The United States Supreme Court upheld California’s decision to allow same-sex marriages in 2013. In another case heard two years later, a Supreme Court decision prevented states from banning same-sex marriage. But even so, these decisions did not iron out all of the legal wrinkles faced by gay couples. For example, spouses sometimes found they were not their child’s legal parent unless they went through a formal adoption. One reason for this is that it was difficult, if not impossible, to have a birth certificate with two moms or two dads. Continue reading
Category Archives: Child Support
What Acclaimed TV Show Frasier Got Right About Child Custody
Frasier delighted its fans during its 1993 to 2004 run. This Seattle-based show followed the antics of a radio psychiatrist and his friends and family. In addition to his father and brother, Frasier had to forge and maintain relationships with his ex-wife, Lilith, and his young son, Frederick. But Lilith and Frederick lived across the country in Boston. Their living arrangements presented some problems with child custody and visitation. While the show presented these issues in a humane yet humorous way, there are some significant lessons to take away. Continue reading
Why Is a Divorce with Children Usually More Expensive?
Divorce can be an expensive but necessary process. But the average divorce with children invariably costs more than the average divorce of a childless couple. In this article, we will take a closer look at why the costs increase when kids are involved. Continue reading
What Are Ex Parte Hearings and How Do They Work?
From the time a California divorce is filed until it is settled can take time. But the parties sometimes require action from the court that just can’t wait. For example, ex parte hearings address emergency matters that need to be heard as soon as possible.
Ex Parte Hearings in a California Divorce
One or more parties may apply for emergency orders in family law cases.
Courts might hold ex parte hearings for the following reasons:
- Preventing danger or harm to another party or any children involved in the divorce.
- Preventing immediate loss or damage to property.
- Setting a hearing for a time that’s shorter than normal.
- Shortening or extending the service time for notices of hearing and other court papers.
- Rescheduling a hearing or trial.
Your attorney will know when ex parte hearings are needed and how to get them.
Applying for Ex Parte Decisions
Not every situation requires an expedited or emergency hearing. However, your attorney can ask for an ex parte hearing for the following basic reasons:
- Request for an emergency order.
- Ask to reschedule a hearing or trial.
Generally, applications must contain the following information:
- Contact information for any attorneys involved in the case or the contact information for any party that does not have an attorney if known.
- Declarations about facts supporting the request.
- Lists of previous orders or applications made about the same issue.
- A disclosure of any changes to the party’s status quo resulting from the order.
- Specific information about child custody or visitation issues.
The law requires that most parties who request ex parte hearings usually must notify the other parties involved.
The declaration also contains details about how the filing party served the other party. If it was impossible to serve the notice, provide information about all attempts to serve. And finally, the person applying for an ex parte hearing can state any reasons that the notice of hearing should not be served.
We Can Discuss Ex Parte Hearings with You.
As our attorneys work on your case, they will identify any areas that might need emergency orders.The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.
Understanding California Paternity Laws
Divorce is fraught with sensitive issues. One of the most delicate involves the parenthood of children whose parents are divorcing. If you are thinking of ending your marriage – and you have kids — understanding California’s paternity laws is a must.
Why Paternity Matters
A child’s parentage affects child support, custody, and visitation. In some cases, courts will not sign orders related to a child when paternity is in question. Unless a person is legally established as the father or mother, that person has no rights or responsibilities regarding the child.
Confirming parentage is also important because children have the right to:
- Financial support from mom and dad,
- Legal documents that identify both parents,
- An accurate birth certificate listing both mom and dad,
- Insurance coverage,
- Inherit from their parents, and
- Receive social security, veteran’s benefits, and other government benefits based on their parents.
From an emotional standpoint, most people want to know who their father and mother are. Legally speaking, parentage makes a difference also.
When Courts Get Involved
Generally, children born during a marriage are assumed to be the husband and wife’s biological children. Family court judges usually establish parentage automatically.
However, fathers of children who are not married to the mother when the child was born must legally establish their paternity. Other situations where a man might establish parentage include:
- The child was conceived while the father was trying to marry the mother or thought he was married to her.
- The man agreed to serve as the father on the birth certificate or agreed to provide financial support to the child.
- The man acted as if the child were his own, even though the child is not biologically his.
Family courts may be involved in any case where questions about a child’s paternity exist. For example, a married man who doesn’t believe he is the father of his wife’s child might ask for a determination in order to avoid responsibilities for someone else’s child.
What the Law Says
Some sections of the California Family Code specifically address the parent-child relationship. Frankly, most if not all of the laws related to parents apply to our topic. Before laws related to the rights and responsibilities of a parent take effect, parentage must be established.
We Can Help Decipher California Paternity Laws for You
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.
Issues that Complicate Divorce
Many people consider divorce one of the most stressful life events. But not all divorces carry the same levels of stress. Some couples agree on any significant issues, which makes the resolution of their case fairly simple. Other soon-to-be-ex-spouses have a more difficult path because of one or more of the following issues that complicate divorce.
Spouse-Related Concerns Can Be Problematic
The issues you had with your husband or wife don’t stop when you file for divorce. Some may directly impact how your divorce proceeds.
- Adultery. You do not need grounds for divorce in California. So, your final order or settlement might not be affected except for one thing: misuse of community funds. When one spouse uses marital property on a new love interest, courts might reimburse the innocent spouse in the form of a larger portion of the remaining marital funds.
- Revenge. Some people complicate divorce by trying to take revenge because their spouse deeply hurt them. Vengeful feelings can delay settlement negotiations.
- Pregnancy. This issue can complicate divorce because of questions about paternity. If the husband doubts the child is his, he might ask for paternity tests so the court can determine whether child support is appropriate.
- Spousal Support. It is not easy to work out how much spousal support is due and how long it will be paid.
Married couples without children avoid some of the concerns that parents face.
Children Typically Complicate Divorce
It’s great when both parents love their children and want to care for them. But all that love can get lost in the shuffle of divorce papers.
- Custody and Visitation. Before a judge can issue the final order, parents have to come up with a parenting plan. Custody can be contentious as couples navigate the four types of custody: sole physical, sole legal, joint physical, joint legal. They might use standard visitation schedules or personalize them to fit their child’s needs. However, working out children’s arrangements adds an extra layer of stress.
- Child Support. Parents who do not have physical custody often pay monthly child support to the parent who does. Calculating the amount of support definitely can complicate divorce proceedings.
Fortunately, family court judges always try to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children.
Finances Are Often a Contested Issue
Money matters to most people. Whether a divorce is amicable or contentious, spouses generally want to get what they deserve from the marital estate. Unfortunately, some issues complicate divorce to the point that settlement might be several years down the road.
- Muddled Property Classification. Couples might have separate property, which they retain, or community property (which is split between the parties). However, it is not always easy to decide whether property is separate or community. For example, disagreements arise when one party brings substantial assets into the marriage but fails to keep them separate. Sometimes property is partially separate and partially community. It might take experts to untangle complications like these.
- High-Net-Worth. Having more property means there’s more property to classify and divide. Again, the parties might need a financial expert’s careful analysis.
- Business Assets. Some property is easier to appraise than others. Determining the value of a business is typically difficult and can quickly complicate divorce.
Divorce can be difficult, but you don’t have to go it alone.
When Issues Complicate Divorce, You Need Experienced Legal Counsel
Talk to a qualified California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.
Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Diego, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
Do Children Testify at Divorce Hearings?
Children rarely, if ever, ask their parents to split up. Instead, they sometimes just become part of the collateral damage of divorce. Dealing with the court system during a divorce is stressful for everyone, including children. Even parents who try to do what’s best for their kids may wonder if courts will increase the tension by making children testify at divorce hearings. Let’s look at how this problem is handled in California.
Children, Divorce, and California Law
Each divorce is a little different. Sometimes court hearings are needed to address children’s needs related to custody and visitation.
Fortunately, California law does not require children to testify at divorce hearings. Likewise, California law does not expressly prohibit children from speaking in court. Generally, courts consider a child’s participation on a case-by-case basis. Age plays a part in the court’s decision, as set out in California Family Code Section 3042:
- Children under 14 years of age might address the court if the court determines that it is appropriate and in the child’s best interests.
- Children over 14 years of age will be allowed to testify unless the court decides testifying is not in the child’s best interests.
If the court decides the child cannot testify in open court, alternative methods include:
- Allowing the child to participate in a child custody mediation,
- Appointing a child custody evaluator,
- Allowing people to present evidence on behalf of the child,
- Admitting information provided by a child interview center or counselor.
The judge may also allow testimony in a closed courtroom or in the judge’s chambers.
But what happens when the court decides to allow kids to participate in hearings?
Requesting That Children Testify at Divorce Hearings
Sometimes, people close to a child may learn that he or she wants to testify. According to the 2020 California Rules of Court, the following people must let the court know if this happens:
- The minor child’s counsel
- Child custody recommending counselors.
Any party to the divorce or any party’s attorney may also let the court know that a child wants to testify. Also, judicial officers may ask whether children want to testify.
How the Courts Handle Children’s Testimony
Just because a court decides to let children testify at divorce hearings does not mean they stop protecting those children. Judges might appoint an attorney to represent the child during the testimony. Courts decide where the testimony will happen – in open court or in the judge’s chambers – and who will be present. In some cases, it is not in the child’s best interests to allow parents to attend. Finally, judges will protect children who testify at divorce hearings from harassment and inappropriate questioning.
You Need Experienced Advice When Children Testify at Divorce Hearings
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are well-versed in divorce and the dissolution of registered domestic partnerships. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Southern California Coast.
Helping Kids Cope with Divorce and COVID-19
Modern life can be hectic, even without complications like divorce and COVID-19. Adult stress levels are at all-time highs right now. But what about our children? How are they handling major lifestyle changes? As a divorced or soon-to-be-divorced parent, helping kids cope with both divorce and COVID-19 may be a high priority. In this article, we offer some tips that may help you and your children. Continue reading
Where California Stands on the National Parents Organization Annual Report Card
Most parents want the best for their children. However, when you are in the middle of a divorce, the ‘best’ thing for your children can be challenging to determine. For this reason, California Family Courts and lawyers use existing California laws to address child-related issues in a divorce proceeding. Groups like the National Parents Organization are dedicated to reforming child support and custody nationwide. In fact, they issue an annual report card that gives each state a grade based on how they handle parenting issues in divorce. Read on to learn more about how California fared in the most recent annual report – and why it matters. Continue reading
Will I Have to Pay Child Support?
Many questions raced through Liam’s mind as he and Sophia discussed getting a divorce. Where would he live? Would their children be okay? One of the most nagging questions involved paying for all the things kids need. Would he have to pay child support, or would Sophia be held financially responsible for their kids? Several factors determine whether one divorcing spouse will pay child support to the other.