Category Archives: Marriage

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!

How Many Degrees To a Date Of Separation?

The Date of Separation is something that has to be decided before there can be any Judgment that finally dissolves a Marriage in the State of California.

It’s so important, that if you were to win the Lottery on the day Date of Separation in Marriage Dissolutionbefore you separated from your spouse, the winnings would still be the jointly owned Community Property of the both of you; but, if you were to win the Lottery just 5 minutes after you successfully separated, the proceeds would be your Separate Property. Continue reading How Many Degrees To a Date Of Separation?

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

What You Need To Know About Prenuptial Agreements

Whose Stuff Is It, Anyway?

With a couple of notable exceptions, California Law will presume that any property acquired by either of the spouses What do you know about a prenuptial agreement?in a valid Marriage, during that Marriage, will be owned one ­half by each of those married persons. That means they will already own it, on a 50/50 basis, and from the time it is acquired. It doesn’t have to wait to be awarded to either of them; it will already equally belong to each of them. Such property is officially known as “Community Property” in California.

Notable exceptions would be items of property that are acquired by either of the spouses by way of gift or inheritance, even during a Marriage. Such property would be and remain the “Separate Property” of the acquiring spouse. On the other hand, property that has been acquired by either of the spouses before the Marriage; or acquired by either of them after the date that either of the spouses might separate out ­of ­the ­marriage from the other, would also be the Separate Property of the acquiring spouse. Even during the Marriage, property that is bought with the Separate Property of either of the spouses, will remain the Separate Property of the acquiring spouse. Generally, all property acquired by either of the spouses by way of the labor of either of them during the Marriage, will always be the Community Property of the Marriage, and therefore owned equally by both of the spouses. Continue reading What You Need To Know About Prenuptial Agreements

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?

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!

Prenuptial Agreement

United, We Stand!

Several “hot” news stories have prompted a lot of calls and questions to my office. Here are a few facts Prenuptial agreementsand some law.

Before marriage, spouses can agree that certain property acquired during the marriage, which normally would be community property, will instead be the separate property of only one of the spouses. The “prenuptial agreement” must be fair and in writing; and, it must show that each of the spouses have the opportunity to consult legal counsel. In other words, it has to be seen that each of the parties knew what he or she were doing. Continue reading Prenuptial Agreement

What Exactly will a Court be doing, once a Petition is filed, that requests a Dissolution of a Marriage?

Basically, a Court will be required by the law, to restore the parties to the status of single persons (as distinct from legalmarried persons); and to identify and evaluate the “Community Property” of the Marriage; in order to see that it is equally divided between the former husband and wife.

If there are children, the Court has to determine with whom they will reside, at any particular time of a given day.  If Child or Spousal Support is appropriate, the Court will determine the time, amount and manner of payment of such support, and by whom.

As elsewhere stated in these articles, there are really only two ways to settle any legal matter, including a dissolution of a marriage: the parties will agree, and the Court will accept their agreement as a basis for the Court’s Judgment ; or, the contentions of each of the parties will have to be “tried” before the Judge, in order for the Judge to determine the one and only correct set of facts; and in order to then apply the appropriate law to the correct facts of the matter.

What is “Community Property?”

Community Property will be the earned product of the Marriage.  The labor of each of the Parties of the Marriage, will be a Community asset, and not that of just one of the spouses.  Property, or any other value, acquired by and through the labor of either of the spouses, during the Marriage, will be the Community Property of each of them, that means that it is instantly owned by the Community —- it’s not to be awarded in the future —- it is owned outright, form the time that the right to it comes into being.

For purposes of the application of this rule, the Marriage begins when the couple is pronounced as “Husband and Wife” during the solemn ceremony that unites them (see:What Makes a Marriage, Anyway?”).  That means: if you win the lottery on the night before your wedding, it’s Separate Property; and if you win the lottery on the on the moment following your wedding ceremony, it’s Community Property, under our Common Law.”