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Bay Area Family Law Blog

Failure to pay child support can have consequences

When parents file for divorce, they still have a responsibility to support their children both emotionally and financially. California uses the income shares model of determining child support, meaning both parents’ income is factored into the child support payment. Children are entitled to receive the same amount of financial support that they would have if their parents would have stayed together. Yet, when one parent fails to make their court-ordered child support payment, there can be severe consequences. Not only is it a federal law to stay on top of child support payments, but it is California state law as well. 

The consequences of not paying child support vary depending on how many payments have been missed and whether it is a recurring problem. Some enforcement actions include the following:

Your divorce and your mortgage

If you are one of the many residents in California who is facing an impending divorce, you may know that California is one of a few community property states. This fact may impact your final divorce settlement but it does not at all dictate what the specific terms of that agreement will be. What creates an equal distribution of a marital estate can vary based on the circumstances. One factor often in play is the value of a couple's home.

If your spouse wants to keep your home, there are some things you should know and do before you agree to that. As explained by The Mortgage Reports, you should never allow your former spouse to keep the house if your existing joint mortgage remains intact. Many people assume that if they have a divorce decree that identifies their spouse as responsible for the mortgage payments, that is sufficient. However, that is not true.

What happens to home equity when you divorce?

Divorce in California, in its simplest terms, involves untangling your personal, professional and financial life from that of your ex, and there are certain key matters you will typically need to work through as you navigate the process. If you and your former spouse purchased real estate together, one such matter you will need to work through involves how you plan to divide any equity you have in your shared home.

According to NerdWallet, most divorcing couples figuring out what to do with shared home equity choose to take one of three paths. In the first, and arguably easiest, scenario, you and your ex can simply list your home for sale, and once it sells, you can split any proceeds you make on it between you. That way, you can each have a little nest egg to utilize as you embark on life without one another.

Recognizing signs of parental alienation

Regrettably, many California divorces end with hurt feelings and anger, and in some cases, these feelings can lead one parent to attempt to turn a shared child against the other parent. At Family Law Group, LLP, we recognize that one parent’s attempts to turn a child against the other may constitute parental alienation, and that parental alienation can have serious negative effects on your child.

Just what might parental alienation look like, and is there anything you can do if you believe your child is a victim of it? According to Psychology Today, parental alienation can occur when one parent essentially “programs” a shared child to feel or think negatively about the other parent. This can take on many different forms, but anything that involves one parent nurturing or encouraging a child’s rejection of the other parent could potentially constitute parental alienation.

What matters can you address in a parenting plan?

The co-parenting relationship is often a complex one, and if you count yourself among the many people across California who are coming to terms with new custody arrangements, you may be feeling the strain. You may, however, find that you can help make the relationship between you and your child’s other parent an easier, less contentious one if the two of you can sit down and hash out the details of a parenting plan.

Per Psychology Today, a parenting plan is a document that outlines the terms both parents agree to with regard to caring for the son or daughter they have together. While the areas addressed in a parenting plan can vary considerably based on, say, the age of the child or whether that child has special needs, many co-parents find it improves their co-parenting relationship when their plans address several distinct areas.

How children of divorce benefit from joint-custody arrangements

Seeing your child less frequently than you might like can prove difficult under any circumstances, but if you are seeing less of your child because of a new California joint-custody arrangement, it can be even more emotionally exhausting. At Family Law Group, LLP, we recognize that a joint-custody arrangement is not always everyone’s preference. However, we also understand that it may help you adjust to your new situation if you recognize how your new joint-custody arrangement can benefit your child.

According to Time, children whose parents share custody of them tend to fare better in a number of key areas than their peers who also have divorced parents, but who live with just one of those parents. To arrive at this determination, researchers reviewed nationwide data relating to nearly 150,000 children in either the sixth or ninth grades, looking at not only their familial and custody arrangements, but their overall physical and emotional well-being.

What is palimony?

If you have lived with someone in California for several years without benefit of marriage and your relationship now seems headed for a breakup, you need to know about California’s unique palimony law. FindLaw explains that this law allows some unmarried people to claim and receive spousal support from their long-time cohabitant when the relationship comes to an end.

Palimony came out of the high-profile case of Michelle Triola and the famous actor Lee Marvin back in the 1970s. After living together for numerous years, Triola and Marvin came to a parting of the ways in 1971, at which point Triola sued Marvin for half his property and de facto spousal support.

Understanding the impact of your divorce on your children

When you are preparing to divorce your spouse in California, one of your immediate concerns may be how this decision could impact your children and their subsequent ability to cope with a major change in the dynamic of their family. At Family Law Group, LLP, we have been able to provide support and assistance to families as they navigate through a divorce. 

One of the most important things you would benefit from remembering is that your children will undoubtedly experience a range of emotions that may include anger, anxiety and depression. Helping them identify their emotions and cope with them in ways that are healthy and productive will require time, patience and a listening ear. According to the AAP News & Journals Gateway, nearly 1 million American children witness their parents get divorced each year. In fact, according to statistics, your divorce is one of over 800,000 annually in the United States. As such, your children are not alone and your undivided support and love are imperative to helping them recognize that just because you and their other parent are getting divorced, your love remains unchanged. 

The effect of divorce on the educational opportunity of children

When a couple in California decide to follow through with getting divorced, they may initially think that their decision will only affect the two of them. However, divorce often has a ripple effect in the way it impacts the people closest to the divorcing couple. Children in particular face a unique set of challenges that result from their parents' decision to separate. 

One of the aspects of a person's life that is most significantly affected by divorce is undoubtedly finances. Because a couple must meticulously separate all shared financials and assets, it often leaves both of them with much less than they had before. Subsequently, statistics show that parents who get divorced often see a noticeable decrease in the income they are able to acquire. At least until enough time has passed that they are able to begin rebuilding their financial foundation. 

Handling a business lawsuit during divorce

As a business owner, you may have an array of challenges to deal with. For example, you could be dealing with seasonal challenges related to your business (such as hiring new staff members with summer approaching), but there may be other hurdles that have caught you completely off-guard. For example, your business may be in the middle of a lawsuit over one issue or another (such as a contract dispute, allegations of sexual harassment, etc.). Moreover, you may be going through issues in your personal life, such as ending your marriage, which could complicate things further.

It is imperative to prevent your divorce from having a negative impact on business litigation. By reviewing the divorce options that you have and doing everything you can to resolve problems with your former spouse and address divorce-related concerns such as a custody dispute and property division, you may be able to divert more of your attention to handling your business’ lawsuit. It can seem daunting to deal with both of these legal matters at the same time, but it is especially important to remain focused during this time and pursue a favorable outcome for your divorce and the lawsuit your business is facing.

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