Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Child Support Attorney Explains Visitation and Custody in California

Child Support Attorney
As a child support attorney, we regularly represent clients that want to make an adjustment to what they are paying in support.  In order to do this, you or your ex’s financial situation will have needed to change significantly, or an adjustment needs to be made to the custody and visitation schedule. 

In California, a parenting plan is established that determines where the child will be living and on what days they are with each parent.  In many cases, a child will primarily reside with one parent while seeing the other on weekends and during the evening once a week.  While this is a standard agreement, yours can be completely different, based on your needs and what is in the best interest of the child.  If you and your ex both live in the school district, it becomes much easier to arrange a unique shared parenting plan.  If, however, there is a distance between your homes or one lives in a different state, a judge will want to keep the child in the residence closest to their school during the school year. 

In most cases, even if one parent is awarded full custody the other will be granted visitation.  The amount of visitation can be adjusted up or down based on what is in the best interest of the child and the parents’ schedules. As a child support attorney, we understand that if you start spending more time with your children, the amount you pay in support should be reduced. This is often a good way to approach the adjustment.  We can file a Request for Order to Change or Modify a Previous Order.  This is a formal request to change how often you see your children and while doing so we will also request a modification to the support agreement. 

When the judge reviews our request, they will evaluate the current living situation for both parents along with what the child is used to.  As long as it doesn’t interfere with a child’s school schedule, a judge will typically agree to allow a child to spend as much time with both parents as is feasible.  They key is to demonstrate that the change would not disrupt the child’s life in any way or create a level of instability that they are not accustomed to.  

As a child support attorney, we always recommend going through the formalized process when making a major change to the parenting plan.  If you and your ex are helping each other out by switching days occasionally, that’s fine.  However, if you start to make a more permanent change such as taking them an additional day during the week, you should do it through the court system.  The reason being that if you are paying child support and start watching your child more often, the amount you pay in support will not change.  It will remain at a higher amount even though technically your ex is watching them less.  When you go through the process with the court, you can formalize the agreement so that they can’t go back to the old schedule without going back to court. 

Simultaneously, you can save money by getting your support order reduced. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Speak With a San Diego Lawyer to See if You Qualify for Spousal Support

San Diego Lawyer
As a San Diego lawyer, we help couples throughout the area as they go through a divorce.  One common question that we get is about spousal support.  Many spouses that were staying home or only working part time become concerned that they will be unable to support themselves.  This is understandable considering it takes time to reenter the workforce.  If you are seeking spousal support, here is what you need to know:

There are several types of alimony or spousal support.  Temporary alimony may be awarded while the couple is separated but not yet divorced.  In many cases, couples continue to share a bank account and pay bills jointly while going through the process.  This is a way to formalize the finances to ensure support.  Another type of alimony is for rehabilitation and provides for a spouse as they are going back to school or doing other activities in order to reach the point where they can support themselves.  Simultaneously, alimony can be awarded to strictly reimburse these types of expenses. Permanent alimony is where a spouse continues to receive funds until they die, remarry or for a set and prolonged period of time.  This can be in the form of monthly payments or in a lump sum.

As a San Diego lawyer, we know that the amount of alimony that a person receives is different in every case.  In some divorces, no alimony is given because both spouses earn an income and are self-sustaining.  In other circumstances, it is awarded but after the judge takes into accounts several factors starting with a review of the financial situation and standard of living that was maintained during the marriage.  If the couple had a high standard of living, more alimony would typically be awarded than if they were living on a tight budget.  It is all in relation to what life was like during the marriage.  The judge will also take into consideration the ability of the payer to continue supporting themselves while still paying alimony.  

In determining how much a spouse should be awarded, a judge will also look at age and potential ability to support themselves along with the length of the marriage.  For example, someone that is getting divorced after being married a couple of years and is in their thirties or prime working years, will probably get less alimony than someone that is near retirement age.  This is to ensure that those who did not support themselves during the marriage and would potentially be unable to do so will still maintain some standard of living and not suffer great harm due to a divorce.  On the other hand, those that are capable of earning a living may only be granted support for a short period while they get back on their feet. 

Every case is different so to find out what your chances are of receiving alimony and what a potential award would be, schedule a consultation.  As a San Diego lawyer, we can represent you both in and out of court to ensure that your rights are protected as you go through a divorce.