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Riverside California Family Law And Criminal Defense Blog

What you should know about receiving a restraining order

If you are in a situation where someone you are close to may want to order a restraining order on you, it is critical that you know what to expect and what is expected of you upon being served. A restraining order needs to be taken very seriously, even if you feel it is not justified. Once you receive the order, you need to follow it and abide by its rules.

A divorce doesn't have to get ugly

California couples split up every day, but it doesn't have to get petty or ugly. While most discussion of divorce boils down to one side winning or losing, the reality is that it's entirely possible for two adults to collaborate. Here are a few tips that can help minimize the scars of an ugly divorce.

First, it can help if a couple considers the history of their marriage. They should think about how ugly or reserved the fights were. The same sort of arguments that caused a marriage to fail could also haunt a divorce.

Common reasons why marriages come to an end

While the divorce rate is declining in general, it is still not uncommon for people in California and throughout the country to see their marriages end. However, there are many different reasons why this may be the case. For instance, some felt that they didn't spend enough time in marriage counseling or similar educational programs. Another reason why people get divorced has to do with their relationships with their spouse's family.

Husbands who were close with their in-laws were less likely to get divorced. The opposite was true for wives who were close with their in-laws. Individuals who don't feel safe in their relationship may decide to leave their spouse. This can be true whether abuse was physical or emotional in nature. Financial issues were also cited as a factor in choosing to end a marriage. However, a lack of money was not cited as a direct cause in ending a relationship.

Understanding child support obligations

Whether parents are divorcing or simply no longer sharing a life, support payments can be an important contribution to the child's well-being. Many California parents may not fully understand the purpose of child support, especially when both the mother and father are either struggling or well-off. Support payments go from one ex to the other to help cover the children's expenses, and they are generally directed from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. However, the latter may vary depending on the specific circumstances of child custody and the parents' financial situations.

Child support laws vary from state to state, so being aware of California's guidelines and processes can be important for separated parents. In most cases, the custodial parent, who has primary custody and decision-making authority of the child for the majority of the time, is the recipient of child support from a noncustodial parent with visitation. However, child support can also be involved when parents have joint custody, especially when there is an economic disparity between the households.

Exploring prenuptial agreements for students

Many couples in California prefer to exchange "I dos" during the more relaxed days of summer. College and grad students, however, tend to swap vows during the first few weeks of the new year when they have some time between semesters and other obligations. While many younger couples may have an assortment of things on their pre-marriage to-do list, a prenuptial agreement might not be one of them. Still, it's a document that can provide added security and peace of mind.

It should be noted that jointly signing a prenup doesn't automatically mean a marriage will end in divorce. What a prenuptial agreement normally does is handle the distribution and separation of assets in the event of a split. However, some student couples may be hesitant to consider a prenup since their future income stream is often unknown and they may have very few assets.

Signs it may be the right time to divorce

The beginning of a new year can make many of us evaluate where we are in our lives and decide if we are content or if a change is needed. One thought you may have been having but have not been addressing is if you are ready to divorce. This decision is typically not an easy one to make and will often require deeper examination of your own situation.

If the thought of divorce has been with you for some time but you are not sure if you are just going through a rough spot or you are dealing with a larger problem, it may be helpful to know the signs that commonly point to divorce.

Why issues arise in America's misdemeanor system

Misdemeanors -- small criminal offenses that are punishable by a maximum of one year in jail -- are a big part of the legal system throughout California and the rest of America. In fact, misdemeanors constitute about 80 percent of all arrests as well as 80 percent of state dockets, according to FBI arrest data. As a result, the number of misdemeanor cases that are filed annually can reach 13 million, which is an enormous number.

The fact that there are so many misdemeanor cases filed every year is a problem that often creates inequality. To begin with, this large number of cases overwhelms defenders, prosecutors and judges. Furthermore, it prohibits defenders from investigating each case and giving it its due attention. In fact, with such a large caseload, defenders tend to feel obligated to settle as quickly as possible, urging their clients to take a plea deal rather than to file motions and to litigate constitutional issues. Consequently, it should come as no shock that innocent people can get wrongly convicted.

New law views pets as more than physical property in divorce

The New Year has ushered in a law that reforms how judges can consider disputes over pets in divorce cases in California. Prior to Jan. 1, courts treated pets as physical property, but animal advocates viewed that legal definition as inadequate for living creatures with feelings. The new law gives judges the ability to think about an animal's best interests.

The state assembly member who sponsored the bill said that he wanted to prevent decisions like a judge telling people to sell their dog and divide the proceeds to settle a divorce. The new law creates options that grant judges an expanded view of pet rights. It clearly states that pet ownership should not be considered the same as owning furniture or vehicles. Judges may now base decisions about who gets the pet in a divorce on who provided the most care, such as feeding, walking and playing. Shared custody arrangements are now possible too.

Shared custody is better for children of all ages

There is still a question for many as to whether children, especially infants and toddlers, do better with just their mother having sole custody or with the father and mother having 50-50 joint custody. Prohibitions have previously been given on young children spending overnight time under the care of their fathers. California residents may be interested in knowing more about the latest understandings of child development in connection with child custody.

The latest understandings in child development prove that joint custody is the best option, even for young children. Unless one parent has proven to be abusive or neglectful, children who grow up in shared parenting or joint custody situations do better than children in sole physical custody families.

Making the smart move with a marital home

Deciding what to do with a marital home can be a sticking point in a divorce. In some California divorce cases, one person chooses to keep the home or is given the home as part of a settlement. There are many issues that should be considered before a person asks for the marital home. First, that person should decide if keeping the house is feasible from a financial perspective.

Next, it is important to consider whether both names will stay on the deed to the home. It isn't uncommon for individuals to remove a spouse from the mortgage but not the deed as a means of saving time. However, if the other spouse is still considered an owner of the property, that person could block a potential sale in the future. It is important to note that a sale can be tricky even if done under a court order if a couple is not able to work together.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951-335-0510
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