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Posted on in Divorce

California divorce attorney, California divorce lawsA prenuptial agreement allows the finances and properties of each person to remain in their control, should a divorce be necessary down the road. While many prenuptial agreements (or prenups) cut out one partner from already earned or acquired assets, you can also have a prenuptial agreement for income from a business or career that is not yet earned.

One of the leading reasons why a couple should consider a prenup is if one or both partners are older or have children. The parent with more assets may not want to jeopardize the future of their child should the marriage not work.

Additionally, an older couple may wish to keep their finances separate because of the financial drain that can occur if one of them goes into a nursing home after divorce.

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California domestic violence attorney, California family law attorneyDomestic violence is an under-reported problem, and an issue that does not get enough attention in the media, considering how prevalent it occurs in our society and the damages that it does to millions of women around the country. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the term the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to describe sexual, physical, or psychological harm inflicted on a partner or spouse from another. And, about one in three women experience domestic abuse (or IPV) in their lifetimes, according to the CDC. Although they make up the vast majority, it is not just women that experience domestic abuse. Men and women both experience it in hetero and same-sex marriages and partnerships. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 12 million people (men, women, and children) are raped each year in the U.S.

Right here in Santa Clara there simply are not enough resources and attention being given to the serious problem of domestic violence. In 2011, only 795 domestic violence survivors were able to gain access to domestic violence shelters and other services, while 1,842 survivors were unable to, according to the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy, meaning that many of these women had no other option than to continue living their nightmare in the home of their abuser. If you or a loved one is being abused, it is time to speak up immediately. Contact an experienced attorney to speak with someone who will aggressively attack the root of the problem and give you the protection that you need.

The CDC’s Risk Factors Contributing to Intimate Partner Violence or Domestic Abuse

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California child custody attorney, California family law attorneyThere are two ways in which divorce is possible in the state of California, according to the State Bar of California: irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. If only the aftermath was a simple and straightforward as that. Divorce is common in our society, and even if a couple was not married at the time of their child’s birth, the complications that stem from a custody battle still apply. If you and your partner are not able to come to a joint decision on custody, the court will make the decision based on a variety of factors, namely, who will be able to provide the best care and home life for the child. Contact a skilled attorney today to discuss your custody options, which are split into five specific categories.

Sole Legal Custody

In a case of sole legal custody, one parent has the full authority of the court to make decisions for their child. These decisions include all aspects of the child’s day-to-day activities, education, and healthcare. Sole legal custody is granted when one parent is absent, abusive, has a history of violence, abuses alcohol or drugs, is otherwise dangerously irresponsible, or the parents are unable to avoid conflict with one another.

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California custody attorney, California family law attorneyIn the past, if the parents did not agree upon shared custody, the court usually granted primary custody to the mother, as it was deemed that she would have more time to provide for the child and would provide better care. While the judge would give sole custody to the mother, the father would be given visitation hours and would be required to pay child support. The reasoning behind this aging dogma was that the father would be better suited to providing financial assistance through his job, while the mother better suited to home making and caring for children. As women gain rights in the workplace, this practice is becoming more and more outdated in most states, including California. While women still only earn 81 cents for every dollar that men make at the same job, that number used to be 62 cents on the dollar back in 1979, per the International Labor Organization.

According to California law, if the parents cannot reach an agreement on custody rights, the court will make the decision based on what is best for the child. According to California Courts, these factors include:

  • The health of the child;
  • The emotional ties between the parents and the child;
  • The ability of the parents to care for the child;
  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse; and
  • The child’s ties to school, home, and his or her community.

There is no law that states the mother will be given priority if all other factors are equal. However, if you feel that you are not being given an equal chance for custodial rights, it may be time to contact an experienced child custody attorney to argue your case for fair and equal representation. Additionally, the court is not legally allowed to deny your custody or even visitation rights based on the following factors:

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California custody laws, California family law attorneyAccording to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of marriages result in divorce, with subsequent marriages having an even worse rate of success. Divorces are, of course, very hard on young children. An even more difficult scenario is moving after a separation. Relocation to a different state can cause serious conflict between the two separated parents, as well as problems for their child as well. Often, moving is a huge stress on young children, and can have long lasting negative effects. However, a good job opportunity or the chance to live with other family members may be too good to pass up and may be seen as positives in the eyes of the court. But, is it always possible for one parent to relocate without the blessings of the other parent? How does a parent gain the court’s permission, or prove to the court that a move would not be in the best interest of the child? 

According to California law, the parent with primary custody may move away with the child unless the other parent is able to prove that the relocation would harm the child. However, if the custody is shared (a joint custody), the parent that wants to move with the child must prove to the court that the move is in the child’s best interest, which may be a tall task. Because the final decision is left to the court and these decisions vary, based on the individual circumstances of each case, it is imperative to seek the best legal counsel available whether you plan on relocating or you are opposed to the other parent’s plans for relocation.

Traveling Out of State and Out of Country

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California divorce attorney, California family law attorneyNo matter how you look at it, divorce is stressful. Sadly, this can have an effect on both your mental and physical health. However, there are some things you can do to help make the process more manageable. And, as an added benefit, you may be able to avoid some of the physical and mental complications that often accompany high levels of stress.

Acceptance Is Key

While denial is extremely common for divorcees, acceptance is critical to moving forward and managing the accompanying stress. Start by recognizing that there is little you can do to change things, and that some aspects will be out of your control. Then try to consider all the things you can control; this is now your life – a new beginning, so to speak, where you get to decide what your life will look like once it is all over. And, if necessary, talk to a professional about your anger, grief, or depression (which are also considered normal).

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California divorce attorney, California high asset divorceWhen determining how much spousal support should be awarded, particularly in high-asset divorces, courts look at the divorcing couples Marital Standard of Living (MSOL). This is the quality of life that the couple shared through the marriage. The MSOL is also used to help determine how long the spousal support should be paid.  

Other factors are also used to determine the amount of spousal support, especially if the income stream that flowed through the marriage is higher than the MSOL of the couple. For example, if the couple had a high income but put most of the funds in savings, the court could decide that the spouse receiving the support is still entitled to receive that savings amount every month through spousal support payments.

There are several different ways to help calculate spousal support amounts, which are then used for negotiations between the spouses and their attorneys. One way is through computer software programs. There are multiple companies that market that have developed and market these programs. A California case demonstrates that hiring a forensic accountant to help determine the MSOL could be a more accurate method.

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Calfornia custody attorney, California child abuse lawsAn addiction can be the single most crippling setback that an individual faces in their lifetime. However, when children are involved, it may just be too much to overcome. A parent with an addiction unleashes incredible hardships and even dangers upon their children. Addictions tear families apart by removing home stability, the family’s unity, finances, and families’ physical and mental well being.

A parent's addiction not only presents a threat to the development of the children exposed to the addiction, such as causing poor grades and not being properly cared for, but it also increases the likelihood that the children will one day abuse a substance as well. In fact, one in three children will have begun drinking by the age of 13, according to the National Council on Alcoholism.

Because of this, the state (California’s Child Protective Services) may remove children from drug or alcohol-abusing homes or parents. Likewise, in the scenario of a divorce, the parent without the addiction will likely be given custody of the children because of the healthier, more stable environment that will come with a sober parent as opposed to an addicted parent. If you are going through a divorce that is complicated by the presence of an addiction to alcohol, prescription painkillers, or illegal drugs, contact an experienced San Jose child custody attorney today for a consultation about the direction you wish to go.

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Posted on in Visitation

Calfornia custody lawyer, California family law attorneyDivorces can be messy. While primary custody is most often given to one of the parents, or shared, other family members deserve to stay in touch with the children of a divorced couple too. Grandparents are an integral part of most children’s upbringing, and may be left out of the custody or visitation rights agreement if they or others do not take action. Under California law, a grandparent has the right to ask the court’s permission for legal visitation rights. If you wish to stay in touch with your grandchildren, there are options to take in order to guarantee that that happens, and talking with an experienced child custody attorney may offer just the help you need. Don’t let this go to chance; contact an attorney today to discuss your options.

 

The Role Grandparents Play in American Homes

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child custody modification, San Jose child custody lawyerThe only thing that is constant when it comes to children or life, in general, is change. Sometimes situations with your child change so much that a custody or visitation order in place with your co-parent no longer fits the current circumstances. Luckily, California law allows parents to seek modification of custody or parenting orders.

Seeking Child Custody Modification in California 

There is not a set time limit after a custody order has been issued before you can seek a modification. The law, however, does require that the party seeking modification prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances before the court will consider the request. Getting the court to hear a modification request is just the first step in the process. Before the court grants you the changes to the order, you will have to demonstrate that the changes are in the child’s best interest.

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new significant other, custody-case, Santa Clara child custody lawyerAfter a couple breaks up, it is natural for both of them to want to move on. However, when you have a shared child and a custody case pending, the other parent and the court have a right to know more about the people you are spending time with, especially if that time is spent around your child.

How a Court Makes a Custody Decision

When a judge in California is making a decision about who should have custody of a child or what a visitation or parenting time schedule should be, the judge must consider what is in the best interest of a child. Some of the factors a judge considers include:

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