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Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_child-custody_california.jpgThe Child Custody and Visitation Process in California. Divorcing parents in California control their own future when deciding child custody arrangements. That is if they are amicable and can come to an agreement.

The most important issue to divorcing parents is their children. Among the questions divorcing parents must answer regarding their children are who the children will stay with, who will make decisions concerning life and the everyday, and how will those decisions be reached. Fortunately for parents in California the answers to those questions can be in their own hands.

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facebook messageMost attorneys—and many clients—have heard the old saying “A good lawyer knows the law; a great lawyer knows the judge.” But in this digital age, in which over 72% of all adult Americans have at least one social networking profile and sites like Facebook boast more than 1.12 billion users worldwide, what are the consequences when a lawyer or even a party happens to be Facebook “friends” with a judge?

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 Even when her husband packed his bags and stomped out of the house, vowing to marry the woman he was having an affair with, she stood her ground.

For five years, she clung to the vows they had made nearly 20 years and two daughters before in the Madison Avenue Baptist Church in downtown Manhattan as her grandfather officiated.

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                Divorce can be a trying, frustrating and expensive process for anyone. Just how expensive a divorce is may depend on the assets being divided. Here are the 20 largest divorce settlements:

20. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving: $100 million

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The month of October marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday season. Halloween is the first of these holidays and is one that might easily be overlooked in a custody or visitation schedule because of its relative importance in contrast to Thanksgiving or Christmas. Many parents and children, however, view Halloween as an important holiday. If you are a newly divorced parent, the next 120 days are going to test your patience and communication skills with your ex-spouse. Halloween is an opportunity for a parent who is recently divorced or going through the divorce process to work to improve his or her relationship with both the other parent and their children.

Communication Is Key

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In California, there is a legal action known as a summary dissolution. This is the dissolution of a marriage that has only been legal for five years or less. A joint petition for summary dissolution can be filed when either spouse meets the standard residency requirements and irreconcilable differences the marriage render the marriage irretrievably broken. A summary dissolution can also be filed when the marriage does not involve any children and the wife is not pregnant (Wikipedia).

Who Can File for Summary Dissolution?

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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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Divorce can cause a range of emotions from anger to sadness to relief. Divorces can be both mentally draining and time consuming. As such, sometimes finances can be an afterthought. As things get hectic, it is a mistake to forget about your credit situation. Before we start going through the tips, here’s a bonus tip: pull your credit report. You will be using it a lot to prepare for your divorce

Below are some ways to protect your credit during a divorce as well as a brief analysis of California Family Code Section 2040 and the automatic restraining orders that take place to help protect your finances:

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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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Relationships In America

relationships

Embed this infographic on your site!

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One of the most frequently cited family law statistics is that 50% of marriages end in divorce. No one gets married with the expectation of getting divorced. However, changes, including in the nature of the relationship between spouses, are inevitable and one or both spouses may ultimately come to the conclusion that a divorce is in the best interests of all involved. Below are some common signs of a failing marriage:

1. Decision making has become a dictatorship. There used to be a time when you and your partner would discuss the upcoming weekend plans, what to eat for dinner, the handling of work-related issues, etc. Now, you are making decisions without consideration from the other.

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Financial problems are often a source of stress in marriages. Sometimes this stress can lead to divorce proceedings. A bankruptcy filing can be the most severe form of financial stress. It is not unusual for a bankruptcy filing and a divorce proceeding to occur at nearly the same time. There are ways for the parties to a simultaneous or near-simultaneous bankruptcy and divorce proceeding to ease this process.

Which should happen first, divorce or bankruptcy?

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A required step in the divorce process is preparing and exchanging preliminary financial disclosures. A judge will not grant a divorce without the completion of this step. Not filling out the forms or filling financial disclosures out incorrectly can cause problems for both parties.

California is a community property state, which means that with few exceptions everything acquired during marriage is community property. Community property includes asset, liabilities and pensions. Whenever a person wants to get divorced in California, the court requires that all issues that were created during the marital period also be resolved at time of divorce. This includes dividing the assets and the debts, resolving custody and support issues. California Family Code section 2104 requires the preparation of financial disclosures known as Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure detailing all assets comprising the marital estate, both separate property assets and community property assets.

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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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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).

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Internal Revenue Section Code 1041

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.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images-1.jpg

How you break the news to your children can make a big difference in how they cope with the separation or divorce, as can the conduct between spouses during the process.

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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.

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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.



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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.

1. Now That's a Breakup Record

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