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Redondo Beach, California, Family Law Blog

Artwork can become the focus of complex property division

There are many elements of a divorce, any of which can be a sticking point for the parties involved. Although many California couples find themselves bickering over all family law issues, a significant number find themselves focusing on one issue, such as child custody or alimony. Property division, though, can be one of the most difficult issues to ensure is dealt with fairly. After all, the way that property is divided may reshape one's life post-divorce.

In a high-asset divorce, it can be challenging to identify and value all assets and divide them. One asset that can be especially difficult to deal with is artwork. Why? Simply because the valuation of art is a subjective process. This can lead to highly contentious litigation where each side puts forth experts to proclaim the value of the property in question. Yet, the only true way to know the value of a piece of art is to sell it, which many art collectors, as well as those who have sentimental attachment, don't want to do.

Are you worried about your spouse hiding assets in your divorce?

Even if you believe that you and your spouse can divorce amicably, it's natural to wonder if the outcome will be fair. After all, there are so many things that can go wrong in a divorce. Some people are most concerned about child custody matters. Others know that shared custody is the best outcome, and they're worried about financial stability. Who will get the house? Will this impact retirement? What if your spouse has hidden assets to skew the process in his or her favor?

The more assets you have acquired during your marriage, the greater the overall incentive for your spouse to hide some of them from you and the courts. California is a community property state, which generally means that your assets from marriage are all subject to division. If you don't agree on terms before filing, the courts will usually handle the process. Sadly, if they don't have accurate information, the outcome could be less than fair.

Redondo Beach firm provides thorough divorce advocacy

When going through a divorce, Californians should recognize that their personal lives are considered fair game as evidence that pertains to certain family law matters. One's substance abuse problem, for example, may be critical to a child custody determination. Likewise, one's financial situation can become key when negotiating or litigating child support and alimony. In today's world, where a significant part of our living occurs online, digital evidence is becoming more prevalent in divorce courts.

This means that divorcing individuals not only need to be on the lookout for digital evidence that can support their claims, but they also need to be careful about their online presence. For most individuals, though, avoiding all online interactions, as well as text messages, that can portray a negative image is difficult to achieve. After all, digital evidence, just like all other forms of evidence, can tell various stories depending on how it is utilized.

Knowing about hearsay can be important in family law

Family relationships and divorces can run the gamut when it comes to amicability. Some couples are able to fairly resolve their issues on their own with little or no help from an attorney. Others, though, can barely look at one another, let alone talk about important family law issues like property division and child custody. For these individuals, the assistance of a qualified attorney can be extremely beneficial. There are many reasons why, but this week we will look at one in particular: the ability to handle hearsay matters.

Hearsay is a statement testified to in court which was made by another individual, and the statement is being offered for the truth of what was asserted within that statement. Generally speaking, hearsay is inadmissible in court. However, there are numerous exceptions to this general ban. Statements made by a party opponent, for example, are exempt from this rule. So, too, are statements regarding one's existing mental condition. Even statements made during a time of stress can be deemed excited utterances and thus exempt from the hearsay rule.

Child custody and the primary caretaker

For many Californians who are going through a divorce or a breakup, their future relationship with their children is their top priority. Although many couples are able to end their relationships amicably, thereby allowing each parent to play a pivotal role in their children's upbringing, sometimes the matter isn't so easily resolved. In fact, many times child custody disputes are the most hotly contested issue in family law. Therefore, those considering a divorce or a split with a significant other need to understand what they need to show to a judge in order to protect their rights.

Quite frequently, these cases revolve around which parent will have primary physical custody. That is to say, with whom will the child live? Previously on the blog we took a look at the child's best interests, and how this standard is applied to child custody cases. In addition to this standard, a court may also assess which parent served as the child's primary caregiver prior to the divorce or separation. This is critical, as a court may give preference to the parent deemed to have been the child's primary caretaker.

Modifying spousal support in California

Although many Californians see marriage as a way to proclaim their love for their spouse, undertaking such an act also has financial ramifications. Absent a prenuptial agreement, spouses agree to share their finances. While this may make paying bills during marriage simple, and one's standard of living may increase significantly, that can all come crashing down if the relationship ends in divorce. Of course, through the divorce process an individual can seek compensation that makes the split more equitable. This often takes the form of alimony, which we have discussed previously on the blog.

There are a number of factors that go into determining whether alimony should be awarded and, if so, how much. Yet, those factors do not remain constant over time. Instead, individuals change jobs, lose jobs, get hit by an unexpected medical condition, and remarry. These changes may have an effect on one's ability to pay a spousal support obligation. Instead of simply not paying the obligation and falling behind on payments, these individuals need to take action, as they may be able to legally reduce the amount that they owe.

Digital spying may impact divorce

For most Californians, privacy is of the utmost importance. Even though this may be the case, our privacy may be threatened more today than it ever has before. This can have serious implications for those going through a divorce. More specifically, individuals who are contemplating divorce or currently going through the process need to be careful and take extra steps to ensure that they are not being digitally spied upon.

The occurrences of digital spying may be more common than we think. Spyware can be downloaded onto a smart phone for minimal costs, giving someone access to another's emails, texts, and even keystrokes. Bank account records can be penetrated, and personal communications recorded. Some people even find that they are being tracked by GPS devices that are secretly attached to their vehicles.

A property division checklist can provide the direction you need

There are many challenges standing in between you and the end of the divorce process. For many, there is one that stands out from the crowd: property division.

There is more to property division than meets the eye, as you aren't always going to get exactly what you want. Even so, there are steps you can take to put yourself in position for success.

Man claims he lost child custody due to military service

Family law matters can be extremely complicated. Some people may think that a divorce simply results in joint custody agreements, an equal division of property, and the nonpayment of alimony, the truth of the matter is far different. Many couples wind up battling for sole custody rights, equitable but not even division of property and debts, and significant amounts of alimony and child support.

One issue that can complicate these matters, especially child custody, is military service. To see an example, Californians need only look at one recent case where a man is at risk of losing custody of his son merely because he is currently deployed to Afghanistan. According to reports, a judge awarded temporary custody to the child's biological mother. The child's father is now appealing the decision.

Surrogacy basics and the need for a contract

Many Californians find themselves wanting a family but without the biological means to do so. Whether this involves a same-sex couple, a single individual, or a couple that is suffering from fertility problems, these individuals may be able to find a solution through surrogacy. Surrogacy occurs when a woman agrees to carry a child to term for another individual or couple with the expectation that that individual or couple will assume the role/s of the child's legal parent/s.

There are two types of surrogacy. The first type involves using artificial fertilization where the surrogacy mother is the child's biological mother. This is oftentimes referred to as the traditional method, as it used to be the only option available. The second type of surrogacy involves the implantation of an embryo created by the expecting couple into the surrogacy mother. This is known as gestational surrogacy. Some couples prefer this method because it allows the child to be biologically and therefore genetically related to his or her future parents.

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