December 2010 Archives

December 21, 2010

San Diego Divorce: Family Law Changes for 2011

Justia-photo-79 Christmas.jpgDecember 20, 2010: Year 2010 is almost over. What will be improved about the San Diego family law system in 2011? Here is the news at this time. The court budget will be limited; likely the court calendar will be overloaded and this means that hearing times in court may be delayed and limited. Nevertheless, approximately 50% of the parties to a family law case will leave the courtroom encouraged and approximately 50% leave discouraged.

San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorneys are analyzing The Elkins Family Law Task Force Final Report and this report will bring about many changes as to how cases are heard in court. Essentially, requests that present a legitimate reason for oral testimony will likely be granted. This will add to the case time estimates and the level of expertise required to handle a contested case in court. La Jolla divorce attorneys are pouring over the new laws set to take effect on January 1, 2011. So exactly how will changes in the family court system affect you?

After many years of working as an AV rated attorney, I have come to the conclusion that it is the job of my office, the lawyers in the office and the staff to know and understand the changes in the law so that we may cause these changes to benefit our clients. We are not advocates of any particular legal philosophy; we don't lobby for changes in the law; it is simply our job to understand how to best operate under a system with changing policies and laws that we cannot control. So what can you control that will benefit you and/or your legal matter in 2011?

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December 15, 2010

California Divorce--Where Do You File The Motion?

Justia-photo-78 Michael Douglas.jpegMy Family Law office is located in La Jolla California which is a beautiful community continuously connected to Wall Street by high speed Internet connections. Just up the road from my office an epic divorce court battle is taking shape and we will closely follow this case.

This blog posted an article recently regarding Diandra Douglas' attempt to obtain a payment from the profits to Michael Douglas recent release (and success) of the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. When Diandra lost her motion which she filed in New York City, news releases claimed that she had lost in her attempt to obtain her claimed share of the payments to Michael. However, as posted by this blog, she didn't lose a motion. She simply failed to file the motion in the correct court house. The article posted by this blog explained the legal concept of "jurisdiction" which explains which court has the authority and power to issue orders regarding legal claims between litigating parties.

By way of background, Diandra and Michael were married, then divorced in a California family law court. They separated and signed a settlement agreement in the 1990s. Diandra received 50% of the community property in the divorce settlement. When Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was released in 2010, Diandra claimed that this movie was so related to the 1987 original that she was entitled to 50% of the funds received by Michael from the 2010 movie. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney I work with concepts of community property, separate property, and jurisdiction on a daily basis. The news reports were wrong. Diandra didn't lose her motion; her motion was dismissed in New York as the court in which she filed the motion, didn't have jurisdiction to resolve this issue.

Just this week, the news reports stated that Diandra is looking for lawyers to re-file this motion in a California court. This blog predicts that she will file. Her decision to file in New York was unsuccessful; however it showed her determination regarding this issue. While research does not disclose the amount of the income to Michael from Money Never Sleeps, all sources agree that it is significant amount.

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December 9, 2010

California Divorce Determines Property Ownership

Justia-photo-77 Dodgers.jpegIn a Los Angeles Times article, written by journalist Bill Shaikin on 12/7/2010, we learn that a California divorce court invalidated a post marital agreement whereby Frank McCourt claimed that his wife, Jamie McCourt, agreed that the Los Angeles Dodger baseball team was Frank's separate property. As a result of this decision, the Dodgers are the community property of both Frank and Jamie and must be equally divided as a result of the pending McCourt divorce. This is a significant blow to Frank and likely means that the team must be sold.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney I have closely followed this case. This blog posted articles on this case in August and September 2010. We predicted the outcome that was reached by the court just in the last several days. After the first day of trial on the post marital contract issue, this blog directed a comment at Frank telling him that he had swung at the ball and missed and that "I just don't know if that was strike one, two or three." We stated that the trial was not going well for Frank after one day in court.

Later, the attorney who drafted the post marital contract appeared in this trial to testify as a witness. This blog posted an article regarding his testimony. The article stated that my professional opinion regarding the contract issue was now even stronger in favor of Jamie McCourt's position--that the contract was invalid therefore the team was the community property of the McCourt's. Typically, a post marital agreement seeks to change the characterization of property from community property to separate property (or visa versa).

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December 3, 2010

California Divorce Report: Jurisdiction Part II

Justia-photo-76 Eva Longoria.jpegOn November 17, 2010, Eva Jacqueline Longoria Parker filed a petition for divorce (see it here) against William Anthony Parker II in a California Superior Court. According to the petition, there are no children. Eva Longoria does not specify any community property or separate property. She does request spousal support however she also references a Marital Agreement signed in June 2007 and amended on June 10, 2009. Eva Longoria filed her petition for divorce in California; reportedly, Tony Parker subsequently filed a petition for divorce in Texas thereby raising the Jurisdiction issue.

"Jurisdiction" is a legal concept that resolves the question of which court has the exclusive authority and power to proceed in a legal case when the same parties have filed the same lawsuit in two or more courts. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney, my office is trained to implement the concepts of Jurisdiction and Venue into our cases. There just is not enough factual information disclosed in the reports as to this case whether the case will proceed in California or Texas. My educated guess is that California will prevail as to the jurisdiction issue and the case will proceed to a conclusion in California. From the news reports it appears that Parker's filing in Texas was a reactionary move to force Longoria into settlement negotiations. Texas is known to complete divorce cases faster than California and to have a more conservative perspective on issues such as Marital Agreements that limit support as well as the spousal support issue.

If settlement negotiations or divorce mediation does not result in a settlement of the divorce cases, look for Longoria to aggressively seek her share of Tony's multi-million dollar basketball money. Look for Tony Parker to move forward with hearings in Texas to rule that Texas holds the exclusive jurisdiction for this case. Look for the Marital Agreement to be entered into one of the courts as evidence either in support or against the spousal support claim.

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