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Child Custody and Visitation Laws in California

Whether you have been divorced or separated from your partner, child custody can become a pressing issue. The responsibilities and rights parents have over their children must be negotiated, in or out of court. These cases tend to make it into the courts because of the importance people place on their children, and the tense emotions involved. To learn about the specifics of California child custody and visitation laws, continue reading our blog post.

Types of Custody

There are two difference types of child custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the parent who makes significant choices for their children, in regards to medical, education, travel, or overall welfare. Typically, legal custody is either shared between both parents or given to simply one. The second type, physical custody, refers to the parent(s) your children live with. Typically, the parents decide on joint physical custody or one might request primary responsibilities, which means the other parent has only visitation rights. It is difficult for a child to spend half their time with one parent and half with another, so the time is usually imbalanced.

Judge’s Priorities

Parental custody is decided based on what the judge believes is in the child’s best interests. When deciding on custody, courts will look at the child’s age, health, bonds with their parents and communities, their parents’ ability to care for them, and family history of violence or drug use. Child support is also determined based on the amount of time the children are with each parent. When a court believes both parents are unable to care for their children, they will look into guardianship so the child lives safely.

How to Get a Court Order

The majority of parents can come to an agreement without needing a court order, but if either parent isn’t holding up their end of the deal, the court can enforce a court order. The court can only enforce an agreement if they have a signed court order. The agreement’s terms can be enforced if you turn in a copy to the judge. The judge can sign the deal if both parties agree. If consensus cannot be reached, a judge will send both parents to a mediator, and if this still doesn’t work, the judge will decide the custody and visitation times on their own. A judge can also appoint a custody evaluator to make a recommendation based on their professional opinions.

Conclusion

Establishing a child custody deal can be overwhelming, but with this information, you have a guide of what to expect every step of the way. To get in contact with a professional child custody attorney, make sure you hire us at Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates, where we are dedicated to excellence.

Power of Attorney: What They Can and Can’t Do

As we get older, it is important to determine who you trust to handle your medical decisions should you be unable to. A power of attorney document is where you grant a trusted individual with the authority to handle any or all of your financial and legal needs if you’re incapable of doing so yourself. Working with a reputable lawyer to draft a durable power of attorney will allow you to choose who you trust for your needs. Keep reading to learn more about how a power of attorney can help you in the future.

Legal document with Power Of Attorney printed at the top.
Legal document with Power Of Attorney printed at the top.

Types of POA

Once you understand what a power of attorney is, it’s important to understand the differences between the two types of POA documents. This will help you interpret whether you could benefit from a medical POA, financial POA or both. POA documents offer different levels of protection:

Medical POA: This POA gives a trustworthy family member or friend the ability to make medical decisions when you’re unable to or incapacitated.

Financial POA: In a similar way to a medical or healthcare POA, a loved one can be placed in charge of financial decisions when you yourself can’t make them.

What Can a POA Do?

Whether you go for a medical or financial POA, the scope of what your chosen agent can do will be as narrow or broad as is permitted in the document. These are some of the decisions your chosen agent can make for your healthcare and financial needs.

Medical: What medical care you receive.

       Which doctors you use.

       Where you live or what you eat.

-Financial: Access your financial accounts to pay for treatments and healthcare.

        Make investment decisions and file taxes on your behalf.

        Manage your property.

Lawyer sitting at a desk with a gavel and scales in the foreground.
Lawyer sitting at a desk with a gavel and scales in the foreground.

What Can’t a POA Do?

While there is a range of decisions your chosen agent can make under the POA document, there are also limitations to what powers the document grants them. For instance, your agent will not be able to change your will or make decisions once you pass away. Along with these examples, your chosen POA agent cannot transfer power of attorney to someone else either.

Thoughts No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to choose who you want as your power of attorney agent. When you’re ready to draft the documents, call on Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates to ensure they’re written correctly.

Documents You Need for a Divorce

The paperwork and documents for a divorce are different from state to state, although many requirements are similar. Settlement agreements and financial disclosure forms are just some of the documents you will need to fill out with your divorce attorney. In this blog, we’ll discuss the basic paperwork needed to legally settle a divorce.

Dissolution-of-Marriage Form

Every state requires at least one spouse to file a petition for dissolution of marriage in the local county court. With this document, a spouse must submit it to the court as a formal request. It must then be served to the other spouse, thus beginning the divorce process. The petition includes information about the reason for divorce, contact information for both spouses, and the terms the petitioning spouse is asking for, such as requests for alimony or child support.

Settlement Agreement

Once both spouses have agreed to the terms of the divorce, a settlement agreement will be drawn up. The settlement agreement is a document setting out the terms of the divorce settlement. For example, it may explain child custody agreements and division of property. The agreement can be written after negotiations (if contested) or after the petition is filed (if uncontested).

Financial Disclosure Documents

Both spouses in a divorce must submit documents setting out their finances. Financial disclosure forms may include copies of tax returns for the previous three to five years. In addition, a financial affidavit (which is a legal document sworn under a public notary or authorized officer) may be required to show proof of income and expenses, including information on debts, bank accounts, and property.

Conclusion

Divorce can be complicated. From legal petitions to financial disclosures, both parties may be overwhelmed with the piling paperwork. Consider a trusted family law attorney to move along the divorce process; contact the law firm at Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates. Visit our website to set up a consultation today!

What Living Trusts and Wills Cannot Do

Both living trusts and wills allow you to name beneficiaries for your property. Beyond that, they are useful for different purposes; one can help you avoid probate, while the other can name guardians for your children. But do you know what living trusts and wills don’t cover? In this blog, we break down what these legal documents cannot do!

Reduce Estate Taxes

Neither wills nor living trusts can help you reduce estate tax (but most estates will not owe estate tax). If you believe your property might be liable for estate taxes, we recommend meeting with a professional lawyer, where you can discuss more information in detail. There are many different ways you can skip out on estate tax, which includes being eligible for marital deductions, personal estate tax exemption, charitable deduction, and other legal routes, but neither a will nor trust can help you there.

Leave Money to Pets

Pets cannot own property, so you cannot leave property or money to your pets, as it will end up in your residuary estate (which means it will be divided along with your primary estate). Since pets are not legally allowed to own property or money, the best you can do is leave your pet to someone you know, whether that be in your will or living trust. You can also sign up with an organization to have your pet find a new home when you can no longer care for them.

Leave Final Wishes

Although you’re allowed to leave funeral instructions and final wishes in your will (never in a living trust), it’s better to leave them in a separate document. A will is not a good place to express your death and burial preferences for one reason: your will might not be located and read until several weeks after passing away – long after decisions must be made. Instead, you can write a simple letter to your executor and other loved ones to explain the details of your final arrangements.

Conclusion

We mentioned just a few limitations of trusts and wills in this blog, but do you know the full extent of what each legal document can or cannot do for you? For more information, contact the team at Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates. We are a professional, legal practice that can assist you with your trusts and wills. Call us today!

The Breakdown of a Prenup

Whether you’ve been married before or have simply heard about it in the media, a prenup seems to be a pretty controversial topic of discussion. In most recent news, it was reported that Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin got married without a prenuptial agreement. When this news broke, the internet nearly exploded! Everyone with an opinion spoke about how foolish it was for Bieber to forgo the protection of a prenup. Now, this begs the question: what exactly is a prenup and why do I need one if Bieber decided against it? Finish reading this blog to learn the complete breakdown of what a prenuptial agreement is!

Basically…

A prenuptial agreement is a contracted agreement that both people who are getting married will sign. Within the agreement, the breakdown of important assets within the marriage are delegated in the event of a divorce or death. Every state has specific laws as to what can be put into the prenup and what is left out, however the degree of distribution is always circumstantial and will vary from couple to couple. No two prenup contracts are the same.  

Circumstantial Fairness

Everybody has a different idea of what is “fair” in life. When it comes to finances and important assets within a marriage, fairness is taken to a whole new level. Many different aspects of the marriage are taken into consideration when deciding how to delegate everything. The assets you brought to the relationship before marriage are documented, along with the potential to inherit different assets down the line.

Full Disclosure

One of the most important parts of a prenup is full disclosure at the beginning of the marriage. Both people must come forward and disclose all the assets that they have before the marriage is final. Within the contract, those assets are protected. If you had a successful business in your name leading up to the marriage, in the event of a divorce, your spouse would have no rights or claim to the business revenue. Assets that are documented to be inherited at a later date from a family member should be included in a prenup as precaution. Imagine your father or mother had a successful business that was to be passed down to you; should you divorce, a prenup with disclosure on the future inheritance of this business will protect you from having to worry about your spouse seeking anything from the matter.

Alimony?

Most prenup agreements will cover the topic of alimony. More times than not, alimony is only brought up in the agreement if it’s being waived. At the end of a marriage, without the mention of alimony in the prenup, either person could attempt to receive alimony from the other. However, this is to be determined by a judge at a later date. If waiving the right to seek alimony is agreed upon by both people, it can be a great precaution down the line.

Children?

When it comes to divorce, many people immediately think of their children. The struggle to fight for custody can be relentless and stressful. Many will look into prenup agreements to see if they can put into motion the agreement of what will happen to the children in case of divorce. Unfortunately, prenuptial agreements aren’t allowed to include the topic of children. All situations involving children must be directly handled in court by a judge. No prewritten agreement will ever be able to say otherwise.

Conclusion

Prenups are a heavily discusses topic in the media. This type of agreement is a great way to stay protected should the marriage end on less than happy terms. Both parties are fairly considered and it is decided what the fairest way to divide everything is. If you’re interested in learning more about prenuptial agreements before you say “I do,” check out our website and give us a call today!

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