Kevin Qualls Family Law
Maintaining Professionalism. Preserving Civility. Finding Answers. Practical Guidance On Important Divorce And Custody Matters

Orange County Family Law Blog

What are the tax consequences of divorce?

A Californian spouse's divorce problems do not end with the entry of a decree. Child support and alimony have federal tax consequences, and spouses should plan for this while negotiating a settlement or pursuing litigation.

A spouse who pays spousal support may claim it as a deduction and lower their tax liability. However, the spouse must meet several requirements.

Supreme Court rules on military divorce benefits

One of the most complex family law matters is dividing assets in a military divorce, which falls under Federal and California law. The Supreme Court ruled this month that states cannot raise a former spouse's retirement pay to compensate for losing benefits caused by waving disability payments.

The Arizona couple divorced in 1991, and they agreed that the wife was entitled to half of the former husband's military retirement pay, when it took effect. He started receiving retirement pay two years later after he left the Air force.

How does alimony work?

A California court can order one spouse or partner to pay spousal support, also known as alimony, when the couple splits or divorces. This may be one of the more difficult family law issues.

A spouse or domestic partner may seek spousal or partner in a divorce, legal separation, annulment or a domestic restraining order. When the case is final, permanent or long-term spousal support may be part of the divorce decree.

What is a postnuptial agreement?

Most couples are familiar with prenuptial agreements that spouses enter into before marriage. These agreements set forth terms on property division and other family law problems when a marriage ends. More recently, California married couples have begun entering postnuptial agreements.

Prenuptial agreements have been used since the middle of the last century. Engaged couples would determine their rights and responsibilities if they ever divorced. Now, married couples often enter postnuptial agreements because they did not get a prenup before their wedding. Other times, married couples are having difficulties but hold out hopes for reconciliation or want to avoid the trauma and complications of divorce.

Overcoming divorce's financial traps

Spouses in Orange County who are considering divorce should know that it can have severe financial consequences. This can be especially true for women. According to studies, a wife's standard of living may decline by 27 percent after separation. Factors, such as insufficient child support, may lead to this decline. Accordingly, it is important to plan for these financial consequences and potential divorce problems.

A spouse should begin putting aside funds to help cover divorce expenses. These include legal costs, new living expenses and therapist bills. Expenses for one household are now multiplied by two.

Grandparents have visitation rights

Whether grandparents have visitation rights in California may be a complex family law issue. State law provides procedures for some grandparents' rights.

A grandparent may seek visitation rights through the courts. In granting reasonable visitation, the court must find that the grandparent and grandchild had a pre-existing relationship. Also, the court will only grant visitation if it is in the grandchild's best interests, due to the bond between the grandparent and grandchild. The court must also balance the child's best interests in having this visitation, with the parents' rights to make decisions about their child.

The basics of child custody

At the end of a relationship or divorce, child custody and visitation disputes may arise. California courts may have to resolve several issues when awarding custody.

Courts address two parts of custody. Physical custody relates to the physical care and supervision of a child under 18-years-old, or which parent lives with the child daily. Legal custody governs the right to make important decisions for the child on matters such as education, health care or religion.

Guarding your finances after divorce

Dealing with a new financial situation is one of the most common divorce problems. This is particularly difficult for spouses who have not made financial decision on their own before the end of a marriage. These issues can be as mundane as finding a new bank or as complex as dividing stock.

A spouse should keep payments current on any shared expenses and debt until the divorce decree is final. These often include mortgages, credit card bills and utilities. A history of on-time payments is essential for earning a strong credit score and it is important to closely monitor this score until the divorce is final. Late or missed payments can lower credit scores and impede both spouse's ability to obtain credit for setting up separate households.

Adoption in California

Much of the practice of family law is adversarial by nature. Even in an amicable divorce, the two parties have competing interests. When not handled well, child custody and child support disputes can lead to wounded pride and lingering resentments.

By contrast, adoption is a very upbeat legal issue. The goal is to bring a family together and take care of a child. When a family succeeds with an adoption, everyone involved is happy.

Common questions regarding child support modifications

Any type of legal issue that involves family is stressful. There can be a large amount of uncertainty and fear and many situations aren't helped by the fact that such matters can be extremely complicated. Dealing with family law issues such as child support, however, doesn't have to be rife with unanswered questions and guesses.

Starting with the basics is a good plan of action for any situation, and that's where we'll start with our child support discussion today. Navigating the process of child support, whether modifying or seeking payments, is indeed difficult. Understanding the foundation of the issue, however, can go a long way in making it seem much less intimidating. We'll look at three questions in this blog.

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