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
One of the hot button issues in any divorce case is spousal support. Standard questions that might float through a party’s mind include, but are not limited to, “what party will pay support?”, “how much support will I pay/receive?”, and “how long will I pay/receive support for?” This blog will focus on spousal support duration and termination. For information regarding how spousal support is calculated, please review one of our other blog posts or call our office for more information.
In California, “except on written agreement of the parties to the contrary or a court order terminating spousal support, the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties where the marriage is of long duration.” (See California Family Code section 4336(a)(emphasis added.) Pursuant to Family Code section 4336(b), a marriage of long duration includes any marriage (from the date of marriage to the date of separation) lasting 10 years or longer. Therefore, in California, the court generally retains jurisdiction to make spousal support orders for marriages lasting 10 years or longer. Continue reading
In many ways, a divorce can seem, and typically is, final. It requires the filing of a judgment, a judge’s signature, and a marriage that is no longer the same. But what happens when a party files for divorce and then changes his or her mind? Or, what happens when a couple finalizes their divorce and then reconciles? This blog will explore the consequences of these non-traditional relationships.
First, let’s consider what happens when a party files for divorce but then changes his or her mind and wishes to withdraw the petition for dissolution. In California, there is a 6-month statutory waiting period before any divorce can be finalized- and this scenario is exactly why. Sometimes a couple is going through a rough patch and a spouse will file for divorce prematurely. After discussing and working on their relationship the couple no longer wants to go through with their divorce. So, what happens? Continue reading
If 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
We 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.