When you are a parent going through a divorce, you will have to determine how you and your ex will share custody of your kids. Although you are ending your relationship with each other, you will remain connected as co-parents. Further, your children, and by extension, you, will continue to have ties with your ex’s family members. In-law and other family dynamics can be complicated both during and after divorce and are not always easy to navigate. This can be especially true when it comes to managing your children’s time with their grandparents post-divorce. If you are going through a divorce involving kids, you will want to know how grandparent/grandchild visits will work after the case is over. Here is more about understanding grandparent visitation rights under California law: Continue reading
When you file for or are served with a divorce, it can immediately impact your daily life, including your living situation. Once your case begins, you and your ex may decide that you no longer want to live together. While living apart during divorce can provide each person with the physical space they need, it can also raise certain practical issues that will need to be addressed. Having temporary orders in place while your divorce case is pending can help clarify each person’s responsibilities and minimize conflict. The good news is that it’s possible to get temporary orders during your divorce. However, temporary order issues can be just as complex as those raised during divorce. Therefore, it’s important to understand temporary orders and how they may operate during your California divorce case. Continue reading
Pre-Marriage PlanningThis is the best place to start protecting a family business but is often overlooked. A strong prenuptial agreement may address the issue of business ownership, especially if the family business predates the relationship. A family business that starts during the marriage may be a little tougher to divide.
Valuing the Family BusinessUsually, the parties need to know how much the business is worth before negotiating their settlement. The parties first may need to determine whether the business is community or separate property. If the business is separate property, did it increase in value during the marriage? The judge will need to know about the assets, accounts receivables, debts, and more. If the business itself or any increase in value during the marriage is counted as community property, courts and attorneys may calculate the value of the family business through:
- Pereira accounting often used when the business increases in value due to the non-owner spouse’s efforts.
- Van Camp accounting typically used when an increase is due to the economy or the business itself.
Negotiating the Divorce SettlementThe parties may decide to address the family business assets in several ways, including:
- Buy-out. One spouse buys the other spouse’s interest in the business.
- Sale. The parties sell their business interests and split the proceeds in a mutually agreeable way.
- Working together. If the couple both worked at the family business, they might agree to continue working together.
It’s Complicated.The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce proceedings, including business valuation. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist, and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Central California Coast.
Why Mediation Might WorkAn impartial person like a mediator can hear both sides of a disagreement objectively. Since the mediator has no interest in the case, he or she can facilitate an agreement between the parties. Some other important reasons to consider family law mediation:
- Mediation tends to be much less expensive than a court trial.
- A judge schedules hearings and trials around his or her schedule. A mediation usually can be scheduled for a mutually convenient time for all parties.
- You may receive your divorce decree earlier if you and your spouse are able to settle issues at mediation.
- Mediation is done privately.
Drawbacks to MediationThere are some reasons you may want to avoid mediation, including:
- If only one spouse wants the divorce;
- If you don’t know the extent of each party’s assets and debts.
- You or your spouse have secrets you don’t want to reveal.
- When spouses are unable to communicate or be flexible about terms.
Find Out if Mediation Will Work for Your DivorceTalk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.
Registered Domestic Partnerships Under California LawIn 2003, the California legislature passed a law that gave a registered domestic partnership the same legal rights and responsibilities as a married couple. Such rights include the right to terminate the legal relationship.
Forming the Registered Domestic PartnershipAdults in a committed relationship may file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership or a Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. They must be:
- Unmarried and not part of another registered domestic partnership;
- Unrelated by blood;
- At least 18 years of age, in most circumstances;
- Either both members of the same sex or an opposite-sex couple where one or both are over 62 years of age; and
- Both consenting to the domestic partnership.
Ending the Registered Domestic PartnershipThere are two basic ways to go about terminating a California registered domestic partnership – an easy way and a slightly more difficult way. The easiest way to dissolve a registered domestic partnership is to file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State’s Office. The parties must meet the following conditions:
- Both have signed the Notice of Termination.
- They cannot have had children during the partnership, and neither party can be pregnant.
- Their partnership must have existed for less than five years.
- They cannot own any real property,
- Their unpaid debts fall below the limit set by state law.
- The parties have agreed on a division of assets and debt.
- They have waived financial support.
Final ThoughtsIf you want to terminate your registered domestic partnership, discuss your options with an experienced California divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please call us at 415-293-8314. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
California LawsEvery state has its own family laws. While some states do not recognize legal separation, California law does allow legal separation of both marriages and registered domestic partnerships. However, the parties will go through a formal court proceeding. To start the process, one spouse files a petition with an appropriate court asking for a legal separation. The other spouse has 30 days to answer the petition for legal separation. After considering issues like child support, custody, property, and spousal support, the court decides whether to allow a legal separation. You may be wondering why a couple would go to the trouble of obtaining a legal separation rather than just getting a divorce.
Marital StatusDuring a legal separation, the parties are still married and so cannot marry anyone else. For some people, this is an advantage.
PropertyAfter a judge approves the legal separation, the “earnings and accumulations of each party are the separate property of the party acquiring the earnings or accumulations.” Separation of earnings may be a compelling reason for some couples to legally separate.
ReligionSome may prefer legal separation to divorce because some religions do not condone divorce. The couple can live apart without breaking religious laws.
ResidencyTo obtain a divorce, either party has to meet California residency requirements:
- At least one spouse must have lived in California for the past six months, AND
- That spouse must have lived in the county where the divorce will be filed for the past three months.
Legal Separation May Be a SolutionOur couple, Brad and Sheila, preferred the legal separation because it gave them time to adjust to the reality of divorce before actually divorcing. At some point, they may choose to convert their legal separation to a divorce or end the separation by reconciling. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of legal separations and divorce proceedings. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
State Laws on Property DivisionEach state in the United States has its own divorce laws, including laws about dividing the divorcing couple’s assets and debts. There are two primary ways to split marital property:
- Equitable Distribution. Most states follow this type of property division. Courts grant marital assets to the parties as a fair and equitable distribution.
- Community Property. A few states use the community property system. It is assumed that the spouses have equal interests in the marital property. Assets – and debts – may be split equally between the parties.
How Community Property Works in CaliforniaDeciding what is ‘property’ may be the first step in a divorce. Generally, property is anything that can be bought or sold or anything that has value. For example, Julie and Jackson own a house and each has a 401(k) plan. The house can be bought or sold, and the 401(k) plans have value. Therefore, the house and 401(k) plans are property that will be divided as part of the divorce settlement. A couple may negotiate a marital settlement agreement that splits their property to their satisfaction. Even so, it’s a good idea to have an experienced divorce attorney help. It’s not always easy to figure out what is property, community, or otherwise. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, a court will divide their property based on California community property laws. According to California Family Code, courts generally start with the presumption that the couple’s community property will be divided equally. However, courts may weigh in on whether an asset is separate or community property. Also, the court may award more than 50% of the assets to one spouse based on “economic circumstances.” When one party commits domestic violence or misappropriates funds, courts also have the discretion to award more assets to the innocent spouse.
Community Property Division Is Not Always Easy.Finding assets and determining their value, as well as whether the asset is separate property or community property, requires deep knowledge of California divorce laws. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist, and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Central California Coast.
Property Division, GenerallyIt’s been said a million times, but that’s because it is true: California is a community property state. This means that couples generally have equal ownership of property and debt acquired during their marriage. There are some exceptions. For example, gifts and inheritance usually remain the separate property of the spouse recipient.
Types of “Intellectual Property”By definition, intellectual property typically is a work of human intellect. In practice, intellectual property rights may attach to:
- Industrial design rights,
- Plant varieties,
- Trademarks, and
- Trade secrets.
Dividing Intellectual Property During a DivorceGenerally, a spouse’s effort, time, and skill are considered community assets. During a divorce, each party must disclose all assets and debts to the other party, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property. As with other property, intellectual property may be divided among the spouses, regardless of who actually created it. When it comes time to divide intellectual property, however, that property’s value can be a problem. A work of art or invention may not be profitable at the time of divorce but could generate future income. Determining whether an ex-spouse receives any future profits from intellectual property is a complicated issue. In re Marriage of Worth is one important California divorce case that involved intellectual property rights. The husband, Frederick L. Worth, had written and published several trivia books during his marriage to Susan Worth. When the couple divorced, they agreed to split the book royalties evenly. However, the husband later filed a lawsuit against the makers of the board game “Trivial Pursuit” claiming they had plagiarized his books. Though their divorce was final, Susan Worth claimed one-half of any proceeds from her husband’s lawsuit. Because the books were considered community property in the divorce, “such copyrights and related tangible benefits must be considered community property.” (See 1 Nimmer on Copyright (1987) §6.13[B], p. 6-37).
Intellectual Property – Divorce or Not – Is ComplicatedIf you or your spouse own interest in intellectual property, talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.
Health & Safety of ChildEach parent generally is expected to play a role in the health and safety of the child. In fact, the judge may consider this a primary concern when reviewing a parenting plan or making custody decisions. One way to promote the health and safety of a child is to remember that children generally are more likely to thrive when parents:
- Avoid physical violence toward each other or the child;
- Agree on living arrangements and rules;
- Provide a safe and appropriate environment for visiting with family and friends.
Relationship with FamilyAnother area of critical importance is the child’s relationship with his or her parents and extended family. A judge may scrutinize a parent’s interactions with the child before assigning joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole physical custody. Judges generally like both parents to be involved in caring for a child. Signs of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence taint a child’s relationship with the abusing parent. California divorce courts put the child’s best interests before the parent’s need to be with their child.
Stability of Living EnvironmentsWhile it’s important to consider how well a child and parent get along together, the living environment plays a big role in deciding custody:
- A parent who allows unsafe or illegal activities in the home may receive limited custody and visitation.
- Parents who move frequently and erratically may not be providing the best home environment.
Overall Best Interests of ChildCalifornia law requires a divorce court judge to make custody arrangements that are in the best interests of the child. During child custody discussions, courts may look at the big picture. For example, a child may love both parents, but the court grants sole custody to one parent or requires supervised visits with the other parent. This may occur because one parent has put the child at risk or ignored the child’s basic needs of health, safety, home, and family.
Make Your Child Custody Discussions CountStart with retaining an attorney who understands complex child custody arrangements., as does Judy Burger who is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. To discuss how to handle property and divorce issues, please call us at 415-293-8314. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
Some Signs of Abuse Are ObviousPhysical violence may be the biggest red flag. If you have experienced any of the following from your spouse, you have been abused:
- Hair pulling, slapping, biting, kicking, scratching, and choking;
- Putting you in dangerous situations;
- Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol;
- Using weapons or other devices to hurt you; and
- Forcing you to perform sexual acts.
More Subtle Actions May Be Abusive, TooSome signs of an abusive spouse may not be so obvious. However, the following behaviors may be considered mistreatment:
- Insulting remarks;
- Undermining your self-confidence;
- Demanding that you change your appearance or get plastic surgery;
- Isolating you from your family and friends;
- Destroying your personal property;
- Ignoring your wishes and boundaries;
- Harassing you with phone calls, emails, and texts;
- Monitoring your every move;
- Showing no compassion or empathy.