Articles Posted in Spousal Support

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.arguing-characters-shows-relationship-disagreement-discussion-or-300x225

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

Personal health is a very important aspect of our lives, but for some reason we do not seem to give it as much thought as we should until that health is compromised.  It is cold and flu season right now and many of you reading this have either had a cold this year, or are going to catch one in the near future.  To those readers who will avoid getting sick this year, please tell us your secrets because we want to know. health-symbol-shows-fitness-strength-and-wellbeing-300x287

Getting the cold or the flu is not the “health” I am referring to in this blog.  When I discuss health, I am referring to long-term or chronic health issues such as Lyme’s disease.  This also includes mental health issues such as clinical depression, as well as physical disabilities like carpel tunnel syndrome or paraplegia.  These chronic health issues are all very different, but they do have one thing in common; they often impact a person’s ability to work. 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.taxes-300x200

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

checking stocksAs we’ve mentioned many times over on this blog, support (both child support and spousal support) can be very complicated in California. In some instances, the relevant statutes provide the Court with vast discretion that needs to be clarified in subsequent court cases. One of those Court cases is the Pearlstein case which deals with the determination of income resulting from capital gains.

In Pearlstein, Husband sold a substantial amount of shares in a business. In consideration for the sale of his shares, Husband received shares of another business and cash. What Husband ended up doing with the stock and cash he received from the sale is the key to the case: he did not sell the shares and he reinvested the cash.

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Child support in California can beregulations-rules-represents-protocol-guidance-and-regulated very complicated and the changed circumstances rule is one of the reasons why. The changed circumstances rule requires a court to deny a request to modify child support if the court determines that there was no material change in circumstances since the time the last child support order was made.

First, let’s go over some basics. California, like every other state, is required to have a Guideline formula to determine what the proper amount of support should be. The Court is required to follow the Guideline, absent a few very narrowly construed exceptions (See Family Code section 4059). If a child support order is determined to be “above Guideline,” i.e. more than what the formula would provide, that child support order cannot be subsequently changed unless there has been a material change of circumstances. However, if a child support order is determined to be “below guideline,” no change of circumstances is required to increase that order to a Guideline order. 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.family-law-shows-blood-relative-and-court

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

Time MarriageWe 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.

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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.file0002132358706

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

The rules of evidence can be challenging. Understanding it is a skill that must be honed and refined, which is what we try to do at the Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford. In this blog, we will discuss two of the most important evidentiary privileges and their importance in family law cases: the physician-patient privilege and the psychotherapist-patient privilege.medical-record

Statements made from an adult to their treating physicians/psychotherapists are absolutely protected from privilege, unless the issue is tendered or waived. Continue reading

unemploymentByron Scott, former coach of the L.A. Lakers, has filed for a modification of spousal support following his newfound unemployment after being fired from the Lakers in April. Byron was married to his college sweetheart, Anita Scott for 29 years. He filed for divorce in 2014, right before he signed his contract with the Lakers; a $17 million contract at that.

At that time, Byron’s income averaged $300,000 per month and he was ordered to pay $26,000 per month in spousal support to Anita. Now, his only income is $50,000 per month, as deferred compensation from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Because it is deferred compensation for work that he did while he was married, that income is community property, and ½ of it belongs to Anita under California law.

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