Swanson O’Dell

From The blog

What Is Tracing In A Family Law Case?

“What Is Tracing In A Family Law Case?” Tracing is a technique used to prove that comingled separate and community money or value in property really belongs to one spouse. Comingling occurs when one party puts money that they either had before the marriage or inherited into joint form, such as a joint bank account, or a down payment on a house in both names. When this happens, the question...

“Can You Get Punitive Damages In A Divorce?”

“Can You Get Punitive Damages In A Divorce?” Punitive damages, which are money damages meant to punish a party for bad conduct, are not generally allowed in family law. This is despite the fact that often some of the very worst behavior I’ve ever witnessed has occurred in family law cases. The law simply does not provide for punitive damages in almost all cases. However, there is one exception....

Fiduciary Duty During Marriage To Other Spouse

“Fiduciary Duty During Marriage To Other Spouse” During a marriage, both parties have an equal right to control community property and incur debt. For instance, a credit card in one person’s name and for their use, which is then used for things for the family, is a community debt. The parties may agree to invest in a business, which goes bankrupt, and the transaction is not credited to either...

Can A Minor Or Mental Incapacitated Person Represent Themselves in Family Law Cases?

“Can A Minor Or Mental Incapacitated Person Represent Themselves in Family Law Cases?” Minors can represent themselves in family law court IF they are a party to a divorce or a paternity action. This is laid out in California Family Code Section 7635(b), although often minor’s prefer to have what is called a Guardian Ad Litem to appear for them in cases. A Guardian Ad Litem is a representative...

“Can My Family Law Judgment Be Set Aside for Fraud?”

“Can My Family Law Judgment Be Set Aside for Fraud?” Normally, a judgment which is agreed to (stipulated) or issued by a judge cannot be overturned. Judgments are meant to be final, and if both parties participated in the process, either through an agreement or a trial, they will not be set aside and the case restarted or reconsidered without good cause. In essence, you can get relief within a...

“How Are Family Law Judges Chosen In California?”

“How Are Family Law Judges Chosen In California?” For most people, family law procedure can be confusing. Many times, litigants are unhappy with the judge, and I often get questions about how judges get selected for family law. In California state court, the judges are elected. This means they are on the ballot and any qualified attorney can challenge them for the seat. As a practical matter,...

“How Do The New Tax Law Changes Affect Spousal and Child Support?”

“How Do The New Tax Law Changes Affect Spousal and Child Support?” The new tax reform has made several changes which affect child and spousal support, including one prospective change that is scheduled for 2019. The main change is the with the new tax tables, income for most W2 wage earners has gone up a little bit. This means that guideline calculation for child support and temporary spousal...

“Does My Ex-Spouse Have A Right To The Business I Started Before We Were Married?”

“Does My Ex-Spouse Have A Right To The Business I Started Before We Were Married?” It is fairly common for one partner to bring a business with them into a marriage and continue to work in that business. Many times those grow over time, and in the divorce, the other spouse tries to claim a share. Is that possible? While the business remains separate property, the “community” does share in the...

“When Can You Appeal A Family Law Decision?”

“When Can You Appeal A Family Law Decision?” So you had a family law contested hearing or trial…and you lost on an issue that is very important to you. What next? Can you appeal the decision? An appeal must be based on one of two grounds: either the judge applied the wrong law or misapplied the correct law, or the judge exceeded his or her discretion to a degree that it is considered an abuse of...

“Why There Is So Much Anger In Family Law: The Fear Factor”

"Why There Is So Much Anger In Family Law: The Fear Factor" Getting through a contested family law matter can be very traumatic, psychologically speaking. It is not just emotional content of the case, but it is stress and anger. It can be hard to see clearly through the feelings and anxiety. Other times, you can see these factors working on your ex: angry and irrational behavior that does not...