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Divorcing as a Stay-at-Home Parent

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Often one parent can give up their career to raise children. This is not because they have to, but often because they want to. They want to make sure that their child grows up with their attention and love, but sometimes that same love can wither between you and your spouse. However, some stay-at-home parents may worry about divorcing after not being in the workforce before so long, but here are some divorce tips to consider.

  • Look Over Your Financials – You will want access to your family's finances, not so much because you believe your ex-spouse may be squirreling money away, but rather to know where you stand. How much will you need to live and take care of your children? While you will likely have to return to work, it is good to consult a lawyer on how much alimony you can expect.
  • Know Your Skills – When looking for a new job, it is important to know your skill set. If you worked on highly technical jobs before, your old work skills may be a bit out of date. However, being a stay at home parent may have given you a whole new useful set of skills like being organized or working well with children.
  • Balance Your Time – While searching for a job will often mean you are away from your kids, you need to remember to balance your time. You were a major influence in their lives and with you suddenly gone, it can be difficult. Even if you are tired, be sure to make time for them.

If you are a stay-at-home parent going through a divorce, contact us today. The Law Office of Elena Mebtahi can make sure you get what is fairly yours in the divorce.

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How Cohabitation Effects Child Support

Friday, November 24, 2017

While it is often shown that many divorced couples live apart after divorce this is not always the case. In some recently severed marriage, neither party has the means to support themselves on their own. As such, they end up living their new life with their ex-spouse and children still in the home together so they have a stable environment. While this affects a lot of social aspects in the home, how does it affect child support payments?

In many cases, cohabitation does not have much of an effect on child support. However, it can make day-to-day financial aspects a little fuzzy for some couples. It could be argued that since you bought breakfast, then that is for the care of the child and should be deducted from what you owe, but typically courts will shoot this down. You will likely still be on the hook for the financial amounts.

There are some cases in which one parent experiences "substantial change" to their financial means that can cause child support to be modified, but often this is due to loss of employment or injury rather than cohabitation.

In other cases, one parent may waive child support from the other parent in an effort to combine income and care for the child in their best interest. This can be a mistake if it isn't clear or legally stated that payment needs to be restarted once the ex-spouse moves out.

Overall, cohabitation between divorced parents can be a tricky business because it can throw a wrench in so many divisions that happen during a divorce. If you are cohabitating and want to lay down the ground rules, contact us today.

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How to Craft a Long-Distance Parenting Plan

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Often when a couple divorces, one or both parties may move somewhere else. While this often isn't an issue for childless couples that each want to start over their own lives, when you share a child together, it can create a number of issues. Usually, there may be arguments over the residential parent who wants to move their child to somewhere new, but if the divorced parents can work it out, a long-distance parenting plan can be adopted.

One of the key factors to maintaining a long-distance relationship with a child is to establish frequent communication with them. While many long-distance parents choose to call or use programs like Skype or FaceTime to talk to them, it is important to remember that this does not replace visitation.

Visitation still needs to happen and depending on the child's age, the non-residential parent may need to travel to them or accompany them back. If you live quite a distance away and have a younger child, they will need to have an adult accompany them on airlines or buses, but older children may be able to travel alone. It is also crucial that visitation does not disrupt a child's daily routine.

In many cases, the non-residential parent may need to have visitation in the town where the child lives so that they can regularly attend school and other activities. However, often longer trips can be taken during school breaks where it is arranged that the child can travel to the non-residential parent's home. Some parents may choose to save up their visitation for a summer break, but in order to maintain a good relationship, communication is still key.

If you are in the process of divorce and still trying to hammer out a good visitation and child custody plan with you, contact us today. The Law Office of Elena Mebtahi can help advise you on great compromises as well as help you maintain your rights as a parent.

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Child Support and Fathers' Rights

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Learning of the stiff penalties associated with child support arrears, such as the suspension of a business or driver's license, can be tough. You might think that penalties have piled up through no fault of your own. You might even be unaware of the consequences of unpaid child support until you apply for a credit card or when you receive a notification that your bank account has been frozen. 

What Penalties can I Expect for Child Support Arrears?

You can expect to endure several different penalties for unpaid child support.

  • It's possible for your wages to be garnished
  • Lowered credit score because you've been reported to credit bureaus 
  • Liens could be placed on real estate
  • Driver's license or business license suspension
  • Frozen bank accounts 
  • You might even serve time in jail

What Happens if I can't Pay? 

Unfortunately, child supports payments are among the few types of debts that can't be eliminated during the bankruptcy process. If a non-custodial parent can't afford to pay off the debt, a modification request should be filed so that the courts are aware of a change in financial status. Keep in mind that if a motion isn't filed, a default judgment could be rendered against you. 

How is Repayment Enforced? 

Child support is enforced by the state, however, procedures for enforcement usually don't vary widely across states. The non-custodial parent will receive a notice concerning the process of how to adhere to payment time frames and other necessary instructions. If a significant amount of payment is owed, or if an unacceptable amount of time has passed, the consequences include jail time or probation.  

If an attorney in Los Angeles is what you need, please contact us immediately.  

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Are the Fees of a Divorce Tax Deductible?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

If there is one thing a divorce can cause upheaval in aside from your family life, it is with your taxes. After a split, your tax status can change dramatically. You may have to claim significantly less, but you can also deduct significantly less. While alimony has to be reported on taxes, what about the other financial matters associated with a divorce, like the legal fees?

One of the most beneficial things you can do when tax season rolls around the first year after your divorce is to consult a tax professional. The IRS can make even simple mistakes into very costly ones, which is why you want a professional to help you. However, while it can depend on your unique circumstances, when it comes to the tax-deductible nature of any divorce fees, most professionals will say it is not possible to deduct them. In general, the IRS considers a divorce and thus any fees from that as a personal expense, so it has to come out of pocket. Even if you somehow had to end up paying for the legal fees of your spouse, you still cannot deduct them.

In terms of spousal support, typically these payments are not deductible either, but there are some very special exceptions that may make a portion or all of it tax deductible. Unfortunately, tax law is so complicated it merits having a professional look over your fees. We are not tax lawyers, but if you need representation to make sure your divorce is fair and successful as well as doesn’t rack up tons of (non-tax-deductible fees), contact us today.

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Does Dating During a Divorce Have an Impact?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Once you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have decided it is over, it can be sad, yes, but it can also feel like an incredible weight has been lifted. Leading up to a divorce, things are often not in a happy place. When the marriage is finally over, you might be excited to get out there and meet new people, but dating before the divorce is finalized can be a risky business.

If the courts discover you are dating before a divorce is official, it can have a few serious side effects on the proceedings. One of the biggest worries is being suspected of marital misconduct. If you are in a new relationship, it can look and a lot like that relationship could have started before the divorce and even in no-fault states that can affect the division of property and spousal support.

Furthermore, when your ex-spouse sees you dating, it causes conflict even if you are no longer in love. No one wants to see their ex-doing better than them, and this can make coming to a calm and fair decision near impossible. Even worse, it can make child custody a real issue since the courts may decide a child would be less comfortable in a home with a new relationship or their child themselves may see you dating and decide they would prefer to live with their other parent.

While no one can tell you when you can date, if you are starting a new relationship during a divorce, it is in your best interest to keep it low-key until the divorce is over. If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about seeing someone new, contact us today to get our expert advice on the matter.

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What Happens if You Lie About Your Financial Standing in a Divorce?

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Lying about anything during divorce proceedings is never a good idea. As a married party, even if you aren't overly vocal about each other's lives, spouses tend to know a fair amount about each other, which makes lies difficult to pull off and never worthwhile. Yet, one of the most common lies that people will try to tell in divorce is about their finances. When beginning the divorce proceedings, both sides will need to fill out a financial affidavit. This helps the court divide up assets and make a decision in terms of alimony. Some spouses may want to receive more or pay less, making lying about their financial standing tempting, but no less wrong.

If you do happen to lie about your finances or suspect your spouse is, what will happen if, and very likely when, it is discovered?

If one party of a divorce is dishonest about their finances, they face serious penalties when it is discovered. Lying in any respect is lying to the court and against the law. So if you intentionally lie about your finances, the penalties can be as serious as criminal charges that may result in jail time.

However, the courts recognize that finances can be complex. If you did not knowingly lie about your finances, but rather miscalculated them, the judge will be more lenient, but you will still face penalties. Penalties for miscalculation can range from a stern and embarrassing talking to from the judge to awarding your soon-to-be ex-spouse more in terms of alimony. For example, if you made a $10,000 miscalculation, your spouse may be awarded those "hidden" funds.

The best course of action, always, is to be completely honest in a divorce and to have skilled professionals by your side. A quick trip to an accountant can easily help you sort out your finances while a great divorce lawyer will make sure to represent your interests to see that you are getting what is fair in terms of asset division. If you are starting divorce proceedings and need help sorting it all out, contact us today.

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Father's Rights: Make An Impact This School Year

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Children and teens are back in school. This means their summer routines are now behind them and they are getting adjusted to being back in school. Unfortunately, many fathers find themselves being shut out of school activities. Fathers can play a critical role in their children's daily lives, especially when it comes to school.

There are various things a father can do to help create incredible memories and stay involved in the lives of their children.

Eating Lunch With Your Children

If parents are allowed to each lunch with their children, you can try to have lunch with your son or daughter a few times this school year. Your child will feel proud and excited that he or she is having an opportunity to eat lunch with their awesome Dad.

Encourage Your Children

Whenever you have the opportunity to send your child a text message or a note, you should send an encouraging message. You may not think your child listens to everything you say, but he or she will be sure to remember the early morning encouraging text messages or letters you have sent.

Find A Support Group

When you find other fathers who are in the same position as you, you will be able to work together, share advice, and help one another become better fathers. You can find ways to encourage each other's children and find ways to make sure each child stays on top of all their educational goals.

Stay Involved

We understand that you have a busy life, but when you have the opportunity to attend a field trip, athletic event, or meeting, you should be there if you can. You will send a positive message when you sign up for anything that involves your child.

Fathers can work together in order to become the fathers their children need. Contact us today for more advice or more information on father's rights.

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Father's Rights: Preparing for Your Divorce

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Divorce is scary for anyone. But when you're a father and it seems like the deck is already stacked against you, it can be outright terrifying. Thankfully, father's rights have come a long way. Father's are regularly being awarded custody or substantial parenting time. Understanding the laws and being prepared can greatly increase the chances that you will get the outcome that you want. Here are a few things you should know BEFORE you file for divorce:

1. The court cannot award custody to the mother simply because she is the mother.

That being said, the court does give a very strong preference to the person they view to be the primary caregiver. The court will evaluate the emotional ties that the child has with each parent. They will also look at who takes care of the child's day-to-day needs such as bathing, meals, and education. If you are seeking custody of your child, it is important that you can show that you are actively involved in your child's life. Go to the parent conferences and doctor appointments. Coach the baseball team. Know your children's friends. If you weren't doing these things before, do them now.

2. The court will look at the ability of each parent to support the relationship between the child and the other parent.

Do not, under any circumstances, use your child as a way to punish the other parent. Threatening to withhold parenting time or worse yet, actually doing it is highly frowned upon by the courts. The same goes for talking bad about the other parent to your child. Not only will you hurt your child, but you will also greatly affect your chances of being awarded custody.

3. Stability is very important.

The court seeks to provide as much stability to the child as possible. This is why they give preference to the primary caregiver. But it goes beyond that. The goal is for the child to maintain as much continuity with their previous life as possible. This can mean staying in the same house and keeping the same schedule. If possible, it is important that you do not move out of the family house and do not make any drastic changes to your schedule. Delay any job changes or moves until after the divorce is finalized.

Divorce can be scary. We can help. Contact us today.

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Lessons from Mary J. Blige's Divorce

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Music fans and those going through a divorce might like to know more about the end of Mary J. Blige’s marriage to Martin Isaacs. The couple filed for divorce in July 2016, and Isaac’s requested $129,319 in alimony every month. That might make the $30,000 Blige was ordered to pay instead look small in comparison, but the singer is likely not happy with this decision as Isaac’s waived the right to spousal support when the couple signed a prenuptial agreement.

The judge assigned spousal support so that Isaacs can enjoy a similar standard of living as he did when married, which is normal for divorce cases. Between attorney’s fees for her ex and retroactive payments, Blige might owe around an additional $200,000.

While it seems like money might not matter to a musician as talented and successful as Mary J. Blige, the entertainer is reportedly deeply in debt. Blige said she owes millions of dollars because of tax issues and no profit from a European tour. Blige also may not want to support Isaacs anymore after she claimed he spent more than $400,000 when traveling with another woman while married to Blige.

There are several lessons one can learn from Blige’s marital woes.

1) It’s important to create a fair prenuptial agreement. A prenup can protect the more successful spouse’s assets while still providing for the other spouse. However, a prenup could be unenforceable if it favors one party too heavily.

2) The circumstances of a divorce could influence the proceedings. If one partner does something like cheating or breaking the law, this might be taken into consideration by a judge.

3) A judge’s orders are not always set in stone. If a change of circumstance occurs, you can ask the court for a modification. This could be necessary if you lose your job or fall ill and can no longer make payments at the same rate.

For more information about divorce, contact us today.

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