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Fullerton Family Law Blog

Pros and cons of an adult conservatorship in California

In some instances, legal adults lose or never achieve the ability to care for themselves sufficiently. That leads those who love them to consider an adult guardianship, which is called a conservatorship in California. This form of protection for a person with limited abilities for self care comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, all of which deserve careful consideration before pursuing conservatorship for an individual in need.

The primary advantages of conservatorship are the peace of mind it can bring to those who love the individual in need and the legal framework it provides for making sometimes difficult or controversial decisions for the individual receiving care. Family members can take comfort in knowing that their loved one has astute guidance in personal and legal matters, especially when it comes to dealing with third parties and complex financial decisions.

Is inheritance always separate property in divorce?

A whole host of legal protections usually designate the inheritance of one spouse as his or her individual property, but depending on when the inheritance gift occurs and the choices that the receiving spouse makes surrounding how to store and use the assets of an inheritance, it is not always simple to determine what is and is not inheritance at all.

The specifics of each couple's case may make all the difference when it comes to inheritance. Generally, the law prefers to protect inheritance during divorce, but the receiving spouse's own financial behavior may make that difficult.

Alimony tax changes may complicate divorce

Alimony laws have varied from state to state for years, making it necessary for couples considering divorce to look into the applicable laws in their state to understand how to fairly address the issue of spousal support. Depending on the nature of the divorce and the laws of the state where a divorce took place, the terms of alimony varied significantly from one couple to the next, but once fair terms were reached, paying spouse's could take some comfort in the tax breaks associated with paying support.

Under the new tax laws recently passed in Congress, this long-standing benefit to paying spouses is no longer applicable, leaving many couples struggling to understand if they can even afford to get divorced if alimony is on the table.

Declaring parentage in California

When two parents are not married at the time a child is born, the father of the child may not automatically receive parental recognition or rights. In fact, the father may not enjoy many parental rights at all until he claims parentage through a declaration of paternity. Declarations of paternity are voluntary and assign parental rights to a father once completed.

A properly completed and filed declaration of paternity may grant a parent a number of advantages and legal protections, including

  • Legally establishing and protecting the child's right to inherit property from the father
  • Allowing the parent to add the child to his insurance plan
  • Ensuring that the father's veteran's benefits may pass to the child
  • Legally adding the father to the child's birth certificate
  • Legally establishing the man as the child's father

What might render a prenuptial agreement invalid?

If you signed a prenuptial agreement with your wife before the marriage and she is challenging it as you divorce, you may be wondering if she actually has a case. The reality is that sometimes, yes, prenuptial challenges are invalid and do not succeed.

Here are some examples in which a court might toss out an agreement.

Factors that determine alimony

If you face divorce and believe that the property division negotiation may include spousal support, it is important to understand the factors that a court may look at to determine fair terms. Spousal support may differ significantly from couple to couple, and is not generally an area of the negotiator that a court allows a couple to completely dictate on their own, although a court may consider spousal support terms that a couple negotiates together.

When considering how to award spousal support, a court may look at

  • The income and assets of each party in the divorce
  • Children that either or both spouses must support
  • The length of the marriage
  • Sacrifices on the part of one spouse to support the career opportunities of the other
  • Each party's separate earning potential
  • The standard of living establishes within the marriage

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich

Every couple who chooses to get married should at least consider a prenuptial agreement, for their own sakes and for the sake of their marriage. While many couples still think of prenuptial agreements as something for those remarrying or dealing with significant resources (and they certainly are), the protections that a prenuptial agreement offers may prove invaluable to any couple, no matter who young they are or how few resources they currently possess.

One of the most important parts of any marriage is intentionally looking into the future and planning ways to love and protect each other. Prenuptial agreements offer opportunities to achieve both. For instance, even if neither spouse has many belongings or assets, things may not stay that way forever, especially if one of the spouses may open a business or create some work of art that holds great personal value to them.

What is family court services mediation?

When separated or divorcing parents face difficulty creating a parenting plan they both can both agree on, they may have more options than they realize. The court is primarily concerned with the best interests of the child, but prefers for parents to design a parenting plan that works for them and also places the best interests of the child as the highest priority. if a couple cannot reach a fair agreement otherwise, they may consider using family court services' mediation to work out a parenting plan they can both agree to.

Mediation works differently than traditionally litigated divorce. In a mediation session, family court services use a trained mediator who understands all of the legal issues at hand to work with each parent to reach mutually fair agreements. As a professionally trained mediator, this person can help each party identify priorities and reliably help each side reach mutually fair compromises.

Protect your rights as a grandparent

If your grandchildren's parents face difficulty in their relationship, it may seriously affect your ability to visit with the grandchildren and act as a positive influence in their lives. Often, it is wise to consider the legal options you have available to protect your custody rights as a grandparent. While grandparents' rights are not often a priority in family court, by taking steps to protect your rights now, you may have more options to protect the ones you love in the future.

Grandparents' custody rights often face complications when a couple splits up or chooses to divorce. If your child faces the prospect of losing all or most custody and visitation rights to his or her child, then you may lose many of those rights as well. Often, when one parent tries to limit the other parent's access to their children, the grandparents also lose access.

Key divorce deductions are going away soon

Under the new tax laws recently passed in congress, couples who choose to divorce in 2018 could see major changes that affect multiple areas of a divorce negotiation. Most notably, divorces that involve some form of spousal support must now contend with new tax obligations for the paying spouse. To make matters more complicated, these changes take affect on January 1, 2019, meaning that divorces completed within 2018 may favor one party differently than those completed after these rules activate.

The main issue at stake is a change in the way that spousal support is taxed. Both parties may see an increase in taxation, but the paying spouse also loses an important deduction. After January 1, 2019, spouses paying spousal support may no longer deduct spousal support payments from their personal tax returns.


Law Offices of Indu Srivastav, APLC
1400 N. Harbor Blvd., Suite 601
Fullerton, CA 92835

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