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Sacramento Family Law Blog

Spouses may try collecting digital data during contested divorce

Advances in technology have enriched life in many ways for millions of people. Unfortunately, there are many ways that these advances can be misused in certain situations, including during a contested divorce. California residents who are attempting to work through these difficult times, may benefit from the following information.

According to some who work in family law, there is a trend for embittered spouses to attempt to spy on their partners through electronic surveillance and other means. One of the most popular methods employed is using the devices and programs that are marketed as a means of tracking the whereabouts of children and workers. Individuals are using technology to track the physical movements of spouses who are believed to be engaging in deception.

Before the adoption, there are several choices to make

There are countless children both here in California and around the world who are hoping to have a family and home to call their own. There are also many families who have chosen to enrich their lives by bringing a child into their family through adoption. Before they started the process, they likely had many points to consider.

The first of which is what age of child are they hoping to raise. There are many potential parents who may desire to start with an infant. While this is a wonderful way to begin a family, there are other families who elect to adopt an older child or even one with special needs. There is no right choice, only what feels like the best fit. Once the age of the child has been decided upon, parents will then select where to look for their child, be it a domestic adoption or an international one.

State passes new law concerning child support and jailed parents

In many states throughout the country -- including here in California, parents often struggle to meet their financial obligations for their children. If a non-custodial parent is incarcerated, they may find it impossible to ever catch up on their child support obligations. One state recently revised its laws concerning these parents, and the decision may have been questioned by many custodial parents.

The state decided to revise the law regarding parents' obligations, if they are sentenced to a jail term that exceeds six months. Lawmakers explained their decision by stating that parents who are incarcerated for long periods of time are unable to make their payments, and having large amounts of arrears accumulating while they serve their time only results in them becoming further behind with little hope of them ever bringing their payment current. Legislators hope that eliminating the increased burdens of back support may allow these parents to obtain gainful employment that will eventually grant them the ability to bring their accounts to good standing.

There are simple ways to protect some assets in property division

For many couples, the happily ever after is simply the ending of a fairy tale and not the true story for their particular circumstances. Once it has been decided that a marriage is no longer sustainable, the next step may be how to go about determining property division. While California is a community property state, there may be some assets that can be protected.

In community property states such as California, the court treats all marital assets as being jointly owned by both parties and, therefore, subject to equal division. There are assets that are considered to be separate such as assets obtained before marriage, inheritances, property that was obtained after the separation and any assets or holdings that were described in either a pre- or post nuptial agreement. However, when it comes to gifts and some inheritances, there may be a simple way to protect these assets from division.

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.

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

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