Considering a Modification in Custody? Be Realistic about Your Expectations and the Needs of Your Child or Children

Considering a Modification in Custody? Be Realistic about Your Expectations and the Needs of Your Child or Children

Modifications to a custody agreement make sense as the ages and needs of your children change. What might have been appropriate for a child at 2 may no longer make sense now that the child is a teenager.

Likewise, changes to a parent’s job or living situation may also create the need to modify your custody agreement.

Courts take modifications seriously.  If you want to be successful in making modifications to your current child custody orders, it may be best to contact an experienced family law attorney in Danville or Walnut Creek.

Factors to Keep in Mind When Asking the Court to Modify Your Custody Orders

  • In California, the court likes to have both parents equally involved in the children’s lives. Unless a parent is unfit, the best interest of the child/children is served when both parents get as close to the same amount of time with the children as possible.
  • As children age, it’s not uncommon for them to want to spend more time at one parent’s house than another. The courts may take this into account when you ask for a modification, but they still want both parents involved. Consider ways to satisfy the child’s desires and needs and have the other parent still involved.
  • Asking for a change in custody based upon the desires of the child/ren is not necessarily going to cause a change of custody. Family court takes the child’s age and reasons for wanting to change custody into serious consideration. While courts do tend to listen to the wants and needs of children 14 years of age and older, their primary objective is to have constant contact with both parents on an equal basis.
  • In the case one of the parent’s needs to alter visitation due to job change or a change in residence, consider ways the parent can see the child outside of working hours. Spending more days in the summer, on weekends, or during holidays may benefit all parties.
  • The request to modify is not quick. If you ask for a modification and the other parent objects, the courts will need to set a time for a trial. Simply getting a day on the calendar can be complicated as both attorneys and the court must be available.

The Impact of a Custody Modification on the Child/Children

Whatever your reason for a change in custody, courts will emphasize the needs of the children over the parents.  Stability and consistency are two factors that kids will thrive on, as well as the unconditional love from two equally involved parents.

Considering Mendes Weed, LLP if you Need a Family Law Attorney

Custody changes can be an emotional and challenging time for all parties. When parents can’t agree to modify the current custody plan on their own, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Family Law attorney who has experiences representing you in Family Court.

If you need help or want advice, contact Mendes Weed, LLP. Or visit our website for more information about Family Law.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided in this email are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information in this email should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

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Do You Need to Worry About the Kiddie Tax? – Mendes Weed, LLP Assists Families and Businesses with Their Estate Planning, Tax, and Business Needs

Do You Need to Worry About the Kiddie Tax? – Mendes Weed, LLP Assists Families and Businesses with Their Estate Planning, Tax, and Business Needs

Mendes Weed, LLP has combined resources and knowledge to assist you and your family throughout any phase of your life.  We assist clients with estate planning, tax, family law, business law, trust administration, probate, and elder law.

Because we assist families and small businesses in so many important areas of law, we understand which changes in the laws, including tax law, will affect our clients.

Did you know that minor children are subject to a “kiddie tax” on unearned income?  The idea behind this rule is that the taxing agencies do not want parents and grandparents to be able to shift some of their income tax burden to their children without those children also being subject to tax.

The “kiddie tax” applies to children under age 18, children who are 18 at the end of the year and have earned income less than one-half the cost of their support, and full-time students between 18 and 24 with earned income less than one-half of their support.

Prior to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, children were taxed on unearned income over $2,100 at their parents income tax rate.  Now, after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been passed, children are taxed on income over $2,100 at the trust rate, which could end up being much higher.  Unearned income over $12,500 will be taxed at 37%.  (Note that unearned income below $2,100 could potentially be shifted to children).

The good news is that children can also claim the standard deduction, which has nearly doubled from what it was in 2017.  However, children with significant investment income will likely still be hit very hard.

What can you do?

You can consider investing in U.S. Savings Bonds since interest can be deferred until the bonds are cashed in.  You can consider investing in unimproved real estate, which will appreciate but will not currently produce income (note that the “kiddie tax” provisions automatically expire in 2016).  You can open an individual IRA for the child if they have earned income to deposit (Roth is usually preferable for a child with minimal tax liabilities).  You can fund a 529 plan for the child in which earnings accumulate tax deferred.  This list of options is not exhaustive.  The idea is you want to choose investment tools that appreciate but defer income to the extent possible.

What you may not want to do is make a minor child a primary beneficiary of a grandparents’ or parents’ substantial IRA depending on the circumstances, at least not until the law changes.  Any income the child receives will likely be taxed at the highest tax rate for trusts.

If you have questions about the new tax laws and how they affect your family, we hope you will reach out to us.

If you have questions about which business entity might be right for you, you should reach out to a tax lawyer who can assist you with your questions and concerns.

Mendes Weed, LLP is here to help you if you have any questions.  (925) 390-3222.

 

The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

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Filing for Divorce? Be aware of Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATRO’s)

Filing for Divorce? Be aware of Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATRO’s)

Upon filing for a divorce in California, Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (often referred to as “ATROS”) kick in.  You will see these on Page 2 of your Summons.  These restraining orders are mutual and become effective on the Respondent upon service of the initial dissolution paperwork.  ATROS remain in place until the final dissolution Judgment is entered, a Petition for Dissolution is dismissed, and the Court orders termination.

ATROS prohibit BOTH parties from:

  1. Removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.
  • If the minor child(ren) are residing in another state when the Petition is filed, it does not require that the child(ren) be returned to California.
  1. Transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of, any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life.
  • You may not borrow money against a community property asset.
  • You may not use community property as collateral for a debt.
  • You may not close a joint checking account and transfer the money into your own separate account.  This is a big one.  If you are contemplating divorce, and you have questions about bank accounts, you may want to consult with an attorney.
  • You may not remove items or cash from a safe deposit box.
  1. Cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered.
  • You may not cash in your life insurance policy and put the proceeds in a separate account.  Whole or universal life insurance policies generally have a cash value. Term life insurance policies do not.
  • You may not change the beneficiary on your life insurance policy.
  • You may not remove your spouse or children from the medical, dental or vision insurance policy.
  • You may not remove your spouse from your automobile insurance policy.

Some actions are not considered ATRO violations by the Court which includes payment for attorney’s fees.  Any funds, whether community or separate, may be used to pay for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs associated with a dissolution.  Additionally, you may procure counsel via the use of community real property to secure legal counsel.  This is commonly referred to as a Family Law Attorney Real Property Lien (FLARPL).  However, notice must be provided.

If you have further questions about Automatic Restraining Orders, and how they apply to you and your divorce planning, please contact Mendes Weed, LLP for further assistance.

The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
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