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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.

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!

The 3 Steps to Take Before Asking for a Divorce

 

Divorce tends to be a messy, emotional process. It’s easy to let the whole thing turn into a disaster when you have hurt feelings and financial problems getting in the way of the separation. However, there are some steps you can take before you even ask your spouse for a divorce that will make it a less stressful and time-consuming process. This blog post will go over three steps you need to take before asking for a divorce.

 

Prep Your Paperwork

 

Divorce relies heavily on documentation. Because of this, it’s important that you get your paperwork in order beforehand. Step one is to gather your paperwork. Here is what you will need:

  • Bank statements, credit card statements, paycheck stubs
  • Paperwork regarding investments, properties, and other assets
  • Medical coverage and insurance information
  • Tax information (tax returns, W-2 forms, etc.)
  • Marriage certificates, prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements
  • Trusts and wills
  • Other documents relevant to you and your marriage

The second step is to organize your documents. The more you organize your own documents, the less you have to pay an attorney to gather and organize them for you. It’s important to do all this before actually asking your spouse for a divorce. Not everyone is going to react favorably – your partner may feel inclined to make it difficult for you to access these documents. It’s better to be safe and obtain this information while you still can. Also, be sure to make a copy of your documents and give them to a trusted friend or family member for safekeeping.

 

Figure Out Your Finances

 

Before you even begin the divorce process, you need to understand your finances. Look over your personal accounts and accounts you may share with your spouse. This could include investments, retirement funds, and joint bank accounts. You will need to separate everything from your spouse once the divorce process is in motion, so it’s suggested that you open up new financial accounts that your partner cannot access. Depending on your situation, you may want to wait on this, so consult a financial advisor before doing anything you’re unsure of.

Planning your finances is incredibly important to make sure that you’re able to stay financially stable once you’re separated. To start, put together a simple spreadsheet of your assets and debts. You can’t make a plan until you know what you have and what you owe. Once you understand whether or not your budget is enough to keep you afloat, you can begin thinking of ways to increase your income or decrease your expenses. This will also help you further understand what you and your spouse will split, and how much you can afford to spend on an attorney and the divorce process.

Make a Plan

 

Getting a divorce is scary, but you can’t do it blindly. There’s a lot to think about after you ask your spouse for a divorce. Are you able to move out of the house if you need to? Would your spouse move out? Do you have enough money to support yourself for a few months if your spouse cuts you off? What about the living situation for your children? What do you want to accomplish for yourself? The sooner you set goals for yourself, both during and after the divorce, the more likely you are to achieve them. Having answers to these questions ahead of time can save you a lot of time and stress during the divorce process.

 

Conclusion

After you complete these steps and ask your spouse for a divorce, the next step is to find an attorney. Attorneys are educated, experienced professionals that offer you advice and information about what to do in your unique situation. Attorneys come at different experience levels and pricing, so you need to find someone that works with you and your budget.

You need an attorney who will listen to you, understands your goals, and has your best interests in mind. That’s why you should call on Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates! We have the qualifications to handle any divorce case, and we work hard to find the best resolution possible for both parties.

 

Managing a Difficult Divorce With a Spouse

What’s more emotionally taxing that going through a divorce? Going through a divorce with a particularly difficult spouse. Marital separation is a process rife with legality, compromise, and deliberation and one that asks for quite a fair bit of mental fortitude. Throw a spouse into the mix who’s at the ready to toss in some healthy servings of personal hang ups and a dash of hostility for the hostility’s sake, and you’ve got yourself one particularly stress-inducing battle ahead of you.

Of course, stress is exactly what the opposing party wants from you. By getting you to act emotionally, they can hurt your chances of walking away with things like custody or your current property. We’re here to remind you that dealing with a difficult spouse is just par the course when it comes to divorce and that there are some helpful mindsets you can adopt that’ll make the process less of a slog for all parties involved.

Don’t Focus on Convincing Your Spouse

The goal of any argument, before it devolves into a screaming match, is to convince the other party that your opinion is in the right and more logically fortified. Do yourself a favor and shake that notion out of your head before it ends up costing you in court. If communication was a particularly weak suit in your relationship, odds are it’s not going to get any better in courtroom or at a table with lawyers present. Emotion will absolutely trounce logic in a conversation with your spouse, especially if they’re going out of their way to press your buttons. That being said, work with the healthy relationships you do have and be entirely candid and open with your divorce attorney. The more information they have on your current circumstances, the better they can help. Opting instead to take that more logical approach with a hurt spouse can just end up weakening your case.

Focus on Changing What You Can Actually Change

Building off of what we mentioned above, it’s also important to keep in mind that narrowing your focus on the problems your spouse is causing is a recipe for disaster. If you know there’s no hope in changing their mind, then the most constructive thing you can do is shift your focus inwards. Take a moment of self-reflection to come to a conclusion on the changes you can make yourself that can help your case. Start by gathering and organizing all of your legal documents and open your own solo bank/credit accounts. Compose and recollect yourself and all of your necessary legal requirements and present the best version of yourself when fighting for your rights.

Maintain Good Connection

This may seem contradictory to everything we mentioned earlier, but, as much as you wish it weren’t so, communication is a requirement in a divorce even if your spouse is being particularly difficult. The trick is to set up a grounds for your chat that curbs most of your impulses to fight. For example, meeting at neutral ground like a coffee shop is well advised. If you feel like any face-to-face meeting is doomed to end in a screaming match, try and set up communication over text or email. You’d also do well to keep documentation of the conversations you have with your partner as well in case something they say or do can be used in court.

Conclusion

Divorce is a trying process for both parties. Odds are one or both spouses feel hurt and it’s easy to let emotion take the reins in a case that should otherwise be treated logically. Remember to fight the urge to resort to mudslinging and name calling, these only make your case seem less logically sound and, should you have a child in the middle of it all, could end up hurting relationships that matter to you.

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