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San Francisco Family Law Blog

Gray divorce and your financial wellness

If you are one of the many people in California who is getting or has gotten a divorce after the age of 50, you might just have more to be concerned about than your younger divorced counterparts. It has long been known that divorce can be an emotionally grueling experience. Some research has even identified a higher level of depression in divorced people than in those who have been widowed.

Now, new research is finding that divorce - especially divorce after 50 - can wreak havoc with your financial health. Bloomberg reported on the results of studies conducted at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research that shows a person's wealth can drop by as much as 50% after a gray divorce. Women take the biggest hit as their standard of living declines by more than double that of men.

Divorcing reality TV stars feud over spousal support

A common perception of divorce cases in San Francisco may be that those involved look to dig their heels in and hold out for as long as is necessary in order for them to secure the settlement terms that they want. Yet often this "winner-take-all" attitude misses the general purpose of divorce proceedings, which is to formally end a marriage with both sides leaving in similar financial positions. While that might include one spouse paying their other alimony, such assistance is not meant to serve as punishment against that spouse, but rather a temporary means for the other to support themselves until they are able to secure gainful employment. 

Unfortunately, this may not be understood by all who are going through a divorce. Such is the impression some may have after learning the demands made by a former reality television star of his soon-to-be ex-wife (who is also a reality TV celebrity). She filed for divorce earlier this year, then attempted to reconcile. Her attempts apparently proved to be futile as she re-filed a month later. Yet she claims that he is intentionally holding up the proceedings by refusing to sign the divorce paperwork until his demand of receiving spousal support (along with 40 percent of her assets) is met. 

Tips for new stepparents

When you marry someone with kids, you get the wonderful opportunity to be a stepparent. While this prospect may be exciting, it can also be challenging. Learning how to provide love without crossing boundaries can be difficult at times. 

It may take some time and effort in order to determine your role as a stepparent. You may encounter some conflict with your spouse, stepchildren and any ex-partners. But the journey is worth it. Here are some suggestions on how to adapt to being a stepparent. 

How can I prepare for an adoption home study?

Adoptive and foster parents must go through many steps before they can welcome children into their homes. The home study is a crucial part of the process, as you and your spouse will be rigorously vetted to ensure you're fully prepared to take on child-rearing responsibilities. Because the process can be a bit intimidating, AdoptUSKids.org offers the following information to help you prepare. 

You and your spouse will be asked for certain documents during the home study. Documents detailing your health and wellness are necessary to ensure you'll be able to provide care to your child for as long as possible. Health issues don't necessarily exclude you from adopting, provided that they're well controlled. More serious illnesses or diseases, meaning those that may cause premature death, could be a cause for concern. In this case, adoptive parents are often asked to establish an estate plan that arranges for the adopted child to be properly cared for in the event the adoptive parent is deceased. 

Custody dispute ends in murder

Domestic abuse is often a sad reality for many in San Francisco. While women are typically viewed as being the targets of such abuse, men and children can also be subject to it. Many might wonder why those suffering from abuse take so long to leave their abusers, yet when children are involved, parents are often concerned that the kids will suffer further harm if their abusive spouses are granted access to them. That concern may even grow into legitimate fear that abuse might escalate into violence against the kids or the parents who try to leave with them. 

A recent homicide case in Texas may serve to confirm such fears. A couple discovered the body of a man lying in a ditch near their home. The man turned out to be a local Air Force recruiter. He had been involved in a bitter custody dispute with his estranged wife since last year. When filing for divorce, he requested custody of the child he had with his wife as well as her other children. Stories told by the children detailed potential abuse by the mother, with one son even claiming that she had stabbed his brother with a pencil. The woman had also attempted to force her way into the man's home of separate occasions (in violation of a restraining order he had against her). 

Custody exchange ends in shooting

Sadly, it may not be all that uncommon to see negative feelings become a huge factor in child custody cases in San Francisco. Parents may allow tensions with each other to overwhelm they desire to act in the best interest of their kids. When this happens, seemingly simple things like phone calls, text messages and even brief encounters can devolve in ugly fights. It is for this very reason that parents who share discord for each other be smart in the management of their kids' custody. This may include avoiding situations where they are alone together by making sure any forced interactions (such as custody exchanges) occur in a public place. 

Yet sometimes even that is not enough to avoid trouble. This was clearly evidenced in a fight that broke out in the parking lot of a Walmart in Illinois. Before all was said and done, a man was shot and several others were hit with shattering glass. Thankfully, the man's injuries were not said to be life-threatening. 

3 genuine reasons for a stepparent to adopt

Merging two families is seldom easy. After all, not only do biological parents, stepparents and stepchildren have to adjust to a new way of life, but they also face a few legal hurdles. Stepparent adoption is often an effective way to make combining families easier. 

Roughly 75% of individuals who divorce eventually remarry. When they do, there is a good chance either they or their new spouse has children from a previous union. While committing to overcoming the obstacles blended families often face is a good idea, you may choose to adopt your stepchildren to ease the transition. Here are three genuine reasons for any stepparent to adopt: 

How can I cope with my post-divorce financial reality?

If you are like many people in California who are separated, in the process of a divorce or already divorced, you can be realizing that your financial situation is not as positive as it was when you were still married and living under one room with your spouse. The sheer need to support two households on the same income that previously supported only one can be a big contributor to this situation. Then, many people find that they have to part with assets in a divorce, pay child support or even make spousal support payments, all of which further reduce the amount of money a person has to live on every month.

According to CNBC, many people who experience divorce-related financial stress can feel embarrassed about their situation to the point where they do not discuss money or seek support that might be beneficial to them at this point.

Hidden assets and forensic accounting

Married people who live in California and who become suspicious that their spouse is not being honest with them financially may often wonder what they can do about their concerns. If the couple is still married, these suspicions might point to an impending divorce. If a couple is in the midst of a divorce, the concerns may raise a flag about the legitimacy of the divorce negotiations that are currently underway.

One thing that some people do when they have fears that a spouse is hiding assets is to hire a forensic accountant. As explained by the Forensic CPA Society, these professionals can be involved in both investigating allegations or concerns as well as in providing support during litigation, such as in a divorce case. They are skilled at identifying hidden assets and at calculating any losses or damages that may be related to the hiding.

Are child support payments set for life?

Californian divorcees who are still supporting a child have plenty of questions about child support. One major question is: is the amount of support paid going to be the same until your child turns eighteen? Ruben Law Firm dives into that question today.

The short answer is: no, child support payments are not permanent. The payment amount that is decided upon during divorce proceedings is based entirely off of the information available to a judge at the time. This includes both parent's incomes, any medical expenses the child may have, and the cost of living in your current area.

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