Settlement Conference - CA

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Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby gamingdad » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:51 pm

We are currently 50/50 on custody for a little over a year. Before that I had roughly 95% while she was on supervised parenting time in which she met requirements of drug and alcohol abstinence.
A Gavron's warning has not been officially ordered, the STBX is currently working at a new job (pay rate unknown as it occurred recently) but had been inputted at minimum wage for maintenance purposes.
My last conference with my lawyer and her recently obtained lawyer had various items listed in the documentation.
My lawyer has made the following three arguments relating to support:
My current amount being paid is based off current income and not marital income, and previous case law was provided to illustrate the discrepancy. (Thanks to this forum and hat tip to outis, and the pointing out of the case (Hoffmeister II) which I passed to my lawyer and she included into the statement)
A request for imputation at STBX's market value of $20 an hour.
A reduced need in support due to cohabitation.

None of those items have yet been pushed back on, and fortunately, now that Stbx has a lawyer, he has grounded her on what to expect legally, not what she is due from her sense of entitlement.

Previous discussions here have mentioned offering maintenance for a year, in a token amount, due to how little I made during the marriage, which I'm OK with.
My initial thought is $100 a month for three years on a 12 year marriage.
We are also splitting my 401(k) which her portion is being used to pay her attorney fees as ordered by judge.

Some sticky points:
There is a loan that was called back on the 401(k) that she should be responsible for the taxes on, which she will not like.
After the split and taking into account loans and taxes, my remaining portion is about 10k.
I would be OK if push came to shove and use this amount to buy out maintenance completely.

I want to have clearly defined child related items, such as move aways, primary parent if required, school district, child credit and dependent claiming, as well as costs laid out including medical and dental and schooling.
As I am still in the school district, I would like to remain schooling parent, but the concern is, any wording that explicitly defines me as the residential parent will get immediate push back and shutdown any movement.

Im looking for advice on wording the decree and what to hang my hat on and any long term effects that can be taken into consideration.
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby Outis » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:41 am

Move away restrictions won't happen in CA.

"Primary" or any other such designation in cases of 50/50 is strictly related to the address used in applying for government aid. I believe that's statutory, but may be case law as well.

Use your address for school, and it can be worded that way. "Father's address to be used for school registration." I'd drag that out as late as possible, preferably after she's found housing in another district.

I still think you should be proposing no alimony at all. Maybe a token amount can be agreed upon, but what do you gain when you agree?

As far wording to include: holidays; splitting medical/dental/orthodontia costs; pick-ups/drop offs; communication, especially notification of medical/school appointments; etc.

Splitting school breaks was always an issue for me, particularly defining how weekends are attached. To give an example, spring break is listed as Monday-Friday, but there are weekends are either side of that. So define it in your agreement as "from the time school lets out until school resumes." My ex included weekends when it was to her benefit, and excluded them when it wasn't.

Probably some other stuff, but the big items for CA are that you can't get relocation restrictions, and a primary label is useless.
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby gamingdad » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:03 am

Thanks outis.
She has already moved out of the district 25 miles away.
I like the wording of "father's address to be used for school registration".
One concern is the labeling of primary or custiodal parent, or lack thereof if it can lead to issues down the road.
Should I be concerned about that or would joint legal and joint custody suffice?
I appreciate the breakdown on expenses and holidays/spring break,Xmas break. So far we have maintained 7/7 regardless of where those holidays fall.
We have alternated holidays gracefully.
I have in the past opted that kiddo go to moms house during holidays when family is gathering as her side of the family is much larger and kiddo gets more bang for his buck in terms of bonding. It's more about kiddo being around a large group of family instead of just me and my pop. Thanksgiving this year was with me, and we split Xmas.
Yeah, I'm still up in the air about maintenance. The fear is if I don't offer it or agree to it, that would be the one thing that takes us to trial. Neither of us can afford that, but that seems to only be my awareness.
I have a few weeks to ponder that still before I send my lawyer an email about the contents of the MSA that I propose.
Thanks again, and welcome to any other pitfalls I should be aware of.
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby FlyGuySLO » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:14 am

The wording regarding custody should be: Joint Legal Custody and Joint Physical Custody.

Then have detailed language that states 50/50 equal time for both parents and outlines the schedule.

Don't allow the word "Shared Custody" into the judgement.

Regarding support...

If you were married 12 years, how will you get away with paying $100/mo for a year? Is there some sort of buyout included somewhere else in the offer? If she will agree to this then take it and run. Or if she has continuing substance problems then use that as leverage if needed.

It sounds like you've got it all handled and are in a good place about it.
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby gamingdad » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:10 pm

I will make note of the use of joint, and not shared.
Thank you.
Members of the board brought up no maintenance or a token amount based on my income during marriage, roughly $49k a year. Almost any job above minimum wage would provide her with the same standard of living that existed before. Almost.
There is also a possibility of buying her out with my portion of a 401!K). Maybe $10-12k
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby Outis » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:02 pm

Shared vs joint doesn't mean anything. Further, CA defines joint quite loosely. Specifically, it deals more with the interactions and involvement rather than specific schedule. For example, a father had like 20% on paper, but saw his kids every day after school, and picked up extra time here and there. His situation, at the state Supreme Court, was considered joint. That is case law.

If someone wants to link to case law in CA that gives shared some special meaning, I'd gladly eat crow. But it doesn't mean squat.
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby gamingdad » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:14 pm

Thanks again outis.
I think the main concern is not wanting to end up in a mother has ultimate say scenerio. I think that if went to trial, due to past supervised visits and unstable employment, I would come out ahead as primary. So is that distinction needed in MSA or would joint suffice?
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby Outis » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:40 pm

Joint is fine. Designate your address for school. With previous issues, you should prevail on that in trial, should it be necessary. Feel free to hammer that point home in settlement discussions. Does she really want her history back in front of a judge?

Primary has no meaning in CA. I think there's case law stating that, and I'd be happy to find it if necessary. Pretty sure it's on my PC.
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby gamingdad » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:42 pm

If its bookmarked I will take it, but if not, no worries, I can work on my scholar-fu.
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Re: Settlement Conference - CA

Unread postby Outis » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:51 pm

Try Birnbaum from 89. Check out citations in it, and cases that cite it. The name doesn't ring a bell, but the results look good.

E: scratch that, it's a footnote, but discusses how the purpose seemed to be for taxes. I'll find the citation tomorrow.
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