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San Jose Family Law Blog

How do courts determine who gets child custody in a divorce?

Divorce is rarely a simple, painless process, even when spouses approach the process with care. However, navigating divorce that involves a child can be exceptionally painful and confusing for parents. Many parents have fears that they will miss important parts of their child's life by sharing custody, or that their child's other parent cannot or will not raise their child appropriately.

Family courts look at a number of issues when considering how to award custody and visitation rights to parents, and prefer to approve a custody plan that parents create themselves. If parents cannot create a custody plan that puts the needs of their child first, a court may amend the parents' plan or create a new custody plan that meets the courts' standards. If you face a custody dispute, it is important to understand the factors that courts consider so that you can build a strong custody agreement that keeps your parental rights secure while keeping your children's needs at the heart of the matter.

What a divorce financial specialist can do

A divorce financial specialist can be a helpful addition to the professional team of some California couples who are ending their marriage. In particular, people who have complex financial situations or who are not well-informed about their marital finances might benefit from working with a divorce financial specialist.

Divorce financial specialists differ from other types of professionals in their focus on the ramifications of the divorce itself. This includes helping individuals or couples see what their different settlement options might be and the consequences, including the tax issues. They may also be able to advise on such complex assets as closely held business interests. One of the most difficult topics to address for some couples in a divorce is the marital home. It has emotional connotations, and people often do not fully understand the consequences of keeping it. A divorce financial specialist may help with this decision. They can also offer expert testimony if necessary if a couple cannot reach an agreement through negotiation.

Child custody and visitation for babies

During a divorce, determining custody and visitation schedules involving infants can introduce some additional complications for parents in California. The primary caregiver might feel that the other parent does not have the ability to care for the infant. However, it is important that parents trust one another despite their differences. All new parents have to learn as they go to some extent.

Visits can also start out short. For example, they can just be for an hour or two a few times a week. Some courts will wait until a child is older to order overnight visits. The most important element of visitation with infants is that the schedule is consistent and frequent to allow the infant to bond with the noncustodial parent.

Property division of investments in a divorce

A divorce can have a significant effect on a person's finances, and it is important to take steps during the process to understand and protect assets. A San Jose resident who has not been involved much in the family finances should be sure to get a full accounting of what their assets are as a couple and as individuals. The person should also know how to access those assets.

Once the divorce is final, each person may want to remove the ex-spouse as beneficiary on any accounts. However, prior to that, there are several other important precautions. For example, people should be fully aware of the rules and penalties involved in selling or dividing certain assets. There could be penalties associated with leaving annuities, and selling securities may incur a capital gains tax.

Get the facts before divorcing on paper to benefit financially

Some San Jose couples are working together to decide if strategic divorce is right for them. While the idea of getting divorced in order to save money may seem strange to some, high-earning couples who are concerned about what has been called the "marriage penalty" may find that it is a way for them to pay less in taxes.

Saving money on taxes is not the only reason why some couples have talked about divorcing on paper in order to benefit financially. Couples who are not particularly high earners but still have a decent amount of assets may look to divorce as a way to qualify for more federal aid for a child who will be going to college. Other couples may look at this option in order to have a sick partner qualify for Medicaid. In both circumstances, lower-income individuals are more likely to receive these benefits than high-earning couples.

Women who divorce later in life worry about finances

Divorce is always an emotional and stressful experience, especially for couples who have been together for a long while and decide to end their marriage later in life.

Whether you and your spouse are wealthy or have modest means, your financial future is a prime consideration. These four tips will help you approach this matter with greater confidence.

When to consider child custody modification

Once you finalize your divorce settlement, the terms outlined in the decree are not set in stone. While the terms created in the divorce settlement may work for you and your former spouse at the time the document was created, life circumstances can easily change. These changes may require a revision of the original divorce document. There are certain situations that may warrant a change in child custody and/or child support. Keep in mind that all factors involving child custody and child support are based on the best interests of the child. Changes can occur that alter what is best for the child, and as a result, you may want to file for a modification of child support and/or child custody orders. 

Some reasons why you may want to file for child custody modification may include the following:

Common signs that divorce is on the way

For every couple in San Jose that decides to divorce, their reasons are unique and personal. Some couples may deal with infidelity, addiction or even abuse. Others may find that their plans and personal goals change over the years and come in conflict with one another, causing both spouses to grow apart over time. Because divorce also carries serious legal and financial consequences, people may try to avoid ending the marriage. They may go to counseling or try other methods to rekindle the flame. Experts say, however, that there are certain common signs that indicate that couples are more likely to end their relationship.

When spouses no longer spend time together, it is often an indication of an unhappy relationship. The problem may begin with conflicting work schedules and other logistical problems, but it can also reflect that both spouses have little desire to spend time with one another. The longer this situation continues, the more likely the spouses are to grow apart from one another. For example, couples that no longer eat dinner together, even on the weekends, are more likely to divorce. The same is true for couples who no longer enjoy fun activities together or quit hobbies that they once shared.

Customize a visitation schedule

When people divorce in California, they may not always share custody of their children. Sometimes one parent may have visitation rights and in this situation, it is important for parents to create a visitation schedule. 

People can typically create a visitation schedule that fits their particular situation. According to Very Well Family, some parents might decide that the non-custodial parent has the children for overnight visits on weekends. Other families may prefer a parent to visit with the kids during an overnight visit on a weekday. When children are very young, they may not be ready for overnight visits, and it may be best if the non-custodial parent spends entire days with the kids and then takes them back to the custodial parent's home. When parents start putting their visitation schedule together, it is a good idea to remember the 20% rule. This means that 20% of parenting time should consist of visits with the non-custodial parent. 

Can mediation help you reach an amicable divorce?

San Jose couples like you who have decided to split up may want to make things as easy as possible by having an uncontested divorce. At the Law Office of Lily L. Huang, we will discuss ways to help facilitate this.

First of all, mediation can indeed help you reach an amicable divorce. By definition, an amicable divorce occurs when the divorce is uncontested and doesn’t need to be brought to court. Though there may still be ups and downs and heated moments, the overall end result is that you and your ex-spouse will be able to reach agreements on all important matters of the divorce without the intervention of a court. Important matters can include:

  • Alimony payments
  • Child support payments
  • Child custody arrangements
  • The division of assets

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