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Financially preparing for a divorce

California residents who are considering getting a divorce might be concerned about how to prepare financially before starting the process and how to plan for the post-divorce future. While settling financial issues can be a delicate process, with proper planning ahead of time, it can be managed.

Financial planning should begin as soon as couples realize they are headed for this type of separation. They should begin tracking finances, including costs for holiday, repairs, and other big expenses, as well as the day-to-day bills and expenses. This information can be used by both lawyers during settlement negotiations and by a judge to later determine such things as child support.

Couples divorces over political disagreements

According to research, couples in California and across the nation are getting divorced or breaking up over politics. The data showed that about 10 percent of all couples were getting divorced or otherwise ending their relationship due to arguments centered around politics, particularly around the topic of President Trump.

Although breaking up over finances is still a common occurrence, there is evidence to suggest that, within the last six months, politics have become another sticking point for many married and unmarried couples. The survey, which was conducted by Wakefield Research, involved 1,000 participants. Based on the responses, researchers found that about 24 percent of Americans who were in a relationship or were married found themselves disagreeing with their partner or spouse more than ever when the topic of politics came up. Further, 22 percent of the participants personally knew a couple whose marriage or relationship suffered due to disagreements surrounding politics.

How to limit exposure to debt in a marriage

California residents who are married or planning to do so may benefit from a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. In some cases, it may limit an individual's liability when it comes to paying a spouse's debt. A prenuptial can be worded to specify that premarital debt belongs to the person who accrued it and that it is separate property during the marriage.

Prenuptial agreements are created prior to the marriage becoming official, and they are recognized in all 50 states. While a postnuptial agreement may not be recognized in all states, it may provide full or partial protection to those who are party to one. The main benefit of a postnuptial agreement is that it may indemnify an individual against financial harm caused by debt accrued by a spouse. As the name implies, such agreements are signed after a couple gets married.

How parents can make summer vacation easier

As children in California get older, they are less and less likely to want to spend their summer vacations with their divorced parents. While this is perfectly normal, it is important that non-custodial parents learn to create living conditions that acknowledge this reality. It may be a good idea for parents to integrate their children into the household by asking them to do chores or otherwise contribute to running it.

Parents are urged to let their children know that they are allowed to make contact with their friends and other family members during the summer. In most cases, teen or tween children may resent feeling isolated from those who they may spend the rest of the year with. A parent could address this by arranging to visit with grandparents or other extended family members during a summer stay.

Dealing with requests for back child support

When California custodial parents are seeking child support payments, they may want to request retroactive support. They may need to provide evidence that support was not paid and that they attempted to collect it. If the other parent is the child's father, it may also be necessary to prove the father's paternity.

The court may not grant the request. The other parent will have the opportunity to respond, and they may provide receipts showing that they paid support or provided it in other ways, such as by purchasing food and clothing. If there are no receipts, the parent might have records of communication or a witness who can confirm support. Even non-monetary support such as child care might be considered toward support if the parent is unable to contribute financially.

Divorce court has no jurisdiction over bankruptcy

California residents who are facing both a divorce and bankruptcy may be interested to learn that a federal bankruptcy judge recently determined that bankruptcy could potentially wipe out divorce settlement obligations. The case was taken to federal court after a Georgia judge determined that the state court did not have jurisdiction to determine the effect of the bankruptcy on a divorce settlement.

About two weeks after a Georgia couple finalized their separation, the ex-husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an individual can seek debt relief while maintaining their property. However, they would have to come up with a plan that requires any future income to be used to pay a portion or all of the debt that they owed over a period of up to five years. In their divorce decree, the ex-husband had agreed to pay a lump sum and a certain amount in child support to his ex-wife.

How parents can assist children throughout a divorce

California parents who are getting a divorce might wonder how they can help their children in the process. Parents who are able to work together to assist their children might begin by agreeing on the best time to file for divorce. This might be during a stretch in the school year when there are few holidays, such as March, when parents can visit their attorneys and take care of other business while children are in school. Conversely, they might decide that summer vacation is the best time because they can spend more time with their children then.

Parents should try to be together when they talk to children about their divorce. They should also focus on reassurance in response to children's questions. Parents need to balance their own needs with those of their children. This means that if they are feeling stressed, they should seek counseling and avoid sharing these types of details with their children. Family or individual counseling may also help children.

Modifying a child support order

Once a child support order is finalized in the state of California, both parents are required to follow the provisions regardless of changes in how the parents feel about each other. However, if a parent's financial circumstances have changed, they can potentially request to have the child support order modified.

There are many reasons why a parent may request that the child support order be changed. In some cases, a parent's income may no longer be the same. If a parent lost their job or became incarcerated, for example, the parent may not be able to afford the child support payments that were ordered. A parent may have had another child, or the child's needs may have changed as they have gotten older.

The fate of IVF embryos after divorce

While California has clear laws and other general guidelines regarding child custody and parental responsibilities, there are far fewer ones concerning offspring that aren't born yet. Should they divorce, couples with frozen embryos in storage may have to deal with complex and uncertain legal issues regarding what to do with them.

Under current law, the embryos are considered personal property. Unlike actual born children, they are not entitled to full legal protections or custody agreements. This does mean, however, that embryos are treated more like property and will be owned by both spouses. The law is also clear that sperm donors do not retain any rights to the embryos they fertilize. Sometimes, IVF clinics have clients sign their own legal agreements and documents related to the ownership of embryos, but the law is not clear about how legally enforceable these agreements would be in court.

Cuba Gooding Jr. files for divorce from wife of 20 years

California residents may have heard that Cuba Gooding Jr. has finally filed for divorce from his wife. The couple had been married since March 1994, and had been together for seven years prior to that. Gooding's wife had filed for separation in April 2014 citing irreconcilable differences.

At that time, she asked for physical and legal custody of two children who were minors at the time in addition to asking for spousal support. Gooding did request that he receive joint legal and physical custody of their 10-year-old daughter. He also agreed to pay spousal support, but the actor asked that he retain the money that he had made since his former wife filed for separation.

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