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CA family lawyerIn the past, families typically consisted of a married mother and father with one or more children. However, many of today’s families are much more complicated. Parents may be unmarried, or they may have divorced and remarried, with multiple children from different relationships. In addition, children may be born to or adopted by parents in same-sex relationships. Due to the complex nature of modern families, establishing legal paternity/parentage for children is more important than ever. However, a child’s putative parent may not be the actual parent, and in these cases, they should understand their options for disputing paternity.

Methods for Disputing Parentage

A parent who wishes to dispute a child’s paternity must follow different procedures depending on whether and how paternity was previously established. In many cases, parents will voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity form when the child is born. If the parentage of the child comes into question after signing this form, either parent may file a Declaration of Paternity Rescission form within 60 days after the Declaration of Paternity form was signed. The other parent will be served with a copy of the petition, and a court hearing will be held. Genetic testing may be ordered to determine the child’s biological parentage.

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CA family lawyerWhen parents decide to get divorced, or when they are unmarried, determining who will have responsibility for their children can often be a contentious matter to resolve. Disputes over child custody can be highly emotional, and the decisions made in these cases will affect parents’ and children’s lives and relationships for years to come. When working to resolve these issues, it is important to understand how California law affects the decisions made.

California Child Custody Laws

California law recognizes two types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody involves decision-making authority for children, including medical, dental, or mental health treatments; educational choices, such as where they will go to school; extracurricular activities they will participate in; whether they will attend church or be involved in religious activities; and other decisions related to their general welfare. Physical custody involves where children will live and spend their time.

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CA family lawyerParents are required to provide financial support for their children, whether they are married, unmarried, separated, or divorced. When parents do not live together, one parent will typically be required to pay child support to the other parent to ensure that children’s needs are met. The amount of child support is determined following the guidelines defined in California law, and it is based on the amount of income earned by both parents, as well as the amount of time children spend with each parent.

California’s Child Support Formula

Prior to calculating child support, each parent’s disposable monthly income should first be determined. Disposable income is calculated by taking a parent’s gross income and subtracting allowable deductions, which include state and federal income tax, mandatory union dues and retirement benefits, health insurance premiums, previously-ordered child support payments, and hardship deductions, if applicable.

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CA divorce lawyerIf you are in the midst of a divorce, you are likely to be experiencing a great deal of chaos as you adjust to your newly-single life, and you may be struggling to make ends meet. Along with the legal costs involved in divorce, you may need to address issues such as finding new living arrangements, paying moving costs, and adjusting to living on a single income. However, with proper planning, you can begin your life after your divorce on the right foot. During divorce, you should be sure to address the following financial issues:

  • Check your credit report - If possible, you should pay off any joint credit cards and close the accounts, or make sure that if credit cards remain in one spouse’s name, the other spouse is removed from the account. Close any joint bank accounts, and check to make sure any issues with creditors have been resolved. If necessary, obtain credit cards in your name to begin establishing your own credit history.
  • Complete the division of property - Finish dividing your community property, following the decisions made in your divorce settlement. Be sure to update or refinance loans or home mortgages appropriately. Pay close attention to the division of retirement accounts or pensions, making sure to follow the proper procedures to distribute these finds without being subject to taxes or penalties.
  • Update insurance plans - You may need to remove your ex-spouse from your health insurance coverage or obtain your own coverage under a new plan. If necessary, you may be able to receive temporary COBRA coverage. You should also make sure to remove your ex as a beneficiary of life insurance or retirement plans.
  • Understand your taxes - When filing your tax return for the previous year, you will need to determine whether you should file jointly with your ex-spouse or separately. You should also update your income tax withholding to reflect your new marital status and claim the appropriate exemptions, ensuring that you do not owe taxes when filing next year’s tax return.
  • Create a budget - To ensure that you will be able to maintain financial stability following divorce, take complete stock of your income and expenses and create a workable plan going forward. Make sure to account for child support or spousal support which you will pay or receive, mortgage or rent payments, household expenses (including food, gas, and utilities), and anything else that affects your day-to-day financial situation.

Contact a Los Gatos Divorce Lawyer

By taking steps to fully understand your financial situation during your divorce, you can plan for success in the next stage of your life. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can advocate for your interests during divorce and help you complete the process efficiently and effectively. Contact our Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney at 408-395-8822 to set up a free consultation.

 

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CA family lawyerWhen parents choose to end their marriage and get divorced, they and their family members must restructure their lives. There is often an adjustment period as children become accustomed to living in two separate homes, but ideally, parents can help them overcome their difficulties by working together to provide for children’s best interests. However, after families have settled into their new living arrangements, parents’ circumstances may change. If a parent decides to move to a new home, they should be sure to understand how this will affect their child custody agreement.

Relocating with a Child

When a parent who has primary physical custody of a child or shares physical custody with the child’s other parent wishes to move to a new home, they must provide notice to the other parent, and they must file a motion in court seeking to have their child custody order modified. If the other parent objects to the move, an evidentiary hearing will be held to determine whether the move is in the child’s best interests.

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