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Are you ready for divorce?

Whether you have been married for five years or 15, you have three kids no kids, or you own significant assets or no assets as a couple, the decision to divorce is never a light one to make. Before you and your spouse decide to legally end your union, you should decide if your marriage is salvageable or if divorce is the best option. Psychology Today details six signs your California marriage is truly over.

According to the report, the inability to resolve differences without causing harm to the relationship causes couples to avoid conflict and disagreement altogether. Avoiding conflict does not make a marriage stronger. Rather, it usually results in one party bullying the other into submission, which further results in increased distance, loss of respect and gradual withdrawal from the relationship. If you and your spouse have reached this point, your marriage may be near its end.

Things you should know about spousal support in California

Divorce is an emotionally trying, stressful time that can be exacerbated by splitting assets and determining child and spousal support amounts. In California, one domestic partner or spouse may be required by the court to pay partner support or spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony. To determine partner or spousal support, there must be an open court case. This must be one of two things: a domestic violence restraining order or a legal separation, annulment or divorce.

The judge may also order that temporary support be paid as the case is settling. The amount of alimony or spousal support is based on a long list of factors. Some of them include the following:

  •          How long the partnership or marriage lasted
  •          What is required for partners to maintain the same quality of life they had while being married
  •          The amount that each person can pay
  •          Health and age of both parties
  •          Property and debts of each party
  •          Whether a job would make it hard for either partner to care for children

Is my ex trying to alienate my kids from me?

Not all divorced parents get along with each other. After all, they are divorced for a reason. However, you may wonder if something is seriously wrong if your ex appears to be making attempts to keep your children from having a relationship with you. You and other California residents in the same situation may want to learn about parental alienation syndrome.

As Psychology Today explains, parental alienation syndrome defines a series of behaviors that are common when one parent tries to turn the kids against the other parent. This behavior is harmful and not normal, as you may suspect, but unfortunately, it is also not uncommon.

Petitioning for more parenting time in California

California recognizes two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody is the type of custody over which most parents fight, as most parties want as much time with their little ones as possible. In an ideal situation, the courts will award each parent equal amounts of custody, but most situations are not ideal. In non-ideal situations, the courts may award one parent more time than the other. Judges are very selective in how they choose to administer custody which is why petitioning for more custody is a challenging and drawn out process.

According to California Courts, judges award custody based on what is in the best interests of the child. To determine what is best for the child, the courts will consider several factors. Those factors are as follows:

  •       The age of the child
  •       The emotional connection between parent and child
  •       The child's health
  •       Each parent's aptitude to care for the child
  •       Any record of substance abuse or family violence
  •       The child's connection to his or her school, home and community

How should you come prepared to a child custody hearing?

If you and your spouse have had children together and decide to get a divorce in California, you will need to make some agreements about how your children will be cared for. Some of the angles you will need to explore include the best interests of your children, the location of where you and your soon-to-be-ex will be living, and the current relationships your children have with both you and your spouse. 

Regardless of whether or not you and your spouse are pursuing a joint custody agreement or you are vying for sole custody, the better prepared you are when you arrive at a child custody hearing, the more confidently you may be able to present your desires and negotiate your terms without giving up too much of what you wish for your children. 

Does couples therapy work?

If you and your spouse bicker constantly, find more faults with one another than attributes and are very seriously considering divorce, you may be tempted to give your marriage one last shot and enroll in couples therapy. However, before you invest anymore time and resources into what you both perceive to be a failing marriage, you may want to know if couples therapy in California is effective, and if it is, how effective?

According to Psychology Today, couples counseling, or Emotionally-Focused Therapy, is roughly 75 percent effective. The success rate is based on over 25 years of research done by the American Psychological Association. Outcome studies do not just include couples with minor issues, but those with major stress factors as well, such as military couples, parents of chronically ill children, veterans with PTSD and infertile couples. The results are positive and consistent across a variety of cultural groups.

Can you get child support while your divorce is pending?

If you pay attention to the news or if you have heard a horror story or two, you know that divorces can take years to finalize. However, just because the legal process works slowly does not mean that your bills halt or that your child stops costing you money. While your California divorce is pending, your child will still need healthcare. He or she will still need new clothes for school, food to fill his or her belly and money for sports, field trips and after-school activities. You may worry about how you will pay for those expenses, especially if the other parent is unwilling to contribute. Fortunately, most states, California included, allow for temporary orders.

According to FindLaw, temporary orders are those that a family court hands down when a couple decides to separate, or even before a couple files separation paperwork. Because temporary orders are just that – temporary – hearings regarding them are relatively informal. They are also shorter. Because of this, you should know precisely what you want before you enter the hearing, as the judge is unlikely to give you ample time to explain what you want during the meeting.

How will divorce affect your taxes?

There are many things to think about when you get a divorce in California. While you may focus a lot on child custody and support payments, there are other things that could fall through the cracks. This does not mean they are not as important, though. One such thing is the tax consequences of getting a divorce. If you understand how a divorce affects your tax situation before your divorce is final, then you can make sure your settlement helps to offset those tax burdens.

One of the first ways divorce impacts your taxes, according to TaxAct, is who claims the children. Being able to claim your children gives you tax credits and lowers your tax liability. If you cannot claim the children, you may end up paying much more than usual. Typically, parenting plans outline who claims the children. A common plan is alternating the years you can claim them with one of you claiming this year, the other the next year and so on.

What is paternity fraud?

When a mother names you the father of her child in California, you should do everything possible to verify it is the truth. Being the legal father of a child means you become responsible for that child. This includes financial support. If you find out later that you are not really the father, you have little recourse. Sometimes, a mother will name someone even though she is not sure he is the father. According to Very Well Family, this is paternity fraud.

Most of the time, the mother knows you are not the father, but for whatever reason, she wants you to be. You may sign a legal paper stating you are the father. If you do that, there is not a requirement to have a DNA test. You may never take a test to scientifically prove paternity if you admit you are the father.

Staying focused on the kids when getting divorced

There are many worries Californians may have when getting divorced. When they are parents, this generally includes major concerns about how the divorce will impact their kids. It is important for parents to remember that there are many things they can do to protect their kids in relation to a divorce.

One is staying focused on their kids’ well-being when navigating divorce issues involving the children. One major such issue is child custody. Keeping the child’s best interest as the main focus point is critical when going through custody negotiations and proceedings. Skilled California divorce attorneys can help parents in the state with pursuing child custody solutions well-tailored to their children’s needs and well-being.

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