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Stockton Divorce Law Blog

What should you figure out before paying child support?

Californian parents who are going through the divorce process will need to figure out what they intend to do in regard to child support. Figuring out who pays how much is crucial. So is sticking to support payment plans, as there can be strict penalties for missing payments.

FindLaw has provided a checklist of requirements for paying child support. The most important thing is setting your terms. This means deciding who pays, and how much they owe. This is usually determined based on the respective income of each parent, as well as who has primary custody if you don't have joint custody.

How can divorce impact my business?

When you divorce in California, it impacts every area of your life. You have to deal with child custody and muddle through your assets. Splitting up your life can be very difficult. Things become even trickier if you own a business. The effect of the divorce on your business really depends on a few factors, but in many cases, you will end up having to split your business with your ex-spouse.

According to SMB CEO, a business is an asset. In a divorce, the court divides any marital assets. The court will typically divide anything you acquired during your marriage as a marital asset. With a business, it may still be a marital asset if it contributed to your household income. If your business increased in value or you expanded it during your marriage, it may also become a marital asset even if you started the business before you got married. It is complicated because the court considers everything about the business when making a determination.

Parenting agreement may reduce conflict related to child custody

Navigating the divorce process can understandably feel like an emotional roller coaster. However, this is especially true if you share minor children and you both want to continue to play active roles in their lives.

Fortunately, as far as child custody is concerned in California, the majority of parents can resolve these cases outside of court. How? By putting together a well-thought-out parenting agreement in informal negotiation or divorce mediation sessions, for instance. Here is a glimpse at what drafting this type of agreement involves in the Golden State.

What happens if you cannot pay child support?

If you have received a requirement from the state of California to pay child support payments to your ex, you are under legal obligation to be timely and consistent with following through. However, what happens if you reach a point where you are unable to continue making payments due to financial hardship or unexpected life events? Understanding how to go about disclosing your inability is imperative to avoid dangerous consequences. 

While it may seem relatively simple to just skip a couple of payments while you cannot feasibly pay what is required, this misstep has the potential to create a lot of problems that could leave you worse off than you are right now. As such, even telling only your ex that you cannot make payments is generally not enough. According to Money Crashers, as soon as you realize that you cannot make payments, notify the court right away. Be honest when you discuss what is preventing you from having enough funding available. 

Will adultery affect divorce in California?

California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the family court judge is not allowed to consider fault when making major determinations regarding property, custody and other divorce issues. However, just because California is not a fault divorce state does not mean that adultery will not affect your California divorce. A People's Choice outlines when adultery may or may not change the outcome of your separation.

Unfortunately, adultery alone will not result in direct legal consequences for the adulterous party in California. However, how a party acted while committing adultery may. For instance, if a spouse spends marital funds on his or her lover, he or she may be accountable for reimbursing the marital estate. To ensure this happens, the courts may award fewer assets or funds to the cheating spouse. Before a judge will do this, however, the harmed spouse will have to produce evidence supporting his or her claims that the adulterer wasted marital funds on his or her lover.

Do teen parents have to pay child support?

Pregnancy can be scary at any age, but when you get pregnant and are still a teenager, it compounds the worries. One of the biggest challenges of having a baby in California is figuring out how you will support it. Babies cost a lot of money. From formula to diapers and in the years to come, you may struggle to afford the things your child needs. However, you should not be doing it alone. The baby's father, even if he is a teenager, must pay child support unless you are married.

Assuming you are not married, your baby's father is just as responsible for caring for your child as you are. The California Department of Child Support Services explains that the court determines child support based on current earnings. If the baby's father is not working, that does not exclude him from the responsibility of paying child support.

What are some mistakes in divorce?

When you get a divorce in California, there are many missteps you may take that could make things more difficult for you. Most mistakes you can make in a divorce situation, according to CNBC, involve your assets. Here is a look at some things you want to avoid doing.

Do not overvalue your assets. You should always use professionals to appraise your assets properly. This will enable you to ensure assets are split evenly and fairly when you go to court.

Is your spouse committing illegal acts concerning marital assets?

If you're one of many California residents who is preparing for divorce and is involved in a situation where there is a lot of contention between you and your spouse, you may have to fight for everything you're entitled to in a settlement. Such divorces are often highly emotionally charged and quite stressful. In addition to arguing a lot and perhaps not being able to agree on what your co-parenting plan will be, you might be having serious financial problems as well.

Is your spouse combative any time you bring up the topic of money for discussion? Does your spouse get defensive when you ask a specific question concerning a withdrawal from a joint bank account or a recent expenditure that seems extravagant to you? If so, you might have a hidden asset problem on your hands. Hiding assets in divorce is not only mean, it's illegal, and there are ways to stop it in its tracks.

Assessing how changes to tax law will affect upcoming divorces

When couples in California decide to pursue divorce as an option for resolving marital conflict assuredly, they are faced with a difficult road to recovering, maintaining and planning their financial future. In serious cases where couples are unable to reach any amicable negotiations, each person may be at a critical disadvantage in being able to maintain their financial stability. 

Thanks to a recent change in long-standing tax law, people who are required to pay alimony are no longer able to include their payments to their ex as a tax deductible. Instead, this money comes from their pocket and its payment does not yield any benefit. While the law was passed some time ago, up until January 2019, it has not been effective. If a person is required to make both child support and alimony payments to their ex, rather than splitting them equally like a majority of people have previously done, many people will probably favor child support payments as alimony has no real advantage to them. 

How will the new tax law complicate your divorce?

If you and your spouse plan to divorce in 2019, you may be in for a rude awakening. According to CNBC, the new tax law, which Congress has set to take effect at the first of the year, will change who pays alimony on spousal support. Though lawmakers anticipate that all divorcing parties will feel the financial burden imposed by this new law, it is those in high-tax states such as California and New York that will take the greatest hit.

More than seven decades ago, Congress introduced a new law that freed up money for divorcing couples. Under this law, the payor could take a tax deduction on the amount he or she paid, while the recipient spouse paid taxes on the amount he or she "made," and according to his or her income bracket. The deduction served as an motivation of sorts for the higher-earning spouse to proffer more money to the lower-earning spouse in the form of support. Because the IRS taxed the recipient at a lower rate than what it would have the payer, the result was more money for the family unit. 

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