Hidden-Assets

We’ve been hearing a lot about the “Panama Papers” lately; the leak of millions of documents out of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca disgorging details of the firm’s wealthy clients hiding money via shell companies in various tax havens. Among those allegedly involved are world leaders, athletes, celebrities and businessmen.

As divorce attorneys, it is not uncommon that our clients are convinced that their spouse is hiding money. Continue reading

child-custody-trial

In a previous post, we gave an overview of what parents can expect from the contested child custody process in California, from the filing of the Petition until the time the Court makes its first orders. In this post, we will go beyond the Court’s first orders and discuss the process from that point until a child custody trial that results in a judgment.

Again, remember that parents can agree to custody and visitation arrangements without getting the Court involved, except to approve the agreement.  This post is mostly about cases where the parents can’t agree.

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divorce-home-sale

The largest single asset I deal with in any divorce is a family residence.  Home ownership in the United States has hovered between 63-69% over the last 20 years.  In California the percentage is a bit lower coming in at 53% in 2015 – no big surprise when the median home price in California is $450,000.  However, with the “purported” divorce rate of 50% of marriage, the intersection of homeowners and divorces is fairly common.

We have blogged in the past about the myriad of issues that can impact the division of a family residence.  Honestly these issues are endless.  This is probably because we deal with dividing the interest in a family home so frequently.  The focus of this blog will be to address the mortgage associated with your home when you get divorced.  For those of you with a mortgage free home – about 30% of America – well done you can stop reading now.   For the other 70 percent of us…keep reading.

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child-custody-first-orders

If you are a parent who is anxious about the child custody process in California, you are in good company. These feelings are perfectly normal. After all, the decisions on custody and visitation are so crucial and most parents know so little about the process. I thought I would explain the process in a general sense so parents have a better idea of what to expect. This post will explain the process from the filing of the Petition until the time the Court makes its first orders. The process from that point forward until trial will be explained in a subsequent post.

Keep in mind that parents can agree to a custody and visitation arrangement and the Court will almost always rubberstamp it.  This post is mostly about cases where the parents can’t agree.

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social-security-child-support

When I talk to clients about what constitutes income available to pay for child support I ask them to imagine an umbrella…a very BIG umbrella. Everything underneath that umbrella is income available to pay child support.  In California, this has been codified in Family Code Section 4058, which states;

“The annual gross income of each parent means income from whatever source derived…and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Income such as commissions, salaries, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, social security benefits, and spousal support actually received from a person not a party to the proceeding to establish a child support order under this article.”

I emphasized “social security benefits” because that is the theme of this blog.  Continue reading

custody-orders

There are some orders that we feel are underutilized by Judges in Custody cases. One of the reasons we list them here is because the judges in this county tend to not have egos: if you ask them to adjust an order they just made and they like the suggestion, they won’t have any qualms about doing so. So if a judge in your case doesn’t make an order listed here, feel free to tell them why they should!

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Time for Taxes

We are divorce attorneys, not tax experts, but marriage and finances are so intertwined that inevitably divorce and taxes do intersect. Each year as the IRS tax return filing deadline approaches, we are increasingly confronted by our clients with tax preparation questions. For specific tax inquiries, we advise that you consult a tax professional. However, we felt it may be useful to share a brief (non-exhaustive) list of some common points Continue reading

lender-intent

The lender intent rule in California family law is, at once, one of the most consequential and one of the most unfathomable rules.

The general idea is this: if a loan is incurred during the marriage, that loan, and any proceeds acquired with said loan, will presumed to be a community obligation/property. The burden then falls on the party seeking to show that the loan is separate to produce evidence to that effect. What exactly is that burden? Well, therein lies the rub.

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disclosure-divorce

The State of California imposes very broad duties of disclosure between spouses that are in the midst of a divorce. Inevitably, a spouse will try to cut corners or try to defraud their spouse altogether in an attempt to get an edge in the divorce case. The Family Code has built-in provisions that severely punish or otherwise disincentivize this kind of behavior. We will talk about a few of these provisions below.

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remarrying-your-exBillionaire tech mogul Elon Musk’s wife, British actress Talulah Riley, filed for divorce on March 21st in Los Angeles. Musk may be experiencing deja vu right about now, as this is the second time that the couple will be going through a divorce. Originally married in 2010, the two already divorced in 2012. Then they remarried just a year later, in 2013. And yet again, Musk filed for divorce in 2015, only to later dismiss his request. This time it is Riley who pulled the trigger to initiate the divorce process once again.

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