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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Marlo Van Oorschot’s Radio Interview on Premarital Agreements

Premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial or antenuptial agreements, are used to opt-out of a state’s law that would otherwise govern the characterization and disposition of assets and debts acquired during a marriage; and, in some states such as California, spousal support.  The agreement becomes effective upon marriage.  This program discusses the legal and practical reasons for and against entering into a premarital agreement.

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

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Courts Can Order the Payment of Expenses for Special Needs Children

During a divorce or paternity action, parents of special needs children may feel forced or pressured to cut back on expenses related to the health and education of their special needs children. That should not be the case. California courts are required to order a parent to pay some or all of a special needs child’s reasonable uninsured health care costs. Further, courts have the discretion to order a parent to pay some or all of the costs related to a child’s special education needs.  Special needs children are generally those who are developmentally disabled including, but not limited to, children diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome or dyslexia; but also “gifted” children. Courts consider these expenses to be “additional child support” and they can be ordered in addition to basic (or “guideline”) child support. If a child develops special medical or education needs during a pending proceeding or even after a judgment has been entered, it may qualify as a basis to seek a modification of child support to compensate for the new expenses.

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Bankruptcy Does Not Discharge A Court Order for Child Support, Spousal Support, and Arrears

A common misconception about bankruptcy is that it can be used to discharge all debts and obligations, including child support, spousal support, and support arrears (also known as “arrearages”). That is not the case. Child support and spousal support orders are referred to by federal law as “domestic support obligations” and are considered “nondischargeable debts.” Any domestic support obligation incurred before, during or after the date of an order for relief under the bankruptcy act cannot be discharged.  This includes interest that accrues on those debts. Thus, a payor of child support or spousal support who files for bankruptcy must continue to meet his/her support obligations.

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Are You Unemployed or About to be Terminated? If You Pay Child or Spousal Support, You Must Seek a Court Order to Reduce Your Support Obligations

In these tough economic times, finding oneself unemployed is not unusual. If you have been ordered to pay child support or spousal support, California family law courts will only reduce your support obligation due to your change of income if you take immediate action. Thus, if you become unemployed, or receive notice that you will be terminated, you need a new court order.

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Parental “Gate Keeping” Must Stop

We finally have a clear statement from a California Court of Appeal instructing parents to not interfere with the other’s custodial time with the children. The Court also clearly stated that a court has the power to restrict a parent’s speech to promote the welfare of the children.

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Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy and divorce are very common yet unfortunate events especially during this recession. Although common, very specific and important implications occur when bankruptcy and divorce occur at the same time.  The law states that a bankrupt either the bankruptcy proceeding is resolved, an exception to the stay applies, or the bankruptcy court authorizes the divorce proceeding to continue while the bankruptcy is pending. Serious financial sanctions to the parties, lawyers and state court judges can be imposed by the federal judge if the rules are not followed. Therefore, if a bankruptcy is commenced or is contemplated at the same time a divorce action is pending, it is critical that bankruptcy and divorce counsel are consulted.

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Divorce Leads to Loss of Health Insurance

Health care and health insurance are very hot issues from many different perspectives. Two of the biggest concerns for most people are the cost of insurance and the ability to obtain or maintain insurance. These issues are no less important when facing a divorce. What people often do not realize is that when they get a divorce, they can no longer be dependent on their former spouse’s health insurance policy.

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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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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.”