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Santa Rosa Legal Blog

Physician's divorce entails valuation of the medical practice

The divorce of a medical doctor in California is likely to deal with some common financial issues. The most critical of those issues will be placing a value on the doctor's practice for purposes of property division. Divorce negotiations involving a successful medical professional will often involve the use of an expert forensic accountant. Many of the same considerations will generally apply to the determining the value of other professional practices.

The expert will be brought into the case by the party's attorney. This will initially be done to get an early working assessment of the value of the practice. Later, if the case is not settled amicably, that expert will be a primary witness testifying at trial.

Divorce negotiations must resolve debt as well as asset division

When negotiating a marital property settlement in California, it is important to remember that debt owed by the spouses jointly must be resolved as part of the agreement. If that is not done, troubles with debt can crop up long after the divorce has been entered and finalized. For example, some credit cards may have started out as the debt of one of the parties only.

However, after years of mutual use, the card may have taken on both names as borrowers. The other spouse's signature may also be entered on many or most of the purchases, making it problematic whether he or she is obligated. In addition, sometimes a spouse is asked to co-sign on a loan for the other spouse's use. If the matter is not resolved during divorce negotiations, the co-signing spouse may end up with the tab years down the line.

4 common types of construction defects

A construction defect can range from architectural flaws to construction deficiencies. Whether these problems arise from a faulty product or how something is installed, maintained or operated, they can be frustrating. 

Construction defects can sometimes result in immediate damage, but other times it may take years. When accusations of such defects arise, it is crucial to understand how failures and deficiencies occur to identify liable parties. Here are some of the most common construction defects. 

Schwarzennegger's divorce stalled over property division

After years of marriage, couples in California often do not realize the extent that their lives have been intertwined. Because of the love at the start of a relationship, many couples do not anticipate the need for a prenuptial agreement to assist in property division in the event of an unexpected divorce. When any amount of wealth or properties are shared, separating assets can be complicated and painful. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are familiar with the painful process. Six years after filing for a divorce, they remain married.

After 25 years of marriage, Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair with a housekeeper became public knowledge. In addition to being unfaithful, he fathered a child with the housekeeper. With the news of the infidelity, the marriage came to an end, and Maria filed for divorce in 2011. 

What to know about gray divorce

If you are among the millions of Americans who divorce later in life, the decisions you must make and the transitions you must go through may differ considerably from those faced by younger divorcees. According to U.S. News and World Report, the divorce rate among couples over 50 doubled within a recent 10-year period, with many older couples choosing to go their separate ways for a variety of reasons.

In some cases, married couples try and stay together “for the children,” and then once the kids move out, they proceed with divorce. Others find that, once they reach a certain age, they no longer share the common ties with their spouses that once bound them. Regardless of your reasoning for entering into a gray divorce, there are certain things you should know about the process. More specifically, know that:

Divorce and family law: A new argument for spousal support

A recent legal proceeding in California involving the end of a marriage brings a new kind of claim by a dependent spouse for spousal support payments. Kendu Isaacs, the estranged husband of singer Mary J. Blige, claims that two songs published by Blige are preventing him from finding work and earning a living. That is a new argument in family law circles, and it is one that Isaacs may have difficulty proving to the satisfaction of the family law judge presiding in this divorce case.

Blige's recent album, "Strength of a Woman," was indeed a collection of music that reflected her personal adversities in transitioning from the marriage into divorce. But the songs "Love Yourself" and "Set Me Free" are hardly endowed with the power to prevent Isaacs, a music executive, from finding work. Nonetheless, his filing incredulously blames the two songs as holding him back from working.

How to avoid common divorce mistakes

Divorces are rarely smooth or easy, but often, those involved in a divorce are going through the process for the first time, meaning they have little experience with it and therefore have the potential to make serious mistakes. While every marriage and subsequent divorce is quite different, there are many common mistakes people make when navigating the dissolutions of their families, and recognizing where others go wrong may help you avoid making similar mistakes yourself.

To ensure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible, be sure to:

Divorce can follow a cooperative, collaborative format for some

A divorce can be an emotional roller coaster filled with tough human feelings such as hate, jealousy, revenge and the like. In California and elsewhere, however, there are alternative methods that may be more suitable for a couple that is splitting on a more friendly and amicable basis. A major alternative is called a collaborative divorce, and it looks at the process in a different light -- one might say a kinder and gentler light.

The gist of the collaborative divorce is that it rules out bitter litigation as the central focus of the process. The attorneys will instead design a settlement that fits the needs of both parties. This does not eschew negotiations, but it does rule out blaming each other, maneuvering for every advantage regardless of practicality, and seeing the divorce landscape as a field of nightmares dotted with landmines of varying destructive intensity.

Divorce can raise special pitfalls for women near retirement

In California and elsewhere, the plight of a woman who is getting a divorce is a riskier proposition generally than that faced by a male spouse. Statistically, women are living longer than men, and there are twice as many women over 50 who are divorced or getting a divorce today than 20 years ago. Women do not remarry as often as men and they generally make less than men. All these factors combine to make it necessary for divorced women to save a larger chunk of their income for retirement.

For women with a relatively complicated asset and income structure, it can be helpful to work with a financial planner regarding the divorce settlement and the retirement planning that is necessary to stay on secure footing going forward. Often, a woman must decide to work a few years longer than originally anticipated. Stopping work early and taking early Social Security benefits can be an unexpected key to planning for future hardship.

3 ways anger can make your divorce worse

Divorce can get ugly quickly if you are not careful. When emotions run high, it is easy to make mistakes leading up to and during your divorce. You are probably upset and angry that your marriage is ending and you may have trouble thinking clearly. However, it is advisable to keep your emotions in check to the extent you are able to do so. Allowing anger to control your actions can turn the divorce process into a battle.

Whenever a divorce becomes contentious, it often means it will be more expensive, frustrating and lengthy. Remember that your goal is to find a resolution with a reasonable settlement. Do not do something to negatively impact your future by reasoning with your temper. Here are three crucial mistakes you should avoid. 

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