Articles Posted in Divorce

Divorce actions often involve a juxtaposition of emotions and legal and factual disputes that can be challenging to navigate. In San Diego Family Law Court., dissolution cases can become all the more complex if one of the parties dies before the matter is resolved. In a recent ruling, a California Court examined whether a Court has the authority to enter a judgment of dissolution after the death of one of the parties based on a settlement agreement that had been reached before the death occurred. If you anticipate your marriage ending, it is wise to talk to a San Diego divorce lawyer about your options.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the husband and the wife were married in 2004 and separated more than ten years later. They had two children during their marriage. In August 2021, after a series of contested hearings, both parties and their counsel participated in a settlement conference, resulting in a comprehensive agreement (the Agreement). The Agreement covered various aspects of their separation, including custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and attorney’s fees. The Agreement specified that it would become a court order and could be incorporated into a formal dissolution judgment.

Allegedly, in late 2021after the Agreement was signed, email correspondence between the parties’ attorneys indicated disagreements and delays in finalizing the judgment. Unfortunately, the wife passed away in a car accident in December 2021. In February 2022, the wife’s attorney filed an ex parte request for entry of judgment, which was denied, leading to a subsequent request for order (RFO) and a hearing scheduled for July 14, 2022. The RFO sought to appoint the wife’s son as her successor and to retroactively enter a judgment based on the Agreement. The Trial Court entered judgment nunc pro tunc to August 24, 2021. The husband appealed. Continue reading

Discovery is an essential component of divorce actions, and the San Diego Family Law Courts will typically go to great lengths to protect that right to ensure just and efficient resolution of cases. Discover, in a San Diego Divorce or Legal Separation can include, but not limited to, the following: Written Interrogatories; Production of Documents; Deposition; Subpoena. Recently, a California Court discussed the interplay between discovery in a divorce action and a protective order in an unrelated case. If you have questions about how other proceedings may impact your rights in a divorce action, it is in your best interest to consult a San Diego divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the husband and wife had a brief marriage, followed by a separation and subsequent high-conflict litigation over child custody and support. After a trial in 2011, the Trial Court ordered the husband to pay monthly child support. In 2015, the wife sought a modification of the child support obligation based on alleged non-disclosure of financial information. The Court reduced the child support obligation, however.

Allegedly, in the husband April 2019, the husband raised concerns about overpaid child support and requested an order to determine arrears. The wife sought discovery related to the husband’s motion, and when he neglected to answer her requests, moved to compel his response. The Trial Court granted her motion. The husband then moved to set aside the Trial Court’s order, arguing that a protective order secured in 2017 in a separate malpractice action prevented the use of certain financial information in their family law proceedings. The Trial Court rejected the husband’s argument, and he appealed. Continue reading

Thorough and truthful financial disclosures are crucial in San Diego divorce actions to enable the Courts with making an equitable division of assets and determining whether to grant spousal support or child support. A lack of adequate disclosure can lead to significant harm, and those who are adversely affected by the other party’s failure to provide accurate financial information can seek relief via the Courts. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling in which a California Court granted a request to adjudicate an asset 20 years after the entry of a default judgment in a divorce action. While there are very strict timelines under Family Law Code Section 2122 to set aside a judgment, this case dealt with an omitted asset and the Court did not find a statute of limitations defense in this case.  If you intend to end your marriage, it is smart to speak to a San Diego divorce lawyer regarding what steps you can take to protect your rights.

History of the Case

It is reported that in April 1999, the husband filed for divorce from the wife. She did not respond, and the Trial Court entered a default judgment. Later, the wife discovered that the husband had an undisclosed pension. In April 2013, she requested an order to address the asset, but due to misunderstandings and communication barriers, the issue remained unresolved until she hired an attorney in 2015. In April 2021, the wife filed a new request to determine her interest in the pension. The husband opposed the request, arguing it was barred as the wife had not set aside the default judgment. The Trial Court determined that the pension was an omitted asset and scheduled a trial to divide it. The husband appealed.

Laches in California Divorce Actions

On appeal, the husband argued, in part, that the doctrine of laches precluded the wife from claiming an interest in his pension. Specifically, he argued the Trial Court erred by allowing the wife’s request under section 2556 of the California Family Code, which deals with community property and continuing jurisdiction, to proceed despite the defense of laches. Continue reading

Many married couples share finances, despite the fact that they have disparate incomes in 2023. If a couple with unbalanced incomes decides to divorce, however, it may leave one spouse without sufficient means to support themselves. Given the high costs of housing in San Diego County, may couples are having difficulty affording to live in San Diego even with two incomes.  When the spouses separate, this means two housing expenses and other expenses not incurred when cohabitating.  In such instances, the Courts may find it appropriate to grant spousal support. In a recent California case, the Court discussed the factors considered in determining whether to grant support. If you intend to end your marriage, it is wise to talk to a San Diego divorce attorney about your options. This can be an extremely contentious area in a family law case!

History of the Case

It is reported that in 2015 the husband and wife separated after more than 20 years of marriage. The husband initially agreed to pay spousal and child support, as the wife was unemployed and he owned an electrical business. In 2019, the husband retired and requested a modification of spousal support. The Court reduced the temporary support obligation to zero but stated that it could be reinstated if the wife’s counsel discovered the husband’s ability to pay.

The dissolution matter went to trial to resolve the issues of spousal support and the division of assets. A forensic accountant testified on behalf of the wife, providing an analysis of the husband’s income available for support in the years 2016-2019. The trial Court denied the wife permanent spousal support but granted her temporary support for a specific period. The husband filed objections to the Trial Court’s rulings, but the Trial Court declined to address them. The wife submitted a proposed judgment, which the Trial Court signed. The husband appealed the decision. Continue reading

In San Diego, California, absent a marital agreement stating otherwise, income earned during a marriage is considered marital property. As such, if a couple decides to divorce, it is crucial to determine the date of their separation, as any earnings accrued after that are considered separate. In a recent California divorce action, the Court discussed the factors evaluated in determining when the separation occurred. If you or your spouse wish to end your marriage, it is wise to confer with a San Diego family law attorney to discuss how the decision could impact you financially.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the parties married in 2007. The husband filed a divorce petition in June 2017. The parties disputed when they separated: the wife argued that separation occurred four months after they married, while the husband contended they did not separate until he filed for divorce. The case proceeded to a bench trial, after which the Trial Court adopted the husband’s reasoning. The wife appealed, arguing that the Trial Court failed to assess her conduct and intentions with regard to the marriage in consideration of the threats of deportation and domestic violence she received from the husband.

Determining When Separation Occurred in California Divorce Actions

On appeal, the Court declined to adopt the wife’s reasoning and affirmed the Trial Court’s judgment. The Court explained that the determination of the date of separation is an issue of fact, and it is established based on a preponderance of the evidence. When reviewing a Trial Court’s decision, the Court considers whether there is substantial evidence to support it, taking into account all reasonable and legitimate inferences. Continue reading

The California Family Law Courts can only set forth rulings on issues over which they have valid jurisdiction. Thus, if a matter lies outside of a Court’s jurisdiction, the Court may refrain from addressing it. As demonstrated in a recent California ruling issued in a divorce action, however, in some matters, consent need not be explicit; instead, implied consent is sufficient. If you wish to end your marriage, it is important to speak to a skilled San Diego divorce attorney about what steps you can take to protect your interests.

Factual Background

It is reported that the wife joined the military in 1993. In 2000, the wife and the husband married. They had two children during the marriage. In 2016, the wife filed a petition for dissolution in San Diego County Superior Court in which she asked the Court to confirm her separate property and determine her rights to community assets. The parties also sought spousal support from one another.

Allegedly, the husband sought an immediate division of the wife’s military pension. The wife filed an objection to the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction over her pension under FUSFSPA (the Federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse’s Protection Act). The Trial Court ruled in favor of the wife on the grounds that she never explicitly consented to such jurisdiction under FUSFSPA. The parties ultimately agreed to a stipulated judgment in which the Trial Court stated it lacked jurisdiction over the wife’s military pension. The husband appealed. Continue reading

Domestic violence is a serious issue impacting many San Diego family cases. While all accusations of domestic violence should be taken seriously, they do not all have the same impact when it comes to the outcome of divorce and custody actions. The Courts will, generally, consider relatively recent evidence that a person engaged in domestic violence when determining how to resolve disputed issues in custody matters, as explained in a recent ruling issued by a California Court. The Court can also consider a pattern of conduct including convictions for domestic violence under Penal Code Section 273.5 among others. If you want to understand how allegations that you or your co-parent engaged in acts of domestic violence may alter your custody rights, it is critical to consult a San Diego child custody attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Reportedly, the mother, who was married to the father, filed a petition for dissolution of the marriage in 2015. Six years after the filing, the Court conducted a six-day trial on the issues of custody and visitation. It then issued a final custody order in which it granted the parents joint physical and legal custody of their daughter, who was seven years old at the time.

It is alleged that the mother objected to the order, arguing that the Court erred in granting the father parental rights, as California Family Code 3044 presumes that a party that committed domestic violence within the past five years should not be granted physical or legal custody of a child. The mother asserted that the five-year period in question should run backward from the date the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed instead of from the time the Court issued the custody order. The Court rejected this argument, defining it as impractical construction. The mother then appealed. Continue reading

Parties to divorce actions have the right to resolve disputed issues such as child support, spousal support, and property division without a Court’s involvement. Typically, they will memorialize their understanding via a settlement agreement. Such agreements are binding and will typically be upheld by the Court, regardless of whether a party subsequently attempts to challenge the terms of the agreement. This was demonstrated recently when a California Court rejected a wife’s argument that a marital settlement agreement should be set aside. If you or your spouse want a divorce, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced San Diego divorce attorney to help you understand and protect your rights.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in 2008. They had three children during their marriage. They separated in September of 2018, and the wife filed a divorce action later that year. The parties then filed preliminary income and expense declarations and disclosures. In August 2020, the parties participated in a voluntary settlement conference during which they were represented by their attorneys. They each had forensic accountants present as well. Following the conference, they developed a marital settlement agreement that resolved issues of spousal support, child support, and property division.

Allegedly, the agreement contained provisions noting that it was binding and subject to enforcement under the California Code of Civil Procedure. It also stated that if either party refused to sign the agreement, the other party could request the Court to issue a judgment based on the terms of the agreement. The wife subsequently refused to sign the agreement. The husband moved to enforce the agreement, and the Court ultimately entered a judgment of dissolution of marriage based on the terms of the agreement. The wife appealed. Continue reading

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.

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