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It’s a sad fact many estranged California couples live with each other for years. Their marriages are shot but they stay together, emotionally separated and loveless, in order to keep a roof over their heads or raise their children.

 

For many years, the family courts were sympathetic to that reality. They agreed that the couple could legally separate but remain under the same roof.

 

Last year, in In re Marriage of Davis, 2015 DJDAR 8320, the California Supreme Court turned that on its ear and created problems for many families when it ruled that, no matter when a marriage actually ended in the couple’s eyes, until one party physically moved out there was no legal separation.

Continue reading New Law Jettisons Controversial Divorce Ruling

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Surrogacy is a valid option for some couples looking to have children. However, putting together a valid surrogacy agreement can be challenging.

 

The family structure has evolved. Couples who were once unable to have children are now able to explore alternative options and grow their families. These options can include fertility treatments and adoption. Another option gaining in popularity is the use of a surrogate.

 

More on surrogacy

 

The term surrogacy refers to the use of a female to carry a fetus or multiple fetuses to term while another individual or individuals become the legal parent to the child or children at birth. Surrogacy can be achieved using either the surrogate mother’s egg or a donated egg from another individual. This egg is then fertilized by either the male partner’s sperm or donated sperm. The fertilized egg is then implanted in the womb of the surrogate mother.

Continue reading Is surrogacy right for you? A primer on surrogacy in California

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Child custody arrangements must be based on the child’s best interest.

Child custody issues can be some of the most emotional and contentious issues arising in a family law case. It is typically one of the first areas a new family law client will ask about. A lawyer can help you try to negotiate an agreement with the other party regarding what custody arrangements and visitation schedule each of you will have. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the other party then the court will decide.

 

In California, before a Judge hears and decides your custody/visitation matter, you and the other party must go to court ordered mediation to try and reach an agreement. There are basically two different types of counties for these mediations, recommending counties and non-recommending counties. You want to talk to an experienced family law attorney regarding which type of county you are in, the mediation process, and the best strategies for these custody mediations. If no agreement is reached in mediation, then the issue will go before a judge.

Continue reading Child custody in California

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superlawyersBitcoin continues to capture the attention of venture capitalists, retail businesses, government regulators, the media, and politicians over five years after its inception. Despite the recent shutdown of Mt. Gox (formerly the largest Bitcoin exchange), and subsequent drop in the Bitcoin exchange rate, the crypto-currency is still growing in acceptance and use. More and more businesses are starting to accept them in-lieu of traditional currency, and the United States is starting to issue regulations and guidelines concerning their use as a currency. However, many legal issues lurking behind crypto-currencies remain, and untangling them is still a work in progress. This article will cover the basic legal issues of accepting Bitcoin for your business.

Continue reading Legal Issues of Accepting Bitcoin that You Should Know About

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More states than ever before are now recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages and allowing them within their borders. This means that, in those jurisdictions, same-sex couples finally have the right to marry and to have their marriage accepted as a legal union. They can also enjoy unique legal aspects of marriage, including the right to obtain certain benefits (health insurance and survivor benefits, among others), the right to inherit property if a spouse dies without a will and the ability to take advantage of certain tax breaks and credits available only to married couples.

 

Logically, once same-sex couples are allowed to marry, it will be equally possible for them to divorce in a state’s family court the same way that heterosexual couples can. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Continue reading The emerging legal area of California same-sex divorce

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For the past few decades, researchers have believed that the U.S. divorce rate is on the decline. U.S. Census data seemed to show that the divorce rate reached its highest point in the mid-1970s and has been steadily declining ever since. A new study shows, however, that this long-held belief appears to be incorrect.

 

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Population Center recently published a study in the journal Demography that suggests the divorce rate in the U.S. has been steadily increasing, not decreasing, over the past few decades. One of the most important aspects of this new study is a re-examination of the data that experts have used over the years to determine the country’s divorce rate. In the past, experts recognized that the sources they used for divorce data were flawed, but they believed that the use of new techniques of analysis ensured accuracy. The Minnesota Population Center study demonstrates, however, that this is not the case. In fact, problems with the ways in which divorce data is collected – even in data sets long recognized as accurate – have contributed to a warped understanding of divorces across the country.

Continue reading Divorce rate appears to be on the rise

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Adoption for same-sex couples is a rewarding experience though often very difficult to navigate without expert legal assistance.

 

As the nation continues celebrating the legalization of same-sex marriage, many states are turning next to adoption rights. California has allowed same-sex marriage since 2013, although the path for equality took a winding, difficult road through Prop 8. But California was ahead of the curve when it comes to equality for adoption rights. In California, single LGBT individuals can adopt children, same-sex couples can jointly adopt, and a same-sex partner can petition to adopt a partner’s child or child of the relationship, but this does not mean adoption is easy.

 

Fortunately, despite the complexity, it is available to same-sex couples and LGBT individuals to create loving families through adoption. Across the U.S., over 6 million children are being raised by at least one LGBT parent. And California is one of seven states that specifically prohibits discrimination by adoption agencies against same-sex couples. There is no federal law on same-sex adoption, and two states ban adoption by same-sex couples entirely. It is unclear how adoption rights will change in those states that only recently commenced to recognize same-sex marriage.

Continue reading Obtaining help with same-sex adoptions in California

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California law has specific requirements for a prenup to be enforceable.

 

Marriage is supposed to be about love and commitment. It also creates an important and often complicated legal relationship, subject to laws that can significantly impact a party’s future rights and obligations, especially concerning money and property, at divorce, separation and death.

 

When an engaged couple would prefer different rights and obligations than those automatically dictated by California law upon marriage, they should consider a premarital (also known as a prenuptial) agreement. A premarital agreement is defined in California law as ” an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage” – it is a binding and enforceable contract.

 

California law specifies not only what may be included and not be included, but also what procedures and formalities are required.

 

Continue reading Consider a premarital (prenuptial) agreement before your California marriage

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Requests to relocate will have a major impact on child custody agreements, and the courts will often need to step in and issue a decision.

 

It is not uncommon for individuals to look for new opportunities in different states, especially in a difficult economy. People might want to move closer to family so they can start over after a divorce, and there can be serious complications if they want the child to move as well.

 

In many of these situations, the noncustodial parent will be very opposed to the move. The move-away request is considered to be a major change in circumstances, and will require the court the revisit the existing custody agreement in place.

 

The court will be tasked with coming to a final ruling over whether or not to allow the custodial parent to relocate with the child. It will examine several factors when trying to arrive at its decision under California law, including:

Continue reading Move-away laws in California and the impact on custody agreements

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In addition to including how property will be divided, many couples are now including provisions relating to social media in their marital agreements.

 

Marital agreements are contracts that traditionally outline which of a couple’s assets are considered marital property, which assets are considered separate property and any financial provisions that will be made if the couple eventually decides to divorce, states Forbes. However, more and more couples in California and throughout the country are now including social media clauses in their marital agreements that contain certain rules each spouse has to abide by when using platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Continue reading More couples including social networking clauses in marital agreements

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