Articles Posted in Divorce Finances

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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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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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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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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wire-puzzle

In Family Law, tracing is the method by which a party proves that funds in a particular account are, or were, used to acquire separate property.  Family Code section 760 holds that all property acquired during a marriage, regardless of source, is community property, it can sometimes be a difficult and expensive endeavor to try to perform a tracing. In California Family Law, there are three ways to prove a tracing: 1) Direct Tracing; 2) Exhaustion 3) Total Marital Recapitulation.

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mercedesFor years, Christina Estrada’s life read like a fairytale; former international supermodel fell in love with a billionaire Saudi Arabian sheikh, raising a daughter and sharing a mansion in the British countryside with an unlimited monthly budget to spend on whatever their hearts desired. She is quoted describing her married life as “magical.” Unfortunately, just as with most fairytales, the magic came to an end and reality set in when the sheikh obtained a divorce in 2014 in Saudi Arabia, under Islamic law, without Christina’s knowledge. And that was AFTER he had already married a 25-year-old Lebanese model, without Christina’s knowledge…and obviously while he was still married to her.

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One of the firsringing moneyt issues a new client will ask us about is support.  Whether it is child support, spousal support, or both, support is one of the most important issues in your family law case.  It’s easy to understand why.  During your marriage income and expenses are shared and over time you find a happy medium between the amount of money you have coming in and the amount of money you have going out to pay expenses.  After you separate, the income doesn’t change, but the expenses will often double.  That means two rent payments, two food bills, two utility payments…the list goes on.  If you and your spouse were just making ends meet before the separation, odds are it will be twice as difficult now that expenses have increased. Continue reading

Elvis

On June 13 Lisa Marie Presley filed for divorce from her fourth husband, Michael Lockwood. While Lisa Marie isn’t the only star we’ve written about to go through multiple divorces, her specific case highlights a common and sometimes very complicated issue in divorce which occurs when one spouse has taken control of the finances and the other has little to no involvement in financial matters (the so-called “out spouse” is the one who stayed out of financial matters during the marriage).   Continue reading

Money

The Court of Appeals just issued what could be a very important opinion on the issue of commingling separate and community funds in certain accounts. The name of the case is Marriage of Cooper and it is a stark reminder of the perils that may result from mixing separate and community funds in the same account. This case stands for the proposition that once separate property funds are deposited into an investment account held in both parties’ names, those funds lose their separate property character and become community property. However, the spouse who contributes his or her separate property to the jointly titled account has a right of reimbursement under Family Code section 2640. So what does this mean in plain English and how will it affect future cases?  Continue reading