Category Archives: Advice

Surrogacy is a valid option for some couples looking to have children. However, putting together a valid surrogacy agreement can be challenging.

 

The family structure has evolved. Couples who were once unable to have children are now able to explore alternative options and grow their families. These options can include fertility treatments and adoption. Another option gaining in popularity is the use of a surrogate.

 

More on surrogacy

 

The term surrogacy refers to the use of a female to carry a fetus or multiple fetuses to term while another individual or individuals become the legal parent to the child or children at birth. Surrogacy can be achieved using either the surrogate mother’s egg or a donated egg from another individual. This egg is then fertilized by either the male partner’s sperm or donated sperm. The fertilized egg is then implanted in the womb of the surrogate mother.

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Child custody arrangements must be based on the child’s best interest.

Child custody issues can be some of the most emotional and contentious issues arising in a family law case. It is typically one of the first areas a new family law client will ask about. A lawyer can help you try to negotiate an agreement with the other party regarding what custody arrangements and visitation schedule each of you will have. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the other party then the court will decide.

 

In California, before a Judge hears and decides your custody/visitation matter, you and the other party must go to court ordered mediation to try and reach an agreement. There are basically two different types of counties for these mediations, recommending counties and non-recommending counties. You want to talk to an experienced family law attorney regarding which type of county you are in, the mediation process, and the best strategies for these custody mediations. If no agreement is reached in mediation, then the issue will go before a judge.

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More states than ever before are now recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages and allowing them within their borders. This means that, in those jurisdictions, same-sex couples finally have the right to marry and to have their marriage accepted as a legal union. They can also enjoy unique legal aspects of marriage, including the right to obtain certain benefits (health insurance and survivor benefits, among others), the right to inherit property if a spouse dies without a will and the ability to take advantage of certain tax breaks and credits available only to married couples.

 

Logically, once same-sex couples are allowed to marry, it will be equally possible for them to divorce in a state’s family court the same way that heterosexual couples can. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily the case.

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For the past few decades, researchers have believed that the U.S. divorce rate is on the decline. U.S. Census data seemed to show that the divorce rate reached its highest point in the mid-1970s and has been steadily declining ever since. A new study shows, however, that this long-held belief appears to be incorrect.

 

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Population Center recently published a study in the journal Demography that suggests the divorce rate in the U.S. has been steadily increasing, not decreasing, over the past few decades. One of the most important aspects of this new study is a re-examination of the data that experts have used over the years to determine the country’s divorce rate. In the past, experts recognized that the sources they used for divorce data were flawed, but they believed that the use of new techniques of analysis ensured accuracy. The Minnesota Population Center study demonstrates, however, that this is not the case. In fact, problems with the ways in which divorce data is collected – even in data sets long recognized as accurate – have contributed to a warped understanding of divorces across the country.

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Adoption for same-sex couples is a rewarding experience though often very difficult to navigate without expert legal assistance.

 

As the nation continues celebrating the legalization of same-sex marriage, many states are turning next to adoption rights. California has allowed same-sex marriage since 2013, although the path for equality took a winding, difficult road through Prop 8. But California was ahead of the curve when it comes to equality for adoption rights. In California, single LGBT individuals can adopt children, same-sex couples can jointly adopt, and a same-sex partner can petition to adopt a partner’s child or child of the relationship, but this does not mean adoption is easy.

 

Fortunately, despite the complexity, it is available to same-sex couples and LGBT individuals to create loving families through adoption. Across the U.S., over 6 million children are being raised by at least one LGBT parent. And California is one of seven states that specifically prohibits discrimination by adoption agencies against same-sex couples. There is no federal law on same-sex adoption, and two states ban adoption by same-sex couples entirely. It is unclear how adoption rights will change in those states that only recently commenced to recognize same-sex marriage.

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California law has specific requirements for a prenup to be enforceable.

 

Marriage is supposed to be about love and commitment. It also creates an important and often complicated legal relationship, subject to laws that can significantly impact a party’s future rights and obligations, especially concerning money and property, at divorce, separation and death.

 

When an engaged couple would prefer different rights and obligations than those automatically dictated by California law upon marriage, they should consider a premarital (also known as a prenuptial) agreement. A premarital agreement is defined in California law as ” an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage” – it is a binding and enforceable contract.

 

California law specifies not only what may be included and not be included, but also what procedures and formalities are required.

 

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Requests to relocate will have a major impact on child custody agreements, and the courts will often need to step in and issue a decision.

 

It is not uncommon for individuals to look for new opportunities in different states, especially in a difficult economy. People might want to move closer to family so they can start over after a divorce, and there can be serious complications if they want the child to move as well.

 

In many of these situations, the noncustodial parent will be very opposed to the move. The move-away request is considered to be a major change in circumstances, and will require the court the revisit the existing custody agreement in place.

 

The court will be tasked with coming to a final ruling over whether or not to allow the custodial parent to relocate with the child. It will examine several factors when trying to arrive at its decision under California law, including:

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In addition to including how property will be divided, many couples are now including provisions relating to social media in their marital agreements.

 

Marital agreements are contracts that traditionally outline which of a couple’s assets are considered marital property, which assets are considered separate property and any financial provisions that will be made if the couple eventually decides to divorce, states Forbes. However, more and more couples in California and throughout the country are now including social media clauses in their marital agreements that contain certain rules each spouse has to abide by when using platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

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Pet owners often consider their animals a part of the family. Unfortunately, under state law, pets are considered a type of property called “chattel”, which includes all personal moveable property, i.e., vehicles, clothes, artwork and pets.

 

Since pets are legally classified as property, emotional attachments may not be considered during a court litigated divorce.

 

Why pet custody issues can be difficult for owners

 

Although children as well as pets require a loving home, food and health care to flourish, the court is not likely to provide custody and support plans for the care of your pet as it automatically would for your child. If left to the Court’s determination, the court will likely review your pet’s background much as it would review the history of a car. For example, before deciding which party gets custody of the pet, the Judge may want to know who bought the pet, whether the pet was purchased before or after the marriage, and whether the pet was a gift to one spouse from the other. The Judge would award the pet to one party or the other based on the answers to these questions.

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Valentine’s Day is a widely seen as a day of celebration for lovers. In its ideal state, the day is a happy occasion when people express their love for each other with flowers, heart-shaped boxes of candy, romantic cards, and affection. Proposals are extended. Greeting card companies’ business skyrockets.

 

Unfortunately, there is another face to Valentine’s Day. Statistics show that it is often a day of escalated anger and violence for those in unhappy or unhealthy relationships.

 

Violence typically increases during holidays. Valentine’s Day is no exception because it is a day when expectations and focus on the relationship is heightened. For couples in unhealthy relationships, it becomes a day for rehashing negative thoughts over and over – and in some cases, it can even lead to violence.

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