Articles/Blawg

I’ve presented these articles which I have written because I feel they offer good information for my clients. Reading them at your leisure will help you better understand your situation. If you have any questions regarding what you’ve read here, especially how it may relate to your own family law issue, please feel free to contact my office. We will be happy to arrange a consultation to discuss all your questions.

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The Right Way to Communicate With the Children About Divorce

July 7th, 2014

I sat in the judge’s chambers along with the other attorney listening to a child testify about how she just wanted her mom to pay attention to her.  In another case, children who used to have a loving relationship with their father were testifying about their refusal to now spend time with their father.  On each occasion, the children appeared scared.  As for the parents, in each occasion, one parent was visibly saddened by the involvement of their children in the divorce while the other parent seemed relieved that their children’s voices were being heard by the judge.

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The California Supreme Court Agrees with Frankie Valli: “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

June 23rd, 2014

In an echo of the famed singer’s long-ago hit, Frankie Valli’s former wife may be crying, as she lost her bid to deny Frankie his community property interest in a life insurance policy.   Imagine, paying the premiums on a life insurance policy with community funds, building a cash value and then when sick ensuring that your spouse will have no problems upon your death by naming her the sole owner and beneficiary of this policy.  But, before death occurs, divorce beats you to the punch.  Now, that gesture of good planning is used against you in a bid to deny you your property interest in a valuable life insurance policy.  Seems unfair?  The California Supreme Court agrees.

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Clients are Often Their Own Worst Enemy

June 2nd, 2014

Imagine a divorcing mother so desperate to control her own case that her conduct in the courthouse hallway results in her loss of custody of her children.  Imagine a husband losing his most valuable asset in the divorce because he was so desperate to “win” his case that he lies to the judge and is caught.  These stories are true and are examples of how clients – not their lawyer, not the judge, not the system, and not their spouse – are sometimes their own worst enemy.

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Sperm Donors May Have Parentage Rights

May 19th, 2014

Imagine you and your girlfriend strongly desire to have children.  You are unable to do so naturally, so you jointly decide to seek medical assistance.  You donate sperm and your girlfriend is inseminated; 9 months later, a baby!  You and your girlfriend jointly raise this child until the unfortunate ending of your relationship.  You seek to have a custody schedule implemented, when your girlfriend announces you have no legal rights because you donated sperm through a sperm bank.  What?  Can this be true? Up until last week, yes!

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Baby Boomers: California Dreaming Requires Planning When Divorcing

May 5th, 2014

There are 80 million Baby Boomers and they are getting divorced in record numbers. Recent and newsworthy divorces in this demographic involved Al and Tipper Gore, and the unforgettable daily onslaught of Frank and Jamie McCourt splashed across the television, Internet and newspapers.  These are good examples of people getting divorced after decades of marriage; however, they may not be good examples of the real life legal issues mere mortals, like you, me, our parents and grandparents face when divorcing. The financial stakes involved in these high-profile divorces should not trivialize some of the issues we – the mere mortals – would face in the ending of a long-term marriage.

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Tug of War: Summer Vacation

April 21st, 2014

The Matzo has been eaten.  The Easter eggs have been found.  It’s now time to think about summer, which is often stressful for families going through a divorce or custody litigation.  It’s sad but true, for many, planning summer vacation with the children is like the game of Tug-of-War, a sport that directly pits two teams against each other in a test of strength.  However, in this familial game of Tug-of-War, the children are the center line on the rope, which each parent is struggling to get into their possession.  While the actual sport of Tug-of-War is ancient in its origin and thrilling for the participants, I can safely say that in my twenty years of practicing family law, no parent and no child enjoys the proverbial Tug-of-War over summer vacation plans.

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College Expense as “Child Support” Gets the Green Light from the California Court of Appeal

April 14th, 2014

I am always amazed and a bit impressed by parents who, after a financially devastating divorce, want to find a way to pay for their child’s college education.  In California, state mandated child support ends (except for disabled adult children) when certain events occur, but never ends later than when a child reaches adulthood at age 18, or age 19 if still in high school.  Unless a child is disabled, there is no mandated adult child support (including for college) in California.

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A “Self Prenup”… The Big Impact of a Little-Known Legal Selfie

April 7th, 2014

The engagement party is over and the happy couple is diligently planning for their joyful wedding day.  One of the intended spouses, I will call him Danny, is wealthy.  Danny’s intended wife, I will call her Annie, is not wealthy.  Danny loves Annie because she is full of energy and makes him feel young.  Danny has made lots of money and has lots of assets, including real estate, which affords him the luxury of not having to work and instead only to have fun with Annie.  Because Danny was fully aware of the laws in California, he never asked Annie to sign a prenuptial agreement.  Annie was so busy having fun and planning the wedding, it never occurred to her that Danny had not asked her to enter into such an agreement.

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The Business of Divorce

March 31st, 2014

Most people know that the divorce rate is quite high, with the fastest growing demographic for divorce being Baby Boomers.  What many people may have not known is that last year, a report was issued by Babson and Baruch Colleges, which identified an exciting trend in the U.S. economy: entrepreneurship in the United States is at a 14- year high.  Logic therefore tells us that many entrepreneurs will divorce and will need to face the very difficult issue of the valuation and division of their business as part of a divorce.  It may be true that “hell [hath] no fury like a woman scorned,” meaning there is no force as powerful as an angry woman who feels she has been treated unfairly. With that analogy in mind, I invite you to meet the “scorned” entrepreneur who must face the valuation and division of his or her livelihood in a divorce.

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Grey Marriage + Grey Divorce = Elder Financial Abuse?

March 24th, 2014

The phenomenon of “grey divorce”- the term referring to the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older (“grey haired”) couples – has been in the news since 2013, when Bowling Green State University in Ohio studied this growing movement. Many of these marriages are long term marriages (i.e., often in excess of 25 years); others are not long term, but the individuals are all over the age of 50.  But, that is grey divorce. What about “grey marriage”?

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