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Los Angeles Family Law Blog

Tax consequences in high asset divorces

When Los Angeles couples, whether married or not, end their relationships later in life or, even if they are younger, have a lot of wealth between them, there are special considerations they must take in to account.

One of these considerations is the tax consequences of taking on particular pieces of property, as taxes can profoundly affect how much money each person nets as a result of a settlement. Incidentally, it is a good idea for anybody with a significant amount of property to understand how that property will be taxed.

Take the fear out of a child custody hearing with preparation

You may have attempted to work out an amicable parenting plan with your future former spouse, but for one reason or another, the negotiations broke down. Now, neither of you can get to a place where you can resolve the matter without the assistance of the court.

You filed all of the necessary documents, and now you are waiting for your hearing date. As it approaches, you may begin to get nervous wondering how it will go. It may help relieve some of your stress if you prepare for your hearing.

What factors will courts consider when ordering spousal support?

Sometimes when a couple in California divorces, one party may be at a financial disadvantage compared to the other party. For example, one party may earn significantly less than the other, or one party may have stopped working while married to take care of the home while the other party worked. Because the state has an interest in seeing that both spouses are able to live comfortably after a divorce, sometimes the court will order the higher-earning party to pay spousal support to the lesser-earning party.

The court will consider a number of factors when making spousal support decisions. For example, the court will consider the marketable skills of the receiving spouse, as well as what the job market looks like for those skills. The court will consider the time and expense it will take for the receiving spouse to obtain the education needed to develop more marketable skills or find employment. Finally, the earning capacity of the receiving spouse will be considered, especially in light of the amount of time that spouse stayed out of the workforce while married to care for the family.

Cohabitation could affect spousal support payments

It is becoming more common and socially acceptable these days for unmarried couples to live together. While this generally does not pose much of an issue in a couple's daily lives, cohabitation could have a significant impact on them if one partner is receiving spousal support from a previous marriage.

Under California law, when a spouse receiving spousal support begins cohabitating with a partner he or she is not married to, it is possible that a modification or termination of the spousal support could be ordered by the court if the court determines that the receiving spouse's circumstances have changed. There is a rebuttable presumption that cohabitation decreases the receiving spouse's need for spousal support.

What issues should parenting plans in California address?

Parenting plans are written agreements that parents in California who are going through a divorce or are no longer in a relationship with one another will execute with regards to the care and custody of their child. Oftentimes, parents are able to establish a parenting plan out of court. Once the parenting plan is complete, it can be submitted for court approval, making it legally binding.

A parenting plan should address two main issues: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody entails which parent will have care of the child and when. Parents will need to determine who the child will live with on weekdays and weekends. They will need to decide who the child will spend holidays and vacations from school with. They will need to decide which parent will be in charge of which activities the child has on certain days like, for example, extracurricular activities, but also daily responsibilities such as homework. Parents will also need to decide how child custody exchanges will work, and who will pay for transportation expenses.

Skilled help to reach a fair divorce settlement

Property division in a divorce is not as simple as some Californians may think. One might believe that everything will just be split down the middle and each party will go their separate ways. However, the division of assets is more complex than that, and any mistakes made could affect a person's financial future for the rest of their life.

California is a "community property" state. This means that unlike assets a person had prior to getting married, the assets obtained during the course of the marriage are considered marital property that each party has a right to. However, this doesn't mean that a perfect 50/50 split is inevitable. Moreover, determining what property is marital, and what property a party owns separately can be complex.

3 verbal tactics a parent may use to alienate the other parent

When divorces turn ugly, parents may immediately begin to feel concern for their kids. You may have found yourself in this type of situation as you and your ex-spouse became increasingly unable to work together throughout the divorce process. Still, you came to custody terms that allowed you to maintain a relationship with your kids.

Over time, however, you may have noticed that your kids seemed colder to you than usual. You may not have made any major changes in the way you treat your children or the activities that you participate in while you are together, so you may wonder what prompted the change. Of course, because of your tumultuous relationship with your ex, you may worry that he or she has tried to poison the kids against you.

Review parenting plans before the new school year begins

Summer is winding down for many children in California, meaning it is back-to-school time. This can be a time of nervousness and anticipation for any child, but especially so for children whose parents have divorced. Parents in such situations can take steps to ensure their child successfully transitions back to the school year.

First, it helps to have a parenting plan for the school year that both parents are satisfied with and committed to. In a parenting plan, parents will have to decide who has possession of the child and when during the school year, which may be different than the arrangements they had during the summertime.

Some Californians may benefit from a 2018 divorce

It may seem hard to believe, but 2018 is already more than half way over, and 2019 is looming. For people in Los Angeles trapped in unhappy marriages, they may be eager to divorce. While all divorce issues should be carefully thought out, there could be advantages to finalizing for divorce before the year's end.

First, federal tax law has changed in a way that majorly shifts the tax status of spousal support payments. Currently, the party paying spousal support can deduct these payments on their annual income taxes, while the party receiving spousal support must include those payments as taxable income. However, starting January 1, 2019, the party paying spousal support will no longer be able to deduct these payments on their annual income taxes and the party receiving spousal support will not need to report it as taxable income. Because divorces finalized prior to January 1, 2019, will be grandfathered into the old tax laws, if these changes pose an issue to a divorcing couple, they may want to finalize their divorce sooner rather than later.

Can a support order modification in California be retroactive?

When a person in California divorces, their life changes dramatically. This is particularly true when it comes to finances. Not only will they have to adjust to living on a single income, but they may be ordered to pay (or receive) child support, spousal support or both. However, life is rarely static, and a support order that worked when the parties first divorced may not work years down the road. When this happens, either party may seek to modify the current support order.

Under California Family Code Section 3653, if a spouse is seeking to modify a support order, if there is cause to do so, the order can be made retroactive, going back to the date the party seeking modification filed notice of the motion. If an order is modified or terminated because either party is unemployed, the order may be made retroactive either going back to when the opposing party was notified of the motion or to the date the party became unemployed unless there is good cause to show that the order should not be made retroactive.

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  • State Bar Of California | CBLS | California Board Of Legal Specialization
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • LACBA | The Los Angeles County Bar Association

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