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Collaborative law can help California co-parents keep the peace

When a California married couple decides to file for divorce, they must resolve numerous issues before a settlement can be achieved. If the couple has children together, things may be a bit more complicated because, as parents, they must decide where their kids will live and how their financial needs will be met. When spouses want to obtain a swift and amicable settlement, a collaborative law divorce may be the best option.

If things are fairly straightforward and both spouses are willing to peacefully discuss their differences regarding property division, custody, alimony or other issues, they may be able to reach an agreement out of court. This often helps keep related expenses lower than a divorce that is being litigated. The latter is more of a fight-to-win situation, whereas collaboration is a process designed for troubleshooting and peaceful problem solving between spouses. 

A divorce decree is not the end of the process

When you and your spouse signed all the papers and received the official declaration that your marriage was over, you may have felt some relief. After all, whether the breakup was a devastating shock or you were the one who initiated it, a divorce can be emotionally draining.

You may feel that the mediation process allowed you and your spouse to maintain control of your decisions. Working together to resolve the details of property division, child custody and other issues may have given you a sense of closure, and you may feel ready to move forward with your new life. However, there are some final steps to complete before you can truly put this chapter behind you.

Beador co-parent plan includes more than just child support

Another former celebrity couple has finalized a California divorce settlement. Anyone currently preparing to navigate a similar process may want to review the case because it contains some interesting details. In addition to physical and legal custody of their children, as well as child support, the former Mr. and Mrs. Beador have also incorporated other issues into their co-parenting plan, such as how they may or may not speak about each other in front of their kids.

It is a fact that many co-parents run into problems after divorce when one parent constantly makes disparaging remarks about the other within the children's earshot. Not only does this type of behavior often impede children's ability to cope with divorce, it can lead to serious legal problems if the parent being maligned suspects his or her ex of parental alienation. To avoid such problems, Shannon Beador and her ex agreed in writing to never speak negatively about each other in front of their children.

California parents need not handle child support problems alone

When California parents decide to divorce, the decision naturally has implications in all areas of their lives, especially with respect to their children. It is understandable that you'd be concerned about child support, custody and other family law issues if you are planning to file for divorce. If you sacrificed a career to stay home full-time to raise a family during your marriage, you may have concerns regarding finances as you leave your marriage and move on in life.

Children's best interests are always the court's main concern. Each state has its own guidelines regarding child support. However, most judges take each parent's income, as well as future earning potential, into account before making a ruling.

This is why Jennifer Hudson is upset about child support

Most California parents would feel frustrated or angry if someone were to try to take advantage of them financially. This sometimes happens in divorce, such as when a spouse tries to hide assets or to gain an upper hand in child support proceedings. These issues often plague celebrities in their personal lives, as well. In fact, singer/actress Jennifer Hudson recently spoke about why she is unhappy regarding certain legal issues.

Hudson is currently entangled in a contentious child support dispute with the father of her child. She was never married to the man, and she says it is highly unfair that he can use a portion of the financial supplement she provides for her child to make housing payments. Hudson says the system is flawed because it enables custodial parents to take advantage of non-custodial parents with higher incomes, especially those who are celebrities.

Divorce mediation: Can it help spouses forgive?

When California married couples get divorced, there is often a lot of back-story to the situation. In many cases, one or both spouses feel deeply hurt about things that transpired in their marriage. Feelings of anger, betrayal, mistrust or resentment can impede the settlement process; however, if both spouses can agree to set their anger aside, then divorce mediation may be an option to swiftly resolve critical issues so the court can finalize the divorce.

Many spouses have found that mediation is a valuable tool toward healing. Especially when the spouses involved are parents together, it is always in a family's best interests to find common ground between co-parents so everyone can move on in life in as healthy a manner as possible. When spouses choose to mediate a divorce, they must agree to try to avoid litigation and to be willing to amicably discuss each issue, which also means being willing to cooperate and compromise as necessary.

Parenting agreements can make child custody less stressful

Navigating the divorce process can understandably be challenging for you and your future ex-spouse. However, it can also take an emotional toll on the minor children you share with your spouse.

The good news is that many child custody cases in California do not need to end up in court. Many divorcing parents instead manage to create a mutually satisfactory parenting agreement through informal negotiations, collaborative divorce or divorce mediation. Likewise, you and your spouse can create your own parenting agreement outside of court, thus avoiding unnecessary court intrusion.

Why it's a good idea to get a court order for child support

In California and all other states, parents often disagree about financial provisions regarding their kids. Those who are divorced might think they are better off coming up with a plan on their own and implementing it without seeking the court's intervention. Others believe filing a formal petition for child support might be a better course of action for several reasons.

First, parents might agree that one or the other is going to make regular deposits into a bank account so there are funds on hand to provide for the children involved. Without a court order, there is likely no way to legally enforce this type of agreement. If no documents were signed and no judge approved a proposed plan, it can be difficult to seek legal accountability against someone who has breached a verbal agreement.

California judge awards child support nearly 50 years overdue

A woman in California whose daughter is now grown recently stated that she hopes her story gives others confidence to pursue legal claims if their former spouses fail to adhere to court orders in divorce. She and her husband divorced in 1969 and one year later, a judge ordered him to pay child support. The only problem is that his payments were nearly 50 years overdue until his former wife recently brought her ex back to court.

The woman says when the order was first issued, her ex was supposed to pay $210 for a couple of years, then $160 per month after that, until their daughter reached age 18. The first check reportedly was no good and sometime after that, the man moved out of the country and started a family with someone else. The woman said she recently realized that there is no statute of limitations on child support in this state.

Child support modifications must show evidence of need

When a California family law judge hands down a ruling regarding child-related issues in divorce, both parents are legally obligated to adhere to the terms of the court order. In many cases, this type of ruling includes instructions for paying child support. A parent providing financial provisions for his or her children must continue to do so according to the terms of an existing court order unless and until the court modifies the order.

Even if a parent believes there is just reason to temporarily (or permanently) stop making payments, only a new court order enables him or her to do so without being at risk for being held in contempt. A parent may, however, petition the court for child support modification. Anyone who does this should be prepared to show evidence of need.

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