percentage childIf you have minor children and are paying or receiving child support, you are probably already aware that the timeshare percentage, or the percent of time that the child/ren are with each parent, plays a role in determining the amount of guideline child support. Once two parents have set a schedule and determined when the child/ren will be with each parent, it would appear that determining a timeshare percentage is a piece of cake. But, while this may be clear in many cases, there are certain situations where the timeshare percentage can become a contested issue that may end up having to be litigated in court.

 

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finish lineFor anyone in the middle of a divorce case – which I imagine is most of the readers of this blog – reaching the finish line of your case may seem like an impossible dream.  I am here to tell you it happens every day and it will happen for you.  What is not often discussed is what happens once your Judgment of Dissolution is filed.

Notice of Withdrawal

Your attorney will prepare a document titled Notice of Withdrawal of Attorney of Record.  This is a form that puts the court, the other party, and the world at large on notice that you are no longer represented by an attorney.  These forms can only be filed when a case has concluded and gone to Judgment or final order.

Despite the name, your attorney is not abandoning you; in fact your attorney is trying to protect you by filing the form.  Family law is unique in that we have post Judgment motions and discovery.  These can be requests to modify support orders or to change child custody orders. If a motion of this type is filed post Judgment, if I am your attorney of record, then it is possible to serve that motion on me and my office.  If I have moved offices or retired by that point, you may never know a motion was filed and could end up in trouble or without support because you did not even know there was a hearing.

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17-year-divorce-caseMuch to our dismay, the couple once lovingly known by the public as “Bennifer,” a.k.a. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, announced back in June of 2015 that they were going to get a divorce. This was just before the couple’s 10-year anniversary. They reportedly consulted with legal counsel, mediators, and business managers, and agreed that they wouldn’t file the actual divorce papers until after they mediated and resolved all of the issues surrounding custody and property division.

Now over a year since the divorce news broke, neither Jen nor Ben has actually taken the plunge and filed a divorce petition. While Ben has been fairly open about the fact that he never wanted to split from Jen, it finally sounds like the divorce is officially off the table. In their case, the couple is pretty lucky that they didn’t yet file their divorce paperwork. Although it is not difficult to have a divorce petition dismissed, they did not have to bother with the extra steps necessary in actually filing for divorce and then filing a request for a dismissal.

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mansionYou may have already heard the big news, that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are getting a divorce after only 15 months of marriage. If not, click here to read our previous article on the subject. The latest news out of this real-life Hollywood saga is that Johnny has decided to sell his palace in Venice, listed for almost $11 million.

This four-story mansion overlooking the Grand Canal has 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, and a private dock. Surely this gem, which Johnny purchased in 2011, prior to his marriage with Heard, will be difficult to let go of. However, the Italian media has reported that the decision to sell this property and the divorce are connected.

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emailMany people understand that, generally, confidential communications between a person and his or her attorney are protected by an evidentiary privilege called the attorney-client privilege. Evidence Code section 950-962 lays out in detail how the privilege works.

What this means is that if a party or attorney wanted to know the substance of a confidential communication between the other party and that party’s attorney, an objection of attorney-client privilege can be raised and the Court should sustain that objection (i.e. grant the request).

Only “confidential communications” are subject to the privilege and what defines a “confidential communication” has been up for debate. Certainly, there is a case that everyone should know about and those cases are the focus of this blog post. It turns out there are probably countless people sending communications to their attorneys thinking they are confidential when they are really not!

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unemploymentByron Scott, former coach of the L.A. Lakers, has filed for a modification of spousal support following his newfound unemployment after being fired from the Lakers in April. Byron was married to his college sweetheart, Anita Scott for 29 years. He filed for divorce in 2014, right before he signed his contract with the Lakers; a $17 million contract at that.

At that time, Byron’s income averaged $300,000 per month and he was ordered to pay $26,000 per month in spousal support to Anita. Now, his only income is $50,000 per month, as deferred compensation from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Because it is deferred compensation for work that he did while he was married, that income is community property, and ½ of it belongs to Anita under California law.

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back to schoolIt’s that time again.  Summer is slowly fading, the days are gradually getting shorter, and soon the whole world will be covered by pumpkin flavored something or other.  As fall dawns on the horizon it also means a new school year is approaching.  This exciting time of year presents both challenges and opportunities to divorced parents.  This blog will provide 5 tips for parents for a new school year.

Talk To the Teachers

Teachers spend more time with your kids during the week than you do.  As the Husband of a teacher I know how much she invests in her students and how those same students look to her as their school parent.  Obviously she can never replace either parent, but she can be an amazing resource for parents.

Meet with the teacher and get to know him or her before the school year starts.  Discuss your child’s strength and weaknesses both academically and emotionally.  This not only helps the teacher to prepare for teaching your child, but assists her in understanding how to best reach out to your child.  It is entirely possible that your child may exhibit behaviors at school that you never see at home.  These could be both positive and negative behaviors.  Building the relationship now can help everyone ensure your child’s success during the school year.

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Family Law gavelIn family law we spend a good deal of time talking about court orders.  There are orders for child support, orders for spousal support, custody orders, and orders for the payment of attorney fees.  Getting more specific, all of the aforementioned orders can either be interim orders (also called temporary orders) or they can be final orders. The point of this blog is to discuss court orders in a family law context and to provide some basic understanding of how, why, and when they are made.  This is only a basic discussion of orders, a topic that can be very complex.  For this reason, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney about your specific case so you can be certain you fully understand your rights. Continue reading

Last year, we wrote a blog post on the blockbuster case of Marriage of Davis issued by the California Supreme Court. In that case, the Court resolved a split among the lower courts and held that it was impossible for spouses to be separated unless they were physically living separate and apart. The date of separation can be the most important issue in a given case. The date of separation determines the duration of spousal support and it determines the end of the community and the end of the creation of new community property.

In another words, this case was a big deal.seperated-by-wall-1166017

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pokerThe title of this blog – for our younger readers – comes from the Kenny Roger’s song, “The Gambler” which feels appropriate when discussing a family law case.  Parties gamble on the strength of their position, the strength of their legal theories and evidence, and the likelihood they can convince a judge to accept their story.  There is always the other side to that gamble; namely the other party.  They are also gambling.  Family law is not always a zero-sum game, but there are many issues that are either a “yes” or a “no.”  So when you litigate a case, you may spend a great deal of time and money only to come out on the other end empty handed.

Good gamblers know to always hedge their bet.  Hedging is the act of protecting yourself from loss by reducing the risk.  Hedging a bet comes at a cost though. You may reduce your risk of loss, but you also reduce your recovery.  In family law, you reduce risk by negotiating a settlement.  There are many ways parties can reach a settlement of their case, but the following three scenarios represent the most common avenues. Continue reading