Tips for Divorcing Fathers in California

In the past, family courts across the nation were notorious for showing a “preference” to mothers during a divorce proceeding. For example, the mother was usually awarded the children in a child custody battle mainly because she was the mother, and not necessarily because she was more “fit.”

Today, much has changed. Now when a couple files for divorce, both parents are given equal consideration in regards to child custody, and even spousal support. Why? Because, our society has changed dramatically in the past 30 years.

In our parents’ generation, the father usually financially supported the family while the mother was more inclined to stay home and care for the children. Fast-forward to 2016, and there are countless households across the nation where both parents work full-time, and where the mother is the breadwinner and the father is the stay at home parent.

All you have to do is take a look around at your own family, your close circle of friends, and your co-workers’ families. You’ll probably see a wide variety of family situations, and it’s likely that many of those families have mothers who work part or full time. You may even know a father or two who cares for the family and the home while the mother works to maintain her six figure salary.

Are you a father who is divorcing in LA?

If you are a father in Los Angeles who is on the brink of divorce, it’s time that you learn about California’s divorce laws and how they pertain to you. Whether you’re the breadwinner, a stay at home father, or you and your wife both work full time, you still need to understand your rights to child custody and marital property.

What you need to consider if you divorce:

  • Who will the children live with most of the time?
  • How will we pay for extracurricular activities?
  • Who will pay for the children’s health insurance?
  • Will I need to get a life insurance policy in my name?
  • Will I pay or receive child support?
  • Who will claim the children on their taxes?
  • Will we sell the house?
  • If we keep the house, who will live in it?
  • Will we date while the divorce is pending?
  • Will one of us go back to school?
  • Should I move out of the house?
  • Will one of us want to move away with the children?

Since living with your wife may be difficult after you’ve both decided to end your marriage, it’s important to consider your living situation. This is not something to take lightly and unfortunately, this is the point where a lot of fathers make mistakes.

If you have children under the age of 18, you’ll need to put a lot of thought into the following: 1) where the children will live, 2) what will happen to the family residence, and 3) if you will move out before the divorce is finalized.

Child Custody Considerations

Do you want custody of your children? Or, do you want to share physical custody of your children? If you answered yes to either question, you need to think twice before moving out. If your wife wants the children to live with her and if she wants you to pay her child support, and you want custody, you should not be so quick to move out of the home, leaving the children behind with your wife.

You see, if you move out and leave your children with your wife, you’re establishing a new status quo. You’re also sending a powerful message to the court that your wife is perfectly capable taking care of the children.

If you want custody of your children, it would not be easy for you to move out alone and try to ask for custody later on. The family courts like stability and they won’t be eager to change the children’s living situation so you can get custody of them. So, what do you do?

For starters, if living with your wife is impossible, do not move out until you seek the advice of a divorce lawyer and ask the court for a temporary child custody order. If you obtain a child custody order before you move out, you’re showing the court that your children are important to you, and that you want to maintain continuous and ongoing contact with them, even after you move out.

This move increases your chances of getting custody after you move out, but still, we don’t recommend moving out until you speak with an attorney. Your other option is to continue living with your wife until the divorce is finalized and until you have a parenting plan in place that’s been incorporated into your divorce decree.

Modifying Court Orders

If this is your first divorce, you’ll soon realize that circumstances will change. For example, if you’re ordered to pay spousal support, that could end if your wife remarries or shows no signs of becoming self-supporting as time passes. On the other hand, if she earns a degree and starts earning more than you, you could ask the court to end her spousal support payments.

Child support and child custody could change. If you lose your job, you could ask the court for a lower child support amount. Or, if your son stops getting along with your ex-wife and wants to move in with you when he starts high school, you could petition the court for custody and she could start paying child support, which you could deposit into your bank account.

What we’re saying is that circumstances will change and you may need to go back to court to modify an existing court order for child custody, child support, or spousal support. Just remember that you must go back to court and have the court change an existing order before it can be enforceable. Until then, the original order is in full effect, even if it does not reflect the current and actual circumstances.

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