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Redwood City Family Law Blog

Disability may impact aability to make child support payments

The child support agreement between divorced California parents may be going along swimmingly when disaster strikes. The non-custodial parent becomes disabled and can't work. Does this mean an end to the money the custodial parent gets to support their children? Not necessarily.

In most cases the disabled parent will still be expected to make child support payments. The payment, however, may be less than what the other parent is used to receiving.

When parents involuntarily impoverish themselves to evade support

In some California child support cases, one parent will either work for less than what he or she is able to make or under the table in an effort to avoid being responsible for paying child support. Referred to as voluntary impoverishment, this tactic is something that child support enforcement agencies and the courts are aware of and understand how to identify.

If people have oral child support agreements, and the individuals who have agreed to pay state they are no longer working, the first step is for the custodial parents to apply for child support. They can do this by filing motions with the court or going to their local child support agencies. If the people believe that their children's noncustodial parents are voluntarily impoverishing themselves, they should explain it to the court or child support agency.

Can social media hurt me during my divorce?

In today’s age, social media plays an important role in virtually every aspect of our lives. It can be a blessing and a curse.

Like everything else, social media can factor into your divorce and divorce proceedings. Here are a few ways your social media and online presence can affect your divorce:

Why public assistance hinges on child support orders

If parents in California or anywhere else in the country need public assistance after a divorce, the government may ask if they are receiving child support. This is because the child support payments could alleviate the need for the government to provide benefits. In some cases, government agencies could ask that a parent reimburse them for any benefits paid out. Individuals who want to receive benefits will first need to have a legal separation order in place.

A government agency will not provide benefits while a person is still with his or her spouse. In most cases, the separation agreement will turn into a divorce decree within one year. The separation should contain language stipulating how much child support a person receives. That amount will be deducted from any amount that he or she would be eligible to receive. Public benefits include financial or housing assistance as well as help paying for a child's daycare needs.

Statistics show most parents stiffed on child support

Over the years, California readers may have heard some political pundits suggesting that parents receive too much child support. However, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that most single parents receive less than they are owed.

According to the latest government data, there are 13.4 million single parents in the U.S., and nearly 50 percent of them have negotiated a child support agreement of some kind. Of those parents with child support agreements, 89.8 percent set them up through the courts or a Title IV-D agency while 10.2 percent negotiated the agreement informally. Almost a quarter of custodial parents receiving child support also receive some sort of government assistance.

Paying for a child's college education after divorce

Around 40 percent of marriages end in divorce, but according to a study by TD Ameritrade, about two-thirds of couples have no financial plan in place to deal with divorce or the death of a spouse. Divorce may leave some parents in California struggling to pay for their children's college education, but there may be steps they can take to help secure at least some of that funding.

Divorce means splitting households, and two households are more expensive to maintain than one. Spousal and child support take priority over college educations. Parents may want to consider whether they can afford a private or state school and explore scholarships, grants and loans. A parent cannot be required to pay for a child's graduate school or expensive undergraduate education, and agreements that deal with a child's college education usually specify five years of support.

What you need to know about child support

Child support can be a touchy subject following a divorce. Parents obviously love their children, but paying an ex-spouse can be frustrating.

The purpose of child support is to provide a quality lifestyle to your children. However, the process can be confusing, and you may have questions.

Tips for a divorce settlement that offers financial stability

California couples who are getting a divorce might want to consider trying a more collaborative approach to property division instead of heading straight for litigation. This could leave them with more financial stability in the long run, and with some divorces costing upwards of $15,000, it could be worth trying to keep those expenses down.

The first step for a person who plans to try negotiating a divorce settlement is to assemble a team that can offer practical and emotional support. This team may be made up of an attorney and family members, but it might also include a financial planner and other professionals.

Defining custodial parenting after divorce

In California and across the United States, approximately 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Many of these marriages involve children. The term "custodial parent" is typically defined by the parent who has physical custody of their children for the majority of the time after a divorce. This doesn't mean that the other parent isn't involved in their children's lives, but it does mean that the custodial parent typically bears more responsibility of child-rearing. Even if parents have agreed on a co-parenting situation, the custodial parent will be assigned custody for the majority of the time.

There are two different types of child custody: legal and physical. Many parents have joint legal custody, which means that health, religious and school decisions should be made together, but the custodial parent will have the children living with him or her for more than 50 percent of the time. Often, a parent who has the children for most of the time automatically assumes they are the custodial parent. The courts may require that the parent file for sole custody in order for this status to be official.

Equality and communication could insulate couples from divorce

When couples in California marry, they generally anticipate a long life together. However, adapting to changing circumstances as the years go by could strain a marriage. Ideally, future partners will discuss how to share responsibilities like household chores, financial management and child care before getting married. Spouses should accept themselves as equal decision-makers and be willing to speak up when adjustments are necessary in the home or at work.

Otherwise, people might stick to the roles that they established at the beginning of marriage and react negatively if something changes. For example, one study concluded that traditional gender roles between spouses early in marriage increased the possibility of divorce if the woman eventually began earning more money than the man. Men resented the change to the relationship's status quo.


The Law Offices of Oliver R. Gutierrez
600 Allerton St., Suite 200
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone: 650-399-0962
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