Archive for the ‘ Child Support ’ Category

What Should be Included In Your Parenting Plan

Posted on: June 26, 2019 by in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, Family Law
No Comments

Divorce is never going to be easy and it gets complicated when kids are involved. You might be amicable with your ex but it will be challenging to agree on the details of the child custody rights. That is why it is important that you look for a good family law attorney in Anaheim so that your interests are well represented in a court of law. 

At the Law Offices of Paul J. Duron, we understand that you want what is best for your child without compromising on the legal situation. We help you in creating a parenting plan that will cover all aspects of the present and the future.

In order to prevent anything bad from happening with the plan, you need to be fully prepared. We’re going to highlight what a good parenting plan should cover so that you’re well aware when trying to get custody of your child.

Living Arrangement

This perhaps the most important part of the parenting plan. The child needs to be as comfortable as possible with the living environment. Will the child live with one parent or will have to be shifting between two homes because of the separation? When looking at this scenario, the geographical considerations will come into play. You will have to consider the movement of the child between homes and the effect it might have. A parent might decide to move away to another city. Both the parents will have to iron out who gets to stay with the child. In case of a disagreement, the court might have to be involved.

The parenting schedule could also have an effect on the living arrangement. One parent might not be readily available because of work commitments.

Vacations, Holidays, and Special Occasions

Arrangements for holidays and special days will have to be put into consideration when coming up with the parenting plan. Both parents have to be on the same page as this could get tricky because each one wants to spend time with the child. It will be better if such days are spent together as a family so that the child is not faced with the dilemma of having to make a decision.

No Bad Mouthing

This is something that often gets overlooked yet it should be talked about for the sake of the child. A marriage doesn’t always have to end when both parties are not in talking terms. Even if you’re not in talking terms with your ex, the children have the right to have a relationship with them. There should be a provision in the parental arrangement that gives the children exclusive rights to have the affection of both parents without being influenced. The parties have to make an agreement that neither of them will take an action that will estrange or discredit the parent in the eyes of the child.

Haircuts

One of the biggest challenges with child custody is that you will only be with your children for some time and not all the time even if you wish to do so. This means that you will sometimes miss some important milestones in their lives. This does not mean that your ex has all the rights of raising the children. There should be a clause in the parental agreement that limits one spouse from making all the major decisions on behalf of the child. This could affect things like a haircut for example. Neither the parent has the legal right of substantially altering the appearance of the child without a legal consent form the other party. The idea behind the arrangement is to ensure that neither the parent is making an extreme decision that involves the child.

No Time Stealing

It is not uncommon to have negative feelings and thoughts even after the divorce has been long concluded. There are occasions where a parent might try to hurt the other using emotional manipulation and involving the child in the process.

One of the tactics that are used is a parent could try and schedule for activities with the child when it is the other parent’s turn to be with the child. This could lead to conflicting scenarios for the child because he or she will be faced with the dilemma of choosing between two parents. The parental agreement will be clear on what a parent can and can’t do when it comes to spending time with the child.

Itemize Some Expenses

There should be a detailed breakdown of how the child support is going to be spent in the parental plan. One thing a good and responsible parent can do is separating health care insurance form the child support payment. There are some states where the two are individual costs are addressed separately in the child parenting plan. Make sure you’re having a good attorney because some expenses can overlap and you might not be sure is to be included in the parenting plan.

Handling Technology

Children are spending a lot of time in front of their phones. As parents, you need to decide on the details and restrictions. There should be a provision in the plan that outlines the use of electronic devices by the children. It is not really a common provision that most parents will remember to include but doing so will help in preventing disagreements in the future.

Avoid Court

As parents, it will be in the best interest of the child to avoid court if it is possible. When you go to court, it means there is a disagreement that can’t be settled amicably between the two of you. There should be a provision in the parenting plan that advocates the use of a third party for mediation before the matter can be taken to court. Parents who use coordinators will avoid the courts. If you can’t seem to agree on the details, the court will have to be involved. This means that you to look for a good family lawyer to help you will the case.

Paying Child Support Via A Trust – Is It Possible?

Posted on: November 15, 2018 by in Child Support
No Comments

Nothing is more important than our kids. In the state of California, the law and the courts presume that every child has a right to financial support from both parents. It doesn’t matter if the child was born to a married couple, adopted, or if the child’s parents never married.

When married parents divorce – or if there is a dispute between unmarried parents – a non-custodial parent can be ordered by a California family court to make child support payments to the custodial parent. A child support law firm in Cerritos can help.

What are a non-custodial parent’s options in this state for making child support payments? Keep reading. If the salary or wages of the non-custodial parent are not enough to cover the child support obligation, funds from a family trust may be used to make the child support payments.

HOW IS A CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENT AMOUNT DETERMINED BY A COURT?

Unless the parents are able to be somewhat conciliatory and come to their own agreement regarding child support, California family courts will determine an appropriate child support payment amount by using the state’s complicated Child Support Guidelines.

These guidelines account for the income and earning capacities of each parent, the number and needs of the children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children.

If in any particular case, the figure arrived at by using the state’s guidelines is unfair or inappropriate, a family court judge has the discretion to make an adjustment to the figure.

FOR CHILD SUPPORT PURPOSES, WHAT IS COUNTED AS INCOME?

Income is more than merely earnings. By statute in California, income includes salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, dividends, pensions, income from rental properties, Social Security and workers’ compensation benefits, and income received from a trust or annuity.

The funds held by many trusts are distributed monthly or annually to the beneficiaries. If a trust beneficiary is a non-custodial parent who has been ordered to make child support payments, trust income can – and in some cases should – be used toward satisfying the child support obligation.

Other trusts may transfer to a beneficiary all of his or her trust money in a one-time, lump sum payment. A parent with a child support obligation who receives such income should consider setting aside a portion of that amount for future child support payments.

CAN A TRUST BE GARNISHED FOR CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS?

California courts are dedicated to putting the best interests of the children first in matters of family law, so the enforcement of court-issued child support orders is a priority in this state.

The family courts have a number of legal tools available that can be used when a child support obligation is not being satisfied. A wage garnishment, for example, takes a percentage of a delinquent parent’s earnings during each pay period – before that parent receives a paycheck.

A comparable “trust garnishment” can be placed on trust income, when necessary, to satisfy a child support obligation.

CAN YOU MAKE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS THROUGH A TRUST?

Some non-custodial parents in California may want to create a trust fund specifically for the child as a method of meeting the child support obligation. With the assistance of a family law attorney and the approval of a judge, a parent may create a trust specifically for this purpose.

Creating a trust, as you might imagine, is a quite complicated procedure that requires expert financial advice, sound legal insights, and the careful creation of a number of detailed legal and financial documents.

In other words, if creating a trust for child support purposes is the option that you choose, you should understand that it may require a great deal more of your energy and time than simply writing a child support check to the child’s other parent each month.

CAN YOU HAVE A CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENT ORDER MODIFIED?

If you are already making child support payments, and if you want to create a trust exclusively for child support purposes, you will have to request and obtain a modification of the original child support order from the court.

In southern California, to request and obtain a child support order modification, you will need to be advised and represented by an experienced Cerritos family law attorney.

Modifications of child support payment orders are typically granted by a family court only when one parent’s life circumstances have significantly changed – when a parent is promoted or loses a job, relocates, is convicted of a crime, becomes disabled, or gets remarried, for example.

To modify a child support order and create a trust for child support purposes, you’ll need to show a judge that granting your modification request is in the best interests of the child. As mentioned above, the paramount priority of California’s family courts is the best interests of the children.

FOR HOW LONG ARE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS TYPICALLY REQUIRED?

Most parents who make child support payments in California do so until a child’s 18th birthday, although child support payments may be extended if the child is still attending high school, if the child is mentally or physically handicapped, or by the agreement of both parents.

In southern California, an experienced Cerritos family law attorney can help a custodial parent obtain a court order for child support and can see to it that the order is enforced.

You’ll also need a good family lawyer’s help if you are contesting a child support modification request that’s been made by the child’s other parent.

If you decide to create a trust exclusively for child support payment purposes, or if you need to have a modification of your original child support order for any other reason, a good family lawyer will handle the request for a modification on your behalf.

IN WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN A CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEY HELP?

If you are involved with your child’s other parent in any dispute regarding child support, child custody, or child visitation, or if you need specific advice about setting up a trust for child support purposes, speak at once with a reliable California family lawyer.

Your family law attorney needs to be someone you completely trust, someone who thoroughly understands that nothing is more important to you than your child or children.

A good family law attorney can review your circumstances, explain your options, and help you make the right choices for yourself and for your child or children. Every parent has the right to a good attorney’s help. And our children have a right to the very best that we can give them.

Is Health Insurance Factored Into Child Support In California?

Posted on: June 12, 2018 by in Child Support
No Comments

When parents divorce, their children must deal with the consequences, but a California court will not finalize a divorce between parents until that court is certain that the “best interests of the child” or children have been served.

For California courts, protecting a child’s best interests usually includes ordering child support payments.

What are child support payments intended to cover? What can a court require? How can a child support attorney help?

WHEN PARENTS DIVORCE, WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES?

Of course, when you’re a parent, nothing is a higher priority than your children, so child custody and child support will inevitably be the two most important issues in your divorce.

After a California divorce, the non-custodial parent usually makes child support payments to the custodial parent to help cover a child’s basic expenses: housing, food, clothes, education, and healthcare.

With few exceptions, those child support payments are made until the child reaches age eighteen.

If divorcing parents can reach their own agreements regarding child custody and child support before or during the divorce procedure, they can save themselves a great deal of aggravation, time, and financial resources.

WHAT IF PARENTS CANNOT AGREE REGARDING CUSTODY AND SUPPORT?

But if divorcing parents cannot reach any agreement on these issues before or during the divorce process, the court will impose a resolution.

In most California divorces involving parents, a determination regarding the child’s (or children’s) health insurance will be part of that imposed resolution.

WHO IS OBLIGATED TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THEIR KIDS?

In California, parents with health insurance coverage, whether that coverage is employer-based or government-sponsored, must see to it that coverage for their children is included in the plan.

If the parents are married and cooperating, that’s not a problem, but if parents divorce, health coverage for the children gets more complicated – and sometimes even gets overlooked.

Subsequent to a divorce, parents must keep their kids covered by their health insurance.

WHEN CAN A CALIFORNIA PARENT DROP A CHILD’S HEALTH COVERAGE?

Under California law, parents may only drop healthcare coverage that includes a child when a plan becomes so costly that it exceeds five percent of that parent’s total gross income.

When a child has had health insurance coverage during the marriage, California parents who do not keep health insurance coverage for that child after a divorce may even face legal consequences.

WHAT IF THERE IS NO HEALTH INSURANCE?

Many families, as you probably know, have no health insurance coverage, and – for whatever reason – they cannot afford it. When the parents in these families divorce, the court examines their finances to decide if they can afford health insurance for their child or children.

Subsequent to that examination, courts may order divorcing parents to purchase health insurance for their children. The courts will sometimes help a parent find a government-sponsored plan that may help offset some of the parent’s costs.

In a general sense, child support payments are ordered by a court to ensure that a child is cared for properly and that the “best interests of the child” are protected.

WHAT IS EVERY CHILD’S RIGHT IN THIS STATE?

Every child in California – whether that child is born in or outside of a marriage or is adopted – has the absolute legal right to financial support from both parents.

If a parent is paying for a child’s healthcare coverage out-of-pocket, the court will take that into account when determining the parent’s child support obligation.

And as you might imagine, parents who are divorcing in California will need to prove to the court what they spend on healthcare and healthcare coverage for their child or children.

This means parents should hold onto every receipt and every other bit of paperwork regarding a child’s healthcare and health insurance.

WHAT ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE COSTS THAT AREN’T COVERED?

As we all know, health insurance does not cover all of your healthcare costs.

If you are divorced, and you have to pay something out-of-pocket regarding your child’s health, your child’s other parent is obligated to reimburse you for half of that cost, and California courts enforce that obligation.

Exactly how would that work? Let’s say that parent “X” has a child “Y” who is covered by X’s employer-based health plan. X must take Y to the ER, and X’s insurance plan requires X to pay a $1,000 deductible before insurance coverage will begin.

It’s an additional $1,000 beyond the insurance coverage and child support that X is already paying in compliance with the court-ordered custody and support agreement.

X can submit documentation and ask the court to order reimbursement from “Z,” the child’s other parent, for half of the $1,000, and unless the expenditure or the amount is disputed, Z will be obligated to reimburse X for $500.

The sharing of parental responsibilities does not end in California when parents obtain a divorce, and the courts can act to ensure that parental obligations are fairly and equitably shared.

WHEN SHOULD A DIVORCING PARENT SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY?

Calculating what is a fair and proper amount of child support is never easy, but then nothing about divorce is easy.

If you are a parent who is divorcing or considering a divorce – or even if it’s your spouse who is considering a divorce – you should speak at once to an attorney who has considerable experience handling child custody and child support disputes and every other aspect of a divorce.

A divorce attorney can provide the legal guidance and representation that a divorcing parent will need. You should make the call as early as possible in the process – before you file or respond to divorce papers.

Nothing is more important than your child. The right divorce attorney can explain how the law applies in your own divorce and help you make the right choices at every stage of the legal process.

DO YOU NEED A CUSTODY OR SUPPORT ORDER ENFORCED OR MODIFIED?

Subsequent to a divorce, you’ll also require a family law attorney’s services if you need to enforce or to modify a child support or child custody order in California.

When you divorce or deal with a child custody or child support matter in a California divorce, you must have a divorce lawyer that you trust – an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney who puts you at ease and works hard on behalf of you and your child or children.

Child Support And Taxes

Posted on: March 19, 2018 by in Child Support
No Comments

If you are considering or anticipating a divorce – here in California or in any other state – you should understand that a divorce will affect every part of your life, even including your income taxes. This is something our Cerritos child support law firm can help with.

According to the Census Bureau, over four million parents in the U.S. received child support in 2016.

If you are a parent, you’ll learn how the child support payments you make or receive are handled by the Internal Revenue Service.

You’ll also learn what does and what does not meet the definition of “child support,” and you’ll learn why – if you are a parent – the term “child support” needs to be precisely defined in your divorce settlement.

IN CALIFORNIA, HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATED?

Normally after a divorce in California, child support is paid according to the California Child Support Guideline, a complex formula based on the parents’ earnings, the number and needs of the children, and the time that the children spend with each parent.

Every marriage is different, and every divorce is difficult. If you are divorcing or anticipating a divorce in southern California, seek individualized divorce advice from an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney – as quickly as possible.

While the rules regarding alimony payments were recently changed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the child support rules remain the same where federal income taxes are concerned.

The new tax rules regarding alimony will not go into effect until 2019, so those rules will not apply to any divorces that become finalized in 2018.

ARE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS TAXABLE? ARE THEY DEDUCTIBLE?

A custodial parent pays no federal income tax on any child support that he or she receives. For non-custodial parents making child support payments, child support payments are not tax-deductible.

But there’s more. While the rules regarding taxes and child support seem simple enough, precisely defining what is and isn’t child support may sometimes be exceedingly difficult.

That’s the main reason why the term “child support” must be precisely defined – and what is and isn’t child support must be spelled out – in the text of your divorce agreement.

WHY IS THE WORDING OF A DIVORCE AGREEMENT SO IMPORTANT?

If the divorce agreement combines alimony and child support and characterizes the payments with a term like “family support” or “alimony,” no part of the payment will be considered child support by the Internal Revenue Service.

If you receive or intend to receive child support, you must be certain that child support payments are clearly characterized as child support in the wording of the divorce agreement.

Payments that are considered family support or alimony are taxable in 2018 for the 2017 tax year.

Beginning in 2019 for tax year 2018, as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, alimony will be handled like child support – you won’t have to pay taxes on it if you receive it, and you will not be able to deduct alimony, starting in 2019, if you pay it.

To claim your child as a dependent, you must be responsible for half or more of your child’s financial support during a tax year.

CAN BOTH DIVORCED PARENTS CLAIM THEIR CHILD AS A DEPENDENT?

And that can make things complicated when married parents divorce, because both parents cannot claim the child as a dependent after the divorce.

The Internal Revenue Service cross-references tax returns to ensure that divorced parents only claim a child as a dependent when they are qualified to.

If the child lived with only one parent for more than fifty percent of a calendar year, IRS rules presume that is the parent who gets the exemption. However, if the parents agree, they may transfer the exemption to the noncustodial parent if either of the following pertains:

  1. The divorce agreement includes the custodial parent’s waiver of the right to the exemption.
  1. The custodial parent signs IRS Form 8332 waiving the right to the exemption, and the noncustodial parent includes a copy with his or her IRS tax return for the year.

The Internal Revenue Service can be very particular regarding IRS Form 8332. If the form isn’t complete, accurate, signed, and attached to the return, the IRS can and does deny the exemption to the noncustodial parent.

WHICH PARENT CAN CLAIM THE EXEMPTION FOR A CHILD?

When parents are unmarried, didn’t live separately through the final six months of the year, and/or have no written child support agreement, only the parent who is responsible for more than half of the child’s financial support during the year can claim the exemption.

When both parents contribute equally to the child’s support, the tax situation can get quite complicated. Details for parents in this situation are provided in IRS Publication 504, or you can consult your financial advisers or your divorce attorney.

After most divorces in the state of California, with several narrow exceptions, child support is paid until the child turns 18.

If the Internal Revenue Service has questions for you regarding child support or the dependent child exemption, where can you turn for help?

WHEN THE IRS HAS QUESTIONS, WHO CAN HELP?

You’ll need to consult with an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney who can answer your questions about the child support payments you make or receive and answer your questions about any other divorce-connected tax matter.

When the divorce process begins, whether your finances are affluent or modest, you must be advised by a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who understands fully the tax issues involved in the California divorce process.

Do not hesitate to ask your divorce attorney about any divorce-related financial or tax matter. Most family law attorneys deal with these matters routinely; they will be happy and able to address your concerns and answer your questions.

If you are divorcing in southern California, arrange a consultation with a divorce lawyer who can explain how the new IRS child support rules may affect you – along with explaining your other options and rights in a California divorce.

WHAT IS EVERY PARENT’S OBLIGATION?

Every California parent is obligated to contribute to the care of his or her children.

If you need help to obtain child support payments from your ex, or if you are not receiving the child support payments that were ordered by the court, contact a family law attorney at once.

Nothing is more important than your child. Let a lawyer help.

Paying Child Support Without A Court Order

Posted on: November 16, 2017 by in Child Support
No Comments

If you need to obtain child support payments from your child’s other parent, there’s no shortage of help for parents here in southern California. In fact, it’s easy – and a smart idea – to arrange a meeting with an experienced Cerritos child support attorney if you need child support payments.

What can be difficult is understanding the law and the steps that you need to take, so keep reading, and you’ll learn some basic answers about child support in this state.

Of course, every divorce and every pair of parents are different, so you’ll need an attorney to explain how the law might apply in your particular circumstances.

You already know, of course, that child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent to contribute each month toward a child’s various living expenses.

HOW DOES CALIFORNIA VIEW A PARENT’S FINANCIAL OBLIGATION?

Under California law, both before and subsequent to a divorce, or even if the couple never married, all parents are required by law to support their children financially.

The state of California takes a parent’s financial responsibility for a child – and any failure on a parent’s part to meet that responsibility – quite seriously.

Even if you are a custodial parent, and you have a court-authorized child support order in place directing the non-custodial parent to make monthly payments, that’s not a guarantee that you will actually receive those payments – or that you’ll receive them when you need them.

Actually collecting payments from an uncooperative or delinquent parent can be a genuine aggravation for any custodial parent, and some custodial parents may face genuine financial hardship.

WHAT’S THE BEST TYPE OF CHILD SUPPORT ARRANGEMENT?

When parents divorce, and when never-married parents separate or live separately, it’s always best if they can make their own arrangement regarding child support payments.

If there’s enough mutual trust, and the parents can agree to a child support arrangement independently and voluntarily, they can save a great deal of time, money, and aggravation. Additionally, some judge who’s a complete stranger won’t be making an important decision for your family.

Still, in California, parents can’t agree to just “any” child support amount or arrangement. The court has to review and approve such an arrangement.

For most couples, the court will sign off on their agreement and it will become the terms of the child support order, but under California law, the court must review all child support, custody, and visitation agreements to ensure that those arrangements are in the child’s or children’s “best interests.”

When parents cannot agree on child support – or when their agreement is not deemed to be in a child’s best interests – and a California court must make a child support determination, the court uses a complicated formula to arrive at a final child support amount.

The court takes into account the earning capacity of the parents, the needs of the children, the number of children, and the amount of time the parents spend with the children.

FOR HOW LONG ARE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS MADE?

In California, child support is usually paid until a child turns 18, unless the child is still in high school, in which case payments may continue for one more year.

Payments beyond a child’s 18th birthday are also sometimes ordered when a child is physically or mentally handicapped or disabled.

When non-custodial parents fail to pay child support as ordered by a California court, the law gives custodial parents several options for enforcing child support orders.

Have a family law attorney explain those options to you, because if your child’s other parent is already violating a child support order, you must not agree to a private child support arrangement with that parent apart from the legal system. Why? Because you’ll be wasting your time and effort.

When a court-issued child support order is already in place, private and unofficial agreements between parents do not carry any legal weight or authority whatsoever. Such agreements, in fact, seldom actually work, and they cannot be enforced.

If a custodial parent in southern California isn’t receiving court-ordered child support, that parent’s best option is to take formal legal action with help from a skilled Long Beach family law attorney.

WHAT SHOULD CUSTODIAL PARENTS NEVER EXPECT?

When you are a custodial parent, do not expect your child’s other parent to pay child support unless a court order is in place.

If you need a California court to issue a child support order – during a divorce proceeding or for any other reason – discuss your circumstances with a Long Beach family law attorney who can protect your rights and hold your child’s other parent legally accountable.

Non-custodial parents who pay child support may also need legal representation. Child support orders are based on factors that change over time, like a child’s expenses and the incomes of the parents.

If you were ordered to pay child support on the basis of circumstances that have significantly changed, a family law attorney can ask the court to modify its child support order on your behalf.

Requesting a modification of the child support order may be imperative for some parents, because if you become unemployed or disabled, if you’re convicted of a crime, or if you get remarried, you cannot just stop paying child support. You must go to the court and seek a modification of the child support order.

WHAT TOOLS DOES THE STATE USE TO ENFORCE CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS?

The state of California has a number of ways to compel child support payments from delinquent, non-custodial parents: bank account levies, wage garnishments, intercepting state or federal tax refunds or lottery winnings, and having delinquent parents found in contempt of court.

Let a family law attorney give you advice and guidance – and help you get your child support order modified – before you have to face any of those consequences.

If your own circumstances have changed as a custodial parent, you also have the right to seek a modification of the child support order, and both parents additionally have the right to oppose the other parent’s request for a child support order modification.

Parents in these cases should seek representation from a California family lawyer who routinely handles child support modification requests and knows how to prevail on your behalf.

If you’re not receiving the child support payments that a California court has ordered for your child or children, get help and representation from an experienced legal advocate. Being a parent, and especially being a single parent, is difficult enough – don’t try to be a lawyer too. Your child’s future is too important.

Can a Child Custody Order Be Modified?

Posted on: October 24, 2017 by in Child Support
No Comments

Child custody orders in California are carefully considered before being put into force.  But, what if circumstances change?  What if the factors that influenced the court in their findings become significantly different over time?  Can an appeal be made to modify the custody order? In a word, YES!  Here are some changes that can support the modification of previous orders, according to our child custody lawyers.

Child Preference

As the child grows, they are likely to change their view of the arrangements.  Maybe they desire to see the non-custodial parent more often.  They may even decide that they want to live with them.  They may also decide, or have legitimate reasons for not wanting to see them.  The courts will listen to the child, depending on age and maturity, and may find grounds for the custody order to be modified.

The Non-Custodial Parent Has a Different Work Schedule

This is a very common problem.  A non-custodial parent may have custody on Wednesday evenings and every other weekend.  A change at their job now requires that the parent works late on Wednesday and throughout every weekend.  Their new days off will be Monday and Tuesday.  An appeal should be made to the court for a visitation schedule that allows the parent to keep their job and maintain a relationship with the child.

The Non-Custodial Parent Moved to be Closer to the Child

The non-custodial parent may have lived a considerable distance from the child, and therefore, was not granted custodial status for practical reasons.  Having made the move to be closer to the child, the court can be petitioned for a change in custody arrangements, if all other factors are favorable.

The Custodial Parent is Acting Irresponsibly

This would cover a lot of different scenarios.  If the parent is not getting the child to school, or has developed a habit of getting them there late every day.  The custodial parent may be dealing with substance abuse issues.  Perhaps there are risky situations the child is being put in.  Maybe the child is not doing well in school, and the custodial parent is not taking steps to help.   There are really a lot of situations that could be considered irresponsible.

One of the Parents Wants to Relocate

This situation can apply to a custodial or non-custodial parent.  It’s a fact of life that people sometimes need to move for a different job, better cost of living, better support system, etc.  When it will affect a standing custody agreement, the court should be notified, and a new custody agreement drawn up to reflect the changes in circumstances.

Don’t Assume Cooperation

Hopefully, for the sake of your child, you are able to co-parent with your child’s other parent.  Even in the best of cases, you should not assume cooperation when it comes to recognizing these changes in circumstances.  You should go to the court with a child custody lawyer and ask them for a modification to the original orders.  Be prepared to give your reasons, and make sure you are not acting to spite the other parent.  If things have changed since the original orders, they can change again.  Get it in writing from the courts.

Child Custody and Moving

Posted on: October 22, 2017 by in Child Support
No Comments

So, you’ve got a custody order in place, and everything is working smoothly with you and your ex’s child custody lawyers.  All of a sudden you get a job offer in another state.  Or, the other parent lets you know that they will be moving, and that they intend to move the child with them.  There are many reasons that one parent or the other may wish to change locations, and move out of the area.  Maybe one of you is getting remarried.  The new job offer we mentioned above may be coming to fruition.  Maybe one of you needs to move closer to family for a support system.  How does this affect standing custody orders?

Move Away

In California, this situation is called a “move away,” and should be heard in court.  An agreement can be made between the two parties, as long as it is agreed to by both, and submitted to the court for approval.  If this is not possible, hire an attorney, and start preparing your move away case.

What the Court Will Look At

If the parent wishing to move has sole physical (and possibly sole legal) custody, and the non-custodial parent sees the child infrequently, the non-custodial parent has a tough job ahead of them showing the detriment to the child.  If you want to defend your position in this case, spend as much time as you are legally allowed to with your child.  If you’re not interested in having a relationship, but trying to stop the other parent from moving out of spite, your interest will not be considered at great length.

Custodial Parents Who Want to Move

If you are a custodial parent that is considering a move, and you want to keep things as simple as possible, consider the following suggestions:

Be proactive – File an Order to Show Cause on your own, instead of as a reaction to the other parent.

Show your plans – Think of how you will allow the other parent to maintain a relationship with your child, and be prepared to show that you’ve given it some thought.

Let the other parent know – Give them, in writing, as much notice as you possible can.  This is not just for courtesy.  You may not get it through the courts quickly, so you want to act early.

Non – Custodial Parents Who Are Faced with Their Child Moving

If you are faced with your child moving to another state, protect yourself and your relationship with your child.  We mentioned above that you should have a history of showing that spending time with your child is a priority to you.  Here are some other things to consider:

Be proactive – As soon as you hear that the other parent is intending a move, file your Show Cause Order.

Compromise – Although it may not be the optimal situation for you, reach out to the other parent and try to come to an arrangement that you can present and file with the court.  This is the best situation for the child, and the fastest way to settle things, providing you can agree easily.

Does Custody Always Go to Just One Parent?

Posted on: October 21, 2017 by in Child Support
No Comments

In the state of California, there are two types of child custody that can be granted to one or both parents.  Below, our child custody attorneys take a look at the two classifications…legal custody, and physical custody. It’s possible to have any combination of the two components within an agreement.

Physical Custody

When you hear the phrase “physical custody,” that means that this is the parent that the child or children will live with.  The child may live primarily with one parent, or with one parent exclusively. This means that the parent is the “custodial parent” while the other parent is referred to as the “non-custodial parent.”

Sole Physical Custody

This means that one parent has custodial or residential rights.  The child lives with them.  The non-custodial parent may or may not be given visitation rights, depending on the circumstances and the ruling by the court.

Joint Physical Custody

In a decision for joint physical custody, both parents enjoy spending significant amounts of time with the child.  The child will live with each parent for an equal time, or close to it. Both parents are considered custodial parents in this case, and both have rights and obligations as such.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is more about the ability to make choices for the child.  Those with legal custody will decide what schooling the child will receive, whether the child will receive religious instruction, and what type of medical care is appropriate for the child.

Sole Legal Custody

A parent that has sole legal custody of a child is entitled to make all decisions that relate to health and welfare of the child.  They alone will decide where the child will go to school, what doctors they will see, and what church, if any, they will attend.

Joint Legal Custody

More common in California Law is the practice of “Joint Legal Custody.”  In this scenario, parents must decide together what the child’s best welfare is.  It is common in California that parents settle on a decision for Joint Legal Custody, even in cases of Sole Physical Custody.

Detriments to this preferred situation are cases where one parent is classified as “unfit” or otherwise unable to make decisions in the child’s best interest.  Sometimes, the inability of parents to work together towards the child’s welfare will make joint legal custody less than ideal.

Variations

As was mentioned earlier, there are many variations that can occur when it comes to custody arrangements and visitation rights.  Court decisions are always made with the best intentions for the child’s best interests.   Sometimes, a parent can have joint legal custody, with sole physical custody.  Often, they may share physical custody and legal custody.  If you are a parent that is facing a custody battle, your best strategy may be not to make it a battle at all, unless you fear for the safety of your child.  Instead, showing a willingness to work constructively with the other parent may actually gain you a lot more access and influence over the child’s life.

For more information, speak to our child custody lawyers today.

FAQS About Child Support in California

Posted on: July 19, 2017 by in Child Support
No Comments
child swinging in park

If you are getting a divorce in the state of California, if you are expecting to divorce, or if you are already divorced but dealing with a custody, visitation, child support, or alimony dispute, you must have an experienced California child support law firm advocating aggressively on your behalf and making certain that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

For divorcing parents, nothing is more important than your children, their well-being, and their future.

Often, when parents get divorced, one of the most divisive issues is child support.

When a California judge orders a parent to pay child support, the order is not intended as a penalty or as a punishment but rather as a simple recognition of that parent’s legal responsibility.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about child support in California. The answers, however, can only be general answers because every family and every case is different.

That is one reason why every parent who becomes involved in a California child support dispute must have the help and insights of a qualified family law attorney.

Q: What is the legal definition of child support?

A: Under California law, child support is the payment that a parent makes to help cover a child’s living expenses. All parents are obligated by law to contribute financially to the care of their children, and after a divorce in California, both parents are still equally legally obligated. California courts typically order the non-custodial parent to make ongoing child support payments to the custodial parent after a divorce.

Child support is paid in California until a child is 18 years old and may continue past age 18 if both parents agree, if the child still attends high school (until the child’s 19th birthday), or if the child is mentally or physically disabled.

Q: How are child support payment amounts determined in this state?

A: California lawmakers have established statutory guidelines to help judges decide what amount of child support a non-custodial parent should be obligated to pay.

The guidelines spell out a complex child support formula or “calculator” based on the income of each parent and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

If you expect to be involved in a child support dispute, you will need tax returns, paycheck stubs, 1099s or W2s, and any other documents that provide personal financial information.

A Cerritos family law attorney can make certain that you are paying or receiving a just and proper amount of child support.

Q: Can the guidelines be overlooked if a non-custodial parent faces financial hardship?

A: The court may approve a hardship deduction if the parent who pays child support has unexpected medical costs, uninsured catastrophic losses, or becomes the parent of another child – naturally or through adoption – from another relationship.

In these kinds of circumstances, the courts have wide discretion, and a judge may or may not decide to approve a request for a hardship deduction.

Q: What if the parent who pays child support passes away before the child turns 18?

A: A recent ruling by California’s Fifth District Court of Appeals makes it clear, in the court’s words, “that a child support obligation survives the death of the supporting parent and is a charge against his or her estate.

In addition to being a charge against a supporting parent’s estate, court-ordered child support becomes a charge against that parent’s living trust, when his or her assets are in such trust rather than in an estate.”

Sometimes, life insurance may be part of a child support agreement, and in some cases, a California judge may order a parent to buy and maintain a life insurance policy which names the children and the other parent as beneficiaries.

Q: What if a child support order needs to be changed?

A: Over time, circumstances and finances may change for one or both of the parents, and the first child support order may have to be modified.

A modification of the child support order may be justified by unemployment or a change of jobs; by illness, injury, or disability; by a move to another state or even another nation; by a new child with a new partner; or by a criminal conviction and/or a jail or prison sentence.

If the parent who pays child support becomes unemployed, for example, he or she cannot simply stop making child support payments.

That parent must request a modification of the child support order from the court.

In southern California, if you need to have a child support order modified – or if you need to dispute your spouse’s request for a child support modification – have a Cerritos family law attorney handle the matter on your behalf.

Q: What can happen if a parent who is ordered to pay child support fails to pay?

A: If a California court has ordered your ex to pay child support that you are not receiving, a good family lawyer can help you to take legal action.

The tools that a California court can use to compel child support payments include wage garnishments, interception of tax refunds, levies on bank accounts, and charging the delinquent parent with contempt of court.

Parents who seek the enforcement of child support orders should clearly understand that if the delinquent parent is jailed, unless that delinquent parent has other income or assets such as a car or a house, it may be impossible to collect any child support while that parent is in custody.

When a child receives child support funds through a state agency, that agency can file a lawsuit to compel a parent to make payments. If you are sued for child support by a state of California child support agency, obtain legal counsel at once.

You must respond within thirty days. A trustworthy Cerritos family law attorney can help a parent on either side of any child support dispute in southern California.

Q: How can child support disputes be avoided?

A: The best way to avoid the acrimony and the cost – in both time and money – that are inevitably involved in a child support dispute is for both parents to have a cooperative attitude and a willingness to compromise from the beginning.

California courts always decide these cases based upon what the courts consider “the best interests of the child,” but when the parents can reach a mutual agreement regarding child support payments, a California court will almost always accept and “sign off” on that agreement.

A good family lawyer can help parents come to an agreement that the court will approve.

How to Calculate Child Support in California?

Posted on: October 2, 2015 by in Child Support
No Comments

In California, there are pre-existing guidelines that help determine child support. If however, in spite of adhering to these guidelines, you are unable to determine youngster assist payments, it is best to defer the decision to a judge, and work with a team of child support attorneys.

Overall, the following factors are taken into consideration for the calculation of child support.

• The income of the parents- this can include not just income from wages, and business profits, but also income from Social Security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, and other types of state benefits.
• The number of children the youngster asssit payments must cover
• The tax status of the parents
• Whether the parent is already financially responsible for children from other relationships
• The cost of health insurance premiums
• Mandatory expenses, like mandatory retirement payments, for union dues
• Cost of taking care of the children, like daycare costs, and healthcare costs

These are just some of the factors that may be taken into consideration, while determining child assist payments in your case. If you still have questions about youngster assist payments that the court may order you to make, or the child support payments that you may be eligible for, speak to a Los Angeles child support lawyer. It’s important to protect your child’s right to support by speaking to our Los Angeles child support lawyers and seeking expert legal guidance.