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Introduction of New Bill In State Legislature Looks To Change Age Requirements For Children Who Wish To Express A Custodial Preference

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Currently, California Family Code Section 3042 states that if a child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child's best interest. There is a new bill that is being introduced in the California State Legislature which would change the age requirement from 14 to 10 years of age. California Family Code Section 3042 does currently allow children under 14 to express their preference, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation and if the court determines that is appropriate pursuant to the child's best interests. But lowering the age requirement will significantly impact the age children are allowed to tell the court what custody arrangements they want. We will see if the legislature passes this new amendment. If you have a child custody issue call Morales Law today for a free consultation (805) 845-5405.

Think your spouse could earn more? Ask for a Vocational Exam

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When child or spousal support is at issue, one party may voluntarily make less money to lower the support payment, or not work so you have to pay more in support. Family Code Section 4331 provides a solution, a Vocational Examination. A Vocational Examination is where an expert meets with a party, looks at their employment history, physical capacity, employment history, etc and makes an opinion as to how much a party could or should be earning, if the party made their best efforts to be fully employed. The court can "impute" this income to that party, leading to a more accurate support calculation. If you have questions about Vocational Exams, child support or spousal support, call Morales Law today for a free consultation (805) 845-5405.

Bonus pay, Overtime pay, Child and Spousal Support Order- Smith-Ostler Order

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Is bonus or overtime pay considered in a child or spousal support order? Typically, the court will consider all income from any source derived. But, if bonus and overtime income fluctuates, the court may impose what's know as a Smith-Ostler order. A Smith-Ostler order is in addition to a base spousal or child support amount which is determined based on a party's base pay. In addition, a court can order a set percentage of bonus or overtime pay to be paid to the party receiving support. Typically, this percentage equals 13% of the bonus or overtime pay. Consider this example, husband earns a base salary of $25,000 per month, and is awarded bonuses at the end of each fiscal year depending upon the company's sales and revenue. This bonus is not a set amount each year. Under Smith-Ostler, a court can set a base amount of support based upon Husband's $25,000 base salary, and, in addition, order Husband to pay 13% of any bonus he receives at the end of the year to Wife. This order will typically require Husband to provide financial disclosures at the end of each to prove the amount of the bonus received. If you have questions about bonus income, overtime income, child support, spousal support or Smith-Ostler orders, call Morales Law today for a free consultation at (805) 845-5405.

Custody: Move Away Cases Santa Barbara

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The IRMO LaMusga court stated, "we conclude that just as a custodial parent does not have to establish that a planned move is “necessary,” neither does the noncustodial parent have to establish that a change of custody is “essential” to prevent detriment to the children from the planned move. Rather, the noncustodial parent bears the initial burden of showing that the proposed relocation of the children’s residence would cause detriment to the children, requiring a reevaluation of the children’s custody. The likely impact of the proposed move on the noncustodial parent’s relationship with the children is a relevant factor in determining whether the move would cause detriment to the children and, when considered in light of all of the relevant factors, may be sufficient to justify a change in custody. If the noncustodial parent makes such an initial showing of detriment, the court must perform the delicate and difficult task of determining whether a change in custody is in the best interests of the children." If you need a case to cite, consider reading In In re Marriage of Burgess (1996) 13 Cal.4th 25, 28-29, where the court held, "that a parent seeking to relocate after dissolution of marriage is not required to establish that the move is “necessary” in order to be awarded physical custody of a minor child. Similarly, a parent who has been awarded physical custody of a child under an existing custody order also is not required to show that a proposed move is “necessary” and instead “ ‘has the right to change the residence of the child, subject to the power of the court to restrain a removal that would prejudice the rights or welfare of the child.’ (Fam. Code, § 7501.)” (Id. at p. 29.) If you have a potential move away custody case, call Santa Barbara divorce lawyers Morales Law for a free consultation. (805) 845-5405.

Can You Ask For Modification of Child Support If You Are In Contempt For Not Paying Child Support?

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There is some case that supports the position that if you are found guilty of contempt for failure to pay child support, you may not request the court modify that same child support order. As stated by one judge in the 1930s, "No party to an action can, with right or reason, ask the aid and assistance of a court in hearing his demands while [***5] he stands in an attitude of contempt of its legal orders and processes . . . . 'No rule of law seems more widely prevalent or better established than that a court whose authority has been put to naught will extend no favors or privileges to the party in contempt until he has acknowledged its authority by purging the offense.'" Schubert v Superior Court (1930) 109 Cal. App. 633. Thus, if you have been found in contempt of court due to failure to pay child support, the court may deny your request to modify that child support order. If you have a questions about child support, call Morales Law today for a free consultation (805) 845-5405.

Morales Law Success In Obtaining 2.4 Million Dollar Divorce Settlement

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Morales Law is focused and dedicated on obtaining big results for our clients. Recently, Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyer Marcus Morales successful obtained 2.4 million dollars for the purchase of community stock. Although the other party argued the stock was separate property and/or should have a valuation of 1.6 million, Morales Law achieved 2.4 million for our client. If you are contemplating divorce, call Morales Law today for a free consultation. (805) 845-5405.

Marcus Morales Received “Lead Counsel” Award In Family Law For Third Consecutive Year

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The Lead Counsel Review Board from Thompson Reuters has awarded attorney Marcus Morales the distinction of "Lead Counsel" for the third consecutive year in the area of Family Law. This award is only given to attorneys of the highest caliber, based on other lawyer recommendations, professional experience and a spotless track record. Marcus Morales is honored to receive this distinction. We will continue to strive to fight for our client's and hopefully make it four years in a row! If you have a family law or divorce case, call Morales Law today for a free consultation. (805) 845-5405.

Santa Barbara Divorce Attorney- Adding Title To A House

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Question: We are buying a house in California . My husband has asked his friend to cosign . He says only his name and the friends name will appear on title and mine would be added after he refinances the home loan . Can my name be added apart from my husband and friend. What is the procedure . Will the property have to be split in three or something ? My husband is the principal borrower and is going to pay the loans Answer: Your husband can add you on title any time through an interspousal or quitclaim deed. The title should be "Husband and Wife, as community property," or "Husband and Wife, as joint tenants." Creating a joint tenancy between all three parties means if one party dies, the other two automatically own the property. Once the second joint tenant dies, then the remaining joint tenant owns the entirety of the property. Lots to consider. Best to consult with a lawyer to go over the situation and advise you. Call Morales Law today for a free consultation (805) 845-5405.

Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyer- Property Acquired By Inheritance is Separate Property

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Property acquired by inheritance is separate property, thus any money inherited by your son will be his. The issue comes when the inheritance is co-mingled with community property. If he receives inheritance, make sure he keeps it in separate accounts. Additionally, if he inherits real property that is subject to a mortgage, the community may gain a "pro-tanto" interest in the real property because of the community payments made (moore-mardsen calculation). Best advice, contact a lawyer to review the full scope of the situation and advise you and your son. For a free consultation, call Morales Law today (805) 845-5405.

Family Court Services- Santa Barbara Courts- Mediation

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Prior to the court making a custody ruling, the parties are required to attend custody mediation. Custody mediation is conducted by Family Court Services at the Santa Barbara Courts. Each party must attend the mediation. Lawyers typically do not attend. Depending on the age of your child, your child may be required to attend mediation and speak to the mediator. Each party will speak with the mediator individually, and then both will speak together with the mediator. The mediator will attempt to come to a custody agreement. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will write up the agreement for both parties to sign. Remember this, YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO REACH AN AGREEMENT! If the other party does not agree to a custody agreement that you want, don't agree. The mediator may try and persuade you, but don't agree if you don't believe it is best for you and your children. If you have any questions about custody mediation, call Morales Law today for a free consultation (805) 845-5405.

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