Articles Posted in Divorce

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 ›

When a couple divorces in California, their marital assets are subject to equal division. If the court finds that the distribution of property renders one spouse without adequate means for their support, they may award alimony as well. Additionally, California law permits the courts to grant temporary spousal support while a divorce is pending if they feel such support is warranted. Such awards will generally not be disturbed unless the objecting party shows the court committed an abuse of discretion, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling. If you want to end your marriage and have questions about your obligations or rights with regard to spousal support, it is smart to talk to a Bay Area divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the parties married in 1984; they had two children during their marriage that are now adults. They separated in the spring of 2010, and the husband filed a petition for dissolution later that year. The wife moved to Texas to live with her parents shortly thereafter. In 2021, the wife filed a request for temporary spousal support and attorneys’ fees. In support of her request, she filed documentation demonstrating that she earned approximately $1,400 per month while her husband earned over $12,000 per month.

Allegedly, the husband opposed the request and disputed the amount of his income. The court held a hearing after which it determined the husband’s monthly income to be approximately $9,800 per month. It granted the wife’s request, ordering the husband to pay the wife about $1,400 per month in temporary spousal support. The husband appealed. Continue Reading ›

Under California law, any property obtained during the course of a marriage is recognized as community property, which means that it belongs to both spouses equally and is subject to division in divorce proceedings. The presumption may be overturned, though, if a party can show that an asset was obtained via separate property and did not change from its original characterization, as shown in a recent opinion delivered by a California court in a divorce action. If you intend to file a petition for dissolution and you have concerns about how it may affect your property rights, it is in your best interest to confer with a Bay Area divorce attorney to discuss your options.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the parties married in December 2013 and bought a home the following year. The deed for the home was in the husband’s name, and the down payment was made using the husband’s separate property. Additionally, the wife signed a quitclaim deed. The wife filed a divorce action in 2018, and the marriage was terminated the following year. During a trial on reserved issues in 2021, the court addressed the issue of the characterization of the marital home.

It is reported that during the trial, the wife testified that the husband told her that she could not be on the deed, as she did not have a social security number, and asked her to sign a document at a title company, which was most likely the quitclaim deed. Based on the wife’s testimony and when the home was purchased, the court deemed it to be community property and divided the equity in the home between the parties after reimbursing the husband for the down payment. The husband appealed. Continue Reading ›

Many married couples grapple with debt, and disagreements over money are one of the primary reasons marriages end. In some instances, one party will lack the ability or desire to pay down debts, and the other party will use their separate property to pay community debts while a divorce is pending. In such cases, a court may choose to grant reimbursements or credits via what is referred to as Epstein & Jeffries credits and Watts charges, but they are not required to do so. If you have questions regarding your rights and obligations with regard to the payment of joint debts, it is smart to meet with a California divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Epstein & Jeffries Credits and Their Use in California Divorces

The term Watts Eppstein & Jeffries credits come from a 1979 California case, Marriage of Epstein. In that case, the court ruled that a spouse who pays community debts or expenses using their separate funds after they separate from their spouse is entitled to receive reimbursement for the other party’s share of the debt. For example, if a couple has a mortgage on the marital home, but only one spouse contributed towards the payment of the mortgage after the couple separated, the courts may order reimbursement to the paying spouse.

The California Family Code was later modified to reflect the court’s authority to order such payments. Notably, however, the courts are not required to issue Epstein and Jeffries credits in all cases; for example, they may reject a reimbursement request if the payments in question were made in replacement of support or other court-ordered obligations. Parties seeking such reimbursement must present their claim through a declaration setting forth the balance of the debt on the date of separation, the amount and dates of post-separation payments, the source of such payments, and any documentation supporting the claim. Continue Reading ›

California is a community property state, which means that any property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is considered to be owned by each party equally. Either spouse can identify property as separate, though, and it will remain their sole property if they divorce. Certain actions can transmute or modify separate property into community property, though, and anyone with separate property must take care not to take actions that will impair their rights. In 2015, a California appellate court issued a ruling explaining how and when the character of a property is defined and how to determine if transmutation occurred. If you or your spouse own separate property and you are contemplating ending your marriage, it is prudent to speak to a seasoned California divorce attorney about your rights.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the husband purchased a home prior to his marriage. By the time the couple married in 1993, the husband had paid off the mortgage. He also had a retirement account that he contributed to prior to getting married, which he stopped paying into at the time of the marriage. The couple lived in the home but after a few years decided to move to a town called Westlake. The husband retained the separate home, however. He made the down payment for the Westlake home from the separate retirement account and took out a mortgage loan in his name only. The loan application stated that the title to the house would be in the husband’s name, and the deed stated it was granted to him and his sole and separate property.

It is alleged that the husband sold his separate home and used the mortgage proceeds to pay for the Westlake home. The wife filed for divorce twelve years later. A prime point of contention was whether the Westlake home was community or separate property or a combination of the two. The court ultimately ruled that it was community property, and the husband appealed. Continue Reading ›

Recent changes in technology and currency have not only altered the global economy, but they have also modified settlements and property division in divorce cases. This was demonstrated in a recent California case in which the court found that the husband violated the fiduciary duty he owed his wife as well as her interest in the community estate by failing to disclose information regarding his cryptocurrency investments. If you are in the process of determining whether to end your marriage, it is important to understand how the investments you and your spouse own may be evaluated, and you should consult a knowledgeable California divorce attorney regarding your rights.

Facts of the case

It is reported that in January 2013, the wife filed a petition for divorce and, along with the petition, served her husband with a restraining order that prohibited him from transferring, concealing, or disposing of any property, whether community or separate. In April 2013, the husband made three bitcoin-related transactions. Ultimately, most of his $45,000 were tied up in a bankruptcy action. He eventually recovered a small amount, and in his financial disclosures in February 2014, disclosed ownership of 1,062 bitcoins.

Allegedly, the court found the bitcoins to be community property and divided them equally between the spouses. Only after the wife sought to collect her half of the bitcoins was it disclosed that the remaining coins were tied up in bankruptcy. The value of the bitcoins had increased greatly at that time, and the original investment of $45,000 was now worth $8 million. The wife filed a motion to have half of the value of the bitcoins transferred to her and to grant her attorneys’ fees. The court granted the motion, finding that the husband breached the fiduciary duty he owed his wife. The husband then appealed.

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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.

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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