McCoy Fatula, APCMcCoy
Fatula
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Roseville Legal Blog

There is an alternative if traditional co-parenting isn't for you

How many news stories have you read about divorced celebrities who go on vacation together with their children and go on picnics together as a family? These and parents like them are applauded for putting aside their differences and getting along for the sake of their children. In a perfect world, every divorced couple could do this.

However, not all couples can, but that doesn't mean they can't still put their children's needs first. They just need a different style of parenting due to their volatile relationship. If you are among those couples, you may want to know more about parallel parenting.

Appealing a child custody decision in California

When a judge makes the decision about who the children will live with after their parents are divorced, it could leave a bad taste in one parent's mouth. Appealing a child custody ruling takes proper planning and must adhere to California family law rules. Temporary orders usually can't be appealed. The appeal process typically pertains to final rulings.

A court will go over any documents filed with respect to the appeal. The appeals court may also wish to look at transcripts of the original hearing. A judge will always rule on what he or she feels is in the best interests of the children involved. An appellate court will use the same evidence used in a lower court ruling when it makes its decision on the appeal.

Wait of 4 months or more for would-be divorce in California

It is a well-known fact that divorces can take a long time to settle. People typically blame confusion over assets, difficult negotiations or a stubborn ex for the lengthy process. However, couples seeking a divorce in California may have an additional factor delaying their process, thanks to a large backup of family court cases in the state. 

According to the Court Executive Officer, the backlog is currently about four months long. However, individuals who filed their paperwork and spoke with clerks said they were hearing of backlogs between eight and 10 months. Currently, people who filed for divorce in California in October are still waiting for the paperwork to be finalized.

Hopeful news for fathers seeking custody in California

Fathers, and men in general, are often portrayed poorly in movies, shows and books. Many real-life California fathers must fight to overcome such stereotypes, which often include images of disconnected, lazy dads who are more like overgrown toddlers than productive members of society. Real fathers often have their children's best interests at heart and do whatever they can to help them grow into confident, successful adults.  

Fortunately, the tide is beginning to turn in regards to support for fathers who wish to play active, interested roles in their kids' lives. Once you may have strongly doubted that you'd ever have a chance to obtain full custody of your children. Today it is quite possible to gain custody, especially if you show the court you are capable and willing to fulfill all the responsibilities and obligations that go along with being a custodial parent.      

Prenups can ease conflict should divorce occur

Prenuptial agreements are not exactly the most romantic subject a couple planning a wedding may broach in California or elsewhere around the country. Discussing how to divide property should a divorce occur is simply not met with the same enthusiasm as choosing the color of the bridesmaids' dresses or picking a honeymoon destination. However, developing a prenup may actually foster better communication in a relationship if handled properly.

Relationship experts advise couples to discuss a prenuptial agreement as early as possible. If the communication takes place long before the wedding day, it is easier to leave emotions out of the equation. Certainly, the agreement should be viewed as beneficial for both partners. It is critical to have professionals who understand marital agreements working with the couple. The right advocate will look out for a client's best interest, yet respect that he or she is also entering a relationship that should be acknowledged.

Child custody in California: Can kids choose who to live with?

Divorce often puts children in very precarious positions. They may feel a tremendous amount of guilt, especially when older kids have a preference when it comes to child custody. They may wish to live with one parent full time instead of the other, and California courts may take their desire into consideration if it can be shown that their preference is made intelligently and realistically -- usually around their mid to late teens.

The opinions of older, more mature children hold more credence with the court. The court also has the power to decide if a child can be a witness in a custody case. However, no court will intentionally put a child in the middle of a custody case since that would not be in the best interests of the child. But, since 2011, California must allow kids who are 14 or older to be able to voice their opinions regarding custody and/or visitation.

Maximize property division options to protect assets in divorce

Some California spouses have the unfortunate experience of facing divorce just a few years into their marriages. Many spouses say they didn't see it coming and, in fact, thought things were going along fairly well in their relationships. A man in another state says he can relate to this, as he found out his wife filed for divorce just after he finished paying off her college loans. The situation raised his concerns regarding other possible property division obstacles he could wind up facing in court.

The man sought advice when, after two years of marriage, his wife hit him with the news that she was filing for divorce. He said when they met, she had substantial debt from college loans and he happened to be earning income that was nearly three times the amount of her own income. Like most good husbands would, he helped his wife pay off her loans.

Understand new tax implications regarding divorce

Residents in California and all across the nation were given a couple of extra days this year before their federal tax returns for 2017 were due. While some taxpayers file their returns as soon as they receive all the required documentation, others choose to file as late as they can. Although the deadline for filing this year is now past, many individuals are already looking ahead to see how changes in tax laws may affect them. In particular, couples going through a divorce will experience some changes in their tax filings.

For 2017, those making alimony payments to an ex-spouse were allowed to deduct them from their federal taxes. The spouse who receives the alimony payment was required to report the payments in taxable income. These guidelines, which were established around 75 years ago, will remain in effect for 2018 as well.

Stepparent adoption is easier with skilled legal counsel

Reportedly, about 50 percent of all adoptions nationwide, including in California, involve stepchildren. Stepparent adoption can serve different purposes. It could follow the death of the biological parent, or a person marrying someone who has children from a previous relationship or marriage. In many cases, the children have endured traumatic times, and the adoption may bring stability and permanence into his or her life.

Consent for the adoption is an important requirement. The burden to prove to the court that the biological parent, whose place the stepparent wants to take, gave consent to the adoption is on the shoulders of the applying parent. Sometimes this process is uncomplicated because parental rights were terminated regarding the other parent already. However, that will have to be proved to the court. An example is a parent who has abandoned the child by making no effort to contact the child or provide any support for a year or longer.

Will a couples counselor suggest a client move toward divorce?

For many California couples, the thought of ending their marriage is difficult to adjust to. Some will go to great lengths to try and save the marriage, including turning to a marriage counselor to try and work through issues in the relationship. Some spouses wonder if a couple's counselor will ever suggest that the clients consider a divorce. While this is not usually the case, there are certainly instances where a therapist can and will suggest divorce. 

Marriage counselors are focused on helping a couple navigate their differences and find a way to reconnect and strengthen their bond. While it is not uncommon for one spouse to be more invested in therapy than the other, most couples enter counseling with the honest intention of improving their bond. A therapist can be critical in reaching that goal, and often works with spouses both individually and in couples' sessions. 

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