Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.

- Denis Waitley

Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

Sale of the family home in a divorce

All too often when people are experiencing a divorce, they find themselves in the unfavorable position of having to sell the family home. One common reason for the sale of the home is that they recently purchased the home, and the mortgage payment is too high. Since one of them must find a second home, […]

Catholic issues within estate planning

The recent 10-day visit by the Pope Francis attracted large crowds and television viewers who were mesmerized by his presence and his message. Nearly every facet of his visit was a tribute to his idea of Catholic values, including his interaction with inmates and the disabled. There are approximately 70 million Catholics residing in the […]

Living separate and apart in the family home

Under California law, the separate property of each spouse is differentiated from the community property of the couple. The California Family Code states that all property obtained by each spouse during the marriage is community property “except as otherwise provided by statute.” One of the statutes is Family Code 771, which says that the earnings […]

Use of mediation to handle probate and estate disputes

It has become increasingly common for family members to contest their inheritances. Such probate and estate disputes can alienate family members against each other, and cause irreparable harm to relationships among beneficiaries. An effective remedy is mediation, which is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to reach a settlement between parties. The principal role […]

A guardian ad litem may be called upon to represent best interests of children in divorce

When children are involved in a divorce or separation, the best interests of the children should be of paramount importance in determining such issues as custody, child support and visitation agreements. And a court may appoint an attorney as a guardian ad litem, whose function is to represent the best interests of the children during […]

In tax season, married same-sex couples must not overlook key estate planning choices

The tax filing deadline of April 15 has come and gone, a fact that serves as a reminder that same-sex couples should not neglect some estate-related tax matters. Among the most important benefits that same-sex couples will be able to realize under federal law is the spousal exemption from estate taxes. However, it is also […]

Factors to consider when establishing a guardianship

You may wish to set up a guardianship for your children in the event that you and your spouse are unable to care for them. It is preferable that you name a guardian in your will because if you do not, and you suffer an untimely death, one will be appointed by the court. A […]

Parenting agreements in child custody cases

Most child custody cases can be resolved prior to going to trial. Negotiations between the parents and their attorneys or mediation, which is a form of alternate dispute resolution, can result in a parenting agreement, which is a written agreement outlining the couple’s decisions concerning all issues relevant to child custody and visitation. It is […]

The treatment of inheritance in divorce

During a divorce, issues often arise as to how assets are to be distributed. Specifically, you may have some concerns about how your or your spouse’s inheritance will be treated in divorce proceedings if the inheritance was acquired while you were still married. Upon your inheritance of assets acquired during marriage, the treatment of those […]

A no-contest clause can help prevent a court challenge to a will or trust

An individual who is planning for their estate always wants to make sure that their will or trust will be valid in the courts and, in particular, that those estate-planning vehicles are not successfully challenged. The course of action that many people opt to take in order to avoid the latter outcome is to add […]