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Bay Area Family Law Blog

When is a guardianship in a child’s best interests?

In a perfect world, both parents of every child would have the capacity to look after their children's needs and see to their proper development. Unfortunately, we live in a society where overseas military service, incarceration, substance abuse, mental illness and other factors may deprive children of having meaningful and beneficial relationships with their parents.

Thankfully, California courts currently recognize two different types of custody arrangements for non-parents. Basically, a court can order a person who is not the child's parent to step in place of unavailable or incapacitated parents and make decisions on behalf of the children's best interests.

Child support considerations for disabled children

Under California law, both parents are legally responsible for providing their children with adequate support for their day-to-day needs. When couples divorce, family courts generally use California's child support guidelines as a way to determine just how much support each parent should pay. Generally, courts will examine the income of both parents as well as which parent provides the principal source of care and housing for the children involved. That parent is often referred to as the custodial parent.

In most scenarios, a family law judge will order a noncustodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. The logic of those determinations are based on the idea that whomever has principal custody of the children will invariably incur more expenses related to their care. That is especially true when the custodial parent is also raising a child with special needs.

How mediation might help you if you may be considering divorce

There are many people who frequently consider divorce, yet for one reason or another, they never seem ready to pull the trigger. Perhaps those unhappy spouses choose to remain in loveless marriages due to financial concerns. Others stay married because they believe that a split from their partner might adversely affect their children's development. Still, there are a few individuals who have been married for a long time and have grown apart over the years, yet don't know how to proceed with divorce.

Marriages with distant spouses can happen for a variety of reasons, but some occur because each spouse begins to gradually live a different life. In some of these cases, one spouse is completely devoted to his or her work, while the other spouse strives to satisfy other interests. Regardless of the causes for the divergent interests, it's important for you to know that California requires a "cooling down" period of at least six months before a long-married couple can divorce. The primary reason for that is because many couples will reconcile once the divorce proceedings have started and the papers have been served.

What can I do if I’m being sued for child support?

The state of California takes a keen interest in making sure that parents help provide for the care of their children. That is one of the main reasons why a local child support agency will file suit against a person who is suspected of being a child's parent. Typically, this is done automatically whenever a child receives support provided by the state.

In most cases, a local child support agency will personally serve you, or someone you know, with a summons and complaint. This is known as personal service, and you must respond to those documents within 30 days of the day that you received them. It's important that you don't ignore these documents because they will not simply disappear and go away, and they could ultimately have a serious impact on your life for many years down the road.

How your child custody situation can affect your divorce

California has long recognized the importance of both parents being actively involved in their children's development. Generally, family law courts throughout the state will attempt to allow both parents to share in child custody and visitation unless there are obvious circumstances which may adversely affect the children involved in any particular case.

Things like child abandonment, endangering the safety of the child, a parent's drug or alcohol dependency and domestic violence are some of the things which may convince a court to amend an existing child custody order.

Can I relocate with my child after my California divorce?

California courts recognize that the circumstances of your divorce decree may not stand the test of time. Occasionally, events unfold in our lives years after divorce that are beyond our control. These changing circumstances may affect the current custody order related to the possession of your child. A lucrative job offer in another city or state, military obligations, remarriage or even a move to a better community are some of the circumstances that a California family law judge may consider in child custody cases.

It is important for you to know that California courts are not going to do anything that is going to be detrimental to a parent's relationship with his or her child. This applies regardless of whether you provide the child's primary residence or if you are the non-custodial parent.

Santa Barbara has the seventh-best office for child support

According to a recent report, Santa Barbara's child support office was recently named as the seventh best such office in all of California. The office does many jobs that relate to child support and child custody, including helping people determine official paternity and assisting in collecting support payments that are overdue.

So, how did the office get the high ranking? A lot of it has to do with their excellent statistics. For example, in paternity cases, they were able to make the proper assessment a full 100 percent of the time.

Child support modifications and late developing illnesses

California family law courts consider many factors when determining child support payment amounts. Typically, courts will make their determinations based on the income of both parents, tax liabilities and the current child custody arrangement. In most cases, the parent who provides the primary residence for the child will receive some form of support from the other parent. Additionally, courts will often consider the special needs of any child when formulating the amount of that support.

Your child's requirement for support may change as he or she develops with age. A good example of this is childhood schizophrenia. Symptoms of schizophrenia often go unnoticed until children reach a certain age. Some of these symptoms include hallucinations and delusions. Sometimes, a child suffering from these symptoms will also articulate disorganized thought through his or her speech.

Using your attorney to de-escalate your child custody dispute

Divorce is often a source of deeply felt and emotionally charged disagreements. It's natural for you to be anxious around your soon-to-be ex-spouse, particularly when important decisions need to be made regarding your children.

Frequent readers of our blog website may have previously read our post about refraining from getting into heated debates and playing the blame game with your child's other parent. In that article, we mentioned the value of refocusing any rising debate onto just the issues related to furthering the best interests of your children. This can be especially important to remember when you and your spouse are meeting with your children's doctors, school officials or day care providers.

Family businesses at stake in California divorces

When married California couples split up, there are a myriad of issues at stake. A divorce can necessitate resolving child custody, child support and many aspects of property division. One kind of property division is the matter of what is done with a family business.

A woman who owned a prospering public relations business at the time of her divorce found out, to her dismay, that it was considered community property. Because of that, the husband she was divorcing was legally entitled to a stake in it. The woman had to write a check in the staggering amount of $800,000 and give it to her ex-husband in order to buy him out of his share.

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