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
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
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.
How to Get an Ex Parte OrderThe simple answer is that you file a motion with the court asking for the relief that you need as soon as possible. However, each county in California may have its own rules and procedures for obtaining an ex parte order. Failing to follow the rules may cause your motion to be denied. You may file a Temporary Emergency Orders (Ex Parte) (Form FL-305) to request certain temporary emergency court orders. While this form may be used throughout the state, you will need to check the rules for the county in which you file for additional information. Hearings often are heard within 24 hours of filing the request for an ex parte order, at which time a judge will hand down a ruling on your request for Temporary Emergency Orders.
When an Ex Parte Order Is AppropriateSometimes the filing spouse may need to get an issue before a judge as quickly as possible because an emergency exists. In fact, the filing party may request an ex parte action for one or more of the following reasons:
- The spouse who filed the divorce case may be in danger.
- A child involved in the divorce case may be in danger.
- The filing party needs temporary use of a marital asset.
- The filing spouse feels that his or her property might be destroyed or damaged by the responding spouse.
It’s Complicated.The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce proceedings, including ex parte orders. 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 Central California Coast.
If you are getting divorced and have children, you may question how to tell your kids about the divorce. They may need help learning to cope with all the changes in their lives. Parents, and other adults who love the children, may need tips on helping kids survive divorce. We will look at few tips in this article.
Recognize Stages Kids Go Through
After telling your children about the divorce, watch for the following emotions and behavior:
- Denial – refusing to believe their parents are separating.
- Anger – misbehaving and acting out because of the disruption to their lives.
- Depression – feeling overwhelmed or helpless.
- Bargaining – trying to get parents to reconcile.
- Acceptance – beginning to heal and get back to normal.
At every stage, parents may have the opportunity to help their children cope.
Parents Can Make Transitions Easier – Or Far More Difficult
The parents’ behavior goes a long way toward helping kids learn to survive and thrive during a divorce. With that in mind:
- Don’t use your children as pawns or messengers.
- Do talk positively as much as possible.
- Don’t talk bad about your children’s other parent.
- Do encourage your children to talk about how they feel.
- Don’t fight with each other in front of the kids.
- Do communicate cordially and coordinate visitation.
- Don’t forget to pick up and return the kids at the scheduled dates and times.
- Do show your children that you love them.
In addition, negotiate your marital settlement and parenting plan in good faith. Try to come up with a plan that helps your kids survive divorce.
Courts Pay Attention to Children’s Needs
Laws, statutes, and regulations cannot eliminate feelings of rage, revenge, unworthiness, and grief. It may be difficult to control your emotions and actions. However, judges will assess how parents relate to their children when deciding child custody arrangements. Courts are required to keep the children’s best interests in mind, even when the parents struggle with addressing their kids’ feelings along with their own.
Helping Kids Survive Divorce Is a Top Priority
It’s not always easy, though. Having an attorney help with a divorce may ease some of your tension.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 Central California Coast.
It’s no secret that divorces where children are involved can be complicated. California divorce judges make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children. But raising children is expensive. As a divorce nears finalization, one of the most important questions is who will take on financial responsibility for the kids? Mom, Dad, or is it split between the two?
Child Support Fundamentals
Parents generally are responsible for supporting their dependent children. When the parents are divorced, the court orders one or both parents to providing financial support for their children.
Child support generally ends if the child:
- turns 18 and is not a full-time high school student
- marries or registers a domestic partnership,
- becomes emancipated, or
- turns 19.
Deciding who will be financial responsible for the kids is not always easy.
Determining Child Support
A number of factors go into calculating child support:
- What are the financial circumstances of both parents;
- What do the children need;
- Are there any special expenses like child care, special medical care, or therapy; and
- Which parent has the most physical responsibility for the kids.
The parents file and submit an Income and Expense Declaration and provide proof of income. The judge reviews each parent’s submission, paying close attention to their net disposable income. The court also looks at all other sources or income or potential sources.
The child support order typically is based in part on how much time each parent spends with their children. Parents who spend less time with their kids may be ordered to provide more monetary support.
The judge also will consider expenses related to the children, including:
- Basics like food, clothing, and shelter;
- Health insurance;
- Child care;
- Extracurricular activities;
- Travel costs related to visitation, and
- Medical bills currently unpaid.
Of course, the judge will also consider California laws related to child support and California Child Support Guidelines.
The Answer to the Question “Who Bears Financial Responsibility for the Kids” Is . . .
It’s complicated. Both parents bear some of the cost of raising children. However, child support orders may order a greater financial support for the parent who has less physical responsibility.
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 Central California Coast.
In a previous blog, we talked about finances for women going through a divorce. Now, it’s the men’s turn. The divorce experience is as different for men and women as, well, men and women. Nowhere is that more apparent than in family finances. Even though men tend to fare better financially than women post-divorce, it is still important to consider some financial tips for men who are going through a divorce.
Learn Everything You Can About Your Finances
It may be difficult to negotiate a reasonable divorce settlement if you don’t know what’s involved. What bank accounts do you and your spouse have? How much debt do you have? Did you or your wife take the leading role in financial decisions. Make sure you know where you stand.
Make an Inventory of All Property
At this point, don’t worry about whether it is community property or separate property. Account for cash, bank accounts, real estate, personal property, and other assets. Prepare a list that is as complete as possible. Then put it in a safe place.
Explore Spousal Support Options
Some men resist paying spousal support. The reasons vary. Sometimes the husband took a greater role in financially supporting the family while the wife focused on home and children. Others may be worried they won’t have enough money to live on.
Some men resist receiving spousal support. In divorce cases where the wife makes more money than the husband, or where the husband takes an increased child custody role, the wife may pay spousal support to the husband.
Prepare for Child Support
Whether you will pay and how much depends on a number of factors. The judge hearing your divorce case will enter an order for one or both parents to provide a certain amount to cover a child’s living expenses.
Make sure you provide complete and accurate financial disclosures. The court will consider both parents’ net disposable income when deciding on child support.
Hold Off on Impulse Buying
Depression or even a sense of freedom sends some men over the financial deep end. This may not be the best time to buy a boat, go to Vegas, or move cross country. If possible, wait until after the divorce is final before making any big decisions.
Divorce is HardAn experienced California divorce attorney can help you achieve the best outcome possible. 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 Central California Coast.
Often a party to a divorce may be eligible for temporary spousal support, temporary child support, or both. Calculating the amounts due can be a complicated process. Though this is not a comprehensive list, courts may consider some of these factors when calculating support:
- Earning capacity, including employability and ability to work without harming dependent children;
- Future earning capacity of a party who chose caring for family over pursuing a career,
- Contributions made by one spouse toward the education or training of the other,
- Ability to pay spousal support while maintaining a standard of living,
- Community and separate obligations and assets,
- Length of marriage,
- Age and health of each spouse,
- Domestic violence claims,
- Tax consequences to the parties,
- Criminal convictions, and
- Any other factors the court considers to be important.
One thing to remember is that temporary spousal support and child support are not granted automatically. You have to ask for them.
Applying for Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary spousal support can be requested if you have an open case for divorce, legal separation, or a domestic violence restraining order. Your attorney can help you complete and file the following forms to request temporary spousal support or child support:
- Request for Order, and
- Income and Expense Declaration.
After filing your papers, you will have someone else serve a copy on your spouse, along with two other documents:
- Responsive Declaration to Request for Order, and
- Income and Expense Declaration.
Then you and your attorney will file a document stating that your spouse was served. At the hearing, the judge will sign an order stating whether you get temporary spousal support and how much.
Applying for Temporary Child Support
You must have opened one of the following cases to request temporary child support:
- If married or a registered domestic partner – a divorce, legal separation, annulment, domestic violence restraining order, petition for custody, or local child support agency case.
- If not married or a domestic partner –a parentage (paternity) case, domestic violence restraining order, petition for custody and support of minor children, local child support agency case.
This process is similar to requesting temporary spousal support. However, make sure you serve copies with the local child support agency if they are involved.
As with spousal support, the judge enters a court order. After the hearing, the process is slightly different. You’ll need to prepare a Notice of Rights and Responsibilities – Health-Care Costs and Reimbursement Procedures. Each parent will also complete a Child Support Case Registry Form
You Don’t Have to Do This Alone.
Navigating divorce court can be distressing. We’re here to help. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.
Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities. Our new Beverly Hills office is opening soon.
California courts are strongly “pro-child.” Typically, decisions are based on the best interests of any children involved in a divorce or legal separation. Let’s look at a few questions frequently asked about parenting plans.
What is a parenting plan?
When a divorcing couple have children, they need to agree on how to care for them. Also called a custody and visitation agreement, the parenting plan sets out how physical and legal custody will be handled.
To avoid misunderstandings, a parenting plan should include specific provisions about each parent’s responsibilities and obligations. For example, a plan might state who will handle:
- Health care and medical treatments,
- School, educational, and extracurricular activities,
- Exchanging the children after a visit,
- Parenting styles,
- Child care; and
- Travel and relocation.
Courts look for a plan that provides the best possible solution for the children.
What if parents can’t agree on a parenting plan?
The first step is mediation. Both parents work on sample plans with their attorneys, then present their proposed parenting plans to the mediator. Although mediation is not legally binding, mediators often facilitate agreements between disputing parents.
However, sometimes mediation fails. If so, the couple schedule a hearing where their parenting plans can be presented for the judge’s consideration. The court renders a decision, sometimes with the help of independent counselors or the mediator.
What happens after we sign the parenting plan?
When parents are able to agree, then they simply submit their parenting plan to the court. Unless the judge sees something wrong with the plan – something that is not in the best interests of the children – the plan usually is approved.
Our parenting plan was approved. What now?
Follow the parenting plan. If you find that sections are not working, talk to your attorney about adjustments.
Any of the following behaviors may violate the terms of your parenting plan:
- Trying to turn your child against his or her other parent,
- Being late when it is time to return your child after visitation,
- Refusing to allow visitation at all, or
- Refusing to handle educational or healthcare decisions as agreed.
When you violate your parenting plan, you are violating a court order. A judge may hold you in contempt of court. The consequences could be as simple as attending a parenting class or as severe as jail time.
The driving principle behind a parent plan is to act in the best interests of the child. Make sure your parenting plan is right for your children.
Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call us at 415-293-8314 to talk about your divorce. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients in San Francisco, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities. We are opening a Beverly Hills office soon.
Children feel a whole range of emotions during a divorce. They may be too young or too damaged to express and deal with those emotions, though. There are ways, however, that you and your ex-spouse can help your kids thrive, even in the middle of a divorce proceeding.
Talk to your children … and let them know they can talk to you.
Reassurance is important. Tell them the divorce is not their fault and that they are still loved. Since communication is a two-way street, make sure they know they can talk to you about anything, any time.
Don’t badmouth the other adults in their young lives.
You may have some pretty strong feelings about your child’s other parent right now. Those hard feelings may extend to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even family friends. Try hard to keep bad thoughts to yourself or only vent to another adult when your children are not around. Letting off steam might help you feel better, but it won’t help your children cope.
Coordinate with their other parent.
Parents who are divorcing need to complete a written agreement called a parenting plan. Use this opportunity to calmly coordinate rules, discipline, school events, holiday and other things your children need to feel safe, loved, and protected.
Don’t interfere with scheduled visitation.
Punishing your children because you’re mad at your ex is never a good idea. The only reason to withhold visitation is if you think your child is being endangered. Even then, you need to alert your attorney or the court that there’s a problem.
Watch for warning signs.
Children deal with stress in different ways. Watch for any indication that your son or daughter is not handling the divorce well. Unchecked anxiety, anger, depression, and the like can lead to long-term damage. If your child is behaving oddly, losing interest in activities, or their grades are slipping, seek help for them.
Keep Their Best Interests in Mind.
Divorce is hard on everyone involved. Even though you’re hurting and stressed out right now, remember that your children have needs, too.The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive experience with divorce and child custody matters. In fact, Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist. Please feel free to call us at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Cost, including San Francisco, Marin County, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.