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
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
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
The latest Hollywood divorce drama comes as Amber Heard files for divorce after a 15-month union with Johnny Depp. Heard alleged an incident of domestic violence just days before she filed for divorce, and pictures later surfaced of her with a black eye. The media is abuzz with discussions of whether the abuse actually happened, or whether it was just a ploy on Heard’s part to gain sympathy and secure more money from the divorce.
Divorce can become even more stressful when pets are involved and both parties are attached. While many people feel as though their pets are part of the family, the law doesn’t see it that way.
In a divorce, a dispute over a pet is not treated like a child custody matter, where the court must look at what is in the best interest of the child and works towards a goal of frequent and continuing contact with each parent. Rather, a pet is treated as a piece of property, just as a car or any other inanimate object would be. Continue reading
“Race to the courthouse” is an informal name used to describe the rule in some jurisdictions that the first conveyance instrument, mortgage, lien or judgment to be filed with the appropriate recorder’s office, will have priority and prevail over documents filed subsequently, irrespective of the date of execution of the documents at issue. In popular culture, being the party to file a lawsuit first is always portrayed as preferable. But like most things on TV, they just don’t hold up in real life; except maybe in Hollywood. (Hollywood is hard to call “real life” in any case.)
The competency of a party can have profound effects in family law in California. We will explore that a little in this post.
First of all, whether or not a party is competent can be relevant as to the validity of the marriage contract itself. Pursuant to Family Code section 2210(c), a marriage is voidable if either party to the contract is of unsound mind. In other words, if they are not competent to enter the marital contract, the marriage can later be annulled. Continue reading
An interesting decision out of an Australian Federal Circuit Court this month caught our eye when a judge ruled that a man was entitled to only 1/3 of the marital estate because he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was estimated to live for only one more year. In this case, after a 30-year marriage, the parties had accumulated approximately $1.5 million in assets that had to be divided in their divorce.
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?
Famous clothing designer, Karl Lagerfeld once said of photographs, “What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” Mr. Lagerfeld captured in that simple quote what it is we humans love so much about photographs; capturing moments. Until scientists are able to recreate a time machine, photographs and home videos are the only way we can go back in time to relive moments.