Child 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
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
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
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
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 custody and visitation. 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
Personal health is a very important aspect of our lives, but for some reason we do not seem to give it as much thought as we should until that health is compromised. It is cold and flu season right now and many of you reading this have either had a cold this year, or are going to catch one in the near future. To those readers who will avoid getting sick this year, please tell us your secrets because we want to know.
Getting the cold or the flu is not the “health” I am referring to in this blog. When I discuss health, I am referring to long-term or chronic health issues such as Lyme’s disease. This also includes mental health issues such as clinical depression, as well as physical disabilities like carpel tunnel syndrome or paraplegia. These chronic health issues are all very different, but they do have one thing in common; they often impact a person’s ability to work. Continue reading
The “Right of First Refusal” is a concept originating from contract law that grants the holder of the right the option to enter into a business transaction with the owner of something before the owner may enter into a transaction with a third party. Put more simply; before you can sell your widget to a third party, you must ask whether I want to buy the widget. So why are we blogging about a contractual right on a family law blog? Continue reading