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Westlake Village California Family Law Blog

Children's best interests should be focus of child support

If you and your spouse determine that your marriage is no longer sustainable, you may be one of many California spouses who files for divorce this year. As a parent, one of your top priorities would no doubt be to help you children navigate the situation with as little stress and emotional upheaval as possible. Issues such as child custody and child support can be complex, which is why it's best to clarify state guidelines and to know how to protect your rights before heading to court. The more your kids see you and your ex being willing to work together for their sake, the better able to cope with the changes in their lives they might be.

A judge doesn't have to order child support in a divorce. If a parent requests it, the judge in question will take numerous factors under consideration to determine if it would be best for the children. The court has the discretion to not only determine whether a parent should pay support but also how much each payment will be, as well as when and how payments are to be submitted.

Child support: Establishing paternity can be a key factor

When parents of a child are not married, it can be challenging to work out a fair co-parenting agreement. Child support issues can be complex, especially if the person believed to be the father of a particular child denies paternity. In some cases, a California family court judge might order a man to take a paternity test to determine whether he is a biological father and should be pay child support.

Rap music star Future is the biological father to numerous children from different mothers. One woman claims he is also the father of her child, and she believes he should pay $53,000 per month in child support. Future, however, had been denying paternity, and did not include the woman's name in a list of Mothers' Day greetings he posted online to several other women who are mothers of his children.

Divorce mediation: Brush up on negotiation skills ahead of time

For many California spouses who no longer wish to be married, a top priority is finding a way to achieve a settlement in as swift and painless a way as possible. Divorce mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution that comes in handy in such situations. For mediation to work, both parties must agree to peacefully discuss and negotiate important issues, such as child custody or property division.

There are several ways to improve negotiation skills. Preparation is a key to success; in fact, it may be helpful to practice mediation sessions with a friend of family member before attending the real meetings. Practicing enables a spouse to run through various possible scenarios and consider what responses or counteractions might work best if a similar circumstance arises during mediation.

Divorce mediation: Negotiation skills that come in handy

When you and your spouse decided to divorce, you knew you'd have numerous issues to resolve before you could part ways and move on in life without each other. You also understood that, while you were ending your personal relationship, you'd always have a connection as co-parents of your children. For their sake, you both agreed that you wanted to settle your California divorce in a peaceful, swift and inexpensive way.

These are key factors that lead many spouses to choose divorce mediation instead of going to court. You and your spouse must agree on a few things ahead of time, such as doing your best to avoid confrontation. The whole purpose of mediation sessions is to provide a confidential, peaceful setting to work out the terms of your co-parenting, property division and other agreements.

Divorce mediation may save you time and money

When a California couple decides to end their marriage, it is typically a stressful and emotionally upsetting experience. No two relationships are exactly the same, and neither are any two divorces. However, many people want to make the process as painless as possible, with a minimum of acrimony, especially if there are children involved. Divorce mediation is often the best option.

There are many potential benefits to mediating a divorce. One of them is that it allows a concerned spouse to retain control in the decision-making process. If litigation occurs, the judge is the one who makes the decisions.

Do you have questions about California child support laws?

Like all good parents in California and beyond, you love your children and always want what's best for them. If you and your spouse are preparing for divorce, numerous top priority issues regarding your children are no doubt on your mind. For instance, you'll have to resolve issues such as where the kids where live. If child support is being requested, then that topic raises multiple issues as well.

Some parents fight about child support. It's important to keep in mind, however, that most children fare best in divorce if their parents are willing to compromise and cooperate to create a peaceful co-parenting plan. The less parental conflict kids have to witness, the better.

Former mistress is demanding child support

Many California married couples experience challenges in their relationships, some of which are caused by infidelity. In cases where an extramarital affair has produced a child, things can get quite complicated. A woman in another state understands this all too well. She has stated that her husband's ex-lover is ruining their life by demanding child support.

The woman says her spouse was unfaithful when he had an affair with a much younger employee. The woman was from another country of origin and, at some point, returned there. Since then, however, the man's wife says the other woman has been hounding and threatening him, and she is worried that, if something happens to her and her husband, the woman might try to get a hold of their assets.

Here's why many people use collaborative law for divorce

Most spouses seeking a divorce want to avoid confrontation. Many California couples in these circumstances choose alternative dispute resolution instead of litigation. Collaborative law is a means of settling a divorce without going to court.

If you choose collaboration to settle your divorce, there will be a team of advisers and others involved in the process. In addition to separately retained attorneys, you may also include financial advisers, psychologists and/or others who can make recommendations to help both spouses achieve a fair settlement. Sometimes, the collaborative law process does not work out as a concerned spouse had hoped it might, in which case, litigation may be necessary; in that event, new attorneys would have to be hired because the original attorneys in a collaborative divorce sign on for the purpose of working together to come up with an agreement that is fair to the parties.

Child support: What unemployed California parents should know

When a California family court orders a parent to provide financially for his or her children, that parent must strictly adhere to the terms of the court order. The amount of child support, as well as how and when payments are to be made may vary according to state guidelines and the court's discretion regarding a particular case. If a paying parent unexpectedly loses his or her job, making timely payments may be impossible.

It is important to remember, however, that as long as there is an existing court order that states a particular parent is required to make child support payments of a certain amount at specific times, that parent is legally obligated to adhere to the terms of the order. Even if the parent is unemployed, the legal obligation remains regarding financially providing for the children. However, it is possible to file a petition to request modification of a court order.

Divorce mediation: Are you a good candidate?

When you look back on your marriage and, perhaps, even your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse prior to your wedding day, you might notice issues in retrospect that you chose to overlook at the time. For instance, was it always difficult to get your spouse to listen when you had something to say? Maybe you both had vastly different ideas about finances or raising a family in California, but you didn't think having differing opinions was uncommon and you decided to move ahead with your plans.

You wouldn't be the first person to say that hindsight brings 20/20 vision. Whether it was five, 10 or more years before you determined you'd rather move on in life without your spouse than stay in an unhappy relationship, your focus now is to protect your children's best interests and settle your divorce through mediation, if possible, because you want to avoid going to court.


Law Office of Edward S. Matisoff
3625 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard
Suite 113
Westlake Village, CA 91362

Phone: 805-666-0980
Fax: 805-379-6722
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