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Fullerton Family Law Blog

Accruing wedding debt can eventually lead to divorce

For Californians and people throughout the United States, weddings are a major life event they want to celebrate with family and friends. While this is understandable, it can also have ramifications in the future. Paying the wedding debt can be a struggle. As couples begin their married life together, significant debt can cause problems in the relationship and eventually lead to divorce. Statistically, this has been shown to be a growing concern.

A recent study by LendingTree indicates that many couples who have gone into debt from their wedding have thought about divorce. An estimated 45 percent of people from 18 to 53 were in this situation. Almost half said they considered divorce because of it. Comparing that to those who did not accrue debt from their wedding, 9 percent thought about divorce.

The potential benefits of a postnuptial agreement

California couples who are currently married may want a way to protect assets that have been accumulated during their time together. This may be done by creating a postnuptial agreement. It may be beneficial for couples who are trying to be more responsible with their money or who have decided to start a business together. Those who are expecting to receive an inheritance may want to clarify how it would be treated in the event of a divorce.

Both spouses may want to hire their own legal counsel to review the document before it goes into effect. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to take family dynamics into account when crafting its terms. For example, couples who have adult children may want to consider how they may be impacted if a business were split in a divorce.

Helping children do well in school during divorce

Your spouse asks for a divorce, and your first thought isn't even for yourself. It's for your children. You know how important their education is, and you have heard far too many stories about the negative impacts of a divorce. You worry that they'll act out, become apathetic, let their grades slip and much more.

Of course, you can't control whether or not you get divorced. It only takes one person. If that's what your spouse wants, you can't stop it. So, how can you support the children through this period in their lives?

How a child's age affects the parenting plan

Parents in California that are going through a divorce must consider their child's age when negotiating a parenting plan. Although a 50-50 split custody agreement may sound fair on the surface, it might not be in the best interest of a very young child. That's because babies and toddlers need to be with their primary caregiver most of the time.

Research on childhood development has shown that babies need to be with their primary caregiver almost the entire day, every day. Babies should also see their other parent a few times a week so that they can form a healthy attachment to both parents. As a child ages, they will be able to spend more and more time with their second parent as their ability to handle change and stress increases.

Many experts say divorce filings increase in January

The waiting period for divorce in California is one reason couples might file for divorce in January, hoping to wrap up everything by summer, but this is not the only reason many experts say divorces spike in January. Other reasons cited are wanting a fresh start as the new year begins and the realization during the holidays that the marriage is over.

The holidays can be stressful, and couples spend a lot of time together traveling and visiting extended family. This can be the final straw in which one or both spouses discover they no longer want to continue in the marriage. In other situations, there may have already been a decision to divorce, but the couple waits until after the holidays to get it underway. This may be particularly true for parents, who are unlikely to want to inform their children a few days before Christmas that they are getting a divorce.

Negotiating prenups and cohabitation agreements

Some couples in California may want to sign a prenuptial agreement or even a cohabitation agreement before moving in together. This can be a good idea, but it can also make for a difficult conversation. This was the case for one woman whose boyfriend asked her to sign an agreement before she moved into the home that his mother helped him buy.

The woman had already agreed to pay a reduced rent and half of the utilities, but she refused to sign the cohabitation agreement. Specifically, she objected to the part that said that if they married, she would not get any spousal support or other financial compensation regardless of her contributions to the house. In fact, it is not unusual for the first draft of a prenup to be a kind of boilerplate if the couple have not discussed these issues first. An attorney might draw up a document like this with the aim of protecting the client. This can be a starting point for discussion.

Why engaged couples need to talk about prenups

It can be challenging for newly engaged couples in California to focus on the pragmatic side of their future marriage, like discussing finances. While it may not be the most comfortable thing to do, focusing on the benefits of discussing finances early on in the relationship can help a couple address these topics.

A prenuptial agreement gives the couple the opportunity to put a customized agreement in place that will protect both of them if they decide to divorce in the future. It usually lays out how assets and liabilities are divided if the marriage ends. Having this agreement in place can prevent lot of frustration and arguments later on. It can also save them money.

Those father/children relationships are very important

Children need to have a relationship with both their mother and their father. This is especially true after divorce, when these relationships can change. It's important for both parents to be involved.

Unfortunately, some people buy into the stereotype that fathers cannot raise children or fill that parental role. They say things like:

  • A father is "babysitting" when he is with his own children
  • The father is just a "second-rate mom" to a child
  • The children are the mother's responsibility, not the father's

Dealing with child custody and international abduction

International marriages and partnerships are part of many California residents' lives. People may work and live outside the country and develop a relationship there, or they may connect with a foreign national living in the United States. When any relationship comes to an end, the resulting legal and financial issues can lead to serious disputes, especially when there are children involved. Both parents may want to have more time with the kids, and either parent may see the court system in their area as biased against them. Custody violations and even abductions are all too common even inside the United States, such as when one parent takes the child away in an attempt to maintain full custody or defy a court order.

The situation is much more complicated when an international conflict is involved. One parent may attempt to leave the country with the child, taking him or her to the parent's home country where the laws may provide much greater support to their custody claim. As most child abductions involve child custody disputes, there is an international treaty designed to deal with the legal issues that arise when one parent runs off with a child outside the boundaries of a child custody order.

Never use these reasons to refuse child visitation

Courts in California and other states are likely to grant visitation rights to a non-custodial parent unless it is assumed that the child would be in danger. Despite this fact, squabbles often take place between co-parents. Here are a few reasons a custodial parent may try to use to deny visitation rights illegally.

Hostility and bitterness may have led to the divorce. After a couple separates, a custodial parent may try to utilize the only leverage they have left, which is the child. This is illegal and not in the best interests of the child. This could lead to the custodial parent losing custody, facing fines and dealing with jail time.

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