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Family Law Blog

Domestic Partnerships in California

People living in California are well aware of the ongoing controversy surrounding Proposition 8, the ballot measure seeking to ban gay marriage, which was passed in 2008 and subsequently upheld by the California Supreme Court.  However, in August 2010, a federal judge ruled that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection.  The controversy is likely to go on for some time, as the case is expected to reach the United States Supreme Court.
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Child Support Obligations in California

It was recently reported that former San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie was $25,000 behind on child support obligations.  One of the mothers of Cromartie’s children filed a document with the court that prevented him from selling any property without first being current on his child support.  Cromartie has since caught up on his obligations after being traded to the New York Jets and receiving a $500,000 advance on his contract.

It is now more expensive than ever to raise a child.  The cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 18 is estimated to range from $180,000-$250,000.  As a child gets older, the expenses rise.  Older children are often involved in extra-curricular activities like music, dance, or sports.  If parents wish to pay for a child’s college education, this can easily add another $50,000 in expenses. Continue Reading

Divorce and Facebook: Could You Be Hurting Your Own Case?

Do you know who’s looking at your Facebook page?  Most people know that potential employers often check out your Facebook or MySpace profile before hiring you.  But, this is also an important consideration if you’re going through a divorce.  Your social media accounts (such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn) could contain a mountain of evidence that your soon-to-be ex spouse might use against you in court.

The use of online evidence in divorce cases has become so common that Time magazine recently featured an article about Facebook and divorce.  It has been reported by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers that over the last five years, 81% of its divorce attorneys have dealt with evidence obtained from social networking websites.  When someone is going through a divorce, these websites can serve as an outlet to express their feelings of anger, hurt, or disappointment.  But sometimes, a person’s online posts may come back to haunt them. Continue Reading

A Voluntary Declaration of Paternity in California

Mutually choosing to have and co-parent a child as an unmarried couple is a choice many people are happily making.  However, even is cases where a couple agrees to co-parent, paternity may play an important role in ensuring that the actual goal of co-parenting is achieved with ease, respect, and success. Failure to establish paternity could result in a father being denied a right to custody or visitation; or, in the alternative, deny a mother the right to receive child support.
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Division of Debts in a California Divorce

The division of assets and debts in a California divorce depends on their character.  Giving assets and debts a “character” sounds quite odd.  But how assets and debts are labeled ultimately determines who gets to keep what, and who is responsible for what.

Under California Family Code section 910 the community (meaning both spouses) is liable for all debts incurred during the marriage and prior to separation. It does not matter whether the debt was incurred by one spouse for his or her own benefit or for the family. It also doesn’t matter whose name appears on the bill or the credit card statements. If the debt was incurred during the marriage and before separation, it is a community debt and both spouses are equally liable. Debt incurred after separation may be either community or separate debt, depending on the circumstances. Continue Reading

Modifying Alimony/Spousal Support in California

The idea that a husband should financially support his ex-wife in the form of monthly alimony payments after a divorce has remained a tenet in divorce law throughout the United States and in California. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009, men accounted for 97% of alimony.  Alternatively, the idea that a dissolution order wherein both parties waive any right to past, present, or future alimony is FINAL has been perceived as an absolute in divorce law. Yet, both of these concepts are being challenged as the recession has given rise to greater numbers of unemployment and has depleted retirement and saving accounts.  According to statistics gathered by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there has been a “spike” in clients seeking modification of their alimony obligations and attempts to rewrite divorce agreements.
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Career Building During Marriage: Getting Education Costs Back In a California Divorce

Let’s say that a husband works full-time to support his wife while she goes to medical school.  The couple’s joint money is used to pay for the wife’s medical school, but not long after the wife becomes a doctor, the two decide to divorce.  Since the money used to pay for the wife’s education was community property (usually property is “community” if it was earned while married), should the wife pay this money back to the community estate upon divorce?

Many married couples in California have spent a lot of money on one spouse’s education.  Despite the steep price of an education, many couples feel it’s worth the cost because of the potential financial benefits they’ll both share down the road.  But what if there’s a divorce? Continue Reading

Who Gets the Family Home in Your California Divorce?

In most California divorces, the family home is one of the biggest assets at stake in the divorce.  No matter what you do, remember that how your property is divided can affect you long after the divorce is final.

What Happens if One Spouse Keeps the House?

Option 1: The Buyout

If one of you does keep the home, then you’ll have to buy the other spouse out.  To buy out your spouse’s share, you might even things out by making trade-offs.  Often, the spouse keeping the house will give up a share in other community property with equal value.  As with your other assets, getting an accurate appraisal of the property’s value is critical. Continue Reading

Co-Parenting After Your California Divorce: What Happens When You and Your Ex Have Different Religions?

Courts throughout California and the country have dealt with questions about child custody and religion for decades.  What will happen if divorced parents (or unmarried parents who are no longer together) have different religions and disagree about which faith to raise their children in?  The truth is, unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court decides this question, there’s no black and white answer that applies nationwide.  Continue Reading

The 7 Deadly Sins You May be Guilty of After Your California Divorce

The road toward getting your California divorce judgment probably felt long and rough at times.  You worked hard to protect your family and financial interests during the divorce, and now you need to do the same after the divorce.  While not quite “deadly sins,” it’s still essential that you avoid these post-divorce mistakes before any damage is done.  You may want to ask yourself, are you guilty of any of the following? Continue Reading