Articles Posted in Post-Divorce Issues

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.

Continue reading

adding-second-spouse-home-title

In two previous posts, we discussed the very important Moore/Marsden formula, which is the formula that determines the community interest in real property when the community pays down mortgage principal on the separate property of another spouse. In the first post, we discussed the basic formula, while noting that in the age of the low interest rate, the basic formula is almost never used due to frequent refinancing. In the second post, we discussed how the formula applies to improvements. In this post, we will address one of the most common adjustments that need to be made to the formula (that usually occurs after a refinance): How do you calculate the community interest in one spouse’s separate property after the other spouse is added on title?

Continue reading

International-child-abduction

Last week, we wrote a post with some tips about child custody and international travel. This week, we will look a little more closely at the provisions in the Family Code that help the Court prevent international child abductions. Although the relevant provisions apply to domestic as well as international child abductions, we will be focusing on the international aspects in this post. While domestic child abduction is still a concern worth writing about, it is much more difficult to undo the harmful effects of an international abduction.

Before a Court can make orders intended to prevent the risk of abduction, the Court first must find that there is such a risk.

Continue reading

going-negative-divorce

I have blogged in the past about tips for co-parenting, how to talk with your attorney, and any number of other ways to address child custody issues in the Family Court system. With the presidential primaries heading towards the Iowa caucuses, I thought I would do a blog called “Going Negative.” In campaigning, going negative, known more colloquially as “mudslinging”, is trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent rather than emphasizing one’s own positive attributes or preferred policies.

In really “going negative” means the same thing in family law, except instead of candidates its parents, and instead of policies its parenting. However, the effect it has is no different. Continue reading

divorce-credit-score

A family law judge out of New Jersey made the following finding in a case involving a post judgment request to sell a residence due to one party’s failure to refinance the residence post-judgment:

“This court takes judicial notice, as a matter of indisputable common knowledge, that a positive credit rating and score is one of the most valuable and important assets a party may presently possess.” (Emphasis Added)

Continue reading

divorce-refinance-home-mortgage

Millennials and Gen X-ers may have heard the name Zsa Zsa Gabor, but it is unlikely they know a thing about the Hungarian-born actress. For the purposes of this blog, all you need to know was that Ms. Gabor was married nine times, divorced seven times, and one marriage was annulled. There is a quote attributed to Zsa Zsa Gabor where she said, “I’m an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house.”

Continue reading

New-Job-support-orders.jpgIf you’re a big fan of the “Simpson’s” you may have heard that Harry Shearer, the voice of several of the shows iconic characters, is leaving the show. When a big star makes a movie or a star leaves a television show it usually makes the news, but people retire, change jobs, or are laid off on a daily basis. What do you do if you are involved in a Family Law proceeding and your income changes?

A change in your career can have far reaching effects on many aspects of your Family Law case, but it most immediately applicable to both child and spousal support orders. If there is a current order in place, it should tell you the protocol for informing your spouse of a change in your financial circumstances, but just informing your spouse may not protect you if your ability to pay your support award is compromised. Conversely, if you are receiving support and your ex-spouses income increases you may not be entitled to the increase solely because you are informed of the change.

Even when a change in income occurs, the court can usually only enforce the current order it has on file. Therefore, whether you need to reap the benefit of increased income or reduce the burden of an order you can no longer afford, you need to file the request with the court to modify your support to match your current financial circumstances. The court will then make a ruling in keeping with you and your ex spouse’s current financial situation.

Of course financial issues always become complex if one party is self-employed and/or owns a business, and it may require a more in depth analysis. The Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford is experienced in representing clients in all aspects of any financial issues that come before the Family Court and we are experienced in dealing with the complexity of self-employed parties and business owners.
Continue reading

mental-health-child-custody.jpgIssues revolving mental health and welfare are often stigmatized in our society. Whether someone is suffering from a short term situational depression, or suffers from depression and bipolar disorder, they oftentimes suffer in silence; afraid of how others will perceive them. This week Kim Kardashian participated in a Google hangout, wherein she discussed her passion for mental health issues and the documentary she produced called #redflag. Her documentary is about mental health in the age of social media.

If you or your ex-spouse is suffering from an issue involving mental health, seeking treatment is always the best course of action. However, how do issues of mental health affect your child custody dispute?

The California Constitution provides a broad right to medical privacy; this is generally referred to as doctor-patient privilege, but it also covers psychotherapists, which is a broad category that encompasses Marriage and Family Therapists. Usually your records remain private. However, in child custody cases in California this right is not absolute. The court may decide to review your medical records to help determine what is in your child’s best interests. This requires the side seeking to access the records show that issues involving mental health will affect your child.

However, the court is aware that just suffering from a mental health issue does not preclude you from having a loving and happy relationship with your child. So as long as you are receiving treatment and taking care of yourself the court will support your relationship with your child.

If you feel that issues of mental health and medical privacy are being raised in your case, The Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford is experienced in dealing with the privacy protections at issue in custody cases to ensure your privacy is respected.
Continue reading

family-law-brothers.jpgA family law contempt action can be a civil or criminal process which is used when one party is in violation of a court order. In the civil context, the goal of the action is to correct the problem, but if criminal contempt is pursued, the violating party pay be sentenced to five days in jail per violation. Family law orders are often ignored by one or both parties causing significant frustration for both sides throughout the case. It is an expensive and lengthy process to enforce court orders and the parties regularly end up disappointed by the court’s treatment of the violations.

The word “contempt” is frequently used to describe one party’s violation of a family law court order. For example, if one parent fails to make a court-ordered child support payment, the other parent might tell his or her lawyer that the supporting parent is in “contempt”. However, despite his or her violation of a court order, a person is not in contempt of court until that finding has been made by a judge. Therefore, if you wish to pursue a contempt action, you will have to file that request with the court before the other party will actually be in “contempt”. In addition, the general public is familiar with terms such as contempt. In a support case, the supported spouse may want to hire a lawyer to “contempt” the other side if he or she is not paying support.

family-law-contempt.JPGAlthough contempt is a common method of relief shown on television and in movies, it might not be the most practical in the family law area. Considering the child support example, sentencing a non-paying party to jail time might cause him or her to lose wages or even his or her employment. In family law, attorneys often caution clients not to “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”. If the supporting spouse loses his or her job, he or she will be unable to pay support. This discussion also comes up in contentious divorce cases where a vindictive spouse may want to use information acquired during marriage to get the other party fired from his or her job. Unfortunately, an unemployed spouse cannot provide financial support to his or her former spouse and children.

The family code provides litigants with a myriad of options to enforce court orders, especially child support orders. It is advisable to consult with a certified family law specialist before filing an action for contempt. Such actions may cause more harm than good in your family law matter.
Continue reading

home-loan-divorce.jpgGetting through a divorce and preparing to move on from a marriage is an emotionally and financially draining process. However, if all of the issues were handled correctly, you should be able to make a new start and begin building your new future without your former spouse. Unfortunately, sometimes important issues fall through the cracks because they were not within focus for the parties at the time they negotiated their settlement. If you want the ability to purchase a new home after divorce, below are some considerations which must be addressed at the time of settlement or trial.

It is not uncommon for divorced parties to discover that they are still liable on their old home loans when they approach a bank for a loan on a new home. In many San Diego divorces, one party buys the other party out of their interest in the parties’ home and remains in the marital residence (often with the children). When the parties reach these types of agreements, their settlement documents might only contain a provision awarding the home and all encumbrances to one party with a simple “hold harmless” clause. This means that the party retaining the home is responsible for all obligations encumbering the home. However, this provision is irrelevant to the creditor who holds the note on the loan. The creditor can still seek payment from either party. The only way to get off of your home loan is to sell the home or have your spouse refinance the home into his or her name alone.

home-loan-checkbook.jpgDepending on your finances, if you are still liable on a home loan, you will likely not qualify to purchase a new home even if your spouse is responsible for the debt. It is important to talk to a certified family law specialist regarding this issue before your divorce judgment is finalized. If your spouse will not qualify for a refinance in his or her name alone, you may want to consider selling the home so that you are able to separate that one remaining financial tie. If your spouse may qualify for a refinance, ensure that your divorce judgment has appropriate provisions in place regarding transfer of title and a deadline for the refinance. For example, you can require that your spouse refinance the home within 120 days of execution of the settlement. If your spouse does not refinance, the home will be listed for sale. If your spouse does complete the refinance, you will execute a quitclaim deed transferring title to his or her name alone.

If you do agree to a buy-out by your spouse and your spouse is unable to refinance the home, it is important that your name remain on title to the home. Review your settlement documents carefully to ensure you are not required to transfer title without your removal from all related loan obligations.
Continue reading