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Pursuant to California law, community property is divided equally between the parties in a divorce action, while separate assets remain the sole property of the owner spouse. Thus, it is critical that Courts characterize property accurately, and if a Court mischaracterizes an asset, the aggrieved party may have grounds for pursuing an appeal, as demonstrated in a recent California opinion issued in a divorce case. If you or your spouse intend to end your marriage and you have a question about how it could impact your property rights, it is shrewd to talk to a knowledgeable San Diego divorce attorney to obtain more information.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that the husband and wife married in December 2013. Ten months later, they purchased a home. The husband paid the $75,000 down payment for the home with his separate property, and the deed to the property was in the husband’s name only. The wife executed a quitclaim deed as well after the husband reportedly told her she could not be on the title because she did not have a social security number and should sign a document she was given, presumably the quitclaim deed.

Reportedly, the wife filed for divorce in July 2018. Following a trial in September 2021, the Trial Court ruled that the marital home was presumptively community property based on the wife’s testimony and the fact that it was purchased during the marriage. Thus, it set aside the quitclaim deed and, after subtracting the amount of the down payment, divided the equity in the home between the parties. The husband appealed. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for one spouse to work outside of the home while the other raises the couple’s children and takes care of household concerns. If a one-income couple decides to end their marriage, the spouse, without an income, may suffer financial hardships while the divorce is pending. In such instances, the Courts will often enter orders granting temporary spousal support. As explained in a recent California ruling issued in a divorce case, there are no clear statutory standards governing temporary support calculations, and such calculations will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. If you want to learn more about temporary spousal support obligations in the context of divorce, it is in your best interest to meet with a skilled San Diego divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the parties married in 1993 and separated in 2021. The husband filed a petition for dissolution in March 2021. Both parties worked as attorneys at the beginning of the marriage, but in 2003, the wife left the law practice to stay at home full-time. The husband worked for the United States Department of State and was regularly assigned to diplomatic positions abroad. When working in such positions, he was provided housing by the Department of State.

Allegedly, in July 2021, the wife moved for temporary spousal support in excess of the statutory guidelines. In support of her request, she asserted that the value of the husband’s housing should be imputed to him as income. The Court ordered the husband to pay temporary spousal support but declined to grant the wife’s request for enhanced support. The wife appealed.

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Raising a child is expensive, and few people can afford to do it alone. As such, in many cases where parents share custody, the Courts will order one parent to pay the other child support. Child support obligations are typically based, in part, on each party’s actual income, but in some cases, the Courts will find it appropriate to use a party’s imputed income instead. Recently, a California court discussed each party’s burden of proof in establishing their income in child support matters. If you need assistance with a child support issue, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable San Diego child support attorney to discuss your rights. 

Procedural Background of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and the father married in 2010 and had two children during their marriage. Both parties worked and provided financial support for the family. In 2015, the father filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. They entered into a marital settlement agreement that provided that the parties would share equal time with the children and custody rights. It also imposed a monthly child support obligation of over $800 on the father, which was derived from the parties’ income and the statutory guidelines.

The assistance of a good attorney is can be crucial to achieving a good outcome in divorce actions. Parties cannot always afford to hire capable attorneys, however. Fortunately, California law allows parties to ask the courts to order their estranged spouse to pay their attorneys’ fees while the divorce is pending. If a court refuses to weigh such a request, it may unjustly prejudice a party, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling. If you have questions about the cost of pursuing a divorce, it is smart to talk to a dedicated San Diego divorce attorney about your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in 2005 and separated in 2017. They did not have any children. In 2018, the wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The issues presented to the Court were solely financial. The wife represented herself when filing the petition but later retained an attorney who made a request for pendente lite attorney fees, among other things. The Court scheduled the hearing on the issue of fees for June 2018, but it was continued numerous times.

Allegedly, a second attorney briefly represented the wife, but he withdrew, and she once again represented herself. The Court entered a judgment of dissolution in September 2019 and ruled on reserved issues two months later. The wife retained an attorney in April 2020, and the Court issued a final judgment in February 2021 in which it denied her request for attorneys’ fees. The wife appealed the judgment. Continue reading

In many marriages, one spouse is the primary breadwinner while the other takes care of the household and raises the couple’s children. When such marriages end, the Courts will often order the breadwinner spouse to pay spousal support. The Courts assess numerous factors to determine support obligations, but as circumstances can change over time, such obligations may need to be modified. Recently, a California Court discussed what factors should weigh into the determination of whether to increase a support obligation in a case in which the former wife sought a modification. If you have questions about spousal support, it is in your best interest to talk to a knowledgeable San Diego divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the husband and the wife were married for 26 years before they separated. They had five children during the marriage. The wife stayed at home to raise the children while the husband worked as an airline pilot. The divorce was finalized in 2015; at that time, two of the couple’s children were minors. The Court ordered the husband to pay child support and spousal support.

Reportedly, in 2016, one of the children aged out of child support, and the mother began working as an instructional assistant at a school. The Court increased the mother’s spousal support by $1,000 per month. In 2020, the second child aged out of child support, and the mother sought an additional increase in spousal support. The husband opposed her request and provided a declaration of his income and expenses, which included a line item for his children’s college tuition in the amount of $7,000 per month. The Court denied the wife’s motion, and she appealed. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for a couple that is ending their marriage to draft a marital settlement agreement defining their rights and obligations and dividing community assets. While there are benefits to entering into such an agreement, there are risks as well, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling in which the Court held that broad language precluded the former wife from pursuing additional relief. If you intend to end your marriage and want to learn more about how the decision may impact you financially, it is wise to confer with a San Diego divorce lawyer to assess your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the wife petitioned the Court to dissolve her marriage to the husband in 2000. The parties subsequently entered into a marital settlement agreement, which was later incorporated into a dissolution judgment entered by the Court. The wife was represented by counsel during the course of negotiations for the agreement, while the husband was not. Among other things, the agreement defined certain community assets and liabilities as the separate property of each party and included language releasing each party from all interspousal obligations, regardless of whether they were incurred before or after the date of the agreement, and all claims to each other’s property.

Reportedly, the agreement also included language stating it applied to all claims the parties had against one another, whether known or unknown. In 2019, the wife filed a motion to adjudicate a community asset that was left out of the marital settlement agreement. The Court found that the agreement’s release barred the wife’s claim, as it arose out of an interspousal obligation, and denied the wife’s motion. She then appealed. Continue reading

Generally, the California Courts calculate child support obligations, in part, on each parent’s actual income. In some cases, however, they may determine what constitutes appropriate child support based on a parent’s imputed income. This was illustrated in a recent California case in which the Court declined to substantially reduce a father’s child support obligation after he voluntarily left his job. If you are interested in learning more about child support, it is advisable to speak to a  San Diego child support lawyer as soon as possible.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father ended their marriage in December 2019. They filed a settlement agreement at that time, during which the father agreed to pay the mother $2,500 each month for child support. A report attached to the agreement indicated that the father’s monthly wages were approximately $10,000, while the mother’s earnings were around $12,000. The father voluntarily left his position in construction sales less than one month later.

Allegedly, the father made partial child support payments for two months and then ceased payments entirely. He filed a request for order (RFO) in June, asking the Court to modify his child support obligations on the grounds that he had no income. The mother opposed the RFO and asked the Court to continue the current obligation or increase it. The Court denied the RFO and imputed income to the father in the amount he was earning prior to quitting his job, set child support at $2,351 per month, and to pay half of the mother’s daycare expenses. The father appealed. Continue reading

California law permits people to seek spousal support in divorce actions. Regardless of whether spousal support is sought in the context of a divorce action or legal separation action such support will only be granted if the Court finds there is a valid marriage between the requesting party and their purported spouse. This was demonstrated recently in a California case in which the Court denied a woman’s request for spousal support on the grounds that her marriage was void. If you have questions with regard to your right to spousal support, you should contact a San Diego spousal support lawyer to discuss your options.

History of Proceedings

It is reported that the husband married the first wife in 1987, after which he resided with her in California. In 2012, he married the second wife in Lebanon. He then attempted to terminate the Lebanese marriage. The second wife subsequently filed a request for order (RFO) in California, asking the Court to award her temporary spousal support, among other things. The husband objected to the RFO, arguing that they were not married but had entered into a temporary marriage contract which he later terminated.

Allegedly, the Judge presiding over the case ultimately found that there was a valid marriage between the husband and the second wife and continued with proceedings on the petition for spousal support. The husband then filed a petition to nullify the second marriage on the grounds that it was bigamous and therefore void pursuant to Family Code Section 2201(a). The case was eventually transferred to a second Judge who declared the marriage void and that the second wife was not a putative spouse. The second wife appealed. Continue reading

Generally, only parties that were married can seek spousal support. There are some exceptions, though, through which a person who was not legally married can obtain spousal support. This was illustrated in a recent California ruling in which the Court affirmed that a woman deemed a putative spouse could be awarded spousal support. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to understand your rights and obligations, and you should contact a San Diego spousal support lawyer promptly.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife married in March 2011. At that time, unbeknownst to the parties, the wife’s divorce from her former husband was not final. She became aware of the fact in May 2011 and ultimately obtained a divorce in March 2012. The parties had a second wedding ceremony in April 2013 and a third ceremony in September 2013. They did not receive marriage certificates after the second and third ceremonies, however.

Allegedly, in 2020, the husband filed a petition for dissolution. The Court declined to rule on the issue of whether the second or third weddings were valid but determined that, at a minimum, the wife was a putative spouse. The Court subsequently awarded her attorney’s fees and spousal support. The husband appealed, arguing that, as a matter of flaw, the wife was not a putative spouse. Continue reading

Generally, parents who share joint custody of a child will reside in close proximity to one another. It is not uncommon for circumstances to arise that trigger a desire in one parent to move to another state, however. Whether the Courts grant a parent the right to move with a child to another state depends on numerous factors, but if a Court issues an order allowing a move, it may be difficult to overturn. This was demonstrated recently in an opinion issued by a California Court in a case in which a father appealed an order granting his ex-wife the right to move to Georgia with their child. If your parental rights are at risk, it is in your best interest to speak to a San Diego child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and the father married in 2014. They had one child, a daughter, who was born in 2017. The father filed a petition for the dissolution of the marriage the following year. The Court granted the dissolution, awarded the parties joint legal custody of the child, and granted the mother primary physical custody. The father had visitation rights for three hours each weekday and weekends twice per month.

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