Articles Posted in Divorce

Bifurcation is an often underutilized procedure in civil cases (including family law cases) that, if used correctly, can significantly reduce the attorney fees and costs necessary to bring a case to a conclusion and can significantly increase the prospect of

So what is bifurcation exactly? In the process of bifurcation, the Court, usually on the motion of one of the parties, agrees to hear a trial on just one part of a case. Often times there are difficult issues, that once resolved, simplify the rest of the case. Continue reading

hard candySome family law litigants (and even some attorneys) may think an appeal is just a “do-over” of what happened at the trial level. However, trials and appeals are two very different proceedings.  In this post, we will address one of the most fundamental differences between proceedings at the trial level and proceedings at the appellate level – How does each court deal with findings of fact?

Trial courts ask: “What are the Facts?”

It is not unheard of for a family law trial to last several days, or even several weeks. However, the oral argument on an appeal of a week-long trial will almost never exceed 30 minutes and usually doesn’t impact a case. So, why is that?

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seperated-by-wall-1166017The California Family Code allows courts to issue orders removing a spouse from a home. These are commonly referred to as “kick out” orders or “exclusive use and possession” orders. Certain circumstances compel a court to make these kinds of orders. This blog post will discuss these circumstances. It turns out that the threshold required for a kick-out order differs depending on whether or not the application to the Court is brought in an ex parte (i.e. emergency basis) or if it is brought pursuant to a noticed motion.

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Time MarriageWe have written several blogs about the date of separation and its importance to a dissolution action. In some cases, the date of separation can be the most critical issue in a case. The reason is the date of separation can be a significant factor in determining how long spousal support will last , or whether a particular piece of property is separate or community. If you Google “date of separation,” your web browser will retrieve dozens, if not hundreds, of articles on this topic.

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The question of a party’s income available for support has been the scourge of many attorneys and forensic accountants for a long time. It is a difficult and evolving issue, with new cases coming out honing and refining the interpretation of Family Code section 4058. Below, we take a look at a few common topics that are raised in child and spousal support cases.file0002132358706


If one party gets a seven figure inheritance from Great Aunt Birgit, is that income available for support? This was the question raised in County of Kern v. Castle. The Court determined that inheritances are not income available for the purposes of child support. Continue reading

angelina jolie and brad pitt wax figures

If you haven’t heard the news by now, I can only assume that you have been living under a rock or buried in a media-less hole for some time now. And yes, by “the news”, I mean the news of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s impending divorce.

When Angelina filed her petition for divorce on September 19 the split quickly became the only thing that anyone has talked about since, or so it seems. Although the couple has been together for 12 years, and have 6 kids together, they were only married for a short two years, and the divorce came as a complete shock to the public, and apparently also came as a complete shock to Brad himself. Continue reading

The rules of evidence can be challenging. Understanding it is a skill that must be honed and refined, which is what we try to do at the Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford. In this blog, we will discuss two of the most important evidentiary privileges and their importance in family law cases: the physician-patient privilege and the psychotherapist-patient privilege.medical-record

Statements made from an adult to their treating physicians/psychotherapists are absolutely protected from privilege, unless the issue is tendered or waived. Continue reading

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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