Simple Recipes for Healthy, Tasty School Night Dinners

As rewarding and amazing as children can be, we all know how stressful it can be to combine work and school routines, with healthy food and good nutrition. When you’re dealing with a deadline at work, encouraging your kids to get ready for after-school activities, juggling house chores and helping with homework all at the same time, a proper meal often takes a back seat in favor of quick and easy junk food. However, as impossible as it might seem, putting together a nutritious and delicious meal for the entire family may not be as difficult or time-consuming as you think.

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In fact, there are plenty of recipes out there packed with the vitamins and minerals you need to nourish your child’s growing mind and body, and many of them take less than thirty minutes to prepare! These quick and simple weeknight meals are brimming with kid-friendly ingredients. What’s more, each option should help you get dinner on the table fast, for happy stomachs all around.

  1. Pizza Quesadillas

Try to find a kid that doesn’t love the idea of pizza for dinner, and you’re likely to come up short. No matter how fussy your children may be, these quick and simple pizza meals with a Mexican twist are bound to be a family favorite in no time. This is an ideal way to sneak a variety of colorful vegetables into your kids’ diets too, so long as you’re prepared to combine peppers and spinach with plenty of golden cheese. Another great thing about this meal option is that you can allow your kids to personalize their food by adding their own preferred ingredients. For example, chunky mushrooms will pack in a dose of bladder-healthy selenium and body-boosting vitamin D. Prep included, this pizza quesadilla recipe takes around sixteen minutes to get from fridge to table.

  1. Vegetable and Pancetta Risotto

For many busy dads, the idea of risotto seems like a culinary experimentation far beyond the boundaries of their kitchen skills. However, baked risotto could be the perfect way to take the complication out of the meal and still offer a dinner solution that’s bursting with vitamin-packed vegetables and delicious flavor. This baked risotto recipe with asparagus, peas, and pancetta delivers four to six servings, and can be prepared last-minute, or in advance depending on what your schedule allows. Once again, don’t be afraid to add your own twists to the meal if you think of something your children might enjoy.

  1. Grilled Cheese With a Twist

If you’re looking for a light and easy recipe that makes use of delicious comfort foods and can give your children a boost of energy before they head off to after-school classes and clubs, a simple grilled cheese could be the ideal option. This pepperoni, spinach, and mozzarella option combines the traditional treat with Italian elements for that much-loved pizza flavor. Not only is this a great way for you to sneak some spinach – full of vitamin K, C, E, iron, and magnesium, into your kids’ diets, but it can also be ready in fifteen minutes or less.

  1. Simple Chicken Scaloppini

A meal packed with protein and flavor, this chicken scaloppini recipe can be on your table in less than thirty minutes. Not only is it fast, easy, and filled with flavor, but it can also be the ideal option for dads on a budget, as all of the ingredients that you need are relatively low-cost. The delicious roast chicken is a great source of low-fat protein, and a bed of seasonal greens and spinach will help boost the nutritional value, with everything from calcium, to zinc, and dietary fiber.

  1. Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

A delicious meal for the whole family, this quick and flavorful dish takes around twenty five minutes to cook and serve. A beef and broccoli stir fry is a great way to introduce your kids to some new and more exotic flavors, while keeping their bodies healthy using a selection of delicious greens and ripe vegetables. Not only will the broccoli help to boost your childrens’ immune systems, but a helping of lean beef can also be a great source of vitamins B6 and B12.

  1. Nachos Supreme

Finally, this delicious meal is super-easy to assemble in a flash, and can be a great opportunity to let your kids help you in the kitchen with some of their customization skills. Use this recipe featuring sweet chili rice crisps, or use your existing favorites and smother them with delicious toppings and vegetables. For example, chop up some raw peppers for a touch of extra color, or add some ground turkey for a rich source of protein. Add a handful of lettuce, and this meal can be good to go in less than ten minutes.


Throwing healthy meals together after school doesn’t have to be impossible, so long as you have the right ingredients on hand. Share some of your favorite quick and simple meal recipes with us in the comments below!

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There are 5 Types of Divorce in California. Which is Best for You?

Now that you’ve made the difficult decision to divorce, your next move is to review the types of divorce that will best ensure long-term emotional and financial well-being for yourself and your children.

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There is no one best way to divorce. The decision depends upon the specific circumstances and personalities involved. Clarifying your primary goals is the first step in determining which divorce type will work best for you. First and foremost, do you want:

  • To remain in the family home?

  • Majority custody?

  • To protect a family inheritance you received during the marriage?

  • To remain a stay-at-home parent for a few years?

  • To have the option to move out of state?

  • To protect your retirement, pension or social security?

  • To receive or avoid paying alimony?

If you haven’t filed or if your spouse hasn’t responded, you may not even know what kind of divorce you’ll end up with. Clients are often surprised by their ex-partner’s decisions once papers are served. Knowing the difference between the types of California divorces helps keep you balanced when you are blind-sided by unexpected actions. No matter how amicable you expect the divorce to be, obtaining legal counsel before papers are served helps prepare you to achieve your goals.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

The uncontested divorce proceeds much more quickly and smoothly than the contested divorce. The two parties can carry out an uncontested divorce when the parties agree on terms they set forth together. Carrying out an uncontested divorce is much simpler when neither joint property nor children are involved.

Divorce begins when the petitioner files a formal petition at the courthouse. A process server serves the paperwork to the respondent. If the respondent answers within 30 days with terms that diverge from those set forth in the first petition, the case is contested. If the defendant does not answer, the divorce is uncontested.

In the no-fault, uncontested divorce (the simplest of divorces) two parties agree on division of assets, child custody and alimony. Those without children or significant assets involved can divorce with little attorney intervention. The action can be completed by going to family court and filing papers.

Mediated Divorce

When former partners cannot agree but aren’t too far apart, a trained mediator can help. This professional does not make any decisions regarding custody, assets or alimony. Instead, he or she keeps the discussion progressing so that the two parties can agree.

Research shows that divorce settlements created using a mediator have a far lower incidence of being contested years later.  That the spouses hammered out the agreements themselves helps them feel confident about the decisions long term. When all items are agreed upon and documents finalized, either party or an attorney can submit the divorce judgment, marriage settlement and custody agreement to the court.

Mediation can save significant money and emotional turmoil. Once the divorce is final, parties escape the painful past and blame game and move on to build new lives. This said, however, the mediator strives for speedy resolution of the disagreements, not your individual rights. Only an attorney will fight for your specific goals.

Collaborative Divorce

Slightly more involved and potentially more adversarial than the mediated divorce, the collaborative divorce features separate attorneys representing each spouse. The four individuals meet in person to discuss the settlement and any child custody. For the collaborative divorce to be fair and effective, each party must trust the other to disclose all financial information.  In the beginning of the discussion, everyone agrees the divorce will not go to trial. The collaborative divorce is still considered an uncontested divorce.

Contested Divorce in California

Spouses who cannot agree about the division of property, child custody, alimony and more wind up in a contested divorce. Each spouse hires a divorce attorney to represent his or her interests. The two attorneys negotiate, but if no agreement can be reached, another option, arbitration, can still keep the former partners away from an expensive court trial.


In California, retired family court judges and others make themselves available as arbitrators in divorce cases. These professionals read all documents, meet with the parties and then base their final decisions on California family law. Arbitrators’ decisions typically come very close to the decisions the acting judge makes in a divorce trial.

Taking a Divorce to Trial

While television and movies love to depict divorce court proceedings, the truth remains that 98% of California divorce settle cases via collaboration, mediation or arbitration. Divorces go to court mostly when tens of millions of dollars or emotionally charged child custody issues are involved.  

Father’s Rights Law Center Explains All Options Clearly

The experienced attorneys at the Fathers’ Rights Law Center work with you to achieve your primary goals in a divorce. Read our past blog posts and testimonials about our work  to gain a comprehensive picture of our dedication our fathers’ rights. Our complimentary consultation can clear up your most pressing questions and concerns. Call us at 1-800-4-LAW-HELP to speak with an attorney today!


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How to Set up a Visitation Schedule

Setting up a proper visitation schedule can help alleviate some of the stress and struggle of sharing custody. Raising children while living in separate households can be a challenge, but with proper planning and respect for all parties, it can be managed in a manner that is favorable for everyone involved.

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When it comes to setting up a fair visitation schedule with your ex, it’s important to be as detailed as possible in order to ensure that everyone is in agreement. Whether the separation was amicable or a bit rocky, figuring out what to do during summer breaks, weekends, and vacations well in advance can help limit confusion ahead of time.

To ensure visitation agreements are executed without a hitch, a preparation plan, strict adherence to rules, and attention to specific considerations can help.

  • Check with your state or county to see if there are tools available to help you establish a proper, compliant visitation schedule.

  • Review state guidelines containing visitation rules for children in specific age groups.

  • Create a standard visitation schedule before addressing vacations and holidays. This basic schedule can help you focus on what the most optimal schedule is for day-to-day management.

  • Your child’s wants and needs should be factored in to every decision. If a specific visitation schedule would unreasonably disrupt their emotional, physical, or social needs, reconsider the decision.  

  • Determine if there are specific restrictions that should be enforced, such as restricting visitation in specific areas or homes, or with certain people.

  • Any modifications to the schedule should be discussed in advance. It may be helpful to instill a limit on just how far in advance a modification can be reasonably requested by either party (with the exception of emergencies).

  • It’s ok to remain flexible. If you and your ex are on good terms, then neither parent should feel required to nail down every hour of their custody. Flexibility can be maintained as long as it serves all parties equally.

  • Ask the children. Perhaps the child or children have a favorite holiday or vacation with one parent, or they prefer certain weekends or special events at one location rather than another. Although it is important for each parent to feel that they are receiving their fair share of visitation time, children should have an equal voice in the decision-making process wherever possible.

  • Keep child support and child visitation as separate matters. Neither parent should punish the other by means of restricting visitation. Even if emotions are running high, it’s important to help your children maintain a positive relationship with both parents.  In addition to being unfair to the children, the withholding parent can also find themselves in significant legal trouble.

  • At all times, keep in mind your state custody guidelines and the decisions of the court. If you need exceptions, make sure they are legally cleared well in advance of executing on those decisions.

  • Make revisions where appropriate. If the visitation schedule is consistently being adjusted because it is not working for one parent or the other, or the child’s social or educational obligations are getting in the way, it may be time to make a permanent modification to the visitation schedule so that it more accurately reflects reality.

Every custody situation and visitation schedule is different, and what may work for one set of parents and their children may not work for another. But that doesn’t mean that any schedule is necessarily wrong. When setting up your visitation schedule, try to remain as objective as possible, follow all legal guidelines, and plan your exceptions in advance wherever possible.

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Your Top Alimony Questions Answered (and 3 Myths Debunked)

Too many stay in unsatisfying or even bruising marriages because they believe the rumors friends and family members tell them about alimony.

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Have you heard these?

  • “Alimony is an absolute right.” False. In California, the courts have broad discretion to deny spousal support completely. Just 10 to 15% of California divorces or separations include spousal support in the final divorce judgment.

  • “After 10 years, alimony is guaranteed for life.” No again. Temporary spousal support is initially determined by the “dissomaster, ™” a computer program that weighs income, custody, child care expenses, insurance premiums and more before determining which spouse pays what. Those who want to get an idea of what potential alimony may be can check California’s Child Support Calculator, (a tool similar to the online mortgage calculators) to estimate what alimony could amount to. Keep in mind, however, that this figure is not the final amount as it does not include all factors listed in California Family Code Section 4320. Good attorneys fight for appropriate amounts based on more subtle factors as well.

  • “Spousal support isn’t due until the judge determines it at trial.” While California divorces that go to trial can take 18 to 24 months to appear before a judge, divorcing partners file an “Order to Show Cause,” which a judge rules on in 14 days. This order stipulates temporary spousal support. Neither spouse is left without a way to survive.

With those common misperceptions out of the way, we’d like to answer the most common questions we receive in our San Diego offices.

How Much Alimony Will I Have to Pay and for How Long?

This simple question unfortunately has a long and complex answer. As we mention above, each partner submits documentation on income, expenses, child care expenses, insurance and more. A conscientious attorney will guide his or her client through which documents to submit. The Dissomaster comes up a figure and partners and their attorneys undergo more negotiations until an agreement is reached or the matter goes to trial.  

How and When Do I Ask for Alimony?

If you’re only dealing with family court and not an attorney, you ask for alimony during the divorce proceeding, typically when you first file with your “Order to Show Cause.” The judge will rule on temporary spousal support until your divorce is finalized. If the partners agree on spousal support, ask the judge to make the agreement as part of the court order.

I Don’t Need Alimony Now. Can I Change My Mind Later?

You cannot change your mind and get alimony after the divorce is final. If you want alimony, you must petition for it during the initial divorce proceeding.

Can Men Actually Win Alimony?

Absolutely. Men win alimony in California courts every day. If a female partner makes more money or a father has sacrificed his career to provide childcare, judges often rule for a portion of the woman’s income to be diverted to her spouse.

How Long Am I Guaranteed Alimony?

Should you come to an agreement with your spouse, you will receive alimony for the amount of time you stipulate. If you cannot agree, the judge decides for you. If the judge awards “indefinite” or “permanent” alimony, payments continue until either spouse dies or the court deems it inappropriate (in the case of re-marriage, for instance.)

Will Affairs Impact the Amount of Spousal Support?

No. California is a no-fault jurisdiction, meaning that only income and expenses figure in to spousal support determinations. If an ex-partner is living with someone, however, his or her expenses will be lower, and less support should be needed.

Will Getting Remarried Interfere with My Alimony?

Not necessarily. First, the ex-spouse paying the alimony must file an order asking the court to terminate or reduce alimony because of your remarriage.  

What Happens When My Spouse Want to Pay Me Less that What I Need to Live On?

In these cases, if the matters cannot be agreed upon outside of court, a judge decides. The judge will take into consideration:

  • length of the marriage

  • ages of divorcing partners

  • physical and mental conditions of both partners

  • your ability to support yourself

  • time and training necessary to enable you to support yourself

  • the standard of living to which you’ve become accustomed

  • ability of paying spouse to support him or herself while paying alimony

  • financial assets of each party including homes, investments, retirement benefits and more.

What Is the Difference Between Alimony and “Separate Maintenance?”

Alimony is paid upon divorce. Judges and court orders stipulate “separate maintenance” when the ex-spouses desire to stay married but live apart.

My Ex Just Got a Big Raise, Can I Receive More Alimony?

No. Post-separation earnings cannot be a basis for awarding more support than that stipulated in the divorce decree. Your children may be entitled to more child support, however.

My Ex Just Got a Big Raise; Can I Lower My Alimony Payments?

Yes. When the supported spouse starts earning more, they have less need for alimony. Once again, a trip to court is in order.

I Was Just Laid Off. Can I Pay Less Alimony?

Yes, but you must file for a temporary abatement of support.  If you cannot get a job at the compensation level you had when the divorce was finalized, you may be able to get a permanent spousal support reduction.


Father’s Rights Law Center

The prospect of paying and winning alimony intimidates all divorcing partners. Often, homes, insurance and sufficient funds to care for children are at stake. These practical aspects of life come with significant emotional baggage. Rest assured that the courts strive primarily for the well-being of the children. They no longer “favor” either mothers or fathers, men or women. When no children are present, they divide the assets as the law prescribes, not according to who cheated, who made the travel arrangements or who did the shopping.

Divorce doesn’t have to be a financial disaster. Making the best decisions up front saves you money long term. If you or a friend is undergoing a divorce, marital dissolution or custody battle, we can help. We’re happy to provide a complimentary consultation to answer the many questions you probably have that we didn’t cover above. Call us at 1-800-4-LAW-HELP to speak with an attorney today!

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What is Termination of Parental Rights?

The facts bring clarity to the difficult and complex issue of the termination of parental rights. Parents have both rights and responsibilities when it comes to their children. In California, as well as other states, children have rights to financial support and care from both parents. In considering either voluntary or involuntary termination of parental rights, first understand that the courts (read: “judges”) put children’s rights before parents. Therefore, terminating parental rights does not enable a father or mother to escape child support payments. The state’s main goal is to have the child supported by both parents.

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Voluntary Termination:

Because the courts’ aim is to deliver the privileges of both parents to the child, they will proceed with a voluntary termination only if there is “good cause” to do so. Most often, this comes when a step-parent shows intent to support the child both financially and emotionally. When a biological parent is willing to terminate rights and a step-parent stands ready to assume them, the voluntary termination goes smoothly.

A parent desiring to have the other parent completely out of a child’s life without a step-parent present, however, will be surprised that he or she still doesn’t have good cause for voluntary termination, despite the other biological parent’s green light. Even if the non-custodial parent is ready and willing to give up his or her rights, the courts may still want child support from him or her.  

Parents willing to terminate parental rights needs to know that in doing so, they completely extinguish all rights and responsibilities of parenthood. They cannot have a say in where the child lives, goes to school, what doctor or medical care is best and so on. The terminated parent has no custody or visitation rights with the child. The family law code oversees the rules and procedures for termination and post-termination access, if any. 

Involuntary Termination

Often, the state or the custodial parent seeks involuntary termination of the non-custodial parent. When Child Protective Services removes a child from a dangerous home for a foster care stay, they begin a process to evaluate the parent’s competence. A series of legal actions leads to the involuntary termination of parental rights.

The courts insist that “good cause” be shown in involuntary termination of parental rights cases. Good causes include:

  • Severe or chronic abuse or neglect

  • Sexual abuse

  • Abuse or neglect of other children

  • Abandonment

  • Failure to support or maintain contact with the child

  • Involuntary termination of the rights of the parent to another child

  • Long-Term mental illness or deficiency of parents

  • Long-term drug dependency

  • Commission of a felony

  • Lack of access due to serving a prison sentence leading to child’s entrance to foster care

The courts look at all the evidence regarding these issues and then rule in what they consider to be the child’s best interests. It’s critical to have legal representation in termination of parent’s rights cases to either prove or disprove these accusations.  

How to Terminate Your Parental Rights in California

As mentioned above, the only way to terminate your rights in California is to have another ready to adopt your child. Those no longer interested in participating in the child’s life cannot escape payments due for his or her maintenance, unless serving jail time or dangerous to the child. Those who commit crimes, abuse or the other causes above will have their rights terminated by the state if they do not meet the criteria set by the courts when the children were removed from the home.

Reinstating Parental Rights once They Have Been Terminated

The courts do not reinstate parental rights easily and getting this done has a lot to do with why you lost them in the first place. Those who voluntarily gave up parental rights often do so to make to make a child’s adoption by another possible.   

In 2005, however, California Assembly Bill 519 created a way for parents with terminated parental rights to regain custody of their children. The law is very clear-cut and subject to caveats. First, another adult must not have adopted the child after your rights were terminated. Secondly, your child must inform his social worker or foster parent that he or she wishes to live with you. Finally, the child has to make this preference within three years of the termination of your parental rights.  Then, meeting all of these and more criteria, the court can reinstate your rights. Again, getting your rights reinstated takes the expertise of an aggressive family law attorney.

Father’s Rights Law Center

The experienced attorneys at the Fathers’ Rights Law Center have brought hundreds of custodial and child support actions to court on behalf of fathers. We will prepare your case based on how local judges interpret the law. Testimonials about our work  make it clear how hard we work on each, specific cases. We’re happy to provide a complimentary consultation to clear up your most pressing questions and concerns. Call us at 1-800-4-LAW-HELP to speak with an attorney today!


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Birth Fathers and Adoption

More and more fathers are asking to be involved in the adoption process and in establishing their rights as equal parents. There are means for a father to assert himself as an active participant in the adoption process.

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How States Define a Father

There is no federal law regarding birth fathers, so it is up to states to provide definitions of what a “birth father” can be. Some states will use different terms, such as “assumed father”, “alleged father” or “putative father”. All of these generally mean someone who claims or is claimed by others to have a biological connection to a child. If the child is older, showing that the father has lived with or provided support for the child can also go toward asserting paternity.

Establishing Your Place in the Discussion

Remember that you cannot be involved unless you make yourself known. The laws vary from state to state, so be sure to consult your state’s Health and Human Services Department. provides a handy guide to what you may need in your state to get involved in the adoption process. For the most part, establishing paternity well before the adoption process begins, either through court orders, DNA testing, or voluntary admissions, will allow for a smoother and more equal process.

Additionally,some states have a putative registry. This registry provides fathers a  means of asserting their status as a father, even if this status is not recognized by a court. This database also allows men to receive notices if their child is involved in any court proceedings, such as being put up for adoption or the termination of parental rights. If your state does not have a putative database, you can establish your paternity by filing an affidavit or an acknowledgement of paternity with the court or the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The Centers for Disease Control can help you find the appropriate department in your state.

Keep in mind that some states have a limited period in which you can file your claim, and the time can start as soon as a child is born. Again, it is important that you check with your state about what you need to do. Some states allow for a notice in a local paper if the father is unknown, but there have been controversies over how likely a potential father is to receive this notice. Additionally, you may want to register in multiple states if you move or if the child could be born elsewhere.

If a father is unaware that he is a father, then his rights are limited. Filing the appropriate paperwork and being proactive are crucial to being an active participant in this process. It is also important to show examples of a commitment to a parental role, such as providing emotional and physical support. At this stage, consulting a family law attorney may be beneficial.

Emotional Considerations

It is a good idea to remember that emotions are high for everyone involved in this process, not just the birth parents. Prospective adoptive parents wish to provide a home for a child, while birth parents, their families, and their children can have feelings of loss, anger and powerlessness. Additionally, the lack of a “proper” way to address these feelings can make them worse and can create additional conflict. It is beneficial to avoid obstructing the process to show anger about not being involved earlier–remember, your goal is to provide the best possible environment for your children. Being cooperative and respectful can help you and avoid putting additional emotional pain on the child.


Being proactive in the adoption process is vital to asserting your rights as a birth parent. Remember that you need to make yourself known in a civil and considerate manner to maximize your rights. Having the goal of creating the best life for your children is the main focus of these tasks, and should be the aim for everyone involved.

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Establishing Paternity – Your Questions Answered

Establishing paternity is an important step in securing rights as a father to your child. Each state varies in terms of what men can do to be considered the father of a child, so be sure to check with your state’s Department of Human Services or Vital Statistics for what specifically applies to your situation. Keep in mind that states use different terms for their departments or court orders, so what happens in one state will not be exactly the same as in other states. The Centers for Disease Control can link you to your state’s department if you are unsure of who to contact.  

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Why Does Establishing Paternity Matter?

Establishing paternity helps a child learn who they are. This can be important for medical reasons, as many disorders are genetic. Additionally, establishing paternity ensures your child is entitled to benefits, such as inheritance, Social Security or insurance benefits. Acknowledging the child’s background allows for financial, emotional, and physical support from both parents to make sure the child has the best life possible. In some states, paternity must be established before the father can sign the birth certificate. Without formally establishing paternity, it may be more difficult to obtain rights as a parent later on. During custody proceedings, having paternity already established shows more of a commitment to the process. Finally, establishing paternity allows for custody rights should something happen to the other parent or if the child is subject to familial kidnapping.

What Can I Do Establish Paternity Before a Baby is Born?

If a couple is married the spouse of the mother is considered the legal father. Some states also assume an ex-spouse is the father after a certain number of days following a divorce. In the cases of unwed couples, the process should be started as soon as possible (even before the baby is born) to avoid additional paperwork and legal issues. Some states may not allow for submission before birth, but stating the paperwork early can save time after birth.

How Do I Add Myself as the Father After Birth?

In California, the father and mother must sign and submit a Declaration of Paternity stating that he is the biological father of the child. A notary public or qualified witness must witness the signing and fill out the final section of the form. Notary publics can be found at banks, post offices, and courthouses. There can be a time limit on when these forms need to be submitted, so make sure you get this document completely soon after birth. Some states allow for a father to sign the birth certificate if he is present at birth

What if I’m Not Sure if I Am the Biological Father?

While you can rescind a Declaration of Paternity, this can create additional legal issues. Additionally, there are time limits as to when you can submit this declaration. Before signing a Declaration of Paternity (or similar document outside of California), be absolutely sure that you are the biological father to the child.

What if I Signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity, but Now I Have Doubts About Being the Father?

Either parent can rescind paternity after submitting your acknowledgement by submitting a Declaration of Paternity Rescission (or similar document outside of California.) You also need to contact the other person who signed the original paternity declaration that you are filing to rescind it. Depending on your state, you may need to also have proof of mailing a copy of the rescission form using certified or receipt mail.

What Kind of Testing or Procedure Do I Need to Follow to Establish Whether or Not I Am the Biological Father?

Generally, the DNA test for establishing paternity uses swab samples from inside the cheek. The mother, the child, and the father all have saliva samples taken. You may have your picture taken, to ensure the tests are being done on the correct people. Then, the samples and photographs are sent to a laboratory for analysis. Results usually arrive about three weeks after submission. You may get results in the mail rather than over the phone to provide confidentiality. While at-home kits for testing exist, many courts will not accept these results. If there is doubt as to who the father of a child is, testing is vital to settling claims and securing the child’s support system.

What if the Mother Disagrees That I Am the Father?

If there is disagreement about the father’s identity, either parent can request genetic testing by filing a motion to the court.

Who Has to Pay for Testing?

This varies state to state.  In some cases, the father must pay, but is reimbursed by the state if he is not shown to be the father. If the state orders testing, then the state usually pays for the testing.  If one of the parties disagrees with the first test, they can pay to have a second test administered. Be sure to contact your state’s welfare agency to see what your options are.

What if I Refuse to Acknowledge Paternity?

Refusing to acknowledge your paternity can result in a paternity suit, which will require additional time and energy for court proceedings. Cooperating with all agencies, attorneys, and other officials will go a long way toward securing your rights as a parent and can avoid stress on all parties involved, including your child. At this point, genetic testing may be court ordered.   

What if I Live in a Different State Than the Mother and Child?

A child support specialist or a court order can request help from the agencies of other states to locate the father. Alternatively, you can contact a local child support or human services agency to establish a connection between interstate agencies. Working with a child services caseworker will also give you a better idea as to what you can do.

Once Paternity Is Established, How Is Custody Decided?

Once paternity is established, the parents can then go on to family court to establish custody and visitation routines. At this point, consulting a family law attorney may be beneficial for all parties to ensure a fair split of responsibilities and care for the child.

The process of establishing paternity can seem overwhelming, but there are resources to assist you. Above all, remember that following set legal procedures is the best route, and that providing a loving and caring experience for your child is your main goal.

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Love on the Rocks: 8 Common Causes of Divorce in the U.S. [INFOGRAPHIC]

Here we’ll take a look at some of the most common causes of divorce in hopes that these conflicts can be avoided, and you and your spouse (or future spouse) can remain together through thick and thin.

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Common Causes of Divorce


Infidelity is a nasty beast. It’s often initiated by underlying marital frustrations such as differences in sexual appetites, unrelated interests, resentment, or simply growing apart.

  • While statistics vary, it’s commonly understood that 60% of men and 40% of women participate in an extramarital affair at some point in their relationship (whether physical or emotional)
  • Infidelity breeds feelings of anger, rejection, insecurity, and depression – all of which can tip off the breaking point for divorce


  • Lack of money in a marriage often leads to incredible stress, lots of arguing, lack of communication, and even lying.
  • According to a 2014 Huffington Post Poll, spousal money fights are about:
    • 46% Frivolous purchases
    • 33% Household budgeting
    • 26% Credit card debt
    • 25% Insufficient emergency savings
    • 22% Insufficient retirement savings

Lack of Communication

Lack of communication or negative communication can be toxic to a marriage and quickly negate any feelings of love and respect. A 2012 article in the Huffington Post provides some negative communication trends you try to should avoid in your marriage:

  • Inauthenticity: saying “yes” or “okay” when you really mean “no” or you want to talk about it
  • Incongruence: saying one thing and having facial expressions that show the opposite
  • Win-lose attitude: responding with judgement, blame, or defensiveness
  • Interrupting: not allowing the other to talk by interrupting or not providing an appropriate pause
  • Impoliteness and negative comments: comments or questions that are phrased in a negative light

These things are good to be mindful of in any relationship, not just a marriage.


Physical, mental, and emotional abuse all play a part in this cause of divorce. According to a 2014 Huffington Post article:

  • Victims of intimate partner violence are 85% women and 15% men
  • Every minute 20 people are victims of intimate partner violence
  • Those who do not divorce their spouse are often facing financial abuse as well and feel that they do not have enough resources to make it on their own


Unhappiness in a marriage might be wholly unrelated to the actual relationship. Unhappiness often stems from the individual, and relates to things they need to deal with inside themselves such as feeling fulfilled, productive, purposeful, important, confident, loved, etc.

When unhappy inner turmoil takes place, it can result in:

  • Weight Gain
  • Addiction
  • Laziness
  • Apathy
  • Generally negative demeanor

All of which affect your spouse and the success of your marriage.


The average age of marriage in the U.S. is steadily increasing – and for good reason. Getting married too young can be troublesome, here’s what young couples have to watch out for in a marriage, or consider before they get married:

  • Lack of money
  • Lack of maturity
  • Low-quality communication
  • Growing apart
  • Changes in goals and aspirations

Parenting Style Differences

Kids bring a whole new dynamic to a marriage. You’ll face changes in priorities, overall lifestyle, sleeping habits, etc. It’s important to communicate with your spouse before a baby comes into the picture, consider the following:

  • Define your parenting roles
  • Create a clear outline of responsibilities
  • Discuss expectations
  • Communicate about parenting styles


As the general U.S. life expectancy rises, so does the length of our relationships with one another. This means that overall compatibility with our spouse becomes a huge part of marriage.

Compatibility is closely tied to commonality which is found to make marriages easier and more enjoyable in terms of:

  • Everyday activities
  • Conversations
  • Vacations
  • Lifestyles preferences
  • Location decisions
  • Parenting
  • And more!

Of course there are areas where you will have to compromise with one another, but having things in common doesn’t hurt. 

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How to Stop Divorce From Derailing Your Career

Stress is a factor that finds its way into most people’s lives. 

When a marriage breaks down and calls for divorce, stress is a constant companion throughout the entire legal process – regardless of whether both parties considered ending the relationship to be the right choice. According to the Holmes-Rahe inventory for stress, divorce is the second most significant stress in life – just below the death of a spouse and just above serving jail time or suffering from a personal injury. So how can you stop the negativity and havoc caused by divorce from working its way into other parts of your life – such as your career?

436 3078367 199x300 How to Stop Divorce From Derailing Your Career

Divorce can mean reorganizing your life and your work schedule in some ways – such as creating time to pick the kids up from school or taking long lunches to attend meetings with your lawyer. However, this doesn’t mean that you should let it derail your professional future. Here’s how you can avoid allowing divorce to damage your career, and instead utilize it as a catalyst for future success.

Take Risks and Seize the Day

It may seem like a cliché, but a significant life event such as a divorce can push you to take stock of your life and the choices that you make. Rather than focusing on the past, and what went wrong – consider whether your divorce could be the push that you need to reinvent yourself.

It’s sometimes hard to imagine being at work and taking new risks when you’re worried about the consequences. But, ask yourself what the realistic outcomes could be. If you request a new project – what’s the worst that will happen? If you consider a transfer to a new place where you’ve always wanted to be – how can it impact your life on a negative level? The uncomfortable silver lining of divorce is that significant disruption can be a surefire path to success.

Focus on Your Health

We all know that divorce is a stressful event in anyone’s life – and for some it will be the most anxiety-provoking issue they ever experience. Unfortunately, although the chances are that you’ll already have enough to deal with, studies have shown that such a high level of stress can compromise the immune system – making you more prone to illness.

The worse you feel – the more tempted you may be to allow your work to slide – permitting yourself numerous sick days and reducing your productivity around the office. This is why, during a divorce, if you want to protect your career, you need to devote some time to looking after yourself. By putting your mental and physical health at the top of your list of priorities, you will begin to experience improved focus, more energy at home and work, and even a lighter, more positive outlook.

Find Your New Identity

When you’re no longer part of a “couple”, but a single entity, you’ll find yourself equipped with space that you never had before. Although it might be tempting to use that extra space as a place to dwell on the past, remember that it can be a force for good – helping you to discover your new identity and determine what you want out of life.

Learning how to be alone is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Some people move through the process easily, whereas others find every day to be a challenge. Although you may want to seek help from a professional therapist if your depression doesn’t lift, remember that the frame of mind you adopt can be important too. Take the time to think about what you want to achieve in your future:

  • Could you imagine asking for a promotion in your current position?

  • Do you think a change in career has long been on the cards?

  • Are you ready to adjust your professional life and demand happiness?

The space and clarity afforded by divorce can allow you to think about strategic decisions that you may have struggled to make before.

Keep Moving Forward

Although divorce is common, it will always have implications that affect your career. However, it’s important to remain positive. Assert your independence in a positive way – and you could make changes in your professional life that permit you to flourish and grow.

How did you deal with the repercussions of your divorce, and have you found it to be a positive or negative effect on your current career?

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Understanding the Basics of Alimony

Spousal support, maintenance, and alimony all refer to the same concept: one spouse paying another after a divorce takes place. For people who are required to pay alimony to their ex-spouse, the idea is usually a frustrating one. Alimony exists to provide help to low-earning spouses, or individuals removed from the workforce while caring for a household and/or children to make the transition to a self-supporting lifestyle. In recent years, alimony has grown less common as judges offer it in fewer cases, and when it is offered durations are often short. In California however, an exception to this trend exists in divorces where the marriage has lasted for more than ten years. In these circumstances, alimony can be automatic unless the earning capacities of the spouses are highly similar.

 Understanding the Basics of Alimony

How Does Alimony Work?

When the court orders an individual to pay alimony, they will be required to give a specific amount of money to their ex-spouse on a monthly basis, up to a certain time. This time could be:

  • When one of the spouses dies

  • When a significant event—such as retirement—takes place, thereby convincing a judge to modify the payment amount

  • When a judge determines that the receiving spouse has not made sufficient effort to transition – at least partially, to a self-supporting lifestyle

  • When children no longer require a parent to be at home full-time

  • When the receiving spouse remarries

  • When a date arrives that was set by the judge in court

Typically, in most divorce procedures you will have the opportunity to come to an agreement with your spouse about the amount of alimony to be paid, and the duration of the payments. If a couple cannot come to an agreement regarding alimony, then a court will set the terms on their behalf. Unfortunately, this often means dealing with a costly and time-consuming trial.

Calculating Alimony in California

The laws and rules of alimony in California are applied in almost every case concerning divorce. Whether it’s a long-term marriage of more than ten years, a short marriage, a case regarding individuals of high income or low – divorce alimony laws will influence the length, complexity, and settlements within a case. Regardless of the State, setting the right amount of alimony to be paid is a complicated matter, which requires judges to consider a wide range of factors, including:

  • Whether an alimony amount would allow an ex-spouse to continue with a similar lifestyle to the one experienced during marriage. In divorce law, this is “the standard of living” consideration.

  • What the reasonable expenses for living may be for both parties involved.

  • How much money each person on a monthly basis could reasonably earn.

  • The length of the marriage.

  • The physical condition, age, and financial condition of the spouses.

The Duration of Spousal Support

When calculating alimony in California, it is not only the amount of support that must be considered, but also how long payments will continue. Generally, the duration of alimony in California ties directly to the length of the marriage. When a marriage in California lasts for less than ten years, courts typically don’t order support for longer than half of the duration of the marriage. On the other hand, the court may not set a definite termination date for alimony in marriages that lasted for longer than ten years. The ten year rule allows for both spouses to retain the right to indefinitely request modification unless both parties specifically agree to a termination date.

Although a number of attorneys and courts will refer to spousal support as “permanent”, it’s unlikely that a judge will order true permanent support – even in marriages lasting longer than ten years. California courts require spouses seeking support to make the effort to become self-supporting, and those that claim inability to work must support such claims with evidence. Truly permanent alimony is for spouses who cannot become self-supporting as a result of disability or age.

The Impact of Alimony

Although there are numerous different types of alimony available depending on the purpose for which support is ordered, all alimony seeks to serve the same purpose: alimony acts as a flexible financial tool for couples in the midst of a divorce procedure. It can offer some tax advantages for individuals that help to improve the wellbeing of both spouses, and ensures that a low-earning spouse is cared for when a marriage ends.

Do you think that alimony is an important part of the divorce procedure? Do you believe that the calculation of amounts and durations is fair, and do you believe that longer marriages demand higher levels of support?

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