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Orange County Divorce Mediation and Law Blog

Pitt, Jolie to negotiate over child custody

Many California parents benefit from mediation when working out custody issues during a divorce or break-up, and the same is true of celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The two stars are currently negotiating a custody agreement for their six children. They are working with an evaluator appointed by the court to review their custody situation. While the actors reached an interim custody agreement in the past, the divorce has been moving forward for over two years, since September 2016.

Jolie, 43, hired a new divorce attorney in September 2018 to represent her interests in the split. The actress' representatives said that she is working on "healing her family" and wants the children to have a reconciliation with their father. The current interim custody agreement was agreed to by Jolie and Pitt after the child custody evaluator made recommendations.

Resolving parenting disagreements after a divorce

After a divorce, parents in California may share physical custody, or one parent might have physical custody while the other parent has visitation rights. In the former situation, the child would live with each parent for roughly an equal amount of time while in the latter situation, the child would primarily live with one parent but spend time with the other.

Legal custody is separate from physical custody, and parents who do not share physical custody might still share legal custody. Legal custody refers to the right of the parents to make major decisions about the child's life. This could include what religion the child practices, where the child goes to school and what kind of medical treatment the child receives. Sharing legal custody has advantages and disadvantages. It ensures the meaningful involvement of both parents in the child's life, and it is an excellent arrangement for parents who are committed to collaboration. On the other hand, parents may struggle with effective communication or disagreements about how to raise the child.

Musicians in mediation to resolve custody dispute

After Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale got divorced in 2015, their three children mostly lived with Stefani in Los Angeles. This was because Rossdale was on tour with his band and fulfilled other professional duties in Europe. However, now that Rossdale is back, he wants more time with his children while their mother wants the kids to have a more stable living environment.

It is said that she believes that the kids want to focus on their schoolwork and other responsibilities whereas their father wants to live a carefree lifestyle. The couple has resolved to engage in mediation sessions in an effort to resolve disagreements about parenting time. They also aim to resolve issues related to how the kids are raised. Since the split, Stefani has moved onto a relationship with Blake Shelton, and it is said that the children enjoy having him around.

Divorced women can secure their financial futures

Even for affluent California couples working their way through the trials and tribulations of a divorce, establishing two separate households can be a daunting financial task. All too often, it is the woman whose financial future looks bleak, but this doesn't have to be the case.

In what has been termed the divorce gap, divorced women's incomes tend to fall while divorced men experience a rise in their income levels. There can be various reasons for this pattern, but one way to offset the income disparity is for a divorcing woman to acquire a significant asset or assets in the property settlement of the divorce agreement. In particular, it is often important for the woman to acquire a home.

How the new tax law impacts prenuptial agreements

California residents and others who wish to use the current rules regarding alimony payments need to finalize their divorces by the end of 2018. Starting on the first day of 2019, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible. Those who receive them will no longer consider the payments as income. The change in the tax code could present unique challenges to those who have prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

There is no clear answer to the question of whether such an agreement would be grandfathered in under the old law. If it isn't, those who are paying alimony may want to review their current agreements and make any changes now as opposed to taking a chance later in court. This is because they may want to consider paying less alimony as their payments are not offset by a reduced tax bill. Ideally, a couple will review an agreement while the relationship is in good standing as it can be easier to negotiate new terms.

How parents can get along after divorcing

Parents who get divorced in California or any other state need to work with the child's other parent to raise their son or daughter. While this can be challenging, parents need to work together for the sake of their children. Generally speaking, noncustodial parents should be given an opportunity to have an active role in their son or daughter's life. With some careful planning, it may be possible to create a consistent parenting schedule.

Such a schedule can help the children because they need stability in their lives. Creating a calendar that lists where a child should be and when can help ensure that the plan is executed properly. Ideally, it will be in a place where the child can see it so that everyone is aware of the plans. Parents should be sure to keep their disagreements between themselves.

Parents may have many options for visitation

When California parents of minor children get a divorce, they may need to work out a schedule for child custody. There are a number of different options they can choose depending on what best suits them and their children.

One of the most common arrangements is for the child to spend alternating weekends with the noncustodial parent. If the parents do not live very far from one another, a weeknight visit for a couple of hours could be added in as well. Alternately, the child could visit the noncustodial parent right after school. The parent might attend the child's after-school activities or help with homework. This midweek visit could also be turned into an overnight visit.

Co-parenting

When a couple chooses to get a divorce, the process can be difficult for everyone involved as emotions might be running high and there may be plenty of bad will. If there are children mixed up in the fray, they are liable to get hurt. Consequently, one of the best ways that California parents can protect their children during a divorce, as well as after it, is to opt for a healthy co-parenting dynamic where the children still feel cared for by both parents.

There are several things divorced parents must do in order to have a successful co-parenting dynamic. To start with, they need to focus on the children and their needs above anything else. Furthermore, belittling the other parent in front of the children is forbidden under any circumstances; children are impressionable and can pick up on the slightest body language, so any disparaging acts on the part of one of the parents can reflect poorly on the children. Parents should acknowledge the importance of the children having a healthy relationship with both of them, and they need to encourage this attachment.

The benefits of divorce mediation versus litigation

Many people believe that the only way to go through a divorce is through complicated and stressful litigation. However, there are other options. When it comes to agreeing on topics like asset division and child custody, a mediator can help both parties come to an amicable agreement without forcing a judge or jury to make their decisions. In the state of California, mediators are required to have a license to practice law.

The job of the mediator is to guide conversations in a way that allows both parties to brainstorm solutions to their disputes. This is done in a confidential environment where each person can feel comfortable expressing their true objectives. During this mediation process, there may be a lot of ideas put forth that one side or the other won't like, but this is the time to work those disputes out without anything going on the record.

The benefits of a collaborative divorce

Some couples going through divorce in California might want to consider a collaborative approach. A collaborative divorce involves each spouse having a separate attorney but working together to reach an agreement instead of going to court. If negotiations fail and the couple must go to court, neither attorney is permitted to participate further in the case.

There are several agreements that are generally part of a collaborative divorce agreement. Both parties must agree to good faith disclosures of all information, and neither should take advantage of an error on the other's part. In addition, both spouses should agree to behave respectfully toward one another and protect children from any fallout as much as possible. Spouses should also agree to use the same experts. This will be helpful if there is an item that must be appraised. Otherwise, the divorce process will get bogged down by each spouse bringing in an appraiser. The ultimate goal is to work toward an agreement that benefits both of parties.

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