COVID-19 has affected all sectors of the U.S. population. The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has issued stay-at-home orders for all residents, with limited exceptions for “essential works.” In California alone, over 1 million workers have filed for employment benefits. The San Diego Courthouses have all closed to the public and were only processing temporary restraining orders. As of April 8, 2020, the Superior Courts have expanded their accessibility slightly allowing for limited Ex Parte (emergency) Hearings. Since the Court’s official closure in mid-March, it is believed the Court has received over 7,000 documents via U.S. Mail. None of these documents have been processed during the closure. This figure does not account for the presumably high number of Court filings that have been postponed or the number of hearings that were scheduled to occur during the 2 ½ months the Court has been closed. Those hearings will have to be continued to a date in the future. So, what can we expect once the Courts are able to re-open in any capacity? Continue reading
The other day I was asked, “Why do I need to pay child support to my ex-wife if we care for our children equally?” This is a great question that requires some understanding of both California law and public policy. At first blush it may seem unreasonable and unfair that one parent must pay the other parent child support even though both parents equally care, house, feed, and pay for their children’s livelihood and well-being.
Let’s start by looking at California Family Code section 4053, which is the statute that provides courts with overarching principals to consider when implementing a child support order. This statues states, in part, that “a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support the parent’s minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.” (emphasis added.) The statute also states that, “the [child support] guideline takes into account each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children” and that “each parent should pay for the support of the children according to the parent’s ability.” (emphasis added.) The statute also explains that child support “should minimize significant disparities in the children’s living standards in the two homes” and that “children should share in the standard of living of both parents.” (emphasis added.) Continue reading
It is no secret that the San Diego Family Law Courts are overutilized, overworked, and overbooked. When a party files a motion with the court it can often take several months, or longer, to get a hearing date! This can be frustrating for litigants who want to move their case forward towards closure. But what happens when an emergency comes up in your case and you cannot wait months for a hearing date? Luckily, there is a procedure and solution to allow the court to hear an emergency issue within a day or two, and that is called an “Ex Parte” hearing. At an Ex Parte hearing, judges can make temporary emergency orders, when appropriate.
Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 5.151(b), “[t]he purpose of a request for emergency orders is to address matters that cannot be heard on the court’s regular hearing calendar….[and] the process is used to request that the court: Continue reading
Did you know in the state of California, you do not need to be genetically related to a child for a Court to find you to be the child’s parent and issue orders for you to pay financial support of the child?
It’s true! And it can occur under the following circumstances:
Family law courts across the nation adhere to “guidelines” and a statutory formula in determining appropriate child support awards. In actuality, the “guidelines” provide mandatory requirements intended to create uniformity in the calculations of child support that are presumed correct.
The guidelines take into account the general principles that (1) a parent’s first and primary obligation is to support his or her minor child consistent with his or her own circumstances and “station in life” (“station in life” meaning the parents’ social standings, i.e. lifestyle, work status, economic circumstances, etc.); and (2) both parents are by law mutually responsible for the support of their child. Continue reading
For most people, the decision to get divorced is not reached on a whim. More often than not, “Breaking up is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can’t do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times, and then it goes over.” (-Jerry Seinfeld)
It is not uncommon for those going through the divorce process to at some point become frustrated by the amount it is taking to, what in itself sounds simple, end their marriage! While sometimes bittersweet, many people returning to checking the “single” box, provides, a sense of progress, relief, satisfaction, accomplishment, or even freedom. This is especially true for those who have been enmeshed in lengthy highly contentious and stressful litigation. Continue reading
In a previous blog, we talked about different classes of experts (Joint, Hired Gun, Review) employed in family law cases. In this blog, we will talk about the different “types” of experts we use in family law.
Forensic accounting is a specialty practice area of accounting that is used in litigation. Forensic accountants are used in family law to perform tracings for separate and community property, to investigate Family Code Section 2640 reimbursement claims, Moore/Marsden calculations, to analyze/characterize stock options, and other issues which require an “investigation” of accounting issues.
What separates forensic accountant from regular accountants is specialized training focused on investigation as well as the expectation that the outcome of their investigation will result in the preparation of reports suitable to serve as evidence in a court of law. Continue reading
Lawyers love to make jokes about how bad we are at math. Often those jokes include statements like, “if I were good at math I would have become an engineer” or if “I was good at math and science I would be a doctor not a lawyer.” Nobody likes lawyer jokes more than lawyers, but these statements are not universally true. There are many lawyers who are good at math. In fact at Bickford Blado & Botros, we have the only certified family law specialist in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant with a Master of Business Administration. Having an attorney with a strong math and accounting background helps to spot and analyzes issues, but it is in no way a substitute for a financial expert. When it comes to financial matters, there is no substitute for a qualified financial expert.
In family law, there are many reasons you may decide to use an expert. Similarly, there are just as many different types of experts you can hire. You might need an expert to value your family home or a business. You might need an expert to decide a party’s income, or what custody schedule is best for your kids. Whatever the reason might be, you need to decide first what class of expert you want. This blog will address the three “classes” of experts we see in family law. Continue reading
A new product has just come on the market that may have piqued your interest if you are going through a divorce: Divorce Insurance. That’s right, you read correctly, divorce insurance actually exists!
A man named Richard Zizian, a legal educator and holder of a California Juris Doctorate (not a licensed or practicing attorney), has collaborated with Great American Insurance Group to develop a new program called Marital Settlement Agreement Insurance, or “MSAI.” Zizian, after going through a divorce himself, understood the emotional toll that a divorce can take. An emotional toll which, he states, makes one more susceptible to be laid off from employment. 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