Can Parents Make Agreements to Waive Child Support?

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In my California family-law practice, I am constantly asked if it’s okay for a parent to waive child support. When asked, the reasons for considering waiving child support are as follows: Mom doesn’t want Father to seek custody and visitation; 2) Father asks Mother to not seek child support in consideration of Father not seeking custody or visitation; 3) Mother is afraid Father will not pay spousal support if Mother seeks child support. These are but a few examples of why one or both parents may not ask or seek child support. The purpose of this blog post is to shed light on what the law says regarding child support, to include whether or not a parent is allowed to waive child support. Continue reading

What Do the California Courts Consider in Child Custody Matters? — An Overview

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In my California family law practice, I receive numerous inquiries relating to child custody. Literally, tens of thousands of books can be written just about California child-custody issues. Child-custody inquiries are even higher than divorce inquiries because marriage is not a prerequisite for the creation of little bundles of joy. Because there are so many issues relating to child custody matters, I have decided to write a series of blog posts on this particular issue. This blog post provides an overview of issues the court will consider when making a determination on child custody issues. Continue reading

You Are in the Middle of a Divorce and You Just Found Out Your Spouse Sold the Community Property Home

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First, a little lesson on California law: California is a community property state. That means that everything acquired during the marital period is considered community property. The marital period starts from date of marriage and ends on date of separation. Now, for most folks, date of separation is a no-brainer. And for others, ascertaining the date of separation is not so easy. For this discussion, we will assume that husband and wife agree on what the date of separation is so that there can be no confusion of whether or not a party engaged in willful behavior. Property is characterized as either community property or separate property. Continue reading

What are Preliminary Financial Disclosures and Why are They Important in a Divorce?

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Preparing and exchanging preliminary financial disclosures is a required step in the divorce process. Without the completion of this step, a judge will not grant a divorce. Negligent and wilful omissions of assets and debts when preparing the preliminary financial disclosures can lead to devastating results for the parties. This blog post examines the importance of full transparency and disclosure when preparing the preliminary financial disclosures as well as the possible consequences of not listing all assets and debts, including separate property assets and debts. Continue reading

California Divorce 101

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As a California family-law attorney, I take for granted that the law related to family law is simple. For reasons that I need to keep reminding myself, it is important that I remember that not everyone knows the basics of the legal issues surrounding a California divorce. Knowing at least the basics about California law on divorces, is an important first step to understanding your divorce. Continue reading

What Is Legal Coaching And Why Do I Need It?

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At the Law Office of Linda C. Garrett , a California-based family law, consumer and bankruptcy virtual online  law practice, I receive numerous calls and inquiries from desperate  individuals seeking family-law legal representation, yet having little to no funds to pay an attorney. To illustrate my point, I received two such calls in just the last 24 hours alone! As is always the case, my heart breaks for these folks are in desperate need of legal assistance and because they have no-where else to turn.  What other options are available if an individual, in need of legal assistance, cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent their legal interests?  An option is legal coaching, a little known type of family-law legal representation. Continue reading

How Much Is It Going To Cost Me To Get My California Divorce?

As a California, family-law attorney, I can’t tell you how many times I am asked, “How Much Is It Going to Cost Me to Get My California Divorce?  My response is always, “You tell me!”  This response always surprises my prospective clients.  While I can tell my prospective client how much the filing fee is ($410 for 2012), I cannot, in all honesty, tell them anything else about the matter.  Here’s why: Continue reading

Do California Courts Favor Mothers in Child Custody Cases?

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Do California Courts favor mothers in child custody cases? The answer may surprise you: No. Maybe before the age of the modern woman, the courts may have favored mothers just because they were female. Today, the courts have a legal standard they must follow–”the best interests of the child standard”. Continue reading

Should Octomom, Nadya Suleman, Lose Custody of Her 14 Children?

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Taken straight from today’s headlines:  “Could Conditions in Octomom’s  House Cause Her to Lose custody to her 14 kids?” Believe it or not, this article identifies issues taking place every day amongst private citizens throughout the U.S. The article identifies issues that are  common-place for single parents and  couple’s dealing with custody issues, vis-à-vis, at what point would a parent’s “parenting” terminate their custodial and/or visitation rights? Continue reading

Same-Sex Marriage–A California Family Lawyer’s Perspective on the Issue

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After reading the Los Angeles Times article “Polls: Americans closely divided on same-sex marriage” today, I felt compelled to write a post blog about this issue–because, ironically, it’s at the heart of divorce.    In almost all cases, we see the fight as only between the advocates of same-sex marriage and the objectors to same-sex marriage.  The typical argument made by the advocate for same-sex marriage is that it’s their constitution right to marry–and other arguments of this nature; conversely, the objectors argue that it’s not “biblical”, defining “marriage as between a man and a woman. . . . for purposes of procreation.”  Both sides have strong arguments, but in many respects, they are missing the point of “marriage.” At least in California, there is another arguments that needs to be put forward, which, dare I say it, I believe supersedes both sides of the argument. . . . it’s merely an insurance policy! Continue reading

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