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Sonoma County Family Law Blog

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.  

What are the "best interests" of the child?

Like many parents, your children are your life. You likely make many sacrifices for them and do so without a thought for your own well-being. Trying to imagine holidays, vacations or even weekends apart from your kids is difficult, to say the least.

However, going through a divorce means that these situations are a very real possibility. If you are facing a custody battle, you probably have many concerns. Even if your ex-spouse is an excellent parent, it may be difficult for you to give up any time the court orders for the other parent. However, if you have doubts about your partner's fitness as a parent, you may benefit from understanding the standard by which a custody court will make its decision.

Where to look if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets

Whether the decision to divorce was yours, your spouse's or a mutual agreement, you may still be left struggling to get your head around it. You may have custody issues foremost in your mind, but your concerns about your post-divorce finances may not be far removed. Ensuring you have enough security to support yourself and care for your children depends on the success of a fair property division settlement.

Unless you have a prenuptial agreement that says otherwise, California law requires courts to divide marital assets equally. A marital asset is anything either of you acquired during the time you were married. However, it may be impossible to obtain your just half of community property if your spouse is hiding assets from the process.

A new school year brings challenges for divorced parents

In most regions across California, schools are either in session or preparing to open for students. You may look forward to the sense of order and routine the school year promises, especially if your summer was chaotic or stressful.

If any of that summer stress was related to the dissolution of your marriage, it is understandable that you are looking for the school year to offer some semblance of normalcy. However, even that routine can be frustrating and disruptive if you and your former spouse have not made a parenting plan that will head off any conflict and maintain some tranquility for the sake of the children.

How should you approach child custody in an uncontested divorce?

California readers know there are many reasons why a couple would choose an uncontested divorce. This option can be easier in many aspects, yet it will not work in every case. When there are specific complicating factors that could affect your final order, uncontested divorce may not be the right option for you.

Uncontested divorce is an option for a couple with no remaining disputes between them. This means both sides agree on everything from division of marital property to a visitation schedule before filing. If there are significant disputes regarding child custody, uncontested divorce may not be the right option for you.

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