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

Orange County Family Law Blog

A breakup may be the right time to consider a paternity action

Many people in Orange County, California, have what in the legal sense is an informal relationship with their child's other parent. For instance, many people in the area choose to live together and raise children without ever getting officially married.

The reality is that, just like marriages, these relationships can end in a breakup, even if the couple has been together for a long time. While a breakup might be easier than a divorce when it comes to dividing property, the problem with a breakup of two parents is that their rights to the children are in a kind of legal limbo.

What does conscious uncoupling have to do with divorce?

Many people, including some well-known celebrity couples, have started to be open about their use of a technique called conscious uncoupling when they are moving away from a romantic relationship.

The idea behind conscious uncoupling, which is a term used in the world of mental health and family counseling, is that the end of a relationship, marital or otherwise, does not have to be particularly explosive or full of resentment and anger.

Helping clients in difficult child support cases

Although California like most other states has a set formula for determining child support in most cases, this does not mean that every divorce, legal separation, or other proceedings involving child support is an easy case that can be handled without professional legal help.

Indeed, as pervious posts have discussed, there are often situations in which California judges in Orange County may choose to deviate from the established child support amount in order to account for special circumstances. These sorts of situations are largely left to the discretion of the judge, which means a person will need to present evidence and arguments in support of their position.

Can I take my children out of state?

Whether or not a parent can leave the state of California with his or her children is the source of a lot of confusion, and contention, in the world of family law. Many parents may believe that the other parent can never under any circumstances leave California with the children, even for a brief vacation or day trip.

Other parents may, on the other hand, think that where they are and what they do with their children is generally not the business of their ex, and so they feel they can do whatever they want in this respect.

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.

Kevin Qualls Family Law
625 The City Drive South
Suite 470
Orange, CA 92868
Toll Free: 800-783-1934
Fax: 714-750-5983
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