Archive for the ‘ Divorce ’ Category

Subpoenas In Divorce Cases

Posted on: October 15, 2018 by in Divorce
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A divorce is not easy, but it can be a lot harder when the person you are divorcing will not even cooperate in the divorce process. An uncooperative spouse can make it quite difficult to obtain the evidence you will need to ensure that you receive a just and fair divorce settlement.

Thanks to uncooperative spouses, divorce attorneys in Cerritos often hear questions like these from their clients:

1. How can I prove that my wife or husband is not too sick to work?
2. How can I prove that my wife or husband is working and paid “under the table?”
3. How can I prove that my wife or husband is hiding assets?

If you are getting a divorce in this state, and if your spouse is not cooperating, you’ll need to know how to obtain information about your spouse’s income and assets. You’ll learn that below.

WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT DIVORCE IN CALIFORNIA?

But the most important thing to know about divorce in southern California is that from the very beginning of the process, you must have the insights and guidance that an experienced Cerritos divorce lawyer can provide.

So how can you acquire the documentation and evidence that you’ll need for your divorce? By using subpoenas. In California, a subpoena is one of the most powerful legal tools that your divorce attorney can use on your behalf.

A partner who is hiding assets during a divorce is trying to hold onto more than his or her share of the marital assets while keeping the other partner from receiving his or her fair share. It’s a completely illegal and unethical strategy, but it happens all too often in divorces in California.

Subpoenas may also compel unwilling witnesses to testify. Someone who is a friend of both spouses may not want to become involved in their divorce. Divorces often have genuinely high stakes, so some parties may be unwilling to offer their testimony or other valuable information.

HOW CAN A SUBPOENA HELP YOU?

A subpoena, however, can legally force an unwilling party to participate.

A subpoena is a court order; the recipient of a subpoena must comply with the order unless that person has an acceptable legal reason for not complying. There are several types of subpoenas, but these are the subpoenas that are most likely to be used in a California divorce proceeding:

1. Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Trial or Hearing (form SUBP-001): This subpoena compels a witness to appear at a trial or evidentiary hearing.

2. Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents (form SUBP-002): This subpoena includes an order to the witness to bring a certain item or items of evidence when he or she appears and testifies at the trial or evidentiary hearing.

3. Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records (form SUBP-010): This subpoena requests business records that, in a divorce, may include bank and credit card statements, investment accounts, employment records, medical records, and more.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN A DIVORCE IF ONE SPOUSE IS DISHONEST?

SUBP-010 is especially helpful in divorce situations where one spouse is suspected of underreporting income or hiding assets.

Some people are quite creative when they underreport income or hide assets. Some divorcing spouses try to hide assets in foreign banks. Others temporarily shift ownership of their assets to a friend or a relative. All kinds of deceptions have been used.

If you reasonably believe that the partner you are divorcing has not provided the court with complete and accurate financial disclosure information, inform your divorce lawyer immediately.

If your spouse tries to deceive the court regarding property and assets, he or she could be compelled to pay your attorney’s fees or could even be ordered to jail for contempt of court. California judges have the authority to deal harshly with deception in divorce cases.

HOW WILL A DIVORCE ATTORNEY HELP YOU?

The frequent need for subpoenas in divorce cases is one reason why, if you are divorcing in southern California, you must have a reputable divorce attorney representing you and advocating on your behalf.

If you are not an attorney, you probably will not know the different types of subpoenas and how they are issued. Your divorce attorney routinely handles these matters and knows what it takes to protect your rights in a divorce case.

At your first consultation with your divorce attorney, the two of you should review the facts in your case and try to determine which persons you may need as witnesses and which records you may need to obtain – in other words, what subpoenas will need to be requested.

Your divorce attorney will help you to identify the types of records you may need to subpoena for your divorce proceeding.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF SOMEONE IGNORES A SUBPOENA?

Ignoring a subpoena can place someone in contempt of court, which is punishable with fines, and in some cases, time in jail.

You could also be penalized if you try to obtain evidence for your case illegally. For example, if you believe that documents in your spouse’s computer can prove that your spouse is under-reporting his or her income, you can’t simply hack into the computer or steal the password.

Instead, have your divorce attorney request a subpoena for the information you need. That’s the legal way to do it. Courts will only allow evidence that meets admissibility requirements.

Subpoenas are sometimes misused in divorce cases. An unethical lawyer might seek a subpoena, not for a good legal reason, but simply to upset and distract the other side. If this happens in your divorce, your own attorney should contest any requests for unnecessary subpoenas.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A DIVORCE LAWYER?

Here in southern California, if you are considering a divorce, or if you are served with divorce papers, you are going to need legal help as early as possible in the divorce process. You will need to speak at once with an experienced Cerritos divorce lawyer.

Your divorce lawyer will explain your rights, your options, and how the law applies in your own divorce. Your attorney will protect your long-term best interests and see to it that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce procedure.

When you divorce in California, a lawyer’s help is imperative, and moreover, it is your right.

The Risks Of Deleting Your Facebook Page During A Divorce

Posted on: August 16, 2018 by in Divorce
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As you may already know, most divorce lawyers in the state of California will advise you to avoid Facebook – and in fact, to avoid social media altogether – during the divorce process. You are about to learn the reasons why.

What you may not know is that your Cerritos divorce lawyer may also advise you against deleting your Facebook page and your other social media accounts during a divorce.

WHY SHOULD YOU AVOID POSTING ONLINE DURING A DIVORCE?

If you are divorcing in California, planning to divorce, or anticipating that your spouse is planning to divorce you, you should refrain from posting anything on social media until your divorce is finalized.

Whatever you post online could be scrutinized, twisted, and used against you.

Of course, almost everyone relies on technology far more than we did even twenty years ago. Today, millions share videos, pictures, and personal details on sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The impact of these social media platforms – on all of us – has been nothing less than revolutionary. Attorneys, courts, and state legislatures are now dealing with legal questions about social media that did not even exist prior to the 21st century.

HOW ARE THE COURTS MAKING USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

Criminal prosecutors in all fifty states, for example, regularly peruse the online accounts of criminal suspects and their accomplices for status updates and photographs that may be used against defendants in criminal cases.

Attorneys for the defendants in personal injury cases seek online evidence that an injury victim is not as injured as that victim claims.

And in divorce cases in California, the evidence gleaned from social media accounts is typically used to discredit a spouse’s honesty and character.

Dean Tong, speaking for the American Board of Forensic Examiners, warns: “I can tell you any post on social media can be introduced into evidence on a court record by an attorney and used against a litigant, negatively, in family court.”

CAN FACEBOOK HELP OR HURT YOU IN A DIVORCE?

If your Facebook page shows that you are a devoted and responsible parent, that may help you slightly in a child custody battle, but a Facebook page that characterizes you as a “party animal” or a “thug” cannot help you with any aspect of your divorce.

On either side of a divorce proceeding, posting something that you think is harmless might come back to hurt you.

You may want to discuss the details with an experienced divorce attorney who can address your concerns regarding your social media accounts and the potential role those accounts can play in the divorce process.

While it is imperative to avoid posting anything online while your divorce is pending, many divorce lawyers are now also saying that you should not close or delete your Facebook account or other social media pages when you or your spouse initiate a divorce procedure.

WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF KEEPING YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT?

When you keep your social media accounts open, the spouse you are divorcing – and the acquaintances of either partner – may, in fact, post items that will end up being helpful to your side of the case.

Do not close out your Facebook account unless your divorce lawyer specifically tells you to do so.

Possibly the most important reason that a divorcing spouse should not delete a Facebook account is because it may come under the scrutiny of the discovery process in a divorce procedure. Your spouse’s attorney conceivably could ask the court to order you not to delete the account.

The lawyers on both sides of the divorce will want to access and examine your Facebook page, so you do not want to be accused of hiding or destroying evidence.

WHAT CAN A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT REVEAL?

Your history on Facebook is usually available from its beginning. If a divorcing spouse doesn’t delete anything and keeps the account open from the beginning, it could reveal a great deal about why the partners are divorcing – or it may reveal nothing at all.

Your divorce attorney will take a look at your Facebook page – and at your spouse’s, if it is available – and will explain how specific posts may be used to help or hurt your case.

Frankly, everyone should understand that nothing posted online is ever truly private or ever genuinely and entirely deleted. Your spouse’s divorce lawyer may be able to acquire even the posts that you’ve deleted and use the information in those posts against you.

WHAT ABOUT FACEBOOK’S TERMS OF SERVICE AND PRIVACY SETTINGS?

In fact, if you read Facebook’s terms of service, you learn that the platform’s privacy settings may keep others from seeing your posts but offer you no protection if a court – or your spouse’s divorce lawyer – wants access to posts that you thought were protected by privacy settings.

A word of warning: Do not try to “hack” into your spouse’s Facebook page or any other social media account during a divorce if those accounts are not public or if you have been blocked.

Creating a phony identity online and then trying to “friend” the spouse you are divorcing is an extremely bad idea. Instead, let your divorce attorney obtain legally the information that will be useful to you in court.

Any online effort to deceive will probably fail – and bring the court’s condemnation on you.

WHAT DO DIVORCE LAWYERS SAY ABOUT THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

The impact of social media on divorce cases cannot be underestimated. Even back in 2010, more than eighty percent of the divorce lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said the impact of social media on divorce was substantial and on the rise.

When you first speak to a qualified divorce attorney about obtaining a divorce, expect that attorney to ask you about your social media accounts.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT DURING A DIVORCE?

When you divorce, you must be cautious even sending texts and emails. Do not write anything electronically that you would not want your spouse’s attorney to read out loud in court.

You can expect that a divorce proceeding will be uncomfortable and embarrassing, so you do not want to make things even harder on yourself.

Get the legal help that you need at the very start of the divorce process – that’s your right – and then adhere to your attorney’s advice and recommendations.

Mediation Vs. Litigation In A Divorce

Posted on: April 13, 2018 by in Divorce
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In the past, a divorce typically meant that divorcing spouses had to endure a long and costly courtroom trial. But today, many divorcing couples in California are choosing a “mediated” divorce rather than a “litigated” divorce.

If you are divorcing or considering divorce in the state of California – or if your spouse is divorcing you – you can both save time and money, and avoid a great deal of aggravation, by choosing the mediation option.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A MEDIATED DIVORCE?

The advantages of a mediated divorce – particularly when compared against an acrimonious, litigated courtroom trial – are substantial. Nothing positive can emerge from an emotionally-charged, contentious courtroom divorce.

For most couples who are divorcing in California, the disputed issues in a divorce can be handled more appropriately through the mediation process and away from the courtroom.

A mediated divorce costs considerably less than a litigated divorce.

You and the spouse you are divorcing – and not a judge or some other complete stranger – remain in control of your futures throughout the mediation procedure.

Particularly in high-conflict and high-asset divorce cases, mediation is better because it is non-adversarial.

IS DIVORCE MEDIATION CONFIDENTIAL?

Another benefit is that divorce mediation in California is confidential, so there’s no public record. That can be important if you and your spouse are disputing the division of your marital property and assets.

Every detail of a courtroom trial, however, is on the public record.

And by settling your divorce through the mediation process and outside of the courtroom, you’ll ensure that the final divorce agreement meets your needs and your ex-spouse’s – rather than the arbitrary needs and requirements of California law.

WHAT IF MEDIATION ISN’T THE RIGHT OPTION?

Of course, mediation is not necessarily the right option for every couple that is seeking to divorce.

If the divorcing partners simply cannot come to agreements on matters like spousal support, the division of assets and properties, or child custody, the couple will probably have to endure a conventional courtroom divorce trial.

But when a divorcing couple can cooperate, whether it’s for the children or some other reason, then mediation is probably the right option.

Especially when you consider the financial and emotional cost of an adversarial divorce trial, mediation makes genuinely good sense. Divorcing spouses who are not comfortable with the idea of mediation probably just need to learn more about the process.

HOW DOES DIVORCE MEDIATION WORK IN THIS STATE?

You and your partner, with the advice of your divorce lawyers, will hire a certified, neutral, third-party mediator. A mediator’s role is to point and guide the divorcing spouses toward a divorce settlement that is just, fair, and acceptable to both spouses.

You should meet with a prospective mediator personally before the mediation sessions begin. Your mediator must be someone you can trust and someone who can put you at ease.

Do not begin the process until you’ve found that individual.

Divorce mediators have no capacity to order or compel anyone in any way, so mediation depends almost entirely on the sincere and forthright participation of the spouses. Nevertheless, it’s important to have a skilled and experienced mediator.

When a mediator has been selected, the process generally begins with an initial meeting between spouses and the mediator to outline the goals of the mediation and to define the issues and disputes in the divorce.

WHAT IS THE MEDIATOR’S ROLE IN A DIVORCE MEDIATION?

Typically, both spouses discuss their positions on the matters in dispute. The mediator may meet with the divorcing spouses together and separately several times, seeking common ground that might provide the basis for agreement.

A mediator can help with specifics such as payment and visitation schedules. Mediation seeks to resolve all matters disputed in the divorce and create a final, written divorce agreement.

If the mediation is successful, the mediator will draft a settlement agreement for approval by the court. Courts almost always sign off on these agreements provided that they are fair and provided that – if there are children – the interests of the children have been placed first.

But if one partner is not honest and forthright during mediation, you may not be able to arrive at a final agreement. Cooperation – from both partners – is imperative for a successful divorce mediation.

When mediation fails, your divorce case moves to the courtroom, where it will take more time and cost more money.

If that happens in southern California, you’ll need to be represented by an experienced and aggressive Long Beach divorce attorney.

WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL DIVORCE MEDIATION?

Mediation probably will not succeed when divorcing spouses blame and accuse each other, when marital assets and properties are disputed, and when drug, alcohol, or abuse issues are involved. These divorces are usually resolved in courtroom divorce trials.

Mediation works best when divorcing spouses are honest with one another, want to remain on good terms, don’t blame one another, and are able to disagree without anger or acrimony.

Unfortunately, in too many divorces, agreements cannot be reached, and one spouse is left with no choice except to take the other spouse to court – and ask the court to order a fair divorce settlement.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN A DIVORCE TRIAL?

In contrast to a mediated divorce, a litigated divorce can be lengthy, frustrating, and complicated. A divorce trial in California can include multiple court appearances, witnesses, subpoenas, motions, and delays.

If a voluntary mutual agreement is simply not possible, and your divorce goes to trial in southern California, you’ll need an attorney who will present the strongest possible case on your behalf – and if you have children, on their behalf as well.

Only judges hear and decide on California divorce trials, so if your divorce must go to court, there won’t be a jury.

But whether you choose mediation or litigation, and whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, in southern California, you must have the advice and representation that an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney will provide.

Courtroom divorce trials are still conducted every day that the courts are open in California, and when the issues are dispute, a courtroom trial remains the final alternative. But for many divorcing couples in California, mediation will be better.

How A Divorce Can Affect Your Taxes

Posted on: February 13, 2018 by in Divorce
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If you are considering a divorce or expecting a divorce, an ex-spouse might not be the only one who wants some of your assets.

The IRS may also want some cash. Keep reading to learn how a divorce is going to impact your taxes.

Whenever assets change hands, it will affect your taxes, and the IRS will want to know. The basics are explained below, but of course, each individual’s tax situation will be unique.

That’s one reason why anyone who is divorcing in southern California must seek the advice of an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney who can answer your financial questions.

A divorce can have a huge impact on your federal income taxes, but a little knowledge can help you avoid a lot of tax problems. A good divorce lawyer can offer the advice that you’ll need.

CAN YOU OR SHOULD YOU FILE TAXES JOINTLY OR SEPARATELY?

If your divorce is now final, you may file a joint return only if you were still legally married on the last day of the tax year (December 31st) and if you and your spouse both agree to file jointly.

Even if you were legally separated and your divorce was pending, the IRS presumes that you were married the entire year if no final divorce decree was issued on or before December 31st.

If your divorce was not finalized before the end of the tax year, your taxes will almost certainly be lower if you file a joint return.

Nevertheless, you should consult both your divorce lawyer and your tax advisor regarding the potential advantages and disadvantages of filing a joint tax return.

WILL YOU NEED A TAX INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENT?

The primary drawback to filing jointly is that the divorcing partners become jointly liable for both the taxes and for any deficiencies, interest, or penalties.

If you file jointly, consider a tax indemnification agreement which provides that one partner is liable for any amounts due on previously-filed joint returns and which protects the other partner.

Without a tax indemnification agreement, you may not want to file jointly, because you could be held liable if the IRS determines that the return is inaccurate and the taxes were underpaid.

You and your divorce lawyer must ensure that the final divorce decree spells out precisely how you and your ex will deal with any federal tax liability or refunds.

CAN YOU QUALIFY FOR HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD STATUS?

If your divorce becomes final in the middle of a tax year or even on December 31st, the IRS treats you and your taxes as if you were unmarried for the entire year.

In that situation, your filing status will be “single” or “head of household.” To qualify for the “head of household” filing status, you must meet these criteria:

1. You were unmarried on the final day of the tax year.
2. Throughout the tax year, you paid over fifty percent of the cost of keeping up a home.
3. A “qualifying person” resided with you in the home for over half of the tax year.
4. You qualify to claim an exemption for your child.

The custodial parent is entitled to claim the exemption for the child, but the custodial parent may also agree to transfer the exemption to the non-custodial parent.

To transfer the exemption, a custodial parent must sign a statement that he or she will not claim the child as a dependent, and the non-custodial parent must attach that statement to his or her tax return.

If you file as head of household, but your divorce was not final on or before December 31st, your partner must file as “married filing separately.”

HOW ARE EARNINGS, ASSETS, AND PROPERTIES HANDLED?

California is one of only nine “community property” states. In a community property state, both spouses are legally considered the equal owners of all of the marital property.

Thus, in this state, whatever is earned or acquired by either spouse during a marriage is co-owned by both, and it doesn’t matter who actually earned it or whose name may be on a title.

So whatever you have earned or acquired during the marriage will be evenly divided in a California divorce.

Thus, the usual rule for taxes is that each spouse gets taxed for fifty percent of the income from any income-generating properties or assets.

Additionally, you must report half of the dividends and interest from any jointly-owned property or asset until the date when that property or asset is transferred entirely to you or to your spouse.

HOW DO TAXES IMPACT SPOUSAL SUPPORT – AND VICE-VERSA?

In a California divorce, whether you expect to pay alimony or expect to receive it, you must consider how alimony will impact your taxes – and vice-versa.

Currently, the law allows an ex who pays alimony to deduct it, and the law requires the ex who receives alimony to pay taxes on it. 2018, however, will be the last year alimony is handled this way.

For any divorce initiated on or after January 1, 2019, the law will become the exact reverse of the current law.

When you file in 2019, the ex who pays alimony will not be able to deduct it, and the ex who receives the alimony will not have to pay taxes on it.

Child support payments are not deductible for the paying parent and are not considered income, so a parent who receives it pays no federal income taxes on child support.

HOW CAN A DIVORCE LAWYER HELP?

Understanding what is involved and what’s at risk in a divorce can help you avoid trouble with the IRS. What you are reading here is only an introduction to the issues you’ll face.

The more complicated your finances and your spouse’s are, the more difficult it will be to hash out the tax matters and the other financial details in a divorce.

However, there is no reason to let the tax issues or the other financial matters that accompany a divorce become stumbling blocks for you.

In southern California, an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney can help.

WHEN YOUR FUTURE IS AT STAKE, GET THE HELP YOU NEED

When you divorce, you will need sound legal advice – and you’ll need an aggressive advocate in your corner. Your future will be at stake.

It is absolutely critical to get the legal help you need as early as possible in the divorce process. And it’s your right.

What Happens To Home Equity In A Divorce?

Posted on: January 14, 2018 by in Divorce
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If you are divorcing in the state of California, if you have divorced recently, or if you expect or anticipate a divorce, you will probably have a number of concerns about financial matters.

For example, if you jointly own your home with your spouse, what will happen to it?

How can the value or equity of a home be divided fairly by a divorce court?

Of course, everyone’s situation regarding home equity will be different.

You may be making a monthly mortgage payment, you may already have your mortgage paid off, or you may be renting. Some couples own more than one home.

If you are divorcing in southern California, you’ll need personalized legal and financial advice applicable to your own circumstances.

You’ll need to consult an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney.

When a marriage ends in divorce, the fate of the couple’s home must be determined.

What are the options in a California divorce when the couple’s home – or at least the couple’s equity in their home – must somehow be fairly divided?

Selling may be the easiest solution, but selling the home isn’t always feasible.

Some couples agree to a buy-out arrangement, where one partner buys the other’s half of the home.

HOW IS HOME EQUITY DETERMINED AND DIVIDED IN A DIVORCE?

When a home’s equity must be divided in a California divorce procedure, the home should be appraised by a qualified appraiser.

You subtract the outstanding mortgage amount and any other liens on the home from the appraisal figure to arrive at the home equity amount.

The real estate market – especially in southern California – fluctuates rapidly, so when you divorce, an appraisal should be conducted at the time of the divorce, because any older appraisal will be out of date.

If the home is sold, the divorcing partners should try to agree on how to split the equity.

The divorcing partners will also have to agree on a sale price, a real estate agent, and the terms of the sale.

A dispute regarding the division of home equity will unnecessarily cost both divorcing spouses additional time, money, and aggravation.

If you are divorcing, discuss home equity – and the best way to approach the equity issue – with your divorce lawyer before a dispute arises.

In the state of California, any property that a married couple comes to possess during their marriage will be deemed community property.

Thus, if a home was purchased with community property assets, the home is community property, with each of the spouses owning a fifty percent interest in the home and fifty percent of the equity.

COULD A COUPLE’S HOME EVER BE CONSIDERED PERSONAL PROPERTY?

However, if one partner owned the home individually prior to the marriage, or if one partner inherited the home or received it as a gift, there may be no legal cause to divide the equity.

Property acquired before a marriage or received as an inheritance or as a gift is usually considered personal property, but if the home was purchased by the couple during the course of the marriage, it will probably be community property.

Divorcing spouses have the right to agree mutually to an uneven division of the home equity.

One spouse, in other words, may receive more than the other – sometimes in return for some other consideration – if both agree.

Make sure that you work out such an agreement with the advice of your attorneys, because a judge must sign off on your final divorce agreement, and any agreement that a judge determines is not equitable and fair for both spouses will be rejected.

If one of the divorcing spouses wants to buy the other spouse’s half of the home, the couple will need to arrive at a fair and appropriate price, and they will also need to negotiate a fair division of the commissions, taxes, and the other expenses associated with the sale of a residence in this state.

WHAT SHOULD YOU TELL YOUR DIVORCE ATTORNEY?

Before your divorce begins, discuss the home equity matter with your divorce attorney, and know what your options are in advance regarding home equity in a divorce.

Make your goals regarding the home and the equity absolutely clear to your attorney so that he or she can negotiate, if necessary, for the best possible arrangement on your behalf.

The financial decisions you make in a divorce will have a profound and lasting impact on your life.

At the beginning of the divorce process, divorcing spouses in California must complete a preliminary declaration of disclosure listing all of the marital and individual property acquired both outside and within the marriage.

Divorcing partners also must declare their expenses and incomes in the preliminary declaration of disclosure.

It’s wisest to complete the preliminary declaration of disclosure with your divorce lawyer’s assistance.

Along with protecting your home equity, you should pay detailed attention to your credit card and bank accounts, how and where and your important financial papers are kept, and the particular details of your debts, assets, and retirement accounts.

Work with your divorce lawyer regarding your personal finances to fill in or find any details that may be missing.

WHAT OTHER FINANCIAL CONCERNS MUST BE CONSIDERED?

You may also want to make appropriate changes to your life insurance policy and/or your will.

Some people who divorce, speaking frankly, will have to make some adjustments to their lifestyles and spending habits.

Divorcing partners who have more property, assets, credit, and debts will inevitably face a much more complicated divorce procedure than divorcing couples with more modest finances.

Anyone who is considering, anticipating, or expecting a divorce in southern California should seek legal representation and advice exclusively – and as early as possible – from an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney who regularly handles complicated divorce cases and who regularly prevails on behalf of clients.

No divorce is easy.

You will need a qualified and experienced divorce lawyer who can get the job done effectively while remaining sensitive to your needs and concerns at every stage of the divorce process.

The right California divorce lawyer will offer the advice and encouragement you need while advocating aggressively for the just and equitable divorce settlement you deserve.

What Happens If You Stop Paying Alimony?

Posted on: December 19, 2017 by in Divorce
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If you and your spouse obtain a divorce in the state of California, could you be ordered to pay alimony? What if the amount you are ordered to pay isn’t fair? How is an alimony amount determined by the court?

And what happens if you’ve been ordered by the court to pay alimony, and you don’t? If you’re considering a divorce in California – or if you are already paying or receiving alimony – keep reading to learn more about alimony rights and obligations in this state.

Obtaining a divorce in California can be a complicated legal procedure. If you divorce in Southern California, you should be advised and represented from the beginning by an experienced Long Beach divorce attorney.

California is a “no-fault” divorce state, so neither spouse in a divorce is obligated to prove that the other did anything wrong or is “at-fault.”

If you are ordered by the court to pay alimony – the law in California calls it “spousal support” – as part of a divorce settlement, you may feel the ruling is unfair.

A skilled Long Beach divorce attorney can review your existing spousal support order – whether you are paying the alimony or receiving it – to determine if it’s appropriate and fair. If it isn’t, your attorney can help you seek a change or a “modification” of the court order.

Unlike child support, which virtually everyone agrees is important, spousal support is a controversial topic both inside the courtroom as well as in the court of public opinion.

Some would say that if a marriage has endured for a decade or more, alimony should be permanent. Others are critics who would abolish spousal support altogether.

HOW DOES SPOUSAL SUPPORT WORK? HOW ARE AMOUNTS DETERMINED?

In a California divorce, when one partner in the marriage has not worked outside the home or has worked only part-time in order to raise children and/or support the other partner’s career, that partner may seek spousal support.

The sum that a court awards will hinge on each divorcing partner’s marital and financial history, income, debts, and assets.

During a divorce, if spouses can mutually agree about alimony, a court will usually accept their agreement. But when alimony is in dispute, the court will determine the terms and conditions of the alimony arrangement.

When divorcing partners can agree on an alimony arrangement or on other areas of potential dispute, they save time and legal fees, and they avoid the acrimony and aggravation of having the dispute played out in a courtroom.

In some California divorces, spousal support is ordered temporarily; in other divorces in this state, spousal support is called “permanent.”

As a general rule, when a marriage has lasted less than ten years, the alimony is temporary, and payments last for half the length of the marriage.

For longer marriages, generally speaking, no time limit for alimony payments is imposed and the alimony is considered “permanent.”

IS ALIMONY EVER REALLY PERMANENT?

But even “permanent” alimony usually does not last for life. When either ex-partner’s life situation changes after a divorce, either ex can request a modification of the court order that spells out the alimony arrangement.

In southern California, a Long Beach divorce attorney can help you request an alimony modification.

If you’ve been ordered to make spousal support payments by a California court, the one thing that you cannot do is to stop making payments.

It does not matter if you’ve lost your job or if you’ve been unable to work due to an injury. You must request a modification of the spousal support order.

If you stop making alimony payments, you could be subject to severe legal action.

What can an ex-spouse do if he or she isn’t receiving the spousal support ordered by the court?

If your ex isn’t paying you what the court has ordered, you may have to return to the court accompanied by a qualified Long Beach family law attorney.

You and your attorney will have to offer evidence that your ex has not paid or has not paid completely or on time. If your ex-partner’s delinquency is causing financial hardship, you’ll be able to explain that to a judge.

HOW CAN CALIFORNIA COURTS COMPEL ALIMONY PAYMENTS?

An ex-spouse’s failure to pay court-ordered alimony payments can have considerable legal consequences in California.

The court can order a wage garnishment, where a percentage of your ex-spouse’s wages is automatically diverted to you through the court.

The court can also levy your ex-partner’s bank account and intercept his or her tax refunds.

If your ex-spouse still does not comply with the alimony order and make payments as scheduled, a judge can hold your ex in contempt of court, and in some cases, even order jail time. Drastic legal measures, however, are not always necessary.

A family lawyer may be able to help you as a negotiator or as a mediator, and in many cases, an acceptable agreement can be reached with your ex without legal pressure.

If your ex-spouse is already delinquent and currently owes you alimony, do not make any private arrangement with your ex regarding the delinquent payments.

Once a divorce is finalized, a judgment or a settlement is in place, and if an alimony order has been issued by the court, an unofficial alimony agreement will have no legal status and will not be enforceable.

HOW IS SPOUSAL SUPPORT TERMINATED?

Ex-partners who pay spousal support often ask the court to end that support after a number of years, and that request is often granted.

When spousal support is no longer needed or is no longer appropriate, the ex-spouse who has been paying spousal support has every right to request a court order terminating that support.

Spouses intending to divorce in California should also know that if you are seeking spousal support, and if you have a criminal conviction for domestic violence within the preceding five years, the law in California law grants judges the discretion to deny a spousal support request or to reduce the amount that an ex-spouse would otherwise be eligible to receive.

If you need legal representation right now to help you obtain the spousal support payments that a court has ordered, speak at once with a Long Beach divorce attorney who routinely helps clients enforce or modify spousal support orders.

During and after a divorce, effective legal representation is not only imperative – it’s also your legal right.

Top 10 Reasons for Divorce

Posted on: June 23, 2017 by in Divorce
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The divorce rate is still high in the United States, and even though millions of people have divorced, for those who are single or happily married, the reasons people get divorced can be hard to grasp.

The top ten reasons people divorce are listed below, along with some warning signs and red flags that couples need to recognize early if they want to remain happily married.

If it’s too late for that in your own situation, and divorce is inevitable or the only choice, speak at once with a skilled Cerritos divorce attorney.

A humor website recently posted the “twelve craziest reasons why people get divorced.” An elderly man in Italy divorced his equally elderly wife after he discovered she had been in an affair – seventy years ago when they were first married.

Another Italian man told the court that his wife was possessed by the Devil. A California woman reportedly divorced her husband because he voted for Donald Trump.

A thoughtful reader of these “humorous” news stories will conclude that these marriages had deeper, longer-term problems, and that the Devil and Donald Trump were merely “final straws” after years of unhappy marriage.

Understanding the real reasons why people divorce may be the first step in saving a marriage if the spouses are willing to learn from the mistakes that other couples have made. What are the real reasons why people divorce? Here are the top ten:

#1. The Extra-Marital Affair

The leading reason for divorce is still the oldest and most obvious reason – the extra-marital affair. Anger, resentment, and a lack of emotional intimacy can all play a role when one spouse cheats on the other.

Affairs often start innocently as casual friendships, according to marital expert Ruth Houston, who says, “It starts as an emotional affair which later becomes a physical affair.”

#2. Love – And the Love of Money

Money can bring people together, but it can also split them apart. Differences in spending habits and different financial goals can turn a marriage into a power struggle over who controls the money.

According to a survey conducted by Money magazine, couples fight about money twice as much as they fight about sex. And if one partner has more debt, discussions about income and spending can quickly become heated.

#3. A Failure to Communicate

Obviously, communication in marriage is imperative, and a failure to communicate effectively can create a marriage where both partners are frustrated and resentful.

Ignoring a spouse or giving a partner the “silent treatment” never builds up a marriage, and good communication is essential to any marriage that’s long and strong.

Practicing clear communication and changing old habits isn’t easy, but that’s sometimes what it takes for a marriage to flourish.

#4. The Non-Stop Argument

While some couples fail to communicate, others seem to never stop communicating – loudly and negatively. From bickering over the chores to disputes over the kids, arguments that seem like a shouting match that never ends are sure to kill a marriage.

If you’re in a partnership that’s more like an argument than a marriage, you need to seek marriage counseling before the argument is brought to a permanent conclusion – in a divorce court.

#5. Weight and Appearance

Yes, it’s unfair. And yes, it’s shallow, but the truth is that gaining weight really is a frequent reason why people divorce.

We all want our partners to look good for us, so if you’re picking up six or eight pounds a year, consider your spouse, reconsider your diet, and start working out.

Exercising regularly and adhering to a healthy diet is something that we all need to be doing anyway.

#6. Reality Sets In

Young people in particular – although not exclusively young people – often start a marriage with genuinely unreasonable, unrealistic expectations.

Your partner is someone who’s flawed and makes mistakes, someone who can sometimes be thoughtless. So are you.

Expecting perfection from someone can generate real stress, and it sets up your spouse for inevitable failures.

It’s better in the long run if you can flip your perspective and lower your expectations for your spouse. He or she is only human.

#7. The Need for – and Lack of – Intimacy

Married couples need to “feel’ something like a psychic or spiritual connection. They need intimacy, and they need to feel that intimacy. Without a feeling or sense of connection, you can feel like you’re married to a stranger – or to a mystery.

Intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean sex, and sometimes it’s hard to define, but we know what a lack of intimacy is – it’s thoughtlessness and the “cold shoulder.”

If you are constantly getting that cold shoulder, it may be time to consider a divorce.

#8. Partnership and Equality

A marriage isn’t a master-slave relationship and it isn’t a parent-child relationship either. If one partner feels forced to take on more responsibility, it can reduce that person’s view of the other partner and lead to resentment.

Every couple must learn to live as equals, sharing the challenges and responsibilities of the marriage. An unequal marriage – where one partner dominates in almost every aspect of the relationship – probably will not stand the test of time.

#9. Immaturity – At All Ages

Surveys consistently find that divorced persons feel that they were unprepared for marriage, their partner was unprepared for marriage, or they were both unprepared.

The divorce rate is highest for people who are still in their 20s, and nearly half of all divorces take place in the first ten years of a marriage.

That tells us that a lot of people really are not ready for marriage or understand what it requires.

#10. Physical or Emotional Abuse

When someone is being abused in a marriage, whether physically or emotionally, it may be time to seek a divorce. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the abuser is a “bad” person.

Most abusers have deep emotional issues that may date back to their childhoods.

Nevertheless, there is no reason to tolerate abuse, and the victim of abuse must do whatever it takes to remain safe and healthy – including, in many cases, getting a divorce.

Marriage is work, but even the best couples will face difficult challenges, and when they cannot resolve those challenges, they may choose divorce.

Address these matters early in your marriage – when they first emerge.

And if you need to obtain a divorce in Southern California, consult an experienced Cerritos divorce attorney who will make certain that your divorce is resolved justly and that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce process.

Will I Have To Attend A Mandatory Divorce Settlement Conference In California?

Posted on: March 17, 2017 by in Divorce
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If you are divorcing or anticipating a divorce in Southern California, knowing what to expect can help you in a number of ways. Start by reading as much of the divorce paperwork as you can.

That way, you won’t be surprised unexpectedly by anything that happens in your divorce trial.

Before a trial, both spouses must fill out and exchange various documents confirming their assets, properties, income, and expenses.

A Long Beach divorce attorney can help a divorcing spouse understand and accurately complete the legal documents and additional paperwork.

While a very few divorces are undisputed – which makes the process easier – most divorcing spouses are dealing with some type of dispute regarding property division, child custody, child support, and/or alimony.

When these disputes cannot be settled early in the divorce process, judges in California can order a mandatory divorce settlement conference.

At a “trial setting” session prior to a divorce trial, lawyers for both spouses confer with the judge. If the lawyers are ready, the judge may schedule a date for the divorce trial or may instead set a date for a mandatory divorce settlement conference.

Mandatory divorce settlement conferences are designed to reduce the issues in dispute in a divorce, and these conferences can be conducted in several ways.

A judge may take part in the conference or may appoint a professional mediator to help the disputing spouses reach some agreements. A divorce settlement conference is typically conducted thirty days before the trial date.

Particularly when the custody of a child or children is in dispute, a settlement conference will be ordered to give parents one final chance to reach an agreement they can both live with. Both spouses will need to be at the settlement conference.

WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE A DIVORCE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE?

Prior to a divorce settlement conference, the spouses must file with the court a legal brief that includes an outline of the facts in the case, a summary of the arguments they will make, and an itemized list of the pertinent financial details.

Your divorce attorney can file this brief on your behalf. The attorneys may meet prior to the conference or at the start of the conference about the possibility of settlements.

If the court has appointed a mediator to facilitate the settlement conference, the mediator will explain the procedure either at the start of the conference or by contacting the spouses several days in advance.

Typically, both parties present their cases after the rules are explained. The mediator or judge may then meet separately with each side.

A mediator or judge may ask questions and explain to each side the flaws in their arguments and the potential outcomes and consequences of the conference.

After each side meets with the judge or mediator, the attorneys have another opportunity to negotiate the remaining differences.

Spouses and their attorneys are required to stay and negotiate until a settlement is reached or until the mediator or judge believes that a settlement cannot be reached.

Some conferences run for a full day. If a settlement is reached, the attorneys or the mediator will draft the paperwork, the judge will review it, and in most cases the judge will sign the agreement and make it binding.

If some matters can be settled by negotiation but others cannot (for example, the spouses agree on child custody but not on alimony) the judge may sign the partial settlement and hear arguments regarding any other disputes at trial.

WHAT ARE THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR A DIVORCE IN CALIFORNIA?

From the date when the non-filing spouse is served with divorce papers, a divorce in California takes a minimum of six months – and usually somewhat longer.

In the weeks prior to a divorce trial, your Los Angeles divorce attorney will keep you updated about any negotiations with your spouse’s attorney and anything else you’ll need to know regarding your case.

The divorce rules and procedures in California are precisely the same for both opposite-sex couples and same-sex married couples.

Whenever a couple can reach agreements on potential disputes over alimony, custody, child support, and the division of marital assets, they can avoid substantial costs and aggravations, and a formal divorce trial can often conclude quite quickly or be avoided entirely.

A divorce in California requires at least one spouse to reside in the state for at least six successive months and to be a resident of the county where the divorce papers are filed for a minimum of three consecutive months.

Juries do not decide divorces in the state of California. All final orders and decisions in California divorce trials are made exclusively by family law judges.

When the disagreements that separate two spouses cannot be settled, a trial may become unavoidable.

It is imperative for a divorcing spouse to remain focused throughout the entire divorce process and to know what to expect in a mandatory divorce settlement conference and in a divorce trial.

Under California’s no-fault divorce laws, no one has to prove that anyone has done “wrong” or has “fault.” A claim by either partner of “irreconcilable differences” is sufficient to obtain a divorce in California.

While it is imperative to know what to expect in a settlement conference or in a divorce trial, preparing yourself emotionally may be even more important.

You can help your case by being as objective and truthful as possible.

Even the slightest exaggeration, deception, or misrepresentation of the facts will hurt your credibility and your interests in a divorce settlement conference or a trial.

WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR COUPLES SEEKING TO DIVORCE?

Couples who are divorcing in this state have a number of options including mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce.

These alternatives can save a couple money, time, and most of the aggravations and inconveniences of a contentious divorce trial.

A good California divorce lawyer can help divorcing spouses decide exactly which alternative is the best path for their divorce.

Your goal in a divorce is justice – to be treated fairly throughout the entire divorce process. The division of assets and the issue of alimony often become complicated and contentious.

Child custody and child support disputes are almost always highly emotionally-charged.

An experienced attorney who routinely handles all aspects of California family law can make all the difference in a settlement conference or a divorce trial.

Divorce And Real Estate: What Happens To The Family Home?

Posted on: February 23, 2017 by in Divorce, Uncategorized
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When a married couple buys a home in the state of California, it’s their community property, and if the couple divorces, the home must be “split” 50/50.

When a marriage ends, the division of the family home is often a central point of dispute. Divorce often means a new lifestyle, a smaller home, or even a move to a new community.

For most spouses who are divorcing in California, selling the family home during the divorce is usually the best way to split the home.

Of course, both parties will want the maximum possible benefit from the sale, and that’s where conflict can surface.

WHAT ARE THE WAYS A HOME CAN BE DIVIDED?

What are your options when you divorce in California and the family home must be divided? When you seek a divorce in this state, it’s imperative for you to understand all of your options and alternatives.

In Southern California, to make sure that you are aggressively represented and that your legal rights are protected throughout the divorce process, work from the very start with a skilled Long Beach divorce attorney.

If you and the spouse you are divorcing can agree, these are some of the options for splitting the family home:

  • Selling the home: The easiest way to split a home is simply to put the home on the market and then divide the proceeds 50/50. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, this solution won’t be available in many divorces.
  • A buy-out or sell-out agreement: In a buy-out, one spouse simply buys the other spouse’s half of the home. If you and the spouse you are divorcing agree to a buy-out, a good divorce lawyer will look out for your long-term interests.
  • Remaining at the home: Certain divorcing couples may be able to share a house until a divorce is complete, but this plainly isn’t feasible for most couples during the divorce process. If the two of you choose to remain under one roof during the divorce procedure, establish clearly understood limitations and rules.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU MUST NOT DO DURING A DIVORCE?

However, one of the worst moves you can make just prior to a California divorce is voluntarily moving out of the house. If your name is on a lease or a mortgage, you are not obligated to leave. Sleep on a sofa or set up a tent in the back yard if you must.

But do not move out before any divorce papers have been filed. If the case goes to a trial, your spouse’s lawyer can claim that you “abandoned” your family, and you’ll have a difficult time refuting the charge.

Dividing and distributing the marital assets is always a daunting challenge in the divorce process. If selling is the agreed-upon option for the home, selling also means that the divorcing spouses will have to select an agent, determine a selling price, and agree on the terms.

Make sure the sale price takes into account your expenses: mortgage loan balances, legal fees, interest accrued, recording fees, transfer taxes, and property taxes.

A real estate agent can help you determine the right selling price. Divorcing spouses who agree to sell their home will want the advice of a qualified divorce lawyer as well as a trustworthy and experienced real estate agent.

If a buy-out is the agreed-upon option for the home, and you are bought out by your spouse, have your name deleted from the title.

If you are the one buying out your spouse’s share of the home, know the details regarding the mortgage, the principal-interest ratio, the taxes, and the homeowner’s insurance.

If you plan to buy out your spouse’s equity in the home, you’ll need the ability to qualify for a mortgage by yourself.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD DIVORCING SPOUSES CONSIDER REGARDING THEIR HOME?

If you sell the home, you also must decide if either spouse will remain in the home until the sale. When divorcing spouses are parents, the parent with custody frequently stays in the home.

If the house does not sell quickly, then provisions for the additional mortgage payments will need to be included in the final divorce settlement.

Repairs, maintenance, and other expenses that selling a home entails will also have to be considered.

If the valuation of the home is below the current mortgage balance, divorcing spouses may choose to wait and sell the home after market conditions improve.

As you can imagine, a number of factors must be considered when you sell your home during a divorce.

Financial details are a substantial part of any divorce, so the more properties and assets you and your spouse own, the more complicated a divorce will be.

While you should seek specific personal advice about finances during a divorce from a Long Beach divorce attorney, the suggestions provided here can help you keep your finances in order during and after the sometimes-lengthy divorce process:

  • Pay thoughtful attention to how your house is titled, where your important financial documents are stored, and the details regarding your assets, your debts, and your retirement benefits.
  • Pay thoughtful attention particularly to your retirement plans. A divorce can effect your retirement savings, military retirement payments, corporate pensions, and Social Security entitlements.
  • If the final divorce settlement lets you, close, split, or personally refinance mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans. Your own credit score shouldn’t suffer simply because your former spouse makes late payments or no payments at all.
  • A divorcing parent may be ordered by the court to pay child support. Establishing a life insurance policy can guarantee those payments are made if the non-custodial, support-paying parent dies while the child support order is in effect.
  • Keep on top of your own financial situation, because expenses really do rise when you are on your own. Two may not be able to live quite as cheaply as one, but the reality is that the single life really does cost more.

Bring your beneficiary designations up to date and ask your Long Beach divorce attorney about the changes you’ll need to make to your will and other legal documents after a divorce.

California law does not require you to hire an attorney to handle your divorce, but a trustworthy California divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights in a divorce and provide the legal guidance you need – right from the start.

Can You Marry A Robot? New Frontiers In Family Law

Posted on: January 27, 2017 by in Divorce
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For many people, Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that finally made same-sex marriage legal in every state, was the end of a long journey – the victory that marriage equality activists had sought for decades. However, as marriage equality takes effect in a growing number of nations, a Los Angeles family law attorney might tell you that same-sex marriage isn’t the “end” of anything. Instead, it’s only the beginning of the many pressing challenges that the institution of “traditional” marriage will be facing in the 21st century.

A woman in France, for example, has told the Daily Mail that she is in love with a robot and wants to marry it. “I’m a proud robosexual, we don’t hurt anybody, we are just happy,” the woman, identified only as Lilly, says on her Twitter page. Lilly is not alone. Dr. David Levy, the author of Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution Of Human-Robot Relationships, predicts that human beings will routinely marry robot spouses by 2050. “Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans,” Dr. Levy writes.

Dr. Levy was also one of the speakers at the “Second International Conference on Love and Sex With Robots,” which was held in December 2016 at the University of London. The Conference’s website tells visitors, “Within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction, the past few years have witnessed a strong upsurge of interest in the more personal aspects of human relationships with these artificial partners.”

The website further explains: “This upsurge has not only been apparent amongst the general public, as evidenced by an increase in coverage in the print media, TV documentaries and feature films, but also within the academic community. The International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots provides an excellent opportunity for academics and industry professionals to present and discuss their innovative work and ideas in an academic symposium.”

WHAT ARE THE OTHER CHALLENGES TO TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE?

If marrying a robot does not appeal to you, perhaps you’d care instead to marry a bridge. That’s right. In 2013 a woman married a bridge in France at a ceremony that included fourteen guests and a blessing from the mayor of the small village where the bridge is located. Jodi Rose married Le Pont du Diable Bridge in Céret, southern France after visiting dozens of bridges all over the world. She told the Daily Mail, “He gives me a safe haven.”

Most of us, however, would probably prefer to marry other human beings, but even when you restrict your potential marriage partners to the human species, traditional marriage is still under assault – everywhere. Last year, a judge in Argentina allowed a 33-year-old Argentine woman to marry her 32-year-old stepdaughter. Although Argentina’s Civil Code outlaws any incestuous or parent-child marriage, the Argentine judge ruled that all of that nation’s citizens have “the right to be treated with dignity by the laws in all dimensions of life, including marriage.”

Here in the United States, polygamous or “plural” marriage – the marriage of more than two persons – is the next likely legal challenge to traditional marriage. Noah Feldman, who is a professor of constitutional and international law at Harvard University, wrote an article titled “Polygamy Is Constitutional” for Bloomberg View in 2016. Feldman believes that the U.S. Constitution implicitly allows for plural marriage, and he says it’s strange that plural marriage is not currently allowed.

WHY ISN’T PLURAL MARRIAGE ALREADY LEGAL?

Already, you may legally have multiple sexual partners, and you may conduct private religious ceremonies legally. On that basis, Feldman contends, it seems that there is nothing in the Constitution that would make plural or polygamous marriages unconstitutional. But should a state be obligated to recognize a plural marriage as the equivalent of a two-person marriage? Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has already written, in Obergefell, that there is a “fundamental” right to marry “the person” of your choice, and that everyone should have the opportunity to exercise that right.

If cases concerning plural marriage – or even robot marriage – eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the judges will decide if the “fundamental right” to marry the person of your choice is outweighed by a “compelling state interest” in preventing such a marriage. In criminal law, for instance, your right to privacy is “fundamental,” but the government’s compelling interest in stopping impaired drivers allows the police to detain drivers at DUI checkpoints without warrants or even reasonable cause. We know why drunk drivers must be stopped, but Feldman asks: What would be the “compelling” state interest in forbidding plural marriage?

WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIONS TO PLURAL MARRIAGE?

Opponents of plural marriage argue that these marriages often involve exploitation and even abuse. In 2000, the United Nations Human Rights Committee declared that polygamy is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and cited concerns that the lack of “equality of treatment with regard to the right to marry” meant that polygamy violates the dignity of women and should be outlawed.

However, Feldman contends that plural marriage is not “necessarily” abusive, and he says that the preferable constitutional solution is to criminalize exploitation rather than plural marriage. And some judges, it seems, are prepared to affirm plural marriage. In 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said, “there is no reason to think that three or four adults, whether gay, bisexual, or straight, lack the capacity to share love, affection, and commitment, or for that matter lack the capacity to be capable (and more plentiful) parents to boot.”

Located in Hawaii, the World Polyamory Association is actively promoting what the group calls “triad” marriage. And “Loving More,” a Colorado-based nonprofit, claims that over 10,000 “polyamorists” already live in “semi-married” arrangements in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Clearly, plural marriages would open up plenty of complications regarding divorce and child custody. If you are currently divorcing, anticipating a divorce, or involved in a child custody dispute in Southern California, discuss your concerns with an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney.

Polygamous marriage, of course, is nothing new historically and it is not unusual, either. It’s already accepted in most Muslim nations, and even in the Old Testament, kings like David and Solomon had scores of marital partners. Harvard law professor Noah Feldman concludes his argument by insisting that plural marriages should be legalized by the states and honored by the courts.