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Family Law Blog

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

Family and Financial Protection During Your San Diego Divorce, Part Two: What Other Court Orders Will You Need?

Divorces in San Diego and throughout California can’t become final until at least six months after a spouse is served with divorce papers.  Usually, a divorce will take longer than this minimum waiting period.  Many steps need to be taken during the transition to protect your family, business, and finances.

For divorcing spouses who have kids, a blog provides advice on how to best meet your children’s emotional needs during a divorce.  It cautions that you shouldn’t be the only one providing your kids with emotional support.  When family and friends aren’t enough, then look for counseling options.  You’re also encouraged to get emotional support for yourself, such as through a local support group, family, and friends. Continue Reading

Family and Financial Protection During Your San Diego Divorce, Part One: Mandatory Restrictions

Here in San Diego, there’s no shortage of ways for a divorcing spouse to spend away all of the couple’s assets during a divorce, if he or she really wanted to.  Thankfully for the other spouse or domestic partner, one important way that California deals with this concern is with “automatic temporary restraining orders.”

An automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO) sets out many ground rules that both spouses have to comply with during the divorce process, known as “dissolution of marriage” in California.  For the spouse who begins the divorce, the ATROs are effective when the divorce papers are filed in court.  For the spouse responding to the divorce, the order goes into effect once the divorce papers are served. Continue Reading

When Can a Judge Impute Income to an Unemployed Parent? Understanding How California Family Courts Calculate Child Support

Hard financial times are still troubling many parents in California who have been laid off from their jobs.  The Associated Press reports in the Los Angeles Times that nationally, new jobless claims have recently risen higher than expected, although California has fortunately seen some decreases.  For many of these parents who owe child support, the question is, when unemployment benefits end, will that parent be excused from paying the support until a new job is found?  On the other hand, if the paying parent is lucky enough to be in a better financial position than when the child support was first ordered, will that parent automatically pay more now to support his or her child?  The short answer in either case is no, and will continue to be no, unless and until one of the parent’s gets the child support order modified in family courtContinue Reading

Who’s to Blame in a Divorce, and Does it Matter Under California Divorce Law?

Adultery, insanity, collusion, cruelty, abandonment: In California, most of these circumstances relate more to the plot of a soap opera than to a divorce.  While any one of these could have actually motivated the divorce, a California judgment of dissolution (divorce) will be based only on either irreconcilable differences or (less likely) incurable insanity.  That’s because since 1970, California was the first state to implement the no-fault divorce.  Since then, many other states have followed suit, while others allow both fault and no fault divorces.  With a no fault divorce, the court can terminate the marriage without proving fault.  Compare this to a fault based divorce, where the termination will be granted only if you give and prove grounds for divorce within those reasons allowed by state law, or defend against these claims if you’re responding to a spouse’s petition for the divorce.  In a fault based divorce, the conduct of the spouse who’s found to be “at fault” may even be considered when deciding issues such as property division.  As of now, New York is the last state in the nation that doesn’t have a no fault ground for divorce.    Continue Reading

The Annulment: When Will California Law Say a Marriage Never Existed?

When a judge grants an annulment in California, the parties are deemed to have never been married in the eyes of the law (although the wedding guests who witnessed the union may tend to disagree).  Compare this to a dissolution (divorce), where a valid marriage is terminated for reasons created post-marriage.  Under California law, the grounds for nullifying a marriage or domestic partnership are broader than commonly believed.  Even so, most marriages can’t be undone with an annulment, and despite the myths, an annulment is not an easy way out.  An annulment is a potential alternative to divorce only when there’s reason to question the validity of the marriage.  Immediate regret and disappointment are not legal bases for annulling a marriage.  Depending on the basis for the annulment, a judge may either declare the marriage to have been unlawful from the outset (a “void” marriage), or to have been valid until formally annulled by the court (a “voidable” marriage).  Continue Reading

It’s Not Too Late: The Postnuptial (or Marital) Agreement in California

The postnup hasn’t been in the spotlight nearly as much as its well known counterpart-the prenuptial agreement-but both agreements carry many of the same goals for California couples.  A postnup is a financial agreement created after getting married, as opposed to a prenuptial or premarital agreement that can only be entered into prior to exchanging vows.  A postnup, also called a marital agreement, is used to plan how the property you and your spouse own together or separately will be divided and distributed if there’s a separation, divorce, or death.  For some, a marital agreement can be created to address financial issues that are troubling a marriage.  On this point, a CNN article by Robert DiGiacomo, “Quit Fighting – Get a Postnuptial Agreement,” relates the story of a couple that had been married for 30 years but often fought over money.  They decided to get a postnuptial agreement, and although it didn’t solve all their problems, the two were able to ease tensions and “breathe easier” once they got a marital agreement.  While there’s no assurance that a marital agreement will help break an impasse for other marriages, for some, a postnup allows the couple to work on other issues once financial questions are resolved.  Continue Reading

Whether In or Out of Wedlock, California Paternity Law Can Automatically Presume Fatherhood

California’s paternity laws provide a process for determining who a child’s legal father is.  By establishing fatherhood, many other important questions can be answered.  For example, will a child have a right to his or her father’s medical records to help identify inherited health problems and risks, will the child be able to benefit from his or her father’s health or life insurance coverage, have rights to social security or veterans benefits, and have the right to be financially supported and receive an inheritance from both parents?  Continue Reading

Online Divorce: How Would You Decide Who Gets What in Your San Diego Divorce?

Divorce at the click of a mouse – it may be coming soon to Brazil, according to an AP article published in the San Diego Union Tribune.  Brazil’s Senate recently approved legislation allowing online divorces under certain circumstances, and the bill awaits a vote from the House of Representatives.  If the bill becomes law, not everyone would be eligible for quick internet divorces, since it’s meant for those with less complicated and consensual divorces.  The idea has not come to California yet, but if it did, how well would it work?

As part of Brazil’s online divorce, you’d be able to divide assets.  While this seems like it should be simple enough, many of the most difficult issues in a divorce come up when figuring out who gets what.  For example, under California law, do you know what happens if one spouse started a business before getting married (making it separate property), and continued working in the business during the marriage?  Continue Reading