The California courts generally find that it is in a child’s best interest to maintain a relationship with both parents. As such, if one parent attempts to obstruct the other parent’s right to custody or visitation in opposition to applicable court orders, it can have serious consequences. As illustrated in a recent California ruling issued in a custody case, if a court finds that a parent unreasonably interferes with their co-parent’s custody rights, they may go so far as to reduce their custody rights and impose sanctions on them. If you have questions about what measures you can take to protect your custody or visitation rights, it is wise to meet with a Bay Area child custody attorney promptly.

Facts of the Case and Procedural History

Allegedly, the father filed a paternity and custody action in Ohio, while two months later, the mother filed a custody petition in California. Both parents sought to dismiss the Ohio case and transfer jurisdiction to California. The California court temporarily stayed the case pending the Ohio court’s jurisdiction decision. The Ohio court then determined California was the child’s home state, allowing the father to withdraw the Ohio case voluntarily. The mother subsequently attempted to dismiss her California petition, but the court declined her request, and she filed a request for dismissal a few days later.

Under California law, the courts can impose sanctions in divorce cases to discourage behavior that hinders the resolution of disputes and unnecessarily prolongs court proceedings. Such sanctions must warranted, though, otherwise, they may be vacated. In a recent California divorce action in which the wife appealed a sanctions order against her, the court explained the grounds for issuing such sanctions, ultimately finding that they were appropriate. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to understand your options, and you should meet with a Bay Area divorce attorney promptly.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the parties were married and subsequently divorced. In November 2019, the wife filed a request to modify spousal support, which was set at zero, claiming she had monthly expenses exceeding her income. The wife also requested the division of a business asset, which the husband argued was his separate property, and sought attorney fees and sanctions.

In many divorce actions in which parents have joint custody, the courts will deem it necessary to order one parent to pay the other support. As child support obligations are largely income-based, in cases in which a parent’s income fluctuates, it may be difficult to determine an appropriate amount, and the support order may need to be adjusted over time. As discussed in a recent California ruling, the court that issues a support order will generally retain the authority to modify the order as long as it is in effect. If you have questions about child support, it is in your best interest to speak to a Bay Area child support attorney as soon as possible.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the parties were briefly married before separating and divorcing; they had one child during their marriage.  In the judgment of dissolution, the court ordered the father to pay child support. In 2015, the mother requested a modification, claiming the father had misstated his finances. After a 2017 trial, the court reduced the father’s support obligation and ordered him to make annual Ostler-Smith payments.

Allegedly, in 2019, the father requested a determination of arrears, claiming he overpaid support since 2015. At a hearing, the court assured the mother she could conduct discovery on the Ostler-Smith calculations and present evidence at a future hearing, as the court retained jurisdiction over that issue. Nevertheless, the mother served discovery requests seeking the father’s financial records. The father opposed producing the documents. Continue Reading ›

Under California law, parents are legally obligated to financially support their children. As such, in cases of shared custody, the courts will often set forth orders obligating one parent to pay child support to the other. Disputes often arise regarding each parent’s ability to pay, however, and in such instances, parties will often hire experts to support their opinion. A recent California ruling addressed the disclosure requirements for expert reports in child support actions, ultimately rejecting the father’s claim that a report should be excluded. If you need assistance with a child support action, it is smart to speak with a Bay Area child support attorney about your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and father shared custody of their minor son, pursuant to a paternity action, and that the father was obligated to pay child support to the mother. The father subsequently sought to reduce his child support obligation. The mother requested a vocational evaluation of the father. The vocational expert issued a report in which he relied on documents in the record since the father refused to participate in the evaluation. The father filed three motions in limine to preclude the vocational expert report, which the trial court considered and denied.

It is reported that the court held a hearing on the child support issue, during which the father testified about his limited ability to work due to a car accident and presented evidence from his sister in support of his assertion. The expert testified that the father had several job options, including the option of working as a legal assistant, which offered the highest earning opportunity. The court admitted the expert report into evidence. The mother testified about her income and expenses as well. Considering the expert’s testimony and the mother’s financial situation, the court increased the father’s child support obligation by approximately $275 per month. The father appealed. Continue Reading ›

When handling custody matters, the primary consideration of the California courts is what is best for the child that is the subject of the dispute. This includes assessing whether either parent has committed acts of domestic violence, as the law presumes that awarding custody rights to a party who perpetrated such acts would be harmful to the child. Recently, a California custody case shed light on what evidence is required to rebut the presumption. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is advisable to consult with a Bay Area child custody attorney who can guide you through the steps necessary to protect your interests.

Factual Background

It is reported that the father filed an action to establish parentage for two children born when he was romantically involved with the mother. In January 2018, a stipulated judgment was entered, awarding both parents joint physical and legal custody. However, within a year, both parents sought to modify the stipulated judgment.

Allegedly, the mother subsequently filed a request for order asking the court to set aside the judgment on the grounds that the father had bullied her into signing it. Meanwhile, the father sought a domestic violence restraining order, asserting that the mother had previously carried out acts of domestic violence against him. Following a trial, the court set forth a domestic violence restraining order against the mother. The court also held that both parties had partaken in acts of domestic violence but had successfully rebutted the presumption under Section 3044 of the Family Code. The father filed an appeal. Continue Reading ›

In the state of California, without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement dictating otherwise, any property or income obtained while a couple is married is deemed marital property. Thus, when a couple makes the decision to end their marriage, it becomes vital to pinpoint the date they separated since any earnings obtained after that point are regarded as separate property. Recently, a California divorce case explained the factors evaluated in establishing when the separation happened. If you are considering ending your marriage, you should consult a Bay Area divorce attorney to evaluate your options for protecting your interests.

Case Background

It is alleged that the parties wed in 2007. A decade later, the husband filed for divorce. Disputes then arose over the date of separation. The wife claimed the separation occurred four months after the wedding, but the husband argued they only separated when he initiated the divorce. The case was tried before a judge, who court ultimately agreed with the husband’s perspective. The wife filed an appeal, contending the trial court neglected to consider her intentions and conduct towards the marriage, given the abuse she experienced from her husband.

Determining the Date of Separation in Divorce Cases

On appeal, the Court rejected adopt the wife’s reasoning and upheld the trial court’s decision. The Court explained that when a couple separated is a factual issue that must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. Upon review of a trial court’s ruling, the courts evaluate whether there is considerable evidence to support it, considering all reasonable and legitimate inferences. Continue Reading ›

In many marriages, one couple will act as the sole income earner while the other primarily takes care of the household and children. When a single-income couple divorces, the spouse that does not work outside of the home often experiences financial hardships. As such, the courts will often order the employed spouse to pay spousal and child support to the other party. The courts will consider numerous factors when evaluating whether spousal support obligations should be imposed, however, including the earning ability of the party seeking support. Recently, a California court discussed when it is appropriate to order a party to submit to a vocational examination in a divorce action. If you or your spouse intend to end your marriage, it is prudent to meet with a Bay Area divorce attorney to discuss how the decision may affect you financially.

Procedural History of the Case

The husband and wife married in 2001. They had four children during their marriage and separated in 2012. The husband held various jobs while the wife was a stay-at-home mother. The husband filed a petition for dissolution in 2013. The parties then engaged in extensive and contentious litigation. The wife filed a request for permanent spousal support, after which the court ordered her to submit to a vocational examination per the husband’s request. The wife objected to the order, but her objection was overruled. Following a hearing, she appealed.

Vocational Examinations in California Divorce Cases

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it explained that California law provides for both temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support. Temporary spousal support is designed to maintain the living conditions and standards of the parties pending trial and division of the assets. Permanent spousal support is intended to provide financial assistance as determined by the financial circumstances of the parties after their dissolution and the division of their community property. Continue Reading ›

When people divorce, it is not uncommon for one party to lack the financial means to provide for their basic needs and wants. As such, the court may order the other party to pay spousal support. In many cases, the courts do not intend spousal support to be a permanent obligation; instead, they indicate that such support should only endure until the receiving spouse becomes self-sufficient. If the receiving spouse fails to comply with a court’s warning to become self-supporting, though, it does not necessarily mean that the paying spouse’s support obligations will cease, as shown in a recent ruling issued by a California court. If you need assistance with a spousal support issue, it is advisable to talk to a Bay Area spousal support attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife divorced in 2001 after 17 years of marriage. During the dissolution proceedings, the husband agreed to pay the wife $900 per month in spousal support for an indefinite term. The court issued a judgment of dissolution in which it warned the wife that she was expected to become self-supporting.

Allegedly, in 2020, the husband filed a petition to terminate his spousal support obligation, arguing that he should no longer have to pay because the wife had failed to become self-supporting as she was directed to by the courts and because his health had deteriorated and his business had become less profitable. The court held a hearing on the issue, after which it reduced the husband’s spousal support obligation to $600 but declined to terminate it. The husband appealed. Continue Reading ›

In many marriages, one party will work outside of the home while the other takes care of the household and raises the children. If couples with unequal incomes divorce, the lesser-earning party will most likely be at a financial disadvantage, not only after the divorce is final but also while it is pending. In such cases, the courts will often find it appropriate to order the higher-earning spouse to pay temporary spousal support. While parties do not always agree with the terms of temporary spousal support orders, they can be difficult to modify, as illustrated in a recent opinion issued in a California divorce action. If you have questions about how divorce may impact your rights and obligations, it is smart to talk to a Bay Area divorce attorney promptly.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the parties married in 2001 and separated in 2020. They had two children during their marriage. The husband owned a real estate development company and other businesses; the wife did not work but stayed home with the children. In October 2020, the wife filed a petition for dissolution of the marriage that included a request for spousal support.

It is reported that the wife later submitted a document setting forth her support calculations, in which she requested approximately $30,000 per month in child and spousal support, which she deemed an interim request. Following a hearing, the court ordered the husband to pay $15,000 per month in temporary child and spousal support. The husband moved for a modification of the temporary support order, but the court denied his motion. He then filed a motion to reduce his support obligation, which was denied as well. He appealed. Continue Reading ›

One of the most contested issues in divorces is whether child support and spousal support are warranted and how property should be divided. As such, parties in a divorce action have the right to disclosure of each other’s income, assets, and debts prior to the court making any determinations regarding any financial rights or obligations. The right is not absolute, however, as demonstrated in a recent opinion delivered by a California court. If you are considering filing for divorce, it is important to understand how the decision will impact you financially, and you should speak to a Bay Area divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the wife and the husband wed in 2008. They welcomed three children during their marriage. In 2018, they separated. The wife filed a petition for dissolution in 2018 as well. Subsequently, the parties exchanged preliminary declarations of disclosure, income, and expenses. They then proceeded to a voluntary settlement conference. They were both represented by counsel during the conference and had the assistance of forensic accountants.

It is reported that after the conference, they entered into a marital settlement agreement that set forth their rights and obligations with regard to spousal support and child support and divided their property. The parties did not exchange final disclosures prior to entering into the agreement. The wife then refused to sign the agreement. The husband’s attorney filed a motion for enforcement pursuant to the terms of the agreement. Based on the terms of the agreement, the court then entered a judgment of dissolution of marriage. The wife filed an appeal. Continue Reading ›

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