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Part 1 of this two-part blog examined in detail a Canadian judge’s decision that explained why dogs cannot be treated as anything other than property in a divorce. This, being essentially the same state of the law in California, was proffered here in hopes that our readers could better understand why their beloved companions are treated this way in a divorce.

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However, if Part 1 had you feeling down about the status of pets in the law, the legislation examined here in part 2 should give you some hope! After I had already begun preparing blog Part 1 in this series, an amendment to Alaskan divorce legislation came into effect which signals a major step forward for pets owned by divorcing couples. Alaska has now become the first state to allow its courts to take a pet’s well-being into account when rendering a judgment for divorce!

More specifically, the Alaskan legislation that came into effect on January 17, 2017, states the following: 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 contributiodoctor-job-shows-general-practitioner-and-md-300x298ns 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

dna-markers-1475227-300x225Most family law litigants will never hear the term “presumed fathers” (also called presumed parents) during their divorce action, especially if you followed the traditional path of getting married prior to having children. In most cases, your family law attorney will determine whether presumed parentage is an issue without ever discussing it with you.  An example would be helpful.  Assuming you are seeking a divorce and you have children, during your initial interview with a family law attorney, you will be asked, “What was your date of marriage?”  You will also be asked, “What day are your children’s dates of birth?”  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.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

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.dogs-300x300

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

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

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We have discussed the issue of domestic violence and domestic violence restraining orders in many different contexts on our blog before. In this post, we will discuss an issue that just about every party with a restraining order faces: how to renew his or her restraining order. Continue reading

The “Right of First Refusal” is a concept originating from contract law that grants the holder of the right the option to enter into a business transaction with the owner of something before the owner may enter into a transaction with a third party.  Put more simply; before you can sell your widget to a third party, you must ask whether I want to buy the widget.  So why are we blogging about a contractual right on a family law blog? yes-no-buttons-shows-validation-or-check-300x225 Continue reading

confidential-lock-means-restricted-words-and-forbidden-257x300If you have been following the Brangelina news as closely as we have, you may have heard in early December 2016 that Brad filed an emergency motion with the Los Angeles court requesting that the Court’s records relating to the parties custody dispute be “sealed.” Brad’s request was denied.

This may have left you with many questions: What does it mean to have records under seal? Why would this be necessary? What are the requirements to place records under seal? And why was Brad’s request denied? Read on for answers! 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