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Pleasanton Family Law Blog

Can you use alternative dispute resolution in your divorce?

So, it's official. You've decided to call it quits on your marriage. Neither of you want to litigate a messy divorce in court, however.

That's commendable, especially if children are involved, as it can be exceedingly difficult to co-parent civilly after dragging each other through the mud in divorce court. Which options does that leave you?

Could having an obese child cause a parent to lose custody?

If you are the parent of an overweight child, you may be concerned for them on several levels. On the one hand, you don't want to see your child get bullied for being overweight, with all the accompanying social stigmas that can bring.

But even more than that, you have serious concerns about your child's health at their present weight. What's more, you see that your child may be developing some very unhealthy eating habits that are definitely contributing to the problem. Also, you suspect that their custodial parent (who also happens to be overweight) might be a big contributing factor to your child's weight problem.

Stuck in a bad marriage? There is a way out

The pursuit of happiness is such a fundamental right that our founding fathers included it in the Declaration of Independence. Every human being has the right to live their best life in search of that often elusive state.

That's why it makes no sense to remain tethered to your spouse in a loveless marriage. All relationships have their ups and downs and nobody is suggesting bailing out at the first rough patch. But you cannot fix an irretrievably broken relationship on your own. And sometimes, even when the other person is also trying to save it, a relationship may just be too damaged to fix.

We can't talk. How can we mediate our divorce?

You can't even seem to have a civil exchange with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Every interaction is loaded with snark and venom, and it's clear the marriage is over.

As contentious as your relationship is now, could it even be possible to have a mediated divorce?

Forgot to do a prenup? Do a postnup instead

Maybe you always intended to get your fiance to sign a prenuptial agreement but just never found the right words to broach the subject. Or, you felt that there was no need when you both were broke newlyweds.

But now, that internet startup you ran out of the basement has grown into a lucrative business. Should things go south in your marriage down the road, you want to make sure that its ownership remains solely with you.

Surprised by a divorce petition? Here's what to do next

You were by yourself at home when you heard your doorbell. You answered, and it was someone you didn't know. They handed you a document and said you were being served.

You weren't sure what that was about, so you quickly opened the mail and found that your spouse was seeking a divorce. You weren't sure why they had suddenly decided to do this, but since they had been away on business for a few weeks, you had some suspicions.

Who pays child support when parents share joint custody?

Both parents have certain parental rights. Moms and dads are entitled to visitation or custody of their children. They're both obligated to support their son or daughter financially, though. It can be challenging for moms and dads and the court to decide who should pay child support when both parents share joint custody of a child.

The Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) came about in 2008. The CSSA uses a formula to determine a parent's child support obligations. The CSSA provides a guideline rather than strict rules for states to follow. Laws vary considerably by jurisdiction.

Why your prenup might not be valid

When you got married a decade ago, even though you hoped that you would never have to use one, you signed a prenuptial agreement along with your spouse. But 10 years into the marriage, it's apparent to both of you that you are ill-matched to go the distance.

With a prenup in place, you expect that your exit strategy will be smooth and without rancor. But will that prenup even hold up in court?

The role of children in custody decisions here in California

If you are divorcing with minor children here in California, you may wonder what role the kids have — if any — in the custody decisions that you and their other parent are making. While the state has laws in place designed to shield kids from the harsher aspects of their parents' divorces, the state also provides a venue for older children to state their custody preferences.

It can be quite jarring and detrimental to the parent-child relationship to have children pick one parent over the other to live with the bulk of the time. But the courts also realize that this is a decision that affects nearly every aspect of a child's life and is one about which the child may feel very strongly.

You might have grounds to seek sole custody

Divorcing parents here in California and elsewhere are typically encouraged to file for joint custody of their children. The family law courts have determined that shared custody and parenting time are in the best interests of most children.

As that is the guiding principle of all custody decisions, when there is a contested custody matter before them, the judges will usually hand down joint custody rulings even when one parent has the children living with them most of the time. But that does not mean that there can never be situations where sole custody is sought and awarded. Below are some situations where sole custody could very well be in the best interests of your children.

  • A parent was neglectful of the child in the past
  • One parent has a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse
  • The parent is an addict or alcoholic who is not in recovery
  • The parent is struggling with mental illness and noncompliant with medication and/or treatment
  • The parent has attempted to alienate the child's affection for the child's other parent
  • One parent is planning to move out of state or the country
  • A parent is incarcerated
  • The child's other parent has abandoned them

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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