Newark Family And Estate Law Blog

Has your mental illness affected your custody rights?

If a parent is diagnosed with lupus or diabetes, it shouldn't affect their custody of their children. However, if you are a parent living with a mental illness, you face custody loss rates of as high as 80%.

In fact, under Sec. 7824 of the California Family Code, parents with "any physical or mental incapacity which renders the parent or parents unable to care for and control the child adequately" could lose custody of their children.

How are assets divided in divorce?

When a couple parts ways, they must divide their property and debts. However, each state has its own guidelines on how a couple should do this. California is a community property state, which means that community property will most likely be divided equally.

Most of the property you and your spouse acquired throughout your marriage is considered community property because when you got married, you and your spouse became one legal community. However, you or your spouse probably also have separate property that is not subject to division in divorce.

Don't forget about your deceased loved one's credit reports

When a loved one passes away, family members often don't worry about their credit report. However, if you're the executor of an estate, among your many responsibilities is notifying the three major credit bureaus of that person's death.

When notified of a death, the credit bureaus -- Experion, Equifax and TransUnion -- will place a death notice on the person's credit reports and seal them. This can help prevent credit fraud by someone illegally using your loved one's information.

Man ordered to pay $150K in child support owed since 1970s

A California woman has prevailed in court in a child support claim against her ex-husband. What makes the case unusual is that her victory comes almost 50 years after the man left her and their 3-year-old daughter and moved to Canada.

The woman, who lives in North San Diego County, says that she had given up trying to get the court-ordered support after her husband left the country in the early 1970s. She says she "just kind of forgot about it over the years" and raised her daughter on her own. Her daughter now owns the Los Angeles interior design firm where her mother used to work.

Common (and avoidable) estate administration mistakes

You may have been flattered when you were asked by a loved one or friend to be the executor for their estate. However, now that they've passed away and it's time to get to work, the responsibility seems overwhelming.

If you've never had this role before and you're not an estate planning attorney, it's all too easy to mismanage things, end up with family members and other beneficiaries suing you for executor misconduct and run afoul of the law -- even though you were trying to handle things properly.

California pet owners now can file for custody in divorce

In many families in California, there are two kinds of "kids": the two-legged kind and the four-legged kind.

When it comes to the two-legged ones, parenting plans are set, custody is ordered by a judge and parents arrange pick ups and drops offs of their children.

Are you estranged from a presumed beneficiary?

Despite what we would all like to believe, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to be estranged from a child. As the saying goes, you cannot choose your family. Sometimes people simply don’t get along, and that can breed more problems that eat away at the family tree.

When it comes time to create or update an estate plan, some parents question just how to handle their estranged child in their documents. Here are some considerations.

Do legal changes remove the incentive to pay alimony?

Technically, people should not need an incentive to make their alimony payments and to make them on time. They're legally obligated to do so by the court order. That's all the incentive they need.

However, some experts are worried that recent changes to the law could make people less likely to pay.

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