Orange County Family Law Blog | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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Is your child support or custody plan no longer feasible?

When you divorce and a court issues an order regarding child custody and support, you and your ex are legally obligated to adhere to its terms. If you are paying child support, you are responsible for making every payment on time as well as adhering to the rest of the terms the court issued in your co-parenting plan. Does this mean, however, that everything is set in stone and you can never change the way you do things?

The answer depends on the specific circumstances of your situation. The court may grant a modification of your existing support order, but only if certain criteria are met. First, you must make the proper type of request in court. The judge overseeing your case will review your request and decided whether to approve a modification. Unless that happens, you must adhere to the terms of the existing order.

4 ways a separation can be the same as a divorce

Often, a separation comes before a divorce. Couples may wish to make this a legal separation, which means they sit down and figure out their legal rights and responsibilities while living apart. They are still married, but the separation can in many ways be like a divorce.

Four ways that these situations are similar include the following:

  1. The couple has to consider child custody. For both parents to be involved, it is important to have an official custody schedule that both parents need to follow.
  2. If the child lives with just one parent, then the other parent typically needs to have visitation rights. It is often wise to have an official schedule so that both parents are on the same page and the child knows what to expect.
  3. Property that the couple owns may need to get divided. For instance, what if you share a car? Who gets it after you legally separate? You have to consider income, debt, retirement funds, investments, physical property, financial assets and everything else that you own together.
  4. One spouse may need to pay separation maintenance to the other. This can help with things like child support and spousal support. Those financial needs still exist during a separation.

Child custody modifications can be achieved through teamwork

As you make decisions about child custody for your kids, you have to ensure that you are thinking about their best interests. These will change as they grow, which means that you might have to change the child custody order as the kids get older. While this might seem like a hassle, it insures that they are getting what they need. We are here to help you find solutions to issues that creep up, even when you need something that is more creative than the standard arrangements.

There are many things that you need to consider as you make decisions. For younger children, finding out what they need usually won't include asking them for feedback, but as they get older, they can likely tell you what they think and what they need. We know you just want to help your children thrive.

How can you get half your assets if your spouse is hiding them?

California is one of nine states that use to community property laws when spouses decide to divorce. That means, in California, the spouses' community property -- otherwise known as marital property -- is supposed to be divided on a 50/50 basis. Whether or not that happens could depend on multiple factors, such as accurate or inaccurate valuation of assets or the kind of assets each spouse would prefer to keep.

An even division of marital property can also be difficult to achieve if your spouse is not being honest about all assets and liabilities. Total transparency and full disclosure are necessary to protect the rights of all involved. If you suspect your spouse is trying to keep certain assets hidden from property division, you should know upfront that such behavior is illegal.

Are you thinking about adoption? Take these tips to heart

You may be thinking about adoption for any number of reasons. Perhaps you have always wanted children and you cannot have them. Perhaps you have a heart for children without families and you want to do what you can to help at least one.

Adopting a child is a big step in your life. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Decide on the age range. Some people only want to adopt infants, raising them practically from the day they are born. Others are open to adopting older children. There is no right or wrong preference, but you need to know what you want in advance.
  • Think about the birth parents and their involvement. Do you want them to stay in the child's life? Would you prefer that the child doesn't know their biological parents?
  • Start learning from others. You may want to read books or listen to podcasts. If you know people who have adopted, talk to them. Join groups online for other parents in your position. The more you know, the better. You can form accurate expectations and plan for the future. Let others' experiences guide you.
  • Look into the financial side. Adoption is not cheap. While a birth may be covered by your health insurance, your adoption may have to come out of your own pocket. It is important to make a financial plan leading up to the adoption and another one to adjust your budget after the child begins living with you.

Child care plans for the holidays need to be made now

Children who are in school have some breaks coming up that parents need to think about. If your children will need child care during these, you should likely start making plans for this now. This is especially true if you are divorced since you will have to take the child custody schedule into account.

As you look at the schedule for the remainder of the year, find out what days you need to have someone to watch the children. If you and your ex both have days that will require care, discuss this with your ex. Will both of you bring the child to the same person or place? How will you split the tuition or payments if you do use the same one? These are questions that are best handled now so that you aren't trying to rush to make plans just before the day your child needs a sitter.

Hiding assets: Divorce is even tougher if a spouse is doing this

Divorce would be a lot easier if all spouses could cooperate and compromise to achieve swift and fair settlements. In reality, things often do not happen like that. In fact, spouses get pretty nasty sometimes, perhaps trying to hide assets or otherwise give an ex the short end of the settlement stick.

When you're already trying to deal with the emotional upheaval of divorce, the last thing you need to worry about is tracking down assets that you are entitled to receive when the court divides your marital property. Not only is hiding assets a mean-spirited thing to do; it is also illegal. If you suspect your spouse would do something like this, it helps to know where to turn for help if a problem arises.

Can you be 'too broke' for a prenuptial agreement?

As your wedding day gets closer, one of your friends pulls you aside and explains how beneficial it can be to get a prenuptial agreement. You hope not to get divorced, of course, but you can cover your financial bases just in case.

The problem, as you see it, is that you are young and you do not have any serious assets. Is there any reason to get a prenup?

Tips to cope with an unwanted divorce

Some people go through a divorce that is unwanted. When you are in this situation, you might find that it is hard to cope with the situation. You might not know how to move on with your life. There are several things that you should do to help you out with this.

First, remember that holding on to the marriage can do more harm than good. No matter how much you love your now-ex, you are bound to get hurt if you try to hang around. Instead, come to terms with the unwanted divorce and accept that your life is now changing.

Flexible visitation schedules are important for teens

As a parent, you like routine. You have a set schedule during the week and you want to fit everything into it. That makes it easiest to plan.

When you get divorced and you end up with visitation rights, it is easy to set up a schedule that fits your life and then stick to it. After all, your 2-year-old does not care exactly when you spend time together. They're always free.