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Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property

I live and practice law in California. When it comes to divorces, California is one of nine US states that follow the Community Property system when it comes to dividing property. In theory, community property is a simple idea — namely, the general rules are that (1) whatever the individual spouses acquire on their own prior to the marriage is their own property and is not split up during a divorce, and (2) whatever the individual spouses acquire during the marriage is generally “community property” and, thus, needs to be divided 50/50 in the event of a divorce. To be clear, though, (1) and (2) are just the general rules under the California community property system. There are exceptions under which, for example, an item acquired during the marriage is still the separate property of the spouse acquiring it due to the manner in which the item was acquired. In practice, though, applying the community property system can be quite involved. Over on my Youtube channel, I put out a video a few months back going over some common problems that occur when you try to apply the idea of community property in the real world. Here is the video. If you haven’t seen my Youtube channel, I encourage you to take a look at it as I go over community property as well as various other ideas related to California law also. What I am going to do in this post, though, is try to compare Community Property to the other system — Equitable Distribution — that is in place in the other 41 US states. By the...

New York Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders in Divorces

Last time, I described the concept of an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATROS) in a California divorce case as authorized under Section 2040 of the California Family Code. The idea of an ATROS is not unique to California, however. New York has it as well and that’s the subject of this blog post. Before I begin, my usual disclaimer for New¬† York content applies: I have been licensed to practice law in New York since 2012, but I do not (as of the date of this post) maintain a physical office in New York state. Under Section 470 of the New York Judiciary Law, I therefore cannot practice law in the state of New York. This post is meant to simply go over a New York statute that is publicly-available for free to any member of the public. If you have a case in New York involving an ATROS, do feel free to get in touch in the event I can make a referral for you. Anyway, that said, in my California ATROS post, I described how some marriages involve a disparity in earning power. One spouse might, for example, stay at home to raise the children while the other works a job to support the family. This can, in the event of divorce, sometimes result in a situation where the spouse who works tries to exercise an unfair advantage over the spouse who stayed home in retaliation by, for example, concealing marital property or cancelling the family’s health insurance. In California, the Section 2040 ATROS is intended to prevent this. New York has a similar ATROS under New...