What Role Does A Parent’s Income Play In Child Support?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child support attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDuring a divorce that involves children, one of the parent ends up having custody over the children while the other parent pays a certain amount as child support. It is important that parents earn a substantial amount of money each year for child support. Parents with low income have often found themselves losing child custody battles. In some cases, child custody has been awarded to a third party due to low income by both parents.

Calculating the amount for child support

It is very important that parents calculate the amount of child support they need to pay. Parents should first work out where and with whom the children will live. Once that is sorted out, both parents should decide on a certain amount that must be paid for child support. The parent who loses custody battle usually become the primary child support payer. It is usually the parent with the higher income.

To calculate the gross annual income, parents need to look at their income tax return and the amount that is given. It will give a fair idea of what each parent earns in a month. Additionally, they should contact the Department of Child Support Services to help them chalk out the best plan for child support if they want their county to help seek and enforce a child support order.

During a shared parenting arrangement where the child has lived with both parents equally for a year, the paying parent becomes one who earns more. The child must have spent at least 30% of his/her time with each parent before the parents can be termed as joint custody.

Split parenting can occur when there are more than two children involved and when each parent becomes the primary caretaker of each child. In such cases, it becomes the duty to each parent to contribute equally for child support. But that again it depends on the annual income of each parent.

There are many child support calculators available online and the best ones are DissoMaster and XSpouse.

Conclusion

Parental income is very important for child support decisions because it determines how much each parent should pay for supporting their child. A child support calculator considers important factors like annual salary and expenses and determines the exact amount for each parent.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What To Know About A 4-Way Divorce Settlement Conference

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmIn divorce cases, the parties and their counsel can arrange and meet to do a ‘four-way informal settlement conference.’ Here’s what you should know about how these settlement conferences work during divorce, and what to avoid during the process to get the most out of such meetings.

Use your commitment to get results

A four way meeting involves four parties during the divorce, typically you and your divorce attorney, and your spouse and his divorce attorney. Going into such a meeting during the divorce process, it is important to keep an open mind and be willing to listen. If you have decided to take the route of divorce to work through your differences on things like division of financial assets and custody of the children, then a four way meeting is an important milestone.

Prepare!

Don’t go into a four way meeting unprepared, that is the single worst thing you can do for your case. Have all the information related to finances, work schedules, assets to be divided, custody or whatever else relates even remotely to the details you hope to discuss in the four way meeting. Have your set of goals in mind and be clear on what you want out of this meeting. Come with alternatives and your ‘next best’ option if you aren’t making headway with getting to your ideal outcome.

Speak up

This is a unique opportunity for you to sit across the table from your ex and work through your differences to a level where you are able to arrive at some kind of arrangement that you can both live with. Because both attorneys are also present, you can go over legal aspects and whether the solutions will hold in court. Unlike a regular divorce mediation meeting, a four way meeting may not involve a mediator, so you will not be ‘given’ a chance to speak, you will have to take it.

Be realistic

Don’t expect miracles in just one four way meeting. See it as a stepping stone to your ultimate goal of working out a mutually agreeable divorce settlement through the course of the divorce process. You may discuss only some aspects in this meeting, and deal with others later or through your attorneys.

Don’t show your weakness

Avoid getting too emotionally charged up, this will show your hand to your ex and give them a window to what matters most. If they’re bitter or vindictive, they could use your weakness to do you out of some other financial assets, by using this weakness as leverage.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

OCCourts.org – A Guide to Your Orange County Divorce Case Online

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmOnce an Orange County divorce case has been filed and you have case number, the parties and their attorneys can access their case online.  Www.occourts.org is the website you can go to for information on your case. This website highlights your case information such as status of your case in the court, anything and everything that has been filed in your Orange County divorce case, a detailed list of all the hearings that have happened and the parties and attorneys in the case.  It will also highlight the date set for the next hearing.

Interesting Facts about the Website

  • While the document list is there for you to view, you cannot view the original document. For that a trip to the court is necessary or you can order any documents from the case online and pay the processing fee by credit card.
  • Mistakes can sometimes happen and if you think there has been a mistake make sure you call up your Orange County divorce lawyer to confirm.
  • The website, despite being updated regularly, is not always up-to-the-minute accurate. There is often a delay in between receiving, scanning and getting the information posted online.

A Few Key Features

  • The case can be searched on the website using the name of case or its number. A name search will also require to enter a code to notify the system that not a computer spammer.
  • The initial screen of the case will highlight you the status of the case, the date of filing and the number of the case.
  • There are a number of different tabs on this screen and one that says “Register of Actions” tab will be the one that gives you a lowdown on what has been filed in your case up until this point. Whatever you may feel you miss here can be gotten by you through the family law clerk’s office.
  • Another section known as the participants will tell you the people involved in fighting the case. This will usually lay down you, your spouse and your lawyers.
  • There is also the hearings section to keep you updated on the dates that you need to be present in court on and the dates that have already gone by.
  • If you are interested in any document filed in your Orange County divorce case, the use of the shopping cart section will allow you to order it home. Of course the document you get will be a copy. The turnaround time is typically 3-5 days.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Life Insurance Considerations & Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmMore and more people are getting life insurance these days, and that’s a good thing. Yet there are very few people who understand the intricacies of this in connection with divorce.

Here is a list of a few “life insurance” considerations before you get into a divorce proceeding and what you need to consider if life insurance coverage is needed in the divorce agreement.

·        The Insured Spouse Should Go Through Any Underwriting Process Before They Sign the Settlement Agreement if Possible

If there is chance of the coverage not being available to the spouse as a result of health issues or if the premium is prohibitively expensive, the settlement needs to have other provisions included that ensure protection against a premature death. Some of these measures that can be used in an Orange County divorce settlement are trusts and other planning tools for estate.  If you and your spouse don’t have coverage as of now, it is best that any coverage you apply for is based on a rate and policy comparison for your situation.

·        You Shouldn’t Name Your Minor Children AsBeneficiaries, Even Via a Custodian

This is one of the most common errors made by parents going through an Orange county divorce. The reason for this mistake can either be a lack of knowledge or contemplation. Any payments made with such a designation of beneficiary will go straight into the UGMA account if the child has not yet reached an age of maturity. Even if you don’t list a beneficiary the court will be quick to appoint one. While this may not be problem per se, it can be when the child will have complete control to the account once they mature, which will usually happen once they are 18.

·        The Beneficiary Can Receive Notices for Premiums

The ownership of the insurance or who makes the payment does not matter. Irrespective of these intricacies, the beneficiary needs to be notified of about the status of the policy, which is also known as the proof of insurance. The insurance company is obliged to provide the beneficiary with a prior notice before the policy can lapse on non-payment giving them enough time to take appropriate action.

The Dilemma of Stay-at-Home Moms After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Child custody attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmPost divorce, stay-at-home moms, or ex-housewives in other words, face the dilemma of whether to get a job or not. This can cause high levels of anxiety and stress developing in them. The primary reason for this is that most of the moms, even those that had been employed pre marriage, would have been out of the game so to speak for too long. This makes them initially dependent on their husbands for financial support.

In this blog, we will talk about the impact of getting a job on the care and well-being of their children and on the support payments that they are receiving.

The Challenge of Balancing Children and Work

Raising a child can be a fulfilling but tiring experience. Balance that with holding a job for person who has been out of employment for a long time and it becomes an uphill challenge at the very least.

In today’s world, a college degree has become a norm and people are applying for jobs they are over-qualified for, just to make sure they are employed. In this situation, what are the odds that a stay at home mom who have undergone an Orange County divorce will be able to carve out a job?

Yet most of this largely comes down to a few factors. These factors determine if a mother that has gone through an Orange County divorce can and should get a job.

·         The Age of the Children and the Number of the Children

The more the children a mother has to care for and the younger they are, the harder the chances of her being able to simultaneous work, depending on the custodial schedule.  Another consideration is what is the point of getting a low wage job just to pay most of the amount you earn back to the day care provider.

This issue is more relevant for moms that are in their 40’s or less and the father of the children has been the primary breadwinner in the family. Hence when they decided to go for an Orange County divorce, it was decided that the mother would care for the children staying at home, while the dad would pay their expenses and needs.

What moms need to understand is that in the California and Orange County family law courts must consider the best interest of the child, so the age and number of children are certainly part of that consideration.  However, pursuant to California Family Code 3900, both the parents of the child have a responsibility to support their children.  Therefore, although the court will likely not force a stay-at-home parent to work at the first stages of a divorce case, at some point that parent will likely be held to make reasonable efforts to find employment and not leave the entire burden of supporting the child on the other parent.  The subissues here are many and so it is advisable to seek legal advice concerning such issues.

Getting Temporary Family Law Orders In Orange County

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce is an act of legal separation that happens when couples are unable to live happily with each other. There are many reasons for an Orange County divorce to take place. The reasons can range from a lack of compatibility to unfaithfulness etc. Irrespective of the reasoning though, when couples decide to call it quits in their relationship, they seek help from the Orange County family law court. Divorce cases in family law courts can be emotionally charged with each of the couple wanting to get the best decision in their favor.

There are many tools in the California family law legal system that can be used by couples to make sure that the case is going on smoothly and that they are able to get exactly what they want. One such tool that has been used by divorcing parties is the temporary order. Temporary orders are orders where the spouses want the court to rule on matters of importance temporarily until they settle the entire case or go to trial.

How Do You Get Temporary Orders?

The request by parties to be granted temporary orders in their favor is made by filing a Request for Order with the Orange County Family Law court at the Lamoreaux Justice Center, in Orange, California.  A Request for Order (RFO) is simply put a request put forward by the spouses for the court to make certain orders in their case.

The Process of Bringing a Request for Order

For a Request for Order process to start, both parties need to file papers in the courts that highlight issues that the judge will need to pass a temporary order on and their sides of the case and the order that they believe should be ordered, and the court will schedule a hearing date for the RFO.

At the day that the actual RFO hearing is scheduled, the divorce lawyers from both sides will generally present testimony to the court and highlighting the law and make the legal arguments that they believe applies to their case for them to get a temporary order in their favor.

When it comes to the actual hearing, the burden of proof of proving his or her claim to the court is entirely on the person filing the RFO.

Types Of Temporary Orders

While the family law court can hear a number of issues, there are generally only a few matters that they will make temporary orders for. Here is a list of a few of them:

How to Handle the Low-Earning Spouse’s Narcissist Behavior in Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmPreviously, we have written about the narcissistic spouse in a relationship and the problems they may create for the other spouse. In the context of this article, let us revisit the definition of a narcissist. A narcissist is someone who loves himself (or herself) more than anyone or anything else in the world. These types of people continue to live in a world of fantasy, a world that revolves around them. Yet, when you get involved in a divorce with such a spouse, there are likely to be complications in the case.

This article is focused on helping the high earning spouse deal with a narcissistic low-earning spouse and how they are likely to drive up the costs of the litigation and create hurdles in the process.

Using the Children as Leverage

Orange County divorce cases can become territorial and contentious when children are involved. One of the worst maneuvers that narcissistic low earning spouses can make is to try and use the children as leverage. There is a variety of reasons why these parents retort to such means. The use of the children is simply to hurt the other spouse. This tactic can be completed through a number of steps such as interfering with the other spouses, custodial rights, not allowing adequate visitation times, and even retorting to false accusations.

In case where high earning spouses face such tactics, it is strongly advised that they use contempt of court proceedings to enforce their rights. Contempt of court proceedings will also make sure that the narcissist parent will have to face court penalties for their erratic behavior.

Conditioning of the Children, Alienation and False Allegations

Narcissist parents try to exert undue influence on the minds of the child to try and keep them from their higher earning spouses. This tactic, if found, is likely to result in severe punishments by the courts. One of the first things a spouse who is facing such a narcissist parent at the other end should do is request for custody and visitation modification. The courts are unlikely to allow a parent who is involved in such misconduct to keep the custody of the child under the rules of deciding on the child’s best interest.

The Attorney Fee and Sanctions Motion

Perplexed by the fact that your spouse who is a low earner cannot afford these orders? It is important for you to understand, however, that the Orange County family law court does not limit the attorney fee awards. The only thing the courts are likely to look at in this regards is whether the parent being fined has community property or some kind of equity or not. If that is the case, the court will assume that the party in violation is able to pay such costs and will likely order it against the party that has been proven to cause unnecessary delays.

Bankruptcy and The Effect on Child and Spousal Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County family lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the areas of law that has been in the spotlight in recent times is the effect of bankruptcy on the payments of child and spousal support. A large number of people have started to file for bankruptcy in that a declaration of bankruptcy can bring an automatic end to the payment of child and spousal support. This area of law is one that continues to require further elaborations. This blog provides you with details on this aspect of law with respect to bankruptcy and spousal supports and child supports.

The Bankruptcy Code attempts to protect the rights of the former spouses and children, and therefore it states that any support that has been agreed on or ordered by the court is non-dischargeable in the case of bankruptcy.

The spouse that is being given the support needs not have to file any kind of documentation or proof of their claims to be able to enforce their right of continuing to get support. As far as the cases are concerned, once a debtor files for bankruptcy in the court, all the creditors need to stop all collection with respect to the collection of their debts. This is called an automatic stay. An automatic stay means that all kinds of garnishments, creditors, and banks refrain from calling you at all hours of the night.

What if my Alimony Support and Child Support comes from my Spouse’s Paycheck and My Spouse Files for Bankruptcy?

It is true that any child or spousal support orders which depend on the paycheck of a spouse are generally affected by the filing of bankruptcy. This, however, is subject to a few restrictions. In a wide variety of cases, the spouses can rack up a considerable amount of money by nonpayment of spousal support. The courts make sure that this is not the case and will make sure that these arrears are settled before the filing for bankruptcy takes place.

What if I file a Motion for an Increase in Child Support or Spousal Support and My Spouse Files for Bankruptcy?

In the most common circumstances, the courts are not likely to delay the hearing of the spousal support and child support until the case for bankruptcy has been decided. Instead, the bankrupcy will likely only delay the division of assets and debts for at least six months until the bankruptcy is resolved.

A Guide for Dads In Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce Lawyers Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you are looking to make the most of your divorce case, one of the most important people is your divorce lawyer. The importance of divorce lawyers cannot be stressed enough since they are the mouth pieces of the spouse in the court and are the ones who develop your case strategy. Keeping these facts in mind, it is important that you are able to get services of the right attorney for you that is suitable to your case.

The Bias Sell

There are things that some divorce lawyers do to try to get a potential client to retain them.  One of these things is claiming bias exists in the legal system.  In other words, such lawyers sell to their clients on the claim that the California law system is somehow against men.  As far as their claim of bias is concerned, California Family Law section 3040 states that, “In making an order granting custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other factors, which of the parent is likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with a non custodial parent.”  In this day and age, there is no general bias against men or fathers in divorce or custody cases, and custody is generally decided on the circumstances of individual cases.

The Over-Aggressive Sell

There are a variety of lawyers that use aggressive selling techniques to make sure that they are able to entice the client into using their services. Such lawyers are likely to use the action words such as “going for the kill”, “taking her down” and “squeezing each and every penny from them.” These kinds of lawyers are likely to tell the father that litigation is the only chance that they have of success and to teach the mother a lesson. This, however, is not the case, because the more you go aggressively against your spouse, the more bitter the effect it is likely to have on your children.

The Unethical Sell

It is imperative to avoid anyone who may encourage clients to evade and disregard the law in a bid to protect their assets or position themselves favorably in custody cases in a less than honest way. False allegations and incomplete declarations of assets is one example.  It is always better to be transparent when it comes to disclosure of assets and what the “truth” really is, because taking the low road can often backfire and have negative consequences in your case.

Health Insurance and California Child Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

best divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmIf you take a closer look at the California child support orders, you can usually note that they have the cost of health insurance factored into the child support number’s guideline. While most people are aware of the fact that the health insurance cost has been factored into this guideline, the reason for this action is still unclear on most people. In this blog, we are going to talk about how the Orange County family law courts consider the health insurance coverage in the child support order.

Before we talk about this aspect however, let’s take a look at what health insurance actually is. Health insurance in reality is when your medical costs are covered by an insurance that is paid for by deducting a certain amount from your monthly or yearly pay.

If either of the spouses has a health insurance coverage, the courts are likely to order that parent to continue with that health insurance coverage as long as that insurance is available to the child at no cost or at a very low/reasonable cost. It is important at this point to identify that health insurance is likely to cover not only hospital costs but also costs that are incurred on vision and dental care. Health insurance is often needed to be maintained and the most common way of doing so is by getting an amount deducted from the gross pay that is ordered in addition to the California child support number.

As far as the effect of this order is concerned, it can be termed as one that is equal in its importance to that of a child support order. The family law court has the power to, in case of non compliance of this order, to punish the non-compliant spouse. The fact that child health insurance factor is added in the child support order means that the addition of the health insurance cost coverage of the child will reduce the amount of child support that such a parent would have to pay.

It is important to be able to distinguish the uninsured medical costs from the insured medical cost coverage. It is also worth noting that in case one parent is spending on the costs of the child’s medical care, even though the child has insurance coverage, that spouse is unlikely to receive any kind of reimbursement against those costs. In some circumstances however, the courts can take into account the situation of the case and are likely to award the other spouse to pay the paying parent a reimbursement of 50% of their amount.

 
No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.