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California Family Law Blog

How co-parenting helps kids and parents

Separated or divorcing spouses in California who still have minor children at home know that one of the biggest challenges they will face is finding a way to effectively raise their children with a person they are no longer a partner with. It seems a bit illogical to expect that two people who could not find a way to remain in a relationship together could become effective co-parents but it is possible with the right steps. When done well, co-parenting benefits the children and the adults.

As explained by Thrive Global, when divorced parents collaborate effectively together, their children see them modelling healthy behavior. Kids also see that both parents are active in their lives and this results in children feeling more secure and safe than if they sense one or both parents have checked out to some degree.

Can my spouse take my business if we divorce?

If you are the sole owner or even a partial owner of a business in California, you should always be aware of the ways in which you can protect your company. If you get married, even after you have established your business, you may be wise to create a strong prenuptial agreement so that you do not end up losing some or all of your business in a divorce. If you create a business once you are already married, a postnuptial agreement may be able to help you.

As explained by Forbes, with or without a marital contract in place, there are steps you can take to avoid seeing all of your hard work be washed away along with your marriage. The importance of keeping your personal financial transactions and your professional financial transactions separate cannot be stressed enough. Any comingling of assets opens the door to allegations by your spouse that some portion of the business assets are also marital assets.

How do I address college costs in a divorce?

If you are the parent of a child who is still in high school and you and your spouse are getting divorced, it is important that you address the potential for upcoming college costs as you negotiate your divorce settlement. Even if your student attends a California state college or university, the costs can be very high. As explained by CNBC, without any documented agreement between you and your spouse, you could be on the hook to pay for everything. The worst scenario is that this would prevent your child from getting the education they want.

When determining how you and your child's other parent would like to share costs for college, it is important that you look beyond simply the costs for tuition. This is only one element of sending your child to school. The institution they want to attend will have various fees, books must be purchased or rented, a computer is needed and there may be costs for transportation so your child can visit on holidays and school breaks.

How can I financially prepare for a divorce?

If you are one of the many California residents who is married but may be contemplating a divorce, you are not alone. You may be wondering what your life would be like after a divorce and your finances may be a big part of this. If you have not been directly involved in all aspects of your marital finances, now is the time to get educated about as much as you can.

As explained by CNBC, you should make sure that you have access to all financial accounts. Learn the full value of all assets and debts shared between you and your spouse. Collect data on all living expenses including housing, utilities, health insurance, car insurance, out-of-pocket medical expenses, vehicle insurance, vehicle maintenance and more. If you have children, track and review the costs involved for extracurricular activities as well as daily living.

How will getting divorced impact my finances?

When a marriage ends, emotions often run high and people may not consider more practical aspects. This is understandable, as divorce can upend a person's entire life. They may not worry about their bank accounts just yet.

However, if you're thinking about divorce here in California, your assets are exactly what you need to take into account. If you let your emotions control how you handle your divorce, you risk significant negative impact on your finances. Fortunately, experts have advice about what financial aspects to consider during the divorce process.

What is a domestic violence escape plan?

Countless people in California and elsewhere are victims of intimate partner violence. You may wish to get away from your abuser, but you might not know how to do it. In fact, escaping a violent partner can be dangerous to you, your children and your pets. It is vital to have an escape plan in place before you attempt to leave an abuser.

As The National Domestic Violence Hotline explains, abusers use numerous tactics of fear, manipulation and coercion to keep their victims under their control. You may endure months or years of thinking the abuse is your fault and that things will get better if you only try harder. This type of emotional manipulation is one method an abuser will use to prevent their victims from leaving. You may also be afraid that your spouse will harm you or your children or come after you if you attempt to leave. Therefore, you will first need to create an escape plan, which can include the following points:

  • Documentation and evidence of abuse, such as photographs of injuries, screenshots of threatening text messages and police and medical reports
  • Emergency cash set aside in a place unknown to your abuser, preferably outside the home
  • Important documents, clothing and other belongings ready to be quickly taken during your escape or stored outside the home
  • Support from trusted family members and friends who know about the abuse

Are student loans split in a divorce?

If you and your spouse in California have made the tough choice to end your marriage, you will need to get a good understanding of your assets and debts. Identifying these things will be an important step in determining how you will divide your marital estate. California is a community property state so a divorce division is required to be equal for both parties although there are many ways that may be accomplished.

Even in a community property state, there is a recognition that debts incurred prior to a marriage may remain the sole responsibility of the person who brought them into the marriage. Student loan debt may often fall into this category. However, as explained by Student Loan Hero, there are some situations in which student loan debt may be considered to be part of the marital property.

Divorce in the face of serious debt

Marriage is understandably a complex thing given that it touches every aspect of a person's life. This means that your marriage could experience challenges from a variety of sources. For many couples in California, it is money that becomes a big hurdle to their ability to successfully manage their relationship. In fact, many a divorce has been precipitated in large part due to financial problems. 

When your debt load is so excessive that you are considering filing for bankruptcy at the same time that you are considering filing for divorce, you will want to carefully assess the timing of both of these decisions. There may be situations in which it is advantageous for you and your spouse to file a joint bankruptcy and then get divorced. There may also be times when it is better for you to settle your divorce first and then turn your attention to a bankruptcy or other means of addressing your debt.

Your home and mortgage when you divorce

If you are getting divorced and you and your spouse own a home together in California, you will need to decide whether to sell your home or to have one partner keep it. Family homes are commonly sold when people get divorced and there are many good reasons for this. One of the reasons it may be best to sell your home is to protect you from future financial challenges brought on by your former spouse.

As explained by The Mortgage Reports, if your spouse wants to keep your house, there are a few ways this might be done but only one that ensures you will be able to be completely removed from any financial liability or impact related to the home and the mortgage. To achieve this, your spouse must refinance your existing joint mortgage into a new mortgage in their name alone.

Reviewing COBRA coverage guidelines

One of the elements that those preparing for a divorce in Manhattan Beach most often overlook is where will their health insurance coverage come from. Per information compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, 67.2 percent of those insured in 2017 were covered under a private health insurance plan. Of that group, 56 percent were covered under an employer-sponsored group health plan. In such scenarios, the court will typically order that the parent whose employer offers insurance keep the kids on the plan. Yet what about their ex-spouse? Where are they to get their coverage from? 

The easy answer might be that they find a job that offers health insurance coverage as a benefit. Yet in many cases, those who spent years being covered by their spouse’s insurance might have difficulty immediately securing gainful employment. Fortunately, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows one to retain insurance coverage once their official affiliation with the entity that sponsors their group health plan coverage has ended.  

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