Parenting issues that courts may not get involved with

If you no longer have a relationship with an ex-spouse or significant other and you have a child together, you may be skeptical about allowing the child to spend time with that person. The other parent may not have the experience you have as a parent, or there may be other things about their household that concern you.

However, before you consider a motion to limit parenting time or decide to cease parenting time altogether, it is important to know what issues may justify a change, as well as which ones will not.

As such, this latest post will identify some common parenting issues that may not lead to a change in parenting time.

Differences in parenting styles– If you are adamant that corporal punishment should not be used, and your ex is consistent with spankings, it is likely that the court may not intervene. Indeed, the law does not allow abuse, but it is broad enough to give parents the discretion to choose how they discipline their children.

Disagreements about entertainment – If you only allow an hour of television or mobile devices in your home, and your ex allows them watch reality shows and play video games for hours on end, this may not be grounds for limiting parenting time. Parents are given wide discretion to make and enforce their own personal house rules. 

Of course, this does not mean that there are no situations that will merit a change. To learn about them, contact an experienced family law attorney to learn about your rights and options. 

Posted in Family Law | Tagged | Comments Off on Parenting issues that courts may not get involved with

What is the right approach to divorce?

If you are getting divorced, your opinions may be shaped by the horror stories that you have heard about knock-down, drag out fights over custody and property that lasted for years. You may also think that divorcing couples are forever scarred by the experience and that you may be destined to repeat that fate. Despite what you may think, the process does not have to be that way. Through this post, we offer a few things to help keep things in perspective.

Family court judges won’t think about your feelings – Indeed, family court judges may seem heartless at times, but they are people with real feelings; they just can’t care about yours when it comes to applying the law correctly. So while you may feel like you are being treated unfairly in your divorce, this may not hold any weight.

Think of it as a business transaction – At its core, divorce is a legal process for dissolving the marital union, an orderly division of assets, and assigning support (if necessary) so that the parties may move on with their lives.

Custody should be about co-parenting, not money – Indeed, there is a financial component to custody and parenting time assignments, but this should not be used to guide justify your position. It is important to look at how you envision your role as a co-parent, where you will have to continually interact with, and co-parent with your ex-spouse until your child becomes an adult.

The preceding is not legal advice. If you have additional questions about your individual situation, a family law attorney can help. 

Posted in Divorce | Tagged | Comments Off on What is the right approach to divorce?

Doing an uncontested divorce? Talk to an attorney first

As divorce attorneys, we get this question from time to time. It is generally better to consult an attorney about the potential legal issues in a divorce (even though it is uncontested) so that you understand what you are getting into as you make agreements about your divorce.

It is normal to for divorcing couples to simply want to “get things over with,” but there are several issues that they may not think about when creating their own divorce settlements.

How to deal with joint debts – The parties may agree that one spouse may be responsible for paying off joint debts (i.e. credit cards or loans), but what happens when he or she is unable (or suddenly unwilling) to meet their obligations? It is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to make sure that there is language in your agreement to protect your future interests.

When to transfer property – When a couple owns a home and agrees to sell it, what is the optimal price the couple should settle for (in the event the property doesn’t sell as quickly)? Moreover, what should be the timeline in which the property sells? Other questions that may not be answered so quickly are whether the spouse leaving the property should buy out their interest or whether the spouse staying in the property can afford to obtain another loan. These also should be considered by discussing them with an experienced attorney.

Child support issues – Some couples may not want to deal with child support calculations when coming up with an agreement, but it is important to understand what state guidelines call for.

Posted in Divorce | Tagged | Comments Off on Doing an uncontested divorce? Talk to an attorney first

I’m on the birth certificate and I can’t get parenting time

One of the most common misconceptions that unmarried fathers have is that since they are listed on their child’s birth certificate, or have signed some type of document at the hospital acknowledging that they are the biological father, that they are entitled to custody and parenting time. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true.

In fact, California law requires fathers of children born out of wedlock to petition for custody and parenting time rights. As a matter of law, an unmarried woman who gives birth to a child is given sole legal and sole physical custody of the child until a father obtains a court order granting custody and parenting time. This means that mom may dictate whether dad has access to the child, and may determine when and how long dad (or anyone else, for that matter) may spend with the child.

So when dad gets frustrated that he doesn’t get enough time with the child (or any time at all), he can rest assured that he has legal rights that can be asserted, even though it may appear that he is being treated unfairly. This may be the reason why so many fathers feel as if they are at a significant disadvantage when they are in court petitioning for time.

So if you are an unmarried father who is being denied parenting time and are frustrated over not being able to be a part of your child’s life, or are led to believe that parenting time is conditioned upon payment of child support, an experienced family law attorney can help.

Posted in Child Support | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on I’m on the birth certificate and I can’t get parenting time

How to notice signs of financial infidelity

Before a divorce, there may be many things that make you suspicious of your spouse. Errant text messages, inconsistent stories and emotional distance are a few things that come to mind. Why physical and emotional infidelity may be easy to spot, financial infidelity may not be. Moreover, a spouse who siphons off money from joint accounts or sells marital property may be subject to penalties in a divorce.

As such, this post is dedicated to noticing signs of financial infidelity.

Random withdrawals – Undisclosed or unidentified withdrawals from a joint account may be a sign that a spouse is hiding money or intends to send it to someone he or she does not want you to know. This could also apply to random deposits in order to cover their tracks.

Sending statements to other places – Indeed most people enroll in paperless statement programs in order to be better about the environment. However, if your spouse is sending credit card or bank statements to an email address you have no access to, or an address other than your home, this could be a sign of financial infidelity.

Sudden financial issues – In the same vein as the random withdrawals, sudden financial problems such as a foreclosure or cancellation of services could signal financial infidelity, especially if you had no idea that you were behind on mortgage or utility payments.

Unfamiliar charges on your statement – If there are charges you do not recognize on your credit card statement, and they seem suspicious to you, this is yet another example of financial infidelity.

Posted in Divorce | Tagged | Comments Off on How to notice signs of financial infidelity