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Divorce mediation: Negotiating child-related issues

When California parents decide to end their marital relationships, they often wish to avoid going to court. Divorce mediation is a valuable tool many parents can use as an alternative form of dispute resolution so that they can negotiate the terms of their own agreements. When issues pertaining to children are involved, it can be challenging to come up with a fair and satisfactory settlement.

Some situations definitely require both parents to have a say in what happens. For instance, if a particular child is not handling a divorce so well, a concerned parent might think it is a good idea to hire a child therapist to provide support. The other parent should be in agreement with this idea.

Initiative helping parents who are behind in child support

California and all other states have laws and guidelines governing cases where child support orders have been disregarded. A parent who has not paid child support when ordered to do so may face legal consequences. These repercussions might include hefty fines or even jail time for being in contempt of court.

An initiative was launched in another state to encourage parents who are behind in child support support payments to work toward satisfying their obligations. Many times, a parent who has failed to pay child support may have his or her driver's license suspended or revoked. Many believe this particular consequence may ultimately backfire because without a driver's license, a parent might be unable to get to work, which could wind up exacerbating the problem.

Your divorce does not have to be a battle

The realization that your marriage is over is not always easy to accept. It likely came to you after much soul searching and efforts to make it work. On the other hand, perhaps it was not your choice but the decision of your spouse, and you are now left to figure out how to move forward without losing your peace of mind.

You may have an image of divorce similar to what you have seen in movies or experienced through people you know. A contentious courtroom battle where both sides fight to destroy each other does not have to be your fate too. Despite the high emotion a divorce can bring, you can take steps to keep the process peaceful and civil.

Child support: Issues California parents should keep in mind

California parents, as well as those in other states, are legally obligated to provide for their children's needs. In many cases, especially divorce, the court will order financial support to help meet expenses for minors. Such orders typically remain in effect until the child or children in question reach age 18. There are several key issues that parents will want to keep in mind regarding child support.

It is important to remember that every state has its own guidelines on how to calculate child support. Parental income, number of children and various other issues help a family court judge determine who might be ordered to pay support, how much each payment should be and more. There are worksheets available for a parent who wishes to estimate a payment amount.

Can you get child support without a court order?

When two California parents are faced with issues to resolve regarding financial provisions for their children, either in divorce or even if they have never been married, they may wonder if it is possible to make an agreement without going to court. While the answer depends on various issues, it is true that many parents accomplish their goals without litigation. There are typically several ways to do this.

Mediation and collaborative law are two alternative dispute resolution methods that allow parents to settle child support issues out of court. Both methods are meant to be nonconfrontational. They are also usually less expensive than litigation.

Photos of alleged child support evaders published online

Each state, including California, has its own guidelines regarding court-ordered financial provisions for children. Child support is often a high priority topic in divorce; however, many cases also involve parents who were never married to each other. Parents who are wanted for delinquency in payments may wind up having their photos and personal information published online.

The court recognizes that life conditions sometimes change in such ways that parents who have been making timely child support payments may no longer be able to keep up. Perhaps, a parent has lost a job or has become ill and unable to work. There is a process in place for a parent to request modification of an existing court order.

Family court judge says child support request is moot

A judge in another state is currently overseeing a contentious case between an actress/socialite and her former husband, an elevator construction company executive. The former couple has a child together, and up until now, the child has been in the mother's custody. Recent developments in the case prompted the judge to remove the child from Julianne Reeves's custody and also to refuse to consider her recent request for increased child support. There may be California readers in similar situations who will want to follow this case.

An attorney speaking on behalf of Reeves's ex told the court that Reeves has not been honest regarding her supposed dire financial situation. The attorney stated that the child's mother has repeatedly said she can't make ends meet or provide for child's needs under the current terms of the agreement in her case regarding child support and alimony. However, there is reportedly evidence that she has spent exorbitant amounts of money on elective plastic surgery.

What about child support when parents were never married?

Many married parents wind up in family court, litigating issues concerning their children when their marriage has come to an end. There are also many unmarried parents with children in common that have legal issues to resolve with one another. Whether married or unmarried, child support is often a key focus in family court proceedings. 

Complicated legal issues often arise when unmarried parents decide to end their romantic relationship. This is reportedly what happened to Varunie Vongsvirates after five years of dating actor Owen Wilson. Vongsvirates claims that Wilson is the father of her daughter; the claim was substantiated after Wilson volunteered to take a paternity test.

Divorce negotiations don't have to fail when tempers flare

Mediation and collaboration are types of alternative dispute resolution that many couples turn to in the hopes of reaching a divorce settlement more peaceably than through traditional litigation. Instead of taking sides and fighting to get what they want, divorcing spouses work together to reach an agreement that is beneficial to both of them. This includes discussion on major issues like property division, child custody and support matters.

If you and your spouse have opted to try alternative dispute resolution for your divorce, you will want to learn as much as possible about the procedure and the laws in California so you will know your rights and how to protect them. It is also important that you have no misconceptions about ADR. No matter how peaceful the process, your relationship with your spouse is still the same.

Issues to consider before seeking child support modification

Financially providing for one's children is not an obligation that becomes obsolete after parents decide to divorce. When a judge in a California family court issues a child support order, it always stems from a decision being made according to what the court believes will best protect the children's best interests. Whether a particular parent is making regular support payments or is receiving payments to provide for his or her children, if he or she believes a change in the plan is warranted, a petition for modification can be filed in court.

It is important that every parent paying child support understands that it is unlawful to disregard the terms of an existing court order, even if he or she has a legitimate reason to stop making payments or to adjust the amount of the payments. In fact, if a parent were to stop making payments or change a payment amount with the court's permission, the judge overseeing the case can hold him or her in contempt. This is why modification must be sought through the proper procedure, and the request must be granted by the court before the parent in question makes any changes to his or her current arrangement.

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Westlake Village, CA 91362

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