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Bay Area Family Law Blog

Protective orders and child abandonment allegations

California has a very broad definition of domestic violence -- and victims' advocates say that it's necessary in order to protect victims from subtle forms of abuse like harassment or stalking.

Unfortunately, that also makes the law easy to abuse when someone who isn't a victim wants to cut his or her child's other parent out of his or her life -- and out of the child's life as well.

Why is shared custody better for children of divorce?

The old model of custody looked pretty familiar to just about everyone. The mother often had primary physical custody of the kids and the father saw his offspring every other weekend and occasional holidays.

The new model of custody tries to divide parenting time straight down the middle between the parents -- as much as possible, anyhow (unless, naturally, one of the parents is unfit to be in that role for some reason).

4 signs that say a marriage is on life-support

Every marriage has its ups and downs -- but if your marriage seems like it has been on the "down" side of things for a long while, is it time to get an attorney?

According to divorce attorneys, here are the signs that a marriage is terminal -- not merely troubled.

Abducted child found, mother and grandparents jailed

A search for a missing baby cut a path from Mesa, Arizona, all the way to California. Now, the baby has been returned to his father while the child's mother and her parents are sitting in jail on various charges related to the kidnapping.

Child custody disputes are often emotional and have the potential to draw extended family members into the dispute rather deeply -- which this case certainly illustrates.

How do you handle religious issues after divorce?

It isn't unusual for interfaith marriages to happen these days -- and it isn't unusual for one or both spouses to turn back to their religious roots during a difficult time (like divorce).

However, that can create all sorts of unintentional conflicts over the children. If the kids were once raised "interfaith" or generally kept to the secular world, one parent may not see the other parent's newly discovered religious devotion as a good thing -- especially if the more religious parent wants to involve the children in his or her faith.

Why does a parent become a deadbeat dad or mom?

Why do some parents choose not to pay child support? It certainly isn't a wise choice to go against a judge's order, and the penalties can range from having wages garnished and tax returns grabbed to being jailed for contempt of court.

Here are some of the main reasons experts have discovered that parents refuse to pay support:

  • Their own low self-esteem leads them to believe that their children would be better off if they simply drop out of their lives altogether. Even the support payment is a connection that they see as unnecessary.
  • New romantic interests or spouses might resent the children, the custodial parents or the money being sent to a different household. Noncustodial parents can be persuaded to stop sending child support payments.
  • Some noncustodial parents are convinced that if their exes drive nice cars, wear expensive clothes or get manicures, they are using "the children's" money on it. These noncustodial parents seem to prefer their exes live in poverty. They see any visible indications of material wealth as signs that the child support is unnecessary.
  • Others feel the whole system is rigged. Maybe they didn't want children and felt tricked (even if the contraceptives just failed), or maybe they wanted the mother to get an abortion or think it's unfair that a woman has to pay support to a man when the dad has custody.
  • Some genuinely can't afford to pay. They've lost their jobs, been demoted or laid off, were recently injured or had another child and now can't afford the same amount of support.

How do you tell your adult children you're getting divorced?

Whether you were only staying together for the sake of the children or just grew apart after you had an "empty nest," telling your adult children that their parents are getting divorced is never easy.

In fact, it's probably easier both to break the news to young children and for young children to adapt. Adult children generally have a hard time getting people to understand that their grief over the divorce is very real -- even when they are grown.

Does your child need extra financial support this fall?

Back-to-school season is starting and a lot of parents are still frantically trying to fill their school shopping lists.

If you're the non-custodial parent, you probably figure that's what your child support is for, right?

Divorce, social media and your children

Social media has become an important part of American life, but it can also be a problematic area for families going through a divorce. The last thing you want if you're in the middle of a custody battle is to have your -- or your child's -- social media activity become a problem. Here are some good guidelines to follow:

1. Don't allow children unsupervised access to social media.

Acceptance of divorce rises, while divorce rates fall

Divorce used to be seen as a shameful subject in this nation -- at the very best, it was a sign of a personal failure. At it's worst, it was seen as a moral failing as well.

Those days are now long past -- divorce is now seen as morally acceptable by most people -- including among married couples and older Americans, both groups that have traditionally opposed easy divorces.

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