Safeguarding Your Money if You Anticipate a Bitter Divorce

Articles by Carina Castañeda 31 August 2015

If you think your divorce will be a fight, prepare to take the steps prior to the start of your divorce. Part of the divorce process is figuring out how you will pay for things until your divorce settlement is finalized. 

Despite significant gains by women, in many marriages it is still the husband who earns the larger (or the only) income and controls family finances. I will have clients who are unaware of their spouse’s exact income, how it is invested, how much is accessible, and how many and what type of accounts they own. 

During your marriage, you and your spouse likely had a joint account(s) from which household bills were paid. Once one of you files for divorce, withdrawals from these accounts may be legally restricted through an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO). This is a court order prohibiting either spouse from making certain financial changes once a divorce action begins.

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101 Use of Experts for Family Law Cases

Articles by Carina Castañeda 19 August 2015

Certified Public accountants are used for financial issues, including: determining gross/net income available for support, identifying which assets are community and which are separate property, determining separate property interests in community interest (tracing of Family Code (FC) section 2640 claims), or community interests in separate property.

Forensic accountants are also critical in determining reimbursement rights. Examples would be for post-separation fair rental value or exclusive use and possession of community property (home), Epstein credits such as post separation payment of community obligations (car), Watts charges such as post separation exclusive use of community assets or any claims under FC 915, 916, 920 and 2640.

Appraisers are used for business valuation and apportionment experts. I have many clients that are in the tech industry and intellectual property expert is critical to my analysis of their assets. Real estate appraisers, brokers/agents are needed to value real property assets. The three appraisal methods are codified under Evidence Code (ECP sections 815-820.

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Family Law Vexatious Litigant

Articles by Carina Castañeda 29 July 2015

Family law cases: divorce, custody battles, child and spousal support establishment and enforcement, discovery, restraining orders and on and on. Family law litigation is stressful and personal. But when you have an ex-spouse or a parent who keeps filing frivolous motions with the court and loses each motion but does not stop, what can you do?

This type of litigation is expensive and stressful but is there a remedy? Yes, in California, vexatious litigant give you rights to put a stop to it. You can keep your ex spouse or the other parent from filing another motion until what they intend to file is pre-approved by the presiding judge.  A bond or “security” (putting up money aside that will go to you if they lose) may even be required.

A vexatious litigant is a self-represented individual who repeatedly files petitions, applications, or motions that without merit. The statutory authority is California Code of Civil Procedure 391(b) defines a vexatious litigant as a person who does any of the following:

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Fill Out Your FL-150 (Income and Expense (I&E) Declarations) Accurately

Articles by Carina Castañeda 21 July 2015

I just finished defending a client in his family law case in which the opposing party who is represented by an attorney filed a contempt affidavit for alleging that my client filed a false I&E. There were 10 counts of criminal contempt filed and I was able to successfully defend him by requesting dismissal at the outset of the trial.

The court affirmed my arguments for both the lack of standing of a private party filing a criminal case and agreed that the affidavit was defective. But notwithstanding that, my client had to undergo months of discovery, pretrial motions, substantial legal fees and eventually the trial to have the case dismissed in its entirety.

What is an income and expense declarations? These I&E are used for several reasons: establishing/enforcing child support, spousal support, attorney fees, sanctions. California law recognizes the critical importance of full and accurate disclosure of assets, liabilities and financial circumstances at the early stages of a family law action.

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International Child Support Enforcement

Articles by Carina Castañeda 15 June 2015

The issue of child support enforcement is a high priority to the United States. The Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Office of the Legal Adviser for Private International Law work closely with the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement to find innovative solutions to international child support enforcement problems.

Consular sections in U.S. embassies and consulates can respond to requests from the local U.S. child support agency for parent locate information from consular registration records regarding U.S. citizen/national parents registered with the U.S. embassy or consulate.

Information regarding the whereabouts of U.S. citizens abroad contained in Department of State passport records or U.S. Embassy or consulate registration records abroad is protected by the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a). For consideration of a request of a release, the state child support enforcement office must submit a written request. Individuals cannot make such requests, only state child support enforcement agencies.

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Media Appearances

Atty. Castañeda: Visionary, Leader and Pioneer

As the high school student body president, Atty. Castañeda was eager to pursue leadership roles on a bigger scale. At University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), she was active in university politics, various organizations such as Samahang Pilipino and a national sorority. She graduated with honors in both History and Philosophy.

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Awards & Recognition