California judges can make so many different types of spousal support orders, it can make a lawyers’ head spin, let alone the actual parties to a divorce. For instance, many people need help understanding the difference between a $0 spousal support order and an order where the Court terminates jurisdiction to award support (it turns out, there can be a huge difference). Let’s go over each type of spousal support order a Court can make.
Attorney fees can be a very important issue in many divorce cases. Most family law litigants in California, and certainly their attorneys, are familiar with Family Code section 2030, which awards attorney fees on a “need and ability” basis. This statute is designed to make sure that each party has equal access to legal representation. This makes perfect sense: as a matter of public policy, we don’t want people prevailing on issues as important as child support and child custody because the prevailing party had an attorney and the losing party did not.
There are, however, many other mechanisms that allow the Court to award attorney fees and/or sanctions, many of which are underutilized. They are discussed below.
A family law judge out of New Jersey made the following finding in a case involving a post judgment request to sell a residence due to one party’s failure to refinance the residence post-judgment:
“This court takes judicial notice, as a matter of indisputable common knowledge, that a positive credit rating and score is one of the most valuable and important assets a party may presently possess.” (Emphasis Added)
Millennials and Gen X-ers may have heard the name Zsa Zsa Gabor, but it is unlikely they know a thing about the Hungarian-born actress. For the purposes of this blog, all you need to know was that Ms. Gabor was married nine times, divorced seven times, and one marriage was annulled. There is a quote attributed to Zsa Zsa Gabor where she said, “I’m an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house.”
January is decidedly the busiest month for divorce attorneys, even being dubbed in the divorce community as “divorce month”. While there may never going to be a “good” time for a divorce, those with divorce on the mind seem to find January to be the best option. This has been demonstrated by Court data that shows 1/3 more people file for divorce in January than they do in any other month.
I have discussed on this blog many times how the most difficult job a Family Court Judge has is making custody orders. Property and support can be legally or technically difficult, but they will never compare to the emotions of making custody orders. Never is this task more difficult then when one of the parents comes to court requesting emergency custody orders.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a decision on November 17, 2015 in the case of Ramey v. Sutton in which the biological mother in a same sex relationship wished to cut ties between her partner and child after their break-up which followed almost 10 years of co-parenting. In this case, after the couple split, the non-biological mother petitioned the district court for custody and visitation orders. The biological mother argued that no legal standing for such a request existed, as the parties were never married nor did they ever enter into a written parenting agreement regarding the child that they were raising together.
I remember the first time I purchased a new couch. It cost me around $800 (which at the time was all the money in the world – I was studying for the bar) and was the first “new” and “adult” purchase my Wife and I made. I also remember when I got a new and better couch several years later. When considering my options for dealing with my now “old” couch, my thought was to simply throw it away. My Wife suggested we sell it on craigslist. I suggested we list it for free so long as the new owner came to pick it up. My Wife thought better and decided to sell it for actual money. My Wife listed the couch for $300. We eventually got about $75 for the couch and my Wife was quite proud of herself (if not disappointed in the price); I was just glad to be rid of the couch.
More so than in other areas of the law, attorney fees can be a critical part of a divorce case. In most civil cases, a party is awarded attorney fees only after they have prevailed in their case and only where attorney fees are specifically provided for by statute or by contract. In family law cases, the availability of attorney fees can make a huge difference during the case, as well as after it.
There is only one type of case more heart-wrenching than a move-away case: an international move-away case. While domestic move-away cases are complicated enough, international move-aways add additional layers of complexity that must be considered by both parties and the Court. Continue reading