May 2013 Archives

Answers to Questions about Community Property Law in California

Community property.jpgCouples considering a second marriage often have many questions about their assets.

Should they continue deposits into their IRAs? Would their pre-marital assets be exposed if their new spouse were sued?

Should they get a prenuptial agreement?

What Is Community Property?

So far, just nine states and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico have adopted a community property system. California is one of the states with community property laws in effect.

First, let's take a look at what constitutes community property. In California, it is any asset either acquired or earned (as in income) by a married person living with a spouse.

What about your inheritance from Grandma Betty that you received prior to your wedding? That inheritance will remain as your separate property.

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Modifying Your Child Support Payments

baby child support.jpgHas your income dropped since a judge first ordered you to pay child support? If so, you may want to contact a family law lawyer to have the support reduced.

Sometimes, these modifications are successful. But that wasn't the outcome Carl Williams experienced when he sought relief from the court.

Williams vs. Williams

In 2009, Carl and Nekissta Williams' divorce became final and Nekissta was awarded primary custody of the children and began receiving child support payments.

Sixteen months after the divorce was finalized, Carl's income dropped so he sought relief from the court. Initially, the court agreed with Carl and modified the divorce decree.

But his ex-wife appealed the decision. She stated that Carl's gross monthly income was actually higher than he had reported. The case went to the Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court's decision.

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How to Develop a Post-Divorce Parenting Plan

Custody Plan.jpgIn California, there is a relatively new term being used to describe how divorced parents spend time with their children.

It's called parenting time.

While you're probably familiar with the terms child custody, visitation, and child support, parenting time is a newer term that the courts in California and elsewhere now use to describe co-parenting arrangements between divorced or legally separated parents.

Parenting time is essentially another term for visitation. In other words, when one parent has primary custody of a child the other parent is granted the right to parenting time, which may involve spending the weekend with the other parent or even traveling out of town to see relatives.

However, if the noncustodial parent has a history of mental illness, drug abuse, or domestic violence, he/she may be restricted to supervised visits with the child.

Developing a Parenting Plan

As part of your divorce settlement, you will need to discuss and agree to a parenting plan. When there is no evidence of abuse or mental illness, a typical parenting plan will allow both parties to:

  • Have information about the children.
  • Contact the children through email, social media or by calling.
  • Review medical and school records

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Dividing Marital Property in a Santa Rosa Divorce

DISSO Prop Divide.jpgAfter your wedding, you reveled at all of your gifts.

There was the shiny new toaster from your Aunt Betsy, the Cuisinart from your best friend, the teak patio set from your parents.

Now, on the verge of finalizing your divorce, you have the task of splitting into "mine" and "yours" what was once "ours."

If you want to fight over the toaster you can, but doing so will only run up your attorney's fees and there are more important issues to quarrel over, such as child custody and support.

Here's What You Get to Keep

It's always a good idea to start by making two lists, one for the property you consider to be exclusively yours and a second list of assets acquired during the marriage.

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