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4/18/2015
Can’t Enforce Back Support If Children Were Hidden
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that a Trial Court was not wrong by declining to enforce a 25-year-old child support judgment on equitable grounds where Mother had concealed Children for 15 years. In the case of In re Marriage of Boswell, Mother and Father were divorced in October of 1985. Their divorce judgment awarded custody of their two children, ages five and three, to Mother and orde... more 
 
2/15/2015
Alimony Contingent on Child Is Not Deductible
U.S. Tax Court has determined that Father cannot deduct as alimony the spousal maintenance payments he made to Mother because those payments were to terminate when their youngest child graduated from high school. In the case of Johnson v. Commissioner, Minnesota resident Father married Mother in 1989, and they later had three children. Those children were still minors when Mother and Father divorc... more 
 
1/18/2015
Kids Taken From Parents Smuggling Drugs into U.S.
California Court of Appeals has ruled that Juvenile Court was not wrong by assuming emergency UCCJEA jurisdiction over children whose home state was Mexico and whose parent had driven them to U.S. to provide cover for her drug smuggling. In the case of In re A.M., Mother and Father, had an informal custody arrangement regarding their two children whereby they each had custody on alternating weeks.... more 
 
1/17/2015
Must Report Joint Income on Separate Returns
U.S. Tax Court has ruled that Wife must report half of the community property income from partnership that Husband started post-separation with community property funds on her separate federal income tax return. In the case of Carrino v. Commissioner, California residents Husband and Wife were married in April 1990. During their marriage, Husband was a highly successful hedge fund manager, but the... more 
 
1/17/2015
Judge Marrying Attorney Not Disqualified From Case
In writ proceeding, California Appellate Court has ruled that Court Commissioner’s presiding over wedding of Mother’s divorce attorney while post-divorce support matters were pending in Father and Mother’s divorce was not an event that required Commissioner’s disqualification. In the case of Wechsler v. Superior Court (Wechsler), Mother and Father, in January 2010, engaged ... more 
 
1/1/2015
Receiving Tax Exemption From Your ex Is Tricky
U.S. Tax Court has ruled that prohibition against using Trial Court order, decree, or separation agreement as written declaration for purposes of claiming dependency exemption is not applicable to those that were executed in taxable year beginning on or before July 1, 2008 (the effective date of the prohibition). In the case of Swint v. Commissioner, Mother gave birth to Father’s child in 19... more 
 
12/27/2014
Divorce Court Can Issue Non-Compete Orders
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that a Trial Court that awards community property business to one spouse has the authority to issue a non-competition order against the other spouse to preserve the value of the community property asset. But, Trial Court must restrict its scope to geographic area where parties conducted the business absent evidence that broader scope is needed. In the cas... more 
 
12/14/2014
Courts Can Award Alimony in Domestic Violence Case
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that a Trial Court was wrong when it determined that it could not award spousal support to Wife in a domestic violence proceeding before it found that Husband had actually abused her. In the case of In re J.Q. and T.B., Husband, who lived in Orange County, and Wife, who lived in Wuhan, China, met online in September of 2009. They began corresponding by email... more 
 
12/13/2014
Forged Signature Means No Reportable Income
United States Tax Court has ruled that Husband who neither knew about nor authorized withdrawals made by Wife from Husband’s two IRAs is not a payee or distributee of those funds, need not include them in his gross income for federal income tax purposes, and is not liable for early distribution penalty. In the case of Roberts v. Commissioner, Washington State residents Husband and Wife were ... more 
 
12/6/2014
Parties Separated 5 Years Before Mom's Actual Move
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court did not err in determining that the divorcing parties’ date of separation was approximately 5 years before Mother moved out of their family home. In the case of In re Marriage of Davis, Mother and Father were married on June 12, 1993. Their daughter was born in August 1995, and their son in November 1999. After their Son’s concep... more 
 
12/5/2014
Evidence of UCCJEA Jurisdiction Must be Heard
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court erred by making a finding under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) regarding a more convenient forum to hear the case without giving the parties the opportunity to present evidence on that issue pursuant to California Family Code Section 3427(b). In the case of Brewer v. Carter, Mother gave birth to a son on Apri... more 
 
11/23/2014
Husband Keeps His Millions in Referral Fees
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Wife’s claim that Husband breached his fiduciary duty by concealing the true value of community property asset fails because that asset was negotiated as part of parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement and divorce judgment; Wife cannot pursue a set-aside motion because limitations period has expired. In the case of In re Marriage of Georgio... more 
 
10/25/2014
New Legislation Effective January 1, 2015
Assembly Bill 1618 - Juvenile Case File Inspection: Existing California Welfare and Institution Code Section 827 requires case files of dependent children to be kept confidential, except as specified. However, it also lists those persons who may be permitted to inspect the files, including, among others, the attorneys for the parties, judges, referees, and other hearing officers, and law enforceme... more 
 
9/21/2014
Mental Capacity to End Marriage Is Low
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that mental capacity required to end a marriage is similar to that required to begin a marriage, is lower than that required to enter into a contract, and is based on a party’s ability to make a reasoned decision to end a marriage. Furthermore, a spouse need not present direct proof of objective reasons that marriage is irretrievably broken. In the ... more 
 
8/29/2014
Emergency Law Restores Right to Modify Alimony
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 414: Urgency legislation, effective August 15, 2014, re-enacts provisions regarding request for spousal support modification after child support order has terminated. Before January 1, 2014, existing law provided that termination of an existing child support order constituted a change of circumstances that could be the basis for a spousal... more 
 
8/16/2014
Separate Property Can’t Be Awarded as Sanctions
In a partial reversal of a Trial Court’s decision, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court erred by awarding Mother all of Father’s separate property savings account as sanction under Family Code Section 1101(h) [non-disclosure of asset] because that statute applies only where undisclosed asset is community property. In the case of In re Marriage of Simmons, Mother and... more 
 
8/2/2014
Misdemeanor No Contest Can Mean No Support
In affirming a Trial Court’s decisions, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court may consider Mother’s misdemeanor conviction for spousal battery in determining whether to order Father to pay her spousal support, even though that conviction was based on a no contest plea. In the case of In re Marriage of Priem, Mother and Father were married in July of 1999, and later h... more 
 
7/27/2014
Disabled Father’s Parental Rights Terminated
In affirming a Trial Court’s decision, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court was not wrong by terminating parental rights of a mentally disabled father under California Family Code Section 7827 where expert testimony indicated that he was unlikely to regain mental stability in the future and having father in his life was not in child’s best interests. In the case of ... more 
 
7/26/2014
Custody Must Revert upon Return from Deployment
In a reversal of Trial Court, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court was wrong by failing to enforce a prior order requiring custody restoration to Father when he returned from military deployment and by failing to deal with custody issues in “fair, efficient, and expeditious process” required by California law. In the case of In re Marriage of E.U. and J.E., Mother a... more 
 
7/25/2014
Bad Parts of Prenup Do Not Make it All Bad
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court was wrong in declaring that the entire prenuptial agreement was invalid instead of severing unconscionable parts. In re Marriage of Facter, Father, a Harvard Law School graduate and partner in a law firm, met Mother in 1990, who was then selling shoes at Nordstrom’s on a part-time basis. As their relationship progressed, Mother told Fa... more 
 
4/13/2014
Marriage Doesn’t Void Domestic Partnership
California Court of Appeals has ruled that domestic partners’ subsequent marriage did not invalidate their domestic partnership agreement and that Trial Court did not make a mistake in concluding that surviving spouse’s knowing waiver of right to inherit, included in the partnership agreement, prevented him from claiming spousal share as decedent’s pretermitted spouse. In the cas... more 
 
4/4/2014
Mom May Have to Return Kids to Australia
In a reversal, a U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a U.S. District Court was wrong by denying Father’s Hague Convention petition because evidence was insufficient to support its finding that Children’s habitual residence had changed, that Father was not exercising custody rights when Children were wrongfully retained, or that Father consented to Children’s remaining in U.S. pe... more 
 
3/16/2014
Abusive Spouse Not Entitled to Spousal Support
In a partial reversal, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that a Trial Court did not err by terminating a spousal support award to Father under California Family Code Section 4325 without finding a change of circumstances because Trial Court had not considered Father’s history of domestic violence when it made the prior order and would not have made such an order if it had; the case of ... more 
 
3/8/2014
Spousal Support Can’t Be Tied to Children
United States Tax Court has determined that spousal support payments do not qualify as deductible alimony because they are periodically reduced on the happening of contingency relating to child. However, the Tax Court did rule that the final payment qualifies as alimony because it was associated with termination of support, not a contingency relating to a child (i.e., the child turning 18 years-ol... more 
 
2/23/2014
Difficult Father to Pay $200K in Attorneys’ Fees
A California Appellate Court has ruled that a Father’s persistent resistance to disclosing evidence of his financial situation “disentitles” him to appeal an award of attorney’s fees to Mother on grounds of insufficient evidence and dismisses Father’s appeal. In the case of In re Marriage of Hofer, Mother and Father were married in 1991 and later had two children. Mot... more 
 
2/21/2014
Military Dad Gets Child Back From Mom in England
In reversal, a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals holds that Mother’s consent to Texas Trial Court custody order giving Father primary physical custody of Child means that Mother also consented to Father having custody of Child in Texas for Hague Convention purposes. Furthermore, Child’s short time in United Kingdom with Mother while Father was deployed with the military did not change C... more 
 
12/7/2013
Purchased Pension Credits Is Community Property
In reversal, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that military service credit purchased during the marriage with community property funds is the parties’ community property, despite the fact that Husband’s military service took place prior to the parties’ marriage. In the case of In re Marriage of Green, Husband served in U.S. Air Force from July 23, 1982, to May 1, 1986. Beg... more 
 
12/7/2013
Husband Must Support His Foreign Wife
In the case of Liu v. Mund, an American man married a much younger Chinese woman in China. When they decided to move to the U.S. two years later, Husband was informed that Wife could not be admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident, based on their marriage, unless he signed an “I-864 affidavit” agreeing to support Wife at 125% of the poverty level even if they later divorced. Husban... more 
 
12/6/2013
Mother Sanctioned for Not Complying with Orders
In affirming the Trial Court, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court did not make a mistake by imposing California Family Code Section 271 sanctions of $552,153 on a parent whose refusal to comply with Trial Court custody and visitation orders and whose concomitant litigious conduct in Pennsylvania Trial Court frustrated settlement and added to the parties’ litigation costs... more 
 
12/6/2013
Psychologist Disciplined for Action Against Mother
A California Court of Appeals has affirmed a Trial Court that denied a writ petition of a psychologist who was disciplined by the Board of Psychology for unprofessional conduct and dishonesty involving his conduct as a special master in a contested custody action and his testimony in a Florida custody action. In the case of Rand v. Board of Psychology, Mother and Father were unable to resolve thei... more 
 
11/24/2013
NEW LEGISLATION AFFECTING FAMILY LAW CASES
SB 606 (De Leon): Harassment of child based on parent’s employment. California Penal Code Section 11414 [misdemeanor harassment of child based on parent’s or guardian’s employment] currently defines harassment for purposes of this crime as knowing and willful conduct directed at a specific child that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the child and serves no legiti... more 
 
2/8/2013
Father’s Disability Pension Is Separate Property
In reversal, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court was wrong by awarding Mother a community property share of Father’s California State Teachers’ Retirement System ("CalSTRS") disability allowance because those benefits were Father’s separate property. In the case of In re Marriage of Walker, Father, a school teacher since 1986, married Mother in 1993... more 
 
2/8/2013
Federal Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional
In affirming the lower court’s decision, a Federal Circuit Court has ruled that Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines "marriage" as a legal union between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. In the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Servs., seven same-sex couples who were legally married in Massachusetts, along with three... more 
 
1/20/2013
Fiduciary Duty Ends Upon Divorce
In a partial reversal, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court was wrong by basing a sanctions order partly on erroneous belief that the parties’ continuing fiduciary duty of disclosure under California Family Code Section 2012(c) extends beyond final judgment until end of Trial Court’s jurisdiction to order child support. But, the Court of Appeals did affirm Trial Cou... more 
 
1/6/2013
Mother’s Partner Is Children’s 2nd Mother
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court did not make a mistake in ruling that Mother’s former same-sex partner is presumed the parent of Mother’s adopted children where evidence showed that the partner received them into her family home and held them out to family and friends as her natural children. In the case of S.Y. v. S.B., Mother’s former same-sex partner (... more 
 
12/24/2012
Grandmother Not Entitled to Visitation
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that a Trial Court did not make a mistake in applying the clear and convincing standard to determine whether a grandmother, who sought visitation over the mother’s objection, had successfully rebutted the presumption that fit parents act in child’s best interests. In the case of Rich v. Thatcher, Mother gave birth to Father’s Child in Decem... more 
 
12/18/2012
US Supreme Court Will Hear Prop 8 Cases
On December 7, 2012, United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. In Hollingsworth, U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman only. In addition, U.S. Supreme Cour... more 
 
8/18/2012
Wife Not Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees to Fight
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Mother is not entitled to a fee award in an unsuccessful challenge to the validity of a Marital Settlement Agreement because the Agreement provided for an award only to the prevailing party and contained an implied waiver of any claims Mother might bring arising out of the Marital Settlement Agreement. In the case of In re Marriage of Guilardi, Mother a... more 
 
8/17/2012
Woman’s 3rd Marriage Valid since Her 2nd Wasn't
In reversing the Trial Court, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court was wrong in ordering Mother’s marriage to Husband number three annulled as bigamous because the prior marriage on which that finding was based was void under both Nevada and California laws. In the case of In re Marriage of Seaton, Mother married her Husband-1 in November of 1973. They separated in Januar... more 
 
5/4/2012
Grandmother Gets Visitation over Dad’s Objection
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that a Trial Court was not wrong by refusing to deny visitation to Children’s grandmother, over Father’s objections, because Father’s reasons for objecting to visitation were neither reasonable nor credible, Father admitted that visitation would be in Children’s best interests, and Father "practically admitted" that he was o... more 
 
5/4/2012
Father Not Allowed to Claim the Kids on His Taxes
A U.S. Tax Court has ruled that where Mother was given temporary sole possession of the parties’ family home during the pendency of the divorce case, but Father was awarded family home in the divorce judgment three years later, Father’s absence from family home was not temporary for purpose of the dependency exemption. In the case of Alarcon v. Commissioner, Texas resident, Father, sep... more 
 
4/13/2012
Man Who Slept with Married Woman Is Not Father
In affirming the Trial Court’s decision, a California Court of Appeals has ruled that the petition of a man, who sought to assert paternity of twins born during Mother’s marriage to another man, should not have been granted because he had no personal relationship with the twins and he could not rebut the presumed paternity of Mother’s husband under California Family Code Section ... more 
 
4/7/2012
Managing Spouse Must Prove What Happened to Assets
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that where a non-managing spouse makes a prima facie showing of the existence and value of community property assets in managing spouse’s post-separation control, the burden of proof shifts to the managing spouse to rebut that showing or prove proper disposition or lesser value of those assets. More specifically, Trial Court made a mistake, according t... more 
 
3/2/2012
Wife Labeled Vexatious Litigant by Appellate Court
In affirming the Trial Court, a California Court of Appeals has found no merit in any of Wife’s contentions and has designated Wife as a vexatious litigant. In the case of In re Marriage of Falcone and Fyke (Falcone and Fyke II), Wife, representing herself during pre-trial proceedings, acknowledged that Trial Court had previously precluded her from filing any more motions with the Trial Cour... more 
 
2/25/2012
Prop 8 Case Is on its Way to the US Supreme Court
A majority of Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that California Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because it violates Equal Protection Clause by targeting a minority group and withdrawing a previously-possessed right from them without a legitimate reason. After the California Supreme Court, in the case of In Re Marriage Cases (2008) 43 Cal.4th 757, ruled that the statutory language ... more 
 
2/4/2012
Life Insurance Policy Is Wife’s Separate Property
A California Appellate Court has ruled that Trial Court was wrong in finding that life insurance policy purchased during marriage with community property funds was community property where Father testified that he intentionally made Mother policy’s owner and beneficiary so that "there would be money for everybody," if something happened to him. In the case of In re Marriage of Vall... more 
 
2/3/2012
Second Marriage Valid Without First Divorce
A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Trial Court erred by finding that Wife did not qualify as putative spouse because her belief in validity of her marriage was not objectively reasonable. According to the Appealate Court, Trial Court should have focused on triable issues concerning whether Wife had good faith belief in her marriage’s validity. In the case of Ceja vs. Rudolph & ... more 
 
12/4/2011
Wife Can Sue Husband for Domestic Violence
A California Appellate Court has ruled that a Trial Court’s consideration of Wife’s claim of domestic violence in making its spousal support order does not preclude Wife from pursuing a separate tort action against Husband for that same domestic violence. In the case of Boblitt v. Boblitt, Wife moved in with Husband in February of 1983, and from the very first day, Husband began verbal... more 
 
12/4/2011
Court Applied Wrong Standard in Move-away Case
California Fourth District Court of Appeals has ruled that a Trial Court failed to apply the correct standard in denying Mother’s request to move with the parties’ Child to Minnesota because it determined Child’s best interests based on the assumption that the denial would preclude Mother’s move, instead of assuming that Mother would move and determining the custody arrange... more 
 
12/3/2011
Husband Liable to First Wife Even after Death
A California Court of Appeal has ruled decedent’s second wife is personally liable to his first wife for continuing spousal support payments up to the fair market value of real property (including joint tenancy property) he and second wife held at time of his death. In the case of Kircher v. Kircher, Husband married his first wife (Wife-1) on December 10, 1960; they separated on February 13,... more 
 
11/6/2011
Wife with Dementia and Alzheimer Can Get Divorced
A California Appellate Court ruled that Trial Court erred by dismissing a divorce case sua sponte on the basis that the dismissal would be in the best interests of Wife who was judged incompetent due to dementia and Alzheimer. In the case of In re Marriage of Straczynski, Wife filed for divorce in August of 2005. Her divorce petition stated that she and Husband were married in 1950. Husband’... more 
 
10/28/2011
Father Can’t Claim Children on His Taxes
United States Tax Court has ruled that although a divorce judgment entitled Father to claim dependency exemptions for his two children, he may not do so because Mother refused to sign I.R.S. Form 8332 Release of Exemptions. In the case of Nixon v. Commissioner, Washington State resident, Father, was divorced from his wife in 2002. Their divorce judgment provided that Mother would be the custodial ... more 
 

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