Protecting Assets When Your Spouse Owes Child Support

You love your fiance, but don’t love don’t love that (s)he owes back child support. Is there a way to make sure you aren’t paying for his(her) children from another relationship? You bet!!

Your income is, under normal circumstances, only relevant to determine the tax bracket. But what about checking and savings accounts? You need to keep your account separate and under your name only. As long as your spouse’s social security number is on an account, it can be levied to pay back child support.

What about taxes? If you are expecting a tax return, you can either file separately or file an “Injured Spouse Allocation” form with the IRS, form 8379. This results in whatever portion of the tax return that represents his portion is retained, but you are sent the remainder. The problem is that you cannot file your taxes online, but must mail them in with that form. Here is a link to the instructions to determine if this option works for you:
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8379.pdf

For further information, it is advised that you contact a tax attorney who can advise you regarding what you should claim.

Effects of Parental Alienation in Adulthood

A 2019 Italian study this year indicates that adults who were victims of Parental Alientation suffer increased incidents of depression and a lower level of quality of life. If you love your children, make sure you are not engaging in this type of behavior. It is considered child abuse! The goal of any parent should be to raise a child into a fully functioning and resilient adult. HRQoL is the quality of life quotient

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6332910/h

FAMILY CODE 7611- Presumptions regarding Parent-Child Relationship

A person is presumed to be the natural parent of a child if the person meets the conditions provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 7540) or Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 7570) of Part 2 or in any of the following subdivisions:

(a) The presumed parent and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce, or after a judgment of separation is entered by a court.

(b) Before the child’s birth, the presumed parent and the child’s natural mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following is true:

(1) If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.

(2) If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.

(c) After the child’s birth, the presumed parent and the child’s natural mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following is true:

(1) With his or her consent, the presumed parent is named as the child’s parent on the child’s birth certificate.

(2) The presumed parent is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.

(d) The presumed parent receives the child into his or her home and openly holds out the child as his or her natural child.

(e) If the child was born and resides in a nation with which the United States engages in an Orderly Departure Program or successor program, he acknowledges that he is the child’s father in a declaration under penalty of perjury, as specified in Section 2015.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This subdivision shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1997, and on that date shall become inoperative.

(f) The child is in utero after the death of the decedent and the conditions set forth in Section 249.5 of the Probate Code are satisfied.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 510, Sec. 3. (AB 1403) Effective January 1, 2014.)

MARRIAGE AND THE PRESUMPTION OF PATERNITY

These two code sections address the presumption of a child born during the marriage. If these code sections don’t make sense to you, consider a situation where unknown to the father, a child is born but it is not his. 5 years after the child is born, Wife files for divorce and discloses that Husband is not the father. Father has raised this child believing it was his and has created a very strong emotional bond with the child. It is not considered to be in the child’s best interest for the father to be forced out of the child’s life in that circumstance. It assumes the best in people and the idea that he will want to continue to be father.

FAMILY CODE 7540

(a) Except as provided in Section 7541, the child of spouses who cohabited at the time of conception and birth is conclusively presumed to be a child of the marriage.

(b) The conclusive marital presumption in subdivision (a) does not apply if the court determines that the husband of the woman who gave birth was impotent or sterile at the time of conception and that the child was not conceived through assisted reproduction.

FAMILY  CODE 7541

(a) If the court finds that the spouse who is a presumed parent under Section 7540 is not a genetic parent of the child pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7550), the question of parentage shall be resolved in accordance with all other applicable provisions of this division, including, but not limited to, Section 7612.

(b) An action to challenge the parentage of the spouse who is a presumed parent under Section 7540 shall be filed not later than two years from the child’s date of birth and may only be filed by any of the following:

(1) By either spouse.

(2) By a person who is a presumed parent under Section 7611 or by the child, through or by the child’s guardian ad litem, to establish the parentage of the person who is a presumed parent under Section 7611.

(c) The petition or motion to challenge a presumption under Section 7540 pursuant to this section shall be supported by a declaration under oath submitted by the moving party stating the factual basis for placing the issue of parentage before the court.

(d) Genetic testing may not be used to challenge parentage, in either of the following cases:

(1) A case that reached final judgment of parentage on or before September 30, 1980.

(2) A case challenging the parentage of a spouse who is a parent pursuant to Section 7962 or subdivision (a) of Section 7613, except to resolve a dispute regarding whether the child was conceived through assisted reproduction.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 876, Sec. 6. (AB 2684) Effective January 1, 2019.)

WARNING!! 2 YEAR LIMITATION TO DISPUTE YOU ARE THE FATHER!

The 2 year time limits are contained in Family Code Sections 7612 and 7646

FAMILY CODE 7612

a) Except as provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 7540) and Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 7570) of Part 2, a presumption under Section 7611 is a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof and may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence.

(b) If two or more presumptions arise under Section 7611 that conflict with each other, or if one or more presumptions under Section 7611 conflict with a claim by a person identified as a genetic parent pursuant to Section 7555, the presumption that on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. If one of the presumed parents is also a presumed parent under Section 7540, the presumption arising under Section 7540 may only be rebutted pursuant to Section 7541.

(c) In an appropriate action, a court may find that more than two persons with a claim to parentage under this division are parents if the court finds that recognizing only two parents would be detrimental to the child. In determining detriment to the child, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the harm of removing the child from a stable placement with a parent who has fulfilled the child’s physical needs and the child’s psychological needs for care and affection, and who has assumed that role for a substantial period of time. A finding of detriment to the child does not require a finding of unfitness of any of the parents or persons with a claim to parentage.

(d) Unless a court orders otherwise after making the determination specified in subdivision (c), a presumption under Section 7611 is rebutted by a judgment establishing parentage of the child by another person.

(e) Within two years of the execution of a voluntary declaration of paternity, a person who is presumed to be a parent under Section 7611 may file a petition pursuant to Section 7630 to set aside a voluntary declaration of paternity. The court’s ruling on the petition to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity shall be made taking into account the validity of the voluntary declaration of paternity, the best interests of the child based upon the court’s consideration of the factors set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 7575, and the best interests of the child based upon the nature, duration, and quality of the petitioning party’s relationship with the child and the benefit or detriment to the child of continuing that relationship. In the event of a conflict between the presumption under Section 7611 and the voluntary declaration of paternity, the weightier considerations of policy and logic shall control.

(f) A voluntary declaration of paternity is invalid if, at the time the declaration was signed, any of the following conditions exist:

(1) The child already had a presumed parent under Section 7540.

(2) The child already had a presumed parent under subdivision (a), (b), or (c) of Section 7611.

(3) The man signing the declaration is a sperm donor, consistent with subdivision (b) of Section 7613.

(g) A person’s offer or refusal to sign a voluntary declaration of paternity may be considered as a factor, but shall not be determinative, as to the issue of legal parentage in any proceedings regarding the establishment or termination of parental rights.

(h) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 876, Sec. 47. (AB 2684) Effective January 1, 2019. Repealed as of January 1, 2020, by its own provisions. See later operative version added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 876.)

FAMILY CODE 7646

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a judgment establishing paternity may be set aside or vacated upon a motion by the previously established mother of a child, the previously established father of a child, the child, or the legal representative of any of these persons if genetic testing indicates that the previously established father of a child is not the biological father of the child.  The motion shall be brought within one of the following time periods:

(1) Within a two-year period commencing with the date on which the previously established father knew or should have known of a judgment that established him as the father of the child or commencing with the date the previously established father knew or should have known of the existence of an action to adjudicate the issue of paternity, whichever is first, except as provided in paragraph (2) or (3) of this subdivision.

(2) Within a two-year period commencing with the date of the child’s birth if paternity was established by a voluntary declaration of paternity.  Nothing in this paragraph shall bar any rights under subdivision (c) of Section 7575 .

(3) In the case of any previously established father who is the legal father as a result of a default judgment as of the effective date of this section, within a two-year period from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2006, inclusive.

(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply if the child is presumed to be a child of a marriage pursuant to Section 7540 .

(c) Reconsideration of a motion brought under paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) may be requested and granted if the following requirements are met:

(1) The motion was filed with the court between September 24, 2006, and December 31, 2006, inclusive.

(2) The motion was denied solely on the basis that it was untimely.

(3) The request for reconsideration of the motion is filed on or before December 31, 2009.

FAMILY CODE 7611- Presumptions regarding Parent-Child Relationship

A person is presumed to be the natural parent of a child if the person meets the conditions provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 7540) or Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 7570) of Part 2 or in any of the following subdivisions:

(a) The presumed parent and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce, or after a judgment of separation is entered by a court.

(b) Before the child’s birth, the presumed parent and the child’s natural mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following is true:

(1) If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.

(2) If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.

(c) After the child’s birth, the presumed parent and the child’s natural mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following is true:

(1) With his or her consent, the presumed parent is named as the child’s parent on the child’s birth certificate.

(2) The presumed parent is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.

(d) The presumed parent receives the child into his or her home and openly holds out the child as his or her natural child.

(e) If the child was born and resides in a nation with which the United States engages in an Orderly Departure Program or successor program, he acknowledges that he is the child’s father in a declaration under penalty of perjury, as specified in Section 2015.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This subdivision shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1997, and on that date shall become inoperative.

(f) The child is in utero after the death of the decedent and the conditions set forth in Section 249.5 of the Probate Code are satisfied.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 510, Sec. 3. (AB 1403) Effective January 1, 2014.)

FAMILY CODE 2040 (ATROs)

 In addition to the contents required by Section 412.20 of the Code of Civil Procedure , the summons shall contain a temporary restraining order:

(1) Restraining both parties from removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state, or from applying for a new or replacement passport for the minor child or children, without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.

(2) Restraining both parties from transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, and requiring each party to notify the other party of any proposed extraordinary expenditures at least five business days before incurring those expenditures and to account to the court for all extraordinary expenditures made after service of the summons on that party.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in the restraining order shall preclude a party from using community property, quasi-community property, or the party’s own separate property to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in order to retain legal counsel in the proceeding.  A party who uses community property or quasi-community property to pay his or her attorney’s retainer for fees and costs under this provision shall account to the community for the use of the property.  A party who uses other property that is subsequently determined to be the separate property of the other party to pay his or her attorney’s retainer for fees and costs under this provision shall account to the other party for the use of the property.

(3) Restraining both parties from cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered.

(4) Restraining both parties from creating a nonprobate transfer or modifying a nonprobate transfer in a manner that affects the disposition of property subject to the transfer, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court.

(b) Nothing in this section restrains any of the following:

(1) Creation, modification, or revocation of a will.

(2) Revocation of a nonprobate transfer, including a revocable trust, pursuant to the instrument, provided that notice of the change is filed and served on the other party before the change takes effect.

(3) Elimination of a right of survivorship to property, provided that notice of the change is filed and served on the other party before the change takes effect.

(4) Creation of an unfunded revocable or irrevocable trust.

(5) Execution and filing of a disclaimer pursuant to Part 8 (commencing with Section 260 ) of Division 2 of the Probate Code.

(c) In all actions filed on and after January 1, 1995, the summons shall contain the following notice:

“WARNING:  California law provides that, for purposes of division of property upon dissolution of marriage or legal separation, property acquired by the parties during marriage in joint form is presumed to be community property.  If either party to this action should die before the jointly held community property is divided, the language of how title is held in the deed (i.e., joint tenancy, tenants in common, or community property) will be controlling and not the community property presumption.  You should consult your attorney if you want the community property presumption to be written into the recorded title to the property.”

(d) For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Nonprobate transfer” means an instrument, other than a will, that makes a transfer of property on death, including a revocable trust, pay on death account in a financial institution, Totten trust, transfer on death registration of personal property, revocable transfer on death deed, or other instrument of a type described in Section 5000 of the Probate Code .

(2) “Nonprobate transfer” does not include a provision for the transfer of property on death in an insurance policy or other coverage held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered, to the extent that the provision is subject to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a).

(e) The restraining order included in the summons shall include descriptions of the notices required by paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (b).

AUTOMATIC TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS (aka ATROS)

Family Code 231 – 235 discuss the ATROs and punishment to be applied upon violation.  These Temporary Orders are located on the Summons and bind the Petitioner upon filing and the Respondent when they are served.  The parties can stipulate to alter these restraining orders.  The restraining orders, described further in Family Code Section 2040, forbid without prior written agreement the following:

  • Leaving the State with the Children (could be charged with Penal Code 278.5 violation)
  • Canceling Health or Car Insurance (could be charged with Penal Code 273.6 violation)
  • Transferring Property (could be charged with Penal Code 273.6 violation)

Domestic Violence and Family Code 3044 Presumption

Code Section3044 states:
(a) Upon a finding by the court that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated domestic violence within the previous five years against the other party seeking custody of the child, or against the child or the child’s siblings, or against any person in subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 3011 with whom the party has a relationship, there is a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence is detrimental to the best interests of the child, pursuant to Sections 3011 and 3020. This presumption may only be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
(b) To overcome the presumption set forth in subdivision (a), the court shall find that paragraph (1) is satisfied and shall find that the factors in paragraph (2), on balance, support the legislative findings in Section 3020.
(1) The perpetrator of domestic violence has demonstrated that giving sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to the perpetrator is in the best interests of the child pursuant to Sections 3011 and 3020. In determining the best interests of the child, the preference for frequent and continuing contact with both parents, as set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 3020, or with the noncustodial parent, as set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 3040, may not be used to rebut the presumption, in whole or in part.
(2) Additional factors:
(A) The perpetrator has successfully completed a batterer’s treatment program that meets the criteria outlined in subdivision (c) of Section 1203.097 of the Penal Code.
(B) The perpetrator has successfully completed a program of alcohol or drug abuse counseling, if the court determines that counseling is appropriate.
(C) The perpetrator has successfully completed a parenting class, if the court determines the class to be appropriate.
(D) The perpetrator is on probation or parole, and he or she has or has not complied with the terms and conditions of probation or parole.
(E) The perpetrator is restrained by a protective order or restraining order, and he or she has or has not complied with its terms and conditions.
(F) The perpetrator of domestic violence has committed any further acts of domestic violence.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person has “perpetrated domestic violence” when he or she is found by the court to have intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury, or sexual assault, or to have placed a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another, or to have engaged in behavior involving, but not limited to, threatening, striking, harassing, destroying personal property, or disturbing the peace of another, for which a court may issue an ex parte order pursuant to Section 6320 to protect the other party seeking custody of the child or to protect the child and the child’s siblings.
(d) (1) For purposes of this section, the requirement of a finding by the court shall be satisfied by, among other things, and not limited to, evidence that a party seeking custody has been convicted within the previous five years, after a trial or a plea of guilty or no contest, of a crime against the other party that comes within the definition of domestic violence contained in Section 6211 and of abuse contained in Section 6203, including, but not limited to, a crime described in subdivision (e) of Section 243 of, or Section 261, 262, 273.5, 422, or 646.9 of, the Penal Code.
(2) The requirement of a finding by the court shall also be satisfied if a court, whether that court hears or has heard the child custody proceedings or not, has made a finding pursuant to subdivision (a) based on conduct occurring within the previous five years.
(e) When a court makes a finding that a party has perpetrated domestic violence, the court may not base its findings solely on conclusions reached by a child custody evaluator or on the recommendation of the Family Court Services staff, but shall consider any relevant, admissible evidence submitted by the parties.
(f) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that this subdivision be interpreted consistently with the decision in Jaime G. v. H.L. (2018) ____ Cal.App.5th ____, which requires that the court, in determining that the presumption in subdivision (a) has been overcome, make specific findings on each of the factors in subdivision (b).
(2) If the court determines that the presumption in subdivision (a) has been overcome, the court shall state its reasons in writing or on the record as to why paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) is satisfied and why the factors in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), on balance, support the legislative findings in Section 3020.
(g) In an evidentiary hearing or trial in which custody orders are sought and where there has been an allegation of domestic violence, the court shall make a determination as to whether this section applies prior to issuing a custody order, unless the court finds that a continuance is necessary to determine whether this section applies, in which case the court may issue a temporary custody order for a reasonable period of time, provided the order complies with Section 3011, including, but not limited to, subdivision (e), and Section 3020.
(h) In a custody or restraining order proceeding in which a party has alleged that the other party has perpetrated domestic violence in accordance with the terms of this section, the court shall inform the parties of the existence of this section and shall give them a copy of this section prior to any custody mediation in the case.(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 941, Sec. 3. (AB 2044) Effective January 1, 2019.)

Permanent Spousal Support Covered by Family Code Section 4300 through 4326

It is important to know that there are major differences between temporary and permanent Spousal Support.  One significant difference is that different sections of the Family Code apply.  Factors to be considered for spousal support are found in Family Code Section 4320 through 4326.  In fact, the Court must make findings on the record pursuant to the 4320 factors before issuing a permanent order.  Often this number will be less than your temporary spousal support, so cutting yourself close at the beginning of a case can hurt you in the end when you are left with even less money and possibly having to incur new costs, such as insurance, that was covered by your spouse while the dissolution was pending.  Make sure you understand this, and the fact that courts in Orange County usually run the numbers through a Dissomaster calculation to determine the amount for temporary spousal support, but are forbidden by law to use that calculation for permanent spousal support.

Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz