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Oakland CA Divorce Law Blog

Divorce, child support can impact tax filings

Since yesterday was Tax Day, we think it's important to discuss the tax implications of divorce for couples in California. Couples getting divorced should be aware of how their taxes may change and the impact it may have on their finances. 

Filing your taxes the first time after your divorce has been finalized can be quite complicated. Property and asset division, alimony and child support should all be taken into consideration when filing taxes. 

Planning for divorce in California may include support system

The decision to file for divorce is a highly personal decision. One of the many difficulties that some people in California may experience is the fear of the unknown. While some people considering divorce may have been through the process in a prior marriage, the individual circumstances of the present may raise new issues to face in a divorce. For someone who has never been through divorce, how to proceed may seem murky.

Before a person files for divorce, commentators say that a person may benefit from seeking guidance from professionals who are familiar with the process. A therapist can help a person in dealing with many issues that he or she may face when a marriage is on the rocks. Even when a spouse refuses to consult a marriage counselor or other therapist, an individual may benefit from counseling.

Additionally, consulting with a family law attorney may be important for a person to understand how to avoid mistakes that can happen before divorce papers are filed -- some early mistakes can have an adverse impact on rights when divorce papers are ultimately filed, especially related to property division.

Californians may need to address stock options in a divorce

Dividing assets and debts during a divorce can be daunting for people in the East Bay area. California residents who divorce are generally entitled to an equitable distribution of marital property. If a couple owns a pair of late-model cars that are not encumbered by loans, determining an equitable distribution of the property may not seem daunting on the surface, but arriving at an equitable agreement may take some negotiation.

Many people in Northern California have more complex asset structures than it may seem on the surface as well. Couples may have purchased a home during a marriage. Maybe a vacation property is involved. Working adults may have amassed significant funds in retirement accounts.

But, it is important to note that people may have assets that are not as obvious and can be overlooked in a divorce. California family law attorneys are aware that valuation issues can erupt in many divorces, but an equitable division of the marital estate may also require an investigation into what assets exist.

US Supreme Court holds tight on gun ban after domestic conviction

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that federal law prohibits a person convicted of domestic abuse -- even in the absence of violence -- may not possess a gun. The decision effectively overrules a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appellate court had previously ruled that the federal law barring people convicted of domestic violence applied to crimes involving the “violent use of force,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The recent high court decision says that the federal ban applies to any domestic violence conviction -- even misdemeanor state court convictions.

Generally, decisions of the Ninth Circuit are binding on federal courts chambered in California, unless the Supreme Court decides the issue. The justices voted unanimously to overturn a lower court order from the Midwest. The lower court had thrown out gun charges brought against a man based upon a prior misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction. The lower court had found no evidence of violent contact with the victim in the underlying conviction.

Income tax exemptions and child custody in California divorce

In many areas of law, tax issues may be of concern. During a divorce, a family law attorney may help a person to understand the tax implications of assets in resolving property division issues. A tax liability on one asset as compared to another, such as the cost-basis of a stock, may be important in assessing marital property. In divorces with children, tax issues may be negotiated in some cases.

With the income tax deadline looming, the issue of who may claim a child as a dependent after a divorce may be on the minds of some Bay Area parents. The IRS says that the custodial parent is generally entitled to claim a child for purposes of the dependency exemption on income tax forms. But, the IRS rule arises under federal law, not California family law. Notably, divorcing parents may agree to modify the general IRS rule in some ways.

Former California assemblyman arrested for domestic abuse

A former state assemblyman from Southern California has been arrested on domestic violence allegations. Few details about the most recent arrest against the man are included in a recent article. But, the same man was arrested in 2010 on domestic violence allegations after an argument was reported.

In that case, a witness had alleged that an argument turned physical. The former assemblyman, Chris Norby, and his wife denied that any physical confrontation occurred. He did say in 2010 that an argument erupted at the family's home over who should pick up the kids. Prosecutors did not pursue the allegations in court, citing a lack of evidence.

Judge finds majority of Harold Hamm's oil stock is pre-marital

Determining the value of a business interest can be an important process for some people in California who are seeking a divorce. A privately-held business may have many aspects that can affect the overall value. Generally, a publicly-held business is valued in a different way—with the price of stock relatively available. But, dividing assets in a divorce may often involve disputes in areas other than determining an actual fair value.

A judge in a West South Central state recently issued an order that may help to illuminate disputes in a high-asset divorce can be complex. It is important to note that California is a community property state, but what may be deemed community property may be an issue in some divorces.

Researchers may look to reasons for divorce, California does not

In late January we discussed research that sought to determine if the economy has an influence on the divorce rate. The researchers found that in bad economies, the divorce rate seems to go down. Some commentators say that money issues generally seem to be a root cause of many divorces and the recent study of the drop in divorces in a bad economy seems confusing in that respect. But, then some suggest that when the economy tanks, people often wait for more affordable days before filing for divorce.

When news breaks in California of a celebrity divorce, many tabloids seem to report suspicions of infidelity as paparazzi capture images of alleged incidents that make for fodder to attract readers. So, what is more likely the cause of a breakup—money or infidelity?

California appellate court decides non-compete issue in divorce

California residents who own a family business may have complex issues to work out in a divorce. California family law allows for several options of how a family business may be handled. Liquidating the business is one option. Buying out a former spouse’s share of the business may be another option. Determining the value of the business may be necessary, as well as determining what assets of the business fall within the marital estate as community property. Each individual story may have its own unique circumstances.

A California appellate panel has ruled that a judge could include a non-compete provision in a family court order, provided the order is properly limited in scope. California law generally disfavors non-compete agreements.

Facebook mentioned in increasing number of divorce cases

Last April, we discussed the plight of a woman who was in a contentious child custody dispute during a divorce. The family court judge had found content online that the woman allegedly posted regarding how she disciplined her child, along with other commentary about her kids. The idea of social media content making its way into family court is not a new concept.

In 2008, a national association of divorce lawyers said that about 20 percent of divorce cases across the country had involved at least one mention of Facebook, a highly popular social media outlet. By 2011, the percentage of cases that brought up Facebook had reached 33 percent.

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