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Woodland Hills Divorce Law Blog

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.

Social Security benefits in same-sex divorce

The Supreme Court decision in 2015 that allowed same-sex couples across the nation to marry also has implications for same-sex couples in California who are getting divorced. As Investment News reports, for couples who were married before the recognition of same-sex unions across the country, things can become very complicated.

This appears to be the case especially when it comes to Social Security benefits. Same-sex couples were not allowed to claim these benefits until the landmark Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015 giving all couples the right to marry in any state, and for states to recognize all marriages performed in other states. This also allows couples in all states to divorce, regardless of the sex of the spouses.

Domestic violence, immigration and divorce

When it comes to divorce, each case is unique. For example, some couples may not have children, while others will go through a bitter dispute over child custody. Furthermore, there are other unique considerations, such as those who immigrated to the U.S. to get married. Unfortunately, some people in Los Angeles who have immigrated worry about the potential consequences of splitting up with their spouse, even if they are subjected to domestic violence. As a result, it is pivotal for everyone in this position to understand their rights.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, immigrants who are victims of domestic violence are able to file for a divorce. Domestic violence victims are either male or female and may experience various forms of abuse, from verbal or physical attacks to threats and sexual abuse. In addition to filing for divorce, victims who have immigrated to the country and experience domestic violence at the hands of their spouse are able to secure protection orders for themselves, as well as their children, and may gain access to marital property.

Dividing artwork during divorce

While splitting up assets can be difficult in any divorce, the process can be especially complicated if you are an artist. Artists in California will have to follow strict guidelines and adhere to state property division laws when it comes to pieces they have created and sold. We at the Thomas Law Offices understand the difficulties associated with these cases and are here to help fight for your rights when it comes to dividing your artwork during divorce.


Can you safely escape an abusive relationship?

Finding yourself caught in the middle of an abusive relationship is often alarming and debilitating. While it is critical to get out immediately and seek protection and safety, doing so can bring with it an onslaught of challenges and dangers. Fortunately, with the right approach, there is a way to safely escape an abusive relationship and move on.

Psychology Today wrote an article that shared several stories of individuals who had experiences with domestic violence. One woman in particular, took several well-thought precautions to discreetly remove herself from a dangerous situation without leaving clues along the way. If you are looking to leave an abusive relationship, here are some of the things she did that you could benefit from doing as well:

  • Establish a safe place to go, and be in contact with the people or place you will be staying at to guarantee you have reliable shelter.
  • Find creative ways to make a little cash, and open a personal bank account for safekeeping. Some ideas include selling clothing or unused household items.
  • Have a secret code word to use in times of emergency. Inform someone you trust of this secret code and if in a dangerous circumstance, text the word for immediate help.
  • Carefully remove cherished possessions and sentimental items from your home in a discreet manner. For example, you may remove some items when your spouse is at work or out with friends. Give these items to someone you trust.
  • On the day you leave, change your phone number immediately.

Ways to co-parent with an ex

When you and your spouse have made the decision that the time has come to end your marriage, there is no shortage of things you must contend with. While there may be some areas of relief you feel because you no longer have to work with a person you can't get along with, this will not be the case if you have minor children. You will continue to need to find ways to communicate with your children's other parent as you work together to raise them. Just how can you do this without pulling out your hair?

Co-parently, a provider of digital tools designed to help divorced or separated parents work together, provides some useful tips on this topic. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that open conflict in front of the kids is never good for them. Therefore, it is important that you and your former spouse find a way to avoid this. Managing conversations via email, an app or a website may help but there is more to it than that.

What do I need to know if my spouse and I plan to separate?

Many couples who live in Los Angeles choose to go through a legal separation. Maybe spending time apart will allow you and your spouse the space you need to work out your problems and eventually reconcile. On the other hand, the separation may just be a precursor to a divorce. At the Thomas Law Offices, we understand that, regardless of the future may bring, protecting yourself and your finances during the separation period is vital.

You may know that when a couple divorces, an agreement is put in writing and submitted to the court for approval. However, a written agreement can also be a useful tool for a legal separation as well, points out Forbes. If you will be living in two different households, even if temporarily, it may be a good idea to spell out who will be responsible for what expenses and any new debts that are incurred. If you have children, it is even more critical to reach an agreement about who they will spend time with and when and then put it in writing.

Modifying a child custody order

Court-ordered child custody may seem as though it is set in stone. The judge presiding over the case often goes through careful consideration when making decisions as to where children should reside, and whether sole or joint custody is best for the particular situation. However, life changes happen and the original terms of the child custody order may require modification to keep the child’s best interests in mind. One parent may choose to move a distance away, gets remarried, becomes incarcerated, finds new employment or is no longer able to care for the child. Any of these situations may be grounds to change a joint child custody order to sole custody.

When a parent files for modification of child custody, he or she must show that there has been a change in circumstances and that the original parenting arrangement is no longer the most beneficial plan for the child. Whether the parents agree on the purposed custody change or do not, the parent filing for the change must fill out a Request for Order form and file it with the court clerk. Parents are often required to go through an orientation, and then mediation to discuss what is best for the child. The third-party mediator presiding over the session will help the parents create a new parenting plan. If parents cannot, the case may be turned over to a judge for further consideration.

Red flags that divorce may be on the table in the future

Many couples in Los Angeles may be surprised to learn that there are some factors that can indicate divorce is in their future. With divorce rates across the country declining, couples who want to increase their chances of successful marriages should understand that many divorce situations do not develop overnight.

Knowing the common red flags to look for can help them to avoid them so they can improve their marriages.

Finding middle ground in your divorce

When we read the news, there are many sensational stories about divorce that appear. On one end of the spectrum, there are the years-long contentious battles over millions of dollars that many celebrities reportedly experience. On the other end, there are stories about couples divorcing so peacefully that they still take family photos together after a split.

In reality, however, most divorces will fall somewhere in between these two extremes. They aren't exactly peaceful or easy, but they also aren't so bad that they warrant media attention. Whether this gives you peace of mind or not, it can help you set and manage your expectations as you head into the legal process.


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