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

San Jose Family Law Blog

What do women need to know about gray divorce?

Although you may feel alone getting a divorce in your 50s or 60s, your experience is far from uncommon. “Gray divorce,” the popular term for divorce among the older crowd, happens more today than you might expect. You and other Californians who are divorcing at the same time you would be preparing for retirement should understand the unique challenges that come from ending a marriage later in life, especially for women.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the divorce rate for those 50 years and older has doubled since the 1990s. Why is this? You might feel more empowered today to stand up for yourself than in decades before when divorce was less common and it was the cultural norm to stay in unhappy marriages. After years of marriage, you and your spouse may simply have grown apart, especially after the children are out of the house and you have developed different hobbies and habits. You may also be able to support yourself on your own, as opposed to a time when women had few career options outside the home.

Why a Facebook divorce is a really bad idea

At the Law Office of Lily L. Huang in California, we know how much you enjoy staying connected with your friends via social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and others. If you are contemplating a divorce, however, or already involved in one, you would do well to think carefully about what you post online about yourself or divulge electronically via email, texts, etc.

As FindLaw explains, a Facebook divorce refers to the divorces and child custody battles that warring spouses win or lose as a result of the information they unthinkingly or foolishly post about themselves online. As far back as 2010, 67 percent of American divorce attorneys listed Facebook as their primary source of negative information about their clients’ spouses that they found and subsequently used against them at trial.

What is palimony?

If you and the person with whom you are living in California are on the verge of calling it quits, you need to be aware that you could have to pay palimony to your departing partner. As FindLaw explains, palimony is a unique California form of spousal support that some cohabitating but unmarried partners must pay to the other when the relationship ends.

The concept of palimony arose out of the front-page dispute a number of years ago between famed actor Lee Marvin and Michelle Triola Marvin, the woman with whom he lived for several years. When the couple ultimately split up, Michelle claimed that Lee owed her not only “spousal” support, but also half of their “marital” property based on their alleged oral agreement that she was entitled to these things due to her contributions of effort, services and earnings while the relationship lasted.

Can my kids and I move out of state after my divorce?

Getting a promotion is great for your career, but if you are a divorced California parent, that promotion may prove to be a problem if it requires you to move out of state with your children. Before doing anything else, reread your divorce decree. Does it grant you primary physical custody of your children? Does it contain any restrictions about how far away you can move with them after your divorce?

If you have primary physical custody, a/k/a permanent sole physical custody, and your ex-spouse does not object to your upcoming move, most judges routinely grant their permission for your relocation plans. If your ex-spouse objects to your move, however, both of you will need to go to court for a custody hearing. At this hearing, your ex-spouse will attempt to convince the judge that your move is not in the best interests of your children. You, on the other hand, will attempt to convince the judge of just the opposite.

How can you be involved and avoid the Disneyland parent label?

You may acknowledge that your ex’s job as the custodial parent is difficult, but it can also be challenging to be the non-custodial parent in California. Not only do you pay child support, but you have less time than you would want to spend with your children, as well as less input when it comes to parenting decisions. This may lead to feelings of resentment and other negative emotions. It can be even more infuriating if you are accused of being a “Disneyland parent” by your ex or others.

This term was originally called “Disneyland dad,” but it can apply to either gender, and is a derogatory label on parents who have less time with their children. A Disneyland parent is called thus because they are accused of taking the kids on fun trips, showering them with gifts and otherwise being the “fun” parent without having any of the responsibility. Your reasons for having fun with the kids can vary. Like many non-custodial parents, you might feel guilty your kids don’t see you as much. You might miss them when they are away and try to pack as much fun during your visit as possible. If you feel left out and resentful, you might even feel some satisfaction in your kids thinking you are the fun one.

Understanding community property

A number of people in California and throughout the United States end their marriage by filing for divorce. During the process, they are forced to separate their marital items, or the property and finances they accumulated during the time they were married. When considering this marital or community property, most people think of the family vehicles, homes, furniture and the money in the savings account. There are, however, many other marital items that divorcing couples may not think of. Some of the property and assets that often get overlooked could total a considerable amount of money.

Couples should keep in mind the following items when separating property in a divorce. Lottery ticket winnings, term life insurance policies, tax refunds, benefits from past employers and capital loss carryover are just a few assets that could be considered marital property. Furthermore, expensive collections, including art, antiques, coins, horses, cars and furniture may also be divided between parties in a divorce settlement. Points that are accumulated on memberships or travel reward points may be divided as well.

Can you get an annulment instead of a divorce?

If you are in a California marriage from which you want to extricate yourself, divorce is the obvious answer. However, you may qualify for an annulment instead, based on the particular circumstances of your marriage.

As the California Courts System explains, if you get your marriage annulled, this means that it never happened because it was never legally valid in the first place.

How to amicably work through a divorce

Residents in San Jose have several options when it comes to divorce. Though some couples choose to take their case through the court system or cannot find a way to make agreements on their own, amicable divorce is an option open to many others.

For those who have a little bit of trouble with communication but are on overall decent terms, FindLaw brings up the possibility of divorce mediation. With this option, a neutral third party steps in. It's their job to help both halves of the couple reach an agreement that is beneficial to all involved, including potential children. It is not their duty to make decisions on behalf of the couple or enforce any decisions made. They are only there to ensure that things don't get too heated or end in an unfair outcome.

Can you change your divorce order after it is final?

Usually, the finalization of divorce brings relief. Even though dealing with an ex may still be necessary, the court proceedings, negotiations and legal paperwork are over, freeing up more time, effort and money for post-divorce life.

However, what if circumstances change? Is your divorce decree permanent in California? Some things are very difficult to change, but other aspects you can modify through the legal system so they accommodate your current situation.

Can I spend child support on gifts and other non-essentials?

After you begin receiving child support payments, you may feel as if your life is being watched under a microscope. Your ex-spouse makes assumptions as to how you spend the money and criticizes your financial habits. You may worry if your ex can dictate how to spend child support or whether the court will get involved. This is not an uncommon fear for many California parents who receive child support.

According to FindLaw, the purpose of child support is to provide for your children’s needs. You may not realize that family law courts consider children’s emotional needs to be important, as well as their physical requirements. You understand that you can use child support for such necessities as food, clothing, rent, utilities and medicine. You may also feel no misgivings spending the money on household items, school supplies and tutoring or saving it for a future emergency.

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