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Handling a custody exchange when there's tension

If you and your ex-spouse can't be in the same space for five minutes without taking verbal swipes at each other or getting into a spat, how are you ever going to keep custody exchanges civil?

It's important to try. After all, the kids are likely to witness everything that goes on during a custody exchange. The extra conflict isn't good for them any more than it's good for you. Fortunately, there are some time-honored tricks that parents have been using for a while to keep those situations from spiraling out of control:

What do you do about child support during the viral outbreak?

If you're like many other people, your financial security is currently threatened by the measures being taken to contain the COVID-19 virus. You may be laid off indefinitely.

Child support could become a significant issue. If you're currently unable to pay your support because of the epidemic, there are good and bad ways of handling the situation.

What happens to vacation property in a divorce?

If you and your spouse own vacation property, don't be surprised if it becomes a hot-button issue in your divorce. Vacation properties are usually valuable, and some spouses tend to see them as a "prize" or a sort of trophy that they can claim when a marriage sours.

So, who really has the right to the vacation house? Even though California law is a community property state that requires divorcing couples to split their marital assets more-or-less 50/50, there's no easy way to divide up a single asset. (And don't think that you can skirt that rule just because your vacation home is in another state. California is likely to still consider it "quasi-community" property and treat it just like any other marital asset during the divorce.)

Shatner divorce highlights attention to animals

For the longest time, animals owned by a couple were pretty much treated like nothing more than livestock. As pets have become more intertwined with American life, social attitudes -- and the law -- have changed.

Starting in 2019, California began treating family pets more like children. When a couple with pets decide to divorce, the court can essentially divvy up custody and set visitation just like they would do for minor kids.

How domestic violence could effect your children

There are a lot of reasons not to stay in an abusive relationship, but we're going to talk about one more: the effect that being around domestic violence has on your children.

No matter how hard you try to shield your children from the violence, they likely are witness to somewhere between 68% and 80% of incidents. Worse, their odds of also falling victim to violence ranges between 45% and 60% -- which is up to 15 times higher than for children who don't grow up in a house with domestic violence.

How to lower the cost of your divorce

The newest figures are in regarding the cost of a modern divorce and it's not great news for folks in California. On average, a divorce in this state costs more than anywhere else in the nation.

Couples without children can expect to spend an average of $17,500 -- which is more than double the $8,400 a couple in Montana might pay. Similarly, a California couple with minor children can expect to pay an average of $26,300 for a divorce.

An early offer regarding support and custody may ease a divorce

Deciding to seek a divorce certainly wasn't the easiest thing you've ever done -- but actually approaching your spouse about the divorce may seem even harder. You're likely anticipating everything from tears to threats, and that's not easy to handle.

You can, however, potentially make the conversation a lot easier by having a plan in mind for how you see the split going. While you don't want to hit your spouse over the head with all the details at once, it's often wise to have a clear idea of what you think should happen regarding important issues.

What's does it mean to be legally separated from your spouse?

Your physical separation from your spouse, your date of separation and what it means to be legally separated are actually three different things -- but people often confuse them. If your marriage is all-but-over and you've already been living in your own place for a while now, here's what you need to know.

Physically separation is the easiest to define

What happens to support obligation when parents file bankruptcy?

Divorce is expensive, and that can leave many divorced parents struggling to meet their bills -- including their child support obligations. If your ex-spouse is behind on support (and other bills), you may be concerned about what will happen if they file for bankruptcy protection.

Relax. Generally speaking, child support obligations don't disappear when a parent files for bankruptcy. Unlike credit card bills and other unsecured debts, it's very difficult for a parent to escape a child support bill -- even one that is long-overdue.

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