Orange County Family Law Blog

How to know when to pull the plug on a marriage

Those who are trapped in loveless marriages may not be able to pinpoint one specific moment or incident that caused them to pull the plug on their relationships. Often, it is the cumulative load of years of disappointments and arguments that brings about the end of a marriage and not a cataclysmic event.

Still, there do tend to be watershed moments where spouses realize that they just can no longer remain married to their spouses. These might include some of the following examples:

When should you modify your custody agreement?

The decision to modify your child custody agreement should not be made lightly. After all, children thrive on structure and security, and altering their custody schedule can throw their world into flux.

But a custody agreement that is no longer working doesn't reflect your child's best interests. The challenge is determining which circumstances justify petitioning the court for a modification.

Can my child's other parent move away with them?

If you're an Orange County parent who has children with an ex-spouse, learning that the other parent intends to move away with your child is alarming. But does your co-parent have the right to do this?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for all situations. These custodial "move-away" situations are complex and challenging for the courts to determine. But there are circumstances where it may be possible that the courts will grant your ex permission to move out of the jurisdiction with your child.

If I change jobs, will I owe more child support?

Non-custodial parents who pay child support might wonder what changes, if any, a new job with a higher salary will have on the amount of child support they must pay to their exes. The short (and not very helpful) answer is "it depends."

Going in depth a bit, support-paying parents may be relieved to know that there are no automatic changes to your court-ordered support as a result of a salary increase. The parent who receives the support payments must petition the court in order to modify a child support order.

Legal, financial help a must when splitting retirement money

Living in Orange County, California, is expensive; we all know that. And when you divorce, your finances will be more important than ever as you face living in a two-income community on just one income. But you have a better chance of long-term financial health if you have help from your lawyer and financial adviser in the divorce process to make wise decisions. Start with your 401(k) retirement account.

Since California is a community property state, the accounts are considered joint property. This means a court generally will divide the accounts in an equal share. You and your spouse, if you agree, could present an alternate plan to the judge, however. That might occur if one of you earns considerably more than the other. Once that agreement is made, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for the judge to sign and for you to submit to the plan administrator. That allows for money to transfer hands.

Can I get my child support modified?

Parents who both pay and receive child support may experience life circumstances that may cause them to question the viability of changing the amount of the child support order.

Here in California, as elsewhere, the parent requesting the modification must be able to demonstrate to the family law court that they have experienced a significant change in circumstances since the court issued the current support order.

Tips to get through the holidays during a divorce

If this is your first holiday season as a separated or divorced parent, you may be dreading the festivities. That is understandable, but parents must still remain responsive to their children's needs even at difficult times.

Below are some tips to employ if your holidays seem less than jolly.

Take steps to get your child back after a parental abduction

When a noncustodial parent is on the run with their child, it's a scary time for the custodial parent. While most cases are resolved without violence, there have been too many high-profile cases where the deranged parent chose to end their child's life rather than return them to their ex.

In most situations, you will want to notify law enforcement immediately upon learning that your child will not be returned to your custody. If there is no custody order in place, it can be more challenging for the police to get involved because it's assumed that both parents have equal rights to their child. "That's a civil matter," is a common response.

Could you become a divorce statistic?

There are fewer divorcing couples in the United States now than in past decades. More importantly, California residents may be surprised to learn that the state has some of the lowest divorce rates in the country.

Still, divorces do occur. It may be helpful to learn which factors influence the divorce rate.

Misconceptions about child support

Some Orange County parents have misconceptions about child support, both paying and receiving it. But whether you're the one writing or cashing the checks, it's beneficial to fully understand your rights under the law.

Below are some common myths surrounding child support payments.

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