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Riverside California Family Law And Criminal Defense Blog

Legal steps you can take when concerned for your safety

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own homes and in their own personal lives. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone, and you may also find yourself wondering how you can protect yourself and your kids. When the safety and well-being of yourself and your loved ones are at stake, there are certain legal steps you can take. 

Through specific types of legal actions, people can obtain protection from the threat of physical violence, mental abuse and other types of exploitation. If you are in need a restraining order or protective order, you may want to speak to a California attorney regarding your legal options. You do not have to live in fear, but instead, you can take steps to get your life back and start feeling safe again.

Legally separating may be better than divorce for your situation

Every situation is different, and while the romantic relationship with your spouse may be over, it does not necessarily mean you are ready to divorce. There are many situations where it actually makes more sense for two California spouses to delay formally ending their marriage and legally separate instead. Divorce is not always the only or best choice in every situation.

Legal separation is different from divorce in many ways. If you are considering this option, it is important for you to know how to protect your rights. When separating from a spouse, there is a legally enforceable formal agreement that outlines the terms of your separation. Like with any major family law decision, it can be beneficial to know and understand all of your options before moving forward.

Racial divide narrowing in criminal justice system

Racial disparities still exist in the criminal justice system, but they are getting better according to reports from the Public Policy Institute of California and other nonpartisan groups. Researchers have found that the racial gaps between white people and minorities have narrowed across many areas of criminal justice including incarceration, parole and probation rates.

A spokesperson for the Council on Criminal Justice said that racial disparities in criminal justice are a problem that is getting a little better, but researchers still don't understand exactly why. In 2000, black people were incarcerated in state prisons for drug crimes at 15 times the rate of white people. Sixteen years later, that figure dropped to five times as likely. There was also a 30% decline in black male imprisonment over the same time period. Researchers have found similar changes in the disparities between Latino and white incarceration rates.

Financial challenges in divorce

When couples in California divorce, both spouses often have significant concerns about the future, including finances, children and where they will live during and after the legal process. While these concerns may appear to be similar in many ways, the truth is that women and men may prioritize or experience these issues differently.

A recent study by a financial services company asked women about their divorce concerns. Interestingly, finances were of the most significant concern to women. This is because women often earn less than their husbands and may need additional time to recover financially after divorce. It is especially important that women work to develop credit in their own names after a marriage ends.

Holiday co-parenting after divorce

When parents in California divorce, issues surrounding the children are often a matter of concern. Parents are usually required to work together to co-parent their kids, and this kind of collaboration can be particularly difficult over the holidays.

Holiday celebrations are often connected to family gatherings and traditions. Since children are often out of school during the winter holidays, parents may look forward to spending extended time with their children.

When the co-parenting relationship is toxic

Parents in California may face a difficult time co-parenting after the end of a relationship, particularly if their co-parent is unstable, manipulative or narcissistic. It is far too easy for the fights that led to a divorce to become fights between co-parents over the children's schedule, activities and commitments. When control issues were a big part of the split to begin with, disputes over the children can be another way of expressing control. In addition, co-parenting arguments may quickly begin to echo those that came along with the end of the marriage. A former spouse may know more than anyone else how to push a person's buttons or spark an emotional reaction.

Still, absent neglect or abuse, most children still benefit strongly from a relationship with both parents. Parents are left to navigate the situation and put the best interests of the child first. There are several ways that people can help to ease their child custody conflicts with a difficult former spouse. While an open co-parenting relationship may be a great idea for some families, others can benefit from strong boundaries. There are apps and portals designed to support communication between co-parents in a facilitated, monitored context. The use of these apps may even be ordered by the family court as part of a parenting plan.

How fathers can prepare as they seek custody of their children

California fathers who want to pursue custody of their children might face some biases from the court as they go through the process. Though many biases have disappeared over time, their root comes from the traditional roles parents played in the past.

In the past, it was generally accepted that mothers stayed home to nurture their children and take care of the family and that fathers were the providers who worked outside the home. As times changed, however, and many couples became two-income families or roles reversed with the mother becoming the main provider and the father becoming the stay-at-home parents, some biases remained. These include the belief that mothers are more nurturing and capable of taking care of children, that mothers being the primary caretaker is in the best interest of the child and that fathers do not have enough time to take care of their children.

Preventing your addicted spouse from gaining custody

When parents break up, they may have a difficult time separating their own desires from those decisions that are in the best interests of the children. Fortunately, the courts keep the well-being of the children foremost in their decisions, and this often means dividing parenting time as evenly as possible.

Under most circumstances, this may be a comfort to you. In many breakups, parents may agree that their own resentment toward their exes clouds their understanding that the children love both their parents and that the other parent may be a fit and loving mom or dad. However, if your ex has a substance abuse problem, you may have serious concerns about the outcome of a custody hearing.

Considerations in creating a visitation plan for infants

California parents who are getting a divorce may need to agree on a custody and visitation plan. If the child is an infant, the plan and considerations will be different than they would be for an older child.

Generally, the aim with visitation for infants is short but frequent contact. This means that visits may last anywhere from half an hour to a few hours several times each week. This is usually sufficient for an infant to form bonds with the noncustodial parent. However, the custodial parent may be reluctant to allow even this much visitation time. The main caregiver may have spent a great deal of time learning the infant's cries and needs and worry that the other parent cannot provide the same level of care. Most of the time, parents should trust that the other parent can learn those cues as well and may have a different parenting style but can still be an effective parent.

Ways to approach investments in a split

When divorce happens later in life, as some California couples have learned, there might be investment and retirement accounts that make the process of dividing assets more complicated. Additionally, the division of some of these investments might trigger penalties and taxes that can be avoided. Finally, the way these assets are divided can have an impact on financial stability post-divorce.

The ways to approach investment accounts differ based on the type of account the spouses hold. Retirement accounts, which are usually considered marital property, can be complex to divide. 401(k) or 403(b) plans can be divided by using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. Each plan, however, has different rules for how the division will happen with some requiring the fund being divided to be rolled over into an IRA and others allowing the other spouse to open his or her own account within the plan. IRAs are divided differently based on the negotiations of the couple. However, to avoid taxes, the division must come from a court order from the divorce, and the funds must be rolled into separate IRAs.

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

Phone: 951-335-0510
Fax: 951-686-8195
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