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Los Angeles Divorce Law Blog

California child support considerations

When children are involved, there are a number of factors which must be determined when the parents decide that they no longer wish to be together. Whether the couple is ending a marriage or simply deciding that they no longer wish to remain a couple, they are each still responsible for providing for their children. This child support is typically addressed in a formal child support order issued by a judge in a California court of law.

The amount of child support that will be ordered is based upon each individual's income and the percentage of time that each individual will be responsible for caring for the child or children. The state of California has specific guidelines regarding this issue. Child custody and visitation are taken into account as a part of this as well.

Child support often misunderstood and misused

When a California family court orders a parent to pay support for his or her children following divorce, the order is not always received with pleasure. Child support payments are often hotly contested, and some studies show that nearly half of those who owe child support default on their payments. However, many parents who are ordered to financially support their children complain that the money they send is not used for the right purpose.

The children of separated parents have the right to a consistent standard of living. Child support payments are meant to improve the chances that the children will not suffer or lack for things they need. Therefore, child support may be used for household expenses that provide the child a healthy and decent lifestyle, such as food, rent or utilities.

Divorce in California: Some of the basics

Statistically, around 41 percent of first marriages in California end prematurely. The divorce rate for second and third marriages in the state is even higher, increasing to 60 percent and 73 percent, respectfully. That is somewhat higher than the national average.

Divorce laws vary from state to state and can be very complex. California is no different, but it may help to be familiar with some of the basics. There is no common-law marriage statute, so in order to be divorced, a couple must have acquired a marriage license and be legally married. This holds true regardless of how long a couple has spent together. This is a no fault state, but certain conditions may still be taken into account by the court and may include abandonment, adultery or domestic violence.

Student loans more often lead to divorce

For generations, research has shown that money contributes to the end of more marriages than any other issue couples may face. This may be because one spouse makes more than the other or the two cannot agree on how to save or spend. Another reason may be because the amount of debt the couple has creates unbearable stress between the spouses. While each California marriage is unique and has its own struggles, a new study shows that one financial issue is causing more divorce recently than in the past.

About one third of surveyed divorced couples concur that money issues created serious problems in their marriage. However, over 10 percent named student loans as a major contributing factor in their divorce. These days, more couples enter marriage with over $30,000 in individual outstanding college debt. This is a heavy obligation, and many spouses find it is too heavy to share.

College needs to be considered as part of child custody decision

Divorce is a fact of life for many California parents. Yet, regardless of the problems that they have with each other, they still have a responsibility to their children. These responsibilities are often outlined as a part of the divorce, child support and child custody agreements.

Child support payments and child custody arrangements are typically what comes to mind when  discussing details regarding the children. In addition to these concerns, the parents will also want to plan ahead for their child's future educational needs. College can be expensive, and how these expenses will be handled should be addressed sooner rather than later. These details can be included as a part of the California divorce process.

Property division and the prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic part of planning for a wedding; however, many California couples discover that it is an essential part of the planning process. As the couple is planning to say "I do," they are not anticipating the end of their relationship. Yet, research shows that approximately half of all marriages end in divorce; this number is even higher for second and third marriages. By discussing financial and property division matters and expectations prior to the wedding, the couple can lay a foundation for communication and planning for future needs.

Typically, property owned prior to the marriage or inherited by one of the individuals is treated as separate property. However, the status of this property can be altered if it is commingled with marital assets or used to support the upkeep of marital assets. Additionally, assets and/or income acquired during the marriage are generally considered community property.

Domestic violence is often a hidden crime

On the surface, one sees a happy couple. Mom, dad and the children enjoy spending time together and visiting with neighbors. Every day, the California parents get up, send the children off to school and then leave for their respective jobs. This may in fact be a happily married couple; it may also be a couple hiding the signs of domestic violence from the rest of the world.

Once the door to the home closes, it is difficult to determine what is going on within the home. Then, when something does happen, it often comes as a surprise to friends and family who assumed that the couple enjoyed a happy marriage. As one neighborhood recently discovered, this is not always the case.

Divorce doesn't have to be overwhelming

There often comes a time when life seems to spiral out of control. There are multiple decisions that need to be made, and the California resident just is not sure what steps need to be taken. Feelings of uncertainty and anxiety can be overwhelming at these times, especially if a divorce is involved.

Experienced guidance can be crucial in keeping on track during this stressful time. There are numerous questions that need to be answered and documents that need to be reviewed prior to making any final decisions. For example, what lifestyle adjustments will need to be made and what should be done with the house are often two of the questions that plague the individual. Other questions regarding health insurance, life insurance, retirement accounts and Qualified Domestic Relations Orders will also need to be addressed.

Duran Duran lead singer accused of decades-old sexual assault

Simon LeBon, front man for the rock band Duran Duran, says he can't apologize for something he was accused of doing more than 20 years ago. The now 59-year-old rocker has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who said LeBon allegedly groped her butt and then her genital area at a California record signing. The woman was an employee at the record shop where the signing took place.

The woman claims she was afraid of the consequences of telling someone and that she was shocked and frozen when the alleged incident occurred. She claims she did tell her boyfriend at the time,  some co-workers and a supervisor. The woman, who was 24 at the time of the supposed incident, is now a therapist in Los Angeles and is not seeking compensation, but she wants an apology.

Electronic privacy important in divorce process

It is often common practice to leave the cell phone or tablet laying somewhere unattended.  Yet, the average California resident has his or her messages, social media account, email and calendar available on these devices. While this habit typically does not lead to problems within one's own home, if the individual is contemplating divorce, this habit may provide the spouse with unintended information.

Paying attention to one's electronic devices is important throughout the divorce process. If left unattended, it is possible that the soon-to-be former spouse will be able to gain access to the device and thus gain access to one's messages, emails and scheduled appointments. Even if access is not possible, many accounts provide notifications that are visible as soon as a button is touched on the device. Again, this can provide unintended information.

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