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Articles Posted in Child Support

Tips for Effective Coparenting Following Divorce in CA

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Transitioning from married life back to single living can be very difficult, especially if you are a divorced parent. It is necessary to not only take care of yourself and adapt to your new reality but also to ensure your children can adjust in the healthiest ways possible. Unfortunately, it is fairly common for recently divorced parents to notice significant changes in their children’s behavior. Some parents even feel lost when it comes to communicating with their children about their new reality. One of divorced parents’ greatest challenges is often reconciling their personal feelings about the other parent with their shared responsibilities.

If you have recently divorced in San Diego and have a child custody agreement with your ex-spouse, it is natural to experience many difficult emotions during the transition phase. However, it is vital to be reasonable and practical when it comes to dealing with your ex. No matter what type of personal issues lie between you and your ex, you both have a responsibility to do what is best for your children.

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How Much Does a Child’s Preference Impact Custody?

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One of the most difficult challenges of going through a divorce is determining the details regarding child custody. Even in situations when the divorce itself is amicable, you and your spouse are likely to have differing opinions regarding how best to proceed with childcare in the aftermath of your separation. Everything from agreeing upon the primary residence and custody schedules to more complex issues like schooling, religion, extracurricular activities, and more can be areas of disagreement.

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What Happens When a Judge Determines Child Custody?

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Divorce can be one of the most challenging experiences of any person’s life, but the process tends to be especially hard on parents. The breakdown of a marriage is one thing, but the breakdown of a family unit raises an entirely new set of concerns and issues that demand thoughtful consideration.

In California, state law dictates that all family court judges must ensure that any divorce involving children preserves those children’s best interests. Regardless of whether divorcing parents intend to go to court or mediate their divorces, the California family court system must approve their parenting plan and ensure safe care, custody, and support for the couple’s children.
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The Consequences of Withholding Visitation Rights

Visitation-RightsVisitation is an important part of any custody agreement. However, it can be difficult to allow your former partner to spend time with your child after having sustained multiple negative experiences with them in the past. In addition to any perceived hostility from the other parent, many situations might make you tempted to withhold visitation, such as attempts by the parent to manipulate your child, failure to pay child support, or even risk of physical or psychological abuse. If the court has already determined that the other parent has visitation rights, withholding visitation is an act of defiance against a standing court order and could result in severe consequences. In fact, the other parent can even accuse you of kidnapping. That’s why it is critical to follow the appropriate legal procedures for your situation instead of simply attempting to withhold visitation rights on your own. A family law attorney can go over the specifics and help you determine the best course of action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your child. Continue reading

Co-parenting With Someone of a Different Religion

Co-parenting-With-Someone-of-a-Different-ReligionIn the state of California, the term child custody is used to reference the ability to make decisions that affect the quality of life of your children, such as those relating to health and education. For some parents, religion plays a big role in making those decisions, which can significantly complicate things when your religion differs from that of the children’s other parent. Outside of simply including religious holidays into your custody schedule, other factors that could be impacted include attending religious ceremonies, dressing a certain way, eating a certain diet, and more. There is no set template for how to navigate these sorts of challenges, given that the details of each case vary significantly. However, there are certain elements that will likely be taken into account and strategies you can employ to find a mutually acceptable resolution.
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Child Custody and Support Outside of Wedlock

Child-Custody-and-Support-Outside-of-WedlockNavigating custody and child support cases is a normal part of course proceedings. If you happen to be an unmarried parent who has newly separated from their partner, you might be wondering if any legal provisions are in place to support you and your child. In 2018, the CDC revealed 39.6% of all births in the United States resulted from relationships outside of wedlock, so this is hardly an unusual situation. However, the information and resources available to parents going through custody-related claims in court are generally focused on situations where the parents were previously in a legally recognized union. Continue reading

Co-Parenting Over the Holidays

Co-ParentingRegardless of your custody arrangement or relationship with your child’s other parent, navigating the intricacies of co-parenting over the holidays can be difficult. Holiday planning is particularly challenging this year due to the ongoing pandemic, which has introduced new obstacles and complications to anything involving travel. However, even during a normal year, the holidays inherently require a lot of work and careful communication for separated parents. Continue reading

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COVID-19 has affected all sectors of the U.S. population.  The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has issued stay-at-home orders for all residents, with limited exceptions for “essential works.”  In California alone, over 1 million workers have filed for employment benefits.  The San Diego Courthouses have all closed to the public and were only processing temporary restraining orders. As of April 8, 2020, the Superior Courts have expanded their accessibility slightly allowing for limited Ex Parte (emergency) Hearings.  Since the Court’s official closure in mid-March, it is believed the Court has received over 7,000 documents via U.S. Mail. None of these documents have been processed during the closure.  This figure does not account for the presumably high number of Court filings that have been postponed or the number of hearings that were scheduled to occur during the 2 ½ months the Court has been closed.  Those hearings will have to be continued to a date in the future.  So, what can we expect once the Courts are able to re-open in any capacity? Continue reading

The other day I was asked, “Why do I need to pay child support to my ex-wife if we care for our children equally?”  This is a great question that requires some understanding of both California law and public policy.  At first blush it may seem unreasonable and unfair that one parent must pay the other parent child support even though both parents equally care, house, feed, and pay for their children’s livelihood and well-being.

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Let’s start by looking at California Family Code section 4053, which is the statute that provides courts with overarching principals to consider when implementing a child support order.  This statues states, in part, that “a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support the parent’s minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.” (emphasis added.)  The statute also states that, “the [child support] guideline takes into account each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children” and that “each parent should pay for the support of the children according to the parent’s ability.” (emphasis added.)  The statute also explains that child support “should minimize significant disparities in the children’s living standards in the two homes” and that “children should share in the standard of living of both parents.” (emphasis added.) Continue reading

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It is no secret that the San Diego Family Law Courts are overutilized, overworked, and overbooked.  When a party files a motion with the court it can often take several months, or longer, to get a hearing date!  This can be frustrating for litigants who want to move their case forward towards closure.  But what happens when an emergency comes up in your case and you cannot wait months for a hearing date?  Luckily, there is a procedure and solution to allow the court to hear an emergency issue within a day or two, and that is called an “Ex Parte” hearing.  At an Ex Parte hearing, judges can make temporary emergency orders, when appropriate.

Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 5.151(b), “[t]he purpose of a request for emergency orders is to address matters that cannot be heard on the court’s regular hearing calendar….[and] the process is used to request that the court: Continue reading

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