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Woodland Hills Divorce Law Blog

Divorce mediation: the pros and cons

Whether it is divorce or legal separation, procedures can initially seem overwhelming. Yet mediation in California is a process many spouses are turning to, since it allows a neutral third party to help determine the often tricky details of divorce.

In California, individuals may select from a number of divorce cases; mediation is widely seen as a positive alternative to solving complex issues of divorce. While there are pros and cons to this approach to divorce, many claim that having a mediator involved allows for, at minimum, more peace of mind during the process.

Back-to-school season and ending your marriage

For couples who have children, back-to-school season can generate additional anxiety with regard to child support, property division, and even the decision to file for divorce. At Thomas Law Offices, we know how hard it can be to navigate through family law matters for parents who are trying to prepare their children for school. Moreover, deciding to end your marriage could generate uncertainty for your child, but you could be able to make this transition easier by talking with your child and preparing yourself for divorce matters that may arise.

Whether you are running around trying to buy school supplies and clothes or you are trying to help your child adjust to their new schedule after summer ends, handling family law issues can be difficult during this time of year. Fortunately, there are ways you may be able to simplify your divorce experience, such as having talks with your child about what is going on and turning to a knowledgeable mediator.

Arrest marks San Diego man’s third domestic violence complaint

The common concern that many who are suffering at the hands of abusive spouses in Los Angeles is that their claims of domestic violence may not be taken seriously, or that even if action is taken against their attackers, little will result from it. When a domestic abuser is able to avoid serious consequences for his or her actions, one might argue that he or she may feel empowered to continue (and, in some cases, even escalate) the violence. At the same time, his or her victim may believe that there is little that he or she can do to escape and subsequently protect him or herself from continued attacks.

Even with the heightened awareness that been raised over the issue of domestic violence in recent years, cases where alleged abusers have been able to avoid legal penalties may still not be uncommon. This appears to be evidenced in the case of a San Diego Fire-Rescue captain who was recently arrested on domestic abuse charges. This latest incident represents the third time he has faced such accusations. In 2006, it was reported that he punched his then-pregnant wife. He was also arrested in 2015 for kicking in his girlfriend’s door. In both cases, he was not charged. Despite his repeated arrests, due to the lack of charges being filed against him, he is not legally considered to be a domestic abuser.

Same-sex divorce: obstacles in the law

In most cases, a couple in any area of the United States can file for divorce through typical legal procedures. If a same-sex couple files the same paperwork for dissolution, the result can come with strings attached. That is the case in California, where even though same-sex marriage has been legal since 2008, same-sex couples suffer negative repercussions upon divorcing.

According to an article on CNBC, gay couples experience higher costs and other expenses when filing for divorce than different-sex couples. One of the driving factors behind this issue is that many gay couples have been together for years before being able to marry, and most courtrooms will only divide assets starting from the actual time of marriage. This obstacle in the law also poses a clear problem when it comes to merging finances, pensions beneficiaries, life insurance policies and wills. Generally, the cost for divorce ranges from state to state, but for same-sex marriages, additional burdens arise. Gay couples who want divorces in states that have not legalized same-sex marriage must travel to ones that have, or they may often run into issues due to subjective decisions to grant for divorce.

What happens during a divorce mediation?

Divorce is not the only option for California couples who are separating. Mediation can be an efficient and effective alternative to get you moving forward with your life.

As FindLaw describes, mediation is more flexible than a traditional courtroom divorce. This means that not every mediation will be exactly alike. Most divorce mediations consist of several one- to two-hour sessions with your spouse and the mediator. Both parties have a say in choosing the mediator. The mediator may or may not be an attorney.

What should you know about domestic violence?

People all across the state of California have the misfortune of being trapped in violent relationships. The Thomas Law Offices work to provide you with information that you should have regarding domestic violence, so that you can recognize the warning signs and work toward getting out of a bad situation.

The first thing to understand about domestic violence is that it doesn't necessarily always involve a married couple. Spouses are typically thought of when people picture domestic violence cases, but these harmful acts can also occur between former spouses, former partners, or unmarried partners. The key component is that you and the abuser share a close relationship and, generally speaking, live in the same location.

What unique hurdles do domestic partners face?

Diversity is a core part of Los Angeles, but unfortunately, same-sex couples and domestic partners can still face unique difficulties that those who take part in traditional marriage may not have to contend with. Thomas Law Offices explain those difficulties carefully, so those entering domestic partnerships may know what they could be facing.

Some of the biggest legal benefits of marriage include being able to share with your partner, which may be much harder for domestic partners to attain. For example, an employee may have health insurance that covers themselves and their spouse. As domestic partners are not married, they might not be able to use the health benefits if they were in that same situation.

Domestic abuser’s sentence too lenient, claims victim

Many people who are victims of domestic violence in Los Angeles are reluctant to come forward or to involve the police and press charges against their abuser. One reason crimes such as this often go unreported is that these cases can be difficult to prosecute. Those who have suffered violence or abuse at the hands of a loved one are then left with a feeling that justice has not been served.

One California woman is feeling exactly that after her husband received an extremely light sentence for allegations of domestic abuse. She claimed to have suffered ongoing abuse throughout their 10-year marriage. The district attorney prosecuting the case defended the outcome by citing a lack of certainty of securing a conviction as one of the reasons the husband was offered a plea deal.

Sonoma County custody case takes tragic turn

While many believe that separation and divorce may serve to cool tensions between married couples in Los Angeles, often the opposite is true. The same feelings may spill over into matters such as alimony, asset division and child custody. Such a scenario can be particularly troublesome in custody matters because it can affect the children involved. When tensions rise over custody disputes, the fear may become that one’s apparently misguided opinions of what may be best for his or her children (coupled with the negative emotions he or she may harbor towards his or her ex-spouse) may prompt something drastic.

Sadly, this notion has recently appeared to play out in a case involving a custody dispute in Sonoma County. A mother looking to pick up her two children from her estranged husband sought them at his residence at her arranged pickup time, but found them not to be there. The kids had spent Father’s Day with their dad and were scheduled to return home with the woman that evening. The woman contacted local law enforcement authorities about the custody violation. Officers were sent to the home the following morning, where they found the man as well as the children dead in an apparent case of murder-suicide. The couple were reported to have been involved in a long-standing custody dispute.

Tips for successful visits with noncustodial children

If you are like many California parents, you may be gearing up for a summertime visit with your noncustodial child. Summer is an ideal time for many parents to reconnect with children who may live far away during the school year, and there are steps you can take to make the most of your limited time together. At Thomas Law Offices, we understand how important it is to maintain relationships with children who do not live in your home, and we have assisted numerous clients in navigating the complexities that sometimes come with doing so.

The Huffington Post offers tips as to how you can maximize time with your noncustodial child and improve your relationship during your time together. First, and this may prove especially helpful when dealing with younger kids, encourage contact between your child and his or her other parent during the visit. Doing so may make your child feel more at ease in your care, because the child may be less likely to feel as if he or she is somehow turning his or her back on the other parent if the two of you maintain a united front.

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