Articles Posted in Custody and Visitation

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.  creative-team-with-lightbulb-heads

Forensic Accountant

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

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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 the Law Office of Nancy J. Bickford, 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

writing-check-1239553It is no secret that getting a divorce can be pricey. While there is almost no way to estimate exactly how much any particular divorce will cost to finalize, there are some fees that will be present in any divorce case. In this blog we will break down some of the fees charged by the Superior Court in a divorce or family law matter. Continue reading

C7df9a9b7f03c042ccdfba2b0252bb070-300x200hild 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

Divorce is hard. Divorce where minor children are involved is harder.pexels-photo-105952-300x200

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

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 60child-and-flag-225x300% 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 custody and visitation. Continue reading

Part 1 of this two-part blog examined in detail a Canadian judge’s decision that explained why dogs cannot be treated as anything other than property in a divorce. This, being essentially the same state of the law in California, was proffered here in hopes that our readers could better understand why their beloved companions are treated this way in a divorce.

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However, if Part 1 had you feeling down about the status of pets in the law, the legislation examined here in part 2 should give you some hope! After I had already begun preparing blog Part 1 in this series, an amendment to Alaskan divorce legislation came into effect which signals a major step forward for pets owned by divorcing couples. Alaska has now become the first state to allow its courts to take a pet’s well-being into account when rendering a judgment for divorce!

More specifically, the Alaskan legislation that came into effect on January 17, 2017, states the following: Continue reading

dna-markers-1475227-300x225Most family law litigants will never hear the term “presumed fathers” (also called presumed parents) during their divorce action, especially if you followed the traditional path of getting married prior to having children. In most cases, your family law attorney will determine whether presumed parentage is an issue without ever discussing it with you.  An example would be helpful.  Assuming you are seeking a divorce and you have children, during your initial interview with a family law attorney, you will be asked, “What was your date of marriage?”  You will also be asked, “What day are your children’s dates of birth?”  Continue reading

It’s no secret that many divorces can be difficult and contentious (although they certainly don’t have to be). Between the raw feelings from splitting up, disagreements regarding how to deal with the children, and the inability to reach agreements regarding spousal support and property, things can be difficult. One case in particular, Sagonowsky v. Kekoa, illustrates what happens when a contentious case totally goes off the rails.arguing-characters-shows-relationship-disagreement-discussion-or-300x225

The appeals court, in somewhat of an understatement, called the underlying proceedings a “lengthy and acrimonious battle.” Here are just some of the ways this case was acrimonious: Continue reading

This won’t be the first, and probably won’t be the last, time that I post a blog about how dogs get treated in a divorce. Why? As a dog owner I know what a meaningful role the family pet plays in our lives. As an attorney, I have seen the emotional impact that this issue can have on my clients. Because pets play such a big role our lives, it can become a major issue when divorcing spouses don’t agree on what should happen to the dog when they divorce. In Part 1 of this blog, I examine a recent decision by a Canadian judge and in Part 2, new legislation in Alaska, which together make this topic more relevant than ever.dogs-300x300

A decision of the Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan dated August 31, 2016 begins by stating “Dogs are wonderful creatures. They are often highly intelligent, sensitive, and active, and are our constant and faithful companions. Many dogs are treated as member of the family with whom they live.” True! I don’t think any dog or pet owner could disagree with that! Continue reading