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11355 West Olympic Blvd. Suite 201, Los Angeles, CA 90064

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How Retirement Accounts and Benefits Are Affected by Divorce

February 9, 2017 - By Heather Saint

A common concern of individuals contemplating divorce is the division of property. Retirement accounts and social security benefits are typically the most valued assets during a divorce. Individuals divorcing after the age of 50 are likely to place an even higher value on retirement benefits since financial concerns tend to increase as the age of retirement approaches. Over the past five years, the amount of persons divorcing after the age of 50 has steadily, yet significantly, increased. This blog will discuss how retirement accounts and social security benefits are treated during a …

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Suspecting Your Spouse of Wrongfully Disposing of Community Property

January 5, 2017 - By Heather Saint

California is a community property state which generally, for purposes of divorce, means that in theory each spouse is entitled to one-half of all property acquired by either spouse during marriage other than those acquired by gift or inheritance or by funds stemming from gifts or inheritance. Unfortunately, it is quite common for one spouse to hide assets from the other spouse in anticipation of divorce. This post shall address what happens if one spouse wrongfully deprives the other of their fair share of the community property because they either hid the asset(s), sold the…

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What to Do When Your Ex Does Not Pay Child or Spousal Support

May 4, 2016 - By Heather Sain

Many family law litigants rely upon child and spousal support payments from their ex-spouse/partner as part of their financial survival. When those payments are not made, they are often left in difficult and desperate circumstances.   This post addresses several steps that can be taken to ensure compliance with financial support orders and, if necessary, force the compliance.

Wage Assignments

The first (and often most effective) mechanism available is a wage assignment. This is an order from the Court that can be taken directly to the ex-spouse/partner…

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5 Ways to Make Your Divorce Financially Possible

May 4, 2016 - By Heather Saint

Unfortunately, many people are dissuaded from pursuing or even considering a divorce purely due to financial concerns. But, a significant portion of such people may actually be able to obtain a divorce if they utilize any of the following options:

1. Request That Your Spouse Must Pay Your Attorney’s Fees and Costs

In many states, there are statutes and case law which can require one spouse to not only be financially responsible for his/her own attorney’s fees and costs, but also to be responsible for his/her spouse’s attorney’s fees and c…

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3 Things to Consider Before You Move Out of the Family Residence

May 4, 2016 - By Heather Saint

One of the most common questions asked of divorce lawyers by potential clients during the initial consultation is, “Should I move out?” The answer to this question will undoubtedly vary based upon the individual facts and circumstances of each case.

In the tragic situations where the client and/or the children are victims of abuse or domestic violence, the answer is an unequivocal “Yes!” No matter what the legal or financial ramifications of the move out may be, there is no justification or rationalization for a person to expose him/herself and/or his or her c…

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4 Mistakes Often Made During a Child Custody Battle

May 4, 2016 - By Heather Saint

When two parents separate and they are unable to work out a mutually agreeable parenting for their family, they have no alternative but to go to Court seeking a child custody order. When that happens, the parents are putting the decision of their children’s future into the hands of a family law judge who must now decide what plan will be in the best interests of the children.

As one can imagine, such a determination is very difficult for the judge. Faced with allegations from each parent about how the other is unfit or neglectful, the judge must consider the evidence before him…

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Can Adult Child Support be Ordered by the California Family Law Court?

December 3, 2015 - By Heather Saint

It is common knowledge that parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children. Once the parents divorce or no longer live together, they may seek an order requiring payment of a specific amount of child support (or “family support” as it is termed in some states).  The issue of child support can often become one of the mostly intensely disputed and/or financially impacting issues of any divorce, paternity, or other family law case.   In California, the calculation of the child support payment, the manner in which it is payable, and duratio…

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What Happens When One Parent Wants to Move Away with the Children?

November 17, 2015 - By Heather Saint

When parents separate or divorce, the entire family is affected by significant changes. In many instances, one parent can no longer continue living in the same place. For any variety of reasons (i.e. new job, out-of-state family support, etc.) one of the parents can be faced with no choice but to relocate. If both parents are agreeable, all that is required is a written custody agreement or stipulation and order. But, what happens if the other parent does not want the children to move to a new place?

This scenario is commonly referred to as a “Move-Away” case. Move-away r…

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Which State or Country Should Handle My Child Custody Dispute?

October 7, 2015 - By Heather Saint

Child custody disputes are never simple or easy.  Custody disputes where the parents and children are not in the same state (or even the same country) are among the most procedurally complex and emotionally charged issues that any family law litigant and/or attorney can face. Such disputes are becoming more and more common in today’s globalized and mobile world.

Recently, actress Kelly Rutherford has made headlines on this very situation after being locked in a contentious custody battle with the father of her children who resides in France. Ms. Rutherford’s heartbre…

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Tax Considerations Before and After Divorce

October 7, 2015 - By Heather Saint

When people are going through a divorce and/or have just finalized a divorce, they often forget about tax consequences and considerations. That is a critical error on their part that could prove to be very costly. Divorce can take a financial toll, so it is financially prudent to take advantage of any tax benefits that may be available.

The following are a few common topics that should be addressed and considered to avoid adverse tax consequences. (It is also imperative that all of these matters must be discussed with a licensed CPA or other tax professional who has knowledge of the …

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3 Questions a Prenuptial Agreement Should Answer

May 26, 2015 - By Heather Saint

When most people think of prenuptial agreements (aka premarital agreements and/or “prenups”), they envision an onerous, one-sided contract.   “Prenups” are seen by many as a form of “legal handcuffs” insisted upon by a wealthy person to prevent his or her future spouse from getting anything in the event of a divorce.   However, experienced Family Law attorneys will tell you that usually is not the case, nor should it be.

A premarital agreement should be comprehensive, fair, and clear.  Each party should receive some tangibl…

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Must the Family Court Listen to the Preferences of a Child Regarding Custody?

April 17, 2015 - By Heather Saint and Matthew Smurda, Esq.

One of the most common questions that I hear from my clients with child custody issues is “Will the Judge listen to what kind of custody arrangement my child wants?” The answer to that question is: Maybe.

California Family Code Section 3042 provides that the Court “shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of a child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation.” Sub-paragraph ( c ) of the statute clarifies that the child will be permitted to address the Court if she is 14 years or older, unless doing so is not…

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