Articles Posted in Spousal Support

Joanna Krupa has filed for divorce from husband Romain Zago is an American businessman and nightclub owner. Romain Zago owns the Mynt Lounge club in Miami Florida. There four year marriage was on the rocks. They filed in Los Angeles county after the marriage broke down.

Joanna filed legal docs claiming the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”  All marriages in California usually state that their marriage is irretrievably broken.  It must be stated in the petition in order to actually get a divorce. It’s clearly not going to be contentious … according to court records, the couple hashed out who gets what in a Marital Settlement Agreement dated today, July 10, 2017. In a marital settlement agreement all he issues of the divorce will be put into an agreement that then will be filed with the court.  The agreement will fully encompass every issue of the divorce proceeding.

Both Joanna and Romain have agreed not to seek spousal support against the other. Since it is a short term marriage spousal support will not be a big issue.  Usually anyone who might pay will pay one half of the length of marriage. Its unclear who is the spouse who earns more money. Krupa is worth 8 million dollars. And Zago has a net worth of 16 million dollars.  Therefore, zago might be on the hook to pay support for 2 years.  Since Krupa is a working model she probably doesnt need the money however, that is not the criteria for determining spousal support.

A judge had ordered Mel B. to pay her estranged husband, Stephen Belafonte, $40,000 a month in temporary spousal support the Court finally ordered after this bitter and public spousal support dispute ran through the media.  Since this is quite a bit of money that means that Mel B. is earning quite a bit of money with all her projects. California Court system is geared to be gender neutral so it might seem that a man earning that much money from a women is ridiculous but it can be quite common in the family law court system where the Judges only look at your bank accounts not your gender.  In addition, the Court must have looked at the standard of living the couple enjoyed during their time together.  California Court must use this legal concept when deciding the amount of spousal support to be paid to the other spouse.  The former Spice Girls singer also has to pay her ex a one-time payment of $140,000 for attorney and forensic fees. The forensic costs are for any accountant who has to go through all the financial documents and history of both parties. It seems that Mel B might have a significant amount of income so that an accountant was necessary to evaluate her true income from all her business ventures.

Belafonte filed a request for emergency spousal support, claiming he needed help paying for food, housing and his phone bill. Interestingly in family law court there really is no emergency for economic rewards with the family law C0urt.  So its unclear how a judge awarded emergency spousal support if in fact they did just that.  Emergency ex parte orders are for child custody cases or cases where a persons safety is in jeopardy and money never is an emergency issue for the family lawy court.

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Natalie Maines is untieing the knot with her husband. She is famous for her political dislike of George Bush and Donald Trump.  She also is famous for her remake of the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. She also was part of a famous band from Houston, Texas,  The Dixie Chicks. Her husband is Adrian Pasdar who is famous for being an American actor and voice artist. He is known for playing Jim Profit on the TV series Profit, for his roles in Near Dark, Carlito’s Way, Mysterious Ways and as Nathan Petrelli on Heroes.  Natalie Maines filed her petition for divorce on Friday, June 30.

Maines, 42, and Pasdar have been married for 17 years. They wed in June 2000 at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas after hitting it off at fellow Dixie Chick Emily Strayer’s 1999 nuptials to Charlie Robison. The singer was a bridesmaid, and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D actor, 52, was a groomsman.

The breakup is “a private family matter,” according local media establishments.

Mel B “Scary Spice” of the Spice Girls is getting a divorce.  She and her husband Stephen Belafonte separated last year in 2016.  Apparently she alleged that the marriage was toxic.  And from the tabloid coverage of the divorce proceedings it seems that they did have a quite volatile relationship.  Her musical career had a lot of great music and was quite harmonious, however, her personal life with Belafonte was full of dangerous issues that were anything like her music. Her bandmates had heard from her behind the scenes and told her she must free herself from the abuse she alleged to have undergone from Belafonte. Scary Spice recently suffered from the death of her father.  After his death she became introspective about her life.  Mel B apparently suffered from years of abuse.  Belafonte was allegedly abusive and controlling.  Police were called to her house on allegations of false imprisonment. meaning she was not free to leave her house in fear of violence or injury.

Mel B had previously been involved in bisexual relationships and had been planning the divorce for two years. She had attempted to split from Belafonte several times.  She would succeed in breaking up temporarily and then would somehow feel lured back into the relationship.  However, finally she decided to file for divorce in Los Angeles citing irreconcilable differences.  She shares a child with Belafonte named Madison Brown Belafonte.

Belafonte had admitted to battering his prior girlfriend Nicole Contreras. Mel B continued to make positive statements about Belafonte while she was filing for divorce which created confusion about her true intentions. In addition, she had a interesting past because had a fling with Eddie Murphy which produced her first child.

In Gutierrez v Gutierrez a Mississippi Supreme Court Case the supreme Court of Mississippi evaluated and ruled upon a very complicated spousal support and property debt and asset division family law case. The first major issue the trial court had to undertake was 2nd mortgage that was taken out soley during the marriage under Clayton Frank Gutierrez’s name.  The trial court laid out three questions it determined. Clay was the sole person who signed for the 2nd mortgage.  Trisha Guterriez did not sign for the 2nd mortgage.  In addtion the trial court ruled that the creditor did not make a claim for the enforcement of the 2nd mortgage.  The chancellor in Mississippi which would be the trial Court in California made each party responsible for the equal payment of the debt thus each spouse would assume joint responsibility for the 2nd mortgage.

Each party on appeal to the Mississippi Supreme court made a different argument based on the 2nd mortgage.  Mr. Gutierrez claimed that since he was soley liable for the note and signed for the 2nd mortgage he should be soley paying for the mortgage and not Mrs. Gutierrez. Mrs. Gutierrez appealed claiming she wanted a lump sum spousal support payment rather than monthly payments.  Each of their argument strongly relied on the outcome of how the debt and payments on the 2nd mortgage would be handled by the Mississippi Supreme court.

Mrs Gutierrez wanted that the 2nd mortgage remained community debt and jointly responsible to the both parties. If so she would gain much more ability to claim more spousal support.  Mr. Gutierrez wanted to claim it as his sole responsibility because then he would have more community debt to claim and thus less income to provide more spousal support to Mrs. Gutierrez.

british-pound-300x200The British divorce court sided with a English lady who was a stock market whiz person who made $13 million dollars during her marriage.  Originally the Divorce Court had sided with the ex spouse husband and gave him a cut of all her stock earnings thus making him quite wealthy upon a short term marriage. Julie Sharp a stock trader by profession in England reduced significantly her husbands share to only $2 million dollars rather than the traditional split down the middle. Why did the family law court in England do so? Well the time honored scenario of the equal split down the middle for spouses did not seem to sit well with them. In California family law Court Spousal support is used to determine the standard of living scenario to make the ex spouses live according to the standard they had while married.  This situation usually has more impact upon lengthy marriages.  In California a long term marriage would be considered 10 years or more.

Mrs. Sharp was an energy trade on the British stock exchange.  In 2015 the British family law Court made a ruling giving her ex 2.74 million pounds.  Later the London appeals Court lowered it to 2 million pounds. The London appeals court has been on a recent trend of not equally splitting the assets as it had done in the past to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of a divorced couples assets. Now they have changed and seem to be permitting the ex spouse whom may be the bread winner to keep more of their earnings and shortchanging the less wealthy ex spouse with less money.  Thus it appears the London appellate court is deviating from fairness to a more of who makes more money prevails attitude.

They further state that nonworking spouses will be awarded “special contributions” for their time in the marriage. What exactly is a special contribution is uncertain.  It seems to be a new trend that certainly favors the spouse who makes more money and takes away from the spouse who does not work. The idea that there is a financial partnership among married people is starting to be thing of the past and is a disturbing trend on the idea of marriage in the United Kingdom.  The benefits of marriage seem to be seem to be on the downside in British culture.  Nothing like this has arrived in California or United States just yet.  However, if ever this type of ruling did appear I assume it will be fought with great zeal in the Family Law Court system.

In the recent case of Haskell v Haskell the Court ordered a spousal support order and issued a divorce judgment when one of the spouses did not attend the hearing.  Can the Court enter a final order for spousal support when a party does not appear? And can the order be set aside for failure of the due process requirement?  These are the issues the Court dealt with on appeal from Mr Haskell.

Pamela Haskell had filed for temporary order of spousal support.  Notice was given to Dusty Haskell via mail which was a proper method of notice accepted by the Court.  At that time both parties lived together in the same residence and the mail for Dusty was placed on a table that was available to him and was known to him to have his mail. After the temporary spousal support hearing was held by the Court they issued temporary orders giving Dusty Haskell temporary Spousal support in the amount of $4,000 per month.  Thereafter, Pamela Haskell gave notice of the result of the hearing by placing notice on a box in the house visible to Dusty Haskell when he would come home.

A final Spousal Support Hearing was held and Dusty Haskell did not attend after it was determined by the Trial Court that he had been given proper notice. The Financial declaration of the wife Pamela Haskell was used to determine final amount of Spousal support.

In the modern day and age of the internet and facebook, instagram, twitter and all other sorts of social media outlets people have fallen into the trap of airing their dirty laundry during their divorce to the public to view and offer ill fated advice.  Do not trust the 3rd party input from social media.  Do not rely on a layman opinion regarding your divorce or family law matter that may negatively impact you during the divorce proceedings.  If you have spent the time and resources to hire a family law attorney and then head to facebook or other social media to share your intimate experiences about your divorce or all other issues regarding your dissolution of marriage then you are asking for a lot of trouble.

Studies have shown that leaking personal information to the public seeking affirmation of your personal business during a divorce can lead you down a very troubling and damaging road that cannot be undone.  Airing dirty laundry should be done to a friend on the phone but not to the public where the divorcing parties have access to your personal business that might not be so flattering to you during the divorce proceedings.  Do not undermine your lawyers efforts to effectively fight for your rights to spousal support, child support, child custody and property division as well as any custody issues you are vigorously fighting for by posting pictures of you out partying or drinking alcohol.  And do not post provoking pictures of your new boyfriend or girlfriend when you are trying to fight for your credibility in Family Law Court.

Julia Rodgers, founder of Holistic Divorce,  states “Couples should keep divorce-related issues away from the public. Doing this gives them the power to control the narrative and solidifies their case. In this age where comparison and blame-shifting is rife, couples are tempted to tell the world who’s at fault. However, doing this helps nobody.” This statement is very true.  Using social media to play the blame game and cast blame at the other spouse during the divorce only will in the end hurt you from achieving what you want to succeed from doing. That is to walk away from the divorce without losing all your assets and keep your personal life in tact.

In South Caroline the legislature is going to engage the topic of lifetime Spousal support.  They want to discuss whether the party who must pay for the rest of their live to the other party support is justified.  It has been a long standing law in family law court that a marriage lasting a certain period of duration must allow one party that is not financial equal to the other party lifetime spousal support. In California if the marriage lasts more than 10 years one party is can receive lifetime spousal support.  The lifetime spousal support can only be awarded of course if one party is at a economic disadvantage in earning capacity.

In South Carolina the State Senate will hear arguments from some special interest groups and local attorneys who oppose the lifetime spousal support law. There were many changes that were anticipated in being heard in the South Carolina Senate.  There are several bills being offered to be discussed by the South Caroline Senate. First off to the Senate is that there is no de facto life time spousal support.  That means that any judge reviewing a long term marriage does not have the automatic authority to mandate life time spousal support.

In addition, the South Carolina Senate will consider if they have to consider the party who is paying support’s spouse’s income. This is important, because Judge’s usually address and take into account how the parties are living post separation.  Often a party will remarry or they will have another partner whom they live with.  The most important factor a Judge will look at is if the other party remarries.  That alone can be the sole reason not to award spousal support to a party in need.  However, often a judge will take into account the party who pays support and his or her living conditions.  If that person resides with person who makes substantial income the payor of spousal support can be imputed with his or her income in the Judges decision to award spousal support. South Caroline now wants to rid the Judge considering the payor spouse’s significant others income as well.

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Royalties, tips, and gratuities represent income available to pay support.  This type of income may present some difficulty in terms of guideline support calculations.  If the income is regular and predictable it should be included in gross annual income for purposes of calculating support.  See Family Code Section 4058(a)(1).

If this form of income is sporadic, there are two potential methods of inclusions.  First, it may be deemed income when received and the payer would pay a percentage of the amount received under the statewide guideline provisions that address periodic payments such as bonus payments.  That schedule provides for a specified percentage of any bonus or overtime to be paid “as and for” child support.  The actual percentage will vary depending on the amount of the bonus or overtime.  (i.e. Smith/Ostler).   Alternatively, as with income from stock options, the court could adjust the child support award under Family Code Section 4060 or 4064.

Contact a Costa Mesa Divorce Attorney today for help.