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Fullerton Family Law Blog

When child support debt leads to wage garnishments

Around 7 percent of all workers have their wages garnished for debts. These may include consumer debt, child support and student loans. California workers who have their wages garnished might be more likely to be men. More than 70 percent of workers nationwide whose wages are garnished are men, and in most cases, the reason is because those men have fallen behind on child support. These and other findings were part of a study released on Sept. 27 by the ADP Research Institute.

Wages are generally garnished pursuant to a court order, and the garnishment usually lasts until the debt is paid in full. The study found that people in the South and Midwest were more likely to have their wages garnished. Among men in the Midwest who worked in large manufacturing and were in the 35-to-55 age group, one-quarter had been the target of a garnishment. Their average annual salary was $44,000.

Challenges for older couples who are getting a divorce

Older California couples who are getting a divorce may face a number of financial challenges. Because they have fewer years left until retirement, they may have less ability to make up for the financial losses that the end of a marriage can produce. Since the 1990s, the divorce rate for people 50 and older has doubled despite going down for other age groups. Divorces can be costly even when they are relatively amicable, and some couples may spend thousands and thousands of dollars wrangling over assets.

Certain financial errors in property division can exacerbate this financial burden. For example, withdrawals from 401(k)s and non-Roth IRAs are taxable, and this should be taken into account when weighing the value of these accounts. Liquidating a brokerage account may result in a significant capital gains tax.

Tips for fathers going through a child custody case

Child custody matters have historically favored the mother of the children. Many fathers today aren't accustomed to the thought of being able to have access to their children more than every other weekend and a couple of weeks during the summer.

Today's child custody laws and guidelines are more father friendly. It is important that fathers employ appropriate methods to try to get either primary custody or to have more time with their children. Threatening the mother of your children or trying to use harsh techniques is likely going to backfire. Here are some tips to help you with your child custody case:

Common property division mistakes in a divorce

California couples who are getting a divorce should be aware that there are some common financial pitfalls to be avoided. One of these is trying to keep the family home on a single income. A person who does this may find that it is not possible to do the necessary upkeep.

This can also be a factor if a person decides to keep the home in exchange for a more liquid asset of roughly equal value. For example, the spouse might get the retirement or checking account. However, even though the values look equal, this might be a poor deal for the person who gets the home because of the expenses associated with it.

The likelihood of divorce in different professions

The California marriages of scientists, actuaries, physicians and software developers may be less vulnerable to divorce than those of flight attendants, bartenders and casino workers. A study found that people who work in the fields of math and science have lower-than-average divorce rates while the rates of those who work in transportation or whose work involves night life are higher than average. Professions that are more popular in rural areas, including military careers, forestry, fishing and farming, also had a lower-than-average divorce rate.

The study was based on data from the 2015 American Community Survey. In that year, the average divorce rate was around 35 percent, but it was higher than 50 percent for gaming managers and bartenders. For actuaries, it was less than 20 percent. Clergy had a divorce rate of around 20 percent, and the divorce rate for surgeons and physicians was just over 20 percent.

Is a quick divorce better for your children?

Divorce can prove hurtful to everyone involved, but children in a marriage are especially vulnerable to the deep emotional trouble that divorce can bring with it. In many cases, the longer that a divorce drags on, the longer that a child suffers needlessly, from the tension of the marriage, and from the uncertainty surrounding what is next.

As a loving parent, you understand what your children need better than anyone else. If you and your spouse need to divorce, it is possible that you can keep the process brief and to the point, moving seamlessly into a new phase of life before the weight of the divorce has time to weigh your children down.

The importance of protecting the ability to retire

Californians who are divorcing and who have retirement accounts need to take care to protect their savings . Making simple mistakes may expose people to significant tax liability and prevent them from retiring on time.

People should avoid paying for their divorces by taking money out of their retirement accounts. If people withdraw money from their 401(k)s before reaching age 55 or from their IRAs before reaching age 59 1/2, they will have to pay taxes on their withdrawals as well as 10 percent penalties to the IRS.

Should you keep your home after a California divorce?

When a couple decides to divorce in California, dealing with the property division process is unavoidable, and often more complicated than expected. Unlike most other states, California uses community property guidelines when determining how a divorcing couple divides up their assets, which means that the couple must divide all marital property equally.

While there is some flexibility in this arrangement, it is not nearly as flexible as the property division guidelines in other states, where most of them follow equitable division guidelines. This can make the property division process lengthy and difficult to navigate.

Getting prepared for mediation

When California couples decide to divorce, mediation is an option that could keep them out of the courtroom. A successful mediation can lead to a legal divorce that does not require involvement from a judge, but having a successful mediation is more likely if both parties do some advanced preparation for the actual process.

Being prepared emotionally for the mediation is essential, according to one mediator who says that part of that is to be prepared for unexpected emotions to pop up in front of the mediator. She assures couples that crying or angry outbursts are something that mediators are used to, and while these kinds of outbursts can stall mediation, they do not have to shut it down.

Making sure that divorcees can deduct alimony

When divorcing spouses in California come to an agreement regarding alimony, it's important that the order's language complies with the guidelines outlined by the Internal Revenue Service. If alimony orders are set up correctly, the payments may be deducted on the payor spouse's tax returns.

The Internal Revenue Service has outlined several mandates for deductible alimony. The agreements or orders must comply with all of the guidelines so that the alimony payments can be deducted. If the orders adhere to the guidelines, then the payor spouses can deduct the payments on their income tax returns.

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