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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The Mediation Process

Any time that a Dissolution of Marriage or Paternity matter is filed with the Court and there are pending child custody and/or child visitation orders, a Family Court Services Mediation appointment is mandatory.  A mediation appointment is an appointment between both parents together and a Family Court Services Mediator only.  Attorneys for either party, or any other […]

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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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What Constitutes Annulment?

Annulment is likely one of the most misunderstood areas of Family Law. Having worked as a Family Law Paralegal for more than four decades, I find that most people have a false belief of what constitutes annulment. Most believe a short-term marriage, i.e., months long, qualifies them for annulment. Not true. Such a short-term marriage […]

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Financial Records

Keep Your Financial Records

When parties get married, they rarely think of their relationship ending in a divorce. Unfortunately, some couples eventually do get divorced, which may then require proof of the character and value of their property and debts. California is a community property state, which means that all property and debts acquired during marriage will be divided […]

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Dividing Support Order Divorce

Dividing a Support Order in Divorce

Filing a Paternity matter serves the best interests of both parents and the minor child(ren). Court-ordered child custody and visitation orders can be entered, as well as child support orders. Without formal custody, visitation and support orders entered through the court, each parent has the absolute right to insist that the minor child(ren) remain in […]

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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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