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

Orange County Family Law Blog

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.

How domestic violence allegations affect child custody

Many times, standard child custody advice that even attorneys like to give to Orange County parents might not be workable in a parent's particular situation. Probably the best example of this is when one of the parents has committed an act of domestic violence against the other parent, as the standard child custody advice that parents should try to get along and have roughly equal time simply cannot be safely applied when one of the parents is abusive.

Recognizing that child custody cases require special treatment when domestic violence has occurred, California law sets down special rules that family law courts must follow in domestic violence cases. Basically, if a parent has been convicted of domestic violence less than 5 years prior to the custody case, then a judge may give that parent visitation, but the judge may not award the parent any form of custody, including legal decision-making authority.

What expenses should child support cover?

Most Orange County parents who live apart have probably accepted that child support is just a fact of life. Whether they receive payments or make them, parents realize these payments exist to make sure that both parents contribute to their children's needs and that the child remains well cared for even though the parents live apart.

Even for a loving parent who is willing to pay for his or her child, it is important to know exactly what expenses these payments cover and what they do not contemplate. This information can help a parent ensure that he or she is being treated fairly if asked to contribute to other expenses related to the children. After all, parent should not be expected to effectively double pay for the same expenses by also paying child support.

Review of the stepparent adoption process

The relationship between a child and their step parent is just as loving and important as a relationship between a biological parent and a child. The stepmother or stepfather steps in and becomes the child's other parent for all practical purposes.

The stepmother or stepfather therefore literally steps in and becomes the child's other parent for all practical purposes.

We can help create a workable parenting plan

Previous posts on this California blog talked about a parenting plan and how couples who are not living together may need one both to keep their own lives running smoothly and to provide for the emotional and even physical needs of their children. While this is especially important when parents are not getting along and need some clear and detail rules by which to abide, a parenting plan is still a good idea, even when the couple that is splitting is generally able to work things out with respect to their kids.

For instance, the attorneys at our law office can help a parent think honestly and thoughtfully about whether a true shared custody arrangement, that is, one in which each parent has the children more or less half the time, is workable. Even when the parents get along, there may be other considerations, like work schedules and the like, that may make a shared custody arrangement difficult on the kids.

How do tax exemptions for a dependent work in a divorce?

Even happily married Orange County couples know the importance and value of certain federal and state income tax breaks Californians get when they have minor children for whom they are providing. Basically, governments recognize that families with kids in the home have a lot of additional expenses, and they should get due credit on their taxes to account for this.

However, at least on the federal level, the rule is that parents get only one undivided tax break per child. This is so even if the parents live in separate households, such as in the case of a divorce or legal separation. This is also true with respect to couples who have children but who have never been married.

August is a great time to review your child support

Since the mid-1990s, the federal government commemorates National Child Support Awareness Month every August. Thiss observance began via a proclamation by then President, Bill Clinton, and was meant to encourage parents to pay their child support faithfully and understand how important these payments are for their children's physical and emotional needs.

Specifically, child support is there to help provide not only for a child's basic needs like food, shelter and clothing, it also supposed to help with things, like the cost of schooling and babysitting expenses. The slogan for this year's observance was, "Be Your Child's Superhero," a theme that is aimed to let parents know that paying child support is more than just an obligation, but a way to be involved in the lives of their children in an important way.

Divorce, separation may raise capital gains tax issues

Most residents of Orange County probably realize that a couple going through a divorce or legal separation will have to sort through several tax issues when doing so.

For instance, the upcoming change to rules about how alimony gets taxed has been in the news, and couples with children have to figure out who is going to be entitled to the tax breaks one gets on account of having dependents.

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