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Paternity and Child Support

Did you know that determining paternity, or “who is the father?” plays a key role in legal issues such as child support? What’s more, determining paternity may be more complicated than it seems- there are actually a variety of parenthood circumstances that determine whether a parent is required to pay child support or has the right to visitation or to seek custody. Sometimes, it is necessary to file a court suit to determine a child’s father, called a paternity action, establishment hearing, filiation hearing, or parentage action. A paternity action can be brought by either mother or father. Without a paternity action, there are different legal issues to consider with each set of circumstances. In some states, if paternity is assumed or agreed upon, it cannot be disputed. In Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110 (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld California’s presumed father statute as “a rational method of protecting the integrity of the family against challenges based on the due process rights of the father and the child.” A presumed father is required to pay child support. A man is considered a presumed father if any of the following qualifications applies: The man was married to the child’s mother when the child was born or conceived. In some states, this does not apply if the couple has separated. The man attempted to marry the mother, and the child was conceived or born during the attempted marriage. This applies even if the marriage was never made valid. The man and mother married after the child was born, and the man agreed to either have his name...

Dividing Assets in Late-in-Life Divorce

Getting a divorce late in life usually has the same causes as an early divorce, whether it be regrets, infidelity, or a desire for independence. While a divorce after 50 faces many of the same issues as a divorce when you are younger, older couples also face some unique, age-related issues as well, such as health concerns, retirement, and greater emotional impact. One of the biggest factors to consider is the fact that you will have less time to recover financially after a divorce later in life. If you are getting a divorce after 50, or are considering it, first consider division of assets like your home, retirement plan, and Social Security. When dividing assets, it is important to remember that there is more to consider than just the market value of the asset; some assets will be more useful to you later in life than they are now, such as your house. Your house could be of greater value to you at an older age for a variety of reasons. First of all, your age allows you to be eligible for real estate property tax exemptions. You could also be eligible for a reverse mortgage once you are 62 years old, which could offer additional income. In later years, you might want your house for tax benefits including mortgage interest and exclusions from gains upon sale. An older divorcee might also want to be the owner of the house so they could qualify for public benefits such as Medicaid, and have access to equity and potential rent income. Dividing retirement plans can be difficult, and it is important...
What are valid grounds for an annulment?

What are valid grounds for an annulment?

Annulment and divorce is the same in that they are both a court procedure which dissolves a marriage. Unlike a divorce, an annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened in the eyes of the state. Some people might choose an annulment because they feel as if divorce carries a stigma; others may choose annulment for religious reasons, because it may be easier for them to remarry in their church if they have the marriage annulled. There are two types of annulment. Civil Annulment The first type is civil annulment, which is granted by the state government after the court proceedings. For an annulment to be possible, there has to be something that rendered the marriage invalid. Civil annulment has different requirements in each state, but usually there must be at least one of the following reasons to have grounds for a civil annulment. No consummation of the marriage. Consummation of the marriage happens when you engage in sexual intercourse with your spouse. If one spouse is unable to have sexual intercourse for some reason, and the other spouse was unaware of this when they got married, then that can be grounds for a civil annulment. Fraud or misrepresentation. If one spouse lies about or conceals something that is an essential aspect of the marriage, such as the ability to have children, then it could be grounds for annulment. Incest. This means that the spouses are too closely related by blood, so that their marriage is illegal in the eyes of the state. Underage. One of the spouses is under the age of consent. Force. One of the...
Leaving an Abusive Relationship: How to Protect Yourself and Your Children

Leaving an Abusive Relationship: How to Protect Yourself and Your Children

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, your first priority is getting you and your children to safety. This means you need to find a place to stay where the abuser can’t find you, such as a hotel, the home of a non-mutual friend, or a battered women’s shelter (though the majority of domestic violence victims are women, men can be victims too. The following advice applies regardless of gender). It’s important when escaping from an abusive spouse that you don’t go somewhere where they are likely to look for you, like your parent’s or best friend’s house. There are several steps you can take so that you and your children find safety and get help. If you have time to plan your escape, you should put cash aside if you can. You might also want to pack some clothes and other important items in case you have to leave on short notice. Remember to leave the clothes and money in a place where your spouse won’t find it, like at a friend’s house. It’s also a good idea to document incidents of physical and emotional abuse with you or your kids, including the date and time, and specific details of the incident. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) advises that you make a list of people who are safe to contact and memorize their numbers, and any other numbers that you could contact for help. They also advise that you keep change on you for a pay phone, as well as cash in case you need to leave quickly. It is also suggested by the NCADV...