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Bay Area Family Law Blog

Child support and the disabled adult child: What to know

One of the most common assumptions people make is that child support automatically stops at a child's eighteenth birthday. There are a number of reasons, however, that this might not be what happens in your case.

In California, one major reason that support might not end when your child turns 18 is that he or she has a mental or physical disability that leaves him or her "incapacitated from earning a living" and "without sufficient means." In that case, each parent is expected to continue paying support "to the extent of their ability" indefinitely.

Child support and extracurricular activities: What to know

Divorced parents often have a misconception about child support: it's just for the basics necessities. It isn't.

Sure, regular expenses used to calculate the percentage of support each parent has to provide will include the basics: food, shelter and clothing. However, it's also going to include any extracurricular activities, like gymnastics, ballet or martial arts lessons in which your child is already involved—even if you feel that it shouldn't, especially if you weren't a big fan of the activity in the first place.

Convincing the judge you can be supportive of the your co-parent

The last thing you may feel like doing after going through a difficult marriage and a subsequent divorce is being supportive of your ex-spouse. However, if you have children together, that's precisely what you need to do if you want to convince a judge to give you custody.

In California, there's no automatic presumption that favors joint custody over sole custody. The judge has the ability to award custody as he or she sees fit according to what's in the best interests of your children. However, the law specifically states that the court must consider "which parent is more likely to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent."

You can lose custody and your freedom for parental kidnapping

Many parents don't realize that they can be arrested and charged with kidnapping their own child. However, the law in California is very clear: If you withhold a child from his or her lawful custodian or legal guardian, that's a crime -- even if you are the child's biological parent. This is usually referred to as a "parental abduction."

It's also a crime to intentionally deprive the child's other parent of shared custody or visitation when he or she is entitled to it. This is usually known as "interference with child custody."

Divorce season begins as soon as the holidays are over

When the Christmas season ends, "divorce season" usually begins. It's such a common occurrence that family law attorneys even refer to the first Monday after Christmas break as "Divorce Day," because their email boxes are usually clogged with requests for appointments and the phones start ringing off the hook.

Why is the end of December and the first of January such a big rush for divorces?

Putting all your assets on the table may help you preserve them

Marriages don't usually sour overnight. Instead, they tend to slowly fall apart, with each spouse gradually becoming more independent and thinking of himself or herself as an individual, rather than part of a couple. That's often reflected in their finances as well, because it isn't uncommon for one or both spouses to have hidden a little money away for a rainy day without telling the other person.

California's laws, however, make it very clear: In the event of a divorce, each spouse has a duty to disclose all of their financial information and assets. There's several different reasons for this:

Attorney tips to prepare for child custody litigation

Unfortunately, not all divorces proceed smoothly. One of the most common areas of contention between parents is child custody. While California courts always urge parents to work out child custody arrangements and parenting plans themselves, sometimes litigation becomes the only option remaining.

No one wants to go to court to determine how their children should be parented, but it is an unfortunate reality in California. As family law attorneys, we have seen even the most amicable parent-to-parent relationship dissolve into chaos. If you and your co-parent cannot reach an agreement regarding child custody, we would like to offer a few tips to help you prepare for a potential courtroom battle.

Child support: Working together for the good of the children

As a long-standing family law firm serving Livermore and Bay Area families, we have watched many parents struggle with child support issues. Most of the time, both parents want to do right by their children, but feelings of inequity or financial betrayal may muddy the waters. When this happens, the spirit of mutual cooperation crumbles, leaving parents bewildered and children hurt.

In our practice, we have seen how divorcing parents lose sight of the mission behind the child support system: Both parents contributing to the care and financial well-being of the children. Two scenarios in which the system has failed are discussed below.

Can you have your divorce petition dismissed?

Maybe you filed for divorce as an emotional response to something that you've now worked through with your spouse, and you'd like to stay married. Maybe there have been other significant life changes that make it appear your marriage isn't going to end after all. Once the paperwork is in, can you stop it, or are you stuck having to move forward with a divorce you no longer want?

You can definitely ask to have your divorce petition dismissed by the court. You'll need to file a motion to dismiss with the court where you initially filed for your divorce. This motion will then have to be granted by the court before the paperwork is taken off the books.

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