Articles Posted in Judgment

pexels-photo-170894Yes, even Spice Girls get divorced just like any one of us. In March 2017, former Spice Girl Mel B, perhaps better known as “Scary Spice” or as a current judge on America’s Got Talent, filed for divorce from her husband of 10 years, Stephen Belafonte.

Mel B, worth a reported $60 million, filed for divorce in a Los Angeles Superior Court after she and Belafonte separated in December 2016. While Mel B’s nickname might have been “Scary,” it seems as though her marriage to Belafonte was in fact scary, as she filed for a restraining order against him shortly after filing for divorce. It appears that she had been covering up injuries from abuse from Belafonte for years. And, while Mel B’s petition reportedly requests joint custody of the couple’s daughter, it also requests that the Court to deny spousal support to Belafonte. Continue reading

We’ve written blogs in the past about the time it takes to get a divorce in California and the infamous six-month statutory minimum waiting period. Even so, we are constantly faced with clients who come in with the misconception that their divorce will be completely over in 6 months. While that may be the case, experience tells us that a six month divorce is pretty rare.

First, let me repeat: six months is the MINIMUM length of time your divorce can take to be finalized in the state of California. This statutory waiting period is without exception. Whether you are self-represented or you retain an attorney in your divorce case, you cannot legally be “single” until six months has passed from the day you (or your spouse) filed the petitionpexels-photo-273011-2-300x225 for divorce. Continue reading

world-globe-indicates-place-to-stay-and-check-in-300x233If you have been through or are going through a divorce, you likely learned the hard way that a divorce is a longer and more complicated process than you previously expected. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could finalize your divorce in one weekend? Well, a Dutch company called DivorceHotel International has recognized this desire in divorcing couples and come up with a solution: a weekend divorce getaway, where divorcing couples stay at a hotel and in one friendly weekend sort out all of the details of their divorce. 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

law-300x200Appeals 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

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

 

Family Cquestions-answers-indicates-questioning-asked-and-assistance-300x243ode 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

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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 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

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