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Palo Alto California Family Law Blog

Why do children need their fathers?

Whether you are currently going through a divorce in California or you are considering the matter, there are a lot of issues negotiate. One of the most difficult may be that of child custody and determining where your children will live once you are divorced or separated. While some children are placed in single-parent households, studies show that children fare better when they have consistent exposure to both their father and their mother. In fact, there are many studies conducted by different organizations reporting the importance of fathers in children’s lives.

One study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education reported that children were 43 percent more likely to earn good grades when they had highly involved fathers in their lives compared to children who did not have active fathers. Furthermore, children with active fathers have a higher self-esteem, achieve higher levels of education, maintain stronger relationships and show less behavioral problems. It starts early, when children are toddlers. Fathers tend to provide a sense of security and help kids to be confident when exploring new situations.

What are the different types of marital property?

When you file for divorce in California, there are many issues that you must negotiate in the final divorce settlement. One of the most overwhelming may be that of property division and determining who is entitled to what in the settlement. California is a community property state, meaning all marital property and assets are divided equally in half. You must be fully aware of all martial assets, however, in order to ensure you receive everything you are entitled to in the settlement.

There are some items that you may not consider to be marital assets or overlook completely when it comes to dividing property. These include the following items:

  •          Expensive collections, such as antiques, coins, cars, art and jewelry
  •          Memberships to exclusive country clubs, golf courses or other clubs
  •          Travel rewards points
  •          Lottery winnings and tax refunds
  •          401k plans, stock options and term life insurance policies
  •          Intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights, and patent royalties

Prenups: not as touchy as you might think

It may not sound romantic, but marriages are a type of business arrangement. When you get married, you take on your spouse’s financial successes and burdens. While this is not always a bad thing, there is always a risk involved. That is why some couples think about and eventually choose to create a prenup.

Many people think prenuptial agreements are a taboo subject and run the risk of ruining a relationship. However, many younger couples are now creating prenups, with success. How as the perception changed about these arrangements?

What are the benefits of alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR as it is commonly called, refers to the method of resolving legal disputes without having to go through litigation. Though California judges might review the validity of chosen ADR methods used in divorce, they will rarely overturn the decisions made in the mediation sessions. If you are about to embark on divorce in California, there are several reasons for why you should consider alternative dispute resolution. 

According to the Judicial Branch of California, ADR is a less time-consuming, less expensive and less formal approach to divorce. Though not a mandatory process of divorce, the court does encourage divorcing parties to give ADR a real chance for reasons it summarizes on its site. The top two reasons to pursue alternative dispute resolution in your divorce are, of course, time and money. Many lawsuits take up to a year to resolve, whereas parties can typically resolve a matter within weeks, or months on the outside, when they choose to go through ADR. The speediness with which disputes are resolves means fewer court fees, fewer attorney fees and minimal, if any, litigation expenses. 

How do you co-parent your children?

When you and your spouse divorce in California, you may sometimes be ready to part ways permanently. If you have children, however, it is important for you to find a way to effectively co-parent your children.

When you and your spouse realize you will need to co-parent your children, it is a good idea to sit down and make a parenting plan. According to, this plan should include information about how you will discipline your children and keep their schedules consistent. It is also a good idea to discuss which expenses you will share and how you will make decisions about the children's education and health.

Control your divorce process

What is divorce to you? Many people in California look at it as the end of a relationship. However, relationships tend to persist — whether we want them to or not. This is even more so when ongoing maintenance agreements are involved, such as alimony, child custody and child support.

Our first goal at the Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin is often to help our clients understand that divorce is a new phase of a relationship. Even after you sign all of the documents, you would likely still have to interact regularly with your ex. Luckily, there are ways that you might make the ongoing process as painless as possible. 

What is palimony?

You know you can sometimes win a spousal support award in a California divorce, but did you know that in many cases you can also obtain support when you end your nonmarital live-in relationship? Per FindLaw, California is the only state with a unique law that provides for palimony when cohabiting partners end their relationship.

Back in 1971, a woman by the name of Michelle Triola sued her live-in partner, famous actor Lee Marvin, for both half of his property and for “spousal” support when their long-term live-in relationship ended. She alleged that the two of them had made an oral agreement at the beginning of their relationship whereby she agreed to give up her career and devote her time, energy and services to him in exchange for his promise to give her the things for which she sued if and when they split up.

Technology can help streamline your co-parenting process

Co-parenting with a former spouse after a divorce can be a challenging task for many parents. Although your marriage ended, your relationship as the parents of your children will most likely continue following a divorce. For parents with a joint custody arrangement, time management and open communication are integral elements of maintaining a productive dynamic.

To facilitate this level of cooperation and communication, some former spouses in California may need a little extra assistance. Technology is part of most people’s everyday life, so why not use it as a mechanism to simplify and streamline your co-parenting arrangement?

Uncontested divorce is not recommended for everyone

In a best-case scenario, divorcing couples in California and elsewhere would be able to sort out their disagreements without the aid of the court. The fortunate ones who do so end their marriages amicably through alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative law. At the Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin, we understand that not everyone can succeed with an uncontested divorce. There are some circumstances when your interests might be best represented through litigation.

As the American Bar Association explains, mediation and other forms of uncontested divorce can have numerous benefits, such as reducing conflict, lowering your costs and taking less time than going to court. However, the following situations might complicate an attempt at an amicable divorce:

  • Domestic violence was a factor during your marriage.
  • Your spouse had a problem with alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Your spouse earns significantly more money than you, and he or she may use the financial advantage against you.
  • Either you or your spouse are unable to discuss issues civilly and keep an open mind about solutions to your disputes.
  • Both of you are adamant about getting full custody of your children.
  • The mediator in your divorce case is not acting impartially.

Do you need tax and financial professionals when you divorce?

Your legal counsel can be a valuable ally when you are divorcing. However, you and other Californians who have significant assets may not want to put your trust in only one person. It may benefit you to seek the advice of those with experience in financial and tax matters when you are preparing to separate your assets.

Fox Business explains that even in community property states like California, an equitable distribution of marital assets is not necessarily fair. Marital assets are those that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage, such as the money you both put into a joint savings account, your family home and your vehicles. The inheritance your grandparents left you and the money you made from selling a business before you were married, on the other hand, would be considered your sole property and would not be divided during the divorce. The same rules apply for student loans, credit card debt and other debts you acquired before or during your marriage.

Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin
2225 E. Bayshore Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303-3220

Phone: 650-473-0822
Fax: 650-473-0812
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