Divorce and Property

Mani con chiave sfondo azzurroMum is the word- sometimes, unfortunately. That was the case for one woman, who ran into multiple questions regarding the condo she and her hopefully soon to be ex-husband share. The catch, however, is that the loan for the condo is carried under his mother’s name.

In detail, she and her husband have lived together in this condo since 1999. Her name is not on the title or the loan of the condo, which is carried, again, by her husband’s mother. The couple make the house payments and claim them on their taxes together. They both also pay the property taxes. She wants to know how she can ensure that she gets “her half” in the property division of the condo property after they divorce.

Let’s be blunt. Based on what she’s told us, there’s probably no way to “make sure” she gets “her half” of the condo. It sounds like the husband’s mother bought the home for him, and left her daughter-in-law intentionally off of the deal. If that’s true, “her half” doesn’t exist so there will be no property division. What she can do: talk to a lawyer and give him or her all the facts she knows. She should bring a copy of the deed with her. If she doesn’t have a copy of the deed, she can get one at the recorder’s office. I expect the only way to create a half interest in the condo in her favor would be for the husband to deed half of it to her. She might ask him to do so and see what happens- it couldn’t hurt if that’s the only option.

For more information on property in divorce, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/property-division-in-divorce 


Landlord Tenant Law – Tenants Rights

Tenancy agreementReconciliation. Making amends. Getting back together. For some divorced couples, it isn’t just a laughable notion, or a vastly unlikely fantasy. For some, it can actually happen. This seemed to be the future for one potential client, a woman who reports she and her ex husband have agreed that their parting of ways was a mistake, and that they’re currently trying to get back together. However, an outside force is blocking the couple and their son from coming together under the same roof. What is this outside force? The landlord of the ex-husband’s apartment.

The woman states that the landlord “will not allow me in or on the lease because they don’t want a divorced couple living together. They think it will cause domestic violence which was never the case or ever happened.” She has been sneaking into the apartment at night to see her family, otherwise the landlord will evict her ex-husband and son. Her question is this: can the landlord really refuse to allow her to move back in just because she and her husband are divorced, and are trying to reconcile?

If the lease agreement is in her ex husband’s name and she is not listed as an approved occupant, the landlord could terminate the lease if her ex husband let her stay there. However, simply not wanting a divorced couple to live there is by itself probably a violation (at least arguably) of some California fair housing laws. She should find a lawyer that handles landlord tenant law, specializing in representing tenants rights, and see how best to tackle this situation. We all know it often takes a court case to split up, but who knew it could take another to get back together?

For more on landlord and tenant related real estate law, please visit our website:  http://stanprowse.com/landlord-tenant-law



Service of Process

Judge Reading Documents At Desk In Courtroom

The definition of the word “serve” in terms of the law is as follows: To deliver a legal document, especially a process or notice; to present a legal notice or subpoena to a person as required by law. The actual service of person isn’t nearly as glamorous as some of the TV shows or movies make it out to be- still, the issue of service, and whether it was done properly or improperly, can be a confusing one. Let’s look at one woman’s situation to help us gain a better understanding of the service of process, especially in family law matters.

She starts by telling us this: “I had my ex initially personally served with a motion to set aside our divorce judgment. After that all papers and related motions have been served on his attorney…”. Some of those related motions were need-based motions for attorney fees and costs, a motion to compel discovery, and things of that nature. The attorney whom she served with the motion papers remains her ex-husbands attorney of record through all of this. Her question: Was this service process correct? Or did her ex need to be personally served at the start of every separate motion?

Service on an attorney for a party, rather than on the party himself, is proper if the attorney has made an appearance for the party, either by filing a paper with the court on the party’s behalf, or stating in court that he represents the party.  If she started serving his attorney after he or she filed a paper on behalf of her ex husband, or showed up in court for her ex-husband, service on the attorney was proper. If she started ‘serving’ the attorney with papers before he or she appeared for her ex-husband, service of those papers was improper. However, filing a response to an improperly served motion would generally be considered a waiver of the impropriety. It sounds as if it is too late for her ex-husband to complain about improper service, if there is any to be found.

For more on the process of service, family law, and more, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com

Child Support Guidelines

Currency, Law, Divorce.Like most law firms, we want nothing more than to provide clients and potential clients with sound and helpful advice and information. However, when given only pieces of the puzzle regarding someone’s current situation, it is very difficult to provide an answer or reach a conclusion that is 100% accurate. Still, when armed with decades of experience, a bit of prior knowledge, and even some bits of the puzzle, we can at least get those seeking help started in the right direction. Here’s an example.

A potential client approached us with questions about estimating child support, and how much she would be likely to receive once her divorce was finalized. Her husband is already paying $600 a month for child support to his ex-wife and one child in Texas. She, on the other hand, lives in California and shares two kids with her husband. She wonders if she will get “anything close” to the $600 a month her husband’s ex-wife receives. We also know that she works part time and her husband works full time.

Again, answering this question completely with only generalities is next to impossible, but when life gives you lemons at least slice them up until you’re ready to make lemonade. So here is our stab at this woman’s case: six hundred is a pretty low number, and sounds like an order that’s been around for a while and never modified to reflect her husband’s current earnings. We also would guess that child support in Texas is less than in CA. Particularly since she only works part time and he works full time, it would be surprising if she didn’t get more than $600. But it depends on his gross income, her gross income, and the comparative time the kids are in her custody or in his. That’s the best we can do with the given information, but it should at least give her some foundation to build from.

For more information regarding child support, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/child-support

Property and Divorce

concept of section of property after divorce.

A woman reports that when she and her ex-husband divorced, they agreed to let their family home foreclose. Since then, he has filed for bankruptcy to delay the foreclosure, he began once again to pay the mortgage, and has organized for a friend to become a renter. This woman asks us if she is entitled to half of the rent he receives from the tenant. She states that she was indifferent when she knew that the money was going towards a community debt, but now that she knows it is not she believes she deserves a share of the profit.

Assuming that the property is still in both names, this woman is entitled to half the rent her ex is receiving. We told her it sounds as though she should take him to small claims court, which is a local court where claims for small sums of money can be tried and resolved quickly and inexpensively without legal attorneys. It also sounds as if the home in this situation is not an adjudicated asset (or their judgement doesn’t say who gets it). In that case, if it ever becomes worth anything, she might want to go back to divorce court and ask for it to be sold and the proceeds divided. If the house is in fact an adjudicated asset, there is a possibility that the small claims court has no jurisdiction to deal with who gets the rent, and that a small claims court judge might refuse to hear her case and send the pair back to divorce court. In either case, she should consult with an attorney to develop a plan of action for receiving the profit she is entitled to.

For more information on real estate and property in divorce, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/property-division-in-divorce


Infidelity and Divorce

AdobeStock_89927467.jpegAs much as some of us wish it would, the law has no sympathetic ear. It is black and white, numbers and figures. There is no special stipulations for unfortunate individuals who simply just were played a bad hand of cards. In a nutshell, the Court doesn’t care if someone “hurt your feelings”.

But that doesn’t stop people from approaching us with their story of how their spouse did them dirty and left them out to dry. And of course, that’s understandable. Everyone wants to be heard. Perhaps that’s what one man really wanted when he sought advice about his “immigrant wife” of two years cheating on him. He informed us that his wife recently filed for her 10 year green card but it has not yet been granted. Based off of his recent discovery of her affair, he no longer believes the marriage was in “good faith”. In fact, he wishes to pass this information along to immigration officials. His question: what would be the best protocol to ensuring a favorable settlement in the divorce process with the current information regarding her falsification of a “good faith” marriage?

This is where we had to break it to him: the divorce court doesn’t care if you’ve been cheated on. They also won’t take into consideration whether his wife is legal or not. All the court cares about is dividing the couple’s community property and whether either spouse gets spousal support (which is highly unlikely). The feds may care if the marriage was phony, but using the threat of reporting her to get her to give up anything she’s entitled to would be extortion. A no-no, although people do it anyway. This man needs to see the matter of divorcing this woman and his vendetta for seeing about her deportation as two separate subjects, or else he will most likely be unsuccessful in both.

For more information on questions in divorce, including those regarding cheating, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/divorce-attorney-questions

Domestic Violence and Spousal Support

AdobeStock_73154055.jpegA woman approached us with questions regarding issues with spousal support in her marriage that involved domestic violence. She reports that throughout the couples’ four year marriage she was unemployed. There were several instances of domestic violence and several police reports made, but no arrest of the husband ever occurred. Still, she was granted a DVTRO, or a domestic violence temporary restraining order, by their family court judge. However, she has been unable to locate her ex-husband to have him served with the restraining order. He is now suing her for spousal support. Her question: since she was a victim of domestic violence by him, can he still be granted spousal support and attorney fees? She continues to struggle to find a job and has been living on no income.

We advised her not to worry- because she is unemployed and has no income, no Court is going to make her pay spousal support, so that needn’t concern her until she gets a job. Even then, if he’s employed, chances are he would be making more money than his ex-wife, and he would be paying her spousal support. Nonetheless, she probably would not get more than two years of support from the date the couple separated – they had a short marriage. Unless she knows he’s working and getting a paycheck he can garnish, her first order of business should be to find work for herself.

For more information on domestic violence and spousal support, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/spousal-support-california