Solana Beach Family Law Blog

Should you fight to keep the house?

Part of every divorce is deciding who gets to keep what. In fact, dividing marital property is generally the reason most divorces take so long and possibly end up in court. Deciding what you want to fight for can be a very difficult decision. For some people, their decisions are based on sentiment while others fight tooth and nail for something simply out of revenge. While it might be tempting to insist that you keep your future ex-husband's cherry red classic Corvette, it is more important to focus on your future and what you need to be financially comfortable.

Usually, the family home is one of the most major assets a couple owns. It is also a source of contention during the settlement process. Before you decide that you absolutely have to have it, it is important to consider certain factors.

Mother in child custody battle over Muslim extremist allegations

There may be parents in California facing similar post-divorce problems as a woman in another state who has made some serious accusations against her former spouse. Currently engaged in a child custody battle with her ex, the woman says the man is a Muslim extremist whose ideologies are a detriment to her children, particularly, her son. She claims her son acts very different toward her every time he comes back from visiting his father.

The woman, who happens to be the mother of three children, two of whom she shares with the boy's father and another child from a previous relationship, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and a Muslim. She says her marriage ended in part because of Muslim extremist ideals that her then husband had adopted that were negatively affecting their relationship. For instance, the woman claims her husband at the time wanted her to allow him to bring an additional woman into their home as a second wife.

Child custody and visitation may be strained over the holidays

Around this time of the year, separated or divorced couples often face extra anxiety over the enforcement or implementation of their child custody and visitation orders. Generally, in California a property settlement and final separation agreement will have a detailed child custody and visitation agreement attached or incorporated therein. Alternatively, the parties may have entered a separate agreement that was executed independently of the final settlement of other matters between them.

In either event, it is usually the case that the custody and visitation order sets forth the precise details of the hours, days and terms of holiday visitation matters. That doesn't mean, however, that the parents do not face additional stress at this time of the year. For one thing, someone always needs to change the hours prescribed by the written order. That may be even more true when one parent is traveling into the state to have visitation or where one or more children are taking air flights to be with the out-of-state parent.

Child custody court considers numerous factors in its decision

Child custody cases in California are generally guided by the principle of the "best interests of the children," which is the universal test used by state courts throughout the country. More specifically, however, child custody courts will look to a number of factors to determine custody in a contested case. The courts will try to find the factors that are important to the facts of the case to bring about a decision that reflects the best interests of the children.

For example, the courts will look to the respective homes and living conditions of the parents or, in some cases, of a parent as compared with those offered by the grandparents. The quality of the homes, the facilities, the resources and the amount of space available are practical measures that are examined. The preferences of the children are also considered, but this factor is more influential for older children.

Domestic violence victims can access software app for help

The victims of domestic violence in California are almost always women. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one in three women will experience domestic violence by a spouse or other intimate partner within their lifetime. Experts across the country have developed a software app that women can use to identify the red flags and develop some knowledge on how to best exit from an abusive relationship.

Where a victim is represented by experienced family law counsel, that person should fully share the history and dynamics of the situation with her attorney. The legal system provides protections against domestic assault and harassment. An experienced attorney can connect the victim with various resources in the community and take action to engage the assistance of the law enforcement system.

New legal remedies are passed to combat domestic violence

Recent events in other states have reminded the country that domestic violence is a runaway dynamic that can cause far more human suffering than was ever thought to be possible. The problem has resulted in the creation of innovative legislation recently passed and introduced in California. It seems unlikely, but the new law has validated the role of the hairstylist and salon professionals as sounding boards and therapeutic resources for many women caught in that horrific web of domestic violence.

The new law intends to promote awareness on the part of salon professionals about the dangers and ravages of domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of abuse of the weak or poor in society. One nonprofit organization, Human Options, is dedicated to breaking the cycle of this destructive societal dynamic. It has offered its services to salons across Orange County to go in and teach their stylists how to recognize domestic abuse and violence. From there, stylists will receive training in how to respond to those domestic violence situations that they identify.

Can retirement impact your child support obligations?

Divorce used to be the realm of younger couples. For decades, it was typically those who had been married for less than twenty years who sought to put an end to their marriages. These days, however, so-called gray divorces are more common than ever. Couples at or near the age of retirement are deciding to call it quits. Divorcing later in life can have a lot of potential consequences for spouses and their children.

If you and your spouse adopted or if there is a substantial age gap between spouses, it is possible for one spouse to be near retirement age while there are still minor children in the house. That can create a situation that is complicated for everyone. After all, retirement can become more difficult if your assets end up depleted due to a divorce. Even in cases with a lot of marital assets, divorce can leave both spouses with less than they hoped for in terms of retirement. When you combine reduced assets and no active income with financial demands like child support, there can be complications.

Divorce mediation and collaborative divorces are gaining traction

Alternative dispute resolution is a popular alternative to adversarial litigation in California and nationwide. A special form of ADR is divorce mediation, which is an attempt to guide the parties to a resolution through the assistance of a neutral mediator. Closely related is the concept of a collaborative divorce.

In a collaborative divorce, both parties and their attorneys commit to a cooperative process that involves only brief contact with the court. The commitment is to engage in a collaborative process where each party seeks the best for all concerned, including the children. There is an interdisciplinary approach that includes a psychological expert, a financial expert and a child specialist where applicable.

Child custody issue remains unresolved in celebrity's divorce

In California, as in every other state, the facts of each divorce are unique to the particular parties and circumstances. Some divorces do not deal with child custody because there are no children, the children are adults or the parties have already established a resolution of those issues. Where the matter does require the resolution of conflicts over child custody, the divorcing parties must discuss their goals and aspirations regarding the children in detail with their respective family law attorneys.

In the child custody arena, planning in advance and getting prepared for one's strongest presentation is critically important. This applies where the parties have not already communicated an agreement to their respective attorneys. In California, public scrutiny of unresolved child custody conflicts are often publicized because they pertain to certain popular celebrities.

The prenup, its contents, and the importance of this document

In our last post, we talked about how prenuptial agreements can greatly affect any divorce, let alone one that involves a massive amount of assets and property. Today, we want to talk about this a little bit more by outlining what you can and can't include in your prenuptial agreements.

There are a few very important topics that you can include in your prenuptial agreement that will protect you in case of a high asset divorce. A prenup can protect your estate plan, as well as any business you own or any family property that you want to protect from the divorce process. Additionally, your prenuptial agreement will differentiate between what property is deemed "marital property" (shared by the spouses) and "separate property" (exists outside of the marriage for legal purposes).

In Solana Beach and throughout the greater San Diego area, Ratzer Family Law is your best choice for experienced representation with personalized service. Contact us online or call 858-925-8099 today.

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