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Posted by on in Divorce

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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Summer is almost upon us, which means two things: school is out and summer vacations are in. And with summer, say goodbye to your daily routine and hello to possible chaos. This sentiment especially rings true if you have recently gone through a divorce and are adapting to new custody and visitation schedules.

Here are some helpful hints to ensure that you and your ex do not ruin these vacations for your children:

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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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9

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:

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Posted by on in Divorce

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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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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Hague Convention on International Child Abduction

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.

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Posted by on in Divorce

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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10

Posted by on in Grandparent’s Rights
 

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.

Visitation

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11

Posted by on in Spousal Support

Spousal Support Tax Issues

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.

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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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Posted by on in Divorce

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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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.

Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake

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14

Posted by on in Child Support

Child Support Guidelines

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.

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Posted by on in Divorce

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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Posted by on in Divorce

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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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.

Abuse in California – Rates of Domestic Violence

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Posted by on in Divorce

The new year is upon us and divorced parents may be considering their New Year's resolutions. Being a single parent or co-parent is hard, but identifying a few key areas that could be improved will help both the parent and child(ren).

Avoid common mistakes

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16

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.

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