Posts Tagged ‘child support’

How Can You Prepare For Divorce

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How can you prepare when divorce seems imminent? Since divorce is not only a dissolution of a marriage but a splitting of finances and assets and potentially a custodial battle for children, it’s helpful to plan your steps well ahead of making a move to end your union. Here are five steps you can take now to assure the smoothest outcome in your divorce proceedings.

How to be mentally prepared for divorce

The best way to prepare mentally for divorce is to accept that it is happening. If all other efforts to make your marriage work have failed, understand that while you may not want this to happen and it may not feel right, this is your predicament. Start to seek out emotional help from friends, a support group, and a therapist. Do not resort to confiding in or talking badly about your spouse to your children or on social media.

How to be financially prepared for divorce

As soon as it becomes clear that things are heading south, start getting copies of your family’s financial documents, including you and your spouse’s paycheck stubs, tax filings, bank statements, receipts for purchases, and records of expenses and debts that will need to be provided to your lawyer.  Prepare to amend wills and beneficiary designations on insurance policies to make sure that your spouse is no longer named in these. Open a separate bank account, remove your spouse’s name from credit cards and start saving money.

It is a good time to start budgeting for your life without your partner and to pay down debt while there are still two incomes. Cutting expenses and increasing income will need to become a priority. The sooner you replace your spouse’s income, the smoother your transition.

How to prepare for divorce when you have children

A big concern for those who are divorcing with children is who will get custody. To support your position on the matter, be sure to document who is involved in the daily care of your children. Obtain school logs to show who is involved in picking up the children, parent-teacher meetings and extracurricular activities. Since many parents are granted custody based on who is physically present in the home with the children, it may be advisable not to move out. In the case of any danger to the children, be sure to get police reports of past incidents or other records to establish any risk to their safety.

How to get the right divorce help

There is ample divorce help available to prepare you for what is to come. Divorcée Helen Thabile states, “I researched the laws in my state, checked out the online resources that the local court offered, then I hired a lawyer.” Start by establishing which state where you will file your divorce, as your state of residency may not have jurisdiction over your marriage. There are also instances where another state has better divorce laws.

Research lawyers, seek out recommendations from friends and family, and consult few of divorce attorneys to get a feel for who will be right for you. Some consider a mediator if things are likely to be amicable. Once you’ve retained a lawyer, be sure to be organized, provide them what they need before deadlines and be proactive.

What happens after the divorce is filed?

After the divorce is filed, make sure you follow the direction of your lawyer and the courts to assure things are done thoroughly and in a timely manner. Make sure the emotional, physical and financial well-being of you and any children are cared for during this time. Most of all, plan for your future so you can anticipate great things moving forward.

Nobody looks forward to going through the divorce process. If you need help as you prepare for the dissolution of your marriage, reach out to us today. Our divorce attorneys at the Thomas Hogan Law Office Modesto can assist you.

Child Support: Termination and continuation beyond age 18

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In the start of a family law case with minor children, the parties often devote much attention to establishing an amount for child support.  In almost all cases when parents separate the court will institute an amount of support payable by one part to the other for the parties’ children.  This ordered support continues until support is modified by the court or terminated by law.  This article addresses those circumstances which give rise to the termination of child support and circumstances which may allow it to continue into adulthood.

Termination of Child Support

As a matter of law there are certain conditions which terminate an obligation to provide support for a child.  Generally child support will end when:

  1. The child dies.
  2. The child is emancipated.
  3. The child gets married.
  4. The child is adopted terminating the parental rights of the supporting parent.
  5. The child reaches the age of 18 and is no longer a full time high school student.
  6. The child reaches age 19 (regardless of whether the child is still in high school or not).

Absent certain exceptional circumstances if one of the terminating conditions listed above occurs, child support terminates as an operation of law.  After such happens the parent receiving support is obligated to notify the parent paying support and is obligated to refund any support paid after support obligation terminates.

Child Support into adulthood

The court can in certain circumstances, as listed below, order that support for a child continues into adulthood.  However, if these circumstances do not exist the court lacks the authority to continue child support.

Support to pay for colleges

While some states have instituted laws that require parents to chip in for their adult child’s college education, California has not done so.  The court cannot order a parent to contribute to an adult child’s college expenses over that parent’s objection.  However, the parents can agree to pay for a child’s college education, whether informally or as a court order, and if made into a court order the court can enforce that agreement according to its terms.  Absent such an agreement, a court order to pay for an adult child’s college education expenses is invalid and is beyond the court’s authority.

Support for adult disabled children

Family code 3910(a) creates an obligation for a parent to support “a child of whatever age who is incapacitated from earning a living and without sufficient means”.  The courts have generally imposed a support obligation under this statute when the facts or circumstances indicate that the child has a physical or mental disability which prevents them from being able to work if they chose to do so.  In cases where a now adult child has such a disability a careful examination of the facts is needed to determine the child’s vocational interests and their ability to work (whether with or without accommodations).   Cases dealing with support for adult children who may be disabled are incredibly complicated and fact specific and should not be undertaken without legal assistance.

If you have any questions regarding child support and its termination please contact our office and set up a time to meet with our attorneys.

Can the court include income of my new spouse in calculating child support?

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The fundamental purpose of child support in California is to ensure that the needs of children are provided for.  Under California law each parent has an obligation to financially support their children (Family Code §4053(b)).  Practically, the state has adopted a uniform guideline formula to calculate the amount of support that should be paid keeping in mind each parent’s obligation to support their child.  Simply speaking, the guideline formula calculates support based upon each parent’s income and the amount of time each parent has with her child.

To ensure that a child is supported, in the appropriate case the court may count a new spouse’s income in calculating support.  However, under the law a new spouses’ income should not be considered except in an extraordinary case (Family Code §4057.5(a)(1)).  The family code lists examples of these extraordinary cases, including when a parent “voluntarily or intentionally quits work or reduces income” or when a parent “intentionally remains unemployed or underemployed and relies on a subsequent spouse’s income” (Family Code §4057.5(b)).  The law recognizes that in this case it is appropriate to use a new spouse’s income to calculate support so that the entire burden for supporting a child does not fall on the parent who is still working.  (Marriage of Paulin (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1378, 1384, fn. 5).

It is important that if you are facing these issues that you contact an experienced family law attorney to ensure that child support is set in an amount that is fair and proper.