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Riverside California Family Law Blog

What does the background check for adoption in California entail?

If you're looking to adopt, then you've likely already begun researching what steps you must take to get the process started. You've likely found that California and every other state in the union require that you undergo a background check before a child will be placed into your Riverside home.

When you submit to a background check, your caseworker will obtain records kept by the city, state and federal government. It's even likely that some of the databases used to perform this background check will pull up convictions in other states where you've lived.

With kids, you still have a relationship with your ex

If you thought that your divorce was going to be a clean break and you would not have to deal with your ex anymore, you may want to reconsider that position if you have children. The two of you are still going to have a relationship, in all likelihood. There's just no way around it.

That relationship hinges on the fact that you are both co-parenting your kids together. You may share physical custody, meaning you have to exchange the children every week. That's a face-to-face interaction you may not be able to avoid. You also have to consider how you'll spend birthdays, holidays, summer vacations and other events.

Legal custody decisions that a parent makes

Child custody in California addresses two key components: legal custody and physical custody. A right to physical custody is often what most people think of first. They want to know how often they get to have the child live with them, in their care. That schedule is a physical custody schedule.

The other side of things is just as important, though. Legal custody means making choices and decisions on your child's behalf. You can have legal custody without physical custody. Some of the decisions you may need to make include:

  • What religious upbringing the child will have
  • If the child will get vaccinated
  • What other medical care the child will get and where he or she will go for that care
  • What school the child will attend
  • What day care the child will go to or what other child care solution will be used
  • What type of mental health needs the child has, such as a need for therapy or medication
  • What sports the child can play
  • What other school activities the child can be involved in
  • Where the child will go for things like summer camp or extracurricular activities
  • Where the child can go on vacation
  • Where the child's residence will be

You don't need to assign fault in a California divorce

Divorce used to be much less common than it is today. One of the reasons fewer people got divorced was that you used to have to establish fault or grounds for a divorce. Essentially, one spouse would need to demonstrate to the courts that the other spouse violated the marriage vows in a way that made the relationship irreparable. Getting rid of fault in divorces made the whole process simpler.

Although fault is no longer a necessary component in modern divorces, many people still think that it is. The need to establish one person's responsibility for the end of the marriage is a persistent divorce myth that may keep some people from moving on to a happier future. You don't need evidence of wrongdoing, like an affair, to officially divorce your spouse.

3 reasons why people divorce: Does one of these apply to you?

It's probably impossible to pinpoint an exact reason for every couple's divorce. However, there are three common reasons that divorce attorneys hear from their clients. They are adultery, addiction and abuse.

1) Adultery

Mediation can work for those who struggle to settle their divorce

If you and your spouse have kids, own a home or share other assets, then it's likely that settling your divorce isn't going to go as smoothly as you may hope it would. If you and your ex are having trouble reaching a compromise, then mediation may be an ideal way for you to resolve your differences without having to spend a lot of time or fork out a lot of money litigating personal matters in a courtroom.

A common concern that divorcing couples have that keeps them from considering mediation is that their issues are too large or complicated to be able to be resolved this way. The truth of the matter is that they rarely are.

Witnessing domestic abuse leaves long-term effects on children

New research recently published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry captures how domestic violence can have a lasting impact on those kids who witness it in their homes.

In fact, researchers believe that individuals who simply see one person abuse another may be left with lasting harm not all that different from someone who endured the violence personally Their sleep is affected just as badly as those soldiers who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning home from war.

Do I need an attorney to adopt my friend's child in California?

Adoptions that occur between birth and adoptive parents who already are friends are referred to as independent adoptions because they don't involve a California state agency or a private one placing the child. While some jurisdictions allow consenting parties to handle the adoption of a child via this process without using the services of an agency or even an attorney, it's not the best idea if you want to make sure that everything is done right.

One reason that you'll want to work with an attorney who regularly handles adoptions is to ensure that you remain in compliance with state law. Birth parents can't simply turn over their child for you to raise it. They must still relinquish their parental rights, and you must sign legal documents before taking a child into your house.

If you lose your job, you can adjust your child support amount

The purpose of child support is to ensure that children have adequate financial resources for the expenses they incur. It's a way to balance the costs and obligations of parents based on the amount of time they spend with the children and their ability to support themselves and the children.

As such, the courts focus more on the needs of the children than the parents' budget or financial plans in a divorce. However, that doesn't mean that you are perpetually locked into a support level that is impossible for you to maintain. Child support should be reasonable, based on both your income and the needs of your children.

How do grandparents qualify for visitation in California?

While there are some states in the country that don't have laws on the books that protect a grandparent's right to visitation with their grandchild, here in Riverside, their right to this is protected by California Family Code sections 3100-3015.

These laws permit a grandmother or grandfather to petition a family law judge for reasonable visitation with their granddaughter or grandson provided that they meet two conditions.