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Pleasanton Family Law Blog

Are you headed for a high-conflict divorce?

Have you had enough of your marriage and just can't go through the motions anymore? If so, you may soon find yourself facing off against your spouse in one of California's family law courts.

Before you set the wheels in motion, however, consider whether this approach is in your family's best interests. Could your high-conflict divorce be better managed through mediation? Chances are good that it could.

When a child has a say in child custody determinations

As parents in California know, their children have many opinions on their upbringing and what they would like to do. This is especially true as the children become older. However, parents also know that a child's opinions may not always be in the child's best interest and overrule that opinion. However, it does not change the fact that the child still has preferences. This can be especially true if the parents are going through a divorce or child custody matter.

The child may have strong opinions about which parent they would like to live with or which parent should have custody. However, just like for other determinations, the child's opinion carries weight only when it is in the child's best interest. Generally though, if children are 14 years old or older they will be allowed to submit their opinion to the court. If the child is younger than 14, their opinion may be submitted only if the judge allows the child to submit their opinion. The judge also has the authority to direct the child's opinion to be submitted through another individual such as an evaluator, an investigator or a mediator.

The differences between mediation and collaborative divorce

The possibility of a marriage ending in divorce is becoming more and more likely. The hope is that the couple would be able to work through their issues, but many couples cannot do that and may be happier apart. Divorce, while it is becoming more common, still involves the same issues revolving around dividing the couple's life together. While the issues may be the same, couples today have more options for resolving their differences short of having a judge make all the decisions at a trial.

Two of the more common divorce alternative dispute resolution options are mediation and a collaborative divorce. Both these options involve the couple deciding to voluntarily provide information to the other side and to try and cooperate to resolve the issues between them. Also, through both options the couple controls all the decisions and agreements. No one makes the decision for them.

Keeping divorce mediations confidential in California

Many people get divorced each year in California. During the divorce the couple will go through the process of separating the life they shared during the marriage. This process can be a complicated one as there are many aspects of their life that they will have to separate.

They will have to divide their assets, which includes homes, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments accounts, vehicles and any other things the couple owns. They will also have to address child custody, parenting time and child support if they have children. They may also have to deal with the issue of alimony or spousal support. Many times they are doing this during a period of time when they are dealing with significant emotional stress.

Costs parents may need to pay in addition to child support

Parents in California are required to provide for their children. The main things they need to provide are food, clothing and shelter. These can be costly enough, but as parents know there are many other costs associated with children as well. This obligation does not end when parents divorce or separate. The biggest difference is that how the parents pay for the needs will change. Generally one parent will pay child support to the other parent.

Usually the parent receiving child support will have the children the majority of the time. There is a basic child support obligation based on the parents' income. This includes who pays the health insurance premiums, how much parenting time each parent has and some other factors. The basic child support obligation is designed to meet the basic needs of the children but, as stated above, there are many expenses in addition to a child's basic needs.

Anthony Weiner demise could affect child custody decision

Former New York congressman and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty last Friday to sexting, or transferring obscene material to a child, in this case a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina. Weiner now faces a prison sentence of between 21 and 27 months, will be registered as a sex offender and must surrender his iPhone to authorities.

Understand the many goals of divorce mediation

There are couples that soon find that mediation is the best decision they can make with regard to their divorce. There are also those who realize that this will never work for them, so they immediately turn to litigation.

If you're thinking about divorce mediation, it's important to understand the goals of the process. If you don't know what you're trying to accomplish and the steps to take, you may find it a challenge to make progress.

How do I protect my kids in the midst of a divorce?

All parents love their children and all parents want to protect the best interests of the child. This philosophy is also the primary concern for the courts when they make their rulings regarding child custody, child support and other divorce related decisions. Making well-advised and intelligent decisions regarding your life and future with your children is not always easy.

Understanding the importance of fathers to their children

Many of us have long known the importance that fathers play in their children's lives. But recent studies show that this relationship may be even healthier than we realize. The National Health Statistics Report "Fathers' Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006-2010" show significant improvements in a child's schooling and behavior when fathers are in their children's lives.

With today's ever-changing economy and working class, it is becoming more common that women are pursuing their careers allowing fathers to take over what previously had been more of a mother's role. "Stay at home Dads" are not uncommon now. In fact, by spring of 2011, nearly one in five preschoolers were primarily cared for by the dad while mom was at work. A father's involvement in a child's life has additional benefits beyond a necessary bonding.

What are my rights as a father?

Anyone who has been involved in a divorce understands how difficult it may be to settle child custody decisions. But even if the mother of a child has been granted child custody, it is important to understand and for both parties to recognize the rights of the father. If you are the father of a child or children involved in a divorce, depending upon the relationship between you and the mother of your children, you may have to fight for these rights.

There are a few different ways that child custody could be determined in the court of law. Physical and legal custody means that one parent has a majority of the time with a child, while shared custody means that the time between parents is shared equally and all decisions regarding the upbringing of the child are shared as well.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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