Archive for July, 2008
Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
California courts have held that the right to a parent belongs to the child. As such, any agreement between the parties to terminate a parent’s rights is subject to judicial scrutiny. In short, without a proper finding by a court that it is in a child’s best interest to terminate a parent’s right any agreement by the parents that intends to terminate or “give up” one of the parent’s parental rights is void.
Furthermore, public policy disfavors termination of parental rights. It is in societies best interest to have the biological parents support a minor child and not tax payers. Thus, terminating a parent’s rights also relieves that parent from the financial responsibility to provide for the child. Should the remaining parent be incapable to provide for the child, public assistance would be necessary for the minor.
If parents wish to enter into an agreement terminating parental rights, they need to seek legal advice on the process and evidence needed to show that such agreement is in the child’s best interest.
For more information, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys at 800-589-9901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, July 24th, 2008
Perhaps one of the more technical aspects of a divorce case is dividing pensions and retirement accounts. In fact, this area is so technical and complex that most family law attorneys will seek advise of experts in an effort to accurately divide a pension or retirement account.
It is prudent for any person divorcing to consult with an attorney before finalizing the division of a pension or retirement account. Usually, this division is done by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This Order is served on the pension plan. The Plan will then divide the account. However, the Order must specify how the pension or retirement account should be divided.
For more information, contact one of our experienced attorneys at 800-589-9901 or email@example.com.
Friday, July 18th, 2008
The duty of child support imposed by Califonia law continues as to an unmarried child who has attained the age of 18 years, is a full-time high school student, and who is not self-supporting, until the child completes the 12th grade or attains the age of 19 years, whichever occurs first.
In some cases, child support can extend beyond the period listed above. For example, parents can be liable to pay support for an adult child of special needs. If a child cannot care for himself or herself, the parent paying support can be ordered to continue child support payments for the benefit of the child.
Similarly, parents can agree to share college expenses for a child after the age of 18. In fact, parents can agree that the paying parent will continue to pay child support to the other parent even after an adult child commences college. This arrangement, however, under recent case law only seems to be valid if the adult child resides in the home with the parent receiving the support. If the child resides on his own, it appears California Child Support Guidelines are inappropriate even though the parents can still agree to share the child’s education costs equally.
While the general rule is that child support ends when a child becomes and adult, there are several exceptions to this rule.
For more information, please contact us at 800-589-9901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
Couples that plan to divorce would be wise to do some type of pre-divorce planning. Some of the issues to keep in mind are: How much money will the supporting spouse have to pay? And, how much money will the supported spouse receive? These are important issues that should be considered. This will allow each party to plan for post-separation days and budget his or her finances.
It is also important to consider issues such as who is moving out of the family residence? How close from the other spouse and children should a person stay? Can a spouse withdraw money from joint accounts? All of these issues are important and can have consequences in a divorce. As such, it is always a good idea for a person who is planning to divorce to meet with an attorney and get legal advise.
However, the type of planning that should not be considered are ways in which to shield assets or hide assets from the other spouse. Spouses have fiduciary duties to each other and if one party is planning ways to hide assets from the other this is a breach of that duty. Similarly, one spouse is required to disclose to the other spouse all of the assets that exists. Omitting assets and failure to disclose is also a breach of that spouses fiduciary duty to the other spouse. Hence, long gone are the days when one spouse started pre-divorce planning well in advance of filing or informing the other spouse about his or her desire to divorce. Courts require that spouses deal with each other fairly and honestly.
Nevertheless, spouses still need to plan for life after separation. For more information and an in depth consultation with one of our caring and affordable attorneys, we can be contacted at 800-589-9901 or email@example.com.
Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
Many clients will call me to inquire about parental rights. Father rights. Grandparent rights. They want to know what rights they have and how they can enforce their rights.
Simply put, the theory of parental rights, whether for mother or for father, are rooted on the constitutional principle that parents have a right to raise their children. However, parental rights must give way to the “child’s best interest”. While a parent has a right to raise his child, the actual custody order or schedule will be based on what the court believes is in the best interest of the child. As such, the court’s concern is not with parental rights but with the child’s rights and interest.
Generally, a child has the right to spend time with both parents and California presumes that it is in the child’s best interest to have frequent and continuous contact with both parents. Hence, the court will create a schedule that furthers the child’s best interests.
Similarly, courts will grant grandparent petitions for visitation if the court believes it will be in the best interest of the child to continue visitation with a grandparent. Once again, the main concern here is the child. If the court has evidence to believe the child and the grandparent have a close relationship, the court may grant visitation rights. However, it the court does not believe there is a close relationship between a grandparent and a child the court can deny visitation rights since it might be detrimental to the child.
Therefore, in any petition for visitation or custody it is always important to keep in mind the child’s best interest. For more information on parental rights please contact one of our aggressive and caring attorneys. We can be reached at 800-589-9901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
California is a No-Fault state. This means that the courts are generally not concerned if one spouse has an affair. This does not affect the outcome of the case. It has no affect on the division of property nor does it affect spousal support.
It generally does not affect child custody and visitation either. However, courts can create certain guidelines. I have seen judges order that neither party introduce significant others to minor children for some determined period of time. The concern in such cases, is for the well-being of the children. If the judge believes that it is in the best interest of the children to have some time to adjust to the divorce, the judge can order that neither parent introduce a new partner to the children. This will allow the children to adjust to the fact the parents are divorcing and will give them time to adjust to the fact that mom or dad has a new romantic interest.
It is therefore important that when a parent is beginning to date, that he or she consider the affect this can have on minor children. Doing so can gain favor in the eyes of the court, or at least it wont make that parent seem insensitive to the needs of the child.
For more information or a free consultation, please feel free to contact one of our caring, aggressive, and affordable attorneys. We can be contacted at 800-589-9901 or email@example.com.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
While it can’t be proved that increasing oil prices directly affects the divorce rate, it is no secrete that financial problems is one of the biggest factors contributing to the high divorce rate in California. Over and over again, I see how financial difficulties puts a strain on a marriage. Usually, arguments over finances spill over onto other issues causing a couple to argue more and with more intensity.
Clearly no one can deny that a slowing economy, an increase in bankruptcy, and an increase in foreclosures has a correlation to the divorce rate in California. While one can argue on whether financial difficulties leads to a divorce, or whether it only brings to light issues that already exist, no one can deny the impact that it has on a marriage.
Similarly, financial strains also impacts the divorces process itself. During a slow economy, many divorcing couples want to minimize the fees they will incur in a divorce. The couple is more amicable to mediation, uncontested divorces, cheap divorces, or having one attorney do all the work for both sides. This can be a great option for couples that can put aside their differences for a common good, preserving the community property and dividing it between themselves as cheaply as possible.
Our firm handles many uncontested cases. This is a fast, economic, and less stressful way to dissolve a marriage. It also helps the couple preserve as much of the assets they have acquired as possible by greatly reducing the cost of the divorce.
For more information or a free consultation, please contact one of our experienced, caring, and affordable attorneys at 800-589-9901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.