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
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
The global spread of COVID-19 (a.k.a Corona Virus) is affecting millions and has been deemed by the United States government a national pandemic. Both the Federal and California state governments are calling upon citizens to do their part in assisting with slowing the spread of this novel virus, which has given rise to sudden deviations from all of our normal routines.
As experienced Family Law attorneys, we anticipate the current state of affairs may be especially difficult for separated or divorced parents trying to navigate through these peculiar times. The following are general guidelines, based on our experience, that we believe all co-parents should be cognizant of: 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
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 having likely been one of the most divisive political campaigns and presidential nominations in history, it may not be surprising that the widespread political divide and contempt has spilled over into many households and left countless numbers of people questioning relationships with their significant others. For several months, we suspected that this would be true, but a recent Google search led way to an astonishing amount of op-ed articles and message board discussions regarding women (at least mostly women from what we could tell), detailing the rift that differing opinions regarding President Elect Donald Trump had caused in their marriages.Some even took to message boards or wrote into advice columns to seek guidance as to whether the difference in opinion was a legitimate reason to end the marriage or relationship at issue. 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 love 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
Consanguinity comes from a Latin word “consanguinitas” and meaning “blood relation.” In English is just means your blood relatives. That would be your mother or father or your children. There is also what is referred to as “affinity” which in layman’s terms it is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. That is your relatives that are not a blood relation. Your spouse, your in-laws, your aunt or uncle by marriage are all examples of non-blood relations. In even simpler terms, they both refer to your relatives.
In family law consanguinity and affinity are very important terms when it comes to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (“DVRO”). Under California law, in order to obtain a domestic violence the party seeking protection and the party to be restrained must 1) be married or formerly married, 2) in a current or past dating relationship, 3) be current or former cohabitants, 4) be the parents of a child or the child themselves, or 5) be any “other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.” Family Code §6211.
January is decidedly the busiest month for divorce attorneys, even being dubbed in the divorce community as “divorce month”. While there may never going to be a “good” time for a divorce, those with divorce on the mind seem to find January to be the best option. This has been demonstrated by Court data that shows 1/3 more people file for divorce in January than they do in any other month.
The relationship between former Baywatch star, Pamela Anderson and her husband, Rick Saloman would never be described as traditional. They were first married on October 2007, but separated less than 10 weeks later when Pam filed for divorce in December 2007. The parties reconciled for a brief period (about 2 weeks), before Pam served Rick with the divorce papers. In February 2008 both Pam and Rick requested their marriage be annulled based on fraud. That request was granted in March 2008. The couple remarried sometime in late 2013 or early 2014. As with their prior attempts the current marriage appears to have failed as well.
According to reports, Pam filed for divorce in California citing irreconcilable differences. Rick on the other hand, filed for an annulment in Nevada (where he allegedly resides) once again stating fraud as the grounds for the annulment.
In California there are two types of annulments; void marriages, where the marriage is never legally valid and voidable marriages that are declared invalid by a court. The same rules for void and voidable marriages apply to domestic partnerships. I use the word marriage in this blog for simplicity reasons only.
There are two statutory grounds for a “void marriage”, and other non-statutory grounds for a void marriage. These marriages are void from the start. They cannot be made valid by the passage of time or the consent of the parties.
Incestuous Marriage [Family Code Section 2201]: This is the situation when the people who are married are close blood relatives. This does not apply to first cousins who are allowed to marry legally in California.
Bigamous Marriage [Family Code Section 2200]: where a spouse or domestic partner is already married to or in a registered domestic partnership with someone else.
Though not found in the Family Code, the failure to obtain a marriage license results in a void marriage.
These marriages are made void, not by operation of law, but by order of the court. Each of the grounds for a voidable marriage has a statute of limitations so the passage of time can make an otherwise voidable marriage valid. In fact, voidable marriages are valid until they are annulled.
Age at the time of marriage [Family Code Section 2210(a)]: If the party seeking the annulment was not 18 years old at the time of the marriage and did not have the permission of his/her parents to get married.
Prior existing marriage [Family Code Section 2210(b)]: Either party was actually married at the time, but for 5 years prior to the marriage believed their spouse was dead or had been missing. This is different from a bigamous marriage. The difference is actual knowledge. In a bigamous marriage the party knows they are already married. In a prior existing marriage the party knows they are married but their spouse has been missing or presumed dead for at least five years before the wedding.
Unsound mind [Family Code Section 2210(c)]: This refers to a party that does not have the mental capacity to understand the obligations assumed by being married. This is determined at the precise time the marriage is conducted. This can include persons with intellectual disabilities, Alzheimer disease, and in very limited number of cases, intoxication is a basis for a finding of unsound mind. This is how Brittany Spears got her 55 hour long marriage to Jason Alexander annulled.Fraud [Family Code Section 2210(d)]: This is the most common basis or seeking an annulment. The fraud alleged must be about something vital to a marriage. A bad credit score or undisclosed credit card debt will not constitute fraud for an annulment.
The fraud in annulment cases can include getting married only to obtain a “green card”, lying about ability to have children, and/or lacking the intent to observe the obligation of “sexual fidelity.” In California, if one party is having an affair at the time of the marriage, that may be considered fraud for the purpose of an annulment.
Force [Family Code Section 2210(e)]: Either party only consented to the marriage as a result of force.
Physical Section 2210(f)]incapacity [Family Code: When the parties got married one party was “physically incapacitated” (basically, that means one of the parties was physically incapable of “consummating” the relationship) and the incapacity continues and appears to be “incurable.”
Seeking an annulment in California can be difficult and there are very specific timing requirements associated with the request. We understand that this is a sensitive situation that could greatly affect you and your family, and our team can provide you with the caring and outstanding legal counsel you need and deserve.