Child Support and Child Custody
The question of childcare is a major one in any divorce that involves children. To the family law courts in Orange County, the most critical factor in these decisions is ensuring that the children continue living in the most supportive, safe, and productive environment. This reflects the fact that the children’s welfare will prioritize the parents’ preferences.
When it comes to child custody, two aspects must be considered—custody and child support. They are dealt with separately.
According to family law, custody can be either sole or joint. With joint custody, each parent or guardian shares the responsibility of physical or legal custody of the children or both.
Child Custody in California
In Orange County, custody is viewed in terms of physical custody and legal custody, which means that a parent has a child who stays with them (physical) or that they are in charge of the legal decisions relating to the child such as healthcare, education, religion, and others (legal).
Joint physical custody means that the parents can come to a relatively equal agreement about where the child’s primary residence will be and how times between each household will be divided. If the parents live in the same geographical area and there is no disruption regarding the child’s access to their school, sports, and other activities, they may agree to a 50/50 split. In other family law cases, there may be weekend visitations and vacation sharing; this is considered sole physical custody to one parent with a right of visitation.
Joint legal custody means that both parents have a say in the child’s healthcare, education, religion, and other important issues. This requires collaboration between the parents, so ideally, there is a degree of cooperation between the divorcing couple to make this process as smooth as possible for the child.
If a parent has sole physical and legal custody of a child, it means that they are in full control of the child. In some family law cases, a parent may have joint legal and sole physical custody, as the two are separate issues. Working with our Orange County divorce lawyers, all your questions and concerns regarding child custody will be addressed. Call our law offices today to set up an appointment with one of our divorce lawyers.
Determining the Best Interests of the Child
In many divorce cases, the parents cannot agree on the best parenting plan for their children. In this situation, the court must determine the best interests of the child and how child custody will be established moving forward. To reach a decision, many factors are considered, such as:
- How long a child has lived in a stable environment that meets their needs.
- The geographical location of the parents’ homes.
- The moral fitness of each parent.
- The physical and mental health of both parents.
- Whether the parent has a demonstrated ability to provide the children with a consistent routine.
- Whether or how the parents can communicate with each other.
- Any knowledge of the existence of domestic violence in the household.
- Known substance abuse by either parent.
- Depending on the age of the children, they may be allowed to express an opinion on their preference.
You might be able to communicate with your spouse well enough to establish the best child custody plan for your children. Otherwise, you may be facing the prospect of having the court decide for you. In either case, the divorce lawyers in the Goldberg Legal Group in Orange County are always available and will offer you the tools and advice necessary to ensure that your rights and your children’s rights are protected. Call our law firm today and let us help you with all issues related to the custody of your children.
Child Support in California
It is common in many marriages for one parent to be the primary source of income. This means that after a legal separation and divorce in Orange County, the dependent spouse will experience a change in their financial stability. Child support payments ensure that no matter which parent has custody, each parent is responsible for the child’s financial support to the best of their earning ability. If you have questions regarding this subject, ask your divorce attorney to clarify them and explain how your financial situation will impact the divorce.
Establishing Child Support
When divorces happen, parents are required to provide support for their children. The point is to ensure that the child’s basic needs are met and allow children to benefit from the financial resources of their parents. However, the amount of child support takes into account several factors, like:
- The number of children
- The combined income of the parents
- The cost of daycare
- Health insurance requirements for the children
- How many nights the children will spend with each parent according to the parenting program
- In cases where it is a reasonable possibility, parents may also have to provide medical and dental insurance.
Modifications to Child Support
Parents in Orange County can undergo sudden and unanticipated changes in their financial circumstances, like:
- Losing their job
- Daycare or childcare is no longer needed
- An increase or decrease in their wages
Modifications to child support must be filed in court when any of the above conditions arise. The filing must be done as soon as possible since modification begins from the filing date onwards. Call our law firm if you have undergone a situation that merits a modification to the established child support terms.
Enforcing Child Support
If the spouse who is supposed to make the required child support payments fails to do so, several options exist to enforce payment. The court may hold the parent in question in contempt, suspend their driver’s license, place a lien on their property, or issue an order to have their bank account seized.
Child support payments have no statute of limitations on enforcement. This means that payments may be allowed to continue even if the child is no longer a minor.
If you are not receiving child support payments or have to make payments, but your financial situation has changed, your lawyer will help determine which options are available to you.
Alimony is another type of payment made from one spouse to the other, but it is much different than child support. As in the case of child support, alimony is meant to ensure that the less financially stable spouse has the support they need as they transition from married life to single, independent life.
In Orange County, family law courts generally place term limits on alimony payments. These payments are not punishments for a spouse but are meant to ensure that the dependent partner can transition out of their marriage smoothly.
Your Orange County divorce lawyers will explain how alimony will be determined in your case and what impact it will have on your financial situation.
Is alimony always an option?
Not all divorce decrees include alimony. It is up to the spouse who requests it to show the judge that it is necessary. Also, the spouse who would be paying alimony must have the ability to do so. The requesting spouse may show that they will be unable to maintain their previous standard of living with their income alone, even when considering the distribution of the marital assets.
Factors Considered When Determining Alimony Payments
If the judge decides to go ahead and authorize alimony payments, they will consider any or all of the following factors:
- The standard of living the couple enjoyed while they were still married
- The tax consequences on both parties
- How long the marriage lasted
- Whether there was adultery
- The age and emotional situation of the parties
- The financial resources of each party
- The earning capacity, employability, and vocational skills of the parties
- What each party contributed to the marriage as far as financial support
- What each parent’s responsibilities towards the children will be
- All sources of income available
Different Types of Alimony
Several types of alimony are available to serve different purposes. The terms of each one may vary, and they include:
Temporary alimony – Paid to one spouse by the other while the divorce is not yet finalized.
Rehabilitative alimony – Paid to a spouse only until they are able to support themselves.
Permanent alimony – This type of alimony continues indefinitely.
Reimbursement alimony – The purpose of this alimony is to reimburse one spouse for the expenses incurred by the other, perhaps when they must pay tuition or attend a training program.
Lump-sum Alimony – Generally ordered by the judge in lieu of a property settlement.
Enforcing Spousal Support
Enforcing alimony payments can be difficult. Unlike child support, which can be enforced through wage garnishment or other law enforcement means, alimony requires one spouse to take the other to court in a contempt proceeding.
If you are experiencing issues with alimony, working with an experienced divorce attorney can make all the difference. Call our Orange County law offices to talk with one of our divorce lawyers and get your issues resolved.
Contact Us Today
Many factors go into a California divorce or legal separation, each of which the family law attorneys at The Goldberg Legal Group will be honored to help you work through to have the best chances for a favorable outcome to your Orange County divorce.
Contact our family law attorney in Irvine or Orange County today to discuss your situation in an initial confidential consultation with our law firm.
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