Rules Determining Spousal Support In California

Couples facing divorce in California may wonder about the rules governing alimony. Often called spousal support in the state, orders regarding payments can begin when the divorce or separation is filed in civil court. In cases where a restraining order is issued, the court may also order spousal support payments.

Generally, the party that earns more pays spousal support to the other person. The court considers several factors when calculating permanent alimony. In addition, while the divorce process is ongoing, a spouse may ask for temporary alimony, which is determined by specific formulas.

The court looks to the amount a spouse receiving alimony needs to duplicate the standard of living during the marriage. The court also examines the financial status and age of both spouses in addition to the duration of the marriage. Other points that judges might consider include the contribution a non-working spouse made to the other spouse’s career or education and the earning potential of a non-working spouse, which depends on the length of time they have been out of the workforce and whether their skills are marketable. In some cases, one party may need training or education, and the court may order rehabilitative alimony, which is provided until the spouse achieves financial independence. Some couples agree to a lump-sum alimony payment or set up spousal support payments that reimburse a spouse for specific expenses.

If circumstances change while spousal support is being paid, the paying party may ask the court to modify the obligation. When spousal support is not paid as ordered, the receiving party may ask the court to enforce the obligation.

A family law attorney may help by offering insight into an individual’s rights and responsibilities when considering alimony. The attorney may also assist in structuring a viable spousal support agreement or help in subsequent modifications.

California Adoption Considerations

A family dealing with the need to establish a legal relationship between a parent and child when there isn’t a biological bond must go through the adoption process. The new relationship is deemed to be permanent and equivalent to that between birth parent and child. An adoption may occur in connection with a marriage in which a child’s biological parent has a new partner. Whether by marriage or by registration of the domestic partnership, the parents must demonstrate a legal union. This is one of the simplest and most common adoption scenarios as at least one birth parent is still the child’s parent.

Adoptions can also occur independently or through an agency. An international adoption is also possible when a child born outside of the United States is involved. In each of these cases, a court must end the parental rights of a child’s biological parents before adoption can be completed. This is also the case in a stepparent or domestic adoption as the absent parent’s consent is typically required for termination of the relationship. Although these decisions may be made without a biological parent’s consent, the courts tend to proceed with caution. In cases involving a deceased birth parent, proof of that status may be needed.

Tracking down an absent biological parent may be challenging, but there are resources to consider as this issue is addressed. Options may include searching online or through government agencies such as county recorder offices or the Department of Motor Vehicles. Efforts may be made to track down a child’s parent through family members or by use of last known addresses as well.

Legal representation may be important if a biological parent needs to be located for the adoption process to continue. A lawyer with experience in family law matters may be able to assist in the search for that individual while also managing other details related to the case.