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Child Custody and Support .
  • child custody

Legal and Physical Custody

In California, there are two types of custody, “legal” and “physical”. Parents typically share both types unless one parent is deemed unfit or the parents cannot make decisions together.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about a child’s welfare, such as where a child will go to school or whether a child will engage in religious activities, and whether a child should receive medical care.

In California there are two types of legal custody, Joint and Sole. Joint legal custody means that both parents share in the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.

Sole legal custody means that one parent has the right to make all major decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child, and may make decisions without input or approval from another parent.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where a child will live after a divorce or separation. The parent has the right to have the child physically present in the home. If a child lives exclusively or primarily with one parent, that parent is usually referred to as the “custodial” or “residential” parent. The other parent is considered the “non-custodial” or “non-residential” parent and typically has visitation rights.

In California, there are two types of physical custody, Joint and Sole. Joint physical custody means that both parents have significant periods of physical custody. If a child’s time is divided equally between the parents, or close to equally, the parents are sharing joint physical custody. Sole physical custody means that a child resides with one parent, subject to the court’s authority to order visitation time with the other parent.

Thorsteinson Law Group | Huntington Beach divorce attorney | Long Beach divorce attorney. Contact Thorsteinson Law Group  to help you with your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to bringing you a lasting resolution.

  • Child Custody

In Child Custody Can A Child Decide Where To Live

In any child custody case, talk to a young child about which parent they would prefer to live with and you might hear something like “I want to live with dad because he lets me eat ice cream” or “I want to live with mom because she buys me cool clothes”. While a cool t-shirt or a bowl of ice cream may not impact the perspective of every child, a child’s current frame of mind and understanding is something that needs to be taken seriously when deciding which parent gains child custody in a divorce.

So the question is, in child custody can a child decide where to live? The most plain and simple answer is no. Currently, in California law, a child’s wishes for custodial parent is up to the judge’s discretion and there is no specific age where the court will consider the wishes of a child in deciding custody.

However, the law does state that a judge must consider a child’s wishes regarding visitation and further states that a child who is at least 14 years old must be allowed to directly address the court regarding custody and visitation, unless the judge finds that it would not be in child’s best interests.

For more on child custody you can visit Brett Thorsteinson’s child custody pages here. Child custody and visitation are some of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Divorcing spouses must never use children against one another. Under California law, the health, well-being and safety of the children are top priority.

Contact Brett Thorsteinson and speak directly with an experience divorce and family law attorney who will protect your interests. Brett is your trusted divorce lawyer who can help you with child custody and all family law matters. Offices are located in Long Beach and Huntington Beach with free initial consultations.

  • Retroactive child support

Get the retroactive child support owed to you

Retroactive child support are payments that were missed or not paid in the past. This means the child support order isn’t just from a present or future date, going forward but a retroactive one going backward to start at a previous date. If a parent has failed to pay child support for the retroactive time period (before a permanent child support order was issued), the judge may order them to make up for the missed payments.

Retroactive child support starts once the judge determines if the parent and child are eligible for this type of order. The judge looks at the following factors when deciding:
• The non-custodial parent had hidden some of their finances in order to avoid paying support
• The non-custodial parent acted in a way to delay a final hearing on child support
• The court concludes that there is a demonstrated need for retroactive support

If determined that there is a need for the non-custodial parent to pay retroactive child support, the court will determine the retroactive date trough the date the first child supply order was issues. It can also go as far back as the date of the parent’s separation.

The petition is typically what starts a divorce or parenthood action. That means the start date of the first California child support order can go back to the date that was filed even though the Court hearing is after that. For example, a petition for divorce is filed on January 1. It is then served. A request for order for child support is then filed on February 1. The hearing is on March 10. When the court makes its child support order at the hearing, they can make it retroactive to February 1 or March 1.

There are exceptions to this for example, when that initial petition (or other document that started the process) wasn’t served on the other parent within 90 days of its filing, then the retroactive start date is the date it was actually served.

There are other exceptions to the past date retroactive child support is issued. To gain more information on these exceptions and other questions regarding child support and divorce, contact Brett Thorsteinson, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.

  • alimony

Alimony and Temporary Support Divorce

California alimony laws allow for temporary support to the necessary party before there is final judgment. The court has the power to order temporary alimony based on a spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

Alimony and Temporary Support

Temporary spousal support generally has nothing to do with the length of the marriage. A party seeking spousal support isn’t deprived on the right to receive support even if they have income. What is reviewed is the comparative income circumstances of the two parties. The greater the difference in income, the higher the support the paying party must give. Temporary orders are traditionally ordered to be paid directly to the deemed party. The duration of the alimony generally lasts until there is a final judgment or any other date set by the court.

Courts normally use one of two computer programs to calculate temporary support: the Dissomaster or Xspouse. These programs are the same systems used to calculate child support in California. Whether the program Dissomaster or X-spouse are used, the same limitations as you would enter for child support, which include income, tax filing status, exemptions, are entered for alimony. The program determines what the net disposable income is and what alimony should be on a temporary basis. The program is not used for long term alimony, that would be forbidden in California.

Calculation

If the spouses have children, this calculation is typically made with the child support calculation. The amount of the alimony is dependent on the amount of child support ordered, which means that if the child support amount is eliminated, the alimony may increase. The final support numbers depend upon how much income the court is attributing to each party. Only certain expenses matter for purposes of temporary support in California. What doesn’t matter much at the temporary phase are most personal expenses like credit card bills, rent and other costs of living. When calculating income to determine temporary support, the court will typically go back approximately 12 months. That time period is typically a fair and representative one of income, especially when income is fluctuating. The court can go longer especially if a spouse is self-employed.

Your Trusted Long Beach Divorce Attorney

For matters on alimony and temporary support, contact an experienced long beach divorce attorney. Thorsteinson Law Group is your trusted divorce and family law attorney. With offices in Long Beach and Huntington Beach, we serve clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

  • Divorce and Debt

Divorce and Debt

In many divorces there is debt that needs to be considered. The type can vary but typically includes mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and vehicles. During divorce proceedings, couples will need to divide assets and debt.

The general rule is that if your debt was incurred at any time during the marriage, it will be divided between both spouses. For example, if you had opened a joint credit card, each of you will be responsible for the balance regardless of who did the spending.

Instead of dividing each debt in half, the court may assign one debt to one spouse and another debt to the other spouse. This means that if you and your spouse had multiple credit cards, you may be asked to pay off one of the cards and your spouse may be asked to pay off other cards, keeping the total debt for each of you equal. Keep in mind that no matter which spouse is responsible for paying the debt, all jointly held account debt will remain on your credit report.

Credit Reports and Divorce

It is important to check credit reports after a divorce to make sure that they do not include any debts that have been paid off or that are attributed to the opposite party. However, if a joint debt was incurred during the marriage both names may still appear on the report.

Be sure to consult your divorce and family law attorney for recommendations on how to handle your divorce and debt. There are strategies that can be put in place before the divorce proceedings that can make debt easier to manage after your divorce is final.

Thorsteinson Law Group is your trusted divorce and family law attorney. With offices in Long Beach and Huntington Beach, we serve clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Contact us today, we are here to help.

Huntington Beach Office

17011 Beach Blvd., Suite 900
Huntington Beach, Ca. 92647

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Long Beach, Ca. 90806

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  • five steps after filing for divorce

Five Steps After Filing For Divorce

There are different strategies and ways a divorce can be handled after the initial filing. Your choice in divorce attorney can greatly effect your results. However, generally speaking, the divorce process consists of five steps after the initial filing.

The paperwork to file for divorce is called the summons and petition for dissolution. There may be additional documents needed depending on your circumstances.

After you file the initial paperwork for divorce the following five steps will occur, each with their own nuances and additional processes to help your divorce go as smoothly as possible.

Five steps after filing for divorce

1. Temporary divorce order: You or your spouse may ask for a hearing so a judge can decide any temporary child custody, visitation, and support or restraining order disputes.

2. Discovery process: This is an exchange of information about each party’s assets, income and liabilities. In California, there are mandatory preliminary and final disclosures that must be made by both parties.

3. Agreement: You, your spouse and your lawyers will work on permanently resolving the issues mentioned in the dissolution.

4. Trial: If you are unable to reach an agreement, you and your spouse will go to court and a judge will make the decisions to resolve the conflicts.

5. Judgment: A final judgment ending your marriage can be entered six months after the day your spouse was served with the initial divorce paperwork. The court does not automatically end your marriage when the six months have passed.

Keep in mind that not every divorce will require all these steps, but these are the steps that occur in most divorce cases.

Your trusted divorce attorney

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group , to help you file for divorce and take the steps after filing. We are compassionate and here to help you.

  • Forensic accountant in a divorce

Benefits of a Forensic Accountant in a Divorce

Using a forensic accountant can assist the filing spouse in revealing essential information during the preparation stage of the divorce. The accountant can also help provide vital divorce documentation once the divorce process starts. Some forensic accounting services include calculating how much money is available for alimony payments and child support, trace community assets and liabilities, and uncover hidden assets and income streams.

When to use a forensic accountant

Typically forensic accountants are brought on to the divorce team which includes a divorce attorney and depending on the case, a private investigator.

In a collaborative divorce, the accountant acts as a “neutral advisor” who provides the divorcing couple with unbiased financial advice. However, a forensic accountant can benefit the spouses regardless of the type of divorce.

Some benefits include

• Identify and Clarify any inconsistencies between financial information and documentation to determine whether or not the other spouse is hiding assets
• Validate financial information with non-financial information.
• Calculate the cash flow, which may be used in calculating support payments
• Assist your attorney in preparing document requests of the other party, preparation of subpoenas, contacts with computer forensics and other professionals, and deposition or trial questions to be asked of the other party’s forensic accountant.
• Testify and provide input in court or at depositions and during the settlement process.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group , your trusted divorce lawyer to help you with your California divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

  • Huntington Beach Divorce

Using a Forensic Accountant in Divorce

Using a forensic accountant can assist the filing spouse in revealing essential information during the preparation stage of the divorce. The accountant can also help provide vital divorce documentation once the divorce process starts. Some forensic accounting services include calculating how much money is available for alimony payments and child support, trace community assets and liabilities, and uncover hidden assets and income streams.It is helpful and beneficial to gain assistance from this type of expert.

Typically forensic accountants are brought on to the divorce team which includes a divorce attorney and depending on the case, a private investigator. This team of experts can be extremely helpful in an non-collaborative or uncontested divorce. Even in a collaborative divorce, a forensic accountant can assist by acting as a “neutral advisor” who provides the divorcing couple with unbiased financial advice. However, a forensic accountant can benefit the spouses regardless of the type of divorce.

Some benefits include:
• Identify and clarify any inconsistencies between financial information and documentation to determine whether or not the other spouse is hiding assets
• Validate financial information with non-financial information.
• Calculate the cash flow, which may be used in calculating support payments
• Assist your attorney in preparing document requests of the other party, preparation of subpoenas, contacts with computer forensics and other professionals, and deposition or trial questions to be asked of the other party’s forensic accountant.
• Testify and provide input in court or at depositions and during the settlement process.

Having a forensic accountant paired with your family divorce lawyer would be an asset to your divorce process team. Non-expert advice always is comforting, but leave it to the experts to get you the best legal advice to help you in the long run.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group , your trusted Huntington Beach divorce lawyer to help you with your California divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

  • Divorce and child support

Unpaid Child Support in Divorce

When it comes to unpaid child support in a divorce wages can be garnished, or seized without a court judgment. If a parent fails to make their child support payments, the state has the right to collect that person’s wages through their employer, or through other means.

If your spouse owes unpaid child support, you have a number of ways to collect the money from them set by the California Department of Child Support Services. The various types of earnings that can be garnished for unpaid child support payments are:

• Wages in the form of salary, tips, bonuses, retirement and vacation pay, commissions and regular overtime
• Dividends, rents, royalties, patent rights, payments due for services of independent contractors
• Payments from workers compensation, temporary disability benefits
• Regardless of source, any other payments or credits due or becoming due

In a California divorce, if the garnished wages do not cover the entire amount owed, the custodial parent may seek other ways of obtaining garnishment by property seizure. Property seizure is the act of law enforcement officials taking property which includes: houses, boats, cars, motorcycles, corporate stock, and more. This only occurs after the parent has had various amount or types of notice to pay the child support and still has not paid. The custodial parent must keep in mind that the levels of garnishment are 50% if supporting another family, 60% if not, and 65% if the spouse child support payment is 12 weeks past due. Regardless, under California law, the spouse having to pay child support must pay the amount agreed upon by the court during the divorce, no matter what kind of payment they make or is lawfully seized.

If you have specific questions about wage garnishment and/or divorce contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.

  • collaborative divorce lawyer, long beach divorce

Child Custody in a Military Divorce

Child Custody in a military divorce is governed by a combination of federal and state law. Military pension and certain emergency child support orders are dictated by federal law. A military spouse can argue for child custody, but the decision can be made complicated by military obligations. However, the mere fact of military service is not enough to prevent being awarded custody. The civilian spouse cannot argue that he or she should get custody simply because his or her partner is in the military. Regardless, both spouses must come to terms with the fact that in the military the needs of the service come first.

For the spouse who is a service member, they can argue the advantages to life as a military dependent and the perks that come along with it. For example, most posts and bases have excellent school systems and many opportunities for child care and recreation. Most military bases have day-care facilities. What is the best part is that all of the above are provided to a service member at no cost. The Post Exchange at the base sells consumer goods that can be purchased at greatly reduced prices. The service person with children can make a strong argument for their custody rights, given the mentioned perks.

In awarding custody in military divorce courts consider the “best interest of the child.” The courts consider many factors including:

• The child’s preference and if he or she is mature enough to make a decision
• The ability and willingness of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, intellectual and emotional well-being
• The willingness of the custodial parent to provide continuing contact between the child and the noncustodial parent
• Abusive or criminal conduct by the other parent

These are the same considerations in custody decisions as in civilian divorces, so the military service, including the demands of training schedules, is only one factor in determining custody in a military divorce.

If you have specific questions about child custody and/or need help with your military divorce contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.