California Child Support Start Date Required Even With No Support

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with divorce661.com. In this video we’re talking about spousal support orders and child support orders, specifically related to when there’s a request for 0 support in both spousal and child support.

So, when you do have a spousal support order you’re going to indicate how much is going to be paid, same with child support, and you’re going to state how much is going to be paid, for which children, for how long, on what days, etcetera. You also have to have a start date. When is the child support or spousal support going to start?

You’re going to have to put a date in there. For spousal support you’ll have to put an end date or until further of the court. For children it’s just built in until 18 and graduated from high school. When you have 0 support for either child or spousal support we have some courts in California that are now requesting that a start date still be placed in there.

So, when will the start date for 0 support begin, I guess, is the rationale. We’ve never had to do that before, and now we’ve started to get some judgments returned with the court saying, even though there’s no support, we still need a start date on the either child support order or the spousal support order. We’ve just been putting it in there.

Doesn’t really make a lot of sense, doesn’t make a difference. Across the board, when we see a trend of things starting to happen, we’ll comply with that. When we are completing your judgment, you will see a start date whether or not there’s a request for spousal or child support. Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

When Using A Divorce Attorney For Your Divorce Mediation

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with divorce661.com. In this episode we’re talking about law firms posing as mediators in your case. Let me set this up. I don’t want to say that attorneys can’t be mediators and they’re faking being a mediator. I want you to understand when someone has an attorney that they are not your mediator.

Let me explain. We had clients that were going to work with us, they were amicable. We were supposed to start on a certain date and then I never got the call. When I followed up with them it turned out that the other spouse went out and hired an attorney. The impression that the other party had, that the wife had, is that it was their mediator.

So when I called her I say, well send me a copy of what you received in the mail. She was served by mail, which is fine. When I looked at the petition that was filed, the attorney was at the top of the form. The attorney’s name appeared at the top of the form. The letter came from the attorney’s office.

The issue here was, in misunderstanding or mis-characterizing the role of the attorney, the wife thought that that was their mediator and she was going to be helping them both. You can have a mediator who is an attorney, but they do not represent either side. If you’re receiving a petition or any paperwork from an attorney and their name is at the top of the paperwork, they represent that party. They do not represent you, and they don’t have your best interests in mind.

In fact, they have their client’s best interests in mind. In this particular case I had to explain to this wife that she needed to respond. She couldn’t take it on face value that this was going to be the attorney mediating the case because she was the attorney of record for the husband. You’ve got to be careful with, as I say, attorneys posing at mediators.

If she didn’t call me or we didn’t talk, she would have assumed all this time that the attorney was working for both their best interests in an amicable case while the attorney was working in the husband’s best interest as attorney of record of him, yet saying she’s helping to mediate the case. So, just be careful and understand the roles of the players in your divorce.

For us, we are a neutral 3rd party. We don’t represent clients in any cases at all as our role. We do pure mediated cases and amicable cases for folks trying to get through this. So there’s never a concern with us. It’s when there’s an attorney you need to really make sure who they are representing or if they are truly paying a mediated role. Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

Why Doing Your Own California Divorce Can Cost More Money

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with divorce661.com and today we’re talking about why it’s better to start with a sooner versus later when going through a divorce process.

Let me preface this by saying I’d say about half the people that call us for assistance and hire us have already started the process and got somewhere. Either they filed the petition or they did their disclosures, or even sometimes have submitted their judgment and had it rejected multiple times.

The other half of the folks have looked at the paperwork and decided they were going to hire someone from the beginning. From our perspective, we always believe it’s best that you start with us from the beginning if possible, if you’re watching this before. We can help you, of course, any time during the process if you get stuck, but generally it’s a lot more work to us to have to fix what was done incorrectly than to just start fresh.

That what we find, that usually people that are starting their own divorce are doing something wrong in the initial phases that make us have to basically start over many times. We can always take a look at what you have going on and see where you’re at and make the fix to what has to happen in order to move forward with your case. As far as cost is concerned, we see people who have started their own divorce and they’re following the instructions and they’ll file the petition and it’ll say step 2, serve. They’ll hire a process server and have that cost.

Then it’ll say step 3, the respondent needs to respond and they’ll respond. So now they have a filing fee for the petition of 435 dollars, a process server fee 60, 70, 80 dollars, and then they have a response fee of 435 dollars. All the while they’re going through these formal steps when they have an amicable agreed upon divorce and they’re completely unnecessary.

I’ll tell you there’s no need to hire a process server if you are in agreement. There’s a way of serving by email or mail. And I’ll tell you a response is not required if you’re agreeable. When we have our clients that start with us fresh, that’s one of our selling points. We tell folks you’re not going to have the response fee so we’re saving you 435 dollars there, you’re not going to have to have the other party personally served. There’s a savings of 60, 80, 100 dollars right there.

So it’s going to cost you a lot less to come to us initially to have us do everything up front as opposed to you doing things on your own, thinking you’re doing things right, getting stuck and then calling us. As a perfect example, we had someone just do that. Pay for the petition, pay to be served, pay for the response and then hired us and our fees are the same regardless of where you’re at in the case because, as I said, it’s a lot more work to fix what’s been done than just start from the beginning, so they’ve wasted 500 dollars in fees before hiring us.

Had they just called us in advance we would have been able to save them that money up front and the total of their costs overall would have been less.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. Talk to you soon.

Have Children’s Best Interest In Mind Not Money During California Divorce

Hi, Tim Blankenship here at divorce661.com and this episode is going to be more of a rant and personal opinion of mine, so it’ll be a little bit different from the informational videos that we put out.

This is based on a call I received from a gentleman who had been served with a request for order and his wife was asking to modify custody and child support, and that happens all the time. What had happened is, he had been remarried, had new family, new wife of course, new kids, and the previous children no longer wanted to live with him for a variety of reasons. Apparently, that was mutual.

The father did not want them living with him, either. The children from the divorce started living with Mom on a full time basis and that went on for a period of 6 months. When he called, he didn’t really want to fight the fact that she wanted the children. In fact, he said you know, I really just want to give up my parenting rights altogether.

I don’t even want to see my children, she can have them for all I care. I just don’t want to pay any more in child support. And I said, well you’re going to pay more child support. That’s what she’s asking for and if she has more time and everything remains the same, the child support is going to up.

So we started talking about child support, but he was really emphasizing on the fact that he wanted to give up his parenting, he did not want to be the parent, he wanted to give up his legal rights to them, how disruptive they were, he didn’t want them around his new children.

I mean, he really didn’t want his children around at all. When we looked at what the child support might be based on the new time share, the child support more than doubled. At that point, he totally changed his tune and said, well what can you do to help me get my children, because I am not going to pay that support.

So, this is more of a video about integrity, about custody, about children. This guy really rubbed me the wrong way because he asked me how am I going to fight for him to get his children back. This is obviously not in the best interests of the children. He wanted the children solely so he didn’t have to pay additional child support.

For the 1st 20 minutes of the call he told me how awful the kids were and he never wanted to see them again and was totally fine with it. But on the alternative, when he found out he was going to have to pay more child support, all of a sudden he wanted to fight for 50 50 custody.

Tell me how that’s in the best interests of the children, and is he actually going to bring them into his family? Probably not. So, 2 things. Number 1 is, I want to tell you how an attorney would twist this. Well, let me back up. I told him, look, you’ve already established a pattern over the last 6 months with your 2 children already living with her, so if she had hired me I would have told her she had a better than 95 per cent chance of winning, there’s no winning or losing in this, of course, but winning as far as getting her children because she’s already established a pattern over the past 6 months of the children living with her full time.

That’s going to be hard to beat. Now, talking about what an attorney would do. They would obfuscate and make everything confusing and probably write a declaration in his response to say, oh she took the children away and it’s not fair to him and how bad he wants the children, he misses the kids. This is what attorneys do.

They just confuse the situation and then the judge has to make a decision. All the while knowing that he doesn’t want the kids, he’s going to go find an attorney to write a declaration in response to her request for having the children full time and say how much he wants them and loves them and all this, simply because he doesn’t want to have to pay additional child support.

So that’s not a client that I would ever work with. It’s not someone I even want to personally know. Just have some integrity. Do what’s in the best interests of your children and everything will work out.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

Serving Divorce Papers On Spouse | Can They Just Respond Instead?

Hi, Tim Blankenship here, divorce661.com and in this episode what we’re talking about is how to avoid being served, if you will.

When you go through a divorce, a petition is filed, the petition is served, and then a response is filed. That’s the general way an uncontested divorce will follow. If you’re going to have the response filed and you have an amicable case, there’s no need to serve the other party. Let me give you an example.

We have clients for one reason or another, they want to file the response even though it’s not necessary when it’s amicable. I should back up a bit. When we have our clients come in we only have the petition filed. We purposely don’t have a response filed because we know we’re controlling the case and we’re not going to do a default, we’re going to be doing a stipulated agreement so we’re in control of that, so no response is necessary because it saves people money on court fees.

When you are going to have an uncontested case, by definition, where a petition is filed and a response is filed, you do not have to serve the other party. Here’s the scenario we had and say, Tim I saw the video you did where you said if a response is filed we don’t have to submit our financials to the court.

That’s a video I’ll link at the bottom, but basically when you’re going through a divorce and you have to do your declarations and disclosures, you still have to do your disclosures, income and expense declaration, and the schedule of assets and debts. Some people don’t want to disclose all that to the court.

By filing a response, you don’t have to file an income and expense declaration. That’s one of the things we’ve talked about in past videos. That was the case with this couple. They didn’t want to submit their financials to the court, so they wanted to file a response. In this case we did not have to serve the respondent. Essentially we filed the petition.

When I got that back from court I filed the response and they got that back from court. No service is required when a response is filed. Why? Well, obviously, if the person responded they obviously knew they got a copy of the case. So if you want to avoid someone actually being served by a person, you can just have the response filed.

Keep in mind there’s also another way to do that, which is notice and acknowledgment of receipt, which can be done by mail.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

FL-395 – Request For Productions Of Income And Expense Declaration – California Divorce

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with divorce661.com. In this episode we’re talking about the Request for Production of Income and Expense Declaration. I want to give you the rationale for its use and give you an example of where it was recently used.

The Request of Production of an Income and Expense Declaration allows you on an annual basis, without going to court, to basically ask for the other party, your spouse or your ex-spouse, to provide you with current income. The rationale behind that is to see if there is a need for an increase or modification in spouse support.

You can do this on an annual basis and it makes it nice and easy. As an example, we had a client call last week. We handled their divorce a couple years ago and they wanted to do a modification. We are always telling them just go ahead and call your spouse and see if they’ll just turn over the income and share that information because we can easily draft a stipulation to modify the spousal and child support based on the new income.

In this case, the other spouse would not produce it by the request, so the next step would be to serve the Request for Production of an Income and Expense Declaration.

A couple of things to note when you do this. They will have 30 days to respond and submit their Income and Expense Declaration, including their pay stub. Then, in serving, this is not a form that gets filed. Rather, you’re just going to serve it, but you need to serve it by certified mail return receipt so you have evidence that you’ve actually served it.

We’ve had cases in the past where people have made the request to the other party and they did not respond within the 30 days. If that happens, then you would just have to file a motion with the court. The unfortunate part is you’re kind of rolling the dice if you don’t know if there has been a change in circumstances. You can suggest there was.

In this case both the spouse receiving support changed jobs and she knew that her ex, the father, also had a new job and her suspicion was he was making more money. That’s what we’re doing with them. We’re having the Request for Income and Expense Declarations be produced and once we get those incomes, then we can make the modification for support, hopefully by agreement and stipulation.

Otherwise, we’ll just set a hearing for them and the court can decide.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

Why It’s Important To Change A California Divorce Settlement Agreement

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with divorce661.com and in this video we’re talking about why it’s important to formalize any change or modification of anything related to your judgment. Let me give you an example.

When you have your final judgment prepared and then later you want to amend something or modify something, say child support or spousal support or custody or visitation, it’s important that you actually memorialize that by filing a stipulation with the court.

I want to give you an example. I had a past client call me. We did their divorce a couple of years ago and he said, Tim 2 years ago my wife and I had an agreement verbally to stop the alimony and everything’s been fine but now we need to buy a house or refinance, I forget the issue but it had something to do with the lender needing to see that that order was not the case anymore, and they had never done the stipulation.

The underwriter actually said they didn’t even need the stipulation, they would just need something in writing that they would notarize and say that spousal support has been paid for a specific time and, while that’s great for the home loan purpose, what you’re going to want to do with the court is formalize that.

You’ll notice most orders will say spousal support, for instance, or child support is paid until a specific time for a specific amount. If you don’t modify that and you don’t change that in writing, then you’re still on the hook for that money. What could happen, if you’re the one paying and you have a verbal agreement with your spouse not to pay it, but you don’t formalize that with the court, 5 years from now the spouse that should have received, maybe they get upset for some reason and they want to go after that money.

You’d still have to owe that. Even though you may have had a written agreement, the court would likely force you to pay that because you never formally modified it. So, in this particular case, while the letter would suffice for the underwriter, we advise that it’s best to, obviously, modify the spousal support order. We can even back date it, which he was surprised to hear.

Probably one other thing we should touch on, they had stopped paying it a year or 2 ago, and I said we need to write the order to back that up, to say yes we’re filing this stipulation to modify now, but we’re modifying it saying that the agreement to spousal support was to stop at whatever point they stopped, a year or 2 ago.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

What Not To Do When You Are Served California Divorce Petition FL-100

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with divorce661.com and in this episode what we’re talking about is when people receive their summons and petition, so when you are served or someone is served.

What we’re asking folks to do is not get bent out of shape based on what is in the request for the petition. So let me give you an example. We get calls for lots of types of services related to family law and divorce and some of those calls are, hey Tim, I was just served by my spouse.

What they’ll say is I’m reading the petition and they want spouse support and they want this and they want that and they want me to pay their attorney’s fees and all this other kind of nonsense. The 1st thing I tell folks is, don’t read into the petition. It’s just the opening papers. They’re just requests.

They’re basically meaningless. Yes, it might give you some insight as to what the other party is going to be asking for, but when it comes to things like attorney’s fees, especially people that are representing themselves and asking for attorney’s fees. Generally if they’re having someone help them and it’s going to be a contested case, that person helping them, whether that be an attorney or otherwise, is probably going to advise them to ask for attorney’s fees whether they want it or not.

They’re also going to advise them to ask for spouse support whether they want it or not. Here’s the rationale. Say someone hires an attorney and they don’t want spouse support but then they don’t want attorney’s fees, it wasn’t on their mind, but when they go to the attorney, they’re going to say you should ask for these things so in the event you want them down the road, you can ask for them.

The theory is if you don’t ask for it now it’s going to be hard to convince the court, if this goes to trial, to change your mind and it might be used against you to say you didn’t ask for that in your petition. Ultimately what you put in your petition is not what you’re going to get. It’s either going to be agreed upon between you and your spouse or it’s going to be decided by the judge at trial. So, really, what I wanted to get across in this video is, don’t get bent out of shape when you receive the petition.

Yes, it’s not a good feeling to be served, that’s why we do a lot of our service by mail instead of personal service. There is a way to do that and not be so offensive, but don’t get bent out of shape in reading it. Take it for face value. Your opportunity is to respond, of course, but ultimately if you can speak with your spouse, ultimately we’ll just come up with an agreement and that will supersede anything requested in the petition.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day.

Do I Need California Divorce Form FL-345 Even If No Property To Divide?

Hi, Tim Blankenship here at divorce661.com. In this video we’re talking about the Property Order Form, the attachment to the judgment, and this is form number FL 345.

I did a video where I talked about, when people turn in their judgment, I’ve seen people just filing the FL 180 that says judgment and not adding any of the attachments, particularly around the issue of property. They say well, Tim, we did this because there’s no property.

Of course, I’m talking about clients who tried to do their own divorce, they didn’t work with us and they ran into trouble turning in their judgment and later needed to hire us, but this is the issue we’re seeing. What you need to do, even if no property, you have the FL 180 cover sheet, the judgment form. You still need to attach an FL 345 to state that there’s no property. There is a section for Community Assets and Debts on page 1.

You just mark the box that says no community assets or debts to be divided by the court. There would be 2 boxes for that, one for the assets, one for the debts. And then page 2 has the separate property. You just go to the separate property section and you put none in both boxes for Petitioner and Respondent.

So you still need the Property Order FL 345 if there is no property because that is the actual order to the face sheet of the FL 180. The FL 180 isn’t your judgment paperwork, it’s not the court order, it’s just the face sheet. Therefore, you need that FL 345 to state there’s no property. If there is property, of course, you’re going to list the property on that form.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day.

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Do I Need To File The FL-160 With FL-100 For California Divorce?

Do I Need To File The FL-160 With FL-100 For California Divorce?

In this video we’re talking a little bit about procedure and when you file your paperwork with the court. So most people come to us before they’ve ever started the process, but we do get a lot of folks who come to us some point in the middle of their divorce process.

Maybe they filed, they served, they did some disclosures, and then they get hung up at some point, they’ll call us for help, and we’ll pick up where they left off. And that’s no problem. We do that all the time. But we see a lot, when people do start their own divorce, is they will file what’s called their property disclosures or declarations.

I’m referring to the FL 160s. And we tell folks, when you’re filing for divorce, when you’re going through this process, I know you don’t understand the process, someone’s telling you how to do this, or you read something online, or maybe you went to a clinic of sorts and they’ll tell you to fill out the FL 160s. We’re telling our clients, if you’re watching this and you’re not our client obviously, not to use the FL 160s when filing your petition for divorce.

You can always do your property declarations later. The issue becomes when you attach your FL 160, your list of assets and debts, to your petition, you file that, you serve it, and then you get to the judgment phase. If you come to an agreement other than what you disclosed or how you drafted your property declarations, the FL 160s, you have to dispose of all those assets and debts likely exactly as you proposed on your petition.

So if you are going to come to an agreement with your spouse, there’s no need to attach the disclosures or the declarations rather to your FL 160 because it allows you when you come to an agreement with your spouse, you get to make those decisions as you see fit. So for an example, with our clients, when we start, file a petition where it says to list the separate and community property we don’t list any assets and debts.

We simply say something like, to be amended or to be determined at a later time. We’re not listing any assets and debts there and we’re definitely not attaching the FL 160s. If your case becomes, is a default case, you can always amend the petition and then attach your FL 160s. That’s the better way to go, so for our clients, we don’t list any assets or debts on the petition itself.

All of the agreements, the division of assets and debts will come on the actual settlement agreement and that will supersede anything that has been put in the petition itself. So you don’t have to worry about listing your property on the petition when you file for a divorce in California.

Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com. Hope you’re having a great day. Thanks so much for watching. Take care.