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Sacramento Family Law Blog

Open adoption can provide important benefits for families

Many years ago, few states allowed for any type of contact between biological and adoptive families. There has been a change in many of these policies, however, and California is one state that does allow for an open adoption if the parties agree. There can be many benefits on both sides if these connections are allowed to remain.

Recently, a woman shared her experiences with both closed and open adoptions. She had just celebrated the finalization of her adoption of a 2-year-old son, whom she had fostered since he was a days-old infant. Through the process of completing the open adoption, she maintained some contact with the child's biological relatives, including the mother and a grandfather. Keeping the communication lines open may allow her child to discover his own identity as he grows into a mature individual as well as allow these other relatives to remain a part of the child's life.

Child support and custody issues in same-sex divorces

One Supreme Court in another state is tasked with deciding whether a former spouse from a same-sex marriage has parental rights. The case is not being heard in California, but the decision could possibly impact similar cases that may be filed here. The woman in the center of this case has been paying child support for two children and is seeking to be considered a parent of at least one.

The couple in this case married in 2009. At some point in the early stages of their union, they made the joint decision to attempt to have a child through assisted reproduction. An anonymous donor was selected, and one of the women was impregnated through surgical means. The pregnancy was successful, and a child was born into the union. In 2013, the couple separated and later filed for divorce.

Man ordered to pay thousands in back child support

Having a child is one of the greatest responsibilities that a couple will ever have to face. When a relationship between parents fails, the child still requires and needs emotional, physical and monetary support. However, while determining who will pay child support can be difficult, California residents have options for seeking assistance in making these important decisions.

When a non-custodial parent is unable to or fails to make these payments, there may be consequences that include legal actions. Recently, a father has been sentenced to five years of probation after failing to make these payments for several children. According to the home state where most of his children reside, the man is behind in payments by thousands of dollars. A judge has ordered that he make restitution to the mothers of his children in excess of $57,500. According to the records, two of children, aged 5 and 9, reside with their mother to whom he allegedly owes an estimated $46,800.

It is possible to survive property division financially intact

The divorce rate among older couples has continued to climb since about the mid 1990's. Though the reasons may vary, the end result may put financial pressure on one or both parties, especially when it comes to property division. Though California is a community property state, there are ways to ensure that one can survive a split in relatively sound financial shape.

Traditionally, though many couples may have agreed to share responsibilities during the marriage, it is still quite common for one or the other spouse to handle the family's financial affairs. While this may work reasonably well during the marriage, a divorce can change the entire financial picture. There are steps that can be taken that may improve the chances of emerging relatively unscathed.

Proposed tax changes may make a contested divorce more costly

Though the old saying that two can live as cheaply as one was once a popular quote when a couple spoke of getting married, the reality is that living well requires both financial and emotional stability. If the relationship starts to deteriorate, then the emotional costs may become unsustainable. Now, if congress acts on the proposed tax law changes, then some California spouses could end up paying a higher monetary price in the event they are involved in a contested divorce.

Lawmakers are currently working on revisions in the tax codes that may affect millions of residents across the country. One of the proposed changes involves rewriting how divorced couples are taxed. Under the current law, when one spouse is ordered to pay alimony, he or she is permitted to deduct the amounts that were paid to the former spouse. The one receiving these monies would then have to count it as taxable income.

How and when to talk to your child about adoption

Adoption can be both stressful and joyous. Bringing a new child into your Sacramento home can involve months and even years of legal hurdles, waiting for the right match, and many other complications. But, once you get through the process, you will have a new member of your family that needs all of the love and support you can give.

While some couples adopt children that are older and completely aware of the adoption during the entire process, others adopt infants that have no idea what is happening around them. This means, that at some point, you will have to tell your child about the adoption. Choosing the right time for this is extremely important. If you wait too long, it could induce anger and trust issues that might carry on for years.

Some adoption laws were just streamlined in California

There are many reasons why a child may wind up in the foster care system in California. Regardless of the reasons a child may need a new home, the foster parent to adoption laws in California use to be rather onerous and sometimes slowed the process down considerably. Recently, some of those laws were revised with the intention that children could find loving homes in a shorter span of time.

Before the changes were made, children who could not be placed in private homes were often sent to group homes to await further proceedings in their individual cases. Some of the children were placed in these settings due to their involvement in the juvenile justice system. However, it has been determined that these types of housing situations can lead to a child suffering trauma for lack of a close bond with a parental figure. The law now calls for these homes to be converted to short-term medical care facilities.

A contested divorce can be eased if some mistakes can be avoided

Couples who are going through the beginning phases of a marital dissolution are dealing with many decisions. If theirs is a contested divorce, then the problems are likely compounded by conflicting emotions and increased tension. California spouses who are unsure of how to proceed may fear that they could make mistakes that will have an adverse effect on the final decree.

Contested and high asset divorces can come with many problems. During these highly emotional times, it may be tempting to try to complete the divorce quickly by not seeking all of the assets or benefits that one is entitled to because one feels guilty or wants out of the marriage. Some other actions that may not work out well include attempting to conceal assets or neglecting to take a complete inventory of both assets and liabilities. Doing either could result in one losing credibility with the court or cheating oneself out of assets due him or her.

State with massive child support arrears looks to reform laws

There are few issues that provoke stronger emotions between separated parents than deciding who will be the primary caregiver and who will pay support. In spite of a growing trend for courts to order shared parenting and expenses, many states still rely on outdated formulas for calculating child support payments and primary custody. California parents who are having difficulty in either paying support or receiving it can seek assistance through the family court system.

One state apparently has billions of dollars owed in back child support payments. However, efforts are underway to revise some of the laws that govern how support is calculated. While the new bill would not allow for changes to be made retroactively, it could possibly provide relief for those parents who are in the lower income brackets. It is hoped that making support payments more affordable and in line with a parent's actual income will result in more custodial parents receiving their court-ordered support.

Relatives and others close may seek custody when needed

There are few guarantees in life, and the perfect, ideal family rarely exists. However, when a child is loved and cared for, even those who are not related by blood, but have a close relationship to a child in need, may seek custody. California laws provide for these individuals to seek custody or adoption when certain conditions are met.

The state promotes a program referred to as kinship care. This is geared toward assisting those relatives -- frequently grandparents, aunts, uncles or older siblings -- in meeting the needs of a child for whom they have agreed to provide care. The number of children who require out-of-home placement has grown over the past several years, and in many cases, older relatives find themselves taking in these minors when the parents are unable to provide the appropriate care.

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Our office is conveniently located off Highway 50, just three miles from the Sacramento County Family Courthouse and minutes from Downtown Sacramento. For your convenience, we accept all major credit cards.

Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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