Which Parent Claims Their Child As An Exemption On Federal Tax Returns?

When parents divorce or were never married, the general rule is that the custodial parent (whichever parent has more overnights during a calendar year) claims the child as an exemption on his/her tax return.  The other parent is the noncustodial parent.  If the child was with each parent for an equal number of nights, the custodial parent […]

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Dividing Community Property and Debts

Depending upon the length of your marriage, you accumulate an abundance of items during marriage.  In the unfortunate event of a divorce, items and property you once never imagined dividing must now be divided.  If you share with family and/or friends that you and your spouse are at a point in your Dissolution of Marriage process of […]

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Nonviolent Conduct That Can Be Restrained Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA)

There is a common misconception that Restraining Orders can only be obtained after one party has inflicted physical abuse on the other party.  While all physical violence constitutes abuse under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA,) not all abuse involves physical violence. Increasingly, courts are granting protective orders for nonviolent conduct that disturbs the peace of another. […]

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Can the Court Order Custody of Family Pets in Divorce?

Many pet owners would considers their pets more like their children than property.  However,  pets animals are considered personal property. Penal Code section 491 provides: “Dogs are personal property, and their value is to be ascertained in the same manner as the value of other property.” Newly enacted Family Code section 2605 provides that the court may […]

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Support Orders involving Fluctuating or Bonus Income Ostler/Smith Order.

When the payor spouse receives fluctuating bonuses, a support order must be carefully drafted.  Let’s take a look at a relatively common situation in support order cases. Husband is the high income earner and receives a base salary plus bonus or commission pay which fluctuates based on performance.  This is commonly addressed using a percentage […]

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Pensions and Retirement Plans at the Death of Participant Spouse

  Can you divide a retirement plan when the participant spouse dies before entry of an Order dividing the plan? In California, Pension and other retirement plan contributions made during marriage are considered community property. Any contributions made prior to marriage or after separation are the separate property of the contributing spouse. Determining the community […]

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Reimbursements for Community Property Contributions to Education or Training

Family Code Section 2641 provides that the community shall be reimbursed for community contributions to education or training of a party that substantially enhances the earning capacity of the party.  Additionally, the amount reimbursed includes interest at the legal rate (currently 10 %) calculated from the end of the calendar year in which the contributions […]

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