Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP
Menlo Park
San Ramon

Bay Area Family Law Blog

Don't let your teen manipulate you after a divorce

Teenagers are smart -- and some of them will take advantage of their parents' divorce in order to get their way.

Sometimes, the manipulation works simply because the parents feel guilty about upsetting their teens' lives with the divorce, but most of the time parents simply don't realize that a teen is actively manipulating them.

What issues do you bring to your custody dispute?

If you and your spouse are heading toward divorce, you may be surprised at how many things you can agree on. However, even these elements of your divorce may pale in importance compared to the choices you must make about your kids. Even when there are substantial assets over which to tussle, the custody of your children is likely of primary concern to you.

Custody rulings often endure for years and are modified only through a difficult process, so arriving at a satisfying arrangement from the start is critical. While you may think you know what is best for your child, your spouse probably has the same opinion about his or her parenting skills. Knowing some of the most common disputes that arise during custody battles may help you prepare to meet those challenges.

Ask your intended these five questions before marriage

What's the best way to divorce-proof a marriage?

Take the time -- well before your nuptials -- to communicate with your soon-to-be spouse about some of the critical questions that couples usually face over their lifetimes. It's not a big mystery what drives most couples apart, but many people still fail to address the issues in advance. Doing so can prevent a lot of heartaches later.

Divorce can complicate college plans for children

Parenthood is one of life's greatest journeys, and it used to be an unspoken assumption that two parents would go through it together. As divorce became more common, the rate of single parents in California went up and many more parents had to consider the well-being of their children without help.

One of the greatest challenges that divorcing parents face is financing the present and future of their children. Years of careful financial planning for college or other expenses for aging children can come to nothing if a divorce leads to a contentious fight over resources. Alimony or child support can reduce college funds and other tools for a child's future.

Why would you use a cohabitation agreement?

As cohabitation becomes more common, some couples are drafting legal cohabitation agreements to define their relationships. Why would you want to do this?

The main reason is that you recognize that the relationship could end. If you were legally married, you would automatically have certain obligations and rights. Since you're not married, you are not automatically entitled to those things. The cohabitation agreement can give them to you without the need for a formal marriage.

Post-divorce decisions: Why do parents decide not to vaccinate?

While the vast majority of children in the United States get vaccinations to protect them from potentially deadly diseases, there are some parents who opt not to let their children have these life-saving vaccinations. Why do they do this?

For some, they fear that a young child does not have a strong enough immune system to get these vaccinations, especially when getting so many at once. They opt to skip them entirely or they may try to get only "important" ones and save the others for when the child is older.

Temporary orders carry you through to the divorce

Your decision to divorce likely did not come about overnight. You and your spouse may have been quietly losing touch with each other or contentiously breaking up for months or years. Now that you have made the decision to end the marriage, you may be surprised at how many decisions must follow. While some of the decisions will take time to reach, others are more pressing.

Because you and your spouse may have to wait months or longer for your divorce settlement, you may not want to wait that long to learn what the California family court will say about certain matters. In such cases, you can seek temporary orders that are quick decisions to address those questions until formal rulings are in place.

How do you get a qualified domestic relations order?

Property division gets complex when you have to take future assets into account. For instance, perhaps your spouse has a pension plan that is going to pay out for their retirement, but, at the time of your divorce, that retirement is still 10 years away. Do you still have a right to those retirement benefits when they start paying out a decade from now?

You may, though you typically just get a percentage of the benefits based the percentage your spouse earned when the two of you were married. So, while you are not entitled to benefits earned over the 10 years after your divorce and before retirement, benefits earned prior to the divorce often do get divided.

How should I talk to the children about the end of my marriage?

Divorce is a difficult topic to talk about with other adults, and they understand what you're going through. How do you possibly bring something like that up around your children?

It is not going to be easy. But a divorce will have a massive impact on the children's lives, and they deserve to know what is going on. Here are a few tips that can help you during these conversations:

  • Tell all of the kids at once. Do not start with the oldest and work your way down or talk to each child when it is convenient. You do not want them finding out from each other. Gather the entire family and have that conversation.
  • Never do it too early. If you and your spouse are just considering divorce and you're not sure yet, keep it to yourself. Only tell the children when you know 100 percent that the marriage is going to end. Anything else puts them on an emotional roller coaster with an unpredictable end.
  • Tell the kids that you still love them and you both feel the same about them as you always have. Even if you think they know that, offer them this reassurance often.
  • Talk about how life will change. They may not like having to live at two homes if you pursue joint custody, but they need to know what is coming. Talk to them so that you can all work together to plan for life after the split.

Should you keep the house and live in it with your children?

Property division during divorce is not always as easy as selling the house, splitting up the money and moving on with your lives. In some cases, it gets very complex. This can happen when you start factoring your children and your family life into the equation.

For instance, some parents know that it will be hard for the kids to move out of that family home. Instead, they use a situation called nesting or bird nesting, which allows them to keep the family home, with the children living in it. Both parents just take turns moving in and out when they have custody.