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Bay Area & Sacramento Area Family Law Blog

In some divorces, beloved art is worth more than its price tag

California is home to many wealthy couples who have gone through high-asset divorces. When a large amount of money is involved, any asset could be the subject of a million-dollar legal battle. One of the issues that may arise during property division is who gets to keep an art collection that took decades to curate. In many cases, an art collection is even more sentimentally valuable to a spouse that its price tag indicates.

Property interests in high-profile marriage breakups can include real estate, business assets and even offshore accounts. However, art is often a personal matter that can be difficult to split during a divorce. The recent dramatic increase in the monetary value of fine art has heightened conflict in separations involving billionaire couples. Not only are the collections themselves fought over, but so is credit from philanthropic gifts or long-term loans of priceless art. The Art Institute of Chicago recently changed the name of a an atrium after its donors slit up.

Co-parenting movement challenging child custody assumptions

Divorce courts in California and around the country have long been instructed to keep "the best interests of the child" front and center when hearing child custody cases. Issues such as choosing the custodial parent, visitation rights, relocation, and more have for decades been decided within an established paradigm. That long-held view often defaults to the mother retaining physical custody while the father gets temporary custody every other weekend and time during summers when children are out of school.

However, with shared parenting legislation currently moving forward in 20 states, the trend is toward both parents being treated equally under family law. This means that all benefits and responsibilities are evenly divided, even when the parents don't see eye to eye.

Hip-hop performer Nas makes child custody agreement

California fans of the hip-hop performer Nas may know that he has been involved in a child custody dispute with his ex-wife Kelis over their 8-year-old son Knight. The custody agreement that the two have agreed upon includes specific parameters about the time each will have the child. It also addresses their use of social media involving the child and prohibits it.

Nas had accused Kelis of being hostile in previous court proceedings. He had also accused her of only allowing her to see their son at her convenience.

The effect of divorce on credit

Divorce may have an effect on the credit of some people in California. For example, one person might want to keep the home, but this could involve refinancing and taking on more debt.

Other ways could be related to how shared debt is divided and whether the split is even. Even if it is, one spouse may have acted unethically and not disclosed debt that was incurred in the other spouse's name. One person may simply refuse to pay a portion of the debt. If the two have joint accounts, one may have incurred charges that both are responsible for. The likelihood of these types of problems increases if the divorce becomes more acrimonious.

Divorce in the age of bitcoin

California residents know that a divorce can be complicated, both emotionally and financially. While it means the end of a relationship that just did not work, starting over and letting go of previous life plans can be very difficult. Additionally, the division of a couple's assets can bring even more conflict into the situation. When the couple also owns bitcoins, this division can become even messier.

While physical assets, such as a home, a car and even bank accounts, can be easily identified, valued and then considered for division, bitcoins are virtual and harder to track. During a divorce and the period leading up to it, those who have earned the bitcoin might choose to hide it away from their spouse by supposedly gifting it out to a friend or claiming they lost it to a scam or gambled it away. It would then be very difficult for the other party to disprove this.

The ramifications of tax reform on alimony

If an individual signs a divorce agreement or similar document after 2018, he or she may not get a tax deduction on alimony payments. That may have a significant impact on divorce agreements in California and throughout the country. For the past 75 years, alimony payments have been eligible for a tax write-off while they are counted as income to the recipient. The change is just one of many included in the new tax bill.

Allowing individuals to take a tax deduction for alimony paid generally allows more money to be provided to a spouse who may need it. If payments are still taxed as income, money that would have gone to a spouse may instead go to the government. Even though the recipient still has to pay taxes on the amount received, that person is generally taxed at a lower rate.

Waiting on the children

Parents who live in California and other parts of the country might have to deal with a narcissistic ex-spouse who tries to keep the children away by using gaslighting techniques. This may be common in shared custody agreements when one ex-spouse tries to get the agreement altered for more custody time.

When a narcissistic ex tries to keep the children away from the other spouse, there are various ways that it's performed. One parent might inform the other that the children don't want to come over. A parent could tell others that the spouse is abusive and mean to the children as a way to keep the children from spending time with the other parent. This type of behavior might be intended to influence court rulings for custody.

Rapper Kodak Black to pay $4,200 per month in child support

Californians who are fans of Kodak Black might be interested in learning that the rap star was recently ordered to pay $4,200 in monthly child support for his 2-year-old son. The order came after a lengthy court battle between the rapper and the mother in Florida.

According to news sources, the mother claimed that Black earned far more than he had stated. She asked for the court to jail him at one point during the case for his alleged failure to disclose his financial information.

Social security payments after a divorce

California residents may take steps to forget about their divorce and move on with their lives. However, it may be possible to collect Social Security benefits based on the work record that a person has with a former spouse. Collecting such benefits may make it easier to live comfortably in retirement or at least make it easier to make ends meet as a person ages.

It is important to note that not everyone is entitled to collect benefits based on a spouse's work record. One requirement is that the marriage must have lasted for 10 years or longer. Furthermore, an individual is generally only eligible for benefits based on a former spouse's work record if he or she doesn't remarry. However, if a subsequent marriage ends, it may be possible to once again claim benefits based on the first spouse's work record.

Refinancing after a divorce

California homeowners who are getting a divorce should handle their home mortgages with care. Refinancing a mortgage may be the best way to protect one's financial future and a home, which usually is a couple's most valuable asset.

Refinancing is ideal because it can help protect one's credit. Removing one's name does not eliminate the responsibility for the mortgage. Even though one ex-spouse could buy out the other's ownership interests in the home, both parties will still be liable for the joint mortgage if the home is not sold.

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Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP

Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP
6542 Lonetree Boulevard
Rocklin, CA 95765

Phone: 916-780-0848 
Fax: 916-780-0787

Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP
850 Iron Point Road, Suite 113A
Folsom, CA 95630

Phone: 916-365-4941 
Fax: 916-780-0787

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