Practice Areas - Attorney Mark Rademacher

Custody:

Custody is the charge and control of a child, including the right to make all major decisions such as education, religious upbringing, place of residence, medical care, and general, health and welfare. Custody usually refers to a combination of physical custody and legal custody. Many factors influence an award of custody and the way a case is presented in court can have a large impact on the result for you and your children. If you are awarded the children as a primary custodial parent, it has far reaching consequences both to you and to their well-being and development.

Child Support:

Child support is a periodic payment made between parents (usually from a non custodial parent) to the custodial parent to help compensate a child’s living expenses; i.e., food, clothes, etc., and any other related debts. When one parent is awarded primary custody, the non-custodial parent is required to fulfill his or her child support obligation by making set payments, whereas the custodial parent meets his or her support obligation through the custody itself. When parents are awarded joint custody in a divorce, however, the support obligation is shared and is based on a ratio of each parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent, among other factors.

The obligation to support minor children cannot be waived by either parent and is a right enjoyed by the child, not the parent. The State of California has guidelines that factor the amount of child support, such as the amount of time spent with the child, the income of both parents, filing status for tax purposes and other factors. The Court may allow deduction items such as catastrophic medical expenses and travel expenses for visitation.

Relocation of the Child/Children:

When faced with a relocating custodial parent, the court will generally require that parent to give the other parent notice prior to the anticipated move. This notice gives the non-custodial parent an opportunity to go to court and seek orders restraining the relocation of the child, if the relocation affects the non-moving parent’s abiity to have custody time with the child.

These so-called move-away cases have often led to highly contentious litigation that is expensive and difficult. While the best interests of the child have always been central to the decision, the uncertainty has made this area murky. Assistance of counsel is highly recommended. Issues involving two or more different states are governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) and the Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA).

Spousal Support (Alimony):

Alimony is temporary or permanent financial support paid from one separated spouse to the other, usually in monthly installments. Alimony is designed to provide the lower-income spouse with money for living expenses over and above the money provided by child support. Long term alimony differs from child support because it is at the discretion of the judge who relies upon a statute for guidance. Child support is usually determined by state-sanctioned guidelines.

Divorce:

A court of law is the only way in which one can obtain a divorce decree, legal separation, or other form of terminating a marriage. Other than the termination of the marriage itself, the court also has jurisdiction to resolve other issues that are intertwined in the existing marriage. These include, but are not limited to: custody and visitation rights, division of property of the marital estate, spousal support, child support, restraining orders, etc.

Prenuptial Agreements:

A prenuptial agreement,(often referred to as a pre-marital agreement or a “pre-nup”) is a written contract created by two individuals who plan to be married. This agreement lists all individually owned property, such as homes and businesses, family assets, stocks and bonds, savings accounts as well as debts, and specifies what will and will not remain individually owned property after the legalization of marriage. Prenuptial agreements also specify whether spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce, and the intentions regarding distribution of individually owned property upon death.

Factors that cannot be stipulated in prenuptial agreements are binding legal matters such as child support; i.e., a couple cannot lawfully agree in a prenuptial agreement that either party will in no way be responsible for child support. An agreement regarding spousal support upon divorce can also be disregarded by the court if it is deemed to be unconscionable.

Property and Debt Division:

Community property obtained during marriage, regardless of whose name it is under, can be divided. Community property can include real estate, a pension plan, vehicles, bank accounts, income tax refunds and/or household furnishings. However, property that is inherited by one spouse is not considered community property and thee are other types of property that can be acquired during marriage that will be considered solely the property of one of the spouses (i.e. separate property).

Take Action to Protect Your Rights

If you or a loved one is facing a divorce or child custody case in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and you need the help of an experienced family law attorney, call Mark H. Rademacher today at 626-792-8425,