Posts

Pet Custody Laws in California

You may think of your dog as your fur child, but California law would not agree. In regards to the law, they are really no different than the precious items or the home. But in more and more homes in California, splitting the pets can get pretty contentious. When you put all of your expenses together, it is no wonder that we are beginning to see a higher number of custody battles involving companion animals.

In the mid-90s, Florida’s First District Court of Appeals overturned a decision of the trial court that granted Kathryn Bennett visits with her family dog Roddy. The dog was an asset before marriage and belonged to her ex-husband, Ronald Greg Bennett, who was then awarded custody, while his ex-wife was only given visits with Roddy every other weekend and every other Christmas holiday. Ms. Bennett went back to court contending that her ex-husband was not compliant with the visitation the court had ordered.

But instead of applying her rights as a dog parent, the appeals court denied that they even existed. Pets must be awarded pursuant to the dictates of equitable distribution statute.

This ruling goes on to say that determinations as to custody and visitation will lead to continuing enforcement and supervision problems. The courts were overwhelmed with the supervision of visitation, custody and support matters related to the protection of children. They could not undertake the same responsibility as to animals.

When a judge chooses who should get the cat or dog, these factors as who spends more time with the pet, who cares for it and takes it to the vet and who brought it into the relationship in the first place needs to be considered.

When a couple is divorced fights over their dog or cat, they might not be dealing with an underlying issue. An ex who takes his or her former spouse to court over and over in regards to getting to visit the dog or pay pet bills probably is not as concerned about the dog as he or she is about controlling an ex-husband or ex-wife. In a case of divorce, the dog or cat might become a symbol of power and control and might be seen as the one entity that still loves me unconditionally.

Click here to learn child abuse laws in California!

The legal battles that involve pets can be a large emotional investment with an uncertain outcome that can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. The split also makes an impact on the animal. A lively pet in the past might now become depressed, He or she might sleep more, consume food less and lose interest in activities such as walking and playing with his owner. He or she might start having accidents in the house or grooming himself excessively.

You should decide what is best for your pet. Put your own feelings aside to get to that decision. You will need to consider such factors as who fed and cared for them before the divorce and who can afford to pay for their veterinary care and other expenses.

Do you have a question about pet custody in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Featured Image

This is Why the Date of Separation is Important in California

Most people might not think it really matters when they separate from their spouse. However, the date of separation can play a big role in divorce proceedings, particularly when it comes to finances.

Officially, a date of separation is when a spouse decides they do not want to continue with a marriage. Separation comes into play when a couple starts breaking up financially. It does not technically occur when someone decides to move out of a house or apartment, or if a couple gets into a fight or argument. Dates of separation come into play when a couple decides their issues are too big and cannot be fixed or repaired, which means the marriage is significantly damaged.

Courts in California usually look at a couple’s living situation to see of they are actually separated. They will look to see if spouses are still living together, if they tell family and friends if they are together (or not), and if they maintain some sort of joint financial status, like filing joint tax returns. They will also see if a spouse has other relationships or partnerships to see if a couple has a clean break in their relationships with each other across all lines.

Cases get complicated when people list different dates of separation. This usually occurs when a couple splits up, but then reconciles and gets back together, only to split a second time. This becomes difficult because courts have to decide if there are two dates of separation, or if there was really just one.

This is a big deal when it comes to separate and community property because courts have to figure out if items bought, like a car, during a separated period should be seen as community property, or something that is separate.

Dates of separation are used in California to classify marriages as long or short term. The difference could mean a lot of money when it comes to spousal support, since long-term marriages in the state mean support can last until death or remarriage of the other party. In short term marriages, spousal support is usually just mandated for half of the total marriage time. This is a big difference, which is why the specific date of separation can be a big one.

Click here to learn 5 things about spousal support!

Those in California who are in the middle of a divorce settlement or process would be smart to enlist the help of a qualified attorney to help you decide when the actual date of separation should be. This will help classify the marriage as long or short term, which can make it a lot easier to figure out spousal support and what to do about other assets. It will also help you and your attorney figure out what items you own should be seen as separate, and if anything should be characterized as a community asset.

An experienced family law attorney will help you navigate through a divorce settlement and give you advice about what to expect in California courts. If needed, they can help you gather evidence to build a case for your side and represent you in court in a professional and expert manner. It is not smart to try to go through a divorce proceeding on your own since the legal rules and stipulations can be very confusing, making the potential for mistakes very high.

Do you have a question about separation in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Featured Image

What is a Child Custody Agreement?

Families that have everything planned out for them and are living the good life with their kids together under one roof feel that they may never need to learn about custody agreements and visitation schedules. But the issue is that these divorce is real and can happen to your family.

One thing spouses always need to know when getting into any commitment, especially marriage, is that anything can happen. Two partners will either stay together and happily, or things might go south and end in divorce. In most cases, children are involved.

When children are involved, one partner is going to have primary custody of them, and the other parent will have scheduled visitation rights or even have the children visit from time to time depending on the relationship of the partners after the separation.

In situations that involve mental health and or domestic violence, however, this status doesn’t apply. In general, if the spouse who doesn’t have custody over the children is reasonable, of sound mind, and is actively involved in their children’s lives, then the separated parties can come together and have a child custody agreement.

Reaching an agreement with the other partner can help you gain some form of control over the whole process. The best first step here is to prepare a visitation schedule. This will definitely help the two of you to build a healthy co-parenting relationship and allow your children to still be part of both of your lives without much stress from either of the separated spouses.

Most people usually think that having a judge decide your case is always the best option. But it isn’t. in fact, litigation needs to be your backup plan only if agreements between you and your separated partner isn’t possible. Courts can end up damaging any chance of having a good co-parenting relationship as revelations and tempers can end up flying back and forth.

Child Custody Agreement

There are three terms in a custody agreement: legal custody, visitation schedule, and physical custody. The agreement of any situation here needs to be in writing and filed by the court so as to ensure that the court order is enforced. In most situations, signatures are needed to make the agreements notarized.

Legal Custody

This has to do with the parent who will be making all of the parenting decisions on matters relating to the children’s health, welfare, and education. A joint legal custody can also be agreed upon which allows both parents to have equal rights to make such decisions about their children.

Physical Custody

This type of custody deals more with which household the children are going to primarily live in. Joint physical custody can also be agreed upon in situations where both parents will be having equal times with the kids in their homes. But in cases where the children only live with one parent and only visit the other occasionally, it is referred to as sole physical custody.

Visitation

In some situations, a visitation plan may need to be generated and agreed upon by both parents. Visitations can be every day, holidays, vacations, special days, etc. It is also important to note that each of these categories is considered separate even though they relate to one another.

Do you have a question child custody agreements? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!