Category Archives:Divorce

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Surviving the Holiday Season After Divorce

The first holiday season following a divorce can be very difficult.  You may find yourself emotionally weakened by long-term stress and the hectic pace of the holidays, combined with a fresh divorce, can prove to be overwhelming.  For many, the holidays can be an unwelcome reminder of how much life has changed as a result of a divorce.  Holidays with children after a divorce can be worse, even terrifying.  There will be relatives asking about your split, and you may feel as if you are on the defensive. Additionally, you may have to spend the holidays away from your children for the first time in their lives, which can be intensely painful.
Holiday HDR

Here are some tips for making your first holiday season following a divorce easier.
Be Flexible and Realistic
“Perfect” holidays are usually reserved for the end of movies.  Make sure you are flexible and be realistic in your holiday expectations about the holiday season, especially in the first year after your divorce.  It is just as possible to have a great Christmas celebration a couple days before or after December 25th, and you can still have a special Hanukkah even if you don’t get to celebrate all eight nights together.  The special time with your children matters much more than the date you celebrate.
Sort Out Details in Advance
Talk with your ex-spouse about holiday plans well before they occur and nail down the specifics about who gets which days around the winter holidays, including pickup times and locations.  Both parents should discuss their needs, desires and travel plans and try to come up with a solution that works for everyone.  Neither parent should make concrete plans without first discussing them with the other parent.  If the details are not in your custody agreement already, put it all on e-mail or in writing and stick to it.  Do not fight about time or anything else with the children present.
Reassure Kids that Holiday Celebrations Will Continue, but in a Different Way
Children are an essential part of your new holiday traditions, and giving them a voice in the process can help everyone feel more at ease with the situation.  While past traditions may be preferable because they are comfortable, it is a good idea to start some new rituals with your close friends and family.
Take Care of Yourself and Ask for Help from Supportive Family and Friends
Get the proper amount of sleep and exercise, and eat healthy to maximize your energy and coping ability every day.  When you are emotionally hurt, overeating and partying are easy short term medications that create long term problems.  If you feel isolated, lonely, or depressed, rely on a healthy support system of family and friends.  Make sure you clearly communicate your needs.
Put the Kids First
Remember how special holidays felt when you were a child?  Do everything you can to help your kids hang onto that feeling.  Do not make kids feel like sharing the holidays with both parents is a burden.  Even if you are upset that you cannot spend as much time with your kids as you would like, do not pass that guilt onto them. 

One Day at a Time, One Holiday at a Time; One Year at a Time

Just concentrate on one thing at a time, and life will get easier, better, and more pain-free.

The holidays can be a fun and special time for divorced families, as long as the parents can agree to be civil and work together.  The best gift you can give your kids is a celebration full of love and joy.

Legal updates provided by the Orange County and Riverside Law firm of Don Ho, LLP.

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Watch Out Kardashian: Humphries Wants an Annulment

Last month, we discussed how reality television star Kim Kardashian had filed for divorce from her husband, professional basketball player Kris Humphries, just seventy-two days after their nuptials.  Now, Humphries has filed for legal separation and annulment, and asking a California family court judge to invalidate the couple’s prenuptial agreement.
Kris HumphriesImage by Keith Allison via Flickr

According to documents filed on December 1 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Humphries filed for both a legal separation from Kardashian and a nullification of their entire union.  What it really means is that Humphries wants an annulment, but if he is unable to get one, he wants a legal separation.  According to the filed documents, Humphries requested an annulment on the grounds of fraud, essentially alleging that Kardashian tricked him into marrying her for the television wedding and subsequent payday.  It has been reported that Humphries is seeking annulment instead of divorce for religious reasons.  Nevertheless, his attempt to invalidate the prenuptial agreement makes it more likely that his finances, not his religion, may be behind this move.

Annulments are only granted in a handful of rare situations because they completely invalidate the marriage altogether.  Unlike a divorce action which is maintained to terminate a valid marriage on grounds arising after the marriage, a nullity proceeding is maintained on the theory that, for reasons existing at the time of the marriage, no valid marriage ever occurred.  In an annulment, the court determines that a marriage or domestic partnership is not legally valid because: 
  • of force, fraud, or physical or mental incapacity; 
  • one of the spouses was legally too young to marry or enter a domestic partnership; or 
  • one of the spouses was already married or in a domestic partnership.
More information about the grounds for nullity, as well as time limits for filing for an annulment, are available from the California Family Code, sections 2210 et seq.
Additionally, Humphries is attempting to have the couple’s prenuptial agreement invalidated.  According to reports, he wants the prenup voided in order to avoid being bound by the document’s confidentiality clause so he can speak publicly about the marriage and the divorce.  It is Humphries’ hope that if the marriage is invalidated, then the prenup will no longer control what happens in the wake of the couple’s split.

Legal updates brought to you by Orange County attorneys at Don Ho, LLP.

All factual information provided by Los Angeles Times
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McCourts Reach a Divorce Settlement and Agreement Regarding Ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers

English: Giant posters of Dodger greats posted...
Image via Wikipedia
The divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt has received a lot of publicity due to the fact that ownership and control of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been a central sticking point in the settlement of property division issues between the McCourts.  Earlier this week, after a great deal of expense, the two have purportedly reached a settlement on their divorce.
Many justifiably remain skeptical that an actual settlement has been reached.  A prior agreement fell through when the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig rejected a new television deal from Fox Sports that would have financed the entire agreement.  Reports of the settlement were made by an “anonymous source.”  Additionally, any agreement must still be approved in both family and bankruptcy courts before it becomes final.
The settlement would grant Jamie $130 million but require her to relinquish her rights to the team.  This would leave Frank with sole ownership and control of the Dodgers.  This does not end the fight over the team for Frank.  The daily operations of the club have already been taken over by Major League Baseball to which Frank responded by filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, in an attempt to regain control of the team. More recently, Bud Selig is calling for the sale of the team in order to get it out of the McCourt’s hands.
Of course, most couples that divorce do not have hundreds of millions of dollars nor do their assets include a professional baseball team.  However, the division of property can stillbe challenging and the divorce process quite difficult.  Whether a divorce involves a large settlement or something much smaller it is important to work out the details as early as possible and prepare for whatever surprises might happen along the way.
For the McCourts, the divorce settlement will not be official until it receives the Judge’s approval.  When this is finally over, it is sure to be one of the most complex and costly divorces in California history.
All factual information provided by KTLA.
The  Orange County law firm of Don Ho, LLP can assist you regarding divorce in California or any other legal matter.
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Absent a Restraining Order, Domestic Violence Prompts Orange County's Deadliest Shooting

English: The Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal...
English: The Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach, California, with floral tributes following the 2011 Seal Beach shooting . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Wednesday afternoon in Seal Beach, California, a gunman walked into a hair salon and opened fire, killing eight people. Among those killed was the shooter Scott Dekraai’s ex-wife of three years, Michelle Fournier Dekraai.  It is now being suggested that the shooting was motivated by a dispute between the estranged couple over custody of their seven-year old son.

Even though the couple divorced in 2007, and Scott Dekraai remarried, the battle over their son persisted.  In May of 2011, Michelle Dekraai claimed in court papers that Scott was mentally unstable and had threatened to kill himself or someone else at least once.  Often any person with such fears will seek a restraining order from the courts and judging from the results, Michelle had every reason to believe that she was in danger for her life. Yet, despite such allegations, there is no sign that Michelle had filed a restraining order.

If you are a victim of domestic violence you can seek a domestic violence restraining order or a criminal protective order.  Unlike criminal protective orders, which are only issued in cases where criminal charges are pressed, a domestic violence restraining order is issued by the family law courts, and requires no pending criminal charges. These domestic violence restraining orders are issued on an ex parte basis, and set for a hearing in a short period of time. At the hearing, courts can issue longer restraining orders, anywhere from 1 to 5 years.

In cases of domestic violence where a divorce is involved, like between Scott Dekraai and Michelle Fournier Dekraai, a domestic violence restraining order may be appropriate.  The party applying for the order must show a danger of some imminent harm.   To get a long term order, under California Family Code section 6300, restraining orders may be issued “to restrain any person for the purpose of preventing a recurrence of domestic violence and ensuring a period of separation of the persons involved, if an affidavit . . . shows, to the satisfaction of the court, reasonable proof of a past act or acts of abuse.”  Abuse can mean stalking, physical abuse, harassment, making telephone calls, or otherwise threatening a person’s safety.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence or have been accused of committing domestic violence, contact our law firm immediately!
All factual information provided by the Huffington Post
The  Orange County law firm of Don Ho LLP can assist you regarding domestic violence in California or any other legal matter.
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L.A. Dodger Owners Agree to Divorce Settlement

Early last week, the feuding co-owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers came to an agreement regarding the division of their assets, including the iconic baseball team.  Under the proposed agreement, Frank McCourt would receive an advance of several hundred million dollars to pay off current debts and a sizeable lump-sum payment to his soon-to-be ex-wife, Jamie McCourt

Unfortunately for the McCourts, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, did not approve of the new television deal from Fox Sports that would have financed the entire agreement.  Citing the broad power of the Commissioner’s Office, Selig stated, “[The proposed TV deal was] structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt…[such a diversion] would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.”

This week, as a last-ditch effort to maintain control of the team, Frank McCourt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the ballclub.

This case is just the latest example of what can happen to a professional sports franchise when ownership of the franchise is shared between a husband and wife.  The biggest issues in this case are the division of marital property for an equitable division of the assets.  For most couples facing this situation, the biggest obstacle to a successful division of assets is figuring out how and what to divide – Does one party want to sell the marital residence?  What if there are minor children involved?  Do you want to keep the kids in a home they are familiar with?

Several of the issues that have arisen in this case are prevalent in the majority of California divorce matters, albeit on a larger scale than most cases.  If you are thinking about divorce or have recently been served with a Petition for Dissolution, call the Orange County family law firm of Don Ho, LLP to receive a referral for an experienced family law attorney.

All factual information provided by the Los Angeles Times

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