Los Angeles Area Law Blog

Use caution when dividing debts in a divorce

California couples seeking a divorce may be anticipating having to divide their assets, but what they may not realize is that they also must divide their debts. And, when they do so, they must take care to do it properly, or there could be financial consequences.

It may seem simple enough. Add up all your debts, and then divide the total 50/50. For example, one spouse could take 50 percent of the credit card debts, and the other spouse could take the other 50 percent of the credit card debts. However, even if the spouses agree to this arrangement in writing, the creditors involved need not honor that agreement. If both spouses' names are on the debt, and one spouse fails to pay what he or she is supposed to, the creditor can go after the other spouse, even if the spouses have a written agreement between each other that says the defaulting spouse is the one liable for the debts.

I'm getting divorced but my child is just a baby

Divorces rarely happen at "convenient" times. However, one of the most inconvenient times for a breakup is immediately after the birth of a child. In these cases, both parents may want to spend equal time with the baby, but needs of a baby necessitate certain, unavoidable arrangements.

This article will discuss some of the most important considerations parents should keep in mind when developing a parenting plan for a baby.

Custody of the debt after the relationship ends

At the end of a marriage, property division and allocating debt may be resolved through family law proceedings before a California judge. Unmarried couples, however, face significant hurdles with resolving debt issues.

A person's conscience, instead of the law, may dictate debt payment. Credit cards are a prime example. When a partner accumulates debt on their ex-spouse's credit card, the ex-spouse is responsible for paying it off.

California foreclosure basics

Homeowners facing financial problems and the risk of loan default may lose their property under foreclosure. Property owners, however, may protect their foreclosure rights through civil litigation in California.

A lender usually has a lien on a home or other property when the homeowner takes out a home equity loan, borrows money through a mortgage or refinances their mortgage. Most lenders foreclose on a mortgage through nonjudicial foreclosure. For this to occur, the deed of trust must contain a power-of-sale clause that secures the mortgage by allowing the trustee to sell the home to liquidate the unpaid balance when the borrower defaults.

What is fraud?

Fraud, in its most general definition, refers to an act of dishonesty or deceit in an effort to achieve a personal or monetary gain. Typically, it is done to gain something of value, such as property or money. With the ease and accessibility of today's technology, and more and more financial transactions taking place online, it is becoming increasingly common in Los Angeles to see fraud carried out in the digital world.

Types of fraud include but are not limited to bankruptcy fraud, tax fraud or tax evasion, identity theft, insurance fraud, credit card fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud and telemarketing fraud. Fraud could affect either an individual or a business or other entity. Victims of fraud are wide ranging, and could involve anyone from a a child to the elderly, the poor to the wealthy and everyone in between.

How a prenuptial agreement can help a couple

Many Americans, especially those from Los Angeles, California, know that many marriages end up in divorce. Follow the news, and you'll see that it is common throughout the country, especially for celebrities, many of whom have substantial assets.

This is why throughout the United States, more and more people nearing marriage are considering prenuptial agreements, often called prenups. This is a written document designed to lay out many of the decisions that are to be made not only during the course of a marriage, but in the event of a divorce as well.

What do courts consider when deciding a child support case?

If you're the noncustodial parent of a child, California courts will require you to contribute money in the form of monthly payments to help care for your child. The amount of these child support payments will vary depending on you and your ex's financial situations.

Since child support payments can represent a significant financial burden, most noncustodial California parents will want to have an idea of how much child support they will be required to pay.

Why courts focus on the best interests of the child

While going through a divorce with children involved from the marriage, many of the decisions made by the California courts will be made by one standard: "protecting the best interests of the children." So what is meant by this, and how do the courts take this consideration and apply it to their decisions regarding child custody and child support?

The courts recognize the importance of a child's life and understand that the environment they live in could affect their upbringing and what type of people they become later in life. The courts want to minimize the impact a divorce may have on a child as much as possible. Although inevitably many changes will be made, if the courts can minimize the changes in child's life, it may help protect them from any possible negative impact the child may experience.

Whistleblowers have protection against wrongful termination

A whistleblower is an employee who reports misconduct within a company. It would seem only natural that an employee who is with a company and is making reports which make the company's executives look bad would not last long at that company. But, in an effort to shed light on potentially illegal or wrongful doings, there are specific whistleblower protections in place in California and throughout the country. These help protect employees against retaliation from their employers.

An example of the protection a whistleblower law can provide is the case of an employee from a California medical device manufacturer. A top regional sales manager from the company noticed what he believed to be illegal activities, including issues with financial reporting, the promotion and use of medical devices not approved by the Federal Drug Administration, violations of patient safety and potentially kickbacks to doctors.

With property division, what is quasi-community property?

Certain terms might be confusing when a Los Angeles couple is getting a legal separation or a divorce. Property division is relatively self-explanatory, but when getting into the details, there can be portions that are not as clear. One is quasi-community property. Knowing what quasi-community property is before moving forward with a divorce can make the process easier when determining who has the right to various pieces of marital property.

Property acquired by either or both spouses when they were living in a different state is quasi-community property if it would have been viewed as community property had they lived in California at the time of acquisition. What this means is if the couple lived somewhere outside California and there were purchases of real estate, earnings, or acquisition of other forms of property that would be declared community property in California, it falls into this category. If the couple is divorcing in California, it will be viewed as community property.