Articles Posted in Property Division

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

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

Almost every divorce case that comes through our office will have spousal support (also called alimony) as a major issue.  Whether we represent the party who will pay spousal support or we represent the party who will receive spousal support, one of the first topics we discuss is how the IRS will treat spousal support payments.

The IRS will treat spousal support as “income” to the recipient and a “deduction” for the payor so long as all of the requirements of IRC §71 are met.  These requirements are often referred as the “Seven D’s.” Continue reading

Under California law, once a party is served with the summons and petition for dissolution, they have 30 days to file a formal response with the Court. After this 30 days is expired, the petitioner has the option of filing for a default judgment granting them everything they asked for in their petition, including the dissolution of the marriage once the six month statutory cooling off period is completed. However, the respondent can come back within six months, under Code of Civil Procedure section 473, and get the default judgment set aside as if it never existed. Would such a default judgment also set aside the actual dissolution of the marriage, or do parties always remain divorced once they are divorced by the family court? Continue reading

..…I just couldn’t pass up the chance to write about a divorcing couple that went through a heated battle over World Series tickets. Apparently this battle became was so “serious” that a suburban wife felt it appropriate to file an emergency petition in a Chicago court for orders that the husband hand over the tickets which were obtained prior to filing for divorce. Even more surprising is the fact that the Chicago judge made an emergency ruling on this issue. Read on to find out what the ruling was. 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

The question of a party’s income available for support has been the scourge of many attorneys and forensic accountants for a long time. It is a difficult and evolving issue, with new cases coming out honing and refining the interpretation of Family Code section 4058. Below, we take a look at a few common topics that are raised in child and spousal support cases.

Inheritances

If one party gets a seven figure inheritance from Great Aunt Birgit, is that income available for support? This was the question raised in County of Kern v. Castle. The Court determined that inheritances are not income available for the purposes of child support. Continue reading

If you haven’t heard the news by now, I can only assume that you have been living under a rock or buried in a media-less hole for some time now. And yes, by “the news”, I mean the news of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s impending divorce.

When Angelina filed her petition for divorce on September 19 the split quickly became the only thing that anyone has talked about since, or so it seems. Although the couple has been together for 12 years, and have 6 kids together, they were only married for a short two years, and the divorce came as a complete shock to the public, and apparently also came as a complete shock to Brad himself. Continue reading

You may have already heard the big news, that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are getting a divorce after only 15 months of marriage. If not, click here to read our previous article on the subject. The latest news out of this real-life Hollywood saga is that Johnny has decided to sell his palace in Venice, listed for almost $11 million.

This four-story mansion overlooking the Grand Canal has 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, and a private dock. Surely this gem, which Johnny purchased in 2011, prior to his marriage with Heard, will be difficult to let go of. However, the Italian media has reported that the decision to sell this property and the divorce are connected.

Continue reading