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Salem Family Law Blog

Remember your estate plan when divorcing

If you and your spouse in Oregon have made the decision to end your marriage, you know that there can seem to be no end to the number of decisions you must make and things that will change in your life. This transition includes a mindset shift in which you start assessing many decisions differently, including how you would like your assets handled or distributed after you die. Unless it is stipulated in your divorce agreement, you probably do not want your former spouse to inherit everything. 

It is for this reason that Forbes reminds people not to forget about their estate plans when they get divorced. Some documents and plans might not be able to be changed in any way until your divorce settlement is finalized. This is to protect you and your spouse from each other tampering with any marital assets during the proceedings. Once the ink is dry, however, your will or trust should be updated to reflect your current situation.

Can you relocate with your child during divorce?

You know that your marriage is coming to an end and that divorcing your spouse is inevitable. While you firmly believe that relocating to someplace else in Oregon is what is best for you and your children, you are unsure if your decision will be supported by other people including your family and friends. Ultimately, the courts will weigh in on your request and determine if your decision will be in the best interest of your children. 

While it may be difficult to separate your emotions during such a chaotic time, it is imperative that you do not allow the issues that you experienced in your marriage to taint the way you view your soon-to-be ex as a parent. Even though he or she was unable to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with you, chances are that your children still have a relationship with their other parent and that your spouse is a qualified parent. Understand that both of you want what is best for the children you have shared and that you will need to be flexible in coming up with a custody arrangement. 

Factors used to determine child custody applied to pets

As beloved as pets are by many couples in Oregon, they do not have the same status as children when it comes to divorce disputes. While pets do not have legal status in California either, a newly signed law allows California judges to apply the same criteria to pet ownership disagreements that they use to determine custody of a child.

In the past, disputes over pet ownership during divorce proceedings have gotten contentious, and without clear guidelines over how to handle the matter, judges have sometimes had to settle the disagreement by arbitrary means. The new law allows family court judges to weigh factors such as who plays with the pet or takes it on walks, feeds the pet, takes it to the groomers or the vet and so on. 

Custody disputes and social media

Child custody disputes can be extremely emotional, and parents may face a number of challenges while working through these matters. From concerns about legal issues to anxiety over one’s ability to spend an ideal amount of time with kids, custody battles can bring on many difficulties. Furthermore, some parents may feel the need to share their feelings and experiences on social media. Moreover, parents may share unrelated information online which could also affect their custody dispute, and this is important to keep in mind if you are active on social media and going through a dispute over child custody.

Some posts on social media can present a parent in a bad light, such as those which show a parent partying late into the night, drinking heavily or acting a way which could be negatively viewed by others. As a result, you should be very mindful of what you post, especially if you are going through a dispute over how custody will be arranged. Some parents may also be very angry during these disputes, which can lead to emotional posts that are regretted later on. Moreover, other parents may drink more than they normally would or exhibit other forms of uncharacteristic behavior because of the intense anxiety they have.

Going over examples of marital property

If you and your marital partner are splitting up, there may be various aspects of your divorce that bother you or cause you to worry. For example, if you are a parent you may be terrified of a dispute over child custody and how things will unfold. The financial side of divorce can be very tricky as well and property division is one area that can be especially challenging and complex for some couples. In this post, we will take a look at some of the different examples of marital property, which is subject to division.

Generally speaking, any property that a spouse acquires while they are married is viewed as marital property. This may include gifts that a spouse received while they were married, financial accounts, boats, automobiles and real estate. Some people do not realize that other types of property, such as artwork, coin collections and home furnishings may also be subject to division. There are many factors that the court will consider when trying to figure out how to divide your property and you may receive more or less property than you originally expected.

Developing a visitation schedule that is fair and functional

When a couple in Oregon chooses to get divorced, their decision may require that one or both parents relocate as the courts negotiate the details of the separation. For couples with children, this process could be critical as they negotiate where their children will live and who their guardians will be. They will also need to decide whether parenting responsibilities and decisions will be shared and how time will be split between both parents to allow their children to maintain a relationship with both their mom and dad. 

As parents begin the process of creating a visitation schedule and coordinating the details of their shared custody arrangement, it is critical that both parties acknowledge that they will not be able to have everything they want. According to verwellfamily.com, parents who are more concerned about "winning" the arrangement they wanted to keep current schedules convenient and easy will often be disappointed when they are required to compromise to some degree. The visitation schedule that people create is a valid effort at enabling children shared by the couple to have accessibility to both of their parents to enjoy the relationships and experiences that come from having both a mother and a father. It is not, however, a resource for people to get revenge on their ex. 

Parenting plan violations and Oregon law

When an Oregon couple decides to dissolve their union, a parenting plan must accompany the request for divorce if they have minor children. The amount of time the children spend with each parent is a required part of the document.

According to the Oregon Bar Association, there is a difference between the custody agreement and parenting time. Both parties must agree to joint custody. Otherwise, one parent will have sole custody. The court considers several factors when determining who gets custody, such as the following:

  • The bond between the children and other family members
  • The interest and attitude of each parent about the custody
  • The desire by each parent to continue a close relationship

How is child support determined?

Being a parent requires you to provide for the care of your children regardless of the state of the relationship between you and your spouse or partner. When two married parents decide to divorce, or when unmarried parents discontinue their relationship, the court will generally order one or both parents to pay child support. The criteria for determining child support varies by state. According to the Oregon State Bar Association, the following factors are among those taken into consideration in order to determine child support:

  • Parenting plan
  • Each party's income
  • Medical insurance costs
  • Child care costs
  • Uninsured medical expenses

The parenting plan refers to the custody arrangement. Generally speaking, if you are the custodial parent, you will receive child support from the noncustodial parent.

Is your premarital agreement valid?

Having the talk with your spouse about signing a premarital agreement before your Oregon wedding should make your divorce process smoother. Theoretically, you should be able to use it to negotiate property division fairly quickly, saving money and time. However, if you did not enlist the help of an attorney when you created it, or if you received bad information, the agreement may not be the failsafe document you intended.

According to Oregon statutes, there are three factors that, when combined, will make your premarital agreement unenforceable. Both of you have the right to full disclosure of the debts and assets of the other upon signing. However, if 1) neither of you signs a waiver giving up the right to full disclosure, and 2) full disclosure is not provided, then the agreement isn't enforceable if 3) there was no way for one party to know that the other had those undisclosed assets and/or debts.

When a parent is unemployed or underemployed

The job market in Oregon can be tough, particularly for people in certain professions. However, there are times when a custodial parent may wonder whether the other parent is really attempting to find a job commensurate with his or her skills. After all, a lower paying job results in a different child support calculation. 

According to the Oregon Department of Justice, a parent cannot get out of paying a reasonable amount of child support by refusing to work, or by working at a job that does not pay what he or she could potentially earn. In the past, there was a presumption that the parent would make at least minimum wage, and child support was figured on that if the parent was unemployed. However, now, if the current job or lack of it is not a good indicator of what standard of living the child should have, the court uses a number of factors to determine the amount of child support the parent should pay, including the following:

  • Education
  • Work history
  • Job skills and qualifications
  • Physical and mental health
  • Job opportunities in the area
  • Income levels in the area
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