Articles Posted in Divorce

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.

When a couple decides to end their marriage, who owns what property is often one of the biggest points of contention. Typically, in cases in which the parties dispute whether an asset is marital or separate, they will provide evidence in support of their positions. If they fail to do so, it may adversely impact their rights, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling. If you intend to end your marriage, it is in your best interest to retain a capable San Diego divorce lawyer to aid you in striving to protect your interests.

The Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in October 2007 and separated in April 2015. The wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage a year and a half later. The husband purchased a home prior to the marriage, and the couple lived in the home from 2005 until they separated. They used community funds throughout the marriage to pay the mortgage for the home, however. Following a one-day trial, the trial court determined that a portion of the home was community property. The husband appealed, arguing that the trial court improperly calculated the community share of the home.

Evidence Regarding the Nature of Property

On appeal, the appellate court found in favor of the husband, reversed the trial court ruling, and remanded for further proceedings. The appellate court explained that where the parties do not dispute that there is a community property interest in a home, both parties are obligated to ensure that the court has the information needed to determine that interest. Here, the husband erroneously believed it was the wife’s duty to provide the court with such information and failed to offer any. Continue reading

Since the relatively recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states, hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples have wed. Unfortunately, not all marriages last, and some same-sex couples living in California will decide to sever their relationships. It is important for people contemplating ending same-sex marriages to understand their rights and obligations before filing for divorce. If you have questions about your options for legally dissolving your relationship, it is critical to speak to a knowledgeable San Diego divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Do I Have to File Separate Actions to End my Marriage and Domestic Partnership?

No. Under California law, same-sex couples may not only legally marry but may also legally register as domestic partners, and many same-sex couples entered into domestic partnership relationships prior to marrying. As such, if they decide to sever their relationship legally, they must end both their partnership and their marriage. Fortunately, the law allows same-sex couples to do so through the same case and petition. They simply must indicate that they are ending both their marriage and their domestic partnership.

Do I Have to Explain Why I Want a Divorce?

California is a “no-fault” state. In other words, a person who wants to obtain a divorce does not have to prove that his or her spouse bears responsibility for the downfall of the marriage. Instead, the petitioner, who is the party that files the initial divorce complaint, can merely assert that there are irreconcilable differences. This means that the couple cannot get along with each other enough to salvage the relationship, and therefore, the marriage is irretrievably broken. Continue reading

There are a number of difficult aspects that parties go through during a divorce, which include the division of assets and debts and child and spousal support.  However, there is nothing more difficult than the issue determining child custody and visitation.

The end of a marriage is emotional, whether or not children are involved; however, when children are involved, the issues become more complex and difficult.  Understanding the court procedure of child custody and visitation and the law, may assist with the issues that arise.

Understanding Child Custody

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