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Bay Area & Sacramento Area Family Law Blog

How many custodial parents receive child support payments?

Some custodial parents in California must deal with the negative stigma that comes with being a single parent receiving child support. Research shows a different reality than what's often portrayed. According to the report "Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support," many parents receive far less monetary support than they are owed.

According to research, there are 13.4 million single parents who have custody of their children. Only about half of these parents have a child support agreement in place. Approximately 22 percent have taken steps to have their child support agreements enforced due to failure to pay. Only 10 percent of child support agreements have been created between the two parents without legal contracts. According to one report, 52 percent of single mothers were awarded child support by the court.

How mediation may help in a divorce

Some California couples who are ending their marriage might be concerned about the cost and stress associated with divorce. They may want to consider mediation, which may have a number of advantages over a court battle.

In some cases, a mediated divorce may cost half as much as a divorce that goes to litigation. While a trial is adversarial, mediation focuses on helping people cooperate so they reach a solution that they are both happy with. Mediation is also more flexible. Couples may be able to create a better arrangement for property division and child custody than a judge would come up with.

Film explores realities of African American fatherhood

Child support issues can be particularly overwhelming when the California parents in question are living in poverty or are dealing with the social effects of systematic racism. A study by the Urban Institute indicates that of the total child support debt in the United States, 70 percent is held by parents who make less than $10,000 each year, putting them below the poverty line and barely able to sustain themselves. A film called "Where's Daddy?" aims to look at the question of the child support system and how it impacts African American fathers in particular.

Child support decisions can lead to complicated outcomes; when parents don't pay their court-ordered child support, they are considered deadbeats and face social stigma. At the same time, however, there can be legal consequences, including jail time. In one well-known police shooting case, a man was shot in the back by police as he ran away. His brother says that the reason he ran was fear that his $18,000 child-support debt would cost him his liberty.

Single parents may need courts to establish formal child custody

Single parents in California generally become custodial parents if their children live with them the majority of the time. This arrangement, however, might require a court to officially declare that a person is a custodial parent. Even someone who has sole physical custody because the other parent is voluntarily uninvolved in the child's life could need to petition a court so that the custodial status becomes a matter of public record.

The children of a custodial parent often qualify for child support payments from the noncustodial parent. Parents who ask the courts to name them as custodial parents might seek child support at the same time. The income of parents and state guidelines determine the calculation of child support amounts.

How to start rebuilding after a marriage ends

For those going through a divorce in California, the financial impact can be significant. The divorce itself could result in an individual losing a significant percentage of assets built up over his or her lifetime. Furthermore, it can be more expensive to live as a single person after a divorce than it was while married. However, by keeping and following a detailed budget, it can be easier for people to gain control over their finances.

Creating a budget can tell individuals whether they need to increase their income or cut back on their spending. Those who have gone through a divorce can benefit from talking with a financial adviser who may help create a budget or offer other advice pertaining to fiscal matters. While a divorce may feel emotionally and financially draining, it is important for a person to continue learning and striving to get better.

Points to keep in mind about joint legal custody

California parents who are getting a divorce may opt for joint legal custody even if physical custody is not shared. Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make major decisions related to issues such as health care, education and religion for a child. It is common even for a parent who only has visitation rights to share legal custody with an ex.

There are pros and cons to this arrangement. Joint legal custody can work even if parents have had a contentious relationship as long as they are both willing to try to work through their differences and reach agreements. It can be healthy for children to see their parents go through this process. In some cases, joint custody may actually strengthen the co-parenting relationship. Over the years, parents may also find that they appreciate being able to consult one another as they make difficult decisions about their children.

Divorce mediation can help resolve child custody issues

Parents in California headed for divorce may be concerned about how to minimize the effects of the split on their children. This is especially true when dealing with some of the more complex matters that accompany a divorce like child custody issues. When both parents want the maximum time with their children, custody concerns can be difficult to resolve. However, mutual dedication to a positive outcome for their children can help many divorcing parents work together to develop a parenting plan that sets the foundation for their co-parenting relationship.

Divorce mediation can help divorcing spouses and their family law attorneys come together to reach a settlement on major issues. Often recommended by family courts, mediation for child custody issues often helps handle these sensitive topics in a non-adversarial manner by focusing on the best outcomes for the children. A mediated child custody process focuses on the involvement and contribution of both parents to their children's lives and well-being. It does not strive to place blame for the end of the marriage but instead seeks mutually acceptable solutions that can help both parents move forward.

Bird nesting could help children adjust to divorce

A new television show called "Splitting Up Together" offers a look at the concept of bird nesting. While it may be a comedy, the program could inspire divorcing parents in California to use this approach to keep the lives of their children stable. Bird nesting requires maintaining a family home where the children live all of the time. The parents then take turns residing there and providing child care.

Instead of children moving between two parental households, they avoid the sudden upheaval usually caused by divorce. Young children and kids with special needs typically benefit the most from bird nesting. In some situations, parents might gain financial benefits by keeping the family home post divorce. They might get a better price when they sell if they wait for the market to rise. If they have a lease, then they can avoid penalties for breaking the terms.

Financial issues raised when older couples divorce

Older California couples may be more vulnerable to divorce than they were in the past. The divorce rate for couples over 50 has doubled since the 1990s. However, for people who have not handled the marital finances, divorce may be particularly difficult as they might be learning about financial matters for the first time in their lives.

According to a report published by UBS Global Wealth Management, women are more likely than men to be in the dark when it comes to marital finances. This tendency cuts across generational lines with 54 percent of baby boomer women and 61 percent of millennial women saying their husbands make the investment decisions in the family. However, a lack of transparency about finances means that women going through a divorce may encounter some surprises such as debt or spending habits they were unaware of.

Divorce mediation can help couples split peacefully

When a couple in California decides to end their marriage, a legal process is necessary to conclude the divorce. However, many couples wish to reach a solution that does not require litigation with its attendant expense and adversarial approach. Instead, these couples can opt to make use of divorce mediation in order to determine the terms of their separation and address the necessary issues. Divorce mediation involves the use of a third-party, impartial mediator to help resolve disputes and reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Divorce mediation is a process that helps couples and their lawyers communicate with one another to support their interests. The process aims to arrive at an equitable agreement for the divorce while reducing the chances of hostility and trauma between the parties. Divorce litigation can be lengthy and expensive, and many times, couples are not truly hostile to one another. Instead, they have simply decided to end their romantic relationship. For these couples, divorce mediation provides an excellent framework to resolve key matters.

Contra Costa County | Bar Association The State Bar of California Placer County Bar Association Collaborative practice california IACP Certified Family Law Mediator
Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP
Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP
6542 Lonetree Boulevard
Rocklin, CA 95765

Phone: 916-780-0848 
Fax: 916-780-0787
Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP
2280 E. Bidwell Street, Suite 204
Folsom, CA 95630

Phone: 916-365-4941 
Fax: 916-780-0787

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