Articles Posted in Family Law Issues

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San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses Children and Divorce

Children have it hardest in a divorce. The kids think it’s their fault or they are confused as to why their parents are angry and leaving each other. Therefore it is important to keep them isolated from the negativity that inevitably surrounds a divorce. Dr. Allan Schwartz gives us 5 mistakes that parents should avoid when dealing with their divorce below:

1. Do not use your child as a messenger between you and your ex spouse.

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San Francisco Divorce Lawyer Discusses Divorce

There was a time when divorces were not common and many people will hold on to their marriage no matter what happened. However, through the years, when married couples started to encounter problems in their marriage, they would turn to divorce more and more to solve their problems. The divorce statistic is getting higher each year. What is the reason and why do marriages fail? Andrew Kristen in his article “Why do Marriages Fail?” gives us some insight into some of the top reasons as outlined below:

1. Lack of care and concern. When one party is spending too much time outside such as work, friends or hobbies, this can fade the love slowly in the relationship leading to no communication and understanding in each other.

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San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses California Surrogacy and Adoption Laws

Lately, Sagaria Law has received several calls about surrogacy and adoption. Surrogacy comes in two main forms: gestational or traditional. Gestational surrogacy is where the embryo and resulting child is genetically related to both parents. Traditional surrogacy involves the use of donor eggs and sperm, or artificial insemination.

Surrogacy law in California is governed by 2 Supreme Court cases: Johnson v. Calvert and Marriage of Buzzanca. Johnson is a case of a gestational surrogate (genetic material from both parents, surrogate to carry the child), and the Supreme Court ruled that when two women have valid claims to motherhood, the tiebreaker is the intent at the time of conception. Therefore, the natural mother of a child is the person who intended to bring about the birth of a child and raise it as her own. In Marriage of Buzzanca, the Court dealt with a case of two infertile parties who used donor sperm and donor eggs to implant in a paid surrogate. In that case, the court held that where a married couple, unable to procreate on their own, intends to bring about the birth of a child through the use of medical technology, those individuals will be held to be the legal parents, regardless of genetics. This holding should apply to surrogacy cases where the surrogate has been artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm, but since there is no clear ruling on this particular issue, it is possible the court would decide differently under that set of circumstances.

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Fremont Divorce Attorney Discusses Securing Medical, Life, and Homeowners Insurance

Securing medical, life, and homeowners insurance for yourself and your children must be considered during pre-divorce settlement negotiations with your soon-to-be ex. Insurance issues may be complicated and largely the purview of lawyers but you need to be actively involved to protect yourself and anyone who depends upon you. You should know that your life insurance policy could still cover your spouse even if you two are divorced and no longer a part of each other’s lives. You need to negotiate who will be paying the premiums. If husband is to pay, he can stop paying or cash in the policy and leave you with nothing unless life insurance is a negotiated part of the divorce settlement.

To protect the children, make sure that your divorce settlement states that the children are to be kept as the beneficiary and make sure that your spouse shows proof of it each year. If your spouse allows the policy to lapse, your ex may not have to reinstate the policy unless ordered by the court. Get it in writing before the divorce is finalized. If you would like only your children to benefit financially from your life insurance policy, you will want to open a trust fund and then name the trust as the beneficiary and name a trustee to manage the proceeds. Many banks offer this service. This way your ex will never get parental control over any of the money left to your children should you die before they are of legal age.

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San Francisco Family Law Attorney Discusses Property Distribution

Both divorce and the death of a loved one are difficult life events for people to cope with. Both of these situations also deal with property distribution. It becomes a more complicated situation when someone dies whom you are in a divorce with because there are competing laws regarding property distribution: estate law, and community property law. Community property law states that everything that is acquired during marriage is the couple’s community property to be split in half on divorce. However, estate law allows for a person to distribute their assets in the event of their death to any person that they choose. So what happens when the decedent dies and wants to give away community property to another person? First, the ex-spouse or current spouse of the decendent has two options when someone dies. 1. The can elect to take from the will of the decedent or 2. they can elect to take their community property share. But the surviving spouse is not allowed to elect to take both. Therefore, in this event the surviving ex-spouse or current spouse should consider which distribution gives them the most assets and elect to take the more advantageous approach.

Either way death and divorce are times of difficulty and it will be hard to discuss property and distribution in the event that these things happen. However, these events are inevitabilities that need to be considered so that one can be protected when they are faced with these difficult situations.

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Sacramento Family Law Attorney Discusses No-Fault Divorce

People get divorced for many different reasons. A prevalent reason is infidelity. Many people decide to get divorced because their wife or husband has cheated on them. Once the cheated on spouse finds out about the infidelity, divorce most likely ensues. I then becomes a battle between spouses and usually the cheated on spouse feels some sort of entitlement for punishing the cheating spouse by taking all the community assets. However, California has what is called a no-fault divorce. This means a married person may terminate the marriage even if the other person disagrees. California no-fault divorce acknowledges that both husband and wife have contributed in some way to the marriage’s breakdown, so one party is no longer “punished” financially or otherwise for being solely to blame for the marriage’s failure.

One advantage of California no-fault divorce is that parties don’t have to waste time and money to prove grounds. It reduces the need to litigate for about grounds and allows couples to move on to important issues, such as custody, child support, maintenance and distribution of marital assets. Fault does not enter into settling property division or support. California is a community property state, which means that all assets and liabilities the parties earn or acquire during the marriage are presumed to be shared and must be divided equally unless the parties agree otherwise. So, rather than looking for which party has the biggest list of complaints against the other, the California Family Courts now try to create an equitable agreement based on what each spouse will need to be financially independent and off public assistance.

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Sacramento Divorce Lawyer Disccusses the Effects of Divorce on Children

During a divorce, it is always hard for the kids to deal with their parents separation. Many kids feel abandonment or even that it is their fault that their parents are getting divorced. One of the most harming situations for a child going through this situation is the parents fighting over custody and visitation. Many times this will cause the kids anxiety and force them to decide which parent to turn to. Holidays are one of the worst times to go through a custody battle. Making a child choose between a parent during the holidays will cause the child to not only resent the parents but also ruins their holidays altogether. Susanna Schrobsdorff from Newsweek offers some helpful tips for parents when it comes to splitting holiday time with the kids.

1. Communicate and coordinate with your child’s other parent.

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San Mateo Family Law Attorney Talks About Public Policy and Settlements

When a couple begins or is going through a divorce, there is one piece of consistent advice that is given. Settle. The couple will hear their attorneys, the judge, and their friends who all tell them to settle as quickly and as soon as possible. To a lawyer and a court, settling is coming to an agreement over issues. The agreement may be a hard fought compromise over a hotly contested point or a tradeoff where each side gets what they really wanted. As a policy, a Court is loathe to interfere with a settlement agreement because the best people to make a decision about their lives are themselves. The Court is ill equipped to consider all factors from a couple’s marriage and life situation to make an extremely tailored agreement that the couple themselves could. For example, the couple may agree to keep the family residence for the next 5 years in hopes of recovering their lost equity which includes a detailed payment schedule for the house. The Court would have just sold the house at a loss to end the fighting.

However, there is one area that the Court’s will not or may not allow the parties to settle. This is in the area of the children. Specifically, the termination of parental rights for child support. A couple, depending on the circumstances, may decide that one parent is going to walk away from the child(ren) of the union. This parties have agreed that it would be best if one parent assume all parenting duties and the other parent surrender all say, control and rights to the child. The usual exchange is that the caring parent will waive any and all child support claims against the other parent. While this is a “settlement” between parties, the Court’s will not or may not approve it because it is against “public policy.”

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San Jose Family Lawyer Discusses Adoption

November 15, 2008 is National Adoption Day!

National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to promote awareness of the 129,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families, as well as those families that have been happily created through the adoption process. National Adoption Day helps make the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care. National Adoption Day is normally celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but was moved in 2008 for one year only.

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Fremont Divorce Attorney Discusses Division of Assets

Besides matters relating to children, the division of assets is often the most hotly contested issue that arises during divorce proceedings. Over the course of a marriage, a couple’s finances become intimately intertwined and separating finances can prove time consuming and frustrating. Divorcing spouses must split all of their finances, property and assets and this can be a long and arduous process that must be mediated by an outside entity such as the courts and a judge.

Each state has its own laws about how people are to divide their property. In California, we are a community property state and determining who owns what can be a very complicated process. The first step in dividing property is determining what community property is and what constitutes separate property. Separate property usually includes gifts, inheritance, and personal injury settlements, pensions acquired before marriage and a separate property or business. Sometimes separate property can become mixed with community property, which complicates an already complex situation.