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Orange County Family Law Blog

CA Court: Parents can lose custody even if there is no neglect

Last month, California’s Supreme Court determined that the state can take unruly kids away from their parents even if there is no finding of parental neglect and the parents are doing everything they can to control the children.

This particular case revolved around a state statute that allows the court to assume control of a child if he or she “has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer, serious physical harm or illness, as a result of the failure or inability of his or her parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child."

Is there a cap on child support payments in California?

One question some parents have — particularly wealthy parents — is whether California places a cap on the maximum amount of monthly child support payments.

Many are surprised to learn that California is actually one of the few states that does not have a child support cap. In fact, child support payments in California are typically based solely upon a preset formula that takes into account several variables, including the incomes of both parents and custody time, among other factors. In most cases, a parent will simply need to pay whatever the formula says, and there is no limit.

Don’t make these 3 mistakes in your divorce

Getting through the divorce process unscathed is the goal of many people who are facing the ending of a marriage. Unfortunately, misconceptions and misinformation about divorce can stand in the way.

Here are three common mistakes people make while going through the divorce process. Avoiding these mistakes can help expedite the divorce process – and make it less stressful as well:

Modifying child support: Can it be done?

Navigating California’s child support laws can be difficult, particularly if you do not have any help. In many cases, parents find themselves lost in the various laws and procedures that govern this hotly contested topic.

For instance, one question many parents commonly have is whether they can ever modify their child support payments, either up or down. Or, are these payments set in stone? Well, the short answer is yes, they can be modified — but only in certain situations.

Think child support ends at 18? In California, maybe not.

In California, there are several misconceptions out there regarding the state’s child support laws — especially when it comes to how long child support needs to be paid.

For instance, some believe child support automatically ends when the child turns 18, while others think the obligation continues until he or she graduates college. Well, for many families, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Is custody automatically given to mothers during divorce?

While some may argue that courts in the past favored mothers over fathers when it came to child custody disputes, that is simply not the case today. In fact, California law clearly states that a mother and a father "are equally entitled to custody" of their child.

However, there is one caveat to this rule: the father must be presumed to be the child's father under California law. A father will satisfy this presumption so long as he was married to the child's mother and the child was born during their marriage, or within 300 days of their divorce.

Five reasons to mediate your divorce

Just because you are going through a divorce doesn't mean the process is going to be a drawn-out battle with both sides at each other's throats. In fact, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are willing to use divorce mediation instead of traditional divorce proceedings, you can often resolve your divorce-related issues more quickly and easily.

Essentially, mediation gives you, and your spouse, an opportunity to explain your side of the story and come up with ideas on how the two of you can reach a resolution. While there are several advantages to mediating your divorce, some of the more important ones include:

How long does alimony last in California?

If you are going through a divorce, you may have many questions about alimony, regardless of whether you think you may be ordered to pay it or are entitled to receive it. For instance, one of the most common questions people have is how long courts typically order ex-spouses to pay alimony, which is officially known as spousal support in California. The short answer: it all depends on your circumstances.

For instance, if your divorce is still pending, a California court may award temporary, or pendent lite, alimony, but this type of spousal support generally stops once the divorce proceedings conclude.

Hilary Duff and husband finalize divorce

A California judge finalized the divorce of Hilary Duff and her husband Mike Comrie in late January 2015. The couple was married in August 2010 and were separated in January 2014, and it was reported that they would share custody of their three-year-old child. The couple did have a prenuptial agreement in place, and Comrie is giving Duff the family home in exchange for $2.4 million.

Duff was best known for her roles in "Lizzie McGuire" and "Younger". She is also known for her star turns in various movies. Mike Comrie played in the National Hockey League until 2011, and he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when he retired.

How parents can help children through divorce

Parents in California who are ending their marriage may worry about the effect that the breakup will have on their children. It is important that parents reassure their children that the divorce is not their fault. Children also need to hear that they are loved unconditionally.

Parents must avoid using their children to manage their relationship with one another. For example, they should not try to get their child to talk about what the other parent does when the child is at that parent's house. A child should also not be used as a go-between to deliver messages from one parent to the other. Furthermore, a parent should never badmouth the other one in front of the child.

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