Category Archives: Divorce

Hey, We Finally Got a Date of Separation!

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night…

Back in early April of 2016, we had an Article in this space, where we asked, “How Many Degrees to a Date of Separation?”  It observed the fact that (and up to and including that time), there was really no law in the State of California that actually defined what would constitute a “Date of Separation” in this State. Continue reading Hey, We Finally Got a Date of Separation!

There’s More To Grandparents’ Rights Than Meets The Eye

FLASH!!   The worm turns again; only this time, it’s a Grandpa Worm!

Have I got your attention?  A number of times in this series of grandparents-1256161-638x427articles, it has been mentioned that something can happen in our legal system and Laws, that simply changes everything.   It could be something the Legislature passes; or it could be a new interpretation of a prevailing law by a Supreme Court, or one of any number of our Federal and State Appellate Courts.  Think of the “Emancipation Proclamation” and the “Civil Rights Act.”  How about “Miranda vs. Arizona” or “Roe  vs. Wade”.   Continue reading There’s More To Grandparents’ Rights Than Meets The Eye

This One’s For The Children

The Importance Of a “Parenting Plan”

If a Court should encounter a Dissolution of Marriage Petition involving Minor Children, the Law would prefer that the Parties could be willing and

Dissolution of marriage involving children

able to fashion and agree upon a “Parenting Plan” that would enable a sharing of the custody and care of the kids, and on an equal and cooperative basis. However, it is often seen that such an arrangement will not be easily achieved, unless the parents would otherwise be willing to work together to an extraordinary degree, in order to facilitate such a committed arrangement. What is ironic, is that if the parents would be willing and able to so easily “get along,” they probably wouldn’t be splitting up in the first place. It is also generally seen, that the chances that a successful Parenting Plan will endure, will be the greatest, as long as the separated couple is living in the same general area, and where the kids have the same social routine and are going to the same schools, and where they can otherwise be exchanged with relative ease.

On the other hand, what if one of the parents wants to move away?

Continue reading This One’s For The Children

King Solomon Said ‘Cut ’em in Half!’ The Court Says Otherwise

The Best Interests Of The Children

In these days, when our courts and legislatures seem to be taking the view that the Dissolution of a Marital Relationship in California should be no

Santa Clarita Family Law

more than  “just a business deal,”  things will be found to be quite different when it comes to children of a failed relationship.  This change of attitude will pertain regardless of whether there has been a valid marriage, an adoption, or whatever other circumstances would find minor children to be under the care, custody and control of persons, who will be separating from each other, after having lived in a relationship with the children.

The difference in attitude can be summarized by the fact that the Law will require the courts to always act first and foremost in the “best interests” of minor children, when making orders regarding their health, safety and welfare.  Where the attitudes, when it comes to division of assets and liabilities, will appear at times to be without care or sympathy, that will all change when a court will decide in detail where and with whom a child will be at any given time of the day and night; as well as how and by whom such a child will be kept healthy, monetarily supported and educated. Continue reading King Solomon Said ‘Cut ’em in Half!’ The Court Says Otherwise

He Left Without Saying Goodbye! Now What Do I Do?

Can’t Wait. I have bills to pay and no way to pay them!

A circumstance that would be of particular concern for a Family Law Court, would be one where one party in a domestic relationship simply abandons Santa Clarita Divorce Lawyerthe other.  That circumstance would be of even greater concern, if there would be minor children at home, and under the full time care of the abandoned party of the relationship.

One would also expect, in the light of these circumstances, that the abandoned party (most often the mother of the children), as well as the children in her full time care, would be without sufficient support to maintain their health, safety and welfare. In the light of all of these circumstances, a Court should be expected to be amenable to an immediate and emergency approach, to secure adequate support for food, clothing, shelter, transportation and any medical care that should be needed to meet the needs of the children.  Continue reading He Left Without Saying Goodbye! Now What Do I Do?

The Dissolution of a Marriage in the State of California

Defining definite differences in the definition of divorce.

The Dissolution of a Marriage in the State of California is something that has to happen by and through the Superior Court of the State of California.  128px-Broken_heart.svgAfter all, the State authorized and licensed the marriage of a couple of individuals in the first place, thus recognizing them as married persons, as opposed to single individuals; and thus bestowing on each of them, not only a special title, but also, special benefits and responsibilities in the eyes of the Law and society.  So, it will be necessary for the State to oversee and declare a change in those distinctions and identities. Continue reading The Dissolution of a Marriage in the State of California

How Green Was My Valli: Part 2

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You(r Stuff)

Our last article ended with a question: “Hoe can one spouse give a simple gift to the other spouse during the marriage?” That question came up as part of a recent ruling by our

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Frankie Valli with The Four Seasons in happier days.

California Supreme Court in the case of the marriage of Frankie Valli. One might well reply, “Well, you can just do it.” But as it turns out, it’s more complicated than that.

Generally, property acquired by and through the labor of either of the spouses of a marriage, during the marriage, is the community property of both spouses from the moment of acquisition. Similarly, under California Law, that characterization as Community Property can not be changed to Separate Property, without a written declaration of “Transmutation” by the giving spouse, showing an actual and informed intent to transform the character of the property from Community Property of both spouses, into the Separate Property of the receiving spouse.

One answer could be, don’t change it to Separate Property; just leave it as Community Property; but what kind of gift would that be?

My Eyes Adored You(r Wallet)

The California Family Code states that the requirement of a written agreement showing informed intention and consent, will not apply to gifts between spouses of clothing, other wearing apparel, jewelry, or other tangible articles of a personal nature that will be used solely or principally by the spouse to whom the gift is made; and that is not substantial in value, taking into account the circumstances of the marriage.

Now, this might provide somewhat of a relief to a giving spouse. As long as a gift has no more than a modest cost. and as measured by past customs and practices of the spouses during the marriage, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, if one spouse were to “splurge” on a gift costing several thousands of dollars or more, the question might ultimately arise as to whether the so-called “gift” was not actually an investment of the marital partners; and therefore mutually owned by both of them.

So it all boils down to a typical answer to a legal question: It all depends!


How Green Was My “Valli?”

The “Four Seasons” Of Dissolution

A recent clarification of some basic principles of Community Property and Family Law, comes to us in the form of a ruling by our own California Supreme Court,

Frankie Valli
Singer Frankie Valli

regarding the Dissolution of the Marriage of Frankie Valli, the well known songwriter and lead singer for the group The Four Seasons, who is also lately epitomized in the musical, Jersey Boys.

One of the aims of a Petition for the Dissolution of a Marriage in California, is a request that a Court determine a description and value for each item of the “Community Property” of the Marriage, in order that it shall be ultimately and equally divided between the estranged husband and wife. That identification process is known as “Characterization.” Community property will be that property acquired by either spouse after the date of the Marriage, and before the date of the “Separation” of the spouses; and by the way of the labor of either of them; or the proceeds from, or exchange of, things that were already Community Property.

Generally, all other property owned by either spouse, would be that person’s “Separate Property.” Separate Property would also include items of gift to either spouse, as well as things inherited by either, at any time, including during the Marriage.

Big Girls Don’t Cry…Unless…

During the Valli Marriage, Frankie took 3.75 million dollars, acquired during the Marriage through his labor, and placed it in a joint bank account with his wife; and used it to purchase an insurance policy on his life, making his wife, Randy, not only the sole beneficiary of the policy, but also the sole owner of the policy itself. Randy thus claimed that the policy and its proceeds were already her Separate Property, and therefore not divisible by the court as Community Property. Not only was the policy solely in her name, it was also given to her benefit by her husband. Continue reading How Green Was My “Valli?”

You Think YOU Have Problems? Take a Look At The Size Of These Divorce Settlements!

Divorces aren’t pretty, and they can be expensive, but these celebrity splits were pretty expensive.

Once when asked the secret to a long marriage, Olivia Harrison (Widow of former Beatle George Harrison) replied: “Don’t get a divorce.” 

Copyright World Economic Forum (
Rupert Murdoch

Truer words could not be spoken. Marital bliss however, can be a tricky thing. If the “bliss” doesn’t remain intact and the issues can’t be resolved, divorce becomes the only solution for many.

Many divorces are amicable, with each soon-to-be-former spouse acknowledging the end in a dignified manner. They choose to split their assets and custody in as fair a manner as possible. This of course depends on the individuals, and may also depend on the basis for the split in the first place. When “holy matrimony” becomes “unholy”, that’s when a split becomes sticky…and potentially expensive.

Lifestyles of the rich, famous…and divorced.

Take for instance the case of Fox Network mogul Rupert Murdoch. His divorce from wife Anna Marie Torv in 1998 cost a whopping $1.7 billion (Yes, billion with a “B”) in 1998. Now if you think old Rupert learned his lesson, turns out his divorce from the subsequent Mrs. Murdoch (AKA Wendi Dang) will cost him just a smidgeon more at $1.8 billion as they announced their split in 2013. Continue reading You Think YOU Have Problems? Take a Look At The Size Of These Divorce Settlements!

The Captain and Tennille: Who Gets The Music?

News of the famous 70’s pop duo’s breakup leaves fans shocked. So what happens now?

News broke recently about the pending divorce of Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille, better known as The Captain & Tennille. They were the pop duo famous for such

The Captain & Tennille 1976
The Captain & Tennille in happier times, 1976.

musical earworms as “Love Will Keep Us Together”, “Do That To Me One More Time,” and “Muskrat Love.” They were a big name in the mid 70’s, garnering Grammy awards and a network variety show for a season or two. Their music still permeates grocery stores and elevators near you.

Currently residing in Prescott, AZ (And still living together in the same house), news reports indicate that Daryl Dragon, 71, was blindsided when he was served divorce papers by his wife, Toni, 73. The couple have been married for 39 years, and seemed to be the quintessential “Super Couple”. Dragon wasn’t the only one blindsided. Fans and social media outlets have lit up with one too many “Well, I guess love DIDN’T keep them together” anecdotes.

Who will get what when it comes to their songs and entertainment entities?

While few know the real reasons behind The Captain & Tennille’s breakup, some news outlets uncovered divorce papers indicating that Tennille considered their marriage “irretrievably broken.” Some speculators are pointing to the fact that Dragon has been suffering long term effects from a debilitating Parkinson’s Disease-type affliction (They don’t officially state his diagnosis on their website. They do say that he’s been suffering “some sort of Parkinsonsism” since the mid 90’s). Either way, until one or both of the couple (Or a representative) issues an official statement, any indications will only be speculative. Continue reading The Captain and Tennille: Who Gets The Music?