This issue is sometimes litigated in divorce cases. In California, there are many scenarios in which a Family Code (FC) 2640 analysis will apply. The most common one deals with reimbursement of a separate property down payment on a home. For example, the residential home is purchased during the marriage and a down payment is…

Apart from settlement, a divorce trial is the only way that a court can make a final decision about your case. Settling a divorce case does not necessarily mean you and your ex-spouse have to agree on everything. You can reach a partial settlement on some issues and decide to allow the court to rule…

“Arrears” means past due support.  Arrears are created when a child support order is made and there have periods of time in which support payments were paid only partially or not at all.  Section 685.020 (b) of the California Code of Civil Procedure mandates interest on arrears at a legal rate of 10% as each…

There are many types of abuse, and a family law court shall take all of them in consideration. There are generally eight types of domestic violence/abuse: physical, intimidation, child abuse, verbal and emotional, social isolation, religious, male/female privilege (diminishing the victim’s authority and preventing him/her from contributing to the relationship and sexual abuse. If you…

The noncustodial parent (the parent who is not the primary physical custodian) must make a prima facie showing of detriment to child from proposed move to obtain an evidentiary hearing. I just had a hearing in which the noncustodial parent who lives in California requested that the court order my client who is in Italy…

A client who did not have an attorney during her divorce last year focused her intent in getting sole legal and physical custody of their very young child. In essence, she waived her rights to a much higher child and spousal support along with community asset division and in exchange she would have sole custody….

I have a client that resides in Illinois while mom and children (only 1 remaining minor) presently all live in Israel.  Mother requested the Los Angeles County Department of Child Support (DCSS) to enforce a private divorce order. The issues are a request for a modification of child support and determination of arrearages brought forth…

All too often in family law parties “stonewall” one another. They make frivolous request. They inundate the other side with faxes, emails, messages, letters, useless interrogatories, and more. They refuse to accept a reasonable settlement offer. What can a spouse do? California Family Code, Section 271 basically states that if “the other side doesn’t play…

Although family law and criminal law are two very distinct areas of the law, they frequently overlap creating challenges for lawyers who specialize in just one area. When a family law case involves elements of criminal law such as domestic violence, child abuse, restraining orders, alcohol  (DUI) or drug offenses, the case becomes exponentially more…

An annulment is very different from divorces. In a divorce, there are no questions about the marriage. You simply want to end it and move forward with your life. In an annulment, the marriage itself is questioned—whether it is valid and enforceable. In California, there are 2 types of annulments: (1) void marriage (not legally…

I have a client that has a visitation order of a mere 5% due to a prior restraining order. He came to my office and wants to know what his options would be. Since the restraining order had expired, a modification is “necessary or proper” in the child’s best interests. Generally, a custody or visitation…

Like most states, the standard for child custody determinations in California is the overall best interest of the child with an emphasis on assuring the “health, safety, and welfare” of the child and “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents. This is especially true when there are no issues of child abuse, domestic violence, or…

Family Code (FC) 2030 (a) to (d) enables a party without financial resources to have an “equal” playing field. Access to representation and preservation of each spouse’s rights is critical. This code section applies to divorces, annulment or legal separation cases and any subsequent family law matter related to those three types of actions. The…

A mother who resides in Norway is pursuing a case against my client who resides in California. As noted in my prior articles, Department of Child Support will enforce child support cases even if the mother and child is outside of the United States since we have treaties with certain countries. My client did not…

It is the end of the year and for many that is a time to assess one’s financial situation. For many clients, it seems like child support debt is something they can never “erase.” Unlike many debts, bankruptcy does not “zero” out your child support debt. In fact, the public policy towards collecting child support…

This area of law is unique in that it requires one to make “business decisions” (i.e. money and property) as well as decisions concerning “personal relationships” (i.e. who gets the children, how often does the mother/father see the children).  These factors combine with the complexity of the rules and procedures of family law make one’s…

Not having the funds to retain an attorney is a source of great anxiety for many family law litigants.  Proceeding without an attorney can have negative economic consequences. It is already an emotional issue and it seems even more impossible to navigate and comply with the strict guidelines required in a divorce case. Without a…

The language of Family Code (FC) section 4320(i), one of the factors that the court must consider in evaluating post-judgment or “permanent” alimony orders states: “Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in section 6211, between the parties, including but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated…

The U.S. government has negotiated federal- level reciprocity arrangements with several countries on behalf of U.S. jurisdictions. If a parent who owes child support lives in one of the 26 countries, that country will assist the U.S. in working the case, and vice versa. These countries are formally called Foreign Reciprocating Countries or FRC. I…

Ex parte motions, or “emergency” motions, are common in divorce and custody cases. Ex parte relief is requested when it is impractical or impossible to wait the minimum statutory period for the court to hear a “regular” motion. For example, a new client came in last week, wanting to stop her husband from taking their…