If you have children and are currently going through the divorce process or have been recently divorced, you have probably already realized that the holidays as you’ve come to know them will be different from now on. The Thanksgiving holiday, as family-centered as it is, is one of the most difficult holidays to get through if you are just getting used to this idea. What follows is a brief overview of custody issues during the holidays and some tips on getting through the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Continue reading
..…I just couldn’t pass up the chance to write about a divorcing couple that went through a heated battle over World Series tickets. Apparently this battle became was so “serious” that a suburban wife felt it appropriate to file an emergency petition in a Chicago court for orders that the husband hand over the tickets which were obtained prior to filing for divorce. Even more surprising is the fact that the Chicago judge made an emergency ruling on this issue. Read on to find out what the ruling was. Continue reading
Child support in California can be very complicated and the changed circumstances rule is one of the reasons why. The changed circumstances rule requires a court to deny a request to modify child support if the court determines that there was no material change in circumstances since the time the last child support order was made.
First, let’s go over some basics. California, like every other state, is required to have a Guideline formula to determine what the proper amount of support should be. The Court is required to follow the Guideline, absent a few very narrowly construed exceptions (See Family Code section 4059). If a child support order is determined to be “above Guideline,” i.e. more than what the formula would provide, that child support order cannot be subsequently changed unless there has been a material change of circumstances. However, if a child support order is determined to be “below guideline,” no change of circumstances is required to increase that order to a Guideline order. Continue reading
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 settlement.
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
For 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.
The 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
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.
There are so many reasons a client wants to remain in the family home after the divorce proceedings have been filed. Often it is a custodial parent who wants to provide normalcy for their children. Other times it is for financial or emotional reasons, or a combination of the three. Whatever the reason, unless one party agrees to move out of the residence, a court order will be required to exclude a party from living in the family residence.
Deciding who will remain in the residence at the beginning of a case is a problem nearly every family law litigant will face; requiring the assistance of the court in reaching that decision is far less common. In most cases, one or both parties will decide to leave the family residence. In these situations it is important to have a written agreement about who is leaving, who is staying, and how the expenses related to the residence are going to be paid. These agreements are where most of the controversy lies, especially with regard to the payment of the expenses. That is an issue that should be addressed in a separate blog.
For 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.
One of the first 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