Monday, June 30, 2014

An Attorney Can Help You Get a Child Support Judgment

If you are divorced and receiving child support, an attorney can help you to collect on that support when your ex stops paying.  Many parents that are required to pay child support live up to their end of the bargain.  The challenge is that if they stop paying it can create a financial hardship for the one that is supposed to receive the payments.  Fortunately, there are ways to obtain your court ordered child support.

During your initial consultation, we will discuss your specific case and the circumstances surrounding the non-payment of child support.  We will need to know how much they are supposed to pay every month, how far behind they are, and if they have been making any form of payment recently.  Once retained, we will review the court order before making a recommendation on how to proceed.

As an attorney, we can help you to calculate how much is owed to you and draft a letter to be sent to your ex formerly requesting payment.  Sometimes people will respond to a lawyer, even when they have been ignoring your request.  The understanding that you will take legal action is a very compelling incentive to work out a payment plan.  This is an option for resolving the dispute and can even be settled out of court.  The key is to have a lawyer draft the agreements so that if they fall behind again, you have additional documentation.

If your ex is unresponsive or simply refuses to cooperate and pay child support, the next option is to go to court.  We will have the opportunity to present the judge with the initial order to pay child support, the documentation proving that support has not been received, and a formal request for a judgment in order to collect on what is owed.

The judge will typically review the income and employment information for your ex prior to making a final ruling.  Any information that you have regarding their employment should be provided prior to the hearing so that we can properly prepare and include it into our arguments.  As your attorney, we will argue the case on your behalf and make a compelling argument for the judge to enforce the child support order. 

If your ex is currently employed, their wages may be garnished in order to collect the child support.  This means that there employer would receive a letter informing them that a certain amount of money needs to be withheld from their paycheck and paid towards the obligation.  If you know that your spouse has that money available, and can prove it, the judge may order a lump sum to be paid at one time.  The key in both scenarios is proving that they have the resources to pay child support.

If your ex refuses to comply with the judgment, they could be sentenced to jail on a temporary basis.  This threat is typically enough to prompt people to start paying.  As a local attorney, we can help you through the process so that you can begin collecting the money you deserve.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Lawyer Can Help You Increase Your Visitation Privileges

If you are divorced, a lawyer can help you to make changes to your child custody and visitation agreements.  Just because a custody arrangement has been set with the other parent, or by a judge, does not mean that it has to stay set in stone until the child turns eighteen.  There are ways to make changes to the schedule by going through the court system.

As a parent that does not have primary custody, it can be incredibly difficult and painful to not see your child as often as you would like.  Sometimes the situation arises due to a military deployment, financial issues, a living situation, work reasons, or even substance abuse.  It may be hard to comprehend living with a set schedule for years to come, once the reason for the limited custody or visitation has been resolved.  Fortunately, the court system is designed to provide room for change.

Before you file for a change in child custody or visitation, make sure to consult an experienced lawyer.  The court system is exactly that – a system.  There are set rules and procedures that must be followed in order for your case to be heard and in order to win.  Going before a judge without understanding the rules could be detrimental to your case.  Additionally, when arguing why your custody arrangement should be adjusted it is important that your reasons fit within the statute that the judge must reference prior to making a ruling.

When the custody arrangement involves two parents that live in different states, the case becomes even more complicated.  California has a specific law in place, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) which sets forth that California has the right to enforce its actions, even if a parent moves out of state.  This enables custody cases set in California to continue to be enforceable after someone has moved away, as long as one of the parties still lives in the state.  This can be particularly relevant in military divorces.  

As a California custody lawyer, we are experts at understanding custody laws and how they can impact your case. As an experienced attorney, we help clients to gain back some, or all, of the visitation they have lost.  We understand that life circumstances can create situations that negatively impact our clients.  Rather than judging, we help each client to build a case for why they should regain or increase the time they have with their children.  If this is something you want to pursue consider that you will have the burden of proof to show why your request should be granted.  You will also need to demonstrate stability and that you can provide a safe and caring environment for the children when they are with you.  The judge will also make sure that the children will not be impacted negatively by an increase in your visitation time.  As your lawyer, we will help you to create a winning strategy that can be pursued in court.