Articles Posted in Divorce

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

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

Parents who share custody of a child do not always agree on issues relating to how the child should be raised, like health care, supervision, and what is in the child’s best interest. As such, disagreements between co-parents are common. While parental views may not always align, parents must treat each other with civility; otherwise, it could escalate to the point where the Courts deem it necessary to impose sanctions. Recently, a California Court discussed what a party must prove to demonstrate that a co-parent’s actions rise to the level of abuse in a ruling issued in a child custody case. If you have concerns regarding custody of your child, it is smart to contact a trusted San Diego child custody lawyer to discuss your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the mother filed a petition for dissolution in October 2015, and the marriage was terminated in November 2018. The parties have one 10-year-old daughter born of the marriage and co-parent pursuant to visitation and custody orders. When the child was 8, the father had primary custody, and the mother had professionally supervised visits three times a week at a visitation center. During that time, the father brought the child to the visitation center even though she was sick.

Allegedly, the mother then became argumentative and demanded the father take the child to urgent care. The father agreed, and she accompanied him to the hospital, even though he argued it violated the terms of their custody order. The mother reportedly yelled at the father the entire time. The father then filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) seeking protection for himself and the child from the mother. Following a hearing, the Trial Court found the mother disturbed the father’s peace and issued a three-year DVRO. The mother appealed. Continue reading

Many couples have bi-coastal relationships where they reside in cities on opposite sides of the country. When a married couple that lives in different states decides to end their marriage, they may not agree over which state should hear their divorce. This was demonstrated in a recent California case, in which the Court was forced to determine if California or Massachusetts was the proper forum to dissolve a marriage. If you intend to seek a divorce, it is in your best interest to speak to a skilled San Diego divorce lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Dissolution Filings

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in 1989 in Rhode Island. In March 2019, the husband filed a petition for a legal separation in a California Court. He then mailed a summons to the wife in Massachusetts. The wife admitted that she signed for receipt of the summons, and the husband filed the signed receipt with the appropriate Court. Approximately one month later, the wife filed a petition for dissolution in a Massachusetts Court; the summons was served on the husband nine days later.

It is reported that the day after he received the Massachusetts summons, the husband amended his earlier petition to seek dissolution and then sent a new summons to his wife. Upon receipt of the summons, the wife filed a request asking the Court to abate and quash the California action. Specifically, she argued that she filed her dissolution petition first and that Massachusetts was a better-suited forum to handle the dissolution. The Trial Court ruled in favor of the wife and abated and stayed the California case. The husband appealed. Continue reading

In some divorce matters, the parties will stipulate to certain conditions. For example, they can agree that a specific Judge will decide matters throughout the proceeding. In such instances, the scope of the Judge’s authority may not be immediately clear. This was illustrated recently in a California case in which the wife objected to the Judge’s issuance of a domestic violence restraining order. If you wish to seek a divorce and you have questions regarding how domestic violence allegations may impact your proceeding, it is advisable to confer with a skilled San Diego divorce lawyer to evaluate your rights.

The Historical Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife were married for 39 years when the wife sought a divorce. The parties then stipulated to the appointment of a specific temporary Judge. Subsequently, the husband asked the Judge to issue a domestic violence restraining order preventing the wife from contacting him and his girlfriend or entering their residence. The Judge granted the requested and issued an order she deemed a non-CLETs (California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System) domestic violence order. Domestic violence restraining orders (DVROs) are reported to law enforcement through this system. The wife appealed, arguing that the Judge exceeded the scope of her authority in issuing the order.

Authority of Appointed Judges

The Court of Appeal rejected the wife’s argument and concluded that the Judge did not surpass the scope of her appointment in issuing the domestic violence restraining order. Under California law, when a temporary Judge is appointed to a specific case, the Judge has the power to act until a final determination is issued in the proceeding. In evaluating whether a temporary Judge has the authority to resolve a particular issue, the Courts will evaluate whether the issue is directly derived from the “cause” they were originally tasked with hearing or are ancillary to the cause. For example, a motion to reconsider or vacate is directly related, while an ancillary matter relies on a separate record. Continue reading

Relationships often fall apart, and when they do, it is not uncommon for one party to move to another city or state. If disagreements between formerly romantically involved people result in legal action, it may be uncertain which forum has the right to handle such disputes. It is clear, however, that the California courts cannot preside over a family law matter if they do not have jurisdiction over the parties. This was demonstrated in a recent California case in which the court ultimately vacated a domestic violence restraining order against the defendant, citing the lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. If you are involved in a family law dispute with someone who lives in another state, it is in your best interest to retain a seasoned San Diego family law attorney to discuss your options for protecting your interests.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in California in 2005, had three children, and moved to Texas in 2015. The wife left Texas in 2019 to return to her parent’s home in California and took the minor children with her. She subsequently filed a petition for legal separation and requested a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO).  The husband moved to quash service of process with regard to the DVRO request, but the court denied his motion and issued an order granting the wife’s request. The husband appealed, arguing the court erred by denying his motion to quash.

Personal Jurisdiction in California Family Law Cases

The husband argued that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over him, and therefore should have granted his motion to quash and dismissed the case with prejudice. On appeal, the court agreed and directed the trial court to issue an order granting the husband’s motion to quash the DVRO. Continue reading

The courts will typically take numerous factors into consideration when determining child support obligations. In cases in which the courts lack adequate information to make a final determination, they will often issue interim orders pending the receipt of additional data. It is important to note that, as illustrated in a recent California ruling, such orders may not impose actual support obligations on the parties involved. If you have questions regarding the potential financial impact of sharing custody of a child, it is smart to contact a trusted San Diego child support lawyer to discuss what evidence you may need to produce to obtain a fair outcome.

The History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in 2001 and had three children, two of whom are still minors. In 2015, the wife filed a divorce action. The following year, in accordance with a marital settlement agreement, the trial court entered a judgment of dissolution and granted the husband and wife joint physical and legal custody of their children. The court also ordered the husband to pay child support.

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