A recent case before the Second Appellate District tasked that court with addressing an unusual case of reimbursement following the post-divorce sale of a couple’s marital home. The appeals court reversed a trial court’s order of reimbursement in favor of the wife because that trial court made several procedural errors, including improperly refusing to consider the husband’s argument that the wife unreasonably delayed in selling the home.
In a case in which the couple has considerable assets, one of the bigger challenges can be dividing the community estate. In one divorce that involved a high-value community estate and allegations of hidden assets, the Sixth District Court of Appeal reversed a trial court’s order that divided the estate. The trial court’s division improperly gave the wife duplicative benefits regarding certain assets when the statute did not allow the wife to receive such benefits.
If you are a follower of basic cable house “flipping” shows or of celebrity gossip, chances are you’re familiar with the stars of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” show. The weekly show follows a married pair of highly successful house flippers from Orange County, who appeared on screen as a happy husband and wife with two children. In late 2016, though, the couple announced that they were separated, and in early 2017, the husband filed for divorce, according to an Orange County Register report.
Before the husband filed, though, some online sources claimed that executives at HGTV were demanding that the couple go back to holding out the appearance of a happy family, at least for the remainder of their TV contract, or else face a lawsuit for breach. While your impending divorce may not lead to litigation launched by a TV network, it still may involve many complex hurdles you must address if you and your spouse share a business together.
When you go through a divorce process in California, there potentially are many things to address. One of these may be whether or not you and your spouse have any community property. Sometimes, the identification of the status of a property can be murky, especially if a community asset’s sale may not have been valid. In a recent case involving two apartment buildings sold using a forged deed, the courts were asked to decide whether the sale was valid. In this case, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that the wife couldn’t challenge a forged deed because she had pro-actively taken many steps that blocked her from going back and arguing that the sale should be invalidated and the buildings deemed to be omitted community assets.
When a couple goes through a divorce process in California, there are three types of assets they may have: the first spouse’s separate property, the second spouse’s separate property, and community property. If the classification of each of your assets is completely black and white, agreeing on a division of property in your divorce may be relatively straightforward. But few things in life are ever all black and white. What happens if the couple took money from a community asset and invested it in improving an asset that was one of the spouses’ separate property? That was the issue recently before the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which decided that such a scenario gave the community a right of reimbursement, and that right, when not accounted for in the couple’s divorce judgment, gave the wife a valid cause for action under the statute governing unadjudicated assets.
An old maxim familiar to those well-versed in the law says that “equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights.” In a recently decided matter before the Fourth District Court of Appeal, this was, in some ways, literally true. A husband, who was initially self-represented, had received an unfavorable property distribution ruling in his divorce case after he slept through a hearing, leaving no one to argue his side of the case. He then spent a great deal of time and effort trying in vain to use other procedural bases to get a judge to re-decide the issues. However, since the courts had already fully litigated the topics he was trying to revisit, the courts ruled against him.
One of the central parts of any divorce is the division of property. In general, if you acquire an asset during a marriage, the law presumes that it is community property, but you can overcome that presumption if you have enough evidence showing that it is actually separate property. As a recent ruling from the Third District Court of Appeal demonstrates, if you seek to overcome this presumption by tracing the source of funds used to purchase an asset during the marriage, there is a very specific way you have to go about doing this. In this case, the wife failed to present the right kind of evidence, and she lost the right to reimbursement for the down payment on the couple’s Northern California home.
A helpful way to reduce the length of a divorce proceeding is for the parties to agree on and stipulate to some of the significant issues to be resolved. Such a stipulation may address matters such as property division, spousal support, and child support, among many other items. While it is not always possible for the separating spouses to reach an agreement on all major issues, the ability to enter into a stipulated divorce judgment will likely result in a more acceptable and less costly process. To help ensure that you are doing everything in your power to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, you are encouraged to consult with an experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area.
It is extremely important for the spouses to be forthcoming and honest about the issues addressed by any stipulation. Engaging in dishonest behavior or fraud during the divorce proceedings may serve to invalidate your stipulated judgment and all that it contains. In a recent California divorce case, the ex-wife brought an action to vacate the stipulated divorce judgment — eight years after it was entered by the court. According to the facts, the couple got married in 1974 and separated in 2004. At that time, their two children were adults. In August 2005, the parties reached a settlement, resulting in a formal stipulated judgment that determined the division of property, among other things.
Parties are encouraged to reach agreement on as many issues as possible in divorce cases. When the couple is able to do this, they tend to be more in control of the ultimate outcome. Furthermore, such an agreement or stipulation typically leads to a shorter, less costly, and more amicable resolution. For the most part, courts look to approve such agreements in order to resolve the case as efficiently as possible. But the stipulation must adhere to applicable legal standards. In order to ensure that any agreement you enter into in divorce protects your rights and will stand up to court approval, you are encouraged to contact a local San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible.
A recent California divorce case involved the trial court’s rejection of a stipulation entered into by the parties prior to trial. Here, the wife filed for dissolution of the marriage in June 2009. The husband moved out of the family home in April 2010. There were two trials. The first took place in April 2011, dissolving the marriage and allocating support and child custody. The second addressed the division of assets, which is the subject of the matter at hand.
California divorce law explicitly states that as a general rule, property acquired by couples during a marriage is community property, subject to division. And while this rule seems fairly straightforward, virtually no divorce case is without complications when it comes to the division of property. As the parties are separating and beginning to consider their new future, each spouse will most certainly try to preserve and protect their separate financial interests moving forward. To be sure your rights are protected throughout your divorce proceeding, it is imperative that you contact a local family law lawyer from the San Diego area.
Property subject to division in divorce includes bank accounts, the marital home, other real estate interests, investment accounts, and many other items. In order to allocate assets and debts in divorce, courts must determine what is separate versus community property. While the timing of the acquisition is of primary importance, additional factors may affect the characterization of property. For instance, assets may have been accumulated during the marriage, but what happens if one spouse used their own, separate funds initially to acquire that jointly held property?