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Riverside California Family Law Blog

What should I do if I can't care for my child in California?

There are times when a Riverside parent may feel as if they're unable to adequately raise their child, whether it's for health, financial or other reasons. In such cases, they may wish to hand over custody to a relative temporarily while they get well or back on their feet. It's ideal if a parent voluntarily does this. A California guardianship action can be initiated without their consent though.

A parent can give their consent for someone else to take care of their child without going to court. A mom or dad will need to draft a letter acknowledging that they've turned over custody of their child to their relative.

Domestic violence victims can lose custody of their kids

Studies published by the American Bar Association during the last few years have highlighted how many individuals who engage in domestic violence attempt to intimidate their victims by telling them that they'll have their kids taken away if they ever walk away from their relationship. These types of threats often increase after the victim drums up the courage to leave their abusive relationship.

An abuser often threatens their victim with losing custody of their child as a scare tactic so that they don't leave them behind. After all, abusers thrive on exerting control over their victims.

You need to have a divorce plan in place long before you file

From the way that the media depicts divorce, you might imagine that the average person makes a snap decision one day and marches off to file for the end of their marriage. While some people certainly do reach a breaking point from which there is no return, it is also common for a marriage to die a slow death from a thousand tiny wounds or minor offenses.

Many people who decide to divorce have considered the idea for weeks, months or even years before they finally take action. Although it may seem untenable to stay in a marriage where you are not happy, time to plan and protect yourself before filing can go a long way in helping you establish the foundations for a healthier and happier future.

You don't have to accept paying alimony long-term

Last month, a southern California man, who'd previously been ordered to pay $1,000 in alimony each month to his ex-wife for the rest of his life, decided to try to do something to improve both his and other spouses' plights. That Huntington Beach man decided to introduce a ballot initiative aimed at changing California's spousal support laws. Should voters accept it, it would pave the way for lifetime spousal support awards to be reduced to just five years.

Current California laws are ambiguous about how long spouses should be required to pay their exes alimony. The law allows judges to decide what is a "reasonable period of time".

What should I know about adopting a child as a single person?

Contrary to popular belief, adoption isn't just an option for wealthy, married people. Single individuals are increasingly deciding to take on the responsibility of adopting and raising kids on their own here in California and across the United States.

As you research single adoptions a little more, you're likely to discover that many agencies have preferences for placing children in two-parent homes. Many of them prefer to do this because they've read the research that emphasizes how raising a child in a home with two parents is better than raising them with just one. It's best that you don't let this belief deter you though.

What is the best custody arrangement if I have an infant?

It can be stressful introducing a baby into the mix when your marriage is already on the rocks. Sadly, the stresses that come with sleepless nights, teething and other considerations that come with being a new mom or dad often leads new parents to file for divorce. If you're considering divorcing and wondering how to best handle visitation with your infant, then there are some factors to consider as you negotiate custody with your soon-to-be-ex.

If your child is breastfeeding, then you may need to discuss the prospect of pumping so that both of you can both enjoy overnight visits with your child. You both may even want to consider the idea of supplementing breast milk with formula if pumping is a concern.

What are some reasons parents lose custody of their kids?

Most individuals who've gone through a divorce will tell you that it's not an easy process. Parents often use their kids as pawns to try to get underneath each other's skin. They often threaten to have their child taken away from them. There are many valid reasons that a parent can try to convince a judge to reduce the amount of custodial time that their ex has with their child.

If a mom or dad can prove that there's abuse in the home where the child lives, then the parent that resides in that home may lose their custodial rights.

What should Californians know about no-fault divorce?

Divorce used to be an uncommon practice, which meant that the few people who did seek divorces often did so because of extreme circumstances such as spousal abuse or flagrant infidelity. In those situations, the spouse who was tired of the other's behavior could petition the courts for a divorce based on the fault of their spouse.

By violating one spouse's basic human rights or the foundation of trust and fidelity upon which a marriage develops, that individual became legally culpable for the end of the marriage. Of course, it was also common for spouses facing divorce to deny allegations against them and try to prove that they were not at fault.

How to secretly document the abuse that you've endured

Abuse can take on many different forms. It can be verbal, emotional, mental, sexual, financial or physical to just name a few. It takes courage for you to walk away from your abuser, especially if you're dependent on them. If you're tired and fed up of being treated poorly, then you should start compiling evidence of your abuse right now.

You should start by writing down any instances of abuse that you've been subjected to. You should record the date and time and what exactly happened during your exchange with your abuser. You should take pictures of your injuries as well.

Pros and cons associated with monthly and lump sum alimony

Many California families are led by a single head of household that serves as the breadwinner while their spouse stays at home to take care of the home and kids. If that's long been the case with your family here in Riverside, then it's likely that you plan to request alimony from your spouse when you two split up.

Most individuals are familiar with the idea of receiving monthly spousal support payments to help the dependent spouse get the necessary educational or career training necessary to financially support themselves. What many paying spouses don't realize is that there's an alternative to making monthly alimony payments. They can simply make a lump-sum one instead.