Law Office of Edward S. Matisoff
Westlake Village Family Law Firm
Free Consultations Call 805-666-0980
Areas & Topics

Westlake Village California Family Law Blog

Why many California couples opt for divorce mediation

When a California couple decides to divorce, they typically have numerous issues to resolve before the proceedings are finalized. While some spouses have contentious relationships from the start, and wind up gridlocked in lengthy court battles, this does not always have to be the case. In fact, many spouses desire to end their marriage amicably, which means divorce mediation may be a viable alternative for them.

The most common issues to resolve in a divorce are child custody, child support, property division and spousal maintenance. Finances are a central concern, with an eye toward keeping divorce-related fees as low as possible. Mediation is often a good choice in such cases because it tends to be a less expensive means to settle a divorce.

Using divorce mediation to decide what happens to pets

Many California married couples have pets. In fact, a great number of households include children as well as pets. As 2020 unfolds, many couples will decide to divorce, thus prompting a need to resolve many issues, including those having to do with where the children or pets in question will reside after the divorce is finalized. Spouses who wish to avoid confrontation and to achieve a fair settlement in as amicable a fashion as possible may want to consider divorce mediation as an option to make pet or child custody decisions. 

Most states consider decisions regarding where a pet will live after divorce as part of property division proceedings. Those who choose to mediate these issues must agree to peacefully discuss all pet-related matters. Who will pay for pet food, vet bills and other supplies? With whom had the pet typically spent the most time during marriage?

Can you use child support to pay for piano lessons?

When you filed for divorce in a California court, you likely understood that your decision was going to affect more lives than just your own. As a parent, you may have been especially concerned about your children, which may have prompted your desire to compromise and co-operate as best you can with your ex to create an amicable co-parenting plan. As in many divorces, your particular circumstances might include a request for child support.

Both parents are obligated to financially support their children. Maybe you stayed home during the marriage, either sacrificing your career or working from home part-time so that you could be fully available to your children. While you may have no regrets about that, it can definitely place you at a disadvantage when you divorce and look to become financially independent. It is understandable if you might need child support to help your children thrive.

Child support: Falling behind or at risk for arrest?

When a California family court judge issues a divorce decree, it may include a co-parenting agreement plan. Such plans typically address custody and child support issues. The court also rules on these topics when parents who have never been married to each other terminate their romantic relationships. Whether or not they were married to one another, both parents must fully adhere to the terms of a court order regarding custody, parenting time or support.

If a parent is hit by unexpected financial distress, he or she may have difficulty keeping up with child support payments. Perhaps, a paying parent lost a job or suffered a medical emergency that resulted in the need to take an extended leave of absence at work. Nevertheless, the parent is still legally obligated to pay child support on time, unless and until the court grants a formal request to modify the terms of the order.

Don't let these fights impede a fair divorce settlement

As one of many parents in California, you want what's best for your children. While you love your kids and desire a close relationship with them, you also have a place of authority in their lives, and you should avoid always wanting to be a friend rather than a parent. Parenting often includes an ebb and flow as you strive for balance in your parent/child relationships to avoid arguments while making decisions that keep their best interests in mind. California marriages, too, can crumble under the weight of constant bickering.

Perhaps, you've already decided that you'd rather go separate ways in life than stay in an unhappy relationship. If you hope to be able to achieve a fair settlement in a swift and economically feasible fashion, there are several things to keep in mind to avoid bickering through a divorce.

Divorce mediation: It's not for everyone

Leaving the past behind and moving on in life in as swift and painless a way as possible is the ultimate goal of many California spouses who divorce. Spouses who hope to avoid going to court often opt for divorce mediation to negotiate the terms of their settlement. However, there are numerous issues that might suggest this or other forms of alternative dispute resolution may not work under certain circumstances.

California is a community property state, meaning most family court judges split marital assets 50/50 in divorce. Some spouses try to beat the system or gain the upper hand in property division, so they attempt to stash cash or otherwise hide assets. If a spouse suspects his or her former partner of this type of illegal activity, he or she will want to further investigate the issue and seek the court's intervention to put it to a stop.

Child support: Interpreting your children's best interests

How many people do you know in California who are divorced? Among them, how many pay child support? All family court judges share a common goal when overseeing divorce cases where kids are involved: to make decisions based on children's best interests.

If you're a non-custodial parent who has a reliable form of income, chances are the court may order you to pay child support to help provide for your children's needs. There is no set amount or way to know ahead of time what the court will rule insofar as the payment amount or frequency is concerned. There are typically several factors of consideration, including the income of each parent, the number and ages of children, how long a particular couple was married, and more. 

Child support issues unresolved for Channing Tatum and ex

Parenting is often a challenging experience, especially if two California parents have decided to divorce and are trying to resolve financial issues and other matters pertaining to their children. Hollywood star Channing Tatum is currently entangled in a legal dispute with co-parent Jenna Dewan. The former couple has a 6-year-old daughter together. Tatum has denied accusations that he has been neglectful in paying child support.

Tatum says the court helped him and his ex workout a plan regarding custody, visitation and support issues. In fact, he told reporters that Dewan signed an agreement, which included a joint account where funds are deposited to be used by both parents as financial provision for their child. Tatum has also stated that his ex has made it difficult for him to FaceTime his daughter when the child is in her custody.

Negotiating skills needed for California divorce mediation

When a California couple decides to end their marriage, it often involves going to court. However, many couples would rather settle things out of court, thus making divorce mediation a viable option. Since a main goal of this type of settlement process is to negotiate agreeable and comprehensive terms in a nonconfrontational manner, it pays to brush up on one's negotiating skills ahead of time. 

Spouses who wish to mediate their divorce agree beforehand to try to avoid litigation and focus on resolving all outstanding issues. A first logical step to take is to identify goals, interests and problems. Mediation typically covers a number of important topics, including property division, child custody, child support and more.

California is a community property state: Here's what it means

You might recall the moment you made your final decision to file for divorce in California. Your main concerns included a desire to keep your children's well-being in mind when negotiating a settlement and to make sure you would receive all that you're entitled to in property division proceedings. This state is not among a majority regarding that particular topic.

Most states across the country operate under equitable property division guidelines. However, California and eight other states use community property rules. The more you learn about these regulations ahead of time, the better you will likely be able to protect your financial interests.


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
Map & Directions