The majority of parents considering a divorce have concerns about how they will continue to care for their children in both the physical and financial sense. Separating one household into two is costly; child support and/or spousal support payments are intended to help family members preserve their lifestyles and are based on numerous factors including the income, debt, and expenses of both spouses. Child custody and visitation are also critical factors since emotionally, children are often impacted by divorce more dramatically than their parents. Children naturally want to spend time with both mom and dad, so visitation and legal custody details must be worked out in order to protect the best interests of any minors involved.
You’ll need to have an open case in family court to request financial support and/or custody/visitation alterations, regardless of whether you are legally married or not. The Law Offices of Silky Sahnan can help you determine an estimate of any payments you may be eligible to receive based on factors stated in the California family law code.
Child Support is Intended to Protect Your Children
Child support payments are intended to help with any expenses related to the care of minors. Beyond basic necessities such as housing, clothing, and food, such expenses may include:
- Education-related costs
- Childcare, if the primary caregiver is working and/or attending school
- Travel expenses to facilitate visitation with each parent
- Health care costs and more
The court will take into consideration many factors before determining the exact amount of child support which must be paid. We can evaluate these factors and come up with a reasonable estimate, or you may use our child support calculator as a starting point. You can also apply for a modification in child support payments if one or both parents has experienced a significant change in income and/or expenses.
You May be Eligible for Spousal Support
Although most parents are comfortable paying child support to help care for their children, the concept of spousal support (also known as alimony) can be a much more contentious issue. Some spouses, including those who maintained the home in support of the other who was working or going to school, may be eligible to receive spousal support after a divorce, but additional factors, such as the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, income, debt and beyond are taken into consideration before a final decision will be made by a family court judge. Even if you are not eligible for permanent or long-term spousal support, you may be able to receive temporary support which will continue while your case remains open.
Custody and Visitation Rights
Regardless of whether you are married or legally registered as partners, both parents have legal rights when it comes to child visitation. In order to request visitation, you’ll need to have an open case in family court. An “Order to Show” formally requesting visitation with your minor-aged children can be included with a petition for divorce, child custody and/or support. The order can also be attached to a domestic restraining order or another appropriate case in family court. When the legal custody of children is disputed, the Order to Show can address this issue. Judges are required to consider what is in the best interest of the children; generally speaking, most courts attempt to provide equal access to both parents whenever possible. If, however, any concerns regarding abuse or neglect exist, an investigation may be ordered to uncover additional information which will help the judge make the best decision possible.
Mediation Can Minimize Emotional Damage in Children
Sadly, the period of divorce can inflict serious emotional damage on minor-aged children. Feelings of blame and shame are common in youngsters who often believe that their parents have chosen to divorce as a result of something they have done wrong. To help your children cope with the changes, it is critical to remain civil with your spouse to the best of your ability. Mediation can help in this regard. While all couples are required to participate in mediation before appearing before a family court judge, some find that they are able to resolve their issues completely out of court with the help of a skilled mediator. Children are extremely observant and benefit from watching their parents work through conflict in a healthy way. Whenever possible, avoiding litigation in court is one of the best ways to minimize emotional damage in children. Certain instances (such as a history of domestic violence) may warrant a hearing, but discussing the details of your situation with a caring and experienced lawyer will help you determine the most advantageous path forward.
Contact the Law Offices of Silky Sahnan today to schedule your confidential consultation. Located in Brentwood, CA, we proudly serve families in all matters of family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, and property division.