Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law

Sonoma County Family Law Blog

Keep your kids in mind during the divorce process

Child custody, asset division, spousal support and emotional turmoil are just a few of the many aspects people have to consider and deal with during a divorce and it is easy for people to get overwhelmed. It is no secret going through a divorce is hard on the people involved, but what about the kids?

A divorce can be just as difficult for children as it is for adults. That is why it is important to be conscious about your kids’ feelings, thoughts and emotions during this time. How can parents be aware and considerate of their children’s mental and emotional state during their divorce?

How to divorce when you both cannot afford separate residences

You and your spouse want out of your marriage, but the cost of living in Sonoma County is getting more ridiculous by the day. You could always leave the area, but that would make things hard at work or with your children. How can you get divorced if you and your spouse cannot afford your own separate residences?

While the typical divorce involves each party moving out of the marital home and moving on, in today's economic climate, that is not always doable. Couples are looking for other ways to get the divorces that they want while not ending up in serious debt. One option for those who think they can make it work is to keep living together during and after the divorce. How can people survive such a living arrangement

Are you having problems with your ex regarding these issues?

When you decided to file for divorce in a California court, you understood that your decision meant that life for you and your children would never be the same. You were quite hopeful, however, that you would be able to move on to a new lifestyle that would still include healthy living routines, family customs and all the things you consider important for your kids.

If your main problem since finalizing a divorce is one your ex is causing, there are several things you may be able to do to rectify your situation. If the problem is really just that you and your co-parent can't stand each other, then you might just need to get creative in how you interact to avoid contention. If, on the other hand, your ex is impeding your parent/child relationship or trying to undermine your parental rights, that may be a more serious problem.

Divorce doesn't mean your kids will have a bad childhood

Are you in a marital relationship that is crumbling, but think you need to stick it out for the children? At the end of the day, the choice is up to you but know that divorce does not mean your children will have a bad childhood. If approached the right way, divorce can be good for the whole family.

Children do not like to see their parents unhappy. A number of people think that they can hide the stress, strain and frustration of a failing relationship from their kids, but the truth is, they usually see it and that causes them to have their own struggles. What can couples in California who are choosing to end their marriages do to make things easier on their children?

What factors are considered for California child support?

As a parent, you know that raising children is expensive. At the time you decided to have kids, you likely believed that you and your spouse could effectively handle the financial obligations associated with child rearing. However, now that you and the other parent have decided to divorce, you may worry about taking care of these expenses on your own.

If you end up as the custodial parent as determined in your child custody proceedings, you may be entitled to child support from the noncustodial parent. How much support -- if any -- you receive will depend on a number of factors dictated under California state law, and having information on what the court considers may help you prepare for your case.

Coping skills to help your family come to terms with your divorce

Parenting does not come with a guarantee that you will never encounter emotional challenges in raising your children. Most California parents can speak of times when their families have had to overcome a problem. Numerous life situations can increase family life stress levels. Divorce, for instance, is a common yet challenging type of life-change that can either bring parents and children closer together in the relationships or drive them apart.  

Like most good parents, you want to provide your children as much support as possible as you all move on to a new lifestyle together. A key factor toward helping them cope lies in how you and your ex relate. Children typically fare best if their parents shield them from divorce-related conflicts. There are several ideas that may be helpful to you as you work toward a settlement and adapt to your new family dynamics. 

Shared parenting differs from sole custody following divorce

If you and your spouse are headed for divorce, one of your biggest concerns if you have children is who will get custody of them. Should you pursue sole custody, or would a shared parenting arrangement work better?

An increasing number of divorcing parents are pushing for shared parenting these days as it may make it possible for both parties to stay involved in the children's lives. Here is a glimpse at what both types of custody arrangements involve following a divorce in California.

Teenagers often struggle emotionally when parents divorce

There is really no such thing as an easy parenting journey. Depending on the ages of your kids, you may have just survived the terrible two's or may be currently doing your best to navigate the teenage years. While every California family is unique, most can relate to the constant ebb and flow and ups and downs of parenting and everyday family life.  

Marriage problems, in particular those that lead to divorce, definitely have an impact on children and on parenting as well. If you are headed for divorce, you may want to research the potential effects your situation may have your kids' lives and think ahead about ways to help them cope. You'll also want to clearly understand your parental rights and know how to protect them if a legal problem arises. 

Can you use your spouse's affair to your advantage in divorce?

You may have never expected that your marriage would end in divorce. Then again, you may have considered this outcome a real possibility due to the disagreements you and your spouse had and other difficulties throughout the relationship. Still, you may have been shocked when you learned that your spouse had been unfaithful.

Infidelity commonly results in marriages coming to an end. While you and your spouse may not have had the happiest of relationships, this situation still hurts. Now, you find yourself having to determine how you will handle the divorce proceedings that you feel best suit the situation.

Keep this in mind during child custody proceedings

When you decided to divorce, your main focus centered on your children's best interests. You were careful in your choice of wording when you told your children about the situation. Your main goal was to negotiate a fair settlement that included an agreeable child custody plan. You hoped that you and your spouse could part as friends or, at least allies, regarding your co-parenting future together.  

When you realized that the two of you do not see eye-to-eye about child custody matters, you knew you'd be relying on the California court to make certain decisions and to help formulate a plan. When your goal is to avoid contention and to help your children cope with your divorce in as healthy a manner as possible, there are several things you'll want to keep in mind.  

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