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San Mateo California Family Law Blog

Child custody is the biggest fear among women opioid abusers

Recovery for women from opioid addiction is a constant uphill battle. Days are consumed with efforts to maintain sobriety and keep benefits intact while managing court appearances about daily treatment and guardianship of their children. Many women in California and other states often delay treatment fearing they will have their child custody rights suspended because of opioid abuse.

Studies show that postpartum pain is often the gateway for opioid abuse among women. Opioids are often used to treat pain after childbirth, and research shows that 1 in 300 women with no history of drug abuse will become persistent users. The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that doctors often over-prescribe opioids for childbirth-related and reproductive procedures.

Do property division laws apply to inherited IRA accounts?

IRA accounts have become a huge bargaining chip in divorce settlements, but what about IRAs received in an inheritance from a family member? Considering the new tax laws that go into effect in 2019, pretax funds from IRAs could be used to make up for tax deductions in a divorce settlement. Residents in California and other states have used inherited IRA accounts to satisfy property division in a divorce.

There are no IRS guidelines or official rulings that say whether an inherited IRA should be considered marital property. Property acquired before marriage and gifts or inheritances received during the marriage are considered separate property. Property may remain separate unless it is commingled or re-titled to include the spouse's name.

Financial priorities for women after a high asset divorce

About 46 percent of women surveyed claim they were met with staggering financial surprises when their marriage ended. Some women in California and other states were unaware of their household's net worth when going through a high asset divorce. Surprisingly, women are eager to relinquish financial responsibilities to their husbands over the course of the marriage, leaving many oblivious that they share responsibility for the marital debt.

Experts say life after a divorce becomes more difficult for women who are in the dark about finances during their marriage. Others say living on a single income and being unable to keep the family home are their biggest financial fears along with securing affordable health insurance. Of the women surveyed, many said the amount of alimony and child support was less than expected, and the allotted time frame was shorter than anticipated.  

Money problems are often the source of divorce

The rate at which American couples end their marriages has been around 50 percent for decades, and studies show most divorces result from money problems. Some believe it is impossible to have a successful marriage when money issues are at the forefront of family problems. Studies show that couples in California who have money problems during a marriage often do not communicate about finances, and the problems often end in divorce.

Over 50 percent of couples have little or no savings, which adds to the financial stress in a marriage. There is no sense of security living paycheck to paycheck with no savings to cover unexpected expenses. Experts suggest starting small and creating an emergency fund with 2 percent of each paycheck and increasing that amount with raises. They recommend having three to six months of take-home pay in the event of a job loss or other emergency.

High asset divorce incentives to consider before 2019

Right now may be the best time for those who are well off financially to get divorced. With the upcoming changes in tax laws, it may be beneficial for wealthy clients to act fast and have their agreements signed before the end of the year. In California and elsewhere, the tax burden can shift dramatically by waiting until 2019 to pursue a high asset divorce.

Professionals are working to devise workarounds for those who cannot complete agreements before the December 31, 2018 deadline. Some options to consider instead of alimony are tax-exempt retirement accounts and property change of ownership in a settlement. Converting child support payments to unallocated support that helps both spouse and children, and it is deductible, but only until 2019. 

For rocker Slash, money is no object during a high asset divorce

For some, there is a burning desire to move on with their lives after a relationship ends. The desperate need to free themselves from their estranged spouse has them shelling out millions in a high asset divorce. In California, a member of a hard rock band has asked the courts to sign off on his divorce settlement that will leave his ex-wife very comfortable.

Slash, the lead guitarist for Guns n' Roses, is ready to sign away over $6.6 million to be free of his wife of 17 years. He has agreed to pay $100,000 for spousal support that will continue for the rest of her natural life or until she remarries. The music icon first filed for divorce in 2014, but he never followed through, even after accusations of bigamy against his wife surfaced in 2016.

Dads push for more involvement after child custody hearings

The struggle that most dads face today is the limited amount of time they get to spend with their kids. Studies show that even with no criminal convictions and no extenuating circumstances, dads receive only 35 percent of child custody time post-divorce. In California and other states, fathers say that parenting is extremely important to them, and they are eager to take a more active role.

Dads struggle with the work-life balance from the moment their baby is born. Statistics show that because of divorce, dads have limited time with their children, and one in four live apart from them. The numbers are particularly stark for black fathers, with 47 percent living apart from at least one child, compared to 17 percent of white fathers.

Social media prenups are gaining in popularity

Prenuptial agreements are a difficult subject to approach for most couples. Many people consider them bad luck. It can feel like bad taste to discuss the end of a relationship.

However, more Californians are now considering the possibility that true love has an expiration date.

What is palimony?

A California divorce attorney coined the word palimony in 1976. They used it in a case where Michelle Triola Marvin sued her ex-boyfriend Lee Marvin, claiming they had a verbal agreement to evenly split all earnings and property.

While the case was eventually dismissed by the California Supreme Court, it created a new form of asset division.

Time is running out on an important tax exemption for divorces

If you are considering a divorce, now may be the time to move forward. Divorces with possible alimony payments are about to pass an expensive deadline.

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act takes effect on January 1st, 2019. As you may know, this law removes alimony from the list of tax-deductible expenses.

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