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

You probably didn’t need to come to this web site to know that California has laws compelling parents to financially support their children. The reasons for this are obvious. When parents make the decision to procreate, they are financially responsible for that decision. I think we can all agree that the taxpayNana supporters shouldn’t have to foot the bill to support a child when one or both of that child’s parents can do so themselves. It should be no surprise then, that Family Code section 4053 holds that “a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children acceding to the parent’s circumstances and station in life” and that the “financial needs of the children should be met through private financial resources as much as possible.”

Did you know, however, that there is such thing as “parent support” in California too?

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couple arguingConsanguinity comes from a Latin word “consanguinitas” and meaning “blood relation.” In English is just means your blood relatives.  That would be your mother or father or your children.  There is also what is referred to as “affinity” which in layman’s terms it is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. That is your relatives that are not a blood relation.  Your spouse, your in-laws, your aunt or uncle by marriage are all examples of non-blood relations. In even simpler terms, they both refer to your relatives.

In family law consanguinity and affinity are very important terms when it comes to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (“DVRO”).  Under California law, in order to obtain a domestic violence the party seeking protection and the party to be restrained must 1) be married or formerly married, 2) in a current or past dating relationship, 3) be current or former cohabitants, 4) be the parents of a child or the child themselves, or 5) be any “other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.” Family Code §6211.

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It was recently reported that actor Jeremy Renner (best known for his lead in 2008’s The Hurt Locker and as Hawkeye in the Avengers movies) is refusing to pay his half of their daughter Ava’s preschool tuition.  the_avengers__hawkeye_by_yorkemaster-d4ykg4w Jeremy’s ex-wife, Sonnie Pacheco claims that she has asked for Jeremy to pay half of the $1,600 monthly tuition, but he has refused.   She also claims he has fallen behind on his child support payments to the tune of $48,367.  Now I have to admit I have never read Jeremy’s court orders, but I have a really good guess what order is he running afoul of.

In California, it is mandatory for the Court, when making child support orders, to allocate the costs related to the children’s uninsured medical expenses (e.g. co-pays, deductibles) and for the cost of child care so that a parent can work or go to school/training.  These are referred to as “mandatory add-ons” since the court is required to make them part of all child support orders.  Typically the cost of these expenses is split equally between the parents, but the court has discretion to allocate the cost however is most appropriate in light of the parties income and expenses.  So for example in Jeremy’s case above, if the court ordered that Jeremy and Sonnie were to split the cost of their daughter’s pre-school, then Jeremy would owe half of the $1,600 tuition or $800 each month.

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As much as Johnny Depp has tried to keep the happenings of his divorce from Amber Heard under wraps, the media continues to report as their story unfolds. The latest headlines from Johnny and Amber’s divorce indicate that the parties have each set depositions of the other, which may or may not be postponed. Regarding the depositions, each of their attorneys have made varying allegations about the other party. It appears that although Amber showed up for a previously scheduled deposition date, Johnny’s attorneys were unable to take testimony from her because she was in the next room room crying, pacing, screaming, yelling, and laughing the entire time. Of course Amber’s lawyers say that this is completely false. Amber’s “people” also stated that it’s “highly unlikely that Johnny will appear and cooperate” for his upcoming deposition.

It is unlikely that when you think of the divorce process, you associate it with the taking of depositions. That is because depositions may not be as widely used in family as they are in other areas of law, but even so, depositions can be a valuable resource in a contested divorce matter. The following are some facts regarding depositions as they relate to divorce proceedings.

 

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