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20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212, Los Gatos, CA 95030
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Los Gatos, CA divorce mediation attorneyThere are many details to work out during a divorce. Unfortunately, some couples end up in a cycle of litigation in which no one really wins. Arguments about custody, property, child support, alimony, etc. can result in both parties running up major attorney’s fees and court costs. Rather than fighting out every little thing through the legal process, some couples may be able to save a lot of money and stress in the long run by opting for mediation.

Avoid Wasting Time and Money on Litigation

When you and your partner decide to call it quits, dividing marital property and agreeing on what is best for your children can sometimes be complicated. Even if both parties mean well, which is not always the case, the divorce can end up dragging on and on, causing unnecessary stress and huge expenses.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot reach an agreement on some things, it may be time to hire a mediator. A mediator can take on one issue at a time and help the two of you work out decisions that are fair to both of you. This can greatly reduce the time and money needed to complete your divorce, since going through the courts to resolve every little disagreement can take years and cost thousands of dollars.

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Los Gatos child custody modification attorneyDuring a divorce, or after the birth of a child to an unmarried mother, decisions must be made about how child custody and visitation will be handled. After these matters are settled, and a plan is put in place, it may remain in effect until the child reaches adulthood. However, there are some circumstances in which a child custody agreement could and/or should be modified. A custody modification, however, is not something to be taken lightly. Typically, the parents must either be in agreement about the change, or there must have been a “change in circumstances.”

What Is a Change in Circumstances?

If you feel your child custody or visitation agreement should be changed, and the child’s other parent disagrees, then you will have to petition for a modification through the legal system. You may end up having to meet with a mediator or go before a judge to plead your case. You will not get anywhere in your quest, however, unless you can show that there has been a significant “change in circumstances” since the original parenting plan was put in place.

This means that there must have been some major change or big event in the child’s or the parent’s life that makes the previous custody arrangement no longer viable. The reason has to be significant, and the focus will be on the best interests of the child. A parent typically will not be able to have a child custody agreement changed without proving that this change to the child’s regular routine will be beneficial to the child.

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Los Gatos divorce and QDRO lawyerDuring a California divorce, all community property must be divided between spouses. Unfortunately, a retirement account you have been sinking money into for years will not necessarily be all yours when you get a divorce. Even if an account is solely in your name, and you were the one earning the income, money saved during your marriage is typically considered community property. On top of giving up part of your 401(k) or pension, you may have to face penalties if you do not follow the proper procedures when splitting up the funds.

Avoiding Penalties When Dividing Retirement Funds

Even in the best divorce scenarios, both parties are likely to face some financial loss. Property has to be divided, and you will be walking away from one household to new bills in two different homes. Taking the proper steps when dividing retirement funds will ensure that you do not face additional financial penalties.

If you are the one who has to share your retirement savings, your attorney can walk you through the proper process to make sure that you do not lose more money than you have to because of penalties and early withdrawal fees. If you are receiving funds from your partner’s 401(k), you will get to keep more if you have the funds rolled over to your own retirement account than if you take the cash outright. In most cases, the best option is to use a QDRO to implement the transfer of funds.

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Los Gatos, CA grandparent custody lawyerWhen children are removed from their parents in California, no matter the reason, the law requires that they be placed with relatives if there are any fit to be considered as guardians. Relatives may be defined as any adults who are related to the children by blood or adoption, or even someone within the “fifth degree of kinship,” which means stepparents or siblings, grandparents, great- or great-great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles, even if the relationship was through marriage. In these cases, it is essential to work with an experienced family law attorney.

Qualifying for Placement

If a family member requests that children who have been removed from their parents be placed with them, they will be given preferential treatment, meaning that they will be considered above any other foster parents. When children are removed from their home, a social worker must conduct an investigation to find all adult relatives of the child and do background checks, follow up on any past allegations of abuse or neglect, and conduct a home inspection of the relative where they child may be placed.

Social workers may also speak to the children about the relatives in question to try and make sure they get a good fit for placement. Social workers will also need to consider the following:

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Los Gatos postnup lawyerAfter you get married, you may learn a lot of new things about your partner. Maybe you did not know that your new spouse is bad with money, or perhaps you have become concerned about your spouse being unfaithful. You may also want to ensure that your children are taken care of if you should pass away, or maybe you are a business owner and want to protect your assets if you ever decide to get a divorce. No matter the reasons behind it, a postnuptial agreement can give you some peace of mind.

What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?

While prenuptial agreements are signed by both spouses prior to a marriage, a couple may also decide to sign a postnuptial agreement after getting married. Postnuptial agreements are legally binding contracts that can be set up to decide which party will take on certain debts and retain ownership of specific assets if the couple gets a divorce or separates. There may also be rules laid out for possible alimony in the future, and a postnup may include information about inheritances and estate planning in the case of either spouse’s death.

Additionally, postnuptial agreements could include “lifestyle clauses.” These address issues such as how often one spouse or the other may travel, how often they have to visit one another’s families, who is responsible for what household chores, and more. Some postnuptial agreements have been noted to include an infidelity clause, requiring a spouse who has an affair to compensate his or her partner monetarily by granting them certain assets during divorce or by giving up any rights to receive spousal support.

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

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

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