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Los Angeles Divorce Law Blog

Apps can help manage financial aspects of divorce

The complexities involved ending a marriage do not stop with the decision to do so. The financial challenges involved with separation and divorce in California can be a barrier to a couple arriving at a comprehensive settlement and moving forward with their lives to establish a new normal. This can be particularly true if children are involved.

Tell a friend of a challenge one is trying to face and the response may me "there's an app for that." That now also applies to separation and divorce. There are apps that can help manage almost every financial aspect of a separation or divorce and custody situation.

Financial issues continue to be a significant cause of divorce

The dynamics of marriage have changed significantly over the years. The Cleavers of the 1950s are a distant memory to baby-boomers and incomprehensible to most younger couples. While single-income homes still exist, they are certainly the exception and not the rule. And while double incomes are currently the norm, a woman making more than her husband in California is not, and the disparity in income earning can cause problems in a marriage that may lead to divorce. This is according to recent study on the subject.

The perceived reasons for the conflict are many. Male ego certainly comes into play as does a perceived power struggle. In one instance, a woman who earned more than her husband had the final say in many monetary household decisions. This included vacation plans, where to go for dinner and other household expenses. The resulting tension resolved itself when the husband's income reached a level more equal to hers.

Best interest of the child should be considered in divorce

Marriage is entered with the hope and belief that it will last forever. The sad truth remains that almost 50% of marriages in California end in divorce. When children are involved what can be a difficult and painful decision can become that much more difficult. It is now widely considered that staying together for the sake of the children is not in the best interest of the child or children involved.

It is not divorce that can cause problems for children but the ongoing unresolved conflict between the parents. With the issue of conflict in mind, there are certain considerations to take into account when parents decide to divorce. Children may feel the family conflict and resulting divorce are their fault. Young children have a narrow view of the world and frequently see themselves in the middle of it and something that so radically changes their world must be their fault.

Tamar Braxton pushing for divorce

Infidelity, money issues and no longer sharing the same interests are just a few of the many reasons couples choose to end a marriage. No matter the reason for divorce, one person delaying the inevitable often leads to frustration and greater animosity. A California court has recently received papers from Tamar Braxton asking for a "status only" divorce. If granted, the parties would be legally single but would still have to resolve various financial and child custody issues.

The "Braxton Family Values" star initially filed for divorce from Vince Herbert a year-and-a-half ago, but nothing more was done by either party until 11 months later, when Braxton pursued full custody of the couple's 5-year-old son. At that time, the judge in the case warned that the original filing would be dismissed for inactivity if Braxton was not more aggressive in seeing it through. Although Herbert was given 30 days to respond to her petition, he disregarded her attempts and she sought to finalize the divorce.

Determining spousal support in a divorce negotiation

Deciding to end a marriage is a difficult decision and seldom arrived at lightly in California. Once the decision is made, there are many factors to take into consideration when determining issues such as property division, child custody, and support and spousal support. Of these, spousal support is frequently the last piece of the puzzle to be considered, but it is certainly not the least important.

Spousal support is intended to provide for the lower-earning or non-earning spouse to help prevent unfair economic hardship. The amount and duration of support may be determined by the court and is based on a number of factors. These include financial need of the recipient, length of the marriage, lifestyle during the marriage, age and health of both parties, and the paying spouse's ability to pay.

Child support not subject to statute of limitations

Divorce is seldom easy and can be especially difficult when small children are involved. Child support is frequently part of a divorce settlement where one parent typically pays a specified amount to the other parent, usually on a monthly basis. There are many cases of people owing back child support payments. There is no statute of limitations on child support payments in California.

A recent case involves a divorce that was settled more than 50 years ago. The woman and her husband divorced when their daughter was 3 years old. A judge had ordered that the father pay $210 per month until the girl turned five and then pay $160 per month until she turned 18. The father relocated to Canada shortly after the divorce and did not pay child support.

Joint custody may be in the best interest of the child

It is widely accepted that the best environment for a child to grow up in is a household with two loving parents. For many this is not the reality as almost half of today's marriages in California end in divorce. Courts once thought that the best scenario in the event of a divorce was giving full custody to the mother. However, recognition that a loving father plays a crucial role in promoting the well-being of the child is causing more courts to treat the parents as equal partners as much as possible. The best interest of the child is the court's first concern.

There are two types of custody, legal and residential. Residential is typically focused on where the child sleeps. This can be one parent or the other, or both in a true shared custody situation. An equal division of parenting time, where practical, is the goal of many courts. Legal custody has to do with making decisions for one's child for everything such as health care, education, school activities and religion to name a few.

Community property, debt and its impact on one's credit

In today's world a good credit score is a very valuable asset. It can affect one's ability to get credit and can also be a factor in obtaining employment. A married couple often builds a credit history jointly through shared credit cards, mortgages and car loans. If the couple divorces, these debts may be considered part of community property in California.

California is a community property state and as such debt acquired during the marriage is typically considered community property, potentially making each partner equally responsible for the debt. When it comes to negotiating a settlement, it is possible that one person may agree to take on responsibility for a car loan and the other may take responsibility for a mortgage on a summer house, just to give a couple of examples. However, just because the divorcing couple agree and the judge does as well, that will have no affect on one's obligation to the creditors.

California woman successful sues for child support after decades

After almost five decades of being divorced, a woman will finally be receiving support from her former husband for their now adult child. The California resident successfully sued her former husband for child support he owed for their 52-year-old daughter who was 3 at the time of her parents' divorce. The man apparently fled the country in the 1970s rather than make support payments.

The woman worked to put her now successful daughter through college, but as older age approaches, she says the money has been tight. She said when she realized there is no statute of limitations on child support, she decided she would try to get her former husband to pay up. The man was ordered to pay $160 a month more than 50 years ago, but with interest added at 10 percent per year, that amounted to $170,000 in back payments. 

Community property state treats debt differently in divorce

Dividing up debt does not follow absolute rules in a divorce proceeding. Even though one party assumes all of the debt by being the only person named on a credit card account, for example, courts will sometimes order that the other party pay some or all of the account balance. Courts generally have the authority to divide assets and debt with a certain discretionary authority intended to achieve fairness in divorce.  California is a community property state and thus the rules for debt and asset division are somewhat at variance with the majority of states.

In a community property state, any debt incurred after the marriage date and before the date of separation is community property for which both spouses are equally liable. The same rule applies to assets acquired after the date of marriage: they are owned by husband and wife as community property. The presumption is that the debts and assets will be divided on a 50-50 basis.  In community property states, assets and debts obtained prior to the marriage stay in the name of the original owner.

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