California Spousal Support Basics

If you’ve just started researching California spousal support basics (or, if you need a refresher), this article will get you started in the right direction. However, if you need specific advice about your individual situation, it’s likely in your best interests to consult with a qualified family law attorney. In the meantime, it will help you to know…

Spousal Support is NOT Automatic

In California, spousal support is not automatic. If you need it, you must ask for it.

After you file your petition for dissolution (initial divorce papers), file your request for temporary spousal support immediately. If you don’t, you may miss out on several months of payments.

In addition, when you consult with your family law attorney, be sure to let him or her know if you want to explore permanent spousal support.

Written by Robert S. Kamin. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

California Spousal Support and Domestic Violence

We all know California is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. However, you may be surprised that there are certain areas of divorce and family where fault is actually a factor. A domestic violence conviction and its effect on California spousal support is one of those areas.

In a divorce case where a spouse has been convicted of an act of domestic violence against the other spouse within 5 years prior to the dissolution proceeding (typically with a petition for dissolution) being filed or any time after that, there is a “rebuttable presumption” that the convicted spouse should not receive a spousal support award.

Some of you may have said, “wow”.

Wow is right but don’t confuse the word rebuttable with “conclusive.”

Written by B. ROBERT FARZAD. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Gay weddings resume in California

SAN FRANCISCO — Same-sex marriages in California resumed Friday when a federal appeals court lifted a hold on a 2010 injunction, sparking jubilation among gays and accusations of lawlessness from the supporters of Proposition 8.

In a surprise action, a federal appeals court cleared the way, bypassing a normal waiting period and lifting a hold on a trial judge’s order that declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

The news came in a single, legalistic sentence Friday afternoon from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The stay in the above matter is dissolved immediately,” a three-judge panel wrote.

Gov. Jerry Brown told county clerks they could begin marrying same-sex couples immediately, launching plans for ceremonies up and down the state. The two same-sex couples who filed the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8 headed to the city halls in Los Angeles and San Francisco to tie the knot, ending their long fight to become legal spouses.

The first wedding, in San Francisco, began at 4:45 p.m. At 4:10 p.m., a cheer went up in the San Francisco City Hall rotunda. Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, made their way from the city clerk’s office, where they got their marriage license, to the marble steps of City Hall, stopping for photographs.

Written by Maura Dolan, Anthony York and Maria L. La Ganga. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Spousal Support, Does It Ever End

There is a presumption in California Law that a marriage of ten years is deemed to be a long term marriage. In some instances, marriages of shorter duration have also been found to be a marriage of long duration. The significance of this finding is found in Family Code, Section 4336, which states:

“Except on written agreement of the parties to the contrary or a court order terminating spousal support, the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties where the marriage is of long duration.”

Let us say that the Judgment of Dissolution states that Husband would pay $2,000 per month for a period of sixty months for spousal support and that the support would “terminate forever and no court shall have any jurisdiction to extend this award of spousal support either as to the amount or duration after said date.”

Prior to the expiration of this sixty month term, wife filed an application to extend spousal support beyond the sixty months. Wife argued that the agreement entered into previously implicitly authorized continuing jurisdiction of the court to modify support so long as the request was made before the end of the sixty month time period. As might be expected, the trial court rejected Wife’s argument stating that the agreement was explicit enough in that it did not have jurisdiction to continue the payments.

Written by James P. Reape. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Dividing It Up—Divorce Laws Vary According to Individual States

Sacramento, CA: Divorce in California is a community affair. No, it’s not that the entire community gets involved [although there are those who will tell you otherwise]. Rather, it’s that aspect of Family Law in California that dictates whether your divorce will be governed by community property or equitable distribution. Divorce lawyers will guide you through this, of course—but here’s the skinny that may save you your shirt…

Equitable distribution is observed by most states. What that means, is that any property acquired during the marriage is deemed as belonging to the spouse who earned the income necessary to acquire it. In the event both spouses contributed equally to the acquisition, the division is fairly straightforward. However, there can be variations. In most cases, one spouse will earn far more than the other—or income is split with one spouse paying for the mortgage and property taxes, whereas the other covers household expenses. Does the spouse who paid for the groceries, then, miss out on the matrimonial home? Would a full-time caregiver to children lose out on property because the other spouse earned the money to acquire it? There IS value placed on childcare and running the household. Divorce laws, together with the courts work all that stuff out on an individual basis.

Of course, in California you don’t have to worry about equitable distribution. That’s because California is one of the minority states that observes community property.

Written by Gordon Gibb. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Rob Reiner, gay marriage activist, ‘elated’ by Prop. 8 ruling

Actor-director and political activist Rob Reiner, who cofounded the group that led the court battle against Proposition 8, said he was “elated” when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defenders of the same sex-marriage ban had no legal standing in court, clearing the way for gay marriage to resume in California.

Speaking in a phone interview from a Connecticut set Friday, Reiner discussed the future of same-sex marriage in the United States, saying his group –– American Foundation for Equal Rights — would look for ways to continue its effort nationwide.

“To me, the concern at this point is how do we take these two landmark rulings on DOMA and Prop. 8 and fold that into ultimately a real try to find a way to use those two rulings and move ahead to allow marriage for gays and lesbians throughout the country,” Reiner said. “Right now we’ve got 13 states and D.C. and we have to find ways to make this available to everybody in America.”

Reiner said AFER would potentially look at bringing another gay marriage-related case to the courts that would address the constitutionality of the issue, in order to avoid a prolonged state-by-state fight.

Written by Kate Mather. To read the full article, click here.

Gay marriage rulings: California businesses await economic boom

On the day the Supreme Court handed two major victories to the gay rights movement, Rossmoor Pastries in Signal Hill put the finishing touches on a wedding cake celebrating gay marriage.

The cake — creamy white topped with two same-sex couples kissing — is the first of many that owner Charles Feder anticipates baking as gay weddings resume in the Golden State. He expects gay wedding celebrations, along with future anniversary fetes and baby showers, to be a boon to his business.
“When gay marriage was allowed previously in California, we did three or four [cakes] a week, about 20 a month,” Feder said. “I am expecting that to come back with a fury.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and denied an appeal to a ruling that struck down Proposition 8, which in 2008 banned gay marriages in California. Economists say those twin decisions could be a boon to both state and federal coffers, and grant new financial benefits to married gay couples.

In California alone, the state’s budget could see a gain of $40 million in wedding-related tax revenue over the next three years, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law. The federal government could gain $500 million to $700 million annually in taxes with the influx of newly recognized marriages, the Congressional Budget Office said.

Written by Shan Li, Adolfo Flores and Ricardo Lopez. To read the full article, click here.