Financial Tips for Men Going Through a Divorce

Financial Tips for Men Going Through a Divorce

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 Hard

An 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.
Financial Tips for Women Going Through a Divorce

Financial Tips for Women Going Through a Divorce

Marcia’s career skyrocketed during her seven year marriage. In fact, she had become the couple’s primary source of income and handled all financial matters. Brittany had decided to provide 24/7 care for the two children she and her husband had during their five year marriage. And Sandra worried that her divorce from Rick after 22 years of marriage would leave her destitute. She had never worked outside the home and trusted her husband to make financial decisions. Though their lives are very different, each of these women would benefit from learning some financial tips for women going through a divorce.

Assess Your Combined Financial Situation

As soon as possible, start looking over your financial accounts and property owned. You can do this before you file the divorce petition or if you even suspect your spouse is considering divorce.

  • Gather all documents related to your finances. Review them carefully. Look for any hidden expenses or evidence of hidden assets.
  • Know what you and/or your spouse own. Prepare a list of assets and store in a safe location. List everything, even property you think might be your spouse’s separate property.
  • Prepare post-divorce budget. This step will help you make informed decisions about your divorce settlement and prepare for your new life.

For women who did not participate in their family’s financial decisions, this step may be difficult. They must learn how to handle finances on their own sooner rather than later.

Build Your Own Credit History

Most women find their credit is intertwined with their husband’s. Some may find it difficult to get a credit card or sign a lease within their husband’s backing. You can take the following steps as you prepare to be single again:

  • Get a copy of your credit report.
  • Open at least one bank account in just your name.
  • Start opening credit cards and applying for credit.

Building your credit history takes time. It may be particularly tough for spouses who have given up a career to care for children.

Think Carefully About Child Support, Spousal Support, and Retirement

In addition to their own concerns, some women may have to worry about providing for their children, supporting themselves after years of being out of the workforce, or having a short window of time to rebuild retirement accounts.

  • Women with children need to focus on child support during negotiations. A consent order may provide temporary child support during the pendency of the divorce.
  • Some women just don’t have the training, experience, and education to find work that provides a sustaining wage. Vocational experts may be needed to assess their earnings potential. Spousal support can help, especially in long-term marriages.
  • Finally, women involved in a gray divorce may have expected to live on hubby’s retirement accounts. Or they built a nest egg that they now have to split with their spouse. Even if they have worked, refilling retirement accounts takes time they may not have.

Get the Advice You Need

Your divorce attorney can help you get through the financial maze. 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 will be open soon.

How to Get Temporary Spousal Support or Child Support

How to Get Temporary Spousal Support or Child Support

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.

My Husband Got Custody of Our Kids. Do I Have to Pay Child Support?

My Husband Got Custody of Our Kids. Do I Have to Pay Child Support?

Some of the most difficult and heart-wrenching decisions to make during a divorce involve children. Who will provide a home for the kids and money to care for them? Regardless of where the kids live, both parents are expected to be financially responsible for their children. This expectation may lead some people to question why they have to pay child support if the other parent has physical custody. 

California courts require every parent to be financially responsible for their children.

Child support is the law, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to calculate. Courts will consider several factors when calculating who should pay child support:

  • Both parents’ financial circumstances,
  • The children’s needs,
  • Whether additional support is needed for special expenses, child care costs, etc. and
  • The amount of time each parent has physical responsibility for the children.

Custody arrangement can make a difference.

“Time-share” – the amount of time the parent spends with the children – typically takes three forms:

  • One parent spends more time caring for children. The other parent usually pays child support. Occasionally, though, there’s a great discrepancy between the parents’ income. Generally, the parent with the greater income will pay child support to the parent with lower income. This scenario can be tricky. It is best to consult a family law attorney.
  • Parents spend about the same amount of time with the kids. The parent with the higher income may pay some child support to the other parent.
  • Parents of multiple children ‘split’ up the children. For example, in a family with two children, one child lives with mom and one child lives with dad. Child support may be paid depending on the parents’ income or special needs.

What’s best for the children?

It really comes down to taking care of the children’s needs, regardless of their address. Maybe you have questions about child support or are considering separate or divorce. Give us a call 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 Cost, including San Francisco, Marin County, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.
Can a Child Choose Who to Live With?

Can a Child Choose Who to Live With?

Couples in the middle of a divorce face many tough decisions. None may be more difficult, though, than issues involving children. The courts attempt to make custody decisions that are in the best interests of the child or children involved. However, children may want to choose where they live. How will the courts take the child’s preferences into account?

When is a child competent enough to choose where to live?

In California, that’s a bit of a gray area. The Family Code states:

3042.(a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation.

It can be difficult to determine if children are “of sufficient age and capacity to reason.” One 12-year old might be able to make such an important decision, while another is overwhelmed.

Is there a specific age where children can choose?

The California Code specifically states:

(c)  If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child’s best interests. In that case, the court shall state its reasons for that finding on the record.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent a child who is less than 14 years of age from addressing the court regarding custody or visitation if the court determines that is appropriate pursuant to the child’s best interests.

Will a child’s choice make a difference?

Children definitely can state their preferences. At the end of the day, however, children don’t always know what’s best for them. Courts look at several factors, including the child’s expressed wish, before deciding the best arrangement for the child.

Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney.

Divorces are never easy. We’re here to help. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment.

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 Cost, including San Francisco, Marin County, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Can a Court Require a Deposit of Assets from a Parent to Secure Child Support Payments?

It is difficult being a child these days, and it is equally difficult being responsible for the care and maintenance of a child. The responsibility for the care and maintenance of children falls equally upon both of their parents, whether either of them have actual custody of those children or not. There are times when one or both parents neglect this responsibility, and in those cases, the courts will often be required to step in and order the neglectful parent to perform their parental duties.

California courts have many tools available to them to meet their responsibility to make decisions in the best interest of the child. Either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support for their children. If necessary, the courts can get creative to ensure the obligation has been met. In specific circumstances, for a person who has been ordered to pay support who has not paid that support, the court can order the deposit and sale of assets. Cal. Fam. Code § 4610 et seq.

Under California law, if an individual who is responsible for paying child support does not do so for over 60 days, the court can order the deposit and eventual sale of that person’s assets to cover the cost of delinquent child support. This action of the court is one that can be taken if the parent is unable to show that the failure to pay support was not willful or in bad faith, and that the parent did not have the means to make the required child support payments. Cal. Fam. Code § 4611.

An order requiring the deposit and sale of assets is a serious measure for a court to take, but it is not done without the responsible parent having the opportunity to respond to the order and to take actions to convince the court not to enter the order. There are numerous grounds whereby an individual can convince the court not to enter such an order, such as illness, disability, or other circumstances that would make the order unjust, and there will always be a hearing prior to such a decision by the court. Cal. Fam. Code §§ 4610, 4612.

Having children is not a decision to take lightly, and doing so creates a responsibility that stays with you for your lifetime. If you or someone you know is faced with a failure to receive the child support to which you are entitled, a good attorney can help make sure the children you are responsible for are supported as they are entitled to. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger will provide authoritative legal support tailored to your specific situation. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can help: (415) 293-8314.

Can a Court Require Security for Child Support From a Parent?

Divorce is a complicated and confusing place to find oneself. Once a child is involved, the confusion and complication become magnified, and no longer is the court solely interested in finding an amicable solution that meets the needs of the spouses. Instead, the court becomes predominantly concerned with what is in the best interest of the child. In most divorce situations involving children, child support is an issue. It is the court’s responsibility to ensure that the child who is supposed to receive this financial support does in fact receive it.

In any type of legal action, there is always a chance that the person who ordered by a judge to do something will choose not to do it. This is no different in the case of child support. As much as we may like to believe that parents will act in the best interest of their children, that is not always the case. Because of this fact of human nature, California courts have the ability, upon a showing of good cause, to order that the parent who is required to pay child support post a security with the court. Cal. Fam. Code § 4012.

The amount of the security that can be required by the court is capped at the total support payment that the parent would pay over the next year, or an earlier time if the child support is scheduled to end in less than one year. These funds are held in an interest-bearing account and are available to the child if the parent who is required to pay fails to do so. Cal. Fam. Code § 4560.

Should the court-mandated child support not be paid, funds can be released from the account when payment is 10 days late, and the court will then require that the parent who is required to maintain the security account replace those funds. Cal. Fam. Code § 4570 et seq.

Once a court is involved in maintaining the best interest of a child, it will exercise the full extent of its ability to ensure that children are properly cared for and that the parents truly share the responsibility of having children. These requirements are designed to look after the best interest of the child, but they are not designed to be punitive in nature. For that reason, if a parent can prove undue financial hardship, the obligated parent may sometimes reduce the amount of money placed into the security fund. Cal. Fam. Code § 4565 et seq.

Divorce can be a messy place to find yourself, but you can rely on the California court system to do its best to ensure that the innocent bystanders – the children – continue to have the support they deserve from both parents.

If you want to learn more about the legal requirements for child support security and how they apply in your case, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We can help. Call us today to make an appointment: (415) 293-8314.

How Are Future Bonuses Handled in California Child Support Cases?

The end of a marriage is often more than just two adults deciding that their relationship is at an end. Often, instead, the end of a marriage is also the beginning of a new relationship between two adults as they learn to navigate the world tied to an ex-partner and as co-parents to their children. When a marriage ends and there are children involved, the question is no longer about how the relationship ends, but instead how the children are taken care of.

In a divorce with children, one of the court’s main concerns becomes the best interest of those children. The court is interested in ensuring that the children are properly supported, a responsibility that falls equally to both parents. The court has the ability to ensure this occurs by ordering payments in any amount necessary for the support, maintenance, and education of the children.

The support that the court orders will be based upon maintaining the same standard of living for the children, regardless of which of the parents are being assessed. In determining this standard, the appropriate amount will take into consideration all income of both of the parents, and it includes any bonuses that either spouse receives regularly.

One parent’s income may be irregular as it comes, in part, from bonuses or commissions. A parent cannot shield or hide a portion of his or her income from being used by claiming it is a bonus, especially if that bonus is a regular part of his or her annual income.

In fact, California Family Code § 4064 specifically states that the “court may adjust the child support order as appropriate to accommodate the seasonal or fluctuating income of either parent.” Often the court will make a percentage determination—ordering the parent to provide the child with a percentage of all future bonuses. This allows the court to take into account the inconsistent and prospective nature of such income. The courts will not allow a child to be disadvantaged simply because a parent’s income does not come on a regular schedule or amount.

If you or someone you know is facing divorce and have minor children in need of support, the help of an experienced family law attorney can make a hard and potentially confusing experience easier to navigate. If you’re in this position, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable California divorce attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger  will make sure you successfully navigate California child support law. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can help: (415) 293-8314.

What Deductions Are Made from Gross Income for Child Support Purposes?

Child support is a vital decision in family law matters. A court examines the income of both parents when determining child support payments.

Income considered will be each parent’s annual gross income; however, some items and expenses can be subtracted for the purpose of calculating child support. California Family Code § 4059 lists these possible deductions.

For instance, income tax liability is deducted from annual gross income. This does not mean that taxes withheld from a parent’s paycheck will be deducted. The income tax liability is the tax an individual is responsible for paying to the IRS or the state after completing his or her annual tax return filings.

Although income tax withheld from one’s paycheck is not deductible from annual gross income, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) withholdings are deducted.

Other work-related expenses may be deducted from annual gross income for the purpose of determining child support. When this happens, work-related expenses are reviewed to make sure that the expenses were truly necessary or required. Such deductions can include mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement benefits, and/or health insurance premiums (including health insurance premiums for any children that the parent is required to insure).

If a parent is responsible for a child or children of a previous relationship, any child support payments that are made on behalf of that child may be deducted from the parent’s annual gross income, as well. It is important to note that only payments actually made can be deducted. Child support payments may have been ordered but not actually paid—if this is the case, that amount will not be considered deductible from income.

In some cases, a parent can request a deduction for a hardship. If the court determines that a hardship is applicable, the approved calculated amount of the hardship is deducted from that parent’s annual gross income.

If you need assistance in a family law proceeding, you should consult with an experienced California lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger will provide authoritative legal support tailored to your specific situation. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can help: (415) 293-8314.

What Is Included in Income for the Purpose of California Child Support?

The state of California takes into consideration the income of both parents when determining child support payments. Sources of income will vary from person to person.

Section 4058 of the California Family Code provides that annual gross income can come from a combination of “commissions, salaries, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, social security benefits, and spousal support actually received from a person not a party to the proceeding.”

Other sources of income will include that from a business owned by the individual after subtracting the expenses of the business from the revenue. A court may also consider employee benefits or self-employment benefits as part of a parent’s annual gross income if those benefits come in exchange for—or at the expense of—potential income for the receipt of those benefits.

There is income that is not taken into consideration for the determination of child support, as well. Child support received to benefit children from a previous relationship is not considered income for determining support for the child(ren) of the current relationship. Other items that are not considered include public assistance benefits received based on need.

Sometimes, a parent will attempt to avoid being ordered to pay child support by quitting his or her job or taking a lower-paying position or an intentional pay cut. When a parent takes these steps to avoid paying child support, the court may take into consideration the income of that parent’s new spouse or even a new partner to whom the person is not married.

A court may also hold such a parent accountable by evaluating that parent’s income potential. The court can look at how much income that parent could have made. This is known as imputing income.

If you want to learn more about child support matters in California, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We can help. Call us today to make an appointment: (415) 293-8314.