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
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
My favorite holiday song is Andy Williams’ version of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Something about that song encapsulates everything that is special about the winter holiday season. There are the lights, the food, the family, and the nostalgia of being a kid at Christmas. Now that I have a family of my own, seeing this special season through the eyes of my own children makes it all feel that much more real and special. However, for many divorced or divorcing parents the winter break is a difficult time. In this blog I want to address a couple common issues that divorcing parents face and with them provide some advice for enjoying the holidays in spite of the difficulties of a divorce. Continue reading
Change is a big part of any divorce. When you have children, dealing with change can be one of the most difficult parts of the divorce. No matter how many times people tell you that “kids are resilient and everything will be okay” it doesn’t make it any easier. The truth is, most kids handle divorce well especially when their parents are able to successfully co-parent. Nonetheless, there is one change that no amount of co-parenting can make easier. That is changing schools. Most families only have one residence which means that at least one parent will need to find a new home. If that new home happens to be in the same neighborhood as the former family residence, then changing schools should not be an issue. More often than not however, one parent moves to a residence that is zoned for a different school than the children currently attend.
So what do you do? 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
Many parties choose to have their divorce cases mediated by a professional mediator. This can have many valuable benefits. It can be cheaper, less stressful, and much quicker than your typical adversarial divorce. All other things being equal, working together is preferred to working against one another.
Any party who chooses to use mediation should be aware of the mediation privilege. The mediation privilege makes it impossible (absent certain limited exceptions) for one party to compel the production of documents or testimony of the other party or the mediator as long as that other party and the mediator invoke the mediation privilege. If one party is trying to set aside a judgment because of false or fraudulent statements made by the other party, the mediation privilege can be a significant impediment to that goal.
The title of this blog – for our younger readers – comes from the Kenny Roger’s song, “The Gambler” which feels appropriate when discussing a family law case. Parties gamble on the strength of their position, the strength of their legal theories and evidence, and the likelihood they can convince a judge to accept their story. There is always the other side to that gamble; namely the other party. They are also gambling. Family law is not always a zero-sum game, but there are many issues that are either a “yes” or a “no.” So when you litigate a case, you may spend a great deal of time and money only to come out on the other end empty handed.
Good gamblers know to always hedge their bet. Hedging is the act of protecting yourself from loss by reducing the risk. Hedging a bet comes at a cost though. You may reduce your risk of loss, but you also reduce your recovery. In family law, you reduce risk by negotiating a settlement. There are many ways parties can reach a settlement of their case, but the following three scenarios represent the most common avenues. 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.
As a cast member of the Real Housewives of New York, Jules Wainstein is no stranger to drama. Surprisingly though, Jules’ impending divorce from husband Michael Wainstein filed in June has already been deemed the most dramatic divorce in Housewives history. And while it may be the most dramatic divorce the show and its cast have ever seen, Jules’ situation is actually not all that uncommon out here in the REAL, real world.
According to all of the press that the couple has received as of late, it would seem that Jules caught Michael cheating on her with one of her close friends. At that point Michael was prompted to file a petition for divorce after their eight year marriage. Since then, numerous accusations of domestic violence have surfaced, along with recent pictures of police outside the couples’ apartment. Continue reading
So imagine this scenario. You’ve spent all day in mediation with the other side. You have been going back and forth all day trying to reach an agreement that will resolve all the issues of your case. It is past 5:00pm and the cleaning crew is the newest spectator to this battle. You’re tired and ready to be done. Just as you are about to give up hope, an agreement is reached. After several handshakes, everyone goes home exhausted, but pleased that the case is resolved. So you’re done, right?