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Los Angeles Divorce Law Blog

Divorce and co-parenting

The end of a marriage can have adverse effects on all involved, especially the children. Studies have shown that a family's transition can have a negative bearing on children both academically and behaviorally. In California, experts agree that the difficulties of divorce are most experienced by children. Taking steps to prepare them can be a win-win for all family members.

Being able to identify struggles that a child may be having is important according to professional counselors. Small children are especially vulnerable and may show increased anxiety or frequent illness during separation from Mom and Dad. Older children tend to test the levels of independence and may lose interest in activities or sports. Divorce can bring on a multitude of changes in children. Increased aggression and conflict, low grades and substance abuse are just some of the struggles a child may face.

Child custody versus shared custody

Parents are still the greatest influence when it comes to the happy and healthy future of a child. During divorce and child custody in California, experts agree that both parents should play an equal part. The norm for children, regardless of their age, should be shared parenting in a child custody agreement. As strange as it may seem in 2017, some say court systems still lean toward the mother for physical custody 80 percent of the time.

The long-time belief is that conflict between two divorcing parties will cause undue stress upon the children. Judges allegedly believed that sharing custody places children in an awkward position. Their thoughts may be to avoid the pressure of loyalty struggles and choosing sides with one parent versus the other. To avoid these conflicts, the children are placed in the mother's household with the father having limited visitation.

How divorce will change your tax status

People experience many changes in their lives over the years. A change in marital status can sometimes be the one with the biggest impact on a California resident's life. When a couple decide to divorce it can have an effect on the tax returns of both parties for many years to come.

Whatever date the divorce becomes final, the IRS will consider an individual to be unmarried for the whole of that tax year. It will also change the tax bracket into which one falls. If a marriage is annulled, this will complicate matters for both parties, as the marriage will be deemed to have never happened. This means that both parties will have to re-file their returns under "single" status for all years that are still open.

How to deal with non-physical abuse during divorce

Many people experience bullying during their childhoods. Some California residents are unlucky enough to find themselves married to bullies. Domestic violence takes many forms, including non-physical abuse. This can include being ignored completely, or being subjected to verbal abuse.

For an individual who finally summons the courage necessary to break free from such treatment, the act of separating can put an end to any physical violence. However, verbal abuse can be one of the most difficult things to overcome, as this may continue during divorce negotiations. Often, one spouse may subject the other to verbal tirades in front of their children, and evidence of this behavior may be relevant during custody disputes.

Can spousal support be altered after a change in employment?

At one time, certain professions were considered to be a job for life. These days, the employment market is such that California residents could face changes in their circumstances at almost any time. If a change in circumstances comes to an individual who is paying spousal support, can he or she apply to have the amount adjusted?

Spousal support, along with certain other support payments such as child support, can be reviewed in light of a change of circumstances. This applies whether the payment was set by a court or by mutual agreement between the two parties. However, the reason for the change in circumstances that lead to the need to reduce the payments may be subject to further examination or questioning.

The warning signs that trouble lies ahead in divorce

It is never easy to discuss relationship problems. Broaching the subject of divorce can be a minefield for California residents, especially when children form part of the equation. There are some signs that may point to the likelihood of particular difficulties in talking to one's spouse about such matters.

A person whose immediate reaction is anger, rather than sorrow, may quickly become vengeful. This is often because the individual fears feeling, or becoming, vulnerable, which can be triggered by underlying abandonment issues or by a deep-seated belief that one does not deserve love. Such an individual is not above using his or her children as part of the manipulation, referring to "us" instead of "me" and refusing to acknowledge that the divorce is between the adults only. This may be an indication that future attempts at co-parenting will be obstructed.

Spousal support: How does it work?

Relationships can be difficult and even painful, especially when they come to an end. Some California residents who are facing divorce know only too well that discussions about money can quickly turn into full-blown arguments. Spousal support is something that often creates tension during divorce.

Also known as alimony, this is money paid to support an ex-spouse. Dating back to Babylonian times, it was paid to wives by their ex-husbands, as women were not permitted to engage in paid work. This is no longer the case, and in fact payments may be paid to either gender. Spousal support (which is not automatic) is typically paid by the higher earner to the one with the lower income, and while it is less common, there are an increasing number of instances where a wife's income outstrips her husband's.

Hidden assets - the truth will come out

Advances in technology are wonderful. While they can be enormously beneficial to individuals and society, they can also be abused and used for illegal and immoral purposes. California residents who are going through divorce may be aware of a particular technology that is sometimes employed in the creation of hidden assets.

Bitcoin is a form of virtual currency, or cryptocurrency, and like any other currency, it has an exchange rate. Users can transfer the Bitcoins to each other directly without using banks or other agencies. The currency is stored in a "wallet," which is identified only by a string of numbers, allowing users to remain anonymous on the face of things. However, it is possible to track down a user's identity forensically.

Victoria Azarenka facing child custody battle over her son

Living in the public spotlight is often the price one has to pay for being a champion in his or her chosen field. For a sportsperson, constant competition is not unusual; however, one would hope that competition would not enter one's private life. When a child custody dispute arises for such an individual, it may cause more disruption than in the lives of most California residents. 

Belarusian-born tennis player Victoria Azarenka, with a former number-one world ranking, gave birth to a son at the end of last year. She returned to the sport and competed at Wimbledon during the summer this year. Shortly after her return home from that competition, she split from her boyfriend, the father of her son. Her ex is reported to have filed custody papers shortly before Azarenka canceled her plans to compete in the Stanford Classic tournament recently, although Azarenka reportedly cited a virus as her reason for withdrawing.

Child custody: Avoid focusing only on the major holidays

Labor Day is around the corner, and who will have the children? When California couples go through a divorce, one or both parents may be overwhelmed with all the details. Sometimes they fall into the trap of considering only the major holidays during child custody negotiations and the drafting of parenting plans.

Once agreements are reached about how Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving and Easter will be allocated, they might consider Labor Day and Halloween, not forgetting Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Many families have traditional manners in which they spend these "lesser" holidays, and abruptly ending those traditions can be traumatic for the children. To create consistency, parents can agree to allocate these holidays in a permanent way, or they can alternate every year -- depending on their traditions and other circumstances.

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