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Adoption

Adoption Deciding to adopt a child is an exciting and life-changing event. Adoption is not only a chance to grow your family, but an opportunity to give a child a fresh start and a stable future.But unfortunately, the complexity, time, and money involved in the adoption process scare off many potential adoptive parents. When dealing with a California adoption, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side.No matter what type of adoption you are seeking, family lawyer Heath Baker can help. A Riverside native himself, Mr. Baker understands the unique challenges and difficulties of the adoption process, and he has the skills and experience to help your family. Call (951) 220-8010 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Stepparent and Domestic Partner Adoptions In these adoptions, the spouse or domestic partner of the child’s biological parent adopts the child. This is the most common type of California adoption, and it is usually the easiest to obtain. The steps to obtaining a stepparent or domestic partner adoption are as follows: Fill out court forms, including the Adoption Request, the Adoption Agreement, and Adoption Order with the help of a family law attorney (or at least have an experienced attorney review the forms after they are complete) File the forms with the court clerk, which includes paying a filing fee Serve your adoption papers on the other birth parent, which requires having another adult (not the person seeking the adoption) present the documents and the court date to the other parent Talk to the child about the adoption, keeping in mind that children...

Special Needs Children

Special Needs Children Determining child custody, visitation schedules, and child support after a divorce can be emotional for everyone involved. But when a child with special needs is involved, this process can be more complex than usual. Caring for and providing for a child with special needs requires special attention and cooperation between parents, and it requires the court to be fair and understanding. If you are navigating child custody, visitation, or support issues for a child with special needs, contact the Law Office of Heath Baker. As a Riverside native, Mr. Baker has a thorough understanding of California family law and how to best approach your family law situation. Call (951) 220-8010 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today. Children With Special Needs “Special needs” is an incredibly broad category that tries to cover a wide range of diagnoses. A child with special needs may have anything from a learning disability or developmental delays to a terminal illness or psychiatric problems. It is important to define a child with special needs by what he or she can do—not by what he or she cannot do. Every child with special needs is incredibly unique and presents a different set of opportunities and challenges for his or her family. A family living with a developmentally challenged child will experience something completely different than a family living with a chronically ill child, and it is important to provide for each child’s needs differently. Despite their profound differences, parents of a child with special needs often have to deal with similar issues. Many parents have a vision in mind...
Calculating Child Support for Overtime and Bonus Income

Calculating Child Support for Overtime and Bonus Income

Calculating Child Support for Overtime and Bonus Income Calculating child support awards in California can be a complicated process. Determining child support is a nuanced, multi-step process that requires taking all sources of income into account. The income and assets of both parents will be considered, including investments, stocks, pensions, disability, veteran benefits, Social Security, inheritances, income from rental property, trust income, and more. However, child support orders can get even more complicated when you take bonuses and overtime into account. When determining child support, the court typically looks at the prior calendar year’s income as a reasonable measure of future income. When using this approach, the court treats future income as if it has already been received (based on the fact that it was received in the year prior). As you can see, this approach becomes problematic when there is unexpected income involved, such as overtime or bonus pay. California Family Code Section 4058 states that, for child support purposes, “the annual gross income of each parent means income from whatever source derived.” Combined with California Family Code Section 4604, which allows the court to adjust child support orders to accommodate seasonal or fluctuating income, supported parents in California absolutely have a right to a portion of income from overtime and bonuses. If you are going through a divorce, child support negotiations, or preparing for another family law matter, contact The Law Office of Heath L. Baker. Mr. Baker understands how to navigate the emotionally charged family court system. As a Riverside native himself, Mr. Baker can help you and your family find a solution and get through...
Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody and Visitation Modifications Post Divorce After divorce in California, child custody and visitation modifications may become necessary. After all, circumstances can change, financial security can shift, and it is not unusual for families to readjust as children grow and dynamics evolve. For all of these reasons, it is important to understand how to modify your existing California child custody and visitation arrangement. There is a difference between the modification of child custody and the modification of child visitation (or the parenting plan)? Child Custody modification refers to the change of the status of either legal or physical custody of the children, when one or both parents request a change. Legal custody refers to the parents ability to make decisions regarding the medical, education, and general welfare of the child; physical custody refers to which parent has physical timeshare with the child – the primary physical custodian parent’s home will usually determine the location for the child’s school. A parent may want to modify a child visitation orders as the child’s needs, activities, or interest evolve as the child gets older. Sometimes, the needs and activities of the parent changes, such as if the parent gets a new partner, job, or home. All of these changes can warrant a modification of a child visitation order; some parents find the need to make modifications every 2 to 3 years when the child is younger; the changes are less when the child is older. If both parents agree on the changes to be made, they can change the order by using a stipulation, or an agreement. If the parents cannot...
Domestic Violence & Custody Rights

Domestic Violence & Custody Rights

Domestic Violence & Custody Rights How Domestic Violence Can Impact Custody Decisions Managing a family is often very high-stress, with many factors causing friction within couples. Financial difficulty, jealousy, frustration at work, and sometimes incompatibility between spouses can all contribute to stress and conflict within a marriage. Arguments are something every couple must eventually deal with, when emotions are at their highest and situations become tense. Some people naturally handle these sorts of stresses better than others – and some do not handle them well at all. Tragically, there are those who cannot manage their temper and react in the worst possible way to the stresses of family life. Frustration and anger can boil over in these individuals, turning an unfortunate argument violent or physically lashing out at their loved ones over the difficulties they face from day to day. Sometimes alcohol and drug abuse can intensify these behaviors, prompting violence from people who would otherwise never do their family harm. Domestic violence is a serious issue, and it is taken very seriously in family court. In cases of child custody in particular it is very important factor in determining whether custody should be joint or belong solely to one parent, and how visitation is determined and managed. The potential that a parent might harm their child is a vital consideration when determining how much contact that parent should have, and whether or not that contact should be supervised, and as such every state in the US  directly considers a record of domestic violence, if one exists, when determining the best interests of the child. In California, such a...