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Riverside California Family Law Blog

Was your divorce triggered by a communication breakdown?

Sitting at the dining room table across from your spouse shouldn't be a silent affair unless that's the kind of relationship both of you want. While some spouses may be content with silence, most relationships require meaningful and honest conversations to flourish. Through honest and heartfelt communication, spouses learn about one another's concerns and how they can best fulfill each other's needs in the relationship. When this kind of communication can't be achieved, it could lead to the end of the marriage.

Here are two examples of communication issues that may lead to divorce:

Don’t confuse the different kinds of child custody

Many parents don't know that there are actually two kinds of child custody: (1) physical custody and (2) legal custody. As such, when an offer for "joint custody" is made, they won't understand what that offer entails until they determine the type of joint custody the offer includes.

Here is the difference between joint and physical child custody:

You have to pay child support, but it should be reasonable

If you and your ex share children, one of the most difficult aspects of a separation and divorce is the process of figuring out the best way to handle custody and parental responsibilities. Financial contributions are one of the most important parental responsibilities in any family. After all, children require housing, health care and school supplies in addition to toys and other items that make life enjoyable.

While you may not want to send a portion of your income to your ex every week, you should try to focus on the fact that your kids will benefit from that money. Paying child support is not only a legal obligation, but also one of the best ways to demonstrate to the courts your devotion to your kids.

When addiction leads to divorce

Just because one spouse is struggling with an addiction problem doesn't mean that it will lead to the destruction of the marriage. However, addiction -- be it to drugs, alcohol, pills or something else -- does cause approximately 7.3 percent of divorces in the United Sates. If you're struggling with a spouse who has an addiction problem, you may be considering divorce, but it won't be an easy decision.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether it's time -- in your case -- to bring your marriage to a close:

  • In what ways has your life changed since the beginnings of your spouse's struggles with addiction?
  • Have you had a talk with your spouse regarding his or her addiction problems?
  • Has your spouse gone to counseling or drug rehabilitation?
  • Have you staged an intervention?
  • Has your spouse been lying to you, breaking promises or failing drug tests while saying that he or she was clean?
  • Have you reached your wit's end and you want to get out?
  • Are you ready to end your marriage and start a new and separate life?
  • Are you okay with the potential "blow-back" or other effects you'll experience from friends and family when you announce your plans to divorce?

Can potential guardians become ineligible?

You never want to see your child with someone dangerous, but there's also little to no way to know everything about another person. As someone who is now looking into taking on the guardianship of a child, you should know that there are actually steps in place to prevent injuries to children by reviewing the history of the potential guardian.

In California, those who have been convicted of crimes related to the qualifications to become a child's guardian will be ineligible to become a guardian. The individual will have a background check performed that shows his or her arrests and convictions at the state and federal level. This allows the Department of Justice (DOJ) to determine if the person appointed as a guardian is fit to be one.

Asian-Americans face struggles when escaping abuse

Survivors of domestic abuse often have difficulties ahead of them, but one group that is often overlooked is that of Asian survivors. Many of these survivors are women, and they have special hurdles because of stereotypes and other problems obtaining assistance.

For those who come to America to escape abuse, they often face a stereotype of coming here as prostitutes when that couldn't be further from reality. Others face stereotypes of being "cute" or childish, even though they're adults and in need of help in the form of food stamps and financial support.

Avoiding long-term alimony: The lump-sum payment

If you've been ordered to pay alimony, it may feel like a shackle to the marriage that just won't go away. Monthly alimony payments remind you of everything you still owe your ex, making it hard to move on.

The good news is that there are options that allow you to avoid monthly payments. For instance, you could offer your ex-spouse a lump-sum payment. A lump-sum payment makes it possible to pay everything you'd owe all at once, so you wouldn't have to worry about any future payments at all. You'd eliminate your risk of collection issues and be able to completely rid yourself of any connection to your past marriage.

When can your child decide on his or her custody arrangements?

One thing you've always feared is that your child would choose to change the custody arrangements in place once he or she got old enough. At 14, the state will listen to what your child has to say and take it very seriously. However, keep in mind that it doesn't mean your child will get what he or she wants.

At 14, teenagers are still children and could make decisions for which they don't fully understand the consequences. Your teen may not think it's a big deal to ask to change to dad's or mom's primary custody, but the reality is that it can be an extremely big deal to you and your ex-spouse.

Follow these tips for a better chance at obtaining custody

As a father who wants to retain positive custody rights, there are several things you should do. These tips are particularly helpful if you're eager to obtain further custody or want to file for sole custody.

First, remember to always pay child support on time. If you want to get custody, there's nothing that will hurt you more than failing to pay for your child's care. You should keep receipts to show that you made payments and when you made payments.

Guardianships: How they help you help a child

If you're in a position where you'd like to take guardianship of a child, it's very important that you understand what guardianship means legally and how to enter into a binding guardianship relationship.

Guardianships don't necessarily take the place of parental rights. Children who need guardians may be placed in the care of aunts or uncles, grandparents or others, for instance, if their parents cannot care for them for a time. A guardian is expected to take care of the child's needs and to manage the finances of the child (in most cases).