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Westlake Village Legal Blog

Child support the most common reason for wage garnishment

A study released recently by a leading business services firm reveals that delinquent child support obligations are the most common reason for wage garnishments. According to the ADP Research Institute, about 7 percent of the workers in California and around the country have some sort of court-ordered payment deducted from their paychecks. The research was based on an analysis of the confidential payroll data of 12 million American workers.

The noncustodial parents ordered to pay child support are usually fathers, and this could explain why 71 percent of the workers who have paycheck garnishments are men. The ADP study also reveals that workers in certain parts of the country are more likely to have their wages garnished. Garnishments are particularly common among workers in the Midwest between the ages of 35 and 55 who work in the manufacturing sector.

Community vs separate property in a California divorce

Divorcing can be a stressful and difficult experience in many ways. The issue of property division often ranks high among them, especially for Californians with high incomes or assets.

Understanding the basics of how California law handles property in a divorce can help you deal with your finances effectively. Of course, every situation has its own complexities, so speaking with an attorney can yield a strategy tailored to your circumstances.

Equifax changes Chapter 13 policy

Many people living in California struggle with debt and may seek a financial fresh start in the form of bankruptcy. One area that may give debtors some pause, however, is that of one's personal credit history. Many consumers believe that a bankruptcy can seriously damage their credit score and may scare off potential employers, landlords and insurance companies.

Bankruptcy affects people's credit scores and histories in different ways. In fact, there are often differences between credit reports issued by different bureaus. All three bureaus reported bankruptcies for seven years, except that, until recently, Equifax handled credit scoring for some Chapter 13 filers differently than other credit bureaus.

Strategies for dealing with a hostile ex in a divorce

California couples who decide to proceed with a divorce usually desire an amicable resolution. While this is ideal, it is not always possible, particularly when one of the spouses is hostile and willing to create more conflict. However, there are some things a spouse can do to deal with the situation and prevent it from escalating.

Because a hostile ex can also be volatile, it is important to attempt to get all communication and agreements in writing. This can prevent situations where the ex-spouse will simply deny ever consenting to the agreement. In some cases, the written communication can turn into threatening or harassing messages. If this happens, a temporary restraining order can be acquired to protect the safety of the kids.

Divorce more likely in travel, nightlife careers

California bartenders, flight attendants and others who work in professions that involve either nightlife or a lot of travel might be more likely to get a divorce than people whose jobs do not have these elements. FlowingData released information from the 2015 American Community Survey indicating that professions with the lowest rates of divorce include actuaries, scientists and software developers.

Those professions offer more stable hours than the professions with higher divorce rates, but they also tend to offer higher incomes. Data also indicated correlation between the likelihood that a child would become ill, divorce and income.

Co-parenting and house rules after divorce

Divorcing parents in California usually want what is best for their children. Even in divorces where tensions are high, parents will usually work together to minimize the trauma of marital breakdown for their kids.

When parents establish two separate households, however, conflicts can arise. In some cases, parents may differ significantly in their philosophies. This results in two sets of "house rules" that govern things like bedtimes, snacks and the type of media children are allowed to enjoy. These differences can sometimes create frustration and confusion for parents and kids alike.

Are you sure divorce is the next step in your relationship?

One decision that you do not want to rush is divorce. Once you file for it, there is no turning back. Things may seem so bad between you and your partner that you feel like walking away. But there may be the possibility that you can work things out. 

A divorce will change your life in many ways. In addition to gaining a new relationship status, your finances and lifestyle are going to be much different than they were before. Before you sever your marital ties, take the following factors into consideration. 

Debt settlement may not be better than bankruptcy

California residents who are dealing with overwhelming debt are often looking at a number of solutions to find some relief from the drumbeat of creditors' calls. Some of them might consider the services of a debt settlement company.

In the past, the largely unregulated industry often charged high fees yet failed to obtain any meaningful debt relief for their clients. However, today, debt settlement companies are subject to an increased number of regulations and can be expected to deliver on their commitment to persuade creditors to accept a lower payment and forgive some of the debt.

The requirements for making alimony tax-deductible

As part of a divorce, California residents may be required to make alimony or spousal support payments to their ex-spouses. This requirement often occurs when the ex-spouse stays home to raise the children or otherwise leaves his or her career to take care of household duties. In many cases, those who are required to pay alimony can deduct the payments on their tax returns.

Essentially what this means is that the ex-spouse who receives the alimony payments will have to report the payments as income. However, there are certain requirements that the payment must meet in order for it to be treated as tax-deductible. For starters, the payments must be made in accordance with the divorce agreement. Further, the ex-spouses cannot live in the same household and they cannot file a joint Form 1040.

Child support and modern DNA paternity testing

California is a jurisdiction where genetic testing tends to become a focal point of major courtroom disputes. In an ongoing probate battle over the estate of Mexican pop music legend Juan Gabriel, who passed away last year while on tour, a court has been considering requests for DNA paternity testing from two litigants who claim to be biological children of the late crooner. This requests for DNA testing are more common in family court, particularly in relation to child support and custody disputes.

DNA methods were greatly advanced thanks to advancements in polymerase chain reaction, which has become an excellent legal tool for the purpose of establishing paternity. California law authorizes ordering of DNA testing by courts that wish to establish paternity in a scientific manner.

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