If your marriage is on the rocks and you are about to file for divorce, have you considered how your current will and trust may distribute your estate? While most people have no reason to fear that their spouse may do them harm, even in a divorce situation, sometimes a party will die of natural causes or an accident during the course of a dissolution. If that occurs, do you know whether your spouse will inherit from your estate and would you want that? You may wish to consult an attorney about modifying your estate plan so that you do not inadvertently gift your estate to your ex spouse.
Married people, just like business partners, are supposed to treat each other with the utmost of good faith and fair dealing. Just as a business person should not be engaged in self-dealing at the expense of his or her partner, a spouse should likewise not steal from the community or imprudently manage community assets. In the Family Code and in case law, the fiduciary duties are set forth rather clearly. As a rule of thumb, one could think of the duties as a “golden rule” about dealing with community assets and those of one’s spouse, and do unto the other party as you would have the other party do unto you. Under the code, dishonesty and self-dealing are dealt with harshly, and if a spouse is found to have breached his or her fiduciary duties to the other party, the breaching party will likely face sanction, have to pay attorney’s fees, and may even have a “double penalty” on the marital balance sheet when it comes down to dividing marital assets. Cliche notwithstanding, honesty is the best policy, and in light of recent cases, such as Marriage of Fossum (to be discussed later in this blog), dishonesty comes with a hefty price.
For many people, getting a child support order is easy but actually collecting it is the hard part. The support obligor (often the father) seems not to pay on time or is short in his support payment each month. Meanwhile the children go without a few things and hopefully do not go hungry. For many people dealing with child support issues, it often becomes a power struggle between the payor and the payee with the payor paying “when he feels like it.” To take the decision and the power out of his control, a simple solution is to obtain a wage garnishment to enforce the child support order. The wage garnishment needs to be approved by the judge who made the order and after that, it may be served upon the payor’s employer. The employer is required by law to take the child support payments out of the support obligor’s check (up to a certain percentage of his gross pay) and send it to the payee, usually by way of California’s central disbursement unit. The Law Office of Derrick J. Taberski can help you establish a child support order and can assist you in enforcing the provisions of the order so that your children get the support they need.