Divorce is a situation that few people ever plan, budget or save for. It is also a significant disruption to everyday life. Housing, finances, family relations and friendships can be seriously affected by a divorce, however amicable. Deciding on the best way to handle the divorce goes along with the decision to pursue divorce at all.
Even people who would prefer not to divorce often come to believe they have no choice but to go through the process. Many people wish to avoid the expense and hassles of traditional divorce litigation but do not know how. Couples who think they agree on how to divide property and how to cooperate in the care of children may also think that they can save time and money with a low-cost "do-it-yourself" (DIY) divorce, with no lawyer involved.
Collecting unpaid child support is an on-going problem for many custodial parents. High unemployment and the national economic situation leads to more people than ever unable to meet their financial obligations including child support payments.
There are a growing number of individuals who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and cannot find work. Bankruptcy, while offering relief from a variety of consumer and medical debts, does not offer relief for a former spouse who is behind in support payments.
Previously we provided statistics with regards to the prevalence of domestic violence. Today our focus is on the process for obtaining a domestic violence restraining order pursuant to California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) as set forth in Family Code §6200, et seq.
A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from someone they have a close relationship with. Requirements for a domestic violence restraining include:
Same-sex marriage has become a much publicized issue in recent years. Pending the United States Supreme Court decision regarding the status of same-sex marriage in California same-sex couples in California may register as domestic partners with all of the same rights, at the state level, as spouses.
A California domestic partnership is “a legal relationship available to same-sex couples, and to certain opposite-sex couples in which at least one party is at least 18 years of age.” It affords the couple "the same rights, protections, and benefits, and... the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law..." as married spouses (legalinfo.ca.gov).
Given the prevalence of divorce, prenuptial agreements are an increasingly popular way for people to protect assets in the event of a divorce. Most people believe that only celebrities have reasons to have a prenuptial agreement. However, prenuptial agreements are made for anyone that has any assets that need protection in case of divorce. Some agreements also address estate planning issues, alimony, asset management during the marriage and responsibility for debt. Entering into the agreement at or near the time of engagement is highly recommended. In this blog, we will explain the basics of prenuptial agreements by looking at California Family Code Sections 1612 and 1615.
As globalization on both a personal and business level has increased the world has seemingly become smaller. Romantic relationships — and breakups — that cross national borders have become more common. Relationship breakdowns, often nasty for adults in the same locale, can be even more complicated when children and multiple government jurisdictions are involved. One of the worst outcomes of these breakups is the abduction of children. One parent decides to take the child back to the parent’s country of origin. To make things less complicated, the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction was created.
With April 15th fast approaching, we, like many of you, are turning our attention to taxes. For couples contemplating a divorce or in the process of a divorce one of the most important tax provisions to be aware of is Internal Revenue Code section 1041 which addresses the transfer of property between spouses or former spouses. This section provides that any transfer of property from one spouse to another is a nontaxable event. This means that no deductible loss or taxable gain is declared on a qualifying transfer. This section applies to transfers during marriage as well as during divorce. Section 1041 was part of reforms intended to simplify the Internal Revenue Code.
During divorce custody disputes can occasionally become multi-generational with grandparents seeking visitation with, or even custody rights over, their grandchildren. In general, the Court’s preference to award custody to one or both parents is set forth in California Family Code § 3040(a)(1). However, the Court may award custody of a child or children to a non-parent in the event that the Court deems it inappropriate to award custody to either parent. This non-parent can be a grandparent, other relative, or even just a family friend. Family Code §§ 3101, 3103 and 3104 set forth the requirements for grandparent visitation in California.
Divorce is a time of transition and change. Spouses move out of the marital residence, custodial schedules change, property is divided and spousal support orders are implemented by agreement or by Court order. Spousal support, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, has tax implications for both the payor and the recipient.
When a person files for divorce, either spouse can request spousal support. Spousal support is a “legal obligation on a person to provide financial support to their spouse after marital separation or divorce” (Wikipedia). There are many factors that go into the determination of spousal support. Some of these factors include: length of marriage, length of separation, age of the parties at time of the divorce, relative income of the parties, future financial prospects of the parties, health of the parties, fault in marital breakdown, debts and property, education, domestic violence history, and tax impact of spousal support (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov).
There are 2 basic types of support: Temporary and Permanent. Temporary spousal support is awarded prior to entry of the final judgment. The purpose of temporary support is to maintain the “status quo” of the parties until the judgment. The purpose of the permanent support is to provide financial assistance to one spouse once the community property estate has been divided. A general rule is that spousal support will last for half the length of a marriage, if the marriage was less than ten years in duration. In marriages of more than ten years in duration the Court has increased discretion with regards to the term of the spousal support obligation.
Many people turn to prenuptial agreements as a form of divorce insurance designed to protect them from the worst effects of a divorce. Celebrity Harrison Ford was not one of them, at least during his first marriage. As a result he was ordered to pay ex-wife and screenwriter Melissa Mathison $90 million during their divorce. More recent celebrities seem to have learned Harrison’s mistake and have reportedly worked some interesting provisions into their prenuptial agreements.
In any family law case involving minor children, the issue of child support is likely to be the subject of significant focus. Child support is based on the policy that both parents have an obligation, both legal and moral, to financially support their children regardless of the parents custodial rights. As a legal matter child support includes the financial support of children and not other forms of support, such as emotional support, physical care, or spiritual support.
Valentine’s Day is regarded by many as the most romantic day of the year. People often enjoy celebrating this day by proposing to their significant other. While most engagements will lead to a marriage, some engagements do not make it to the altar and result in significant battles over the engagement ring. This blog addresses who owns the engagement ring after a failed engagement in California and throughout the United States. Although etiquette rules that an engagement ring should be returned when a wedding is called off regardless of whom broke the engagement, the legal system has differing opinions on this issue.
Divorce can be a highly emotional process and people going through a divorce do not always act rationally. This may help to explain some of the interesting settlements between former spouses addressed below. Forget child custody, what happens when a couple has shared possession of a goat? Have a look at 10 examples of offbeat divorce settlements.
The U. S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nationally nearly one in every four women are beaten or raped by a partner during adulthood. The report further stated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experience an attempted or completed rape. These issues are a problem throughout the country including in California. The statistics that follow highlight the extent of the problem in California.
Managing the holidays when you are married with children definitely takes some finesse and strategy. Sometimes just the negotiating where to go can be rough: “Should we alternate years for Thanksgiving and so on?" Or "Do we visit one house, then the other if we live in the same town?” Forget simplicity if both families live out of town.
Once you add a divorce and shared child custody to the equation holiday planning gets even more complicated and difficult.
What if you have no children on which to focus during the holidays? How does a newly single person make sure they have a good or even great post-divorce holiday season? Below are a few suggestions to better enjoy the holidays now that you are on your own.
The holidays should be time of joy and family gatherings. While going through a divorce has profound effects on one’s outlook towards the holidays with the proper outlook and planning it is possible to enjoy the holidays even while going through a divorce. During the holiday season we will be providing some helpful tips to ease the stress of the holiday season.
As American society has evolved in recent years so have divorce rates. The most recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau released in 2011 and utilizing 2009 data indicates that divorce rates have continued to rise in recent years. Below we review some of the numbers and discuss factors involved in this evaluation.
Here are some statistics from the CDC and U.S. Census Bureau:
One of the most overlooked aspects of divorce is child custody issues. People going through divorce can become focused on their own issues, emotions and problems and lose sight of the child or children affected by the divorce. The news tends to focus on sensational custody battle. The seven celebrity custody battles discussed in this blog certainly qualify as sensational.