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Legal options for addressing unpaid child support problems

Many married couples with children who divorce in California move forward in life bound to certain stipulations set forth in their divorce decrees. For some, that includes paying or receiving child support. However, not every person ordered to pay or who receives child support has been married and divorced. Either way, if the court orders someone to make payments and it is not being done, it's a definite problem.

It is not uncommon for custodial parents to rely heavily on child support to help make ends meet as they nurture and provide for their children. Who pays, how much is paid and when payments should be made are all issues the court decides. The bottom line is that, whether or not a parent agrees with the court's decision, an existing court order must be obeyed by all parties involved. If a child support is unpaid, there are steps a concerned parent can take to rectify the situation.

California county providing urgent child support help to parents

Many California parents and others throughout the nation are currently trying to overcome serious financial challenges. For some, a job loss, medical condition or recent divorce has negatively impacted their financial situations. Others may be having trouble making payments for existing child support orders.

In an effort to help parents who have been deemed delinquent in their child support obligations get things back on track, one particular county announced that it was providing immediate assistance at no cost to any parent currently facing possible criminal arrest due to a child support situation. Anyone with a bench warrant out for his or her arrest need only show up at the predetermined place at the proper time to receive guidance and legal assistance to address a crisis situation. There is often a stigma attached to parents who fail to meet their child support obligations, labeling them as deadbeats or parents who don't have their children's best interests in mind.

Child support dispute between Harvey Weinstein and former wife

In California and beyond, things often get a lot worse before they get better when it comes to divorce. Many spouses must first work through tremendous obstacles and disagreements regarding issues, such as property division, child support or other matters before they can achieve amicable settlements. As for child support, Harvey Weinstein and his former wife are currently battling over a particular matter involving $5 million.

Weinstein has been in and out of the news in recent times due to his divorce and serious allegations from various women that he sexually assaulted them. A pressing matter at the moment has arisen from Weinstein's former spouse, claiming he owes $5 million in child support payments. She says she wants the court to demand that he pay up immediately in case his other legal battles leave him financially insolvent.

A parenting agreement can help with child custody matters

Going through the divorce process can feel like riding an emotional roller coaster -- one with more lows than highs. However, just as the process can be challenging for parents going through it, it can also be difficult for the children of divorce. This is especially true when a child custody battle ensues.

Fortunately, many cases involving the custody of a child in California can be resolved without further court involvement by putting together a parenting agreement. This is possible through negotiations or through an alternative dispute resolution process, such as collaborative law or divorce mediation.

Collaborative law may help save time and money in divorce

As 2017 draws to a close and married couples in California begin setting goals for a new year, chances are some will choose divorce as the most viable option for overcoming current obstacles and pursuing new lifestyles. Some divorces will be hashed out in court, often with highly contentious disputes that require a judge's intervention to resolve. Others may greatly desire settling their differences without litigation and therefore, may want to consider the collaborative law process.

This type of divorce is one of several alternative dispute resolution options. In the collaborative law process, it is crucial to keep lines of communication open in order to work together to solve all material divorce issues. If spouses are barely able to communicate without discord, they might want to consider other divorce options since a prerequisite to collaborative divorce is to mutually agree to amicable negotiation.

New laws may impact child support if adopted in California

There appears to be rising trend regarding child custody post-divorce. Changes may be prompted by years of lobbying for fathers' rights in California and elsewhere,  namely, to make sure fathers are not being alienated when they desire active roles in sharing physical custody of their children. The new laws favor shared physical custody between parents, which, although admirable in most cases, could in fact cause ripple effects in other areas, such as child support.

State laws vary when it comes to child custody, visitation and child support. Courts typically believe children of divorce fare best when given ample time with both parents unless extenuating circumstances exist that pose a detriment to them. As evidence of such continues to pour in through the years, many lawmakers have been prompted to propose new laws that would make shared custody the standard rather than the exception to the rule.

Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin engaged in child support battle

When spouses in California who have children together divorce, it can be quite challenging to achieve amicable parenting plan agreements. In particular, matters concerning child custody and child support often cause the most contention between former spouses, especially if they already have trouble getting along. Jodie Sweetin, one of the main stars on popular TV show "Fuller House," has been divorced twice and is currently fighting one of her ex-husbands over a child support issue.

Sweetin and her former husband, Morty Coyle, are the parents of a 7-year-old daughter. Coyle has requested that the court up the amount of financial support Sweetin provides for the child. Sweetin opposes the request, saying her ex has wrongly asserted her income to the court.

Many California retirees pursue divorce mediation nowadays

Anyone who follows rising trends among the 50-and-over crowd has likely noticed an increase of incidents in a particular area. In fact, although the overall national divorce rate appears to be declining according to statistics from recent years, among those age 50 and beyond, it has more than doubled in the past two decades. This has led many California retirees and others to seek information and guidance regarding the divorce mediation process.

A financial adviser recently noted that he often gets calls from newly retired people who say they'd like to schedule meetings to discuss a few general financial concerns. He says more often than not, this type of phrasing usually means someone is considering divorce mediation or litigation and is wondering how it would impact his or her retirement plan. As it happens, many retirees who file for divorce wind up facing substantial debt because they withdrawal money from their plans to cover divorce expenses.

Spousal monetary support post-divorce may be source of conflict

If you and your spouse have decided to get divorced, you or your spouse may end up having to pay spousal support, or alimony, to the other party. Alimony is essentially money paid from a higher-earning spouse to a lower-earning spouse following the dissolution of a marriage.

A spousal monetary support arrangement in California depends on either the agreement that you two reach or the divorce court's decision. Understanding how alimony works is critical for obtaining your desired outcome in a divorce case involving this type of monetary support.

Financial crisis may arise due to spouse's child support issues

Many marriages in California include spouses who were once involved in marital relationships with other people. Many of them have children from their previous unions. Many of them also have been ordered by the court to pay child support.

When a spouse is obligated to provide financial support to children in another household, it can take an extreme toll on the money situation under one's own roof. Actress Tori Spelling is reportedly experiencing such problems at this time. She and her husband have five children together; however, he has been sued by his former wife for $100,000 in back child support payments.


Law Office of Edward S. Matisoff
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