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

Orange County Family Law Blog

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.

Review of grandparents' visitation rights in California

A child's grandparents can easily get overlooked during a custody dispute or even when things in a family are running smoothly, that is, without any major wrangling over custody and visitation. On the other hand, in Orange County, California, as well as most other parts of the country, grandparents play a vital role in a child's growth and development. Losing that relationship can have a long-term impact on a child.

Unlike with parents, grandparents normally have no absolute constitutional rights to raise and relate to their grandchildren. Still, the state of California, under its regular statutes, gives grandparents some ability to pursue visitation.

How does relocation and travel out of state work in California?

California parents who are trying to raise a child in two separate households probably would hope their children would be able to live close to them. On a practical level, that makes child custody and visitation easier to manage. Emotionally, many also find that living close can make a huge difference in the quality of relationship a parent has with his or her children.

However, the reality is that people, including parents who are living apart, often move, sometimes out of necessity or in order to pursue important job opportunities that can benefit their children. When this happens, California law requires that the parent who is moving treat the other parent fairly so both parents can keep up their relationships with their children.

Representing parents in child support proceedings

When parents in California decide to divorce, the well-being of their child may be the first thing on their mind. Of course, they may want to see that their child weathers the separation as well as possible emotionally, but they may also be concerned with child custody decisions, and how their child will adjust to having two homes.

Often, when one parent has primary physical custody of the child, the noncustodial parent will pay child support to the custodial parent. These payments are meant to assist with the costs associated with raising a child. Parents in such situations may wonder how child support in California is calculated.

The myth of the 50 percent divorce rate may be up for debate

Californians may have heard of the oft-cited statistic that half of all marriages these days will end in divorce. However, there has been much discussion as to whether this statement is accurate. For example, according to the American Psychological Association, the divorce rate in our nation is somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent. That being said, these numbers are up for debate, and, in fact may differ among various demographics.

"Millennials" who often live with their partner before getting married are less apt to divorce than couples from other generations. For example, according to one report, the divorce rate for couples between ages 55 to 64 increased by more than 50 percent between 1990 to 2012. Moreover, during that time frame, the divorce rate for those age 65 and older increased threefold.

Don't let your emotions cloud your judgment in your divorce

Not every marriage in California is meant to last, and even if both you and your spouse agree that divorce is the best option, it is still an emotional time. However, you should not let your emotions cloud your judgment. The following are some specific rational steps you can take to protect yourself during the divorce process.

First of all, if you are contemplating divorce, you may want to retain an attorney and financial adviser. It is important that these professionals are a good fit for you, and that you have a good connection with them. If you don't really understand what they tell you or do for you, they may not be a good fit. Moreover, don't try to go at it alone. An attorney can explain the law to you and represent your interests throughout the divorce process.

Kevin Qualls Family Law
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