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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’Tis the Tax and Support Modification Season

Tax season is over, so it is now time for all child and spousal support orders to be reviewed. In every case in which a Judgment has been entered and support ordered, each party has a right to request financial information from their former spouse. This is often done as a precursor to a modification of support proceeding. So, now that tax returns have been prepared and last years’ income information is readily available, it is wise to exchange financial information and determine if the current child and spousal support orders are still appropriate. If not, then a modification of those orders should be considered.

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The Determination of Spousal Support is a Relative Matter

The McCourt divorce was in the news this week, this time concerning the issue of spousal support.  The monthly spousal support sought by Jamie McCourt is nearly $1,000,000 per month.  While that number is mind-boggling to most of us, the judge in this case must determine the spousal support issue just as he would in every other case.

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Debt Relief for Families

With the current economic crisis, foreclosures have become commonplace.  That is why, in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was enacted.  This Act generally allows homeowners who have up to $2M of debt on their principal residence ($1M if filing taxes as “married filing separately”) to avoid having to pay taxes on debt that is forgiven or cancelled by their lender as a result of a restructured loan or a foreclosure.  Prior to the Act, when a lender decided to forgive or cancel some or all of a borrower’s debt, that amount was considered income and thus taxed.  For example, if you owed $300,000 on a house that was foreclosed upon, and it was subsequently purchased for $200,000, you were required to pay taxes on the $100,000 shortfall.

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Budget Cuts and Court Closures = Mediation

California is facing a financial crisis, which is resulting in court closures around the state and massive layoffs of court employees.  Although Family Law courts are likely the busiest courtrooms, court closures are already occurring. The State Treasurer, Bill Lockyer said:  “it’s going to get worse” next year.

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Marlo Van Oorschot’s Radio Interview on Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation, also known as targeting parenting, is often a significant issue in a parenting dispute.  The parent who is being alienated, or targeted, must take swift legal action to thwart such destructive parenting.  The parent engaging in such behavior must work to understand their role in the creation of a loyalty conflict for the child and the damage to the child as a result.  Most parents believe they are acting in the best interest of the child, but this is not always the case.  This program discusses the legal, emotional and mental health issues raised by this family dynamic and provides guidance to recognize when such behavior is occurring in the family.

You can listen to the entire interview (about one hour) by clicking on the play button below.

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Domestic Violence is Broadly Defined in California

Domestic Violence is broadly defined by Family Code section 6320 and a family law court can restrain and enjoin a person from “molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, telephoning, including, but not limited to, annoying telephone calls as described in Section 653m of the Penal Code, destroying personal property, contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of the other party, and, in the discretion of the court, on a showing of good cause, of other named family or household members.”

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Validity of Foreign Same Sex Marriages in California

On January 1, 2010, a new California statute became law.  Family Code section 308 has been amended to state that California will recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered into outside the state of California (see post below “Where are Same Sex Marriages Legal?”) prior to November 5, 2008, which was the date same sex marriages in California were deemed unlawful by way of amendment to the California Constitution.

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Where are Same Sex Marriages Legal?

United States:  Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and District of Columbia.

Other Countries:  Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Mexico City, DF (effective 4/10) and Portugal (date to be determined, possibly 4/10)

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Same Sex Marriages Not Valid in California

The constitutional freedom for same-sex couples to marry in California was short lived. On November 4, 2008, the voters approved Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to add Section 7.5 which provides that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”.  However, the State will recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered into before November 5, 2008.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce

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Marlo says...
“A great way to help alleviate your concerns is to learn more about the process. Reviewing this information could also help you develop questions you hadn’t thought of before.”