Riverside Family Law Blog

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.

Special concerns during same-sex divorces

When a same-sex couple divorces, they may face certain issues that most heterosexual couples don't have to consider.

The complications that same-sex couples experience during their divorces are part of the legacy left behind from years of discrimination and a patchwork of legal rulings and laws over the decades it took to gain marriage equality. Here are some of the most common questions same-sex couples have to address:

Early signs of domestic violence in a relationship

Experts say that domestic violence is all about control. The abuser wants to obtain -- or maintain -- his or her power over the victim. That's why it's often possible to spot an abusive relationship in the making -- long before any physical violence starts.

How can you detect the warning signs that a partner or potential partner is dangerously controlling and potentially abusive? Experts on domestic violence offer these tips:

What should you know about quitclaim deeds and divorce?

During a divorce, a quitclaim deed can be used to divide up the marital property.

It's important, however, to understand exactly what a quitclaim will accomplish -- and what it doesn't. Otherwise, you may be in for an unfortunate shock down the line.

Pop star fails to show for child support deposition

What's the most important thing to remember if you're in a big dispute about child support with your ex-spouse? Show up to your scheduled depositions and try to work it out. Otherwise, you're going to end up in court.

Pop star Britney Spears is in a dispute about the amount of child support she paying to her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. Spears and Federline have two sons who live part of the time with their father. Due to the disparity in their incomes, Spears pays $20,000 per month to her ex for the boys' support.

Minimize the danger during child custody transfers

Child custody issues can create a lot of problems between family members. Parents, grandparents and other relatives on both sides of the family can end up at war when there's a dispute over parenting time.

That often spills over into tense and hostile exchanges during transfers of custody as the children are shuttled back and forth for their visitation. That sort of thing isn't healthy for anybody involved, including the kids -- and it can sometimes be dangerous. Otherwise reasonable adults have been known to lose their tempers -- and lose control -- during custody transfers.

Getting a divorce? Get the house inspected!

One of the biggest assets many people have to divide during their divorce is the equity in their home -- which can be a problem when opinions differ on the home's true value and the most recent evaluation was done years before at its purchase.

An impartial inspection can help bring any hidden issues to light and resolve disputes over a home's real worth before they get out of control. While an appraisal gives you the home's dollar value if it were sold today, the home inspection can give you a list of problems that are about to emerge -- which may substantially factor into the final estimate of the home's value and affect the way the marital assets are ultimately divided.

Same-sex divorces and custody rights

The newest battleground for gay rights is being fought over the children of same-sex marriages.

When same-sex parents divorce on bad terms, children can get caught in the middle. Since the children of same-sex marriages are only biologically related to one half of the couple (at most), custody that's split strictly along biological lines can divide parents from children and tear siblings apart (if the children are biologically related to different parents).

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Could you be stalked electronically by an abusive partner?

Escaping domestic violence is difficult because abusers are experts at stripping their victims of economic power, supportive relationships and their freedom. However, even when victims do make a break and exert their rights to live without violence and abuse, their abusers don't always give up.

Now, abusers have found some creative methods of stalking their victims electronically over time. Often, the purpose is simply to "keep tabs" on the victim and maintain the sense that the victim is never safe, no matter where he or she goes. It gives the abuser a sense of invincibility and power and the victim may be quietly encouraged to give up hope and simply return to the situation.

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Fighting back against a restraining order

When someone is the victim of domestic violence, a restraining order (also called "an order of protection") is absolutely appropriate. Unfortunately, some people see them as nothing more than a tool to use in order to force a spouse to leave the family home or a method to punish a romantic partner for moving on.

If you've been victimized by a false allegation of domestic violence, you absolutely cannot afford to just accept the label you've been handed -- even if it seems like the easier route to take. If the temporary order becomes permanent, it can affect you in the following ways:

  • It will appear in any background check, which could lead potential employers and potential romantic partners to believe you have a history of violent behavior.
  • You can be forced to vacate the family home, even if you are still required to pay the rent or mortgage.
  • You can be forced to surrender any firearms for the duration of the order.
  • If you accidentally violate the order, you can be fined and imprisoned, which will add to your criminal record.
  • If you are ever accused of another crime, your "history" of criminal behavior could affect the prosecution's willingness to negotiate and your sentence.

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