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Oceanside California Divorce and Estate Planning Blog

Divorce may be hereditary

Parents across California who decide to divorce are always concerned with the way their children will be affected, especially in their future relationships. A new study shows that while children of divorce are more likely to divorce themselves, the reason why may be surprising.

As Health.com reports, researchers have uncovered new data showing that the likelihood of divorce may be passed down genetically. The study traced the marital history of 20,000 Swedish adults who were adopted as children. The researchers used information from the Swedish national registry to see whether adopted children followed either their adoptive or biological parents' footsteps in relationships. They were surprised to see that the adults who were adopted were more likely to have a marital history that resembled their biological parents and siblings, despite what happened in the relationship of the parents who raised them. 

Divorce and retirement realities

For any resident in California who gets divorced, the prospect of giving up half or some other portion of their savings let alone many of their belongings and possibly even their home can cause a lot of anguish. When a person is approaching or even past the age where they may retire, these concerns can extend far beyond the present moment. This is because financially providing for oneself during retirement can take center stage at this point in life.

CNBC highlights that this should be top-of-mind for divorcing Californians over the age of 50. If nothing else, people at this age have less time during which to make up any losses and to amass a reasonable amount of retirement income than their counterparts in their 30s, for example. For some people, getting divorced at this stage of life might even force them to delay their retirement plans or go back to work after they have already retired.

Plan to succeed when you write a new parenting plan for divorce

You're definitely not the first California parent who has had to tell their children they are getting divorced. You may have worried about your conversation for days ahead of time, but hopefully, your close relationship and reassurance to your children that you are there to support them made for a healthy, productive discussion. Now that that's over, you may now focus on the tangible aspects of your upcoming divorce, especially your need for a new parenting plan.

The court is the final voice of authority in all matters related to your divorce. However, it is legal for you to write your own parenting plan, and then submit it to the court for approval. In fact, this is typically the preferred way to do things as it allows you to have more input in your own plan and saves the court a lot of work.

The consequences of delinquent child support payments

Divorce can be stressful enough on its own; why should matters involving child support add to that stress? No matter how closely some spouses work with one another to reach a conclusion regarding their children, obstacles can nevertheless arise. Many Californians discover that their ex-spouse does not make timely child support payments, or none at all. What can parents who are owed money do in such situations?

Findlaw is quick to remind its readers that failure to pay child support is no light offense. Those who can afford the support but simply do not make payments could be found in contempt of the court, which could subsequently result in jail time. On top of court conflicts, failure to pay support could also damage an individual's credit score. Although these consequences are severe, there nevertheless exist thousands of cases in which parents do not meet child support agreements. In these cases, the parent who is owed money may work with a child support agency and make copies of all original statements and plans. If requests and enforcement do not succeed, a criminal charge for contempt of court can take place, but is seen as a last resort.

What financial mistakes are common in divorce?

With family vacations over and children settling back in school, many couples across California are filing for divorce. In what has been dubbed by some as divorce season, the back to school period routinely sees an uptick in couples choosing to break up. If you and your spouse find yourselves in this position, there are some financial missteps you should avoid.

According to CNBC, the handling of the family home in a divorce can have a huge impact on your financial outlook. Many want to keep the home for many reasons including consistency and stability for the children or holding onto happy memories, but it is imperative to do so only if it makes financial sense. While a home has value, there are also costs associated with its maintenance, which means that when assets are being divided up, an investment valued at the same amount as the family home on paper is likely worth more in reality. Keeping the house may also not be possible if you cannot afford the mortgage payments and costs of general upkeep.

Maintaining california's child support system

When it comes to divorce, the end goal is usually one that establishes order and balance between spouses -- not a dispute over child support. Yet sometimes such disagreements occur, especially over the topic of child support payments. California has a set legal system that assists parents with the many steps of child support, and it is important to understand the details of divorce and child support laws in order to make the best possible arrangements for everyone involved.

Most spouses are unaware of the procedures involved in determining support payment plans. The California Courts website provides a list of steps one can take when making major plans about a child's future, including working with a family law facilitator. This type of facilitator works with parents to prepare forms, explain court procedures and other details and, if the parents provide financial information, the calculated amount of child support. California Courts adds that every county contains a local child support agency in which parents may access information on child support, as well as collect support payments, without charge.

Taking measures to reduce the stress of divorce on children

As a parent, divorce can be a stressful and intimidating experience, but it may ultimately lead you to a better situation in time. However, your children might not be as capable of looking to the future, and instead they may view the situation in a negative light, potentially fearing the loss of a relationship with one of their parents.

The well-being of your kids is likely of the utmost importance, and you may wish to shield them from harm, but perhaps you are uncertain how to achieve this goal. Seeking guidance on ways to help your children deal with divorce could be in your best interests.

New studies say shared custody may be best

California parents who decide to divorce are often concerned that the strain of a divorce could hurt their relationships with their children, and this is one reason while child custody disputes can feel like a war. But a new study shows that it is in the children's best interest to split their time between parents.

As the Boston Herald reports, currently in the United States, mothers are granted primary custody about 80 percent of the time. Often times this was to provide a single stable environment for the children and to keep them out of any fights between their parents. Yet a study recently published by a researcher from Wake Forest University found that the effect of conflict on children in divorce is frequently given too much weight. In fact, the study found that children who can split their time between parents and maintain a strong relationship with both their mother and father are often not significantly affected by disputes between their parents.

The importance of updating your estate plan

California residents who have taken the leap and created a will or a trust should feel very good about this. It can be a relief to know that such plans are in place. However, it is equally important to know that this should not be considered a one-time endeavor. 

As CNN Money explains, there can be many life experiences that may necessitate a review of one's long-term estate planning. These things include divorce and marriage of not only the person who has created the will or trust but of anyone who may be a beneficiary or an executor. Just like many people want to include new in-laws in their family plans, they also don't generally tend to want a former in-law to inherit precious family assets or heirlooms.

Can postnups help stay-at-home parents?

It is not uncommon these days for both spouses in a family to be working full-time. While many a California couple chooses to continue this practice once they have children, others may want to consider having one spouse stay home with a baby or child. This choice may be made for a short time or planned for many years. It may also be made later on once a child is a few years old for various reasons be they health, finances, logistics or something else. 

Regardless of the timing or the reason, when one person considers leaving the workforce to stay home with the couple's children, Forbes recommends that creating a postnuptial agreement may be a wise idea. Even if a spouse originally thinks that they will quit working only for a short time, like a year or so, the fact is that they may change their mind and that one year could turn into 10 years. Over the course of this time, their professional experience and skills could become outdated making it hard or even impossible for them to get a job later on making a comparable amount of money as they had previously.

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