Family Law Blog

Keeping the Children Away From Divorce Drama

Thursday, February 09, 2017

When raising a child or children after a divorce, any resentments or unresolved issues between parents should be set aside. Both parents must focus on the children's best interests. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Here are some tips from a blogger and attorney about keeping children away from divorce drama.

After a divorce, don't talk badly about the other parent. Children know that everything isn't perfect between mom and dad if a divorce happens. However, they don't need the specifics. Experts and courts agree that children need a relationship with both parents after a divorce. When exposed to negativity about a parent, this just makes it harder for the child to have a meaningful connection with this parent. If you want to discuss your ex's flaws or the sordid details of a divorce, make sure the kids aren't around and definitely don't direct  mean comments about the other parent to the child.

After a divorce, each parent usually still wants their relatives to have contact with the kids. If a divorce involved tension or anger, some relatives may not have the best opinion of a loved one's ex. You might need to talk to your relatives beforehand so that they can avoid disparaging the other parent in front of the children.

Making the effort to shield your kids from disputes is what is most important. If someone slips up, keep trying. One or two comments aren't a big deal as long as both parents and others consistently attempt to remain positive in front of the children. When going through a divorce, contact us today for information about how we could help you.

What if My Spouse is Hiding Assets in Our Divorce?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Divorce is sometimes messy, and sometimes it involves one spouse hiding assets from the other.  Because California is a "community property" state, meaning that all property acquired during a marriage is marital property and jointly owned, spouses are occasionally tempted to keep some assets a secret so that they are not evenly split with their soon-to-be ex-partner.  

In fact, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, nearly one-third of people admit to financial deception with their partner. It is logical to assume that divorce does not improve these percentages. Automobiles and other tangible items are hard to hide, but bank accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts are more easily concealed.

California Family Code Section 2100 states that divorcing parties must provide "full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which one or both parties have or may have an interest."  Although not doing this might be tempting, it is a bad idea and carries severe penalties.  

If one party does not accurately disclose all assets and engages in "oppression, fraud, or malice" as outlined in Section 3294 of California's Civil Code, then the court must award 100% of the hidden assets to the spouse from whom they were concealed. In other words, if a husband hides his $50,000 savings account from his wife during the divorce and meets the "oppression, fraud or malice" criteria, then a judge will award the $50,000 to the wife.  The court might also award attorney fees.

If you are considering divorce, then please contact us.  Our skilled, dedicated attorneys will review your situation and determine the best path forward.  We are here to protect your rights.

Can Social Media Impact Your Divorce? The Answer Is Yes

Thursday, December 29, 2016

We are living in the days where almost everyone has signed up for a social media account. While using social media can certainly be fun and entertaining, you have to be careful about the type of things you post to those social media websites. 

The information you post can be seen by a significant amount of people. If you are going through a divorce, you need to be very cautious about the type of things you post on any of your social media pages. If you think you may post anything that may get you into any trouble, you may want to avoid logging into your account until your divorce has been finalized.

Anything On Social Media Can Be Used Against You

If you are in a heated divorce, your husband or wife may be looking for anything that can make you look bad so he or she will receive everything they are looking for.

Since many people share a significant amount of information online, people who are divorcing will turn to social media for information they can use against one another. Social media postings cannot only impact spousal support and child support orders, but it can also impact a custodial agreement. 

If you are fighting for custody of your child or children, you should definitely avoid posting any photographs or videos that will show you using illegal drugs, drinking alcohol, fighting, partying, etc. 

If you tell the judge you cannot make spousal or child support payments, but you are posting photos of your money, posting photos of expensive merchandise, or posting vacations pictures, your spouse can use those photographs or videos against you to prove that you can indeed make those payments. 

We understand that divorces can get heated and difficult, but social media can get you into more trouble than you think. If you are going through a divorce, do not hesitate to contact us for information on how social media can impact your divorce. 


California Property Division is Complicated

Thursday, December 22, 2016

When two people enter into marriage, they are not thinking about the day that they might divorce and have to divide their property.  Maybe they should, though, because in California the divorce rate is 60 percent, ten percent higher than the national average.  

Most people know that California is a community property state, meaning that when it comes to divorce and property division, all assets, income and debt acquired while living with a spouse (or domestic partner) are divided and distributed equally.  Assets or debts acquired during the marriage through a gift or inheritance do not count as community property.

Although the idea of community property is fairly straightforward, in practice it is more complicated, particularly if the parties involved have accumulated a lot of assets and debts during the marriage.  A complex married financial life often makes for a complex divorce.

For example, a couple's community property might include a house, a rental property, automobiles, furniture, clothing, a business, checking accounts, retirement plans, stocks and bonds, life insurance and more.  Dividing these equally is often a challenge.  To illustrate, how is the marital home split since the court cannot physically divide it?  In some cases, the couple sells the house and evenly distributes the proceeds. In others, one spouse keeps the house and buys out the other's share.

Sometimes items that seem as though they belong to one person actually belong to both.  For example, suppose the husband saved $100 every month from his job income to buy a boat.  Even though he paid for the boat, it actually belongs to the husband and his wife because the husband bought the boat with money earned during the marriage.  Any income generated during the marriage is community property.  By extension, so is anything purchased with that money.

If you are contemplating divorce and wondering about property division, then contact us. Our experienced, skilled attorney will review your case.  We are here to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.

 

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Divorce: Making Things Right During The Holidays

Friday, December 09, 2016

Anyone who has experienced a divorce or is currently experiencing a divorce knows that a divorce can turn things upside down. Everything can change during a divorce. When parents make the decision to split, it seems that everything will be impacted. This is especially true when it comes to the holiday season.

The holidays can be a very difficult time for a divided family who has to make arrangements so the children can spend time with both parents. The old holiday traditions are a thing of the past, and parents now have to create new traditions and start new memories.

If the parents are going to work together to give their children the best holiday experiences, there needs to be a detailed visitation schedule when the parents agree to co-parent. The schedules and agreements should not be vague because these types of agreements will likely fall apart very quickly.

The holidays should be an enjoyable time for families, but this is not always the case when families have separated and the children have to spend the holidays in two homes. However, when parents can agree and stick to a schedule and any other agreement, there will be a less amount of stress and there will be no arguments and disagreements.

The court system is available to help families figure things out and do what is best for the children, but one of the best things parents can do is try to work things out on their own. If families do not want to be stress and burdened with going to court, they should try to work together and keep things positive.

We do understand that sometimes families need to go through the court system so they can be advised of the best steps to take. If you need advice about your situation or if you would like a consultation, do not hesitate to contact us today.


Can a Divorce Include a Clause Negating Child Support Obligations?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Is it possible, at the time of the divorce, to include a clause in the divorce contract whereas one parent is absolved, with the agreement and consent of the other parent, of child support obligations?

The first thing to know is that child support is something obligated by law -- parents must support their children, even if they are not currently married to the other parent. Child support obligations do not stem from divorce contracts and agreements.

This law is in place to ensure that children are adequately taken care of. It also is in the government’s best interests not to have too many welfare recipients.

Usually, clauses negating child support obligations will not be recognized by the courts. Unless you are able to prove that this clause is, in fact, in the child’s best interests, it will generally have no legal standing.

It goes even further. If there was a clause under which one parent paid a lump sum for the child’s needs, instead of having to pay monthly payments, and the money was squandered by the other parent who has custody of the child and the child now needs financial assistance, the first parent may have to start paying again for child support. This is because child support obligations are in place to benefit the child, and a parent's self-interest has no bearing on the issue, unless the parent is financially unable to support the child.

Child support laws are extremely complex. If you are considering a clause in your divorce contract concerning child support, it is best to contact a lawyer for legal help.

Divorce And Social Media: Can Ignoring Your Attorney's Advice About Posting Online Really Hurt You?

Monday, November 28, 2016

These days, many divorce lawyers advise their clients to stay off social media altogether until the divorce is final and custody and support issues are settled. But is it really all that foolhardy to ignore your attorney’s advice? Absolutely. Here are a number of different ways that social media can backfire on you during a divorce.

The opposing divorce attorney is going to mine your accounts for data.

Even if you put your privacy settings on "high," you still have no real expectation of privacy for anything you say online. That makes it fair game for an attorney to use if you one of your "close" friends decides to show your posts to your warring spouse.

Your spouse’s divorce attorney will be watching with the mindset of “Is this useful in court?” You likely don’t have the necessary expertise or experience to realize just what can and cannot hurt you.

For example, what if you have a bad day at work and post a picture of a glass of wine with dinner? That becomes an exhibit that suggests you have a drinking problem, poor coping skills, and shouldn’t be handling full custody of your kids.

Did you start a new romance? Your pictures of a weekend retreat with your new romantic interest could be considered “marital waste,” which will then entitle your spouse to a greater share of the remaining marital assets.

Are you frustrated and angry about your spouse’s failure to pay support on time? Spouting off on your Twitter account could violate the court order that prohibits you from disparaging each other in front of your children, especially if your children are old enough to have their computer access. That could be grounds to revisit your parenting agreement and shift custody to your spouse.

You may not legally be allowed to go back and delete what you posted.

If you temporarily lose your temper and post something that you know you shouldn’t, you may be tempted to delete the post seconds or minutes later. Unfortunately, that’s considered spoliation of evidence, which can also get you in trouble with the court. If word got around to your spouse, and he or she demands access to the post, you don’t want to be in the position of explaining to the court that you destroyed potential evidence.

As a result of the deletion, the court can order a negative inference against you, which means it can just assume that the post was destructive to your spouse’s reputation or disparaged him or her publicly.

As difficult as it may be to detach from social media for a while, consider the fact that your attorney is giving you advice for a reason—he or she has probably seen a lot of bad outcomes from posts that seemed okay at the time to the client.

For more information about this and other divorce issues, contact us today.

How Much Do You Know About Child Support?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Child support is always a hot topic, but this hot topic comes with many myths and misconceptions. Many people believe those things to be true, when in fact, many of them are very inaccurate.

It does not matter if you receive child support payments or if you make child support payments, you will certainly need to gather all the facts. When you have a better understanding of child support, you will be able to make the best decisions concerning your child.

Here are some of the myths about child support that you have probably heard.

Child Support Only Has To Be Paid Until The Child Is 18

This used to be accurate, but that is no longer the case. Children who are 18 years of age and are still enrolled in a high school may still receive child support payments. If a child has a disability that holds him or her back from supporting himself or herself, child support payments can still be received for longer than 18 years.

Back Child Support Will Not Be Collected Once The Child Turns 18

If the parent paying child support still owes payments after the child has turned 18, the now adult can still collect payments.

The Child Support Payments Have To Be Spent On The Child

Many parents who pay child support have concerns with how the money is being spent. Child support payments can be used for a variety of things that are related to the child the payments are intended for. The payments can be spent on housing, utilities, clothing, food, school, etc. The parent on the receiving end is not required to show how the payments are being spent.

If I Quit My Job, I Will Not Have To Pay

If you choose to be unemployed, the court will not have any sympathy for you. If you quit your job so you can avoid paying child support, you will definitely pay for it in the end.

It is important that both sides understand child support so everyone can make the best decisions. If you have questions or if you need advice regarding child support, contact us today.

My Divorce is Amicable: I Don't Need an Attorney, Right?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Many people going through an amicable divorce think that involving attorneys in the process is unnecessary. While this is sometimes true, there are many reasons why going through a divorce without legal representation can be dangerous—even when spouses are getting along with each other.

If you are going through a divorce, an attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can also ensure that the formalities of divorce agreements are met. Additionally, an experienced attorney will be able to forecast issues that may arise in the future, and help you plan for them accordingly.

Protect your rights

It is always a good idea to at least consult an attorney before signing or consenting to any major commitments. The terms of a divorce can influence your life for a long time. Play it safe and talk things over with an attorney, even if you feel like you have it under control.

Ensure that your agreements are binding

Like any contractual agreement, there are certain formal requirements that must be met for divorce agreements to be binding. An attorney can ensure that these requirements are met.

Plan for the future

Custody and alimony arrangements may need to change in the future. Sometimes property divisions that seemed fair at the time are revealed to be unfair later. An attorney can help you prepare for these types of occurrences.

If you there is no major property involved, no children, and no chance that either party will seek alimony, a divorce attorney may not be necessary. However, if any of these factors are present, an attorney can help make sure the process goes smoothly and that any agreements reached are fair and binding. If you would like more information about this issue, please contact us today.

Things to Consider As You Start the Divorce Process

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Getting divorced can cause a lot of anxiety, due to a number of reasons. How will your property be divided? What happens when you are paying, or want someone to pay, child support out-of-state? Should seemingly insignificant things like the court date be thought about ahead of time? These are all important questions, each deserving your full attention and the sustained support of your legal counsel.

Property Disbursement

Property disbursement law in divorce cases is a complex issue. However, common sense rules still apply. For instance, property acquired before the marriage is typically sacrosanct from legal division. While this seems simple in principle, you might find you suffer from a lack of receipts or other proof that small-time items are, indeed, yours.

Child Support

Federal law requires each state to have an implemented child support system, but being the non-custodial parent out-of-state doesn't exempt that person from paying child support. Interstate legal proceedings involving child support are especially complicated. Each state has their own legal structure that determines who pays what to whose child and that state-specific legal structure has to interact with federal law which governs the whole thing.

Does timing matter?

The Huffington Post suggests that you think wisely about when you'll file for divorce. Your choice of date can determine how much of your 401k goes to your spouse. Also, filing for divorce before you have separated for a year could cause you to have to endure legal proceedings for a second time.

If you need help with any of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.