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Tustin California Family Law Blog

Monthly alimony payments or lump sum? Which is best for you?

When you filed for divorce in a California court, you logically assumed you would face future financial obligations regarding child support and alimony. You were okay with that and really just want to work out an agreement in the swiftest, most financially feasible manner possible so you could get on with your life. The thing about child support and alimony is, however, that each state has its own guidelines to govern these processes.

If avoiding complications or contentious debates is a high priority to you, you'll want to do some research ahead of time so you know what to expect in court. Concerning alimony, the most common means of allocation is to make monthly payments. If you're worried you might miss a payment or simply don't want to have to think about it every single month, you might want to request a lump sum payment instead.

Establishing, modifying and enforcing child support

Every family in California comes has financial needs, particularly when it comes to raising children. When divorcing parents are assessing how best to continually meet the needs of their children, child support needs to be discussed.

It is never easy to talk about finances, especially when it comes to paying an ex-spouse for the care of a child. Despite the fact that any conversation about money is difficult, it is imperative that child support is established if it is necessary. At Niven & Niven, Attorneys at Law, our skilled attorneys know the ins and outs of child support agreements, modifications and enforcement. Thus, we are dedicated to helping parents in the Tustin area navigate their child support matters.

When a parent paying child support goes to jail or prison

Perhaps you're a Tustin parent who receives child support payments from a former partner, and you've just learned that he or she is going to be spending some time behind bars. Or perhaps you are a parent who pays child support, and you've been sentenced to prison. In either case, there are some important points to emphasize regarding child support payments and incarcerated parents.

The first question that will likely arise in this scenario is, does a jail or prison sentence automatically suspend child support obligations? The answer is no. Payments are still due as ordered by the court, and any late or missed payments will incur the usual 10 percent interest. Child support payments typically must continue until the child turns 18, or even longer in some cases.

What is in the best interests of the child?

As discussed last week on our Tustin family law blog, determining which parent will have custody of a child after a divorce involves a number of different decisions. Physical custody, legal custody, primary or joint custody, parenting time -- all must be taken into consideration while focusing on the best interests of the child. This is true whether divorcing parents are working on child custody issues out of court or before a judge.

So just how does a court determine what's in the best interests of a child? What does that phrase mean in a family law context? Generally speaking, it simply means that all custody decisions are intended to support the child's health and safety, happiness, and development.

Actor seeks joint legal, physical custody of children in divorce

"Hard, but beautiful" -- this is how actor Bill Hader described parenting during an interview with Conan O'Brien several years ago. Tustin parents have likely felt something similar at some point; a recognition of both the challenges and the rewards of raising children. One challenge Hader and many other parents will also experience is that of a divorce with child custody issues to resolve.

Hader and his wife met approximately 17 years ago, around the time Hader joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. They married after a year. Hader's recent filing for divorce in the California court system cites irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. Hader and his wife have three daughters together, ranging in ages from 3 to 8 years.

Spousal support basics in California (part 3)

Let's wrap up the discussion we've been having over the past month on our Tustin family law blog with a look at some of the remaining factors that could play a role in spousal support. The discussion is not intended not as legal advice, but simply as general information.

Unfortunately, domestic violence is all too often an element underlying a divorce. What happens if one divorcing partner is being asked to pay spousal support by a partner who is, or was, abusive? Assuming there is evidence of the abuse -- perhaps in the form of police reports or medical records, or witness testimony -- the judge hearing the case will have to take it into consideration.

Are you willing to share a home with your wife after divorce?

During your marriage, you were always quite content to be the breadwinner while your wife stayed home to take care of your home and your children. After all, you knew from your conversations with California business colleagues how expensive child care outside the home can be, so if there was a way to avoid that expense, you were all for it. When you decided to divorce, however, you immediately faced several decisions you knew you would have to make regarding your children - most urgently, where they would live.

You might be glad to hear about a rising trend that seems to be sweeping the nation. It's called bird nesting and is what some might call a radical form of co-parenting in divorce. If you think it might work in your particular situation, it could eliminate the question regarding where your children should live because in bird nesting situations, the children keep the house.

Spousal support basics in California (part 2)

Last month we began looking in some detail at the reality of spousal support in California, in contrast to some popularly held misconceptions. Having reviewed the different situations in which spousal support may be awarded, let's continue with how courts go about calculating spousal support.

If you are requesting temporary support (i.e., payments to be made during the divorce process but before it is finalized), the court will simply apply a formula in order to determine the amount it will award. When making an award for longer-term spousal support, however, the court must base its award on a list of factors. A major one is how long the couple was married.

California case highlights parental responsibility, child support

Parents in Tustin who have divorced will generally be familiar with California's laws regarding the financial support obligations of parents towards their children. Even unmarried parents can be required to make child support payments. A recent court ruling in an unusual situation highlights just how seriously California family law takes this issue.

The situation involved a man and a woman who were in a relationship and decided they wanted to raise a child. The man had previously undergone a vasectomy, but was able to have sperm extracted and a child was conceived through in vitro fertilization. Although the man worked as a pilot and was only with the mother and child for a few nights each week, he told friends that he was the father. He provided financial support and the little boy knew him as "daddy."

Can I request a child support modification at any time?

To request a child support modification in the state of California, a party must be able to show a change in circumstance. The only exception to this rule would be if the judge originally ordered a child support amount lower than the guideline based on the standard calculated formula. If this is the case, a modification may be requested at any time, under any circumstance.

There are several valid reasons which could be considered a change in circumstance, resulting in a modified child support amount. They are a change in income of one or both parties, loss of employment, incarceration, the birth of another child, change in parenting time, change in additional expenses (i.e. child care, health insurance, education), or a change in child support guidelines by the state.


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Tustin, CA 92780-2176

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