Julie Clark, Attorney at Law

236 N. State Street, Suite B
Hemet, 92543
United States
Phone: (951) 658-0025
Fax: (951) 658-1765

Disabled Children and Divorce

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When a couple decides to divorce, the whole family suffers.  Young children take the divorce of their parents hard and may not understand what is going on at all, only grasping that mom and dad won’t be living in the same house anymore.

But, what if the child has a developmental or mental disability? Will the divorce be even harder on them?  There is no clear answer to that question: it all depends on the parents, the disability, and the way the divorce case is handled.  But, a divorce with a disabled child can be more complex.

When a couple with a child, or children, decide that divorce is the best option much of the case focuses on the “best interests of the child.”  Making decisions about child support, child custody, visitation, and more is difficult in any situation but especially with regards to a disabled child.

Every state defines a child’s “best interest” by listing a number of factors for divorce court to consider.  Common factors include:

  • The capacity of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child,
  • Religious and cultural considerations,
  • The child’s wishes,
  • The need for a continuation of a stable home environment,
  • The relationship between the child and parents and other important family members,
  • The child’s ability to adjust to school and community,
  • And the age and sex of the child

A disabled child could require the special attention of both parents, or may not adjust well to change.  All special needs children are unique and their ability to handle a divorce can depend on their age, emotional maturity, and ability to cope with changes in family and home structure.

For children with disabilities, it is most important to focus on educational decision-making, visitation agreements and transitions between homes, health and medical care (including special therapies), and social and recreational opportunities.

For many children with disabilities a disruption to their daily routine can affect behavior and school performance, and result in unnecessary stress for both the child and parents.  It is better to minimize frequent adjustments, such as having the child switch homes every weekend, and communicate the best ways to create households that complement each other to avoid negative impact on the child.

It can be hard to come to an agreement about what is best for a child with a disability.  One of the reasons the divorce may have come about is the inability to agree on the best approach for meeting the needs of the child.

The best action that divorcing parent can take when confronting these tough decisions is speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer.  An attorney not only knows the ins and outs of divorce and child custody laws, he or she will be able to consult with you about what may be best for your child.

If you’re considering a divorce in Hemet, California and need help, don’t hesitate to contact Julie Clark, Attorney at Law.

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Riverside County Concert for Heroes

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Fourth of July is often thought of as a time to get together family and friends, grill out or have a cook-off, break out the sparklers, and set off fireworks.  But, July 4th is also an important patriotic time to remember the men and women who have fought for the freedom of our country.

If you live in Riverside County and will be in town on July 3rd, then you’re in luck.  Both patriotic spirit and fun-loving Fourth of July traditions can be enjoyed at the annual Concert for Heroes at the Riverside National Cemetery.

This concert is in tribute to our country’s freedom fighters and protectors, and concertgoers will enjoy an evening of traditional patriotic music.  The Inland Empire/Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the entire program.  To top off the evening, a free fireworks show will take place.

This event began in 2001, and has been popular since the beginning.  Last year, nearly 7,000 people attended and enjoyed the concert and fireworks.  Most families bring blankets and stretch out under the stars to enjoy the music and surroundings.

This event is the perfect start to your Fourth of July celebrations in Riverside County and Hemet, California.  Everyone here at Julie Clark, Attorney at Law hopes you enjoy this holiday with family and friends.

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Children of Divorce at Greater Risk for Suicide

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Divorce is traumatizing for everyone involved, and can be especially hard on kids.  If children don’t receive the proper attention and communication while their parents go through a divorce, they could be emotionally damaged for the rest of their lives.

A study conducted by specialists in social work at Columbia University determined whether or not having parents who divorced would lead to an increased likelihood of a suicide attempt as an adult.

Researchers determined that parental divorce increased the likelihood of a suicide attempt later in life by 14 percent.

But, why is there an increase for this risk when parents get divorced?  The study determined several potential reasons.

It has been suggested that negative childhood experiences that include perceptions of rejection or neglect — like a parent leaving the household as a result of divorce — may lead to disrupted adult attachment, poor interpersonal relations, and feeling unwanted as an adult.

If you are a parent and are considering a divorce, this information should be valuable.  Children don’t have to feel neglected or alone during their parents’ divorce if the parents take the right steps to make their children feel loved.

Making sure that children know that they are not at fault for the divorce is an important first step because children often feel as though they were a cause of their parents’ separation.  Also ensuring that just because mom or dad won’t be living in the same house doesn’t mean they will see less of them — and actually working with your spouse to make that happen — could also prevent emotional damage for children.

The study had nearly 50,000 participants who were interviewed by the U.S. Bureau of Census.  The participants were asked questions regarding the marital status and alcohol patterns of their parents and were also analyzed for depression.

With more than 30,000 suicides in the U.S. over the last two decades, these findings could go a long way to preventing suicide attempts in the future.  No person should want to take their own life and knowing what experiences could cause such thoughts could make it simpler to prevent.

 

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Why Summer Break May Make You Think About Divorce

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It’s that time of year when the kids are out of school, the sun is out, and you’re probably spending a lot more time with your family.  Summer can be a fun time for everyone, but according to a study conducted in the U.K., summer break could also increase stress levels that lead to divorce.

The study found that nearly a fifth of parents consider divorce or separation after their children return to school in the fall.

So what is it about summer vacation that breeds relationship dissatisfaction?

The most common answer was the financial stress that comes along with having the kids at home all summer. 46 percent of people who were surveyed said that they feel financial pressure during the summer.

Paying for childcare and taking pricey vacations are a few of the things that could add financial strife, and therefore add strife to a marital relationship.  Having the kids at home isn’t easy: you may have to take more time off work or work out a schedule with your spouse for responsibilities and that can be an added burden to any relationship.

But, another reason that parents consider a divorce more often after summer break is because they don’t want to ruin their kids’ school breaks with bad news.  As you probably know, a split is hard for children to handle, and many parents want to avoid hurting their children at a time when they are supposed to be relaxing and having fun.

In my years of experience as a divorce attorney, I know that there is no “good” time to divorce, and that it is never easy on the family that has to go through the process.  But, sometimes a legal separation or divorce is the best answer when a relationship has broken down.

This summer, be aware of the possibility of increased financial stress or marital stress especially if you have kids.  Knowing beforehand could make things easier to handle.  If you think that a divorce is the best thing for you and your spouse, though, contact a divorce attorney in your area to talk about the divorce process.

The divorce process can be complicated, painful, and stressful no matter when you make the decision to sign the papers.  Having a lawyer on your side that knows how to handle your unique case will make the process a little less of a burden on you.

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Uses and Abuses of the Internet in Divorce Cases

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When it comes to personal life events, like a divorce, using the Internet incorrectly could make a hard process even harder.

As an experienced Hemet, California divorce attorney, I have seen cases where spouses use the Internet productively during or after a divorce—but have also seen spouses abuse the Internet in a divorce.  The effect that the Internet can have on people is sometimes surprising, and often we don’t think about it until it’s too late.

If you’re in the process of a divorce, or considering a divorce, it may be helpful to know some of the right and wrong ways to use the Internet in the separation process.  An article from Divorce 360 lists some common uses and abuses of the Internet in a divorce:

  1.    Long-Distance Web-Cam Parenting.  Web-cam technology is allowing for a more immediate and personal level of interaction with children.  For parents who relocate after a divorce, a web-cam is a great way to keep in touch and still interact with children.  Some courts are even mandating web-cam visitation in their orders. In fact, California is considering the addition of virtual visitation to child custody law.
  1.    Finding Evidence.  Searching public social networking sites, such as Facebook , Twitter, or even dating sites, is a free and legal way of finding evidence in a divorce case.  If you are looking to prove that your spouse was out at a party when they were supposed to be home with the kids, and there is a picture posted online, that is considered valid proof in court.  But, on the flipside, be careful what is posted on your own social media profiles.  Anything that is public could be used for or against you.
  1.    Wiretapping.  There is a difference between legally obtaining evidence from public posts on social networking and illegally wiretapping your spouse by recording private telephone conversations or installing spyware.  If you try to obtain evidence by spying or wiretapping through the Internet, the evidence will not be admissible in court and could result in civil and criminal charges against you.
  1.    Communicating.  In high conflict cases, if the spouses have serious trouble getting along, the court may order the parties to communicate by email as a way of lowering tension and documenting communications.  In fact, some software has been developed specifically for divorcing families so they can keep track of communications, share calendars, and plan for events.  But, the Internet is not the place to communicate your frustration and anger about your ex or the divorce.  If you use obscene or derogatory language in an email or Internet post, it could be used as evidence against you in court and restraining orders granted, or, worse, the District Attorney could choose to press criminal charges.
  1.    Internet Can Be The Cause of Divorce.  Cyberspace interactions sometimes lead to marital strife and divorce, especially when those interactions result in real life affairs.  The Internet can be a fun and easy way to connect with people.  But, when it is used in a way that breaches the trust between partners, there becomes a problem.

If you have any questions about how the Internet may play a role in your divorce case, or are considering a divorce, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Hemet divorce attorney.

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Landscape Improvements to Ramona Bowl

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With the help of volunteers and Hemet community members, a dream was fulfilled and the Ramona Bowl is now even more of a jewel of the San Jacinto Valley.

The landscaping surrounding the much loved amphitheatre has been revamped and is now a beautiful representation of plants that might have been found in Southern California during the Early California Era.

This historical time is the setting for the “Ramona” Early California outdoor plays that take place in April and May, and draws in audiences to celebrate the history and culture of our community.

A Ramona Bowl board member who passed away last June initiated the landscaping project.  His family donated the funds to buy the plants.  The late board member dreamed of a more beautiful landscape for the community to enjoy, and his wish has come true.

According to a news report on the project, members of the Valley Beautiful organization joined in as well as volunteers from Rubidoux Grange No. 611.  The dedication of these community members is what made this beautification process possible.

The new landscape includes drought-resistant plants that will look good throughout the year, not just during the season of outdoor plays.  Visitors to the Ramona Bowl will see just how much the landscape has improved.

To read more about this heartwarming and uplifting community story, read this news report from The Press-Enterprise.  Everyone here at Julie Clark, Attorney at Law encourages you to take a day trip to the Ramona Bowl and see the landscape for yourself.

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99 Year Old Man Finds Grounds for Divorce

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When you feel as though a relationship has reached its breaking point, and it is time to part ways with your spouse or partner, there is likely a valid reason.

Even couples that have been together for decades discover reasons that they can no longer be together.  As a divorce attorney in Hemet, California, I have seen many cases where couples that have raised children and have grandchildren together realize that their relationship is no longer healthy.

Unfortunately, no matter how old, relationships can go sour.  A 99 year old Italian man found reason to divorce his wife of 77 years: as he was rummaging through an old chest of drawers, he discovered her infidelity.

The man confronted his wife about the affair she had over 40 years ago.  According to a story from The Telegraph, she wrote letters to her secret lover in the 1940s.  The discovery of the letters was the final straw in the marriage, which had made it through some hardships in the past.

The love letters served as concrete evidence of infidelity and were therefore grounds for divorce.

The couple has five children, a dozen grandchildren and one great grandchild.  This split is a big change for a big Italian family — and cases such as this happen to American families, too.

A relationship can end for any number of reasons after any amount of time.  Because of the many steps involved in separating or getting a divorce, having a divorce attorney on your side who can navigate the legal field for you is vital to getting through the divorce with as little stress as possible.

The law office of Julie Clark, Attorney at Law has years of experience in successfully supporting people who are going through a divorce or struggling with a family dispute — whether they are 30 years old or 99 years old.

For more information about how we can help you through this tough transition, visit our website or contact us to request an appointment.

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Massachusetts Bill Could Ban Dating During Divorce

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When you are in the process of ending a relationship that didn’t work out, you expect to have the option of being able to search for a new relationship, one that won’t end unsuccessfully.

But, legislation proposed in Massachusetts says that this right to date should be revoked during the divorce process.  According to an article from the Huffington Post, if you are in the middle of a divorce and have children, dating and having sex in your own home could be banned until the divorce is final.

The proposed legislation reads:

In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.”

This legislation was offered up as a protection measure for young children whose parents are going through a divorce.  Witnessing the conflict and separation of parents often has a negative impact on children and can be very hard for them to cope with.

The proposed bill will attempt to take some stress off young children by protecting them from experiencing one, or both, of their parents being romantically involved with another adult while still technically married to the other parent.

 

While the idea of sheltering children from the harmful effects of divorce is a good one, this legislation could infringe on the rights of the parents.  Deciding whether or not to date during your divorce is a very personal decision, and so is the way you communicate dating and divorce to your children.

 

The bill was filed in 2013, and received an extension this past March.  It will be considered by state legislature until June 30.  In order for this measure to pass into law, the bill would have to pass state legislature and then be approved by the state’s governor.

 

While there is no such bill on the ballot in California, this does raise a relevant question. Should you bring dates in to the home with your children when you are going through a divorce?

 

That’s a question most parents have to answer for themselves.  In my experience as a divorce attorney in Hemet, California, I know that children have a hard time coping with their parents divorce no matter the circumstance — but that doesn’t mean there should be a law banning their parents from dating.

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Divorce and Debt

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Marital debt, just like marital assets, are divided in a divorce.  One of you may have to pay off the car, the other may pay off the mortgage.  But, there is one common problem that arises in regard to dividing debt that many couples aren’t aware of.

The contract that you and your spouse have with a creditor does not change regardless of which one of you is ordered to pay off the debt.  In other words, if your name is on the car loan you will continue to be the one responsible for that debt post divorce, according to an article from the Huffington Post.

Your obligation to the debt that is sealed with your signature is not released when your ex is assigned to pay that debt. If they fail to pay off that debt a creditor will come looking for you, not them. The creditor only has to abide by the agreement you signed with them, not your divorce agreement.

The article gives some helpful advice on how to prevent getting into a tight spot like this during the divorce process:

  •  You could still be held responsible for debt you weren’t aware of. California is a community property state, meaning that marital debt is considered debt that you’re both responsible for.  A creditor can chase you for debt that you didn’t have a hand in creating.  To protect yourself in this situation, it is necessary to have full financial disclosure during settlement negotiations.  Making a detailed list of account numbers, amounts owed, and who is responsible for what debts will be the saving grace in this situation.         
  • Protect yourself if your ex doesn’t pay. If the marital debt is decided to be split half-and-half, you and your ex are both expected to pay your share.  Well, what if they don’t do it? You have to pay in order to protect your credit rating. But, if you have an indemnity clause added to your divorce settlement you can take your ex back to court for any money you had to pay as a result of the loan going into default.  Speak with your divorce attorney about this option.    
  • Refinance Secured Loans.  Insist that any property that is still under a finance agreement be refinanced in your spouse’s name only.  If your ex is going to keep the car but the loan is in both your names, your name should be taken off the loan and this can only be done if they refinance the loan.  In your final decree of divorce, there should be statements that the property is to be refinanced in a certain amount of time.        

 

In a nutshell, you have to think of all the possibilities and how to protect yourself when it comes to paying off debt after a divorce.  Always discuss these issues with your divorce attorney, we are here to help you get through the often stressful and confusing divorce process.

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Social Media and Divorce

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Social media is useful, fun, and a great way to keep friends and family members updated on the goings on of our lives.  A majority of people are active on at least one social media network, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, and many of those people make posts about their personal lives for friends and followers to see.

But, when you’re going through divorce court should you be posting the details and frustrations of your case – or even your life in general – online?  The answer is no, and there are several reasons why.

Posts can destroy your credibility and can completely disprove arguments that you are trying to advance in court.  Out of a divorce context, making posts about the success of a new business venture is harmless.  But in a divorce setting, those same posts can disprove an argument to increase child support payments from your ex-spouse due to “unemployment.”

The arguments made in court to achieve what you want or need from your ex-spouse must ring true outside of court, and social media has been a trouble spot for many in that area of divorce.

Here are 4 big no-no’s when it comes to social networking during a divorce:

  1.    Bragging or promoting yourself. Promoting yourself publicly online could end up costing you money in your divorce.  For example, how can one claim to need more spousal support when they are checking in to expensive restaurants every other night and post photos of shopping sprees or vacations with friends?
  2.    Partying online.  You may have a newfound freedom, and having a little fun isn’t a bad thing. But posting photos that detail excessive drinking or drug us are anti-ethical claims of acting in the best interest of children. Parents who are seen partying online are at risk of losing custody of children with the claim that the health of the children is being jeopardized by a neglectful parent. Even if you don’t post the picture, keep in mind that your friends can tag you.
  3.    Guilt by association.  Frequent posts with unsavory people will not enhance your stature. You could lose a lot in a divorce, including your kids, so don’t let who you’re associating with become so public that it puts you at risk for losing more than you should.
  4.    Public criticism. Do not discuss the details or facts of your divorce in rants online.  In a stressful and hurtful situation, it can be tempting to be critical of your spouse and their attorney or the judge on social sites but this will only hurt your case.

The takeaway from all this? Take a break from social media if you are headed for or going through a divorce.   Turn to the family and friends you trust that you can talk to in person for support and affirmation you need – Facebook friends and Twitter followers will still have plenty of other posts to read.

 

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