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Westlake Village California Family Law Blog

A preemptive strike in your parenting plan could avoid conflict

The media tends to focus on the co-parenting success stories, but like most other California parents, you know that there are just as many, if not more, parents who struggle to make things work after a divorce. They make mistakes that only seem to make the situation worse, and if they can't work it out, they could end up back in court.

Perhaps you are in the beginnings of a divorce and this is your fear. You and the other parent agree that you need to do what's best for your children, but you aren't sure how to get there without making mistakes that could cause your plans to backfire. One way to avoid these issues would be to have an understanding of what common errors other divorced parents make and create a parenting plan that includes preemptive strikes.

Former NBA star is seeking child support modification

California NBA fans are likely familiar with Matt Barnes. Barnes played for several different teams throughout his career, including the the Los Angeles Lakers. Off the court, he has been entangled in a child support dispute with the mother of his twin sons. 

Barnes recently gained full custody of his children. Since splitting up with his wife, he has reportedly been paying $20,000 per month in financial support for his kids. However, he recently asked the court to modify its order since his children now live with him full time.   

Divorce mediation may help you avoid litigation

Perhaps you and your spouse have mutually decided that your marriage is no longer sustainable. Perhaps you've also agreed that you do not wish to become entangled in any type of long, drawn out court process in order to obtain a settlement. You'd both really like to just discuss the issues that need discussing and come up with a plan that is best for all involved. California divorce mediation may be a viable option in your situation.

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution option for those who are able to peacefully negotiate their property division, child custody and alimony issues. The court must approve any plan you devise; however, you and your spouse are free to write the terms of your own settlement. Mediation is generally the least expensive means of obtaining a divorce. 

Child support problems can negatively affect personal reputations

Most good California parents have no problem with being ordered to provide financial support to their children after divorce. However, it is not uncommon for child support problems to arise, sometimes due to disagreements between parents and other times due to extenuating circumstances. When word travels that a parent has not been making child support payments on time, it can affect his or her personal and professional reputation.

Not every person who fails to make support payments is a deadbeat parent. In fact, many parents have legitimate reasons why their scheduled payments are no longer feasible. The problem is that a parent is legally obligated to keep making payments according to the terms of an existing court order unless and until the court grants a modification. If a parent simply stops making payments without gaining the court's permission, he or she may be found in contempt of court.

Calfiornia parents among those facing child support problems

Current data suggests as many as six out of 10 parents who are ordered by the court to receive child support to provide for their children's needs are not receiving full payments, as scheduled. Many California parents get a portion of an ordered amount, and some report that they get nothing at all. A research organization that is conducting behavioral science studies has come up with a plan that it believes may not only prompt many parents to bring their child support accounts into good standing but may also help improve their relationships with their children.  

Officials in another state who have been participating in the project find that, by changing the way they communicate with parents ordered to pay child support, they are witnessing positive results. For instance, they try to treat paying parents as customers rather than people who owe a debt. They also send reminders regarding upcoming scheduled meetings. One parent remarked that it was refreshing to be spoken to like a human being.  

Miguel Cabreara still facing child support problems

In California and elsewhere, extramarital affairs often lead to serious personal problems. Major League Baseball star, Miguel Cabrera has been trying to resolve contentious child support issues regarding two children he had with an ex-mistress. Cabrera also has three children with his wife, who happens to be his former high school sweetheart.  

The baseball superstar earns approximately $30 million per year. For the past 10 months, he has been entangled in a bitter fight with the woman that bore his two children during an affair they reportedly had for years. She is seeking $100,000 per month in child support.  

Have you considered the downside of shared custody?

Whether you are going through a divorce or you never married your child's other parent, you are not looking forward to a custody battle. Naturally, you hope to gain as much time as possible with your child, and you expect you and your partner will agree on joint physical custody.

Sharing physical custody is not the same as having legal custody. With shared legal custody, you have an equal say in the major decisions in your child's life, such as education, religious upbringing and health care matters. If you and your partner can work together peaceably, sharing legal custody may be good for your child. However, joint physical custody is not always in the child's best interest.

Collaborative law: A means to avoid confrontation in divorce

It is true that divorce is often arrived at in an ultimate decision that follows months or years of marital problems. California spouses and others can relate to contentious situations where filing for divorce seems like the most viable solution option. However, that does not mean that every person who files for divorce is looking for a long, drawn-out courtroom battle; in fact, many people choose collaborative law to help them settle their divorces without confrontation.  

A collaborative divorce is similar to the mediation process. There are typically more people involved, however, even though the process is confidential. In a collaborative system, you and your spouse will each have an attorney to advocate on your behalves.  

Can child support issues negatively affect a home purchase?

When a California resident is thinking about buying a house, he or she should expect that, at some point, a review of his or her credit report will take place. Various issues can negatively affect a credit report, including being behind on child support payments. This acts as a derogatory credit event that can, under certain circumstances, impede the ability to purchase a home.  

The type of loan one is pursuing may be a factor in whether or not a child support issue will have a negative impact on a home purchase. If one seeks to obtain a government-backed loan, there is a definite possibility that not paying child support that is owed will prevent loan approval. It is critical to determine whether one can afford a prospective mortgage in conjunction with owed child support and other financial debts.  

Man facing child support problems with 2 former wives

Numerous California fathers have signed or will be signing agreements concerning their financial responsibilities for their children following divorce. A specific child support amount is set in each case, at the court's discretion. Every state has its own guidelines, typically resulting in a court order. A man in another state, who happens to be running for governor, is said to be behind in his payments in two separate post-divorce situations.

The father of three has a son with his former first wife and two other children with his former second wife. In that particular case, the court reportedly threatened him with jail time if he didn't pay at least half of the child support he owed. The full amount was more than $6,000.


Law Office of Edward S. Matisoff
3625 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard
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Westlake Village, CA 91362

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