New Law on Date of Separation

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In the Summer of 2015 the California Supreme Court released its opinion in the Marriage of Davis case. In that case the Court took the traditional test for date of separation, i.e., state of mind that the marriage was irretrievably broken (subjective intent) combined with behavior consistent with that state of mind (objective evidence of intent) and added a new …

Major Decision on Date of Separation

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Until this week couples going through divorce could be considered separated even though they continued to live in the same home together.  No More… The California Supreme Court has issued its long awaited decision in the case of In re the Marriage of Davis. Bringing clarity to the often confusing question of when a couple is separated for divorce. Even …

Important Property Characterization Opinion from Cal. Supreme Court

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The long awaited Valli opinion has been issued by the California Supreme Court. In the case husband and wife purchased a life insurance policy insuring husband’s life.  There was no dispute the life insurance policy was purchased during the marriage, and with community property money.  Ordinarily there would be no discussion.  The policy would be characterized as community property.  In …

When to Separate

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Beginning of the End, or a New Beginning? It merits saying up front that separation, physical or legal, does not always lead to divorce. Sometimes separation can be a time of forgiveness and renewed commitment. Many times, couples will separate in hopes of saving a marriage. Sometimes, this can work. After all, just getting distance from a painful, antagonistic situation can …

The Evolution Of The Pre-Nup

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An unpublished opinion out of Orange County gives us a great primer of nuptial agreement law in California. Raymond and Roberta met in 1984.   They got engaged.  Raymond insisted on a pre-nup.  “Raymond told Roberta his last divorce was very difficult and he did not want to pay spousal support.  Raymond explained he would not get married unless she signed …

Who Gets Disability Benefits

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An unpublished opinion from Ventura County helps us to understand who gets disability benefits at divorce. Robert and Victoria married in 1978.    In 1989 Robert bought a disability policy from Unum Insurance.  The couple separated in 2004.  Simultaneously Robert went on disability.  By the time the case went to trial, the monthly disability benefits payable to Robert from the Unum …

Loan Secured By Separate Real Property Is Separate

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An unpublished opinion out of Marin County gives us a nice refresher on characterization of a second mortgage taken against a spouse’s separate real property. Vincent owned a home in Petaluma.  It was his separate property because he owned it before his marriage to Michelle. During marriage the parties took out a second mortgage with Bank of America, secured by …