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California business owners face a unique set of challenges when they divorce. By law, a divorcing business owner may be required to hand over up to 50% of their interest in a business to their ex. Several factors determine the division of a business during divorce, even in a community property state like California. So to understand who gets what when it comes to business and divorce, here’s what you need to consider.

Is The Business Community or Separate Property?

In simple terms, the assets and property acquired during marriage are community property. While assets and property acquired before or after the marriage are separate property. So, when a spouse or couple acquires or starts a business during the marriage with community resources, courts will consider it to be community property and divide the asset equally between both ex-spouses.

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In many cases in which a couple gets divorced if there is a disparity in income between the spouses, the court will grant spousal support to the lesser earning spouse. The intention of spousal support is to allow the spouse with a lower income to enjoy the same lifestyle he or she enjoyed during the marriage. Most spousal support obligations are not permanent, however, but can be modified upon a showing of a significant change in circumstances. Recently, a California appellate court analyzed what constitutes a sufficient showing to warrant a modification in a case in which the husband appealed the trial court’s denial of his request to terminate spousal support. If you wish to modify a spousal support obligation, it is in your best interest to consult a trusted California spousal support attorney regarding your burden of proof.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

Reportedly, the husband and the wife were married for over twenty years. They filed a stipulated agreement to dissolve their marriage in 2014, which included an obligation for the husband to pay spousal support to the wife in the amount of $2,500 each month. The support obligation was to be reviewed in two years. In 2017, the husband filed a request for an order terminating the support obligation due to the wife’s new job and increased monthly income. Additionally, the husband engaged an expert who stated that the wife would require $3,300 per month to maintain the marital standard of living.

It is alleged that the wife opposed the husband’s request, arguing there were numerous factors the court must consider prior to ruling on the request, and requested an evidentiary hearing on the matter.  A settlement conference was unproductive, and the matter was scheduled for a two-day trial. Prior to the trial, the wife filed a brief arguing that there had not been a substantial change in circumstances and that she could not maintain her standard of living on her income alone. The court ruled in favor of the wife based solely on the wife’s brief. The husband then appealed. On review, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling.

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Accidents can happen at any time—house fires, car accidents, worker’s compensation claims, and injuries to life and limb, to name a few. A civil lawsuit or claim may continue for years after the injury. Sometimes civil claims arise while a couple is in the middle of a divorce. Which raises the question: How do California courts handle personal injury claims and insurance proceeds during a divorce?

If an ex-spouse has to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit because of the mishap, it’s not easy to determine which spouse is entitled to a payout or where to turn to figure it out. If you have questions about how the court will divide your accident proceeds, here’s what you need to know about accidents, insurance, and divorce. For purposes of this article, an “Injured Spouse” and a “Personal Injury Award” includes injuries to property, such as houses and vehicles, as well as injuries to life and limb.

Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders Ensure that Upon Service of a Divorce Case, Neither Spouse Is Permitted to Remove or Cancel Their Spouse’s Insurance Policies.

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California law does not allow retroactive modifications of child support orders. However, it does recognize what are known as “Jackson Credits” to resolve child support arrears cases. If you believe you are eligible for a modification of what you owe in support, here is what you need to know.

Jackson Credits Defined

Jackson credits arise when a non-custodial parent assumes full custody of a child but fails to file a motion to modify the underlying child support order, custody order, or both. If the non-custodial parent can prove that he provided a primary residence for the child, he can seek credit to reduce or eliminate the amount owed in child support arrears. The court’s rationale in awarding Jackson credits is that the non-custodial parent fulfilled his support obligation by providing a primary residence for the child.

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The California family law courts generally try to preserve parental rights, and in cases in which a parent is estranged from a child, they may order reunification services to help repair the parent-child relationship. In some cases, however, the court will find that reunification efforts will not be beneficial to a child, and will deny a parent’s request for reunification services. Recently, a California appellate court discussed when it is proper to deny reunification services in a case in which the mother sought reunification with her three children that were removed from her care. If you or the co-parent of your child have a strained relationship with the child and wish to seek reunification services, it is sensible to speak with a proficient California child custody attorney to discuss your rights.

Background of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and the father had two biological children. The parents were routinely investigated by child services due to issues with neglect and domestic violence. In 2015, at the end of the first dependency, the children were removed from the mother’s care, and custody was granted to the father. The children were then taken from the father in 2017, and after the second dependency, custody was granted to the mother. The mother subsequently had another child.

It is alleged that in 2018, a third dependency commenced after all three children were removed from the mother’s care. The County Children and Family Services (CFS) subsequently recommended that any reunification efforts with the mother be bypassed.  The court issued an order bypassing reunification services for the third child but granted the mother reunification services for the first two children, based on the finding that the two children were the same child. Counsel for the first and second child appealed.

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It is not uncommon for a couple in the process of divorcing to become contentious, and in some cases, contention can lead to violence. Frequently, both parties commit acts of domestic violence, and therefore, the California courts are permitted to enter mutual domestic violence restraining orders. In the recent case of Manishkumar and Ankola decided by the Court of Appeal of the Sixth District of California, the court discussed when a court has the authority to issue a mutual restraining order. It is prudent to meet with a skilled California family law attorney if you have been accused of domestic violence or are a victim of domestic violence.

Factual and Procedural Background

In the case, the husband and wife married in June of 2014, but their relationship quickly deteriorated. The husband filed a petition to nullify the marriage in December of 2015, alleging that the marriage was fraudulent. The wife filed numerous requests for domestic violence restraining orders against her husband. One of the orders was granted, and the court issued a domestic violence restraining order with a five-year duration against the husband. Then, in August of 2017, the husband filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against his wife. The wife filed a written response to the husband’s request in which she denied her husband’s allegations, but she did not file her own request.

It is alleged that in February of 2018, a hearing was held on the matter. Husband and wife both testified regarding various acts of domestic violence each party committed. Following the hearing, the court stated it was going to issue a finding that each party committed acts of domestic violence, and enter a mutual restraining order. Thus, the court entered a restraining order against both husband and wife. The husband appealed.

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In California, one of the most common questions that arises when it comes to divorce is, who gets the house? When couples divorce, they often tie deciding who gets to house to child custody, financial arrangements, and negotiations for other marital property. So if the ex-spouses do not agree, things can escalate quickly. And so can the legal bills.

If you and your ex-spouse are trying to decide what to do with your family home, here are some money-saving tips to consider:

Tip #1: Figure Out Who Owns What

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In any family law case in which the custody of a child is at issue, the court’s foremost concern is to develop an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. While typically custody will be divided between a child’s biological or legal parents, in some cases the court will find that it is beneficial for a child to grant a third-party custody rights. In a recent case ruled on by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth District of California, in which the ex-boyfriend of a child’s mother sought visitation, the court discussed when it is appropriate to grant a third-party custody rights. If you are involved in a custody dispute with your child’s co-parent or any other party, it is critical to retain a seasoned California child custody attorney to fight to help you maintain your custody rights and seek an arrangement that is in your child’s best interest.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that in July 2017, mother was arrested for driving under the influence and her two minor children were taken into protective custody. The plaintiff lived with the mother and both children from October 2016 through March 2017 and was the father of the younger of the two children. The plaintiff indicated during a dependency hearing that he wished to be designated as the presumed parent of the older child. At a subsequent hearing, the court found that both mother and the plaintiff had behavioral and substance abuse issues and named both children to be dependents of the court. The court also granted the plaintiff supervised visits with the younger child and mother supervised visits with both children.

Allegedly, the children were later moved from foster care into the home of their grandmother. The plaintiff subsequently petitioned the court to be recognized as the presumed parent of the older child, which the court denied. The plaintiff then requested visitation with the older child. Mother opposed the petition, arguing the older child was doing fine without seeing the plaintiff and that the sibling bond between the two children did not suffer due to the fact that the plaintiff only had access to one child. The court found that a bond existed between the plaintiff and the older child, and granted the plaintiff visitation rights. The mother appealed.

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In many divorce cases, the parties’ rights and obligations are delineated by a premarital agreement. Premarital agreements are typically enforced unless either party can show just cause for setting aside the agreement. Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth District of California discussed the issue of what constitutes sufficient grounds for rendering a premarital agreement unenforceable due to unconscionability. If you entered into a premarital agreement prior to your marriage and are contemplating a divorce it is essential to speak with a trusted California divorce attorney regarding how the agreement may affect your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the husband and the wife, who are both architects, began corresponding in 1995, when the wife lived in Russia, and the husband lived in the United States. Later that year, the wife began working as an architect in Houston. She completed all of her architectural drafting in English. In the winter of 1995, the wife moved to California and became pregnant with the husband’s child. She gave birth to a daughter in September 1996. After the birth of her daughter, the wife wished to remain in the United States.

It is alleged that the couple decided to wed, but the husband stated he wished to enter into a premarital agreement prior to getting married. Specifically, the husband was concerned about having to pay spousal support if he and the wife divorced, and about the wife leaving the country and gaining rights to his property. The husband and the wife met with a paralegal and signed a boilerplate premarital agreement in October 1996. The paralegal advised the couple that the agreement had been drafted by an attorney and had them execute a document acknowledging that she was not giving them legal advice. In part, the agreement stated that in the event of a divorce, neither party would owe the other party spousal support. Continue reading →

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In our current world, when a couple divorces it is not uncommon for one parent to move to another state. In most cases, the state that originally decides a custody matter retains jurisdiction over the matter, and other courts must abide by the original court’s order. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth District of California recently addressed the issue of when a court is permitted to modify a custody order issued by another jurisdiction. If you share custody of your child pursuant to an order that was issued in another state that you or your co-parent wishes to amend, it is critical to meet with a seasoned California family law attorney to discuss whether the order is subject to modification by the California courts.

Factual Background of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and father share custody of two children. The terms of the custody were determined by a consent order issued by a North Carolina court in 2017. In 2018, however, the mother filed a family law action in the California courts and registered the North Carolina order as required by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). She then filed a petition for an order modifying ten of the terms set forth in the North Carolina order.

It is alleged that Oral argument was held on the matter, after which the court ruled that California had UCCJEA jurisdiction and that California had jurisdiction to enter custody orders in the case. The court granted the mother’s petition in part and denied it in part. The mother then appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling on the grounds that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to modify the North Carolina order.

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