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  1. #1
    enricosuave263 is offline Junior Member
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    In CA, Can having a boyfriend be cause for loss of custody?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CALIFORNIA

    A woman has been told by family that if she has a boyfriend during her divorce proceedings, in California, that she runs the risk of losing her current physical custody of her minor child. She has also been told she could lose rights in a property settlement for having a boyfriend before the divorce is finalized.

    Q. Is she in any danger to lose custody or property if neither the Mother nor her Boyfriend have any police record, never arrested and child is doing well in her care? Thanks.
  2. #2
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by enricosuave263 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CALIFORNIA

    A woman has been told by family that if she has a boyfriend during her divorce proceedings, in California, that she runs the risk of losing her current physical custody of her minor child. She has also been told she could lose rights in a property settlement for having a boyfriend before the divorce is finalized.

    Q. Is she in any danger to lose custody or property if neither the Mother nor her Boyfriend have any police record, never arrested and child is doing well in her care? Thanks.
    Are you the potential boyfriend?

    If so, I would recommend leaving mom alone until her divorce is final. While having a boyfriend would not per se, have an effect on things, it certainly could make things MUCH more complicated for mom.
  3. #3
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by enricosuave263 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CALIFORNIA

    A woman has been told by family that if she has a boyfriend during her divorce proceedings, in California, that she runs the risk of losing her current physical custody of her minor child. She has also been told she could lose rights in a property settlement for having a boyfriend before the divorce is finalized.

    Q. Is she in any danger to lose custody or property if neither the Mother nor her Boyfriend have any police record, never arrested and child is doing well in her care? Thanks.
    Adultery can definitely affect custody. It will not rule it out, but can be the deciding factor in a close decision:
    [url=http://family-law.lawyers.com/child-custody/Divorce-Child-Custody-FAQ.html]Divorce: Child Custody FAQ - Lawyers.com[/url]

    And, of course, if the new boyfriend has any problems (criminal record, etc), then it greatly increases the chance of Mom losing custody.
  4. #4
    MichaCA is offline Senior Member
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    In addition to those facts...if an attorney was the one who told mom these things, then she should absolutely listen to that attorney. An attorney would not tell her that casually.
  5. #5
    birdbrain53 is offline Member
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    Sigh.

    I am in California. California is a no fault dissolution state. Adultery? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Debts? Doesn't matter. The marriage has broken down irretrievably due to those or any other reason(s).

    As far as property settlement, judges like to see that both parties get an equivilent share of the marital assets, including retirement (IRA, 401K, etc), houses, furniture, cars, etc. Jewelry given by one party to the other is usually considered a gift unless it is a family heirloom. But even a family heirloom might get given to the other side. Happened in my family.

    Custody most likely depends on who was the main caregiver during the marriage, the presumption is that both parents are fit, and that the custodial parent will foster the relationship between child and the con-custodial parent.

    Child support is based on information put into a calculator. Here is a link to the one on the California DCSS web page:

    [url]https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse/guidelineCalculator[/url]

    Oh, and unless "family" is an attorney, I would not take their "legal" advice. It's best for the husband and wife to try to come to an agreement on all these things, and have the judge sign off on it. It's cheaper and also keeps things relatively civil.
  6. #6
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdbrain53 View Post
    Sigh.

    I am in California. California is a no fault dissolution state. Adultery? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Debts? Doesn't matter. The marriage has broken down irretrievably due to those or any other reason(s).

    As far as property settlement, judges like to see that both parties get an equivilent share of the marital assets, including retirement (IRA, 401K, etc), houses, furniture, cars, etc. Jewelry given by one party to the other is usually considered a gift unless it is a family heirloom. But even a family heirloom might get given to the other side. Happened in my family.

    Custody most likely depends on who was the main caregiver during the marriage, the presumption is that both parents are fit, and that the custodial parent will foster the relationship between child and the con-custodial parent.

    Child support is based on information put into a calculator. Here is a link to the one on the California DCSS web page:

    [url]https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse/guidelineCalculator[/url]

    Oh, and unless "family" is an attorney, I would not take their "legal" advice. It's best for the husband and wife to try to come to an agreement on all these things, and have the judge sign off on it. It's cheaper and also keeps things relatively civil.
    That is not true.

    While adultery is not a major factor, it CAN affect both property division and custody. See, for example, the URL I provided above.

    Judges have a great deal of discretion and most certainly CAN take adultery into consideration.

    I don't know if the would consider it 60% of the time or 0.01% of the time, but your statement that it never matters is just plain wrong.
  7. #7
    birdbrain53 is offline Member
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    Mistoffolees,

    I just read your link. In California we have had no fault divorce since 1970. I respectfully disagree that judges in California will put much weight into allegations of adultery for purposes of deciding custody unless it's of such a nature that the party who is the adulterer will create an unhealthy living situation for the children

    From [url=http://www.cadivorce.com/divorce/california-no-fault-divorce.htm:]California Divorce Lawyers ? Family Law, Spousal Support, Child Custody | Orange County CA Attorney[/url]

    California was first in nation to approve 'irreconcilable differences' as grounds for divorce

    Historically, divorces in California could only be granted within specific parameters, such as adultery and mental cruelty. Those limitations were removed in 1970. Today, a divorce is granted on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences." Irreconcilable differences are any grounds the court determines to be substantial reasons for the marriage not to continue. (A marriage may also be dissolved on the grounds of incurable insanity -- but only if the husband or wife can prove by competent medical or psychiatric testimony that the insane spouse was incurably insane at the time of the marriage.)

    California was the first state to implement the concept of a "no-fault divorce." In effect, this means a married person may terminate the marriage even if the other person disagrees. California no-fault divorce acknowledges that both husband and wife have contributed in some way to the marriage's breakdown, so one party is no longer "punished" -- financially and otherwise -- for being solely to blame for the marriage's failure.

    One advantage of California no-fault divorce is that parties don't have to waste time and money hiring detectives to prove grounds. It reduces the need to litigate for days or weeks about grounds and allows couples to move on to important issues, such as custody, child support, maintenance and distribution of marital assets.

    Fault does not enter into settling property division or support. California is a community property state, which means that all assets and liabilities the parties earn or acquire during the marriage are presumed to be shared and must be divided equally unless the parties agree otherwise.

    When a California Family Court judge makes decisions about spousal support, he or she takes factors into consideration such as:

    * How long the marriage lasted;
    * The couple's ages;
    * Both parties' standard of living during the marriage;
    * Marketable skills each one has or could acquire;
    * Each party's health
    * Financial obligations to prior families;
    * Custodial parent's need to stay at home with the children;
    * Contributions each one has made towards the marriage (through regular employment, homemaking, investments, etc.)

    So, rather than looking for which party has the biggest list of complaints against the other, the California Family Courts now try to create an equitable agreement based on what each spouse will need to be financially independent and off public assistance.
  8. #8
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Regardless, it is always wise to exercise discretion if one feels they MUST date before the divorce is final. LOTS of discretion.
  9. #9
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdbrain53 View Post
    Mistoffolees,

    I just read your link. In California we have had no fault divorce since 1970. I respectfully disagree that judges in California will put much weight into allegations of adultery for purposes of deciding custody unless it's of such a nature that the party who is the adulterer will create an unhealthy living situation for the children
    I never said that it would be a major factor. I did disagree with your statement that it doesn't matter at all - and you're apparently backtracking from your earlier position.

    It DOES matter. Maybe only a little, but in a closely contested case, it may not take much to swing a decision.

    Not to mention that a lot of other factors arise out of it. For example, you haven't addressed dissipation of marital assets in your "it doesn't matter" comments.

    Will it, by itself, cause one to lose custody? No - but no one ever said it would. But could it cause a judge who is undecided about something to sway his decision? Absolutely - particularly wrt spousal support.
  10. #10
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    Regardless, it is always wise to exercise discretion if one feels they MUST date before the divorce is final. LOTS of discretion.
    I agree with this wholeheartedly. Not exercising discretion can turn an amicable divorce into a very hostile one. It can change an amicable agreement regarding custody into a serious custody battle.
  11. #11
    enricosuave263 is offline Junior Member
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    To Clarify..

    The responses here are a reflection of what I've gotten offline.

    I have been divorced before and have spent over ten years as a process server, so I am no stranger to what goes on in the family law courts.. seen it all and sat in on several dozen divorces over the years.

    The reason I posted this question is because of the misinformation being given by supposedly 'well-intentioned' family members who don't know jack-squat about California's No-Fault Dissolution procedures.

    Case in point. With a previous girlfriend, years ago, here in California.. I acted as translator for my girlfriend in her own divorce proceedings. Naturally her soon-to-be-ex was livid about it. He demanded from the judge that I be removed as translator and boldly, proudly exposed me as being her boyfriend. The judge looked at me and asked me, "What is your intent here?". And I stated, "To translate English into Spanish and Spanish into English for the Petitioner, your honor."

    With that the judge looked back at the Respondent and told him (A) there was no reason I should be removed as translator and (B) the fact that I was her boyfriend had NO RELEVANCE to issues of custody, support or property. The judge went so far as to say she is free to have any amount of boyfriends since it is not an issue the court takes into account for a dissolution.

    So, when I hear people go on about how it "might possibly somehow have an affect on the outcome", it's usually from someone making a guarded guess.. not from someone who understands the No-Fault system we have in California and many other states. I believe New York still treats marriage as a legal contract which can be breached and only then is the "other" man or woman a significant factor in the case. But not in No-Fault States.

    As a further note on this; even if a respondent came into court with evidence that the other party had a homosexual lover.. even THAT has zero bearing on dissolution matters. Contrary to what people would rather prefer, that is the simple truth of the matter. As someone above already posted, the factors rest in communal assets, amount of visitation, etc.

    Finally, regarding a possible loss of custody.. an attorney explained to me that the other party would have to prove them "unfit" as a parent. To do that they had to be able to prove with police records that the custodial party was engaged in either prostitution, drug use, acts of mayhem, felony behavior or abandonment of the child without supervision. Simply having a new boyfriend or girlfriend does NOT meet the requirement for being labeled as "unfit".
  12. #12
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by enricosuave263 View Post
    The responses here are a reflection of what I've gotten offline.

    I have been divorced before and have spent over ten years as a process server, so I am no stranger to what goes on in the family law courts.. seen it all and sat in on several dozen divorces over the years.

    The reason I posted this question is because of the misinformation being given by supposedly 'well-intentioned' family members who don't know jack-squat about California's No-Fault Dissolution procedures.

    Case in point. With a previous girlfriend, years ago, here in California.. I acted as translator for my girlfriend in her own divorce proceedings. Naturally her soon-to-be-ex was livid about it. He demanded from the judge that I be removed as translator and boldly, proudly exposed me as being her boyfriend. The judge looked at me and asked me, "What is your intent here?". And I stated, "To translate English into Spanish and Spanish into English for the Petitioner, your honor."

    With that the judge looked back at the Respondent and told him (A) there was no reason I should be removed as translator and (B) the fact that I was her boyfriend had NO RELEVANCE to issues of custody, support or property. The judge went so far as to say she is free to have any amount of boyfriends since it is not an issue the court takes into account for a dissolution.

    So, when I hear people go on about how it "might possibly somehow have an affect on the outcome", it's usually from someone making a guarded guess.. not from someone who understands the No-Fault system we have in California and many other states. I believe New York still treats marriage as a legal contract which can be breached and only then is the "other" man or woman a significant factor in the case. But not in No-Fault States.

    As a further note on this; even if a respondent came into court with evidence that the other party had a homosexual lover.. even THAT has zero bearing on dissolution matters. Contrary to what people would rather prefer, that is the simple truth of the matter. As someone above already posted, the factors rest in communal assets, amount of visitation, etc.

    Finally, regarding a possible loss of custody.. an attorney explained to me that the other party would have to prove them "unfit" as a parent. To do that they had to be able to prove with police records that the custodial party was engaged in either prostitution, drug use, acts of mayhem, felony behavior or abandonment of the child without supervision. Simply having a new boyfriend or girlfriend does NOT meet the requirement for being labeled as "unfit".
    So you didn't REALLY have a question, you were shining us on to make your point. FOCUS, would ya?
  13. #13
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    To Further Clarify

    For those who find this thread while researching their own questions:

    Despite OP's personal experience, judges don't merely add the facts in Column A, subtract the laws in Column B, and rule according to the score in Column C. They're not computers. They're people.

    I doubt any judge would say "Well, everything else looks good--but you have a boyfriend, so..." and, therefore, having a boyfriend isn't necessarily a deal-breaker. But the judge will consider the totality of the facts that he deems relevant, and if your particular judge has reason to consider anything about how you're living your life--including who you're dating--you'd better believe he will.

    Discretion is the better part of valor.
    Last edited by >Charlotte<; 08-24-2010 at 08:06 AM. Reason: Language
  14. #14
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by >Charlotte< View Post
    For those who find this thread while researching their own questions:

    Despite OP's personal experience, judges don't merely add the facts in Column A, subtract the laws in Column B, and rule according to the score in Column C. They're not computers. They're people.

    I doubt any judge would say "Well, everything else looks good--but you have a boyfriend, so..." and, therefore, having a boyfriend isn't necessarily a deal-breaker. But the judge will consider the totality of the facts that he deems relevant, and if your particular judge has reason to consider anything about how you're living your life--including who you're dating--you'd better believe he will.
    Exactly. AND, not all judges are going to be as neutral as the one in the story above. Some judges are going to take offense and it will bias things one way or the other. And, legally, they have the prerogative to act on that bias.
    Last edited by mistoffolees; 08-24-2010 at 01:03 PM.
  15. #15
    enricosuave263 is offline Junior Member
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    Having a boyfriend, or girlfriend as the case may be.. in itself is not going to affect anything in California. When I say this I'm talking of course about a regular person.. NOT someone who just got out of prison with a list of felonies or history of child abuse. That goes towards the issue of the parent placing the child into a bad environment. A whole other issue.

    But having a relationship after having filed for divorce is not the big "AHA!" that is going to cause a judge to say, "Well, since the petitioner has a boyfriend we're going to transfer custody to the respondent."

    The driving impetus behind the No Fault family law system is to settle the issues of custody, property and status as expediently as possible rather than clutter up court time with constant reviews of evidence establishing who slept with who first outside of the marriage. 'Fault' is not the driving factor, expediency is.

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