Articles Posted in Property Division

home-158089_960_720There 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.

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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

depp-heard-divorce

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.

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divorce-pets

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

filing-divorce-first

“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.)

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competency-issues-divorce

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

division-community-assets

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.

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