low-conflict-child-custody

Let’s be honest shall we? I am a custody attorney, and there is only one kind of custody case that I take to trial; the high conflict custody case. (Okay…To be fair I take other custody cases to trial that are not “high conflict”, but those are generally move away cases that almost always require a trial.)

But just as a robbery detective does not do his job because he loves theft, as a custody lawyer I do not do my job because I love high conflict cases. Quite the opposite is true. My favorite case is the “low conflict” custody case. The problem is those cases do not get talked about.

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divorced-at-last

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from family law litigants is the length of time it takes to finalize their divorce. Some of the fault for this complaint is institutional while a good deal of the time it takes to finalize a divorce is a result of each case’s unique issues. In this blog I want to discuss some of the institutional reason why divorce cases take time to resolve.

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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.

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Model-behavior

Divorce isn’t easy. People get angry or hurt, and emotions can cloud even the most intelligent person’s judgment. We’ve already written many blogs about the need to “play nice” in divorce proceedings, and the benefits of positive co-parenting, but one star’s recent divorce has hit our radar as a real-life example of the positive behavior that we have been tirelessly preaching.

Actress Hilary Duff and former NHL player Mike Comrie’s divorce was finalized in January 2016, after their separation a year earlier. Continue reading

Jewish-divorce

Rabbi Mendel Epstein began a 10-year sentence on March 1st after being sentenced by a New York judge in December 2015 for kidnapping and torturing men into granting their wives religious divorces. This may sound a bit outrageous, but in order to understand the Rabbi’s crime, you must first understand the basics of Jewish divorce.

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Trial-date-divorce

This blog is a follow up to a previous blog titled “Should I go to Trial.” If you have not read that blog it is worth reading, and not just because I wrote. There are many factors you should discuss with your attorney before you go to trial. The two main factors are the amount of time required to go to trial and the cost of doing so. Each of these is unique in every case so my earlier blog does not go into them. Before you ever set a trial date it is imperative you discuss this with your attorney.

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same-sex-adoption-alabama

On March 7, 2016, the United States Supreme Court unanimously and summarily reversed the Alabama Supreme Court on a same-sex adoption issue.
In the case, V.L. v. E.L., the parties were two women who were in a relationship from approximately 1995 until 2011. In 2002, E.L. gave birth to a child and in 2004, gave birth to twins. After the children were born, the parties raised them together as joint parents. All three children were adopted pursuant to a final decree of adoption from a superior court in Georgia. E.L. consented to V.L.’s adoption as a second parent and recognized both of the parties as the legal parents of the children. Continue reading

marriage-divorce-online-dating

Online dating is everywhere these days. As I hear more and more stories from friends and family members who meeting their significant others online; I receive a wedding invitation for my college roommate’s wedding to a man she met online; and my TV becomes increasingly flooded with eHarmony and Match.com commercials; it is inescapable! And, I don’t doubt that you have experienced the same or similar things I have. Although online dating intrigues me on many levels, as a divorce attorney, I can’t help but wonder what, if any, impact the rise of online dating in our society has had on marriages and divorces today.

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divorce-trial

Spend any time watching American television or movies and you will witness scenes filmed inside a Courtroom. Sometimes they are filmed in a soundstage and other times in an actual Courtroom. No matter the location they convey the same message. Everything else failed in a case and now it is time for the exciting conclusion that is your trial. The lawyers get together in their perfectly pressed (and well fitting) suits, witnesses are called, evidence is argued, and eventually Ben Matlock gets a witness to admit they are guilty. These moments, colloquially referred to as “Perry Mason” moments, are thrilling on TV. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they almost never happen. If they do happen, they are never as exciting as on TV.

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Closeup of assorted coins.

According to section 215 of the Internal Revenue Code, spousal support (otherwise known as alimony) is generally taxable income to the payee and tax deductible to the payor. However, if payors aren’t careful, they may inadvertently agree to support arrangements that are not deductible.

Retroactive Support

In California, the Court has discretion, and often exercises this discretion, to award spousal support retroactively to the date of filing. For instance, if a spouse files a spousal support motion on January 1, 2016, but it is not heard until March 1, 2016, the Court can still order the payor to pay for the months of January and February even though the hearing wasn’t until March.

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