Archive for September, 2016

California Divorce Blog–Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Divorce

September 25, 2016

Today I was quoted in an article published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation regarding the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Divorce. This articles addresses issues raised in Child Custody litigation. The link to the article is a as follows: http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/jolie-pitt-divorce-children-1.3778140

Child Custody Litigation is an extremely complex area of Family Law. If you have questions regarding child custody issues please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson at (310) 297-9090. The Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson, A Professional Corporation, is located in Manhattan Beach, California.

 

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California Divorce Blog–Dividing the House

September 17, 2016

In California, it is common for a house to be the largest asset owned by a divorcing couple. I am often asked how the equity in the house is divided. Is one party allowed to stay in the house and retain ownership? What if the house was owned prior to marriage? Real Estate, also known as Real Property, can present multiple complicating factors which must be carefully analyzed before you proceed with a divorce case.

We start with the concept of community property and separate property. In general, community property is all property acquired during the marriage. Separate property is all property acquired by a party before marriage and after the date of separation (gifts and inherited property are also separate property regardless when acquired). Therefore, if the house was purchased during marriage then the house is by definition Community Property.

We then look to the source of funds used for the down payment and monthly mortgage payments. If the house was purchased during marriage and the down payment was from community property money then the house is likely Community Property and the equity should be divided 50/50. If the down payment was from a separate property source, then the party who supplied the separate property down payment should be reimbursed for the down payment the the remaining equity split 50/50 as community property.

If the house was owned prior to marriage and is separate property, it is still possible for the community to acquire a community property interest based upon the monthly mortgage payments being paid from community property income. In my experience, this typically does not amount to a large amount of money because the community acquires an interest in the home based upon the reduction of principal (not interest) paid. This amount is then reduced to a 50% interest for each party.

Please remember that other issues can determine who owns the house, including, but not limited to, how title is held, whether an interest was gifted from one spouse to another, the ability of one spouse to trace funds, violations of fiduciary duties owed between spouses and other factors. This issue alone is often complex and should therefore be analyzed very carefully.

Please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson today to discuss your divorce case at (310) 297-9090. Attorney Keith F. Simpson is a Divorce Lawyer in Manhattan Beach, California. You may also visit the website at http://www.simpsonlaw.net to review further divorce information.

California Divorce Blog–Pension Plans And Other Retirement Plans

September 7, 2016

If you or your spouse work at Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, Chevron or another large company, chances are you may have a Pension Plan, 401k Plan, IRA or other type of Retirement Plan. In divorce cases, these plans often have a Community Property and Separate Property component.

The portion of the Retirement Plan (Pension) which accrued prior to marriage and after the date of separation is Separate Property. This means the spouse who owns the plan retains all earned benefits prior to the date of marriage and after date of separation.

The portion of the Retirement Plan (Pension) which accrued during marriage is Community Property. This means that both spouses share the portion of the Retirement Plan benefits earned during marriage 50/50. This type of apportionment is often referred to as the “Time Rule” meaning the community portion of the plan is shared 50/50 for the term of the marriage.

This example illustrates the importance of determining the Date of Separation. The Date of Separation marks the end of the Community Property interest in the Retirement Plan. Therefore, it is extremely important to review all issues regarding the Date of Separation with your Attorney. Depending on the facts in your case, you can earn additional retirement benefits (or lose additional retirement benefits) based solely upon the issue of determining your date of separation.

If you have any questions regarding your Divorce please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson at (310) 297-9090. Attorney Keith F. Simpson is a California Family Law Attorney located in Manhattan Beach, California.

California Divorce Blog–High Net Worth Divorce

September 3, 2016

High Net Worth divorce cases present unique issues in a marital dissolution matter. Whether you are a high net worth individual such as an Entrepreneur, Investor, Doctor, Lawyer or married to one, you face a unique set of challenges.

The first issue is to identify all assets (and debts) in a high net worth divorce. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Real Estate Holdings
  • Stock Investments
  • Ownership in Closely Held Corporations or other Entities
  • Patents, Copyrights and/or Trademarks
  • Art Collections
  • Gold
  • Exotic Vehicles including Yachts

Once we identify the assets we then need to have the assets valued. This is typically done by a professional appraiser when necessary.

Once the assets and values have been ascertained, we then need to determine whether the property is Community Property, Separate Property or a mix of Community Property and Separate Property. This may be complex depending on when the property was acquired, how the property was acquired and how title to the property is held.

Spousal Support is often a heavily litigated issue in High Net Worth Divorce cases. Permanent Spousal Support is determined upon a number of factors which include the length of marriage and the Marital Standard of Living. In High Net Worth cases, the Marital Standard of Living often includes frequent travel and residences in affluent communities. Therefore, it is extremely important to retain a competent attorney to represent your interests in a High Net Worth Divorce matter.

Please contact Attorney Keith F. Simpson today if you have any questions regarding a High Net Worth Divorce at (310) 297-9090. The Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson, A Professional Corporation, is located in Manhattan Beach, California.