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Can your ex demand proof of how child support was spent?

There are a lot of misconceptions about child support -- including how the money can be spent. Sometimes, the paying parent feels entitled to demand proof of how every dollar was used under the mistaken belief that support has to be spent on things that only benefit the child.

Here's what you need to understand about child support in California:

Is it time to end your marriage?

How do you know when it's time to end your marriage? Could you and your spouse work things out and restore the bliss you once felt?

It depends. Relationship experts say that there are some definite signs that a couple would be better off divorced. In order to determine whether or not your marriage is salvageable, ask yourself some questions:

California raises the status of pets in divorce

In most states, the family pet is legally nothing more than a piece of property.

For many pet owners going through a divorce, that's devastating information to find out -- especially if the other spouse is holding onto a family pet out of a sense of retribution or malice. Many pet owners consider their "fur babies" to be much more than mere animals. They're loving companions, confidantes and -- in a very real sense to some -- substitute children.

Domestic violence dangers and safety plans

The victims of domestic violence face a lot of obstacles when it comes to breaking free from their abusers -- not the least of which is a very justifiable fear of what will happen if they do try to leave.

Three-fourths of the homicides related to domestic violence happen because the victim was trying to leave the abuser. In addition, victims often have to put up with stalking behavior and threats of more violence for several years once they do leave.

Qualified domestic relations orders and divorce

If you are going through a divorce, any retirement accounts that you and your spouse own typically will be subject to division as part of the marital property.

That's where qualified domestic relations orders, or QDROs, come into play.

How same-sex divorces are different

No matter who you are, a divorce brings with it some sadness -- but same-sex couples struggled so long for marriage rights that it always seems especially poignant when a same-sex couple ends up divorced.

For many same-sex couples, however, that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how their divorces differ from that of heterosexual couples.

Dating violence among teenagers

Dating violence is domestic violence. However, many teens who are the victims of domestic abuse by their romantic partners don't realize that they're being abused until the violence escalates out of control.

If you have a teenager, it's important to discuss the realities of dating violence and domestic abuse with your child. How serious is the issue? Consider this: The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) says that about 23 percent of young women and 14 percent of young men are the victims of intimate partner violence before they get to their 18th birthday.

Do you still owe child support if you have no income?

Parents have an obligation to support their children to the best of their ability. Once a child support order is established, paying support becomes a legal requirement that the courts can enforce through civil and criminal penalties.

So, what happens if you have no income? Do you still have to pay support?

What you need to know before child custody negotiations start

Child custody disputes can be overwhelmingly emotional -- but parents need to do everything they can to check their emotions at the door when they start negotiations. If you don't, you may accidentally turn the judge or mediator against you.

Here are the most important things that every parent should realize before a custody hearing:

Jolie, Pitt spar over child support, seek bifurcated divorce

There's a lot to be learned about how to handle a dispute with your divorcing spouse -- and how not to handle one -- by watching how celebrity divorces play out.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are publicly warring over child support issues as their marital separation enters its second year -- without a final divorce. Jolie has complained that Pitt is falling short on his financial obligations to provide child support. She claims that she's handled most of the obligations for the children for the last two years.

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