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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in family law

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_protective-custody.jpgEnding protective service for a person or child requires knowing the situation fully and if it is in the best interests of the individual. Doing this against the recommendation of a doctor is not advisable, but it may be possible with the right circumstances.

 

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Posted by on in Divorce

b2ap3 thumbnail mental-illiness-divorce

Mental health issues are widespread nowadays and have been discovered to be a leading cause of divorce.
Not surprisingly, individuals suffering from depression, PTSD, or addiction issues have the greatest probability of separating from their spouse. Unfortunately, obtaining a divorce and dealing with a mental illness can be difficult as symptoms often become worse under stressful conditions. Individuals suffering from mental illnesses may become more defensive or anxious, cause frequent outbursts, or be generally uncooperative. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to alleviate the stress that can come from a toxic divorce.

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Tagged in: divorce family law
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b2ap3_thumbnail_bigstock-latin-business-man-worried-pay-70398460-resized-600.png When spouses are not living together, it can be difficult to determine which spouse is legally responsible to pay debts. The timing of when the debt was incurred, the nature of the debt and state law are important considerations in this assessment.

Necessaries Doctrine

At common law, the spouse – typically the husband – was legally liable for the support of the other spouse. This right could be enforced on the spouse, either by the other spouse or by third-party creditors. Today, some states have established statutes that require a spouse to be responsible for necessary or family expenses, even in the absence of an express agreement to pay such a debt.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_private-investigator-career.jpg Divorce is often a contentious experience in which formerly intimate spouses are now adversaries. With this dynamic, spouses may start to hide information or take part in activities that may threaten the well-being of the family. Private investigators are sometimes retained to assist in divorce cases for a number of reasons.

Evidence of Adultery or Misconduct

A private investigator can investigate if a spouse is committing adultery or other types of marital misconduct. Every state has no-fault divorce laws that do not require the evidence of wrongdoing in order to grant a divorce. However, marital misconduct is sometimes relevant for proceedings involving spousal support in states in which support is barred if one party’s conduct led to the demise of the marriage. Additionally, marital misconduct may also help provide more favorable terms for a spouse under a prenuptial agreement.

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Posted by on in Spousal Support

 

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Posted by on in Prenuptial Agreements
 

b2ap3_thumbnail_The-Catch-15-Reasons-why-a-Pre-Nup-Discussion-Can-Ruin-Everything-photo11.jpg Although couples do not enter a marriage with divorce in mind, a prenuptial agreement (prenups) can protect both parties and avoid a long, costly divorce process.

Traditionally, wealth was the driving factor behind premarital agreements; today they are commonly thought of as a financial plan that sets forth expectations in a marriage.

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Posted by on in Child Support

b2ap3_thumbnail_download-1.jpg Every state recognizes that each parent is responsible for providing support for their children, whether the child lives with each parent or not. However, there are many circumstances when the family court should no longer have jurisdiction of the case or when child support should otherwise end.

By Court Order

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b2ap3_thumbnail_lgbtDivorce.jpgMany in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community celebrating a victory, not only for them, but for the Court’s interpretation of the constitutional rights of all Americans.
In the majority decision of the Court, all states must perform and recognize same-sex marriages, even if the marriage was performed outside of the home state of residence. Citing the protections offered by the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause, the Court has given same-sex marriages the equal constitutional protection that heterosexual marriages are granted.

Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the Court’s opinion stating that the fundamental ideals of marriage are the same for both same-sex marriages and those between a man and a woman. Marriages based on love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family apply to both types of marriages and should be available to two consenting adults who respect that union. He added that same-sex couples want the same type of committed and respected marriage that heterosexuals enjoy where two people come together and become greater than before. To deny them of that right is unconstitutional in the eyes of the law.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_20121116202428-9.jpg Family courts around the country recognize that spouses own some property that is separate from what they accumulated as a marital couple. Those assets that comprise the marital estate are subject to division at the time of divorce while separate property is generally excluded from a divorce award.

Premarital Property

The property that a person brought into the marriage is usually off-limits to the other spouse. However, this can change if the old property has comingled with marital property. For example, a bank account can become comingled property if the other spouse was added to the account or funds were used from the account that make transactions indistinguishable between separate transactions and marital transactions.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_download_20160428-003849_1.jpgThe Supreme Court has acknowledged the validity of same sex marriage throughout the country. Of course, after parties get married, some of those parties decide to divorce. However, not all divorces are treated equally, because some of the doctrines surrounding divorce have traditionally been applied only to long standing heterosexual marriages.

For example, one of the grounds often asserted to obtain a divorce is that of adultery. However, adultery has traditionally been given a limited and narrow definition, involving vaginal intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse. Because of this limited definition of adultery, typically interpreted to apply to sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, by definition it is technically not applicable to infidelity in a same – sex relationship. As a result, this limited definition may deprive same sex couples of this ground for absolute divorce. It would be appropriate for the legislature to consider expanding the definition to be applicable to physical relationships between persons of the same sex.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_parar-de-beber_.jpgImagine a woman is so infuriated with her husband for his philandering, gambling and drinking that she disinherits him. Upon her demise, the husband commences an application for support under Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act (the “SLRA”).[1] The husband qualifies as a dependant because he is a spouse and his wife had a legal obligation to support him. What impact, if any, would his past behaviour have on his entitlement to dependant’s support?

By way of background, claims for dependant’s support are governed by Part V of the SLRA. Within Part V, section 57 contains the definition of a “dependant,” which includes the spouse of the deceased. The definition also provides that the deceased must have either been providing support or been under a legal obligation to provide support to the dependant immediately before his or her death.[2] Section 62 of the SLRA contains an extensive, but not exhaustive, list of factors the court will consider in determining the amount and duration of support to be awarded to a dependant. Section 62(1)(r) contains factors considered specifically for a dependant spouse, and subsection (i) therein contains the phrase “a course of conduct by the spouse during the deceased’s lifetime that is so unconscionable as to constitute an obvious and gross repudiation of the relationship.”[3] This leads to the first question that a disinherited spouse might have: what will be considered unconscionable conduct sufficient to preclude or lessen the amount or duration of support awarded?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_o-DIVORCED-WOMEN-facebook.jpgDrafting settlement and separation agreements is an important part of any family law practice because only fifteen-percent of divorce cases eventually go to trial.

Written settlement proposals can be exchanged at any time. They, like interrogatories, may help determine if an agreement can be reached now or in the future. Obviously, you need your client’s direct input and authority when drafting a settlement proposal and it is absolutely vital that they review and approve the proposal. Many times, the first settlement proposal will be quite broad, while subse quent iterations can pin down the details of the agreement.

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Tagged in: court divorce family law
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Posted by on in Legal Separation

b2ap3_thumbnail_img.couple-yelling-silhouette-alberta-law.jpg In some circumstances, one spouse may consider suing his or her spouse for particularly egregious conduct. However, whether the spouse can bring a viable claim against his or her spouse depends on the nature of the behavior, the nature of the relationship, state law and the particular circumstances involved.

Common Law Considerations

At common law, suing one’s spouse was generally outlawed. The legal reasoning behind this is because a married couple was sometimes viewed as a single entity. Therefore, by suing one’s spouse, an individual was really suing himself or herself. This concept was largely known as the “spousal immunity” rule.

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Tagged in: divorce family law
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Posted by on in Child Support

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 Federal law requires all child support payments be made by wage assignment and health insurance by Health Insurance Orders. Child support collection statistics reflect that only 20% of noncustodial parents pay their court ordered child support monthly, As a result, numerous additional enforcement laws have been implemented in order to force compliance.

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Posted by on in Divorce

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.

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Posted by on in Child Support

Establishing paternity, or determining a parent child relationship, is legally necessary in order to collect child support. If a child’s parents were not married to each other when the child was born, the law does not recognize the father unless paternity is legally established by a court order. Establishing paternity will give your child the same rights and benefits as children born to married parents. Unmarried parents can establish paternity by signing the voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This can be done in the hospital after the child is born. A Declaration of Paternity may also be signed by parents either before or after they leave the hospital (Wikipedia). The federal government provides a payment to the hospital for each Declaration of Paternity signed. The signed Declaration of Paternity has the effect of a legally binding Judgment of Paternity.

An acknowledged father is a biological father of a child born to unmarried parents, for whom paternity has been established by either the admission of the father or the agreement of the parents. An acknowledged father must pay child support. An unmarried man who impregnates a woman is often referred to as an alleged father until there has been a finding of paternity. An alleged or unwed father will be required to pay child support if a court determines or he acknowledges that he is the father; in addition, an alleged or unwed father has the right to visitation with his child and may seek custody (Babycenter.com).

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Posted by on in Divorce

In late June, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, and that the benefits available to legally married heterosexual couples should be available to legally married gay couples. The 1996 federal law had defined the institution of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus denying federal benefits for gay couples whose marriages were recognized at the state level—like joint tax returns, Social Security, health insurance, pension protection, benefits for military couples, and immigration protections for couples from different countries.

The court invalidated DOMA in a 5-4 ruling. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who delivered the decisive vote along with the court’s four liberal justices, wrote the majority opinion stating that DOMA “violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.”

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Often, after a separation or divorce, a parent decides to move because he or she can no longer to afford to live in the same city, for a new job opportunity, or so that he or she can be closer to extended family for financial or emotional support. Whatever the reason, when a parent wants to move, difficult decisions have to be made regarding where the children will live and how the other parent will maintain a relationship with them.

Sometimes, divorced or separated parents can agree on where their children should reside and what the visitation arrangements will be. Many times, however, these situations are emotionally and logistically difficult, and parents cannot agree. It will then be up to a court to decide.

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Posted by on in Divorce

In recent years social media has become a way of life to the point that nothing is official until it is “Facebook official.” Updating Facebook statuses and tweeting has become part of the daily routine for many people. While these practices can make it easier than ever to remain in constant contact with friends and loved ones they can also have adverse effects. For example celebrity tweets have led to celebrity stalkers. By letting people know where you are and what you are doing all day, you are enabling people to break down your privacy. Not only have celebrities gotten in trouble for their social media, but normal people have been too. Many people have been fired from their jobs for calling in sick and then updating their Facebook and twitter saying they are playing hooky. Many aspects of people’s lives can be affected by social media; including their divorce and subsequent proceedings.

               Social media may not only be dangerous during a divorce, it can also affect your marriage. Oxford University psychologists found that using many different channels to communicate - Facebook, tweets, texts and instant messages - resulted in a drop in average relationship satisfaction. The findings suggest that the overuse of social media can be bad for a relationship in general. According the American Bar Association, “approximately 59% of all Internet users use at least one social networking service. Here in the U.S., Americans spend over 20% of their online time on social networks and blogs.” (ABA)

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Posted by on in Prenuptial Agreements
 

 

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.

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