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Parents can choose whether to fight a child custody dispute

In a previous article on our website, we discussed the importance of child custody and visitation rights during divorce proceedings. Arguably, issues involving children offer the most fertile ground for intense emotion-based decision-making.

What many parents fail to realize is their children are watching them throughout this process. Personal attacks against a spouse may adversely affect a child's future relationship with that parent.

Important facts regarding social media and your divorce

In one of our previous blog postings, we discussed the likelihood of one spouse using subpoena powers to obtain adverse information about their spouse's social media postings. In that article, we revealed that the social networking company Facebook has taken a rather defensive posture regarding such disclosure.

According to that company's website, a federal statute known as the Stored Communications Act prohibits them from disclosing user content such as photographs, timeline posts and other similar digital data to non-governmental parties in matters litigated in civil court.

Can California put a lien against my house for child support?

In California, a parent who does not have primary physical custody of a child is considered the child's noncustodial parent. Under California law, both parents are required to provide for a child's care and welfare. In most cases, that means that the noncustodial parent will be required to provide money to the custodial parent in order to offset his or her costs of providing housing, food, medical insurance and other services for the child.

The California legislature has enacted laws that enable the Department of Child Support Services to take enforcement action against a noncustodial parent who fails to honor a court awarded child support order. Some of these measures can be rather extreme in their operation. For example, the DCSS is allowed to suspend licenses, intercept tax returns, report negative information about the nonpaying parent to credit reporting agencies and even deny the issuance of passports.

Child custody complicated by international abductions

If you share a child with your spouse and are currently contemplating divorce, you should know that Alameda County will generally require both parties to attend counseling services. These services are offered at no cost to either party and are designed to smooth out issues related to child custody and visitation rights.

As mentioned in a previous blog post on our website, some parents are unable to reach consensus through the Child Custody Recommending Counseling Services. In the most extreme examples of these disagreements one of the parents may choose to abduct the child and abscond with them internationally.

Advice for divorcing California couples who need to divide art

When going through a divorce in California, people may find that one of the most lengthy processes that they go through is in dividing their wealth and their assets. While most of this may just mean splitting up bank accounts, investments, and other tangible things that can be split in half with relative ease, what should people do when they need to divide things like art, which cannot be evenly divided? How do they decide who gets a sculpture or a painting?

One thing to remember is that this is not going to be a strictly financial decision, like dividing a savings account. Art collectors often feel emotionally attached to specific pieces, so couples will need to work to find solutions that make both sides happy, even if those solutions are not perfectly even from a financial perspective.

Important California child custody and visitation tips

After a divorce, it is common for both spouses to feel a certain level of distrust and anger towards each other. Child custody issues and visitation rights are perhaps the two most divisive issues between parents who share a child. Arguments can erupt easily, and emotions can run high whenever warring ex-spouses must deal with one another in matters regarding their child.

However, it is important to always remember that how your child views your relationship with your ex-spouse may negatively influence his or her own relationships in the future. That's why you should adopt a policy of interacting with your ex-spouse as if you were at your job. Be polite, limit your use of profanity and refrain from name-calling and other personal attacks. Honor your pickup and drop-off times just as you would show up to work: on time, every time.

Is a summary dissolution the same as a divorce?

Sometimes, couples headed for divorce decide that remaining married to each other simply unbearable. Many unhappy couples approach their attorneys wanting to dissolve their marriages as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the California Legislature has placed a six-month "cooling-down" requirement for all divorces. The state recognizes that some couples will reconcile after being initially served with divorce papers.

However, if both sides are in total agreement with regards to the divorce and meet certain criteria, they may be able to file a summary dissolution. The following are some of the more notable requirements of the summary dissolution:

California recognizes August as child support awareness month

On Aug. 1, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. officially recognized August as child support awareness month in California. As part of the initiative Governor Brown took the opportunity to remind parents of the importance of remaining involved in the lives of their children.

According to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau study, almost two-thirds of noncustodial parents are not actively engaged with their children. In fact, the study found that parents without custody maintained little and sometimes even no contact with their children.

California child custody law regarding international abduction

Divorcing couples with children are sometimes unable to reach a consensus regarding child custody and visitation rights. Generally, when that happens, the court will order both parents to attend a meeting with Child Custody Recommending Counseling Services. This agency is located near the Hayward Courthouse in Alameda County. The services are offered at no cost to either parent and are designed to provide the court with a neutral, third-party assessment as to which parent should receive primary custody, visitation rights and other related issues. The court will then consider these recommendations when formulating child custody determinations.

Unfortunately, some parents decide that they are unhappy with the court-ordered child custody arrangements and flee with the child to another country. California shares its southern border with Mexico, and Canada is only two states away to the north. What can a parent do if the child's other parent has engaged in international abduction?

What is a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity?

If parents are married when a child is born California law assumes that the husband is the father and the wife is the mother. When a child is born and the parents are unmarried, the parentage of the child needs to be legally established. A Declaration of Paternity is one of the ways to do this. The Declaration of Paternity says who the legal parents of the child are. Hospitals are required to provide to any unwed mother and attempt to provide to the man identified by the mother as the biological father a voluntary Declaration of Paternity.

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