family law, Legal

Divorce Threats And What You Should Know: Legal Reasons #54

I often from clients about the vindictive ex spouse who threatens to hide property or “show” the judge my client’s “loose moral nature.” Or that they will “fight to the end” or “make sure you get nothing” or “not see the kids at all.” Threats like this from an angry or abusive spouse are scary and can make some clients wonder if they should give in, however California law being a community property state (This means that everything acquired during a marriage, from wages to property, will be considered community property and will be divided equally between you and your spouse. However, any property acquired as a gift or that was part of an inheritance will be considered separate.) and one that uses the “best interests of the child” standard often protects the spouses from these kind of empty threats. The California courts will always have the children’s best interests in mind, and that means they would like both parents to see their children on a frequent and continuing basis

Divorce is an emotional process where partners often try to find ways to make deep emotional cuts that can scar, however threats about money and kids are often just that as they are not in the purview of the individual. One of the main reasons, getting representation becomes important when there is a party that threatens to hurt the other financially or cut off interaction with their children for vindictive purposes.

It is always wise to get an initial consultation just one can get clarity on their rights.

Cancer, Family, Food For Thought, Inpsiration

The Cacophony of Silence

I wake up each day this past week to the realization that my mom’s little sister, my little brother and sister’s mom, and “Masi” to so many of us has passed. Each time my eyes open,  just for a moment I feel normal until it all comes rushing back. Grief chokes me into silence, and I strain to hear joy in our house. Down the hall, I sense mom wearily turning the newspapers pages, trying to put one more painful minute behind her.  Next to me, I sense my wife move around restlessly, her wounded heart mourning for someone who treated her like a daughter way before our relationship.

The house reeks of a deep sadness that had barely begun to ease up for my dad, yet now we are now back smack in the middle of a deep longing for another loving soul gone. It is fitting that she left we say because now my dad has company and for the past decades,  Baby Maasi was my dad’s partner in crime for music, grocery shopping, the farmer’s market and really anything  that got them outdoors when many of us didn’t feel like it. They were brother and sister by marriage, and in action, they took that relationship to an inspirational level. Yet the unfairness of their death galls me. What about us? How do we pick up the pieces?

And then for a moment, I allow myself the crushing idea of “why bother? I am gonna die anyway?”  And it does feel right, to not care, to just let things be, to lay back in bed, crawl up inside the blankets and just not feel. Then images of Papa and Baby Maasi come to mind, and it hits me that although both had health problems, they lived, no thrived! They did not focus on the unfairness of life or what they couldn’t do. They lived, and ensured those around them also did to. My dad and aunt never lost an opportunity to tell me they loved me.

So I let the silence linger for a moment, I stay in bed just for a minute longer, and then I let go. I get up. I push aside the blanket. Self-pity left behind as I get up to be present, to love, to let my mom, wife and family know they are not alone in this grief. This silence is not one they get to by themselves in. I can’t take the pain away, but that doesn’t mean I allow that to be a reason not to be there.

Life and death are part of my life. It will happen. Giving up  not only dishonors their memory, it is selfish and weak. So I get up, and I need  find ways to continue their legacy not bring it down.

Food For Thought, Inpsiration

A Rough Day

Yesterday was not an easy day. It’s been over 8 months since Papa has been going, yet it still feels so raw. Mostly because I haven’t allowed myself to process my grief. It’s just easier to look at the unfairness of things, to be snippy at others at their “luck” of having dads still.

My selfishness knows no bounds when it comes to my emotions and thoughts. I buried myself in feeling sad and sorry for myself, yet it hit me as I hiked Hellman Trail yesterday that my father would have hated me this way. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who would try anything to make his loved ones smile. So not was I dishonoring his memory, I upset others with my crappy attitude.

Then a beautiful message from my wife hit me to my core, and I lived yesterday with a new sense of urgency: to not waste time and energy on things I cannot change. Then I also noticed how so many had reached out, and the most I could muster was a lame thank you. It is in times of need that I sometimes truly forget that I am never alone. I just make myself feel that way which only serves the selfish need inside me to dwell rather than take responsibility.

So each day will be a focus on less feeling sorry for myself, and then finding way to be in service to others. It’s what my father would have wanted.

family law, Legal

When is a gift a gift? Legal Reasons #53

It is far too often I hear from estranged spouses who speak of partners who have taken back birthday gift, wedding rings or anything during their marriage because they are hurt and/or angry.When you get married, you agree to share more than your feelings and the bathroom — you also share property with your spouse.  California law defines community property as any asset acquired or income earned by a married person while living with a spouse. Separate property is defined as anything acquired by a spouse before the marriage, during the marriage by gift, devise, or bequest, and after the parties separate

Separate property belongs only to one spouse.  The most common forms of separate property are:

  • property one spouse owned before the marriage
  • gifts received by one spouse before or during the marriage

The gift or inheritance is likely to be separate property if the following are true:

1. One spouse was the intended heir or gift recipient

Property acquired during marriage by gift, will, or inheritance is separate property. (Section 21 of the California Constitution, California Family Code Section 752)

Except as otherwise provided by law, neither spouse has any interest in the separate property of the other. (California Family Code Section 770)

2. The gift or inheritance was not commingled

If separate and community property are commingled in such a manner that “the respective contributions cannot be traced and identified, the entire fund or property—including property acquired in exchange therefor—will be treated as community property. (California Family Code Section 760)

Food For Thought, Inpsiration

Firsts of Many Firsts

This coming Father’s day will be my first without Papa. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t a stark reminder that I don’t have mine or that I am not one either.  For all that I do, and for my all to do lists and the wonderful moments in my life., it’s hit me that I don’t allow myself the time to sit there with my grief. It’s easier to keep moving, to keep doing, from working out to writing, to driving to the studios, to taking on new clients to planning things yet there is a deep pain that I find hard to express.

Sitting in therapy, I complained to my therapist how I get weepy at the strangest times particularly when I listen to the Rocky Soundtrack as I head to Crossfit.  As the music comes, and I pick up the speed to the gym, tears suddenly come as if I’ve opened a forgotten valve. When asked when was the last time I sat in silence, it came out that it was during that time to the gym or early mornings when I do my morning pages when it’s just me, the quiet and the screen. It is only then I allow myself the time to be with my thoughts and feelings. And most times, it is not a place I wish to be at.

Yet I also know it needs to happen. Too much stuff has gone by without me sitting with it and just FEELING. It’s easier to be doing, yet if I don’t process then I cannot move forward. So yea, this is the first Fathers day without Papa, but it’s also a first that I get to celebrate him anyway.  He doesn’t need to be around physically to be honored. He is in my heart.


family law, Legal

Getting Divorced When Angry/Hurt: Legal Reasons #52

Making the decision to separate from your partner is a personal decision that many often struggle with before going forward. However,  I also have gotten potential clients who call seeking dissolution because they had a “huge fight” with their partner. I always caution others that matters like this cannot be done in heat of the moment.

Few months ago, someone filed then reconciled with their partner. Although I was glad to hear it, I wondered if they should have gone through that process before spending thousands of dollars and changing their mind. This is not to suggest that people don’t change their mind, but making an emotional decision while still in the throes of an argument or hurt means that once things calm down, they may regret their decision.  Making the decision to end a marriage based on irreconcilable differences is one only a couple knows about, yet it is truly a better way than to be faced with regret about starting a process that wastes time and money if one changes their decision.