Divorce & Family Law Attorney

Family Law Blog

Divorce & Family Law Blog by Attorney Jamie Elmer of Berkeley, California

Child Support: What Bay Area Families Need to Know

Child support is calculated pursuant to a statutory algorithm, which takes into consideration the percentage of time each parent has physical custody of the children, and the incomes of the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent. It is based on the gross income of the parties, and the algorithm takes into account the tax deductions and their consequences, and therefore, the tax filing status of each party is important, as well as is the number of dependents claimed, including who gets to claim the minor as a dependent and who gets the head-of-household status tax credit. An experienced Alameda County child custody lawyer can help you better understand how support is calculated. There is also a Child Support Calculator available online. 

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Grandparent Visitation "Rights"

Yes, sort of. There is a California statute that provides for grandparent visitation with their grandchildren; however there are overriding constitutional limitations if a parent is opposed to it.

In addition, before grandparent visitation can be ordered, it must be shown that there is a pre-existing "deep and abiding relationship," between the child and the grandparent, and that visitation with a grandparent is in the best interests of the child.

If the parent/s, objects to grandparent visitation, there is a presumption that grandparent visitation would not be in the best interest of the child, and that presumption can only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence that the denial of grandparent visitation would be detrimental to the child.

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Prenuptial Agreements: What residents of Alameda County need to know

Do I need a prenuptial agreement to avoid being liable for my fiancé's debts?


-Your separate property, [property that you acquired before the marriage or property you receive by way of a gift or inheritance], and your wages cannot be used to satisfy your spouse's debts incurred before the marriage.
-However, your wages and any property acquired during the marriage or held jointly will be subject to your spouse's debts incurred during the marriage.

-Your separate property will not be liable for the debts of the other spouse incurred during the marriage [except for debts incurred for the necessaries of life].

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How to Make Divorce More Affordable for Residents of Berkeley & Oakland

Find a way to rise above emotional triggers

The number one reason why divorce cases get so expensive for Berkeley & Oakland residents is that one or both of the parties let emotional triggers dominate how they approach the case and handle conflict. My previous blog described the main reasons divorce cases can be so expensive. 

I know it is not easy to rise above strong, sometimes overwhelming, emotional triggers, but it can be done. Finding emotional support from friends, family, a therapist or even a divorce coach can help a party overcome letting their emotions drive their decision-making process in the divorce.

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Why Are Divorce Cases So Expensive in California?

Most divorce cases that really pile on the fees involve parties who are driven by emotions, triggered by the unresolved emotional issues in their relationship. [Likely stemming from unresolved family of origin issues.] It's rarely the lawyers who make the case expensive.

Simply, it is the inability to rise above these powerful, triggering emotions that drive people to irrationally litigate issues in family law and divorce cases, generating thousands and thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees and expenses. The legal case becomes an arena where the parties use the legal issues as a substitute for emotional discourse, and they attempt to hurt the other party, and are, in turn, hurt by the other party.

In addition, sometimes one or both of the parties are unconsciously not ready to let go of the relationship, and use litigation as a way to stay engaged.

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Jamie Elmer