Preventative Law – Legal Custody

As I was preparing a child custody case for litigation this week, I thought it would be useful to write about legal custody in a preventative law type of context. Legal custody is essentially the right and responsibility of making decisions regarding a child’s health, education and welfare. Sometimes, failure to agree on legal custody

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An Amicable Divorce – Is it Possible?

The short answer is yes! Absolutely! Expectations need to be managed as even in the best of situations there still can be hostility and, consequently, hiccups. But, these hiccups can be worked through. There are numbers of ways that an amicable divorce can take place. For example, mediation, collaborative law and where one party is

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Spousal Support – The Devil is in The Details

This month’s blog highlights two old, but good cases. The first, In re Marriage of Romero (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 1436, deals with a question I get asked every so often “Will my new spouse’s income be factored into my spousal support payment to my previous spouse?” The second, In re Marriage of Kerr (1999) 77

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Deeds – Another Case on Deeds, Another Case on Sharing (Appreciation Included)

In re Marriage of G.C. and R.W. (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 1, certified for partial publication, really challenges your cerebral cortex and highlights the complexity of modern-day divorce cases. Its also begs for a timeline, and a map: 2002 – husband and husband purchase a residence together in New Jersey. 2004 – they enter into a

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“From Conflict to Agreement” – A Parenting Video

Not surprisingly, my favorite court has released an outstanding video giving parents in family law matters tools they can use to reduce their conflict and optimize child-focused resolution to their child custody disputes. Here are some reasons why I like this video and some issues addressed that I think are important. Two fictional parents caught

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Schnabel Says “You have to disclose.”

In a divorce, a spouse cannot hide behind a corporation and fail to produce relevant records. It does not work. We see why in Schnabel v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 704. In Schnabel, husband was employed by a close corporation and was record shareholder of 30 percent of its stock. The stock was community

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A Case for Three Parents

A few years ago, I was appearing before a local family law judge. After this judge called his calendar, he then shared with the attorneys, their clients and everyone else in the court room some recent updates in the law. He also shared that he spent the weekend on his hands and knees in his

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In Deed – Convey Title Carefully

People do interesting things with real property and deeds before and during marriage. They add people onto title, take people off title or change the form of title for real and imaginary reasons with or without the assistance of attorneys. Sometimes, this creates problems and, worse case scenario, the loss of property to one spouse

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California Revocable Living Trusts and Divorce

Family law includes nearly every area of law; however, the purpose of this blog post is to explore some estate planning considerations in the context of a divorce. This post is limited to estate plans drafted in California and divorces taking place in California, as each state may have different laws. If you have an

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Child Custody – Information Needed

If you have met with a family law attorney, have minor children and will likely need Court orders to determine custody and a parenting schedule, then please be prepared to provide the following information. This information will be used to help the Court understand why the custody and parenting schedule you are requesting is in

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Spousal Support – Information Needed

If you have met with a family law attorney and determined that you will likely receive a spousal support award in your case, then please be prepared to provide the following information. This information will be used to help determine the right amount of spousal support for you. Although you should always run this past

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Preparing for Your Divorce

The best way to approach your divorce is to prepare for it. Be smart. I schedule pre-divorce appointments with some of my clients, which seem to be immensely helpful for them. These pre-divorce appointments give clients a chance to gather as much documentation as they can before filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Further,

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Three Step Divorce Process

A divorce is really a three step process: (1) initiate, (2) value and (3) settle/set matters for trial. In theory, it should not take longer than a few weeks to resolve all issues in a divorce case. Why divorces take longer may be because of mental illness, addictions, emotions, dishonesty and/or unethical attorneys. I have

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Maintaining Civility and Sanity in Divorce

I want to preface this post with the fact that attorneys are not mental health counselors. We do not have classes in law school, or questions on the Bar exam, pertaining to mental health counseling. However, there are some trends in family law cases that I have noticed and would like to discuss below. A

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Out of the Gate – Child Custody Cases

I must say that child custody and visitation cases are my favorite because I get the opportunity to make a significant difference by carefully working with my clients to determine what is best for their children. Divorce is hard on parents and even harder on children, which is why I make the following recommendations for

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You Can Run But You Can’t Hide – Fiduciary Duty Yields Lottery Proceeds

I remember my first day of Community Property class in law school like it was yesterday. My instructor rattled off a few impressive cases that were “guaranteed” to make the class more than just an entire semester dedicated to which spouse gets the house and which spouse gets the business. Enter In re Marriage of Rossi (2001)

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The Direct Examination Dance

With all of the television shows these days dedicated to litigation, I am sure that most adults are aware that parties to a lawsuit cannot merely take the witness stand in court and spill their story. Rather, when a party, or a witness, takes the witness stand, the person must engage in a very deliberate

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The No Child Support, No Visitation Trap

Some parents get confused and treat child visitation as being conditional on receipt of child support; sort of like child support is a way of “purchasing time” with their children. When the payor parent (one who pays) fails to pay, then the payee parent (one who receives payment) may not allow visitation between the children and

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Domestic Violence – Is It or Isn’t It?

California Family Code sections 6203, 6211 and 6320 define abuse, essentially, as your spouse, former spouse, partner or the parent of your child causing, or attempting to cause, you or your children reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury. In layman’s terms, abuse may consist of, for example, beating, cutting, kicking, threatening, stalking or raping you

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Holiday Schedules

Once physical and legal custody are agreed upon, the holiday schedule should be easier to determine. Planning the holiday schedule should not be given too much attention until the child is 3-5 years of age and is aware of traditions and celebrations. Think about the holidays that are important to you, the holidays that are

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