Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
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Oceanside California Divorce and Estate Planning Blog

What should I do if I get a Summons and Complaint?

When it comes to legal battles in child support cases in California, following the rules as precisely as possible is necessary to avoid conflict and negative consequences. Sometimes, part of the difficulty in adhering to court standards is knowing exactly what those are. If you have received a Summons and Complaint, there are several things you should do in order to ensure you fully comply and complete any requirements.

 

Taking a vacation from your custody arrangement

No matter what your feelings were for your former spouse, you were probably happy to see the divorce process end, even if you weren't happy to see the marriage end. Whether your divorce was contentious or amicable, listing, weighing and dividing your belongings was no doubt tedious and upsetting. Perhaps no part of the divorce was more emotional than deciding the custody arrangements.

In a perfect world, you and your ex-spouse worked out a plan together, and the court approved it. On the other hand, if you were unable to reach an agreement with your spouse through California's mandatory mediation, the court provided a plan based on the mediator's recommendations. This may be working as well as you expected, except that summer is here, and you want to take the kids on a special trip.

Estate planning for second marriages

If you have been divorced or widowed before in California and have met a new partner that you plan to get married to, you should pay special attention to your estate plan. Remarried couples may have very unique needs and situations to address when they make their long-term estate plans, especially if either or both partners has children from prior marriages or relationships.

As explained by Forbes, one of the things you should not only discuss openly with your new spouse or future spouse but also document in a will or trust is what assets should remain within family lines. If your wishes or the wishes of your partner are not clearly detailed in an estate plan, it may end up that each of you inherits things that the other person's children expected to receive. This may end up initiating conflicts that could be avoided by some pre-planning.

Social Security and Same-Sex Divorce

Couples across California may realize divorced spouses can be eligible for claims on an ex-spouse's Social Security benefits, but for same-sex divorces, there are a few important things to note. As Investment News notes, June 26, 2015 is the day the federal governement began to recognize all same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry and to have that marriage recognized by all other states in the country. This has also provided same-sex couples with the framework to legally divorce.

When it comes to Social Security benefits, any divorced couple has to prove that their marriage lasted at least ten years before one is allowed to make a claim on an ex-spouse's earnings record. Both ex-spouses must be over 62 years of age, and the person claiming the benefit on their ex's history cannot be remarried. For same-sex couples, proving the length of their marriage is not always simple. The Social Security Administration does allow some forms of domestic partnership or civil unions to count towards the ten years, but this depends upon the laws of the states. California recognized inheritance rights on January 1, 2000, so those divorcing in the state who were together prior to that date may not have that time count towards the relationship's duration. 

Data shows rise in divorce rate for female service members

Men and women who reside in Oceanside, California and serve in the military face many unique challenges. The stress of frequent moves and lots of time apart can sometimes be more than some marriages can stand. At Palmer Rodak & Associates, we understand that your divorce is different from other types of splits and we have extensive knowledge of the laws surrounding a military divorce.

Military.com reports that the statistics for 2016 are in and appear to show that the rate of divorce for female troops rose compared to the numbers for 2015. The divorce for military men, however, remained the same and has not changed since 2013. Because the numbers for men and women are so different, the numbers of intentionally calculated separately each year.

Using retirement funds to pay child support

Are you headed for or maybe even in the process of getting divorced in California? Do you have minor children for whom you believe you may be required to pay child support? If so, you will want to start planning now for how you will satisfy your child support obligations. Despite the best intentions parents may have of wanting to provide for their kids, making these payments can be difficult on a newly divorced person's budget.

One option you should know about is the ability to tap into your 401K funds to satisfy your child support award requirements. As explained by the U.S. Department of Labor, typically funds from these accounts are not allowed to be withdrawn without paying very high penalties and taxes. However, the use of a qualified domestic relations order may help you avoid the early withdrawal penalties associated with non-retirement accounts when distributions are for child support.

Irrevocable trusts, taxes and control

Many people in California do not always stop to consider the benefit of creating a solid estate plan. If you are one of those people who has committed to taking the time to put a plan in place, good for you. You and your family will have peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order and in alignment with your wishes.

If you are considering establishing a trust, you may be doing so because you have heard that a trust is more advantageous from a tax perspective than a will. That may or may not be true depending upon your situation. The type of trust you establish may also impact the ultimate tax implications for your estate. Fidelity explains that an irrevocable trust may offer some strong tax advantges but that does not come without giving up something and in this case that means control.

How can I make shared custody work?

Divorce is rarely easy for Oceanside parents. This is particularly true when it comes to shared custody agreements, which can be challenging under even the best of circumstances. Fortunately, there are some great tips that will allow you and your ex-spouse to provide a kind and loving environment for your children no matter what.

According to Parents, you should refrain from painting your ex as a bad parent simply because he or she was a bad spouse. In many cases it’s possible for an ex to remain a loving parent despite any difficulties that occurred within the course of a marriage. Also, your kids must have a loving relationship with both parents for the sake of their well-being. To this end, their best interests should trump any ill-feelings you have about the demise of your relationship,

Your military service could affect your custody arrangements

When a marriage fails to thrive, divorce is sometimes the best option. Dissolving your marriage will be a rough process. It is generally not an easy thing for anyone to deal with, especially if children are in the picture. If you are a military service member, as numerous California residents are, you may find that your job only adds to the stress of an already difficult situation, especially as it can affect final custody arrangements.

The simple truth is that military divorce is in a class all to itself. There are things that military families have to deal with that civilian families do not. Deployments and frequent reassignments, for example, make life particularly hard. These things also make filing for divorce and determining child custody quite challenging.

Understanding estate tax portability

People in Oceanside have likely heard for years that there are only two inevitabilities in life: death and taxes. Oddly enough, these two topics are often related. People work their entire lives to accumulate assets to pass on to their children, yet then have to face the potential of paying Uncle Sam one last time through an estate tax. Yet a lot of incorrect information exists regarding the estate tax. For example, many may not know that according to the Tax Policy Center, as recently as 2011, only one of every 500 people who died in the U.S. that year had estates that were taxable.

The federal government has set an estate tax threshold which designates which estates will be subject to taxation. Forbes Magazine reports that threshold to be $5.49 million for each individual. Thus, one can gift money to a beneficiary up to that amount without it being taxed. Married couples can combine their exemptions to leave up to $10.98 million while still avoiding taxes. However, one must careful when doing this.

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Del Mar Office
445 Marine View Ave Ste 300
Del Mar, CA 92014

Phone: 858-356-4568
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301 Mission Avenue Suite 205
Oceanside, CA 92054

Phone: 760-712-3889
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