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Articles Posted in Property Division

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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

AdobeStock_151263740-300x200Once the initial paperwork in a divorce proceeding is filed, both parties must complete what is called a “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure.”  This disclosure mainly consists of two documents, the first is the party’s “Schedule of Assets and Debts” and the second is the party’s “Income and Expense Declaration.”  Just as the names imply, these forms are designed to gather information related to each parties’ assets, debts, income, and expenses.  In addition to being mandatory, these disclosures are due early on in the case and are extremely important as they will be the framework for which a settlement, if possible, is reached. Continue reading

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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

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The infamous comedian-actor Robin Williams once said, “Divorce is expensive.  I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’”

Alimony, or more commonly now called spousal support, may be awarded to either spouse during the pendency of a divorce proceeding, or in some cases after Judgment has been entered.  There are two types of spousal support: (1) Temporary; and (2) Permanent. Continue reading

Ex-Union-Tribune owner Douglas Manchester has divorced from his second wife, Russian immigrant Geniya Derzhavina.  Douglas, a wealthy real estate developer, filed for dissolution of marriage in October 2019 and the parties settled their divorce just two months later.shutterstock_448851367

Douglas married his first wife, Betsy, in January 1965.  They divorced in 2013 after 48 years of marriage.   Douglas and Betsy’s divorce lasted four years and Betsy highlighted the couple’s lavish standard of living throughout the proceeding.  Betsy claimed, amongst other things, that in 2007 the parties threw a birthday party for Douglas that cost over $200,000.  The parties then flew on a private jet to Costa Rica where they spent a week on a private chartered yacht.  Betsy claims the Costa Rica trip cost more than $350,000. Continue reading

puzzle-3223941_1280-300x182Whether you are getting ready to file for divorce, or already have, you probably have seen or heard the words “community property” and “separate property” many times.  These are common family law terms that parties will need to understand throughout their proceeding for dissolution.  Pursuant to Family Code section 760, “Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.”  This statute is followed by Family Code section 770, which states, “Separate property of a married person includes all of the following: (1) all property owned by the person before marriage, (2) all property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent, and (3) the rents, issues, and profits of the property described in this section.” Continue reading

What does the “date of separation” mean and why is it so important?separation-date-300x202

When a spouse files for divorce the first issue to tackle is often the parties’ date of separation.  One might think that the date of separation is when the petition was filed in the divorce, or when one spouse moved out.  However, the date of separation is often fact driven and can be a complicated issue to resolve.

Pursuant to Family Code section 70 the “date of separation” means that a complete and final break in the marital relationship has occurred, such that (1) the spouse has expressed to the other spouse his or her intent to end the marriage, and (2) the conduct of the spouse is consistent with his or her intent to end the marriage.  The court has stated that there must be problems “so impaired” in the marriage that there is no reasonable possibility of “eliminating, correcting, or resolving these problems.”  (In re Marriage of Hardin (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 448.)  Ultimately, the court will look towards the parties’ subjective intent to end the marriage, and the parties’ outward persona should not be considered. Continue reading


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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

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During marriage, neither spouse is supposed to devalue the community estate by wasting of assets. “Wasting” means spending community money for a non-marital purpose. The classic case has been the spouse who changes his lifestyle, often in the process acquiring a friend to whom the spouse gives money, pays expenses or buys gifts. The other spouse neither knows of these actions nor would approve of them if they were known. But the non-wasting spouse can attempt to recoup losses by negotiation or in court. Continue reading

Earlier this year, Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos announced his divorce from wife MacKenzie after 25 years of marriage and four children together.  The couple met and married before Jeff founded Amazon.  Jeff, who has a reported net worth of nearly $157 billion is the world’s richest man.

The couple, who allegedly did not have a premarital agreement, reside in Washington state.  Washington is a community property state similar to that of California.  That means that generally all assets and debts acquired during marriage will be divided equally.

Despite the couple’s massive estate, the couple finalized their divorce in July 2019, just 7 months after making the announcement.  MacKenzie Bezos will get, amongst other property, 25% of the couple’s Amazon stock, an amount equal to roughly $38 billion.  This stake in Amazon makes MacKenzie the third richest woman in the world.  https://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-mackenzie-bezos-divorce-official-settlement-38-billion-2019-7 She has promised to donate at least half of her fortune to charity!

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