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Sacramento Family Law Blog

Cyber technology provides new tools for finding hidden assets

When a couple has decided to end their marriage, one or both spouses may try to attempt to hide assets from the other spouse. For example, a person facing a divorce may try to hide marital assets from California's community property laws by creating a secret bank account or stock market account. Recent advances in computer technology have greatly increased the difficulty of successfully hiding assets that must be disclosed during the property division process.

A suspicious spouse could, for example, install software on a home computer to record keystrokes that might reveal the use of a secret stock market account or undisclosed bank account. The installation of such "key logger" software is illegal in California if it is used to collect information on password-protected accounts of the other spouse. Nevertheless, most computer hard drives will retain evidence of files and programs used to hide money or investments. Electronic discovery rules in California make the obtaining of computers for forensic analysis very easy. Smart phones and portable electronic devices are also targets of electronic searches.

Enforcing child support orders in California

More than one divorced parent in Sacramento has faced the unhappy prospect of collecting child support from an ex-spouse who refuses to pay or, even worse, has moved to another state. Fortunately, California state law provides a number of effective remedies that can be used if a parent tries to avoid the consequences of the divorce decree.

If the payor parent resides in California after the divorce, but refuses to pay child support, the custodial parent can seek assistance from the Department of Child Support Services. Staff at the department will provide assistance in completing and filing necessary paperwork to compel payment. If the payor parent remains delinquent in his or her payments, a court hearing may be required.

Using appraisals to value real property in a California divorce

Even though California is a community property state, dividing assets in a divorce can prove to be a contentious problem. If a couple has acquired significant amounts of real property during their marriage, each of them is entitled to 50% of the value of the property. Liquidating the holdings can provide a simple method of arriving at a 50/50 division, but in many cases, some or all of the holdings cannot be sold without a significant loss in value. In such cases, an appraisal of the value of real property by a qualified appraiser can aid the process of property division.

Certified real property appraisers use widely accepted standards for arriving at the value of a parcel of real estate. The appraiser's first step is to correctly identify the parcel whose value is being determined. The second step involves identifying the highest and best use of the property. Once these questions have been properly answered, most certified appraisers ask and then answer three questions:

  1. What is the replacement cost of the property?
  1. What is the present value of the property's income stream over the rest of its useful life?
  1. What is the market value for the property?

3 tips for protecting your business from divorce

If you know you are about to get divorced, you might be concerned about what will happen to your business. Your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may try to get part of your business during the property division process. How can you protect your company from being a casualty in your divorce?

There are a few things you can do to protect your business from your divorce. Below are three tips you can follow before and during divorce to keep your business assets intact. 

Understanding divorce mediation in California

Couples in the Sacramento area who have decided to end their marriage usually expect the process to be long and painful. The prospect of attempting to come to a mutual agreement on difficult issues such as child custody, child support and alimony often seems overwhelming. Fortunately, divorce laws in California have evolved to provide an option for couples who genuinely wish to end their marriage on an amicable basis: divorce mediation.

Divorce mediation utilizes the services of a neutral party who is trained to listen to each party's concerns without passing judgment. The mediator is usually selected through the mutual choice of the divorcing spouses. The mediator will convene one or more meetings between the parties and, if they wish, their attorneys. At these meetings, the mediator will ask each party to explain his or her concerns about each issue. These communications can be made in private or with the other party present.

Using a buy-sell agreement to protect corporate stock in divorce

One of the most disruptive events in the life of a closely held corporation in California is the divorce of one of the owners. Without prior planning, a shareholder's divorce could insert the shareholder's former spouse into the management of the corporation if the stock is a community asset. Also, a shareholder may be forced to sell valuable stock at a loss in order to satisfy a property distribution order. A well-drafted stock transfer agreement or buy-sell agreement can eliminate these risks.

Stock transfer agreements have many uses, but their primary function is to ensure the continuity of management by the original group of shareholders in the event of retirement, death, disability or divorce of any shareholder. A buy-sell agreement is a contract to which the corporation and all shareholders are parties. If shareholders are added after the corporation is formed, such shareholders must agree to the terms of the buy-sell agreement. Most attorneys recommend that spouses sign consent forms waiving their community property interest in the spouse's shares.

Five kinds of alimony may be ordered in California divorce

Divorce often entails an uncertain financial future for one or both spouses. Spousal maintenance, called alimony, is used by the California courts to ameliorate certain financial hardships. Understanding the nature and justification for each type of spousal support may help persons prepare for the financial consequences of divorce.

Temporary alimony is paid when the couple separates, but before the divorce becomes final. Permanent alimony is paid after the divorce becomes final and continues indefinitely or until one former spouse dies.

How can divorce affect my business?

One of the reasons for your success might be your ability to plan for unexpected events that may impact your company’s health. As the co-owner of a successful business in California, you should think about how a divorce can affect your company. You may be happily married now, but you never know what the future holds.

It does not matter if your separation is an amicable one or not. You may even want to believe your partner would never do anything to hurt you or the company you own together. However, divorces often have a way of bringing out the worse in some people. It is important for you to make everything concerning your separation and company strictly business. 

The benefits of a prenuptial agreement in California

Requesting one's finance to sign a prenuptial agreement may seem like the antithesis of the romance that supposedly infuses a wedding. In fact, though, a prenuptial agreement can improve the couple's chances of enjoying a long and affectionate relationship. A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can remove some of the uncertainty that is an ordinary part of life.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract in which the two engaged people agree on the division of their marital and non-community property in the event of a divorce. Generally, prenuptial agreements are used in the case of marriage between persons who have unequal personal estates.

Casey Affleck's wife files for divorce

Another Hollywood, California, couple has announced their impending divorce. It always shocks those who follow celebrities as it shows that celebrities are not perfect. They do not lead the lives we see on the big screen. They are simply people and in their marriages and sometimes, it just does not work out.

Ben Affleck's little brother, Casey Affleck, has risen to fame in his own right after receiving his Oscar for "Manchester by the Sea." But, he has been working in Hollywood for years.

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