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?
The marital home is typically one of the most valuable assets to be divided in divorce. In California, unless the spouses agree on the division of community (or marital) property, courts will endeavor to allocate evenly the assets and debts that have been accumulated during the marriage. It is important to keep in mind that parties must pay close attention to whether assets (and debts) are characterized as separate versus community property, since only community property is divisible in divorce. The division of marital property has a tendency to affect both parties financially after divorce. For this reason alone, you are encouraged to contact a local San Diego family law attorney if you are considering divorce.
Interestingly enough, some property may be made up of both separate and community property. A good example of this is a marital home that was purchased prior to a marriage by one spouse. When the couple gets married, they may both make mortgage payments to reduce the loan amount. So what happens to the home in divorce? Under established California law, when community property is applied to reduce the balance of a mortgage on one party’s separate property, the “community” acquires a “pro tanto” interest in the property.
A stipulated judgment is used in many different kinds of court actions. Essentially, it is an agreement between the parties to settle a case. In a divorce proceeding, spouses who are able to agree on all the matters surrounding their separation can submit a stipulated judgment to the court. In order to be effective, the agreement must be signed by both spouses. The stipulation typically identifies the parties’ agreements about the division of property and debts, child and spousal support, and child custody and visitation. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to understand the legal and practical ramifications of entering into a stipulated judgment with your spouse. You are encouraged to contact a local San Diego family law attorney who will be able to answer any questions you may have.
In a recent California divorce case, the parties disputed the appropriate terms of the stipulated “global” settlement. Here, the couple got married in 1980 and separated in 2010. Husband filed for divorce that same year, and a court granted a “status only” judgment in November 2012. This means that, although the couple was officially divorced, the court had yet to resolve the attendant issues of property division and other related items. The parties reached an agreement covering the division of their assets after spending nearly a month in the trial court. At issue in this case was the disposition of more than one million shares of stock.
Each state in the country has the authority to enact laws governing divorce proceedings. Statutes cover items such as the division of property, spousal support, child custody disputes, and intricate procedural matters. These provisions can vary a great deal, depending on where you live. It is important to understand how the laws in your state affect each spouse’s property interests, child custody (and support) arrangements, and other significant financial and legal issues. If you are facing a separation or divorce, you are encouraged to seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area.
One of the most contentious issues in divorce tends to involve the division of property. Here in California, courts seek to identify and characterize property in accordance with “community property” notions. This means that property acquired or accumulated during the marriage is generally considered “marital” or “community” property, subject to division between the parties upon divorce. The couple, however, may enter into what is known as a “prenuptial” or “postnuptial” agreement in order to circumvent or avoid certain property distribution laws. Such agreements are typically enforceable in California, but the language and manner in which these agreements are executed must adhere to local law.
The length of a divorce proceeding certainly varies from case to case. Some of the more common factors that tend to affect the duration of a divorce matter include the relative contentiousness of the spouses, whether there are children involved, the amount of assets and debts to be characterized and divided, and the involvement of highly experienced family law counsel. The last item, consulting with an attorney, is especially helpful to protect one’s financial and legal rights, while at the same time moving the process along as efficiently as possible under the circumstances. Since each state has its own marriage and divorce laws, it is important to reach out to an experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area.
In protracted divorce cases, in which the parties spend a great deal of time litigating the issues, courts may require one party to assist the other in paying attorney fees. Under Section 2030 of the California Family Code, the court will look at whether an award of attorney’s fees and costs is appropriate, whether the parties have a disparate access to funds to retain counsel, and whether one party has the ability to pay for the legal representation of both spouses.
Couples who intend to marry, or who are already married, have a variety of tools with which to legally identify their respective interests in assorted assets and debts existing between them. Depending on the particular circumstances, parties may choose to prepare and sign a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, setting forth these rights to property and other assets, should the couple seek to divorce. Of course, the document must adhere to local laws applicable to such matters. As with most family law issues, it is important to ensure that your legal and financial interests are protected, no matter which agreement you intend to sign. Couples are encouraged to seek the assistance of an experienced San Diego family law attorney as early in the process as possible.
As a general matter, courts will uphold “nuptial” agreements as long as they are considered to be equitably constructed under fair and just circumstances. And while historically courts seemed to have preferred pre- over postnuptial agreements, there has been an increase in the number of couples entering into postnuptial agreements. In a recent California divorce case, the couple signed a postnuptial agreement after almost 30 years of marriage. The parties got married in 1979 and entered into the agreement in 2010, which identified the couple’s respective interests in certain properties and two corporations. In 2012, the wife filed for divorce.
Many couples that make the decision to separate and pursue a divorce do so with the assistance of counsel. And in cases involving the custody and general welfare of children, most would strongly recommend consulting with a family lawyer first. Going through a divorce proceeding, by its very nature, will disrupt your life and require you to consider and address important, life-changing issues. Because the outcome of a divorce proceeding can have lasting financial and legal implications, it is extremely important to protect your rights. And, since local state laws apply to dissolution proceedings, you are encouraged to reach out to a nearby San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible.
Attorneys who represent parties in divorce cases before a California court are expected to follow the local State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”). In a recent divorce case, the husband argued that wife’s counsel violated one of the Rules during the couple’s proceedings. Here, the court awarded wife the marital home, with the express condition that she was expected to list the property for sale immediately – in order to terminate husband’s share of the mortgage obligation (or “community debt” on the property). During the time that the property was on the market and in escrow, wife failed to pay some of the mortgage payments. The Bank recorded a default notice and initiated a foreclosure proceeding.