Solana Beach Family Law Blog

Divorce mediation can help couples who see warning signs

Social scientists have found that there are certain indicators that a couple is headed toward trouble. While not every person has the foresight to see warning signs of divorce, a person who is able to see potential problems may be able to be proactive and enter divorce mediation with a partner, and eliminate some of the problems of ending a marriage. Individuals in California who see some of the following warning signs may wish to think about consulting with a mediator. 

Age is a major predictor of problems within a marriage. Whether a couple married very early in life, or whether they were people who chose to marry after the age of 32, both categories put them at increased risk of divorce. Couples who marry in their teens run a similar risk as people who do not finish high school. Both parties may expect to end a marriage early. 

If you're retiring after a divorce, reconsider support amounts

No matter your age or life situation, going through a divorce is a difficult prospect. There are many challenges involved in untangling your life from your spouse's, including making decisions about asset division, child custody, and spousal and child support. In cases with a clear prenuptial agreement, many of these issues may already have been addressed. For everyone else, however, spouses or the courts have to set terms for the divorce.

Once the courts finalize your divorce, life starts to move on. You may start a new relationship or just enjoy the time you get to spend with your kids. You pay your child support, and in cases where your spouse stayed at home to tend to your family, you may pay spousal support as well. While the amount you've been paying is comfortable, now that you're considering retirement, it's starting to look impossible to maintain.

Worried about California property division issues?

No two divorces are exactly the same. When it comes to property division in divorce, however, California shares similarities to eight other states that govern the process under community property laws. This essentially means that all marital property (which includes assets and debt) is split 50/50 between spouses in divorce.

This can have a major impact on post-divorce finances. For instance, if spouses have been sharing all earnings in a two-income household, each spouse is going to walk away with approximately half of the accustomed income. When half of all debt is factored into the equation, it can make for some serious financial challenges when adapting to a post-divorce lifestyle.

What to know about California child custody laws before divorce

No one can predict which California couples will stay married and which will divorce. Certain issues may increase the likelihood of the latter, however, such as infidelity, unforeseen medical crises or loss of employment. Anyone currently considering divorce as a viable option who also happens to be a parent will want to review child custody laws before heading to court.

All issues pertaining to custody, visitation and support are governed at the state level. Most states have guidelines that the court takes into consideration, but, ultimately, each issue is resolved on a case-by-case basis. There are certain general facts, however, that may be pertinent to a particular situation.

Child custody problems sometimes lead to criminal charges

Not all California parents are able to resolve their differences pertaining to signed parenting agreements with former lovers or spouses. Some child custody situations are quite complex and many include allegations of abuse or even criminal charges. A woman in another state is in the latter category but was recently relieved when the judge hearing her case ruled she will not have to go to jail.

An attorney representing the woman said she is a good person and parent who simply made a mistake. Several years ago, she took her son out of the United States without first seeking the court's approval while custody proceedings regarding her child remained ongoing at the time. The woman later said she felt her actions were needed to protect her son.

Who is most at risk for domestic violence?

Some readers in California may be among others in the nation who are currently facing serious problems in their family lives. Domestic violence is often kept secret when those affected fear criminal, public or even private repercussions for making their stories known. New studies show certain factors may lead to an increase in the propensity to commit this type of abuse.

Not every abuse allegation is true. Those affected on either side of the issue can protect their rights in court. It's typically a good idea to seek legal support since the ultimate outcome of such situations may greatly affect the lives of everyone involved.

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.

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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