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Orange County Divorce Law Blog

How blended families can deal with finances

Since about 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, it's likely that a California parent could remarry in the future. In some cases, the parent's new spouse may also have joint or even sole custody of their own children. Transitioning into what the U.S. Census Bureau calls a "blended family" can be difficult, particularly on finances.

Before two parents get married, it is recommended that they come to some common agreements. This includes deciding what type of financial example they want to set for their children. They should also agree on their spending habits, how they intend to save for the future and how to use any excess money. Furthermore, parents who are creating blended families should determine how to deal with one or more of the children needing more resources than the others.

Gaining custody of a sibling

California parents are considered the natural guardians of their children. In some cases, another family member, such as a sibling, may need to gain custody of a minor child because the parents are deceased or are unable or unfit to care for the child.

In some cases, a parent may voluntarily relinquish custody to a sibling. This may help avoid an emotionally draining courtroom battle. In such cases, the sibling who is trying to gain custody will simply need to have the appropriate paperwork signed by the parent and approved by a judge.

Alternative ways to establish child support

Orange County parents who are getting a divorce have alternatives to going before a judge to determine child support. They can conduct informal negotiations with the help of their attorneys, and they can participate in these negotiations to the degree that they feel comfortable. In some cases, attorneys may simply carry out these negotiations on behalf of their clients.

More formal negotiations may be conducted using mediation, collaborative law or arbitration. These are all forms of alternative dispute resolution, and they require participation from the parents. In the first two, the aim is to resolve conflict and reach an agreement that satisfies all parties. Arbitration involves sharing all evidence and arguments with a neutral person who then makes a decision. It is not as commonly used in family law as it is in other areas, and the decision of the arbitrator may not be final.

Post-nuptial agreements are imperative for stay-at-home moms

Many people think of prenuptial agreements as unromantic or perhaps even dooming to a marriage. After the honeymoon period has passed and you gain a more realistic perspective, you may reconsider and wonder about the specifics of a postnuptial agreement. This is a particularly wise decision for stay-at-home moms (and dads). Here are a few reasons why.

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Financial steps to take before a divorce

There are steps that Orange County couples who are ending their marriage can take when they are contemplating a divorce that might give them a better idea of what their financial situation will look like after the divorce. Friends and family members might offer advice, but it might not be appropriate for every situation. Professionals, such as attorneys and certified divorce financial analysts, are likely to offer more reliable counsel.

It is important for people to understand spending in their household and what their assets and debts are. They might want to gather financial documentation including tax returns, pay stubs, credit card bills and bank statements. This will give them a picture of how property might be divided in the divorce as well. A budget can help people understand their present financial needs and anticipate future ones.

How to help children deal with divorce

People in Orange County who are getting a divorce can take steps to help their children adjust. Speaking to children early on in the process is important, as they will often begin to wonder what is wrong when parents move into separate bedrooms or there are other changes. Children need reassurance and the freedom to ask any questions they may have. If they are not asking questions, parents may want to periodically talk to them about the divorce and how they are feeling.

Children may need to grieve in their own way. They may also benefit from talking to a therapist. Parents can help by avoiding conflict. This may include being flexible when appointments are missed or similar issues arise. Parents should also avoid using their children to manipulate one another or to carry messages back and forth. They should not talk about one another in front of the children, and parenting issues should be dealt with privately. However angry one parent may be at the other, children still love both their parents and may be hurt by seeing one parent denigrated by the other.

More couples fighting over politics, study says

Some couples in Orange County may find that they are experiencing more conflict since the election of President Donald Trump. A study by Wakefield Research found that one out of 10 couples reported that their relationship had ended over a political disagreement. Among millennials, 22 percent said they had broken up with a partner over political differences.

The study surveyed 1,000 people between April 12 and April 18. It also found that 22 percent of people said they knew a couple whose relationship was suffering because of the election of Trump. While one common source of disagreement for couples is finances, over 20 percent of people said that since Trump's election, they were fighting more about politics than money.

The likelihood of a gray divorce

Divorces among older couples have been on the rise in California and the rest of the United States. However, the causes may not be what people may think.

Current gray divorce trends show that the risk of divorce is not evenly applied among those who are 50 or older. While the current gray divorce rate is two times what it was 30 years ago, it is still not significantly high. In fact, the divorce rate for individuals over the age of 50 is half the rate of those younger than 50.

Effects of substance abuse on child custody

Family courts in California and around the U.S. base child custody decisions on the best interest of the child. When a parent has concerns about the other parent's abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs, a judge would consider how this behavior could impact the safety of the children. Someone wishing to address a parent's substance abuse could do so at the initial child custody hearing or request changes after a court has already issued an order for custody and visitation.

When a court is reviewing a custody agreement for the first time, a parent could express concerns about the other parent's substance abuse. A judge could order an investigation into the other parent's ability to care for children. The court will try to confirm the allegations and then evaluate whether the drinking or drug use could impede parental abilities or endanger the children. The findings of this investigation would influence the court's final decision.

Do children have a say in child custody disputes?

California children are often caught in the middle between their divorcing parents during a child custody battle. Depending on the age of the children, the court will sometimes consider their wishes, but a complete exploration to determine the best interests of the child will usually occur. A child's wishes may not always be found to be the best solution.

While children do sometimes have a voice in child custody proceedings, their reasoning must be based on a certain level of maturity. A child's motives may be considered, but the courts are often faced with deciding whether parental interference has occurred because one or even both parents may try to sway a child's views to meet their own desires. Parents sometimes coerce their children into taking sides in child custody disputes, and the courts realize that this scenario does occur.


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