Articles Posted in Child Support

In the last five to ten years or so, we have seen the creation and rise of social media influencers on the World Wide Web. These people sell products, tell their stories, and create content for viewers of all ages. Social media influencers are prominent across all platforms, but tend to be the most prevalent on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube.

Most social media sites have terms and use agreements with age restrictions for creating an account. On most social media sites, the age of consent to make an account is around 13. For grown adult influencers making accounts for their families to share their journeys and stories, this is no big deal. However, for the babies, toddlers, and preteens that these parents’ film, it could be.

On some social media sites, such as TikTok, content creators make a certain amount of profit for every person over a certain threshold that watches their videos. For example, a content creator could make .10 cents for every person who watches their video while scrolling after 100,000 people have already watched. Now, while 100,000 views seem like a lot, that number is nothing when you consider that popular TikTok videos get over one million views in less than a day.

In a new interesting turn of events for the Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock divorce, a judge in Los Angeles County just awarded Clarkson primary physical custody of the former couple’s two children, River Rose, age 6, and Remington Alexander, age 4.

Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband of nearly seven years in June of this year, citing “irreconcilable difference.” Blackstock reportedly wanted the children to move back and forth between Blackstock’s family ranch in Montana, where he will be living, and Clarkson’s home in Los Angeles, where the children are currently residents. However, the court was not so willing to grant Blackstock’s request.

In the court order that ultimately ordered that Clarkson be awarded primary physical custody of the children, while both parents will have joint physical custody and joint legal custody, the judge found that “under the circumstances present in this case, the interest in providing stability and continuity for the minor children weighs in favor of [Clarkson] having primary custody.”[1] It is relatively common for the court to order that the primary custody be with one parent when one of the parents is moving away, especially in situations such as this one where the parties have an extremely difficult time co-parenting. Blackstock was still awarded weekend visits and a portion of holiday visits with the children, but the children will primarily live in California.[2]

Under California law, both parents are obligated to financially support their children until they reach the age of 18, or until they graduate if they are still 18 and in high school, whichever happens later. Except in cases of disability, California law does not contain provisions for adult child support, but as many parents know, adult children often have significant expenses they need help paying for. The most significant is typically the cost of college. Because child support terminates after a child reaches 18 (or graduates), child support will not cover tuition, room and board, books, and other college-related expenses in the large majority of cases.

Determining how (or if) you are going to pay for your child’s college education is hard enough for parents who are still married to one another. For those who are divorced, the decision is often even more complicated. Child support for a minor child is a financial matter, obviously, but the law sees child support as an entitlement belonging to the child—an entitlement that cannot be waived by either parent following a divorce. However, once the child is no longer a minor and is college-age, parents do not have a legal obligation to pay for their adult children to go to college. However, many parents do pay, and in a divorce it is understandable for each parent to want the other’s commitment to contribute to the costs of their adult children’s education. As with most other aspects of divorce, parties have a significant degree of flexibility when it comes to addressing the issue of their adult children’s college expenses.

One option that the parties may use to address the issue of their adult children’s college costs is to negotiate an agreement as part of their overall divorce settlement. Similar to an agreement regarding spousal support (or any other divorce issues), an agreement regarding college expenses should be clear on all of the key financial aspects as well as any limitations or conditions involved. For example, some considerations may include:

Some San Jose divorce, custody and/or support matters are assigned to a department where a judge is presiding, while other matters are heard in front of a commissioner. So, what is the difference between the two, and is one better than another?

A judge is elevated to the bench either by election or by appointment by the Governor. A judge must also be a licensed attorney to be eligible to serve on the bench. A commissioner, on the other hand, is an individual who is hired by the court to help out with a judge’s case load. Commissioners must also be licensed attorneys to be eligible to serve as a commissioner. Often, Commissioners work very closely with judges, and judges consider them essential for managing the work of the court.

Commissioners can perform judicial duties involving the determination of contested issues only upon the stipulation of the parties, but with that stipulation they have the same powers as judges. That means that the commissioner has the same power as a judge to hear a court case and make legally binding judgments. Per California Code of Civil Procedure Section 259, “[s]ubject to the supervision of the court, every court commissioner shall have power to do all of the following:

Trump’s administration has recently made several changes to current tax laws and among many other areas, the tax implications of divorce have been greatly affected. If there has ever been a time to “hurry up and get a divorce” it may be now.

A change in the new tax laws will eliminate a major break that many often took into consideration when contemplating divorce. That is the ability to deduct alimony or spousal support payments on your taxes. Any divorces finalized after December 31, 2018 will no longer receive the benefit of this tax deduction, which is why countless lawyers and financial advisors are warning clients who are contemplating divorce to act fast.

Agreements signed before the end of the year will still qualify for this deduction, but this can have huge financial implications when one party earns significantly more than the other. For decades, individuals paying alimony or spousal support to a former spouse were able to deduct the payments from their taxes, which often prompted the paying spouse to pay slightly more than they normally would agree to. This could have a huge impact on the paying spouse especially when there is a large gap in income between the two parties. According to the IRS, a staggering 600,000 Americans claim this deduction.

There are many costs to divorce, including the obvious costs of attorney fees, court filing fees, support payments, etc. However, many people often overlook the significant costs associated with maintaining two households, versus one. A recent article on SF Gate addressed the significant costs associated with physically separating including obtaining at least one or two new residences, furnishing those residences, moving, and maintaining the costs for said residence, without the benefit of two incomes. In some cases, given the extremely high cost of living in California, and particularly the Bay Area, this can be almost impossible. As such, it appears that many people are choosing, or being forced, to remain living together, despite a separation or actual divorce.

The costs associated with living separately can have a significant effect on a couple’s divorce case and can be a factor when determining spousal support, child support and property division.

When going through a divorce, the best case scenario is that everyone remains amicable and the need for litigation is avoided.

However, if litigation is inevitable, both sides at least want to try to come out of the process financially secure. These are common mistakes, all of which are avoidable, but all of which almost always end up costing you when going to court:

1. Going to court without a lawyer

President Trump’s tax reform bill, which was recently signed in to law, includes many changes to the United States Tax Code.

Some of those changes will in all likelihood directly affect California Family Law cases including divorce cases, custody cases and support cases. Child support and spousal support are two of the significant areas of Family Law likely to be affected by the new tax changes. Specifically:

Child Support: Currently the California guideline child support calculator uses a number of factors, including each parent’s tax bracket, filing status, deductions, including mortgage interest and property tax deductions, and personal exemptions to determine the amount of child support owed. Under the new tax laws, nearly all of those factors have been modified. The tax brackets have been revised such that many people will enjoy a lower tax rate. Additionally, the standard deduction has roughly doubled for all taxpayers. However, the personal exemption for the taxpayer, his/her spouse and children, has been eliminated. Additionally, the amount that can be deducted for mortgage interest has been reduced to include debt of up to $750,000, down from $1M. All of these changes may affect how much a supporting parent could have to pay for child support.

Becoming a single mom in your 30s might sound like everyone’s worst nightmare.

You have married the man that you thought would be your partner forever, you have a young child or even several children at this point and you are faced with the prospect of a divorce. All of the usual thoughts run through your head: How will I raise a child on my own? How will I explain to my young children that mom and dad no longer want to live together, how will I meet someone new?

While all of these questions can be very daunting and scary to face, as one single mom put it, she was no longer stuck in the “birdcage” that had become her marriage and was able to discover her own happiness in the face of divorce. This was not only incredibly important for her, but for her child as well. She was able to become the best mother she could be to her young toddler without worrying about the unintended consequences of a high conflict relationship. She could face her 40s and a new relationship without all of the pressures many feel throughout their 30s to get married and have children. That gave her a sense of peace in raising her son and taking her time to find an ideal partner before committing to a new partner

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