Articles Posted in Divorce Finances

Almost every divorce case that comes through our office will have spousal support (also called alimony) as a major issue.  Whether we represent the party who will pay spousal support or we represent the party who will receive spousal support, one of the first topics we discuss is how the IRS will treat spousal support payments.taxes-300x200

The IRS will treat spousal support as “income” to the recipient and a “deduction” for the payor so long as all of the requirements of IRC §71 are met.  These requirements are often referred as the “Seven D’s.” Continue reading

You decided you want a divorce, you file for a divorce, and then…*crickets*… your spouse, for whatever reason, has decided not to participate in your divorce. Perhaps your spouse doesn’t understand the legal process, doesn’t want to get divorced, or he/she is upset that you filed for divorce and intends to do anything possible to make your life more difficult. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO GET A DIVORCE, even if your spouse chooses not to take any part in it.feuding-cups-1-1315590-300x225

If you are experiencing the problem above and you wish to proceed with a divorce even in the face of an uncooperative spouse, you will need to seek a default judgment. In order to do so, you must follow very specific procedures to ensure that you will be granted a divorce. The following is a very general overview of the required steps (note that there may be additional forms or procedural steps that must be taken within each subsection which are not covered here). Continue reading

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that child custody and visitation are fluid orders as that often change with the needs of the child.  This makes a lot of sense because a 3 year-old  is very different from a 16 year-old and will therefore have a very different child sharing schedule.  Alchild supportso as a frequent reader, you know that a change in the time sharing percentage of the children often justifies a change in the child support orders.  Small changes in the time share percentage are unlikely to make a big impact. Big changes in guideline child support require major shifts in the child sharing percentage.  Continue reading

checking stocksAs we’ve mentioned many times over on this blog, support (both child support and spousal support) can be very complicated in California. In some instances, the relevant statutes provide the Court with vast discretion that needs to be clarified in subsequent court cases. One of those Court cases is the Pearlstein case which deals with the determination of income resulting from capital gains.

In Pearlstein, Husband sold a substantial amount of shares in a business. In consideration for the sale of his shares, Husband received shares of another business and cash. What Husband ended up doing with the stock and cash he received from the sale is the key to the case: he did not sell the shares and he reinvested the cash.

Continue reading

It was recently reported that Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odem finally submitted their divorce judgment for processing with the Court.  I say finally because the case was first filed in Deccalifornia-screamin-1560355ember 2013.  It was stagnate for nearly two years while Lamar allegedly battled substance abuse issues.  When Lamar nearly died in October 2015, Khloe dismissed the divorce, only to re-file in May 2016.   The years long saga is now over, but that does not mean the parties’ divorce case is over.  The Court still needs to process the Judgment, and there is no way to know how long that will take.

Continue reading

Child support in California can beregulations-rules-represents-protocol-guidance-and-regulated very complicated and the changed circumstances rule is one of the reasons why. The changed circumstances rule requires a court to deny a request to modify child support if the court determines that there was no material change in circumstances since the time the last child support order was made.

First, let’s go over some basics. California, like every other state, is required to have a Guideline formula to determine what the proper amount of support should be. The Court is required to follow the Guideline, absent a few very narrowly construed exceptions (See Family Code section 4059). If a child support order is determined to be “above Guideline,” i.e. more than what the formula would provide, that child support order cannot be subsequently changed unless there has been a material change of circumstances. However, if a child support order is determined to be “below guideline,” no change of circumstances is required to increase that order to a Guideline order. Continue reading

Divorce is never ideal. Even in the most amicable of divorces, it is never the outcome that any couple dreams of on the day that they fall in philippines-holiday-indicates-asian-vacation-or-getawaylove and decide to get married. However, as difficult as divorce might be, financially, emotionally, and otherwise, imagine the alternative. Imagine that you are stuck married to a spouse with whom you are miserable, just because the laws of your county make it that way.

This is exactly the case in the Philippines, the only country in the world (outside of the Vatican), where divorce is still illegal. There, couples may file for a legal separation, which would allow them to lead separate lives and split their property, but they remain legally married. If parties do become legally separated, they are not able to remarry later, and even worse, if they become engaged in a new relationship even after legal separation has been granted, they risk being criminally charged for committing adultery. Continue reading

Bifurcation is an often underutilized procedure in civil cases (including family law cases) that, if used correctly, can significantly reduce the attorney fees and costs necessary to bring a case to a conclusion and can significantly increase the prospect of settlement.family-law-shows-blood-relative-and-court

So what is bifurcation exactly? In the process of bifurcation, the Court, usually on the motion of one of the parties, agrees to hear a trial on just one part of a case. Often times there are difficult issues, that once resolved, simplify the rest of the case. Continue reading

Time MarriageWe have written several blogs about the date of separation and its importance to a dissolution action. In some cases, the date of separation can be the most critical issue in a case. The reason is the date of separation can be a significant factor in determining how long spousal support will last , or whether a particular piece of property is separate or community. If you Google “date of separation,” your web browser will retrieve dozens, if not hundreds, of articles on this topic.

Continue reading

The question of a party’s income available for support has been the scourge of many attorneys and forensic accountants for a long time. It is a difficult and evolving issue, with new cases coming out honing and refining the interpretation of Family Code section 4058. Below, we take a look at a few common topics that are raised in child and spousal support cases.file0002132358706

Inheritances

If one party gets a seven figure inheritance from Great Aunt Birgit, is that income available for support? This was the question raised in County of Kern v. Castle. The Court determined that inheritances are not income available for the purposes of child support. Continue reading