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How Old Does a Child Have to Be to Tell The Judge Whom The Child Wants to Live With?

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If your child is 14 years of age or older, the court must listen to his custodial preference. If your child is under 14 years of age, it is the judge's decision as to whether or not he is of sufficient mental capacity and maturity to make a statement as to custodial preference.   If you have a custody matter, please call Morales Law at (805) 845-5405 for a free consultation.

Spousal Support- Length and Amount in Santa Barbara, California

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Question: So i've been married for 4 years, my question is will i have to pay alimony to my wife based on those years married? In process of getting divorced i've been married to my wife for 4 years we have a 3 yr old child, we will be living in the same city after full separation. i would just like to know if i would be needing to pay alimony if so what percentage of my income or specific dollar amount each month. Answer: The general rule for marriages not of long duration (10 years or less) is you will typically pay spousal support for half the length of marriage. But, the court has equity powers to make you pay for a longer period of time or a shorter period of time. In regards to the amount, Santa Barbara County uses the dissomaster program in order to determine temporary support, that is the amount after the other party files a Request For Order and before the final judgment. This is based on the income of each party and certain deductions. In regards to a permanent spousal support order, the court must consider all factors listed in family code § 4320 to determine the amount of permanent support to order. My advice, call a lawyer. A lawyer can navigate the system for you and ensure your rights are protected. Best of luck yo you.

Santa Barbara Family Lawyer: Financial Disclosures

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In a Santa Barbara divorce case, you will be required to give certain financial disclosures. California Family Code Section 2104 requires the petitioner to serve preliminary disclosures within 60 days of filing the petition with the court. The respondent must serve preliminary disclosures within 60 days of filing the response. What are preliminary disclosures? There is a form for that! See FL-140 ( You must serve two years of your most recent tax returns with all attachments. You must also fill out an Income and Expense Declaration, FL-150 ( You must serve a schedule of debts and assets, FL-142 ( Additionally, look at the FL-140 form for three important questions and additional information you must provide. Once you have served the above preliminary disclosures, you must file a declaration of disclosures, FL-141 ( These documents have important legal ramifications. Call your Santa Barbara divorce lawyer, Marcus Morales, for a free consultation. (805) 845-5405.

Initial Documents When Responding To A Divorce in Santa Barbara California

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Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyer Marcus Morales discusses the documents needed to respond to a divorce petition.

Before filing a response to a divorce on your own, you should consider consulting an attorney. Every box you check and every word you write has legal ramifications which you may not aware of. We offer free consultations, give us a call.

If you are going to respond to the divorce petition on your own, you will need to file the following documents:

1. First, you will need to fill out and file a Response to Divorce Petition, Form FL-120. Below is a link to the form that you can fill out and file:

2. If you have children, you will need to fill out an FL-105, UCCJEA Declaration. Below is a link to the form that you can fill out and file:

If you have any questions with regards to responding to a divorce in Santa Barbara, CA, please call Morales Law (805) 845-5405.

Initial documents to file to start a California Divorce

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You have made the decision, your marriage is over. You want to start the process. What is the first thing you do? Contacr a lawyer. Every legal document you file with the court and every action you take has legal ramifications. You could hurt your case with one misstep. If wish to file the initial pleadings on your own, you will need to file the following documents: 1. Petition For Dissolution of Marriage (FL-100). This form can be found at the following link: 2. Summons (Family Law). This form can be found at the following link: 3. If you have children with the party you are divorcing, you must also file a Declaration Under Uniform Child Child Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (FL-105). This form can be found at the following link: If you are looking for a divorce attorney who will fight for your rights, feel free to contact Morales Law at (805) 845-5405 and speak to a lawyer today.

What to do before filing divorce in Santa Barbara, California.

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Are you thinking of filing for divorce? If so, the first step you should consider is consulting a lawyer. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation into your legal matter. A lawyer will be able to advise you as to your legal rights and responsibilities. Second, you should make a list of your assets and all your debts. You will need this information when you go through the divorce process. When making the list, consider if you acquired the debt before marriage l, during marriage and after separation. Third, consider your living situation. It can take a month or possibly longer before you receive child support or spousal support (or consider if you will have to pay, how will you pay). Will you and your spouse stay in the same home or will do someone move out? Fourth, if you have kids, what is the custody time share? Conversations with your spouse can help resolve these problems, but if your spouse is hostile, call a lawyer to help get the ball rolling. Call us at (805) 845-5405. We will help you start your new exciting chapter in your life.

Divorce Depositions California- How to Prepare

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An opposing party may take your deposition upon ten days notice (this time may extended by service i.e. five extra days for service by mail). An opposing party may also ask you to produce documents at a deposition, i.e. financial records, text messages etc. Know the basic rules of a deposition. First, consult with your Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyer. Second, go over the rules: do not talk over the other attorney, wait until the other attorney is done asking the whole question before speaking, only answering the question ask as short and concise as possible, do not volunteer information, do not guess, and always tell the truth. Read all the documents, declarations and other papers you have signed and given to the other party. Having this information fresh in your head will help at the deposition. One of the most important aspects of a deposition is consistency. Don't contradict yourself or something you have written down or said earlier. Remember, depositions are taken under oath, and have the force as if you were testifying in court before a judge. Relax, you will do fine if you follow the above rules. If you have any questions, call us at (805) 845-5405. We are your Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyers who are always on your side.

Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyer

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Interesting article regarding step parents and step children. As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we spotlight stepfamilies to learn how they’ve worked to bring their kids together. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life! Want to share your story? Email us at As a child of divorce, Jamie Scrimgeour remembers all too well how difficult it was when her parents started dating other people. So when she began to date a man with children from a previous marriage, she tread lightly when she met the kids. “All the little things that my dad’s girlfriend did that bothered me were at the forefront of my mind when I met Darren’s family,” Jamie told HuffPost recently. “Things like sitting in my spot at the kitchen table or just being too affectionate with my dad when I was around. It was all harmless from her perspective, but I remember how angry it made me feel. I just wasn’t ready.” Keeping those memories in mind has helped Jamie gain her stepkids’ trust. Below, the certifed stepfamily coach, who blogs at Poptart Diaries, shares more of her blended family’s story. Hi Jamie! Please introduce us to your family. There are six of us. My husband Darren has a daughter and two sons, ages 13, 11 and 8, and together we have a daughter, Reese, who is a year and a half old. Darren and I have known each other our whole lives. In March 2013, our paths crossed at the right time and we have been together ever since. We dated only 15 months before tying the knot in June 2014. You mentioned that you’re a child of divorce yourself. How does that inform your approach to step-parenting? Growing up I was so angry about the divorce. Even though I tried, I wasn’t welcoming to anyone my dad tried to bring into our lives. Now, years later, I can see that was more about me and my anger toward the situation than it was about them. It’s definitely influenced me as a stepmom. Before I committed to meeting Darren’s kids, I had to be sure I was in love with him. The way I looked at it, the kids didn’t need more turmoil in their lives and having another woman come in, and then possibly out, wasn’t something I was willing to put them through. I made a huge effort to always put myself in their shoes, respecting their routines, traditions and the change they’d gone through. I didn’t want them to think another woman was coming into their lives with guns blazing! I wanted them to look at me more as someone they could have fun and make memories with. I worked on developing a strong relationship with them before trying to be any kind of “parental” figure. I always try to remember that they did not sign up for any of this, including another parent telling them what to do! What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while adjusting to life as a stepmom? I’ve often referred to the transition from being a bachelorette to stepmom as being similar to moving to another country where people speak a different language. I was used to a quiet and relatively neat and tidy way of living, and well, quiet and tidy isn’t exactly how you’d describe a household with three young kids! We’ve all had to accommodate each other from time to time. Darren and the kids have learned to appreciate my need for quiet and space and I have learned to appreciate the sound of children playing and embrace the mess and chaos that comes with this new life! It’s taken time and a lot of open communication about our needs, but we’re all finally on the same page… most of the time! What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family? If you would have told me five years ago that I would be a stepmom to three children and married to a man with an ex-wife, I would have said you were absolutely insane. But our blended family has taught me more about love and happiness and what’s truly important in life than I will ever be able to put into words. What makes you proudest of your family? Our ability to wake up and start every day fresh. Things haven’t been terribly challenging for us, but they have’t been extremely easy either. There have been periods of adjustment for everyone and times when the stress of being in a blended family didn’t bring out our best characteristics. What I love is that we are so forgiving of each other and recognize that we’re all just human beings doing the best we can. What advice do you have for other blended families who are struggling to make it work? No one family situation is the same but if I had to name one thing that can be a complete game changer, I would say it’s empathy. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and look at things from their perspective can change everything and I know this from experience. It can change your reactions to things and your beliefs about an entire situation. Empathy goes a long way!

Technology Helping Couples Track Child Care Expenses In Santa Barbara Divorces

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People sometimes complain that technology is preventing us from talking to each other face-to-face. But there are moments when communicating at a distance is a good thing—like when a married couple is going through a bitter divorce and kids are involved. Sheri Atwood, the founder of SupportPay, a platform for managing childcare expenses, says keeping things as business-like as possible not only helps parents, it also keeps kids out of the firing line. And she should know. Her own parents went through a bitter divorce (Atwood ended up in foster care) and she also went through a divorce herself. ADVERTISEMENT Learn More "When we had our own divorce a few years ago, I swore it would be amicable, because I didn't want my daughter to go through the same thing I went through. And it was," Atwood says. "We went out for a drink and signed the divorce papers and thought everything was easy. But then I realized that child support is the one thing in life you don't get a bill for." Divorced couples need to agree a basic living budget for their kids, an agreement that's normally sanctioned by court. But then there are many expenses, like gymnastics classes, new shoes and summer camps payments, that are off-plan. Atwood found that when she saw her ex-husband, the whole conversation would be dominated with "you owe me $50 for this"-type discussions that inevitably turned into arguments. Estranged parents will often think the other parent is lying about how much things cost, that they've overspent for something, or that they're really using child support for their own needs, Atwood says. California-based SupportPay leads the parties through the whole post-divorce process. Parents agree on monthly payments for basic living costs, then they can add in items (including receipts) as they come up. At the end of the month, each side gets a notification saying what the current state of play is, and how much everyone owes. "It allows a transparency for both parents, eliminating the fighting over, 'Is this item really for the kid?'" Atwood says. Since launching, SupportPay has signed up 33,000 parents. The site has a freemium model: the basic services are free, but more sophisticated things, like downloading a report to present at court, costs money. The current price is $9.95 a month. SupportPay is one of nine startups on the Financial Solutions Lab program, a new program for socially-minded financial technology startups. It seems like a clever use of technology to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Why do people marry people they just met?

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Interesting Article on why people get married so quickly. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban got married after just one month! You could be next! Long walks on the beach? Couples vacations? Meeting each other's parents? Plenty of couples mark many milestones together before deciding whether to take the leap from dating to mating. But with one bad marriage already behind her, Nicole Kidman wasn't having any of that wait-and-see nonsense. When she met singer Keith Urban in 2006, she grabbed the opportunity (and her man) and the couple was married less than a month after their first date. “I’m spontaneous. I jump in," Kidman recently told Elle magazine of her lightning-fast wedding. "I kind of like getting married and then getting to know each other; I know that it sounds incredibly strange, but to me, it’s a more natural process.” Get More Workout Tips! She's not the only woman who thinks love is a dish best served piping hot. Here are eight more real-life stories of love at first sight... and how they ended up. (Then, happily married celebrities share their romantic words of wisdom in 7 Secrets That Keep Celeb Couples Together.) ENGAGED AFTER 1 WEEK, MARRIED 18 YEARS MEGAN HALL Megan Hall How we met: Proving that a little act of kindness goes a long way, Spencer Hall first caught Megan's attention when he offered to clear her breakfast dishes at their dorm in college and then walked her to class. His smooth moves (and good hygiene—who doesn't love a man who does the dishes?) won him a first date. He proposed the very next weekend and within a few months they were married. How I knew: "I knew he was it because of how easy we talked about important things like money management, our faith, how similar/different our families of origin were, that kind of thing." My advice: "Focus on the important stuff. Everyone has a checklist of things you'd like in a partner, but decide which ones are the really important ones. Things like height or eye color don't matter in the long run but don't compromise on the big stuff or you will live with regret or be unhappy trying to change someone." DATED 4 MONTHS, MARRIED 13 YEARS AMY HILTON Amy Hilton How we met: Amy was barely out of high school when her sister introduced her to Thomas Hilton. The pair quickly hit it off, going on double dates with her sister and Thomas' best friend. How I knew: While Amy says she adored him, she wasn't sure if she wanted to be married that young. Yet the more they saw each other, she says she also wasn't sure that she didn't want to be married either. They decided to just jump and see what happened. Now Amy says the shortness of their courtship—just four months from first date to 'I do'—has been a blessing. "We've have had the opportunity to grow and learn together rather than marrying later when we were more set in our ways." My advice: "Being happily married is something you have to work at. It doesn't just happen." MET IN PERSON 3 TIMES, MARRIED 7 YEARS AMANDA SARBIN Amanda Sarbin How we met: Overcoming all the dating site stereotypes of awkward innuendos and embarrassing typos, Amanda met Travis Sarbin online. Their first conversation lasted eight hours, most of which she says was spent quoting Napolean Dynaminte (heck, yes!). But since they lived in different states, they had to fly to see each other. After the third time in two months, the couple decided it would be easier to just make it official. So Amanda moved to Colorado and they hosted a backyard barbecue where a few surprised friends witnessed their nuptials. How I knew: "We knew there wasn't anyone else out there who would put up with either of us," Sarbin jokes. My advice: Sarbin says it's all about overlooking small faults and keeping the playfulness in the relationship. "Lovingly make fun of each other!" (Before you tie the knot, make sure you and your S.O. have these 3 Conversations You Must Have Before 'I Do.') DATED 2 MONTHS, MARRIED 27 YEARS BARBARA JACOBS Barbara Jacobs How we met: When Target manager Barbara met K-Mart stocker Jim, their retail rivalry didn't get in the way of love. Their first date was a July 4th party—by September 4 they were husband and wife. How I knew: "Labor Day was the only weekend we both had off for the rest of the year!" So they marched down to the Justice of the Peace and made it official. My advice: "Treat each other with respect and always be honest," Jacobs says, adding, "Okay, sometimes I would go shopping and leave purchases in the trunk to avoid discussion, but if asked I would have confessed!" DATED 1 MONTH, DIVORCED JEN EMBRY Jen Embry How we met: Push-ups and rucksack runs don't typically inspire visions of romance, but when Jen met a handsome fellow recruit in bootcamp it was love at first sight. The two dated for a month then eloped. But not all of love-at-first-sight stories end happily ever—the two divorced after four years. Still, Jen says she learned a lot about herself and love from the experience. How I knew: "We were 18 and thought we were responsible adults in love." My advice: "If you can, wait. Marriage isn't going anywhere and while there are numerous lovely stories about runaway romance, most relationships don't end that way. More than half of all marriages end in divorce, and it's so much harder if you don't really know each other first." (Learn how to your bond happy and healthy with these 5 Relationship Tips from Divorce Experts.) ENGAGED AFTER 2 WEEKS, MARRIED 20 YEARS JANE MERONUCK Jane Meronuck How we met: Jane's and Chris's friends knew the two were a perfect match and had been trying to set them for months. When they finally met at a party, they realized their friends had been right all along. (Must have been some party!) They were engaged within two weeks. How I knew: "We decided to get married because we couldn't find a reason not to. Neither of us were really looking for a life partner when we met, but we were both a little freaked out by how right it felt." My advice: "If you feel it in your bones that he's the one, go for it. When you know, you know." DATED 3 MONTHS, MARRIED 11 YEARS VALERIE LANCASTER Valerie Lancaster How we met: Valerie and Nate first met singing in a choir for their LDS (Mormon) church, but they didn't have time to get to know each other—Nate was leaving to serve a two-year religious mission. But the spark was still there when he returned, and they were wed three months after they officially got together. Four kids and 11 years later, they're still singing together. How I knew: "I wanted to marry Nate the moment I saw him, before I ever even spoke to him." My advice: "Be more concerned for the happiness of your spouse above your own. If you are both striving to fulfill that, you will both be happy." TOGETHER 5 WEEKS, MARRIED 4 YEARS MANDY HERBET Mandy Herbet How we met: Mandy and Lee had grown up in the same South African town and even gone to the same school for three years, but had never actually met—until they found each other on an online dating site. She was living in Canada and he was in New Zealand at the time, so things stayed long-distance. But after just five (intermittent) weeks together, Mandy took a leap and moved to New Zealand, where they were married. How I knew: "I knew he was 'it' within a week of meeting him. There was no question. As he says, we kissed a lot of frogs to know that we had found the one." My advice: "Why waste time waffling if you know what you want?" (Learn the 6 Things You Should Always Ask for in a Relationship.)

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