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California family lawyerRaising a child on your own is hard work. It is one thing if you chose to be a single mother, or if the father of the child has passed away, or if there is been an amicable split resulting in sole custody. If, however, you need and deserve the support of the father of the child but are not receiving it, that is very different. It is, you will be relieved to learn, possible to obtain a child support order in a California court, compelling the child’s father to pay child support on a regular basis.

When this process becomes saddled with an unwanted layer of complexity, however, is when there is a dispute as to who is the father of the child. Obviously, only the biological father of the child may be compelled by a state court to furnish child support payments. Prerequisite to a child support order, in some cases as you have now likely deduced, is establishing paternity. Help with paternity matters of all kinds is available from a dedicated Los Gatos family law attorney.

A DNA Test May Be Used to Establish Paternity

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California divorce attorneyChild custody is often an issue of paramount importance in Bay Area divorce proceedings. While each parent may already have secured stability in terms of career, health, and future plans, a child, especially if young, is still developing intellectually, physically, and emotionally. When parents divorce, the impact on these areas of a child’s development can have both short-term and long-term effects. For this, courts in California do not rely on a default framework with regard to child custody.

In other words, rather than automatically awarding custody of a child to the mother or father based on a single reason, the court considers what is in the best interests of the child. In this consideration, courts evaluate several primary factors related to the child’s wellbeing and environment. A skilled Los Gatos child custody attorney is well acquainted with these factors and how California courts weigh them.

Age, Health, Emotional Ties, and Parental Ability Are Among the Relevant Child Custody Factors in California

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California divorce lawyer, California mediation attorneyThere are certain situations under California law where one spouse may be entitled to receive spousal support from the other spouse after a divorce. The point of spousal support – also referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance – is to provide income for a spouse who either does not work or was earning a much lower wage than the other spouse, such as where one spouse gave up their career to be a stay-at-home parent and raise the children.

Another purpose of alimony is to assist the lower-earning spouse in maintaining the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage until they are in a better financial position. In order to determine if support is warranted, the court will look at several different factors. The first factor is the gross income of the marriage. Under the California Family Code, income can include:

  • Wages;
  • Salary;
  • Bonuses;
  • Commissions;
  • Dividends;
  • Royalties; and
  • Trust income.

Once the income of each spouse is determined, those figures are entered into an alimony calculator. The calculator also requires input of the length of the marriage. Under the law, if a couple has been married for less than 10 years, support will not be ordered for any longer than half the amount of years the couple were married. For marriages over 10 years, the amount of time spousal support may be an extended period, if not indefinite.

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California divorce lawyer, California mediation attorneyThankfully, the United States and California have come a long way when it comes to marriage regulations. Now for most circumstances, no matter the makeup of your current romantic relationship, you are legally able to marry. The process is much the same as a marriage and provides the same benefits, which is why so many couples are choosing to make their relationship legally recognized through domestic partnership.

The Benefits

California state statutes say,

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California divorce lawyer, California family law attorneyAs parents, we try to do everything in our power to protect our children. In California state law, the determination of custody and visitation schedule revolves solely on what is in the best interest of the child. However, past a certain age, the child begins to have a significant amount more weight in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to child custody and visitation.

When the Child Decides

As parents, we know what is best for our children. However, there comes the point in their life when they begin to have wants, needs, and opinions that may differ from ours. It is a part of the growing up process, and our children will inevitably reach this point as we did with our parents. That age is different for each person, so who determines at what age this is an age appropriate decision? A few years ago, California resolved the dispute by setting guidelines for which to follow. According to California Family Code 3042, consideration will be given to the preferences of the child if:

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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