Yet, for the parents, these matters can be highly contentious. Co-parenting isn't easy, especially when there is a history amongst the parents that has created any amount of animosity.

Paternity issues can be complicated, but critically important

Many children in California are born out of wedlock. Oftentimes, this raises issues with regard to paternity. Why does this matter? For a number of reasons. To start, a child will likely want to know the identity of his or her father. Additionally, child support can only be obtained from a father once paternity has been established. Also, a man has no legal right to visitation with or custody of a child without first having established paternity.

Establishing paternity may seem easy enough, based on DNA testing. While DNA testing certainly is one way to establish paternity, it is not the only way. The signing of a paternity affidavit is another common way to establish paternity.

Start of school can give rise to family law issues

School is back in session, which means that children are reclaiming their school year routines as they become anxious and excited for what the year ahead has to offer. For parents, this can be a particularly stressful time of year for many reasons. One of those reasons is that the start of school can give rise to disputes over child support and visitation arrangements.

For example, while child support is often meant to address essentials, such as food and clothing, it doesn't always address school-related costs, as well as expenses related to extra-curricular activities. Additionally, who should pay for child care in the event that a child misses school on account of sickness? Even matters like school dances can be expensive and leave custodial parents wondering whether they should be left holding the bill.

Distinguishing between community and separate property

Divorce, while serving as an official way to end what was once a romantic relationship, is also a financial transaction. Splitting couples must find a way to divide their assets and debts, lest they want a judge to have a final say so on the matter. This may sound simple enough, but the issue can actually be quite complex, and for a number of reasons.

One reason is that there is often discrepancies about what constitutes community property and separate property. The distinction is important, as property that is deemed to be separately owned, or property that was not acquired as part of the marriage, cannot be subjected to property division during the divorce process.

Creating a prenuptial agreement for the second time around

Perhaps you married in haste the first time or just grew apart over the years. The divorce was complicated, and you wish there had been a prenuptial agreement in place. Still, you moved forward with your life and are about to marry again. This time, however, you want a prenup. Happily, your soon-to-be-spouse is on board with this plan.

Agreeing to agree

We handle challenging child custody and visitation issues

Recently on the blog we discussed domestic violence and the effect it can have on children. This is no small issue, as it affects thousands upon thousands of California families. Many of those individuals who find themselves in a situation where domestic violence occurs may be afraid to seek change, but taking action is often necessary to ensure their safety, as well as the safety and well-being of their children.

Even a history of domestic violence without recent incidences can play an important role in child custody and visitation determinations. It is important to remember that when assessing these matters, the court will try to make a decision that furthers the child's best interests. Therefore, if previous domestic violence has had a negative therapeutic effect, and exposure to the environment where the violence occurred or an individual involved in that violence would further damage the child, then a court is likely to restrict that parent's access to the child. At a minimum, there would likely be limitations put on that contact.

Angelina Jolie seeks increased child support from Brad Pitt

If you follow entertainment news at all, then you're probably aware that superstar actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are amidst a contentious divorce. The filing came after an incident on an airplane that involved Jolie's son and Pitt, who had been adopted by Pitt. Pitt later said that he had given up drinking after the incident, which fueled speculation. What is not speculative, though, is that the friction between these two individuals is so intense that their divorce process has essentially stalled.

One reason is because they seem to be focused primarily on their children and child support. In fact, Jolie recently filed a motion in court in hopes of obtaining a court order that forces Pitt to pay additional child support. According to Jolie, Pitt has failed to pay meaningful support, despite evidence existing that shows that Pitt has paid more than $1 million over the last year-and-a-half. The motion is still pending, so only time will tell whether the court will entertain any request for child support modification.

What counts as income for child support calculations?

Married or unmarried, caring for a child can be costly. Therefore, it is important that these costs are still addressed when parents are no longer in a relationship Child support can play an integral role in ensuring that a child is provided with the financial resources needed to ensure his or her well-being. However, in order to ensure that child support obligations are fair, a court will often conduct a balancing act where a child's needs will be analyze in the context of his or her noncustodial parent's income. After all, a court will not want to impose a child support obligation that leaves a noncustodial parent destitute. This will simply deter a noncustodial parent from meeting his or her obligation.

Since a significant part of the child support determination is based on income, though, there has to be careful consideration with regard to what constitutes income. Most obvious are wages earned through employment as well as income derived from self-employment. However, there are a number of other types of income that may be counted for child support determination purposes. For example, unemployment benefits, Social Security payments and income from rental properties and lottery winnings can all be included in an income determination.

Domestic violence can have a strong impact on children

Domestic abuse is an issue that is talked about too infrequently in our society. Every day, men, women and children are subjected to physical, verbal and emotional abuse that can have a tremendous impact. Studies estimate that upwards of four million children are at risk of being exposed to domestic violence each year, which is a staggering number. These children can be affected merely by being aware of domestic violence in the home, but sadly, many of them see and hear instances of domestic violence as well as observe the injuries suffered on account of domestic violence.

Generally speaking, children who grow up in homes where domestic violence occurs become scared and, because they are unable to identify what triggers domestic violence and are unable to prevent it from occurring, they don't feel safe. They may also exhibit physical and emotional problems as a result of domestic violence.

Millennials pursuing more prenuptial agreements

As younger generations grow older, the way marriage is defined changes. While same-sex marriage is now legal, even what was once considered "traditional" marriage has evolved over time. For example, in the vast majority of cases it used to be that a man worked outside of the home to earn an income while the wife stayed at home to take care of children and take care of other matters at home. In this instances, it wasn't uncommon for marital agreements to be entered into as a way for the parties to protect their financial interests. However, these situations carried an imbalance of financial power, which made prenuptial agreement negotiations challenging.

Now, though, millennials are getting married at a later stage in life and viewing prenuptial agreements as a business arrangement. One reason for an increase in prenuptial agreements amongst millennials is the fact that many of them saw their own parents get divorced. This is causing these young people to realize that divorce is a very real possibility.

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