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Riverside California Family Law Blog

Key issues for sharing parental responsibilities

Divorcing parents in California will need to address key points in their parenting plans to ensure that their co-parenting relationship is peaceful for many years to come. The problem is, every parent and child's situation is unique, so it's not always clear which points need to be addressed in a parenting plan. It takes training and experience in family law and divorce law issues to draft a well-crafted and lawful parenting agreement.

At our law firm, we always take the time to educate our clients on the most important issues to pin down in a parenting plan. It's important that these issues be codified -- with both parents in agreement -- while also maintaining a certain amount of flexibility in the event that changes are required later on down the road.

What alimony documents should alimony payers keep?

Whether you're the payer or the receiver of alimony, it's important to keep your documents organized and readily available in case an issue ever develops. Perhaps, for example, your spouse stops paying you alimony or doesn't pay the full amount you're owed -- your documents will help to prove that this has occurred. Alternatively, maybe you've been paying your alimony each month but the receiving spouse accuses you of not fulfilling your monthly obligations. Here, your documents will offer the proof to show you've adhered to your court orders.

As for what documents each ex-spouse should keep, here's what the paying spouse needs to maintain on file:

Was infidelity the cause of your divorce?

When two people agree to get married, the general understanding is that they will remain faithful to one another in mind, body and emotions. This means, in very simple terms, no extramarital "affairs." The term "affairs" here is put in quotation marks because, although it generally refers to the concept of infidelity and adultery in a marriage, to some people, being unfaithful means very different things.

Here are two types of infidelity, i.e., two types of "affairs," that could bring a marriage to end in a heartbeat:

Tips for helping your children through divorce

Parents can become so ensnared in their own emotions relating to their divorce proceedings that they may not notice that their children are suffering too. Here are a few ways that you can stay attentive to your children's needs during and after your divorce process:

Look for the signs that your child is having a hard time: In extreme cases, your child might commit crimes, hurt animals or threaten or bully others. In other cases, your child might simply be highly emotional, accusatory, depressed or difficult to discipline. Get help from a mental health professional if you see these difficulties surfacing, and be patient with your child during this "adjustment" phase.

How to work with your attorney while creating a parenting plan

Divorcing California residents -- who want to devise the best child custody arrangements for themselves and their children -- may want to work with an experienced family law attorney during the divorce process. Here are a few things parents may want to keep in mind to get the most out of their attorney-client relationship in terms of developing a fair and suitable child custody agreement with their ex-spouses:

Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm parenting plan schedule ideas, and share them with your attorney.

Parents: You’re not the only ones suffering in your divorce

Some parents view their divorces like they're experiencing a "train wreck," and they're the conductors at the center of it all. The stress and emotional mayhem that ensues when parents don't find their emotional centers during their marital breakups can be difficult to manage. It can also cause them to forget that other people -- namely, their children –- are suffering as a result of the divorce just as much, if not more. However, they don't have the most articulate ways of expressing their emotions.

Here are a few things to remember to help you provide the right kind of support for your children during a divorce:

How does a do-it-yourself DNA paternity test work?

In the not-too-distant past, if a father disputed a mother's claim that he was the dad, it was relatively easy for him to sidestep the need to pay child support. In the modern era of DNA testing, however, it's easy for mothers to prove who the father is by asking the court to order DNA testing.

Through a simple blood or swab test to determine if the alleged father and baby's DNA signatures match, a mother can definitively prove -- with almost 100 percent accuracy -- who the father of her child is. Then, she can demand child support payments through California family law court proceedings.

How to apply for a domestic violence restraining order

It's never easy to hear stories about domestic violence happening in a home. The instinctive human reaction is to protect the individuals being abused. The problem is, if the victims of domestic violence are still trapped in the throes of a complicated love union, they may not be ready for help. Ultimately, every victim of domestic violence needs to wake up (on their own time) and realize that the full force of California law is on their side.

When a victim is ready to take action to stop the cycle of domestic abuse that's plaguing them, it may be necessary to seek emotional and physical protection by applying for a restraining order:

  • Get help from a lawyer or a domestic violence clinic to make sure you qualify for a domestic violence restraining order and to assist you with appropriately filling out the applicable forms. There may be other forms you need to fill out. For example, if you have children, you may want to file the appropriate forms to receive child support and set up child custody arrangements and a child visitation plan.
  • File your domestic violence restraining order forms with the court. You should receive the judge's decision about the restraining order within the next business day, more or less. If granted, keep a copy of the restraining order on your person at all times, keep a copy in a safe deposit box and keep copies in all the locations where the restrained person is prohibited from being and give a copy to security officers in these areas.
  • Hire a professional process server to serve the restraining order on the restrained individual. The restraining order cannot be enforced until after it has been served by a third-party process server (i.e., not by yourself).
  • Prepare for your court hearing: You'll need to present your case during an in-person court hearing to ensure your restraining order is enforceable. Make sure you're well-prepared for this hearing and that you know the legal issues inside and out.

Track down your spouse's hidden money during your divorce

Imagine your spouse has been acting strange and shifty the last several months while complaining about not having enough money to pay the bills. Then, your spouse surprises you by filing for divorce. As devastated as you were by the news, you have accepted it as the only way to resolve your marital differences.

However, during your divorce proceedings, you get another surprise: The bank accounts and financial accounts that you thought contained your retirement savings are nearly empty. Your spouse is blaming it on poor stock market conditions, but you suspect foul play. Is your spouse hiding assets from you during your divorce proceedings?

The most important first step before you divorce

The first step of many divorcing spouses is a step right out the front door of their homes. However, before you discuss getting a divorce with your spouse -- and especially before you start packing up your things -- you should consider contacting a reputable family law attorney to discuss your divorce process.

Rather than going to a divorce paralegal or trying to figure out how to download an online divorce form, go to a lawyer and determine how to protect your legal rights and options.