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G is for Grandparents' Rights. If you are a grandparent of a grandchild whose parents are getting divorced, you may be wondering how the divorce will affect your relationship with your precious grandson or daughter. When their parents were together ,you probably saw the kids every holiday, but now that they are apart does that mean your holiday meals are going to become an alternating year affair? The short answer is as a Grandparent you have a limited right to have contact with your grandchild. And by limited, I mean you can expect a regular phone call and perhaps a few visits...

In the 6th post of our Divorce from A-Z series, we are up to the letter F and are discussing the Financial Disclosures that have to be made during a divorce in California. Preliminary financial disclosures are required as part of the divorce process.  You have to share certain financial information with your spouse, including your income and expenses (form FL-150), along with your assets and debts (form FL-142). These two forms help both you and the court figure out what is community property.  Because California is a community property state, assets and debts acquired during the marriage belong to both...

E is for Equalizing Payments. In the next installment of our Divorce A to Z series, we explain what Equalizing Payments are and why they may matter for your divorce. If you are going through a divorce, you have probably heard or read more than once that the court will divide all your community property in half. It seems pretty straightforward when you are talking about bank accounts or the proceeds from selling an item of community property. But what if you both want to keep the cat (legally pets are property) or the couch? How does a judge divide...

We are up to D in our Divorce from A to Z series and discussing Date of Separation when it comes to separating and divorcing.  In your divorce paperwork, you will have to list the date of separation and this date can affect you in more ways than you may think. First of all, the date of separation is the official date that the community property aspect of your marriage ends, which can be significant in determining whether an asset or a debt is community property or separate property.  For example, if one spouse acquires an asset after the date of...

"Co-parenting" is supposed to mean shared parenting. But often times, the truth is that in order to be effective co-parenting means giving more to your child than you take in parenting assistance from your former partner. Because being a good co-parent means giving in, letting go, and accepting that there is more than one way to raise a child. Unfortunately, too often our pride and our hurt hearts get in the way of the sacrifices that we must make to co-parent our shared children. We forget that the child is a part of both of us, and we start saying "my...

In the first post of Divorce from A to Z, the "A" stood for Add-on Child Support and what that means for your divorce.  Along the same lines, "B" is for Base Child Support and is the child support that most people think of when talking about calculating child support. What is Base Child Support? Base Child Support is the monthly amount that one parent pays to another to provide a minimum amount needed to support a child. The calculation also provides a uniform standard throughout the state.  Uniformity in calculation helps a divorcing parent accurately make financial decisions based on the...

Welcome to our new series: Divorce from A to Z.  Our first topic in the series is Add-on Child Support. I once heard a family law judge describe California Guideline Child support as Draconian. And I am sure many of our readers would agree that Child Support is high. So high that often a client will come to me and say, "I asked the other parent to pay for half of the daycare, and she refused. She said, I pay child support so use that." This common argument brings us to our subject for today's post: Add-on Child support. Add-on child support...

When you are a co-parent, it is important to remember that you are not a single parent and you should truly share with your ex, so your children still feel they have both parents and two homes.  But not all co-parents understand this. Remember, in sharing custody, you should not think of yourself as a single parent, since you are not, though adopting this mentality is one of the hardest things you can do in co-parenting.  If you were a single parent, your home would be your children's only home and your rules your children's only rules. You would also not...

When you are going through a divorce or a custody action, there are a lot of terms that are thrown around in the courts that frankly mean something to the Judges and lawyers, but can mean very little to you the parent in your day to day parenting. You can joint legal and physical custody, joint legal and sole physical custody, sole legal and sole physical custody or sole legal and joint physical custody. Let's discuss the meaning of physical custody and provide you some practical understanding of how physical custody orders impact your day to day life. Physical custody is concerned with...

Parents in family court have to decide whether to seek joint or sole legal custody. Before making your choice, please read the following article for an explanation of the differences between sole and joint legal custody. Legal custody tells us who has legal rights and decision-making abilities over your child. The legal rights involved include: medical decisions, educational decisions, travel, and religious choices. Joint legal custody means that both parents can make decisions regarding medical treatment, education, travel, and religious practices. Joint custody imposes a duty to discuss options with the other parent whenever possible before making a decision regarding the child, but does not require that you and the...