Articles Posted in Spousal Support


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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

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!

In a previous blog, we talked about different classes of experts (Joint, Hired Gun, Review) employed in family law cases.  In this blog, we will talk about the different “types” of experts we use in family law. 

Forensic Accountant

Forensic accounting is a specialty practice area of accounting that is used in litigation.  Forensic accountants are used in family law to perform tracings for separate and community property, to investigate Family Code Section 2640 reimbursement claims, Moore/Marsden calculations,  to analyze/characterize stock options, and other issues which require an “investigation” of accounting issues.

What separates forensic accountant from regular accountants is specialized training focused on investigation as well as the expectation that the outcome of their investigation will result in the preparation of reports suitable to serve as evidence in a court of law. Continue reading

Lawyers love to make jokes about how bad we are at math.  Often those jokes include statements like, “if I were good at math I would have become an engineer” or if “I was good at math and science I would be a doctor not a lawyer.” Nobody likes lawyer jokes more than lawyers, but these statements are not universally true.  There are many lawyers who are good at math.  In fact at Bickford Blado & Botros, we have the only certified family law specialist in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant with a Master of Business Administration.  Having an attorney with a strong math and accounting background helps to spot and analyzes issues, but it is in no way a substitute for a financial expert.  When it comes to financial matters, there is no substitute for a qualified financial expert.

In family law, there are many reasons you may decide to use an expert.  Similarly, there are just as many different types of experts you can hire.  You might need an expert to value your family home or a business.  You might need an expert to decide a party’s income, or what custody schedule is best for your kids.  Whatever the reason might be, you need to decide first what class of expert you want.  This blog will address the three “classes” of experts we see in family law. Continue reading

A new product has just come on the market that may have piqued your interest if you are going through a divorce: Divorce Insurance. That’s right, you read correctly, divorce insurance actually exists!

A man named Richard Zizian, a legal educator and holder of a California Juris Doctorate (not a licensed or practicing attorney), has collaborated with Great American Insurance Group to develop a new program called Marital Settlement Agreement Insurance, or “MSAI.” Zizian, after going through a divorce himself, understood the emotional toll that a divorce can take. An emotional toll which, he states, makes one more susceptible to be laid off from employment. Continue reading

Yes, 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

It is no secret that getting a divorce can be pricey. While there is almost no way to estimate exactly how much any particular divorce will cost to finalize, there are some fees that will be present in any divorce case. In this blog we will break down some of the fees charged by the Superior Court in a divorce or family law matter. Continue reading

Tracey Hejailan-Amon’s husband Maurice Amon filed for divorce in Monaco in October of 2015. Tracey then filed for divorce in New York. About a year and a half later, the parties are still arguing over which court has jurisdiction over their divorce. Why? Because Monaco’s divorce law allows spouses to take back gifts that were given while married. It appears that New York law, on the other hand, provides that gifts stay with the receiving spouse even after divorce. And the Amon’s divorce is not your typical one. The “gifts” that the parties are fighting over amount to about $70 million dollars!! 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

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