Child custody is one of the most difficult and emotional parts of any contested divorce. It is not uncommon for two parents to agree on all of the financial issues, child and spousal support, and property division, only to find it impossible to come to any agreements about how their children will be raised post-divorce. It is understandable too; we love our children and we want what is best for them. This point, wanting the best for our children, is the great irony of child custody litigation. Ask any parent whether they believe dragging their children through months or years of custody litigation is healthy for them. They answer will be a resounding, “No.” Yet that is exactly what happens in so many family law cases. Continue reading
Appeals can be a lengthy, difficult, and expensive process. In fact, most civil appeals in the Fourth District Court of Appeals, Division One (San Diego) take about a year from start to finish. If a trial court’s error is the result of a minor oversight or a mathematical error, it might be a better idea to simply direct the Court’s attention to the oversight or error than go through the trouble of an appeal. In our experience, judges have been almost universally open to correcting these kinds of minor oversights or errors at the trial level, particularly if the oversight or error resulted from the judge’s own mistake.
It is very important, therefore, for one to use the proper procedures. There are two procedures that come to mind. The first is a motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure 473(d), which is designed to allow for the correction of clerical mistakes. Code of Civil Procedure section 473(d) reads as follows: Continue reading
If you dig deep enough into your memories from high school English class you will know that quote is from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And while Romeo waxes poetically about why Juliet’s name should not matter, the truth (as they both learn), is that a name is very important.
For many married couples, one of the parties changed their legal name as part of the marriage ceremony. It could be a Husband/Wife who took the other party’s name or it could be a situation where both parties moved to a hyphenated surname. The symbolic act of changing your name at marriage is meant to show the world the joining of two people. However, what do you do when those same two people decide they want a divorce? Continue reading
Tracey Hejailan-Amon’s husband Maurice Amon filed for divorce in Monaco in October of 2015. Tracey then filed for divorce in New York. About a year and a half later, the parties are still arguing over which court has jurisdiction over their divorce. Why? Because Monaco’s divorce law allows spouses to take back gifts that were given while married. It appears that New York law, on the other hand, provides that gifts stay with the receiving spouse even after divorce. And the Amon’s divorce is not your typical one. The “gifts” that the parties are fighting over amount to about $70 million dollars!! Continue reading
There are many different enforcement methods available for child support. Although contempt is always an option, it involves the other parent ending up in jail and can be a costly and expensive process to prosecute. Some of the best incentives for the other parent to pay child support already exist as a matter of law without the supporting parent having to do anything. For instance, child support arrears can never be discharged in bankruptcy, so they stay with the support obligor for life. Further, they accrue rate at the legal rate of 10 percent. What kind of investments today gets you 10 percent? Not many.
There is, however, another incentive that many parties and even many attorneys are not familiar with: Continue reading
As divorce attorneys, child custody disputes often become the most contentious issues that we face. Of course this is understandable. When parents divorce, they have to face the reality that they will no longer be with their children 100% of the time. This is a hard pill to swallow for almost every parent, and it seems to be more difficult the younger the children are.
Often, each parent becomes stuck in the mindset that the children are better off with him or her, and 50/50 custody quickly becomes an unacceptable proposal. Unfortunately though, many times this is because the parents are caught up their own feelings about their soon-to-be ex-spouse, and forget to consider what is really in their children’s best interest. Continue reading
Family Code section 3580 et seq. provides that spouses may enter into agreements regarding support upon separation. In Pendleton and Fireman, our Supreme Court held that parties could agree to limit or waive spousal support in premarital agreements. What about the time in between? Can married spouses who have not yet separated enter into enforceable agreements to limit or waive spousal support?
Although the answer to this question has not been definitively settled by our appellate courts, there is a strong argument to be made that married couples who have not yet separated cannot agree to limit or waive spousal support. Continue reading
Termination of spousal support jurisdiction is always a highly contested issue. The party paying support wants spousal support terminated as soon as possible, and the party receiving support would prefer support be paid forever. Which party will get what they want will depend on the facts of the case.
At the outset I want to explain what we mean by “terminating spousal support jurisdiction” What we are actually saying is the point at which the Court decides no spousal support will ever be due from one party to the other. It is the final decision that spousal support is no longer necessary.
There are different reasons why a Court might terminate spousal support, but for the purpose of this blog we are looking at the Court’s authority to terminate spousal support jurisdiction pursuant to Family Code §4322. Continue reading
It wouldn’t be a surprise if you had never heard of a “trust account” prior to partaking in a divorce. While there are many different types of trust accounts, in this context we will discuss accounts that attorneys, specifically family law attorneys, maintain on behalf of their clients.
To begin, a trust account is a separate account that a lawyer or law firm may open to hold money that a client or third party has an interest in. Attorneys are not allowed to comingle (mix) any of their own personal funds with funds held in a client’s trust account (with some limited exceptions). There are two types of attorney-client trust accounts. The first is an “IOLTA” account, which holds small amounts of money for short amounts of time, typically retainers, and the interest accrued goes to the state bar. The second type is a Segregated Interest-Bearing Attorney Client Trust Account (“segregated trust account”), which holds larger amounts of money for longer periods of time, and the interest accrued goes to the client. The second type, segregated trust accounts, will be discussed here. Continue reading
San Diego is home to the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel. San Diego’s seven military bases serve the approximately 100,000 active duty service men and woman and their families (the total rises to 175,000 when dependents are taken into account.) In addition, San Diego is home to 60% of the ships in the fleet of the U.S. Navy, and 1/3 of the active duty force of the U.S. Marine Corps. In fact, the military and its spending in the region accounted for 26% of the jobs in San Diego in 2011. None of this accounts for the more than 250,000 veterans who call San Diego home. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that San Diego family law attorneys handle many military dissolution actions.
For the most part, military divorce is very much like any other divorce. The issues, such as child custody, child and spousal support, property division are the same as any other family law case. However there are aspects of military divorce that are unique to service men and women. In this blog, I will discuss some issues military members confront concerning child and spousal support. Continue reading