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

Orange County Family Law Blog

Being behind in child support can mean not earning a living

Many people in Orange County rely on their ability to drive a car to earn their living. Whether they are commercial drivers, just do a lot of driving as part of their job or need to drive in order to commute to work, not being able to operate a vehicle legally can thus put a person in a serious financial pinch.

This may be one reason why people who may have gotten a little behind in the child support would be particularly frightened when they get a notice that the authorities are trying to suspend their driver's license. Losing one's license could also spell the loss of one's job or even career.

Representing clients in their alimony needs

As this blog has mentioned before, California law allows family court judges to award spousal support, also referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony, when doing so is necessary to ensure a fair divorce or permanent separation. As this blog has also mentioned that the tax consequences of alimony are changing soon, this is an opportune time to remind our Irvine and other Orange County readers that our law office advises and represents clients with respect to their alimony needs.

The important thing to remember about alimony is that it, unlike child support, is neither automatic nor is it based on a set formula. Instead, judges consider a number of factors when deciding to award spousal support and for how long. The idea behind alimony is to make sure that the needs of both spouses are being met despite an inequality of income or income-earning capacity.

Why should I fight to keep the marital home?

For both high-earning or independently wealthy couples, as well as those Orange County residents of more modest means, one of their most valuable assets is likely going to be their marital residence. Particularly in a state like California, couples frequently have a lot of net worth locked into their house. Moreover, there is also an emotional component, since the home is frequently associated with lots of memories, both good and bad.

Finally, for couples with children, one or even both parents may see importance in keeping the children in the home they are used to in the event of a divorce or separation. These reasons are why who will keep the house is frequently a hot-button family law issue that can lead to a lot of contention. In fact, one might be tempted to think that he or she should fight for the house at any cost, even if that means giving up other valuable legal rights and interests.

A gentle reminder about alimony

Like many other states, California courts have the authority to award alimony, sometimes, referred to as spousal support, to one spouse or the other as part of the court's final divorce or separation decree. The idea behind alimony is to make sure that both spouses have the ability to move forward economically following a divorce or separation, as, without alimony, one spouse may wind up with the short end of the stick since she does not have the same earning potential as her spouse.

Since alimony is likely not going anyway in this state any time soon, this is an opportune time to remind Orange County residents that, at the end of the year, how alimony is going to be treated for federal tax purposes is going to change profoundly.

Bad decisions during, after divorce can mean legal, money woes

Orange County residents probably realize that the end of a relationship in divorce or permanent separation is an emotional and stressful time. As such, it is understandable that the parties involved might not be thinking clearly, and they are prone to making mistakes.

Some of these common mistakes, such as not having a financial plan or choosing to cash out one's retirement plan to pay other marital debts, are primarily monetary errors that could affect one's long-term financial goals. Others, however, can also have legal ramifications.

Review of protections for domestic violence victims

Many people in Orange County recognize that domestic violence is an ongoing problem for many California families. Although, the problem often is kept as a carefully guarded family secret, victims should never feel that they have to put up with physical violence and abuse. In fact, during this month dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence, it may be encouraging to review some of the legal options victims have when it comes to custody and parenting time.

The reality is that even if the other parent was charged with and convicted of a crime related to domestic violence, he, or she, will still have the right to be heard with respect to custody and parenting time. Thankfully though, California law does take the needs of victims in to account somewhat. Specifically, if a family law judge hears enough evidence where she believes it is more likely than not that a parent has committed certain acts of domestic violence, then the judge can proceed under the presumption that the offender should not have any custody of the children involved in the case.

Review of how to get a child support modification

With the end of the year approaching, it is a good time for Orange County parents to review their finances. As part of this review, they may realize that they are paying too much child support. Other parents might discover that, for a lot of reasons, the child support the other parent is providing is simply no longer enough to be fair.

Just like other states, California does not treat support orders, even if they are agreed to, as set in stone. Instead, the state courts recognize that things can change in the life of a family. As these changes occur, it may be necessary to revisit child support orders. It is usually a good idea to consult with one's family attorney before doing so.

Family law issues with rental properties

There is no doubt that Orange County has many beautiful places that make great tourist destinations, and even natives to Southern California may choose to take weekend getaways to some of this area's most popular sites.

As a result, many higher earners in the area may choose to diversify and grow their portfolios by acquiring rental properties that vacationers may pay to use for a few days or even a few weeks. Although rental properties have proven excellent investments for many Californians, they raise enough legal issues for happily married couples. During a divorce or separation, there are additional divorce issues one must consider.

Unmarried couples and property rights

Like most other states, California does not afford the benefit of its community property laws to unmarried couples who choose to live and maintain a household together but who do not formalize their relationship in any way.

What this means is that, while each member of the couple has certain rights with respect to this property, these rights are not the same in the event of breakup as they would be in the event of a divorce.

Foreign accounts are not always bad, but raise divorce issues

Contrary to popular misconceptions, someone who has an offshore bank account, which is another name for an account with a foreign bank, is not necessary doing anything wrong, either in the context of a divorce or otherwise. In fact, many people, even those without wealth, can and often do have bank accounts overseas or in one of our neighboring countries. A person may do so for a variety of reasons, but usually, it has something to do with a financial or an above-board legal advantage that the account offers.

However, these sorts of accounts can raise divorce issues, especially in a high asset divorce, where their use may be more common. At the most basic level, and assuming that both parties are behaving professionally and being candid, the account may have to be divided according to California's community property laws. This means that it is possible that the court will order a 50-50 split of the account or, as part of a broader process, require the account to be transferred in to the sole name of one of the spouses.

Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Orange, CA 92868
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