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Pleasanton Family Law Blog

How do I collect a money judgment after my divorce?

After a family law case has been completed in California and a judgment has been made that the former spouse must pay a money judgment, many people are completely unaware of how to go about collecting it. There are many misconceptions as to what takes place at the end of a marriage and one that frequently arises and is the foundation for dispute is collecting this money from a judgment.

Often, the participants do not know that the court does not intervene in collecting it. It is the responsibility of the parties to settle it themselves. Understanding this and other aspects of collecting a family law money judgment is imperative to a case. There are certain circumstances that must be in place for the former spouse who is owed money to begin collecting it immediately. First, the judgment must have been entered. Second, there cannot be a suspension or postponement (a stay) on enforcing the order from an appeal, a bankruptcy stay, or any other legal action.

Don't let conflict with your co-parent ruin the kids' school year

If you're a Pleasanton parent with shared custody of the kids, it's not too late to re-tool your relationship with your co-parent. Although Pleasanton schools re-opened on Aug. 13, there's still plenty of time to ensure that you and your co-parent — and most importantly, the kids — have a conflict-free school year.

Blended families face unique challenges

Can child custody and visitation be settled via mediation?

California couples who are divorcing will be in dispute about many issues. Two of the most complex and emotionally charged are child custody and visitation plans. For many, this is not a situation in which they can come to an agreement no matter how hard they try. But there are cases where the differences are negotiable. When getting beyond the initial hard feelings about a parting of the ways and how the children will be situated, couples might find there is not a vast chasm between their positions. It is then that a mediator can help with family law negotiation.

The parenting plan details how the division of responsibilities will be allocated with the children. This can take many forms with one parent having the child during the week with the other parent having the child on weekends; alternating of holidays; agreeing on how the child will be transported to school; extracurricular activities and more. A benefit of mediation is it lets parents formulate a parenting plan on their own without it being mandated by the court. This can give them the feeling that they are taking part in the case and agreeing rather than being told how the child custody and visitation plans will be organized. When the parents have agreed on a reasonable plan, the likelihood is that the judge will grant it being put into action.

New tax laws could impact couples' decision to divorce

Regardless of a California resident's political preferences, changes to the law can have a significant impact on their lives. When the recent changes to the tax laws were put in place, there were ancillary factors that many might not have considered. However, the overhaul has changed the way spousal support is assessed for the supporting individual and the individual who is receiving support. This could have an influence on people who are thinking about a divorce and want to make sure they get the deduction, as they will need to file and complete the process before year's end.

For 75 years, there has been a deduction for alimony for the paying spouse. The receiving spouse needed to declare the payments as income. That will change for 2019, adding a sense of urgency for many people who are thinking about a divorce. Various factors will be part of the process, such as the structure of the settlement. People might begin seeking methods to adjust the settlement to account for this change to the tax law.

Legal advice for property division and business issues

When couples in California are at the end of a marriage and getting a divorce, there are basic issues that will generally come to the forefront, like custody of children, if one spouse will pay support to the other, property division and more. But, if the couple is involved in a business together and their marriage is at its end, it leaves them vulnerable to a whole new set of problems and issues that will be up for dispute.

There are complicated factors and various expenses that arise when dividing a business in a divorce. Mitigating these costs is beneficial to both parties regardless of the eventual resolution. The business itself is a factor, as some are easier to split than others. If, however, both parties are fundamental to its success, then this can take time and require a series of complex negotiations and accommodations to settle.

Star of hit wedding film plans to divorce from real-life husband

Since it is generally perceived as the center of the film and television industry, there are many famous people who live in California. When there is a divorce and other family law issues in the state and the people have significant assets, there is a good chance that it will involve a person whose name is recognizable across the state and the nation. What should be remembered is that family issues and the decision to get a divorce does not discriminate and can happen to anyone. Having legal assistance is a factor that is applicable to all and can be of utmost importance in a case.

The actress Nia Vardalos, whose claim to fame is the film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", a television show based on the film, and a sequel is divorcing her husband of nearly 25 years, actor Ian Gomez. Mr. Gomez is 53 and Ms. Vardalos is 55. They had been separated for around a year before announcing their plans to divorce. They are referring to their decision as having been made jointly. They have an 11-year-old adopted daughter and plan to have joint legal custody of her.

Can you move away and take the kids?

In the not-so-distant past, it was quite common to live out your life in the same community in which you were raised. People married hometown spouses and had large, extended families all rooted in the same small towns and rural locales.

In the later years of the 20th century and now, the above scenario is much more of a rarity. People move regularly — often great distances from their childhood homes — and nobody bats an eye.

What happens if there is child relocation in California?

California couples who are not together in a relationship and share a child will often have issues with living arrangements and ensuring visitation rights are adhered to. As always, the best interests of the child take precedence. If the custodial parent decides that he or she wants to move away, this can be problematic for the noncustodial parent and a dispute can arise. From either perspective, it is important to understand how to deal with this complicated situation and what the parents can do about it.

In general, the parent who has primary physical custody of the child has the right to move away. To prevent this, the other parent would need to show that there would be harm done to the child if the move were to take place. When there is joint physical custody and there is a desire on the part of one parent to move and the other parent wants to prevent it, it is necessary that the parent who seeks to move show that it is in the child's best interests to follow through with the move.

Can there be a written agreement in a default divorce case?

When ending a marriage in a California, the line between a default case and one in which there is an agreement between the parties might appear to contradict each other. However, it is possible for there to be an agreement in such a circumstance. Understanding how this can be done at the end of a marriage is key as there are certain steps that must be completed for the default case with written agreement to be considered valid.

When the complainant spouse serves the respondent spouse with a petition for divorce and there was no response but an agreement was negotiated, there can be a default with agreement. The case defaults when more than 30 days go by between the serving of the petition and summons and there was no response -- a default -- and the couple came to a written agreement regarding all issues in the case. This can include the division or property, who gets custody of children, what the visitation rights will be and how much support will be paid.

What is an earnings assignment for child support in California?

In cases where a California couple with children has divorced, there may be concerns that the parent who is ordered to pay child support will not make the payments. Therefore, it is important to know what can be done to ensure payments are made on time and in full. The state has certain methods of ensuring that the child support is paid. One is known as an earnings assignment, alternatively referred to as wage garnishment. Knowing how to get an earnings assignment is key.

Once the decision is made as to how much the supporting parent should pay, the employer of the supporting parent will be informed to deduct the amount from the supporting parent's paycheck. In general, this is how child support is paid. The employer is tasked with withholding the wages when there is the earnings assignment. With child support and spousal support, the child support comes first. Any other support orders come after that.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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