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
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
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.
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
It is generally understood, among family law attorneys, that Family Code section 2640 is one of the most cited statutes in California Family Law. Family Code section 2640 deals with separate property contributions to the acquisition of community property. However, Family Code section 2641 can be just as important if the community made substantial contributions to the education of one spouse.
Many states handle marital contributions to the education of a spouse in different ways. In some states, a spouse can actually be said to acquire an interest in the other’s spouse’s education and profession. California takes a decidedly different approach. Under California law, the extent to which a spouse can seek reimbursement for contributions made to other spouse’s education are explicitly limited by statute to Family Code section 2641.
Having said this, let’s take a look at the statute. Continue reading
Most 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.
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.
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