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Understanding parenting time

Each family member can cope with divorce in unique ways. For this reason, any children involved may require additional time and support during the separation. On top of this challenge, parents often disagree over details of a child custody plan. What can California families going through divorce learn about determining parenting time, and how can they navigate disputes that might occur as a result? 

First, it may prove beneficial for everyone to hold a family meeting about future plans. Parents magazine refreshes those going through a divorce on certain strategies to use when explaining child custody and visitation to younger family members. Before this can happen, however, ex-spouses must agree on how they will discuss plans with children. Parents urges readers to avoid putting down ex-spouses, as this can present a conflicted message to young audiences. If it is impossible for ex-spouses to be in the same room together, Parents suggests discussing plans with children one-on-one. A child may not have to know a parenting time dispute at hand, but parents can ease the tension by explaining as much about future plans as possible.

Tips on preparing for a custody evaluation

If you are considering a divorce, or are thinking about leaving your significant other and there are children involved, chances are that there will be a challenge regarding custody and parenting time. Indeed, custody proceedings can be incredibly stressful and emotional, because most people view a decision to seek sole legal (or physical) custody as a personal attack upon the other parent.

No one wants a child to be a weapon in parents' personal battles against each other. As such, California family court judges may appoint a third party to conduct an investigation and issue recommendations regarding custody and parenting time. Most parents are apprehensive about custody evaluations. After all, who wants to be critiqued as a parent? Moreover, who wants a short series of meetings determining whether they can spend time with their child?

Why did the new tax law impact alimony?

If you are one of the many California residents who is contemplating a divorce, you will no doubt be interested to understand how the new tax law might impact you and your divorce settlement. If you might be responsible for paying spousal support to your partner, whether your divorce is finalized this year or next can make a big difference in what you might end up agreeing to. If you might be eligible to receive alimony, the timing of your divorce agreement may make a big difference in the amount of money you actually receive from these payments.

As explained by Forbes, under current laws, it is the spouse who receives alimony who is responsible for paying income tax on those dollars. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it will be the spouse who pays alimony who will be responsible for paying income tax on those dollars.

Untangling a visitation battle

With all of the baggage that can come with a divorce, stumbling upon an issue with visitation rights can only add to the long list of stressors. Although a large majority of divorcing parents opt for a court ruling or manage to determine a custody plan, countless Californians nevertheless struggle to find a balanced schedule for everyone involved.

In addition to the custody obstacles that a divorce can create, some parents face visitation violations from an ex-spouse that can become especially damaging. What are the options when it comes to these pressing predicaments, and are there any preventative steps parents can take to minimize the chance of a visitation battle down the road?

Child custody: current challenges and solutions

Because divorce can affect people in a number of complex ways, the process that follows can vary from situation to situation. For some California residents, paperwork may be the extent of the obstacles; for others, children are the main focus. As with any divorce where children are involved, maintaining structure as closely as possible is key. However, arranging a new schedule -- and potentially new living space -- for children can present its own set of challenges.

Not all situations end in a difficult manner, but most divorces can require a significant amount of time and consideration. For one California family, determining child custody was hardly simple: a murdered mother's family has recently struggled to gain custody over the surviving young son. The woman's ex-boyfriend was the main suspect in the case, resulting in two grandmothers battling for child custody. In this unique situation, one family is concerned about the child's future lifestyle, while another demands rights to become the boy's legal parents.  

401Ks and QDROs

California residents who get divorced will want to understand the different things that may impact the financial outcome of this major life event for them. During the discussions about how to split a couple's assets and debts, the subject of retirement accounts may well arise. In marriages where one person's 401K account is identified as a major asset up for being split between both parties, special care will be required in order to avoid some potential taxes and penalties.

The United States Department of Labor explains that because 401K accounts are held in one person's name only, that is typically the only person who is legally allowed to receive money from an account. However, in the case of a divorce the creation of a qualified domestic relations order may allow the other spouse to be identified as what is called an alternate payee on the account. With this in place, money can be paid from one person's retirement fund to the other spouse to satisfy a property division award.

Preparing for divorce

Nothing about divorce is easy. As if it wasn’t painful enough to finally come to the decision to go your own way, the details still have to be resolved. It will take time and a lot of “you time” to work through it.

More than just time, however, is the need to plan. There key things that you can do to make the rest of your journey to a new life a little simpler. There will be many challenges ahead, but with a good plan and the right support you can get through it.

Think you will never be able to co-parent? Think again

If you think about how you want your relationship with your soon-to-be ex will be after your divorce compared to how it is right now, chances are that you may be thinking that there is no way on earth that it will be amicable and productive. After all, the emotional scars may still be fresh and you may believe that he or she is so arrogant and self-centered that reasoning with them is all but impossible.

You may be right…for now, but even the most self absorbed people have a day of reckoning that requires them to look at themselves in the mirror and reexamine their priorities. When they do this, the way they treat people (especially exes) may just change. 

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