Orange County Family Law Blog

Can my child support include the kids' summer camp fees?

Parents, does it ever seem like your child support amount shrinks during the summer? While the amount stays the same all 12 months, having the kids home for the better part of three months has some definite financial consequences.

With that in mind, some parents wonder if their children's other parents can be forced to kick in some extra dollars to cover summer camp tuition and other related expenses.

Can I adopt my stepchild with my spouse's permission?

If you are the stepparent of your spouse's child from a previous marriage or relationship, at some point you may want to pursue adopting the child as your own. Do you have that right if your spouse gives consent?

The answer, as with many legal queries, is "it depends," and the person on whom it depends is typically the child's other birth parent.

The timeline of a divorce

If your marriage is foundering, it just may be time to toss in the towel and file for divorce. But divorce is a process and not a single event. You may be uncertain about how the process will unfold, and that can add to any anxiety you may already be experiencing.

While no two divorces are alike, most share certain commonalities. Below is a general divorce timeline that can make it easier to understand what's going on.

What you need to know about child support payments

Whether you are ending a bad marriage or just found out that you have a child, you may be faced with paying child support to your child's other parent. This is one of those topics that people rarely delve into until it affects them personally, either as the payer or recipient of child support.

Both parents have legal and moral obligations to support their children financially unless their parental rights were terminated. As most parents acknowledge, it is expensive to rear children in today's world.

It's worth the effort to get along with your kids' other parent

If you share children with a spouse you're divorcing, you will likely have that person at least peripherally in your life for the foreseeable future. When the kids are minors, there will be custody exchanges and probably the payment or receipt of child support.

But even when your children are grown and have families of their own, you will still run into your ex at extended family functions, especially once there are grandchildren. All of this makes it worthwhile for the two of you to attempt to heal old wounds and form at least a civil relationship with one another.

Shared vacations with the ex? You could make it work

With Easter and Passover fast approaching, many families will be taking holiday vacations. For divorced spouses with children, these holidays can be bittersweet, as the kids often miss their other parent's presence.

Some families have taken the unusual step of agreeing to share vacations together for the children's sake. If the thought intrigues you instead of making you run screaming from the room, read on to learn if it might be a good option for your family.

I was ordered to pay child support. What happens next?

Sometimes, a petition for child support comes at the end of a failed relationship or marriage. On other occasions, it might come like a bolt out of the blue, leaving the alleged father shocked to learn that he may have a child whom he has never met but for whom he now owes child support.

If you're in the latter group, once you've wrapped your brain around the idea that you might be a father, it's time to do some homework. Whenever there is the slightest doubt about the paternity of the child in question, it is vital to first establish that you are indeed the father. Never make any promises to the mother or sign any agreements until paternity has been established.

Should you comply with a co-parent's request to swap days?

Cooperation is key to co-parenting. But how far should one parent go to accommodate their co-parent's requests to swap days they spend with the kids?

There's usually nothing wrong with agreeing to swap weekends to compensate for scheduling SNAFUs, but if your co-parent is constantly asking to swap days or arrange early pickups, bigger problems might be brewing.

When you need something other than a divorce

Sometimes, couples get married, and almost immediately, the bottom falls out. Neither party can see a clear path forward to remain together as a couple. It's clear this is not a lasting match, but do they need to seek a divorce?

In some circumstances, that might not be the remedy to pursue. Dependent on the circumstances, it may be more appropriate to get the marriage annulled.

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:

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