Law Office of Lily L. Huang
More Than A Decade Of Family Law Experience

San Jose Family Law Blog

What is the legal definition of a father in California?

Every state has its own formal, legal definition of a father. How father is defined by you and your family may not be the same as the legal definition. However, if you are seeking rights or handling issues in a California court, it is essential to ensure you understand the legal definition. This will ensure you know your rights and can properly represent yourself in a legal proceeding.

The Child Welfare Information Gateway explains the state of California defines a father in a few different ways. In addition, the law does not specify "father" in every case, nor does it limit the parental rights to only two parents.

What is uncontested divorce?

It is hard to end a marriage. When you walked down the aisle, maybe you were in heels that echoed through the cathedral hall with every step or perhaps you walked barefooted with toes sunken into the sands of a California beach. Either way, the day was dreamy, and you hoped to make it work "until death do us part."

After a number of years slugging it out and not finding your way back to that dream, maybe you have decided to call it quits, against your better judgment and against your friends' best advice. Torn, then, you simply do not respond to your spouse's petition for divorce. How can you reply and make yourself and everyone else happy?

How a prenuptial agreement can save future heartache

At the Law Office of Lily L. Huang in California, we know how difficult it is for you when your marriage breaks up. You and your spouse may have widely differing opinions regarding child custody and support issues, spousal support issues, and property settlement issues. Often our clients say they wish they had signed a prenuptial agreement before their marriage because it likely would have made their property division considerably easier and less contentious than it is today.

If you are planning marriage in the near future, you may wish to discuss the advantages of a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé. As FindLaw explains, signing a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you and your intended do not trust each other or that you fear your marriage will end in divorce. Rather, it signifies that both of you are mature adults who wish to have a clear understanding of what belongs to each of you in the event the unthinkable happens in the distant future.

3 tips for lowering your child support payments

Child support payments are important to make. If you fail to pay child support, you may face legal penalties. You should always try to make child support payments to the best of your ability. But what if the court order becomes unfeasible? Sometimes child support orders do not make sense when there are life changes.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to lower your child support obligations. Here are some steps you should follow if you want to pay less child support.

A model for reducing divorce stress with amicable solutions

While no one goes into marriage thinking it may not last, California couples who decide to part ways may have some options for doing so amicably.

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System conducted a pilot project, setting up the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families in 2013. Leaders intended the center to be a model for improving the system of family law in the U.S. The IAALS described the project as "the first center of its kind in the United States to provide multi-disciplinary legal dispute resolution, therapeutic and educational services to separating and divorcing families."

Can I still deduct my sposal support payments?

If you are a divorced California resident who pays spousal support to your ex-spouse, you may have heard that you can no longer deduct the annual amount of those payments from your federal income taxes. Before hastening to your attorney’s office, however, to see about getting a modification of your support order reducing your payments so as to make up for your lost deduction, take a deep breath. This new law does not apply to you. You can still deduct the amount of your payments not only this year, but also in the future. Likewise, your ex-spouse must continue to declare these spousal support payments as income and pay income tax on them.

As reported by MarketWatch, it is true that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Trump signed into law late last year does indeed eliminate the “alimony deduction.” It also eliminates the requirement that ex-spouses receiving alimony declare it as income. However, these provisions apply to those paying and receiving spousal support, a/k/a alimony, under a divorce decree or legal separation agreement finalized after Jan. 1, 2019. It does not apply to you if your divorce is already finalized. But what if it is not?

Complications of property division

Dividing property may sound easy: "I'll take the house. He can keep the cars." When a family has shared life in and through that property, though, deciding who gets to keep what can be tricky. California families would do well to remember assets are often not simply property; instead, they include the meaning attached to that teapot or framed portrait. 

The New York Times reminds readers some of the possessions that have the least monetary value can actually cost the most in sentiment and emotional attachment. When it comes to dividing sentimental belongings, those involved need to keep this fact in mind, remembering different pieces will hold unique meaning for each family member. Voicing that a particular item has special value is an important action parties participating in asset division need to be willing to take. 

What kinds of property does California have?

When you and your spouse decide to divorce, one of the things you must agree on is how you will split up the property you have accumulated during your marriage. If the two of you cannot agree, a judge will determine who gets what.

You need to be aware that California is a community property state. As explained by the California Court System, this means that, with two exceptions, you and your spouse jointly own all of the property and debt the two of you have accumulated during your marriage. The two exceptions are your respective separate property and your quasi-community property; i.e., the separate property that you and your spouse commingled with community property.

Could a bird nesting living arrangement help your kids?

If your children seem to be taking your impending divorce especially hard or have a history of adjusting badly to life changes, one option to consider is bird nesting. For many families, it works best as a short-term or temporary solution, although some use it longer term. Basically, it is when the children stay in the family home. The parents are the ones who alternate living there.

Of course, this arrangement comes with pros and cons. 

Subtle signs schoolchildren are struggling with a pending divorce

No doubt, going through a divorce takes an emotional toll on spouses. Divorcing parents also recognize the challenges divorce brings to their kids. Schoolchildren in California and around the country are especially susceptible to the changes taking place in their homes when their parents separate.

Counselors at New York University explain signs of divorce teachers and school counselors may notice in kids at different points in their education. For example, at elementary age, they have a strong need for safety, and since parental separation tears away at the security of the home, young students may seem sad or even angry. They may lose interest in games they used to enjoy or have a hard time getting their schoolwork finished. 

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