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San Jose Divorce Law Blog

Social Security spouse benefits and divorce

California residents going through the divorce process understand that a divorce is going to have an impact on their financial well-being. As opposed to living on two incomes, the divorcing spouses will now need to rely solely on their income. This can require one or both of the spouses making some drastic changes in their standard of living. Some individuals may be concerned about the impact their divorce will have on their ability to collect Social Security payments from their ex-spouse.

It may be a surprise to many, but according to the Social Security Administration, divorce does not automatically prevent spouses from collecting Social Security spousal benefits. For many spouses, especially those who made substantially less than their ex-partner, this may be welcome news. Of course, since the Social Security Administration is involved, there are some criteria that must be met before a divorced individual can get spousal benefits.

Important points to remember while co-parenting

California parents may have a hard time moving forward after a divorce. It is often difficult for the children to accept that their parents are no longer together. However, there are ways in which a parent can move forward and show their children that it is possible to adjust to such a big change.

As a general rule, parents should realize that their main goal is to look out for the welfare of their children. This is because the children did not have a say in what happened between their parents, and they shouldn't have to bear the burden of the split. Parents are also encouraged to recognize and work through their anger. Doing so may help them work past it, which is generally healthier than ignoring its existence. It may also make it easier to start dating again.

Parents who owe child support may hide income from gig work

An increasing percentage of San Jose residents and other Californians are working within the gig economy, which involves completing work via online platforms. This economy presents a problem when the gig workers owe child support because locating their income sources may be difficult.

Approximately 70 percent of child support payments are collected through income withholding from the employees' paychecks. When people who owe child support work in the gig economy as contractors, it is more difficult for states to discover. By the time that states catch up to the gig work, many of the workers have simply moved on and no longer work there. The companies themselves also do not always report that they have hired people to work as contractors to the various states.

Financial independence after divorce

As part of the divorce process, an individual in California will want to make sure that all joint debts are paid off in full. Preferably, debts will be paid off prior to the split occurring. However, it may be necessary to divide up joint debts as part of a divorce settlement. It is important to note that creditors may come after either person listed on a joint debt regardless of who was required to pay it as part of the divorce decree.

In addition to paying off and closing joint accounts, individuals should start building credit in their own name. Credit scores can range from 300 to 850, and a person is considered to have good credit when his or her score is at 740 or higher. It may be also be a good idea to adopt best practices, such as paying off credit cards each month to maintain that score.

Signing a child support stipulation

Many California residents with children need to request court-ordered child support from the other parent in order to make ends meet. Individuals who have been asked to pay child support may wonder if there is a way to avoid going to court. It may be possible to avoid having to appear before a judge in court by signing a stipulation agreement.

If a custodial parent is receiving welfare benefits, a local child support agency near the place where the children reside may pursue a request for child support from the other parent. If neither parent is receiving benefits, the parent that has custody of the children may seek child support in his or her own civil case.

6 valuable divorce tips

You're planning to ask your spouse for a divorce. You've been mulling it over now for nearly a year. After 15 years of marriage, you just feel like something got lost and it's time to move on.

You're wary, though. You know the pitfalls of a high-asset divorce. Not only do you want to fight to protect what's yours, what you've earned, but you want to avoid critical mistakes that could drag the process out.

Valuation and planning essential for divorcing business owners

In a community property state such as California, a spouse could have a legal right to half of the other spouse's business in a divorce. The terms of the split could be negotiated or even guided by the terms of the agreements that established the business. However, the divorce would likely involve the sale of the business or some type of buyout. This process begins with a thorough valuation of the business.

A spouse should obtain the services of an independent appraiser to establish the value of the business. This appraiser could be a forensic accountant or any qualified and impartial professional. The appraiser will study the books closely and calculate the value of equipment and real estate as well as the current revenue and projections for growth. The parties involved in the divorce need to monitor the valuation process carefully because one spouse could attempt to hide revenue or record false expenses to decrease the value.

Financial steps to take in a divorce

People in California who are getting a divorce might need to take a number of steps to protect themselves financially. First, a person may want to talk to an attorney about the financial aspect of the divorce even if a decision has not yet been made. The person might also want to pull and review credit reports.

If the divorce is going to happen, a person may need to begin separating themselves financially from the spouse. This could include closing or freezing any shared accounts and opening new accounts in the name of the individual. The person might also want to remove the spouse's name as an authorized user from any accounts. The couple may agree to keep one joint account open for shared expenses, such as taking care of children. The names of both people should be on any jointly owned property, such as a home or vehicle.

Should people stay together for the children?

Some Californians may be uncertain whether they should try to remain married for the benefit of their children. It may make sense for people to try to stay together in some cases. In others, it might be better for everyone to proceed with a divorce.

There are several reasons why couples might want to stay in their marriages for their children. If they believe that their marriages might still be reparable and have not yet tried to work things out, they might want to try before filing for divorce. Couples who are better off staying together instead of getting divorced might also want to stay together. Examples of these types of reasons might be financial considerations or health insurance.

Taxes, child support and dependency exemptions

Imagine you're paying $1,000 monthly in child support payments. The payments represent a significant financial burden, and -- considering you're paying for the majority of your children's expenses with this money -- you want to know if you can claim your children as dependents on your income taxes.

If you can claim your children as dependents, you'll probably want to take advantage of this valuable tax break. The question is: As a child-support-paying parent, do you have the right to claim your children as dependents?

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