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Redwood City Family Law Blog

How divorces can affect the super-rich

Given that the news of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the current richest man in the world who is about to divorce his wife of 25 years, citizens of California would not be faulted for wondering how his huge fortune will get split up. In fact, this story illustrates how the divorce proceedings of the ultra-wealthy differ from those of the average couple.

To start with, whereas average spouses have to worry about their retirement and savings accounts when getting divorced, extremely wealthy individuals often have an abundance of financial assets. Examples include stocks, bonds and derivatives, all of which can complicate divorce proceedings. In addition, the super-rich often have private art collections or bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.

New law in California will consider future of pets during divorce

Pets are such an important part of so many people’s lives that the companionship and emotional support they provide can be very strong. Because of this, having a pet is very popular. Sixty-eight percent of households, which equates to 85 million people, have a pet. It is estimated that in 2018, Americans will spend over $72 billion on their pets.

Since pets are such an integral part of the lives of so many people, it is interesting that when it has come to divorce, pets have always been treated as property with no consideration for the well-being of the animal. As of January 2019, that is no longer the case in California.

Divorce risk may be higher for men marrying 'out of their league'

Some men in California believe they are lucky when they marry "out of their league" and tie the knot with women more attractive than themselves. However, there's research suggesting men marrying more physically attractive women may have less committed wives, which may lead to a higher risk of divorce. A social psychology professor commenting on this topic further notes that couples are not on par with one another with physical attributes tend to have romantic relationships that aren't all that successful.

An analysis of online dating information found that both men and women tend to pursue potential partners up to 25 percent more attractive physically than they are. In the grand scheme of things, however, research shows most men generally seek and maintain relationships with similarly matched individuals. But when mismatches in terms of attractiveness do occur, the divorce risk is higher. According to research, this is because women with less attractive mates are more likely to flirt.

Children often benefit from joint child custody schedules

For parents in California who are going through a divorce, the thought of losing time with and access to their children can be the most devastating aspect of the end of a marriage. While almost all people who divorce will have less time with their children after a divorce, joint custody is a growing standard endorsed by many courts as well as child psychologists and development experts. While in the past, some experts argued that infants and toddlers in particular needed to spend most of their time with their mothers and even argued against overnight time with their fathers, this view has long since been discredited.

So long as abuse and neglect are not factors, outcomes for children are generally better when both parents share joint child custody and parenting time. While there may be individual families who need different options for an array of reasons, younger children in particular may benefit from a standard 50/50 joint custody schedule, given their less intense educational program. Under this option, each parent will usually spend a week with the children with the children switching homes on a weekend day.

How to prevent common real estate errors in divorce

When homeowners in California get a divorce, they will need to figure out how they are going to divide the house. There are two common mistakes that people often make. One is not realizing that neither person can afford the home on a single income, and the other is not removing one person from the deed.

One woman negotiated for six months to keep the home only to realize in the end that it was too expensive. She and her ex-spouse ended up selling the home. An immediate sale is one option, but according to one lawyer, this usually only occurs after a judge has ordered it.

Handling joint debt in a divorce

A credit card company is not bound by a divorce decree. Therefore, California divorcees may find it more difficult to get rid of joint debt than to separate from their actual spouses. Ideally, individuals will take steps to divide this debt prior to getting a divorce. This could mean paying the joint balances together or transferring a portion of the debt to credit cards in each person's name.

It is also a good idea to cancel any cards that have a former spouse's name on them. Doing so reduces the chances of negative credit consequences if that person fails to pay his or her part of that debt. It could also prevent an individual from taking a credit hit if a former spouse decides to file for bankruptcy related to that joint debt. In most cases, it is possible to come to an agreement about joint debt by working with a mediator or financial planner.

What should you include in a parenting plan?

Going through a divorce is not simple. It has many different components and there are many elements you have to consider during the process. Perhaps one of the most important parts is figuring out how your family and kids are going to operate after you and your spouse are no longer together.

Many families opt to create a parenting plan in order to figure out child custody and a proper arrangement for their children. But what is a parenting plan and how do you create one that works for you and your kids?

Planning for financial clarity in a marriage

When people in California consider divorce, some of the most common issues that can lead to the end of a marriage are financial. Indeed, 59 percent of divorcing couples say that financial issues played at least some role in the split, according to a study by Experian, the credit bureau. In addition, 20 percent said that finances were a major issue, and 26 percent said that credit scores and handling of credit were a major obstacle in the relationship.

For couples who are embarking on married life and want to avoid divorce, setting financial priorities together and sharing information can be key to avoiding these issues further down the line. People who have similar attitudes toward saving and spending may be more compatible with one another because both partners will be on the same page about how to handle financial issues and problems that arise.

Parenting after divorce with less conflict

Research has indicated that when children go through a divorce, what is most difficult for them is seeing conflict between their parents. If parents can minimize this strife, their children will usually adjust better to the situation. However, this is not possible for all parents. While there might be a co-parenting ideal that involves people communicating regularly and cooperating, if individuals cannot do this, there is another option. They might try an arrangement known as parallel parenting. With this method, parents share custody, or one person has custody, and the other individual has visitation rights. However, direct contact between the parents is avoided.

For this to succeed, there needs to be a detailed plan. People may also need a way to exchange information without direct contact, so they might decide to use email or share a calendar. Usually, individuals who take on a co-parenting approach do agree on major issues involving the children, such as education or religion. Parents might try to think of their relationship with one another as a business relationship.

Proving a parent puts a child in danger can be difficult

During or after a divorce in California, a parent may be concerned about a child's safety with the other parent. A parent who has been the child's main caregiver may also be worried about the ability of the other parent to care for the child.

This was the case for a man who was worried about his wife's drinking habits. His concern was that she would drink and drive with their 7-year-old son in the car. He also said that she had cut off contact with him, and he could not reach her to find out how their son was even though he had been the main caregiver.

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The Law Offices of Oliver R. Gutierrez
600 Allerton St., Suite 200
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone: 650-399-0962
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