Orange County Family Law Blog | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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Child custody matters can be stressful during divorce

A child custody agreement has to be made with the child's best interests in mind. There isn't room for either parent to be selfish and try to sway the agreement in their favor.

When you are already dealing with the other matters of a divorce, you might find that trying to handle child custody matters is very stressful. We can help you to determine what needs to be addressed and help you navigate the process carefully.

Avoiding costly mistakes during your divorce

Soon after announcing that you and your spouse were planning to divorce, you probably discovered that everyone was suddenly an expert - or at least had an opinion - on the subject. You may have more unsolicited advice, perhaps even contradictory advice, than you will even need. While many of those newfound counselors may have good intentions, in the end they may leave you confused at best or making regretful decisions at worst.

In fact, taking bad advice is one of the most common mistakes people make when going through a divorce. Because of the emotional nature of divorce, you may be quick to forget that it is very much like a business transaction. If you have experience with business deals, you know that one wrong move can bring financial disaster.

How does a prenuptial agreement protect you from debt?

When a couple approaching marriage chooses to create a prenuptial agreement, they have a number of protections available. Many people often assume that prenuptial agreements are only useful to those who anticipate divorce and want to ensure that the settlement is straightforward, but this is simply untrue. Among the most important protections a prenuptial agreement can provide are legal boundaries between spouses and each other's debts.

After a couple marries, many of their possessions cease to be solely their own and become legally the property of both spouses, known as marital property. This does not only apply to assets, but also includes liabilities. This means that one spouse may unwittingly assume responsibility for the other's debts, and his or her assets may be threatened by creditors or others seeking repayment for those debts.

Co-parents of infants face difficult circumstances

A child custody case involving an infant has some very unique challenges that have to be worked through so that the baby can get everything he or she needs. There are many points that you have to consider when you are dealing with this type of situation.

One of the most important considerations is how the baby is being fed. If the mother is breastfeeding the baby, there is a chance that she won't be able to leave the baby for long until her milk supply is established and the baby is able to eat from a bottle.

Why can’t I determine child support myself?

Child support obligations are often difficult to bear for the paying parent, and can seem unfairly harsh, depending on the size of the required payments. Many parents receive a child support order and find that it is much more than they want to pay or feel they should have to pay, and wonder why they cannot determine their level of child support themselves.

Unlike a divorce settlement, child support is not left up to parents to decide, because this support is the legal right of the child. A court may place a premium on the best interests of a child, making the preferences of the parents a secondary concern at best. While this may sound cruel or unsympathetic to the paying parent's circumstances, the court determines child support based on what it believes is best for the child within the means of the paying parent, not what is best for the parent.

Control your future through divorce mediation

When you and your spouse decided to divorce, you may have envisioned sitting across from each other in a courtroom allowing a judge to determine your fate. That vision likely increased your trepidation and reluctance to move forward. Fortunately, more California couples like you are turning away from that option and using divorce mediation.

During a time in your life when things often feel out of control, finding a way to regain the control over your future undoubtedly sounds appealing. Resolving your issues outside a courtroom is possible and often results in better agreements that provide both divorcing spouses with a measure of satisfaction that you were treated fairly.

Don't overlook prenuptial agreements during your engagement

Prenuptial agreements are often associated with the rich and famous, but they are helpful in many more marriages than only those specific cases. No matter what social and financial status you have, there are protections that these agreements can provide. Make sure that you think carefully about what you want to do early in your engagement so that you can have time to get it all together.

We realize that there is a certain negative stigma associated with premarital agreements. Just to clear this up, a prenup isn't a hope that your marriage will fail. Instead, it is a way to get through some of the potentially contentious issues that might come up so that you can focus on your relationship. It provides protections for both spouses that can't come from any other means.

Child support and custody limitations in prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements provide many essential protections to couples who use them, allowing both spouses to define clear terms around many financial matters and marital expectations. However, some issues are specifically excluded from prenuptial agreements by the law, and including them may weaken the entire agreement in the eyes of the court. Two of the most commonly problematic issues in prenuptial agreements are child custody and child support, which the law does not allow couples to self-determine without the direction or approval of a court.

When a couple must determine a child custody agreement, courts prefer for parents to work together to create a plan that fairly treats both parents, but most importantly focuses on the best interests of the child. To this end, the law does not allow couples to determine child custody in a prenuptial agreement, to protect the future rights of both the parents and the child from unfair influence.

Huge tax changes could send more divorces to court

Some divorce experts believe that the new tax changes could make it so that fewer couples settle out of court. This could make divorce more complicated and it could mean more people have to go through a full court case.

Specifically, they are concerned about the changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It has passed, but it won't technically be used until the new year. For anyone who gets divorced after Dec. 31, however, there are major changes to alimony payments.

What does a minor gain from emancipation?

For many young people, it is simply not practical or safe to remain in their parents' custody. This may be the case for a number of reasons, from financial and educational reasons to matters of individual autonomy. Minors who pursue emancipation enjoy many privileges of adulthood, but may also face more responsibilities and legal consequences than other minors.

Upon emancipation, minors may

  • Get married to a partner
  • Dictate medical care for themselves
  • Live apart from their parents
  • Earn and manage their own income
  • Receive or purchase real estate and other property
  • Enroll in schools or training programs
  • Enter into legally binding contracts
  • Sue another party or defend themselves in a lawsuit