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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

Generally, the California Courts calculate child support obligations, in part, on each parent’s actual income. In some cases, however, they may determine what constitutes appropriate child support based on a parent’s imputed income. This was illustrated in a recent California case in which the Court declined to substantially reduce a father’s child support obligation after he voluntarily left his job. If you are interested in learning more about child support, it is advisable to speak to a  San Diego child support lawyer as soon as possible.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father ended their marriage in December 2019. They filed a settlement agreement at that time, during which the father agreed to pay the mother $2,500 each month for child support. A report attached to the agreement indicated that the father’s monthly wages were approximately $10,000, while the mother’s earnings were around $12,000. The father voluntarily left his position in construction sales less than one month later.

Allegedly, the father made partial child support payments for two months and then ceased payments entirely. He filed a request for order (RFO) in June, asking the Court to modify his child support obligations on the grounds that he had no income. The mother opposed the RFO and asked the Court to continue the current obligation or increase it. The Court denied the RFO and imputed income to the father in the amount he was earning prior to quitting his job, set child support at $2,351 per month, and to pay half of the mother’s daycare expenses. The father appealed. Continue reading

California law permits people to seek spousal support in divorce actions. Regardless of whether spousal support is sought in the context of a divorce action or legal separation action such support will only be granted if the Court finds there is a valid marriage between the requesting party and their purported spouse. This was demonstrated recently in a California case in which the Court denied a woman’s request for spousal support on the grounds that her marriage was void. If you have questions with regard to your right to spousal support, you should contact a San Diego spousal support lawyer to discuss your options.

History of Proceedings

It is reported that the husband married the first wife in 1987, after which he resided with her in California. In 2012, he married the second wife in Lebanon. He then attempted to terminate the Lebanese marriage. The second wife subsequently filed a request for order (RFO) in California, asking the Court to award her temporary spousal support, among other things. The husband objected to the RFO, arguing that they were not married but had entered into a temporary marriage contract which he later terminated.

Allegedly, the Judge presiding over the case ultimately found that there was a valid marriage between the husband and the second wife and continued with proceedings on the petition for spousal support. The husband then filed a petition to nullify the second marriage on the grounds that it was bigamous and therefore void pursuant to Family Code Section 2201(a). The case was eventually transferred to a second Judge who declared the marriage void and that the second wife was not a putative spouse. The second wife appealed. Continue reading

Generally, only parties that were married can seek spousal support. There are some exceptions, though, through which a person who was not legally married can obtain spousal support. This was illustrated in a recent California ruling in which the Court affirmed that a woman deemed a putative spouse could be awarded spousal support. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to understand your rights and obligations, and you should contact a San Diego spousal support lawyer promptly.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife married in March 2011. At that time, unbeknownst to the parties, the wife’s divorce from her former husband was not final. She became aware of the fact in May 2011 and ultimately obtained a divorce in March 2012. The parties had a second wedding ceremony in April 2013 and a third ceremony in September 2013. They did not receive marriage certificates after the second and third ceremonies, however.

Allegedly, in 2020, the husband filed a petition for dissolution. The Court declined to rule on the issue of whether the second or third weddings were valid but determined that, at a minimum, the wife was a putative spouse. The Court subsequently awarded her attorney’s fees and spousal support. The husband appealed, arguing that, as a matter of flaw, the wife was not a putative spouse. Continue reading

Generally, parents who share joint custody of a child will reside in close proximity to one another. It is not uncommon for circumstances to arise that trigger a desire in one parent to move to another state, however. Whether the Courts grant a parent the right to move with a child to another state depends on numerous factors, but if a Court issues an order allowing a move, it may be difficult to overturn. This was demonstrated recently in an opinion issued by a California Court in a case in which a father appealed an order granting his ex-wife the right to move to Georgia with their child. If your parental rights are at risk, it is in your best interest to speak to a San Diego child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and the father married in 2014. They had one child, a daughter, who was born in 2017. The father filed a petition for the dissolution of the marriage the following year. The Court granted the dissolution, awarded the parties joint legal custody of the child, and granted the mother primary physical custody. The father had visitation rights for three hours each weekday and weekends twice per month.

The California Courts have the authority to impose permanent spousal and child support obligations. Merely because a support obligation is permanent does not mean it cannot be modified, however. Recently, a California Court issued a ruling in which it discussed the grounds for granting a request for a spousal support modification in a case in which it ultimately reversed the Trial Court ruling. If you need assistance with a spousal or child support issue, it is advisable to contact a San Diego family law attorney to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife married in 1999, decided to separate in 2013, and were divorced in 2016. They had three children born of the marriage; two of the children are now independent adults, while the third, a minor, has non-verbal autism and requires constant care for the duration of his life. The mother is the minor child’s primary caretaker and has primary physical custody of him.

It is alleged that pursuant to an order issued by the Trial Court, the husband was obligated to pay permanent spousal support and child support to the wife. In 2020 the husband filed a motion to reduce his support obligations on the grounds that his salary had been reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trial Court ultimately granted the order, and the wife appealed. Continue reading

When people decide to legally end their marriage, it is not uncommon for the Courts to order one party to pay the other spousal support. Generally, when the California Courts impose a spousal support obligation on a party in a divorce action, the obligation will cease if the party receiving support remarries. There are exceptions to the general rule, though, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling issued in a divorce matter. If you are subject to a spousal support order and have questions regarding modification, it is in your best interest to meet with a San Diego spousal support attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the husband and the wife were married for about 13 years before deciding to end their marriage. They stipulated a judgment of dissolution; as part of the judgment, the husband agreed to pay the wife $1,000 in spousal support each month for seven years. About two and a half months after entering into the stipulated judgment, the wife remarried. The husband then moved to terminate his spousal support obligation.

Allegedly, the Trial Court denied his request on the grounds that the stipulated judgment did not agree to apply Family Code Section 4337, which states spousal support obligations terminate upon the remarriage of the party receiving support unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. The husband appealed. Continue reading

Many people living in and around San Diego have substantial assets. As such, they will often ask their prospective spouses to enter into prenuptial agreements before they wed. The California Courts will generally enforce prenuptial agreements unless unenforceable under Family Law Code Section 1615, with some exceptions. For example, a Court may decline to enforce part or all of an agreement on the grounds that it is unconscionable. In a recent California opinion, the Court discussed when unconscionability is assessed in a matter in which it rejected portions of a prenuptial agreement despite the husband’s objections. If you have questions regarding the enforceability of prenuptial agreements, it is wise to promptly confer with a San Diego prenuptial agreement lawyer.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and wife entered into a prenuptial agreement in 1994 that defined their rights and obligations with regard to spousal support and community property. The case proceeded to trial, during which the Court considered, among other things, whether the prenuptial agreement should be enforced. The Trial Court ultimately ruled that the provisions in the prenuptial agreement that limited the wife’s right to spousal support were unconscionable and declined to enforce them. The husband appealed, arguing that the Trial Court erred by determining whether the terms were unconscionable at the time of enforcement instead of when they were drafted.

Evaluating the Unconscionability of Prenuptial Agreements

The Appellate Court rejected the husband’s reasoning and affirmed the Trial Court’s determination. The Appellate Court noted that the wife struggled with mental health issues throughout her life and that she and the husband had vastly different assets when they entered into the prenuptial agreement. Additionally, the agreement provided very little for the wife in terms of property division and spousal support in contrast to the husband’s means and the couple’s standard of living. Continue reading

Few relationships are devoid of conflict; instead, it is common for romantic partners to have disagreements occasionally. Sadly, however, arguments lead to physical harm in some relationships, and in many instances, the abuse worsens when the relationship ends. Thus, many victims of abuse seek domestic violence restraining orders (DVROs) protecting them from their former romantic partners. In a recent California ruling, the Court discussed the factors considered when determining whether to grant a DVRO in a case in which they ultimately ruled that both the woman seeking the order, and her children required protection. If you are accused of domestic violence or need assistance seeking a DVRO, it is smart to speak to a San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married and had three children that were born between 2005 and 2013. They separated, after which the wife sought a DVRO protecting her and her children from the husband. The wife alleged that the husband persuaded the wife’s friends and mother to try to convince her to resume her relationship with the husband, asked the children to spy on her, and followed her male friend home and threatened to kill him.

Allegedly, during the hearing on the matter, the Court heard evidence that the husband harassed and stalked the wife. The children testified the husband yelled at them, prompted them to fight one another for his entertainment, and pushed, choked, and slapped them, under the guise that he was playing. The Court granted the DVRO as to the mother and the children. The husband appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence that the children should be included in the DVRO. Continue reading

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