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Complex Issues in California Family Law - Volume I

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Issues relating to support, fees, and sanctions are basic to most family law matters. In many cases, support, fees and, particularly sanctions, are important and complex, so family law attorneys must be familiar with the underlying public policy, purpose, and philosophy relating to support, fees, and sanctions.

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Table of Contents

Chapter I1 Point of View
I1.01 Structure
I1.02 Importance of Support, Fee and Sanction Issues to Family Law Practitioner
I1.03 Executive Summary

Chapter I2 Public Policy, Purpose and Philosophy Underlying Support, Professional Fees and Sanctions
I2.01 Overview of Policy Considerations
I2.02 Statutory Statements of Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Child Support
I2.03 Cases Effectuate This Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Child Support
I2.04 Statutory and Judicial Statements of Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Temporary Spousal Support
I2.05 Statutory Statements of Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Permanent Spousal Support
I2.06 Cases Effectuate This Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Spousal Support
I2.07 Statutory Statements of Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Importance of Self-Support
I2.08 Statutory Statements of Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Warning Supported Spouse of Need to Make Efforts Toward Self-Support
I2.09 Disclosure Statutes Also State Public Policy of Making Fair and Sufficient Support and Fee Awards
I2.10 Other Policy Considerations
I2.11 Public Policy Favors Facilitating Support Enforcement
I2.12 Likely Future Trends Implementing Public Policy Underlying Award of Spousal Support
I2.13 Statutory Statements of Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Professional Fees
I2.14 Cases Effectuate This Legislative Intent and Public Policy Regarding Professional Fees

Chapter I3 Resources Available for Support, Fees and Sanctions
I3.01 Importance of Looking for “Resources” Rather Than Just “Income”
I3.02 Importance of Hiring a Forensic Accountant in Early Stages of Proceeding
I3.03 Resources Available for Support, Fees and Sanctions—Legal Foundation
I3.04 Obtaining Material Facts and Information to Determine Resources Available

Chapter I4 Obtaining Material Facts and Information for Support Purposes
I4.01 Importance of Postseparation Fiduciary Disclosure Obligations in Support and Fee Cases
I4.02 Overview of Evolution of Postseparation Disclosure Obligations
I4.03 Informal Discovery Under Family Code
I4.04 Family Code Informal Discovery—Implementation Statutes
I4.05 Cases Imposing Sanctions for Disclosure Duty Breaches
I4.06 Informal Family Code Discovery Compared to the Discovery Act
I4.07 Attorney Exposure Regarding Client’s Disclosure Obligations

Chapter I5 Complex Financial Issues Relating to Child Support
I5.01 Introduction to Complex Child Support Financial Issues
I5.02 Child Support Statutes Relevant to Financial Arguments
I5.03 Deviating from Guideline Formula
I5.04 Who Is a “High Earner?”
I5.05 Determining Income of the Self-Employed
I5.06 Imputing Earnings for Child Support Purposes
I5.07 Apportioning Fluctuating or Bonus Income
I5.08 Noncash Benefits as “Income”
I5.09 Attributing Income to Non-Income Producing Assets for Child Support Purposes
I5.10 Use of Internal Revenue Code Definitions
I5.11 Income from Nontraditional Sources: Income Versus Assets for Child Support Purposes
I5.12 Use of Expert Testimony on Income Issues
I5.13 Children’s Reasonable Needs as a Cap on Support in High Earner Cases
I5.14 Discovery Limitations in Child Support Cases
I5.15 Privacy Rights and Support Discovery

Chapter I6 Complex Financial Issues Relating to Spousal Support
I6.01 Introduction to Complex Financial Issues Relating to Spousal Support
I6.02 Obtaining Temporary Spousal Support Orders
I6.03 Statutory Authority for Permanent Spousal Support
I6.04 Standards for Imputing Income for Spousal Support Purposes
I6.05 Proving Amount of Imputed Income
I6.06 Determining Income of the Self-Employed
I6.07 Use of Income Versus Assets for Spousal Support Purposes
I6.08 When Is Requesting Party’s Estate Sufficient for His or Her Own Support?
I6.09 Exploring Obligation for Self-Support
I6.10 Establishing Marital Standard of Living
I6.11 Is Marital Living Standard an Effective Ceiling on Spousal Support Entitlement?

Chapter I7 Passage of Time As a Basis for Lowering or Terminating Support: When, If Ever, Is Enough, Enough?
I7.01 Overview of the Issue
I7.02 Issue Has Been “Left for Another Day”
I7.03 Both Public Attitudes and Contemporary Official Policy Have Changed With Respect to Spousal Support
I7.04 Contemporary Public Policy Has Been Codified
I7.05 Change of Circumstance Rule
I7.06 Court Must Apply All Factors Listed in Family Code § 4320
I7.07 Case Law Addressing Passage of Time As a Change of Circumstances
I7.08 Schaffer: Court Must Look at “Big Picture” When Modifying Spousal Support in Light of Policy Encouraging Self-Support
I7.09 Conclusions

Chapter I8 Retroactivity Issues
I8.01 Retroactivity Issues in General
I8.02 Statutory Limitations on Retroactive Establishment of Initial Child Support Orders
I8.03 Statutory Limitations on Retroactive Modification of Existing Child Support Orders
I8.04 Retroactivity of Orders for Temporary Spousal Support
I8.05 Retroactivity Relating to Permanent Spousal Support Orders
I8.06 Retroactive Support Orders As Restitution for a Breach of Postseparation Disclosure Obligations

Chapter I9 Award of Professional Fees or Sanctions
I9.01 Overview of Issues Relating to Professional Fee and Sanction Awards
I9.02 Statutory Basis for Professional Fee, Cost and Sanction Awards
I9.03 Fee Awards As a Reward for Compliance with Postseparation Disclosure Obligations
I9.04 How Relevant Is Income to a Fee Award?
I9.05 Fee Awards Against Third Parties

Chapter I10 Where Do We Go From Here?
I10.01 This Area of Law Continues to Evolve