Attorney Richard Renkin appeared on Inside The Law; an ESPN 1700 Radio Show.
Vince Scuncio: Good afternoon San Diego, it’s Vince Scuncio, The Attorney’s Realtor coming to you from the ESPN studios live and in living color today. We have a great show on tap and I have my good friend Richard Renkin with Renkin Law on board today. Thank you for being here Richard.
Richard Renkin: Thank you Vince, how are you doing today?
Vince Scuncio: I’m doing really good. So we spent like most of the afternoon together; we had lunch together and then we were sitting out there in the green room talking and now here we are in the studio. It has been a while since you have been on the radio?
Richard Renkin: Yes, a long time; a long time; actually I did a Drive Time show for about 6 months.
Vince Scuncio: Oh did you?
Richard Renkin: Yeah.
Vince Scuncio: Very cool.
Richard Renkin: Different station so we are not going to mention it.
Vince Scuncio: Yes we won’t mention the competitor’s name. Well thank you for being on Inside Law Today. For those of you who don’t know, Richard is the family law guru and I don’t say that lightly. I work with most of the family law attorneys in town and to various degrees of capability I think but you are top notch and I’m honored you are on the show.
Richard Renkin: Thank you. I appreciate that. You know it is a tough area of the law. You are dealing with people who are incredibly emotional; logical people, business people and somehow they can as anyone else can lose it at times and it is a matter of keeping it real.
Vince Scuncio: Right and family law is a challenge anyway right? I know working in the real estate side you have two kind of battling parties and you know we talked a little bit about this, there is a lot of emotion in divorce right?
Richard Renkin: Yes, we talk about the five stages of grief and you never know when your client walks in your door what stage of their grief they are in and trying to assess them and assess their situation from both an emotional standpoint and a practical standpoint it is interesting and a complicated skill set.
Vince Scuncio: You know, that makes a good point, there are five stages of grief right and most of the time people think if I’m losing my wife I am aware of those stages. You kind of go through denial stage and you probably know them better than I.
Richard Renkin: There’s denial, there’s negotiation, there’s anger, acceptance, and I missed one in there somewhere but people go through these different stages and they go back and forth. It is not a linear line saying you go from denial right into anger and then right into negotiation you know. These things you float back and forth especially that anger one.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: People have a tendency to float in and out of anger depending on the day and their stress level.
Vince Scuncio: And for a long time sometimes (laughter).
Richard Renkin: Yes. Well I think that is important to understand.
Vince Scuncio: Because you go into this thing and I’ve never been divorced personally but I’ve known plenty of people who have and I know from like I said losing my wife yes you go through this stage and until you get through that stage completely you cannot get onto the next stage and I look at that in my own personal life where now I am engaged to be married but I had to go through a lot of kind of I won’t say cleansing but just have to get rid of all the baggage so that you are ready for the next stage correct?
Richard Renkin: Yes, cleansing is probably a great way of putting it. I mean you’ve got to be able to put something behind you. You’ve got to realize your negotiation is not going to work, that your anger is not going to work and that you finally get yourself to a place of acceptance and want to move on with your life.
Vince Scuncio: Right and wouldn’t that put you….that’s kind of where you want to be when you get to the stage of life negotiating the terms of the divorce correct?
Richard Renkin: Oh, that’s exactly where you want to be. It is very hard to negotiate a settlement with someone who doesn’t think the divorce is going to happen, that he can get his his/her spouse back. They are not willing to negotiate reasonably because they think why should I bother putting out that energy because he/she is going to come back to me and the same thing is true with anger. You know if I’m still angry with you, I’m not going to want to cut a fair deal. I am not going to want to look at this like a business deal. I am going to want to hurt you.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: I am going to want to make you hurt. I am going to want to make you spend money that you should not spend; so yeah what you really want is both parties in that acceptance phase when you begin your settlement negotiations.
Vince Scuncio: How often does that happen?
Richard Renkin: Pretty rare.
Vince Scuncio: (Laughter)
Richard Renkin: Off the air we were talking about collaborative divorce.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: And how wonderful a model it is and quite honestly it is a beautiful model but how many people are at that place emotionally when the start that model to be that cooperative and to accept what attorneys have to say, accept what therapists have to say, accept what the financial people have to say, what the children’s therapist people have to say. How many people when they start the divorce process can sit in a room with the person they hate enough to divorce and actually say okay I’m going to take all of these people’s advice and do something. I just don’t think it happens as often as most people would like to think.
Vince Scuncio: Well you also made a good point when we were talking off the air as far as and I always tell my listeners you should listen in what we don’t talk about on the air because it always seem to be I won’t say a better conversation but it is always interesting. It is that if you are in a divorce situation and you have an off balance of power right and you talked about off balance of power could be that the husband makes more money than the wife so you have a financial off balance. You have the mom is the one that takes care of the kids, the dad is never around or dad is always working and now you have a kid off balance and there is psychological, physical, and there are all kinds of off balances of power. That is not going to change in the collaborative model.
Richard Renkin: It is not quite honestly and that’s why I think a lot of collaborative settlements are not as positive or not as equitable as a litigated settlement and quite honestly in the long run it is not much cheaper because you are paying all of these people right up front to do all of this work and then you are sort of taking these five or six people along with you through the process so it can actually be more expensive but it is supposed to be a more gentle process.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: But when we say gentle are we equating that balance of power? Are we adjusting that balance of power? In my 30 years of experience in family law, approximately 30 years, I found that most divorces occur because there is an imbalance in power; somebody is dominating somebody in some area whether it is financial which we talked about, whether it is the children which we talked about, whether it is sexual, whether it is drugs, whether it is gambling; somebody, there is not an equilibrium where the parties can move on together so one party pulls away. Well how do you adjust that equilibrium unless you have an organizational structure set up to support the weaker of those two parties and I’m collaboratively trained and I think it is a wonderful process if both people are the same strength emotionally, if they have the same knowledge emotionally, if they don’t see their kids as a weapon or property then this is a great process as is mediation but in the typical case there is so much imbalance of power and imbalance of knowledge and emotional strength that the litigation is necessary really for the weaker party to get strong and for the stronger party to recognize they are not going to get everything they want and for them to move down.
Vince Scuncio: You know I look at this from kind of a layman’s perspective. I’m not an attorney even though I work with you guys on a daily basis it really did open my eyes when you talked about that balance of power because I go in thinking okay collaborative, that would make sense because no one wants to end up in court right?
Richard Renkin: Right, nobody wants to end up….even the lawyers don’t want to end up in court.
Vince Scuncio: Yeah so I mean litigation is kind of one of those things you think about or two parties are warring it out and they are just running up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills which I can see the reason for that in not many cases but a lot of cases.
Richard Renkin: Sure. It is that imbalance of power; somebody has control of something and they have had control of something so long they are not going to let it go easily. So how do you get them to sort of let go of that power?
I will give you a for instance. I am working on a case that relates to school and where a child goes to school. It should be a fairly straight-forward issue but it is not. It is a high-conflict case. We have let’s see five experts involved in this case; we’ve got two experts on special needs; we’ve got two therapists; and we’ve got a psychological evaluation going on as well as minor’s counsel and two lawyers. (Laughter)
Vince Scuncio: Wow!
Richard Renkin: I mean there is a lot of money going out the window for a positive reason though.
So the question is what does this child really need? One parent believes or wants something that is rather extreme and the other parent wants something that we perceive is rather reasonable.
Vince Scuncio: Okay.
Richard Renkin: So the parent who was the stay-at-home parent believes these children are her or his domain. I’m not going to give you the sex of which one it is but this parent just believes that they know best no matter what. No matter how many experts say well maybe this is not what the child needs or maybe this is overkill and more than the child needs, this one parent has in their mind that they are the perfect parent and they know exactly what is right for this child and every child. It just makes it really difficult. There is no release of that….some authority to the other parent.
Vince Scuncio: Okay.
Richard Renkin: This one parent wants to make 100% of the decisions and the history is that this person’s decisions have not been great.
Vince Scuncio: (Laughter)
Richard Renkin: You know, if these children were all thriving and this particular parent was making these decisions, my client would be going, “Okay you are doing a great job, keep going for it.” But there is a long history of decisions being made that really are more for the parent than for the children.
Vince Scuncio: Got it. Well yeah that comes around to it seems there is an imbalance right whether they are using the kids as pawns or anything like you say.
Richard Renkin: Or property, right.
Vince Scuncio: You know I think back to that because I always kind of try to wrap it up in my own personal situation before my wife passed away. I could not imagine her ever divorcing but had we divorced she is from San Diego and we lived in Sacramento. I knew exactly where she would head right and she had that control over it. Now I had the purse strings because I made the income and she was a stay-at-home mom but I could definitely see where there was an imbalance. It was a good marriage, I mean we did not have that issue but I could see in a lot of cases where I never thought of a divorce as an imbalance really.
Richard Renkin: That is how I perceived it after all of these years; usually there is one party who has a much stronger knowledge or much stronger entrenchment in something whether it is the home, whether it is the kids, whether it is the business and they see that as leverage within the relationship and at some point the other spouse just cannot deal with the leverage being used against them.
Vince Scuncio: Hmm.
Richard Renkin: And then there is the other thing where you get into people who have been doing drugs or they have gambling and there is some social issue.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: That is a whole other level of why people divorce and then there is domestic violence and then there is that whole control issue and the whole cycle of domestic violence that really is heart breaking.
Vince Scuncio: We could have a whole different show just talking about different… actually that would be kind of a cool topic to have down the road; not cool I don’t say that in like hey we should talk about this and it being fun but it would be educational I think.
Richard Renkin: We had a seminar last night and it was 3 hours just on domestic violence and it was really interesting. For those of us who are sort of geeky about what we do for a living this was many layers down ….many layers deep into what we do and understanding the psyche of the controller and understanding the psyche of the controlled and how those two things play on each other and how extreme they can really be.
Vince Scuncio: I would imagine you need to have that knowledge because like you had mentioned earlier you don’t know what stage that client is coming in at and you really have to understand where they are coming from as far as their mindset and where they are in those five stages where they are at as far as what side of the power coin they are on.
Richard Renkin: And the degree; quite honestly the degree is as important; so is this a situational situation where somebody had a couple of drinks too many; he or she pushed the other party’ s buttons; there was a mutual argument that went on and then one person did something that is completely inappropriate; they pushed, they shoved, they screamed, they yelled, they cursed; whatever it is, is that situational so that once those people are separated and once there is a cool down period it is not likely to happen again? Or are you in here with someone who is a systematic control person who wants to inflict pain over the long run because they control someone. Do we need a 5-year restraining order or do we need a 3-month restraining order or a 1-month restraining order. That is why we were very happy to have as many judges at the seminar last night as we had because I can convey this information to a judge but if they do not know that I am correct or if they have not learned or walked through these processes themselves, it is really hard. I mean 99% or maybe 95% of the domestic violence cases that I see anyway are really situational. I mean once you take one person out of the situation; he/she is out of the house you know it is over and you can move on and then the kids are not involved and then there are the other extreme cases which if you want to talk about one; if I talk to you about someone who was beating up his wife in the parking lot of the very famous attraction, so those cases are tough.
Vince Scuncio: When we come back from the break we are going to come back more with Richard Renkin, the family law guru. Stay tuned for more Inside Law with Vince Scuncio, the Attorney’s Realtor.
Vince Scuncio: Alright welcome back San Diego, Inside Law with Vince Scuncio, the Attorney’s Realtor, I’m here with my good friend Richard Renkin with Renkin Law talking a little bit about the five stages of separation and we are going to kind of go off on a different tangent and kind of lighten it up a pinch. I really don’t know if we are going to lighten it up but we are going to talk about a little bit different topic; maybe it is just because my ADD is kicking in, I’m not sure.
Richard Renkin: Oh no we need to get off the really dark stuff like domestic violence; we need to get into something that is a little bit brighter.
Vince Scuncio: Right, so let’s take a little different tack then; tell us about divorce, blah, blah, blah. Let’s talk about you know like in my personal situation and I’m not looking for legal advice I’m just kind of throwing that out there as a talking point. Before you get married you know everyone is happy with each other; everyone is in love, and everyone is like this is going to be rosy and we are going to be together 50 years and it is going to be magical right and one person owns a business and/or house and has assets that they bring to the table right. So Betty has this thriving massage therapy business…
Richard Renkin: Let’s call it a flower business.
Vince Scuncio: Yeah, I was going off on a weird tangent there so thanks for bringing me back to the light. So Betty has a business that is doing well so lots of flowers and everything like that. She gets married.
Richard Renkin: Her flower shop booms. Let’s take a couple of different scenarios there. Let’s say the flower shop booms because Betty herself decides she wants 5, 6, 10 different spaces and she cuts a deal with all of the different malls and she has kiosks all over the place and she personally has her efforts during the marriage create a greater value in that business. Those efforts during the marriage are actually community. She may have had it beforehand but the effort that made it big if it occurred during the marriage is hers and therefore the community’s and we’ve got to differentiate between what was the business’s worth before the marriage and we give a percentage of that value for whatever length of time they were married but then the big push that we were talking about that occurs during the marriage that is actually community property.
Vince Scuncio: Okay.
Richard Renkin: So it really makes some of these things difficult when someone says but I worked my business and now this other party is going to get a big piece of it. Yeah, but you are a community now. Once you get married you are no longer an individual, you are now a community.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: That community is your efforts, that community is your skill, that community is your knowledge and you need to understand that that skill, knowledge, and effort is now not yours alone but it is part of the community. And it is different, so let’s say Betty has a flower shop but California has a new rule that every building has to have trees, plants, and flowers because we are trying to clean the air. I’m getting a little ridiculous but now all of the sudden her business is exploding because of a law and not because of her efforts.
Vince Scuncio: Okay.
Richard Renkin: Now the question is how much of that is community and how much of that is business is personal.
Vince Scuncio: Wow!
Richard Renkin: Because it was not her efforts or skill that got it there it was some outside law for the state of California.
Vince Scuncio: Interesting.
Richard Renkin: More specific something that most people I think can understand; let’s look at your portfolio, your 401K or your brokerage account. Let’s say you inherited 1 million dollars and your job is to sit in your home every day and day trade.
Vince Scuncio: Okay.
Richard Renkin: This is your effort. This is what you do for a living. Any profit you make….that 1 million dollars is yours and will always be yours but any effort that you put out, any knowledge, or any skill that you put out to enlarge that 1 million dollars, that is community effort.
Vince Scuncio: Okay.
Richard Renkin: Because you manage that portfolio yourself. Now if you handed that money off to somebody else or you invest it into some kind of RET or some kind of real estate or something and the market caused that money to go up in value that is your separate property. So it really is fairly complicated. It gets even more complicated when the spouse comes in and works in the business but takes a paycheck out. Are they then paid for their efforts and therefore the community has already been paid?
Vince Scuncio: (Laughter)
Richard Renkin: So you’ve got a seafood manufacturer and what he does is he cans seafood and the parties are living together and they are spending zillions of dollars. They are living a just opulent lifestyle but the business is growing because of this person’s efforts; he is a master business man. So what happens in the situation where these people have lived an opulent lifestyle and they have been spending and spending and spending and earning and earning and earning? Has the non-earning spouse has the community not already gotten its fair share because they live this opulent lifestyle?
Vince Scuncio: How would that be ruled do you think?
Richard Renkin: Good question. I mean these are the kinds of interesting questions that make what I do fun because there is no answer. There is a case on the books right now relating to a gentleman who runs a mutual fund, I’m sure there is a more sophisticated name for what Mr. Brandis does but it is a case that is in the book, this is not something I’m bringing up or throwing names around it is a published case and the question was you know, how much money did the community earn in his business when they lived this opulent lifestyle. I mean….I may not have these numbers exactly right because I read the case a while back but I think the wife got something like 50 million dollars in real estate as part of this deal but the question was in the 16 million dollars per month that this man earns….
Vince Scuncio: Pfffft!
Richard Renkin: How much of that is really community now because they lived this really opulent lifestyle? I mean it is what makes these cases fun to do because there is no real cut and dry; there is no hard and fast formula for this. It is all what feels right to the judge so it is really important you know your judge, you know the facts of your case and you can put a cogent argument together that basically says she should get this or she should not get that depending on what side you represent.
Vince Scuncio: Well you know I think back to when my wife was still alive; a lot of the success I had was because she was managing the home so she had the home aspect of it and I was able to go out, hustle, work, and help people with their mortgages, help people with their homes and get that stuff done knowing that the household was taken care of so there was kind of a good partnership.
Richard Renkin: It was a balance of power.
Vince Scuncio: There was a balance of power.
Richard Renkin: Balance of duties.
Vince Scuncio: But I have another buddy of mine who got a large sum of money and he lives in Sacramento so I can talk about his case. He had a large sum of money because as gross as it sounds a dog bit his nose off.
Richard Renkin: Literally?
Vince Scuncio: Literally bit his nose off. Look me up on Facebook if you want to hear that story because it is a good ‘un. But that happened during his marriage but because of the fact that he gotten that money like an inheritance during the marriage when they separated that was all his and the house he bought with that money and the business he bought with that money was all his money.
Richard Renkin: Funny twist in the law. The money was technically community property because it was earned during the marriage but it is awarded to him as a separate property without offset. So why the code was written this way I don’t know but it is actually community property money that he gets 100% credit for because he went through the pain and suffering. One of the difficult things when this happens if the tort lawyer, the trial lawyer, the plaintiff what is the proper phrase today is setting this person’s damage award; anything that is pain and suffering is not taxable. Anything that is lost wages is taxable. So a guy gets a 3 million dollar settlement, he does not want 1.5 million of it to be taxed so he does not call it lost wages, right? But if it is lost wages it is community property and the other spouse would get half.
Vince Scuncio: Wow!
Richard Renkin: So the noninjured spouse they are not thinking about what is going on here because they love their spouse at that point and they are trying to get through this medical emergency but how much did that out-spouse have to work harder, how much did the out-spouse have to do in order to accommodate the injured spouse and how much of this was lost wages but was never deemed lost wages?
Vince Scuncio: Interesting.
Richard Renkin: It is very complicated and it gets fun.
Vince Scuncio: See this is why I like talking to you. Alright, when we come back from the break we are going to come back with Richard Renkin Law here on Inside The Law. Stay tuned we will be back in a couple of minutes.
Vince Scuncio: Alright welcome back to Inside Law. I’m going to cut that one off because obviously my man in the booth didn’t know the soundtrack and he is playing it over me aren’t you buddy? Alright welcome back to more Inside Law with Vince Scuncio The Attorney’s Realtor. We are here today with Richard Renkin with Renkin Law. We were talking before the break about having a business before marriage and then the dissolution of the business or devaluation of the business after the fact. That seems like it would be a complicated and convoluted process to kind of determine the value of that because it becomes more community property based on whatever.
Richard Renkin: It really depends on the kind of business. I mean some businesses are fairly easy. If there are comps in the market kind of like a house if a comparable business had been sold but then it can get very, very complicated when it is a unique business or if the streams of cash flow are coming from different directions and how much effort is involved in it so we bring in forensics. We are experts as certified family specialists. I am an expert at what I do but I’m not an expert in finance so we bring in finance people. We bring in forensic accountants or bring in people who are experts in their field when needed.
Vince Scuncio: So we will simplify it now; let’s talk about someone who has a house beforehand, you know.
Richard Renkin: You think that is simple?
Vince Scuncio: Well I think it is simple in the aspect of a house there are probably more comps for a 3-bedroom, 2 bath house in Carlsbad than there are for a flower business that has 12 shops and kiosks and all that other stuff right?
Richard Renkin: Yeah I know but take a middle to upper-middle class income home you may say the comps are cookie cutter but what happens when a third of the way through the 30-year loan the new wife gets added to it. She gets added to the title. Is that a transmutation and has that in-spouse or the spouse that owned it before marriage, did they just walk away from all of their equity?
Vince Scuncio: Pretty much right?
Richard Renkin: No!
Vince Scuncio: Oh really?
Richard Renkin: No, but it is complicated and there are some really interesting new cases that basically say that if you can show the only reason you put the other spouse’s name on the home was because the bank demanded it, you may not lose any of your equity.
Vince Scuncio: Really?
Richard Renkin: Right because the intent was not to transmute, the intent was to get the really good loan and if your intent was not to give it away or gift it and your intent was simply to get the loan why should the other spouse get an interest in your home? I mean these things they sound easy, oh it is a home and you get a comp, you divide it up, it is really not. So what happens if you owned a home before marriage, you put your spouse’s name on the title and then your spouse comes in with her separate property money and you put on a new roof or solar or you add 1500 square feet, and you put on a master bedroom upstairs. Those things make a difference because if you are doing maintenance, that is considered a gift. If you are adding to value in the home that is considered….it is looked at differently. So obviously if you add the 1500 square feet the increase in value is now a part of your separate property. You get a reimbursement to some degree for that but if you put on solar, did it increase the value of the house? You need an expert to tell you whether the house went up because of the market or whether the house went up because of the improvements. So even these kinds of things can get very complicated and can require the assistance of experts.
Vince Scuncio: That is why I like talking to you because I talk to a lot of different people in different fields and everything like that and I’m not trying to dog on one attorney over another but there are levels of expertise. There are levels of being the expert and you truly are the expert in the family law aspect because you know as a consumer I would look at a divorce like okay here’s everything we have, here’s what you are entitled to, here’s what I am entitled to, and bye.
Richard Renkin: Yes, let’s divide it up 50/50 it is easy right? Don’t we just need a calculator?
Vince Scuncio: Right. Here’s what Zillow says my house is worth and here’s what the business….here’s how much money we made so boom, you know here’s a check and beat it.
Richard Renkin: Yeah, let’s just double the gross of the business, let’s just do two times the gross and let’s consider that value.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: Well but what about the fact that it was valued at something before you ever got married and did that equity not grow over time? These things are a lot more complicated than they would appear.
Vince Scuncio: Right and that is not something you want to go alone.
Richard Renkin: Oh no! No, no, no, no, no, no. If you have any substance in your portfolio; if you have any assets that have any level of significance to you; you really need to find the right person to have you walk you through the process. I mean there are so many pitfalls, there are so many places to stumble and fall. The procedure is so complicated. Years ago I used to have to file things on yellow paper, file things on green paper, file other things on brown paper, file things on pink paper.
Vince Scuncio: You’ve been around a while. (Laughter).
Richard Renkin: Some of that has been done away with.
Vince Scuncio: We have computers now.
Richard Renkin: Well but even the colored paper I mean it was amazing to understand the procedure because you have to understand the law is broken down really into two segments. One is the law itself that we have been talking about but then there is the whole procedure, what form gets filed. Your name has to be online 6 or online 10. I mean these things really matter that the judges name is somewhere on the paper in a certain line at a certain place. Does the judge’s initials need to be on it? Do you have to note whether it is a 20-minute matter, a 40-minute matter, or a 1-hour matter. I mean these are the complicated procedural aspects of doing a divorce that is going to drive the typical person crazy and where do you want your time spent? You are a business person, you work for someone even if you work for yourself. Where is your time best spent? In the courthouse figuring this all out or do you want to hand this off to somebody that has done this a thousand times who knows how to get you through the process both procedurally, emotionally, and intellectually. Some people say no, they would rather do it themselves but they are not typically the people who are thinking ahead.
Vince Scuncio: Yeah that is definitely dollars to get the dimes.
Richard Renkin: Correct.
Vince Scuncio: You see that lot in real estate where people are like I’ve got somebody over here who can do this for cheaper. It’s like yeah you could.
Richard Renkin: But you get what you pay for.
Vince Scuncio: You absolutely get what you pay for. I remember my mom would always give me advice, she is like you always hire the best attorney you can. You always hire the best brain surgeon you can because if you need one, that’s now where you skip right. There are a lot of places where you can cut corners and this and that but insurance attorneys and brain surgery you get what you pay for.
Richard Renkin: Any kind of surgery.
Vince Scuncio: Any kind of surgery.
Richard Renkin: Not just brain surgery. I’m getting my toe worked on and I want the best toe doctor that I can get.
Vince Scuncio: Right and you are not going to try to do that yourself like with a MacGyver or something like that kind of dude. Boy we went off in a different direction on that one.
Richard Renkin: But it is a great analogy. Some people say it is 50/50 what do I need you for?
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: But it is 50/50 of what? Fifty-fifty from what point forward? I had a lady walk into my office she said to me, this is a really easy case. My husband and I have decided everything. I just want you to look it over. Well she did not know that she was not responsible for paying for his credit card bills when he was taking his girlfriend out. Literally he brought her rings, he bought her flowers, they stayed up in LA in expensive hotels, and it all ended up on the community credit card. She just thought because it was the community card, she had to pay half. All of the sudden wait a second, you were separated here but he wants you to pay half of all these other bills, why? Because that is what I think I had to do. The law told me 50/50.
Vince Scuncio: I had a situation where a professional client came in and it was, first of all problems right, there was 1 million dollars in the retirement and the house was worth 1 million dollars. She is like well he is getting the money and I’m getting the house. I said okay well what about the taxes? She’s like what? I said well you have capital gains if he sell it. Here’s what you bought it for and no one had that discussion with her because she had gone to one of those not cheap attorneys but someone who was very transactional, it was pretty simple math boom you have 2 million in assets, you get 1 million and you get 1 million. I want the home and it didn’t make sense. She was going to find herself in a situation where he got 1.2 million and she got 700,000 and all of the sudden it is not 50/50.
Richard Renkin: Yeah, and I will give you the opposite perspective on that quite honestly because my first thought was well what about him, he is getting retirement money that he cannot touch for how long? So the question is are they already 64 at the divorce or are they 44 or 54? Because there is a concept called the present value of money. He is getting this 1.2 million dollars but he cannot touch it for 20 years, 10 years, 8 years? How long before he can actually use any of that money to buy a house so there needs to be some kind of discount for him for taking future money. On the other side the deal is not good for her because okay you have what we call the marital museum. You’ve got the home.
Vince Scuncio: Congratulations.
Richard Renkin: Congratulations but now you’ve got maintenance, you’ve got taxes, you’ve got an electric bill, and you’ve got food bill. If you don’t have corresponding income to maintain that asset what is its actual value to you?
Vince Scuncio: Or you know in her situation where she wanted to sell in a couple of years I said okay great it would be a whole different show to talk about your personal exemptions and capital gains and all of that stuff but what she was looking at all things considered let’s say they grew at the same rate she was going to get creamed on taxes if she sold it in so ever many years at a higher rate because she was not going to get his exemption on it.
Richard Renkin: Well that’s a $500,000 exemption so everybody knows when you talk about each individual in the sale of a property at a certain point has $250,000 in exemption so if you come out of a sale of real estate with $500,000 of equity or less you don’t pay taxes on it. So what happens now when you have lived in that house for 2 years alone and half of that exemption is gone and you are only exempting $250,000, yeah you pay a lot more in taxes.
Vince Scuncio: Well and I think…the point of all this is that 50/50 is not always half.
Richard Renkin: Right.
Vince Scuncio: You know I even tend to simplify. I say, oh well you have a house it is simple and you just pointed out kind of the error of that of saying well it is not that simple and I kind of contradict myself as well; yeah you are right it could be a little more complicated especially in a divorce situation where as we come back full circle to those five stages, you are not in the best mindset anyway to be making mathematical decisions that are going to affect you possibly for the rest of your life. When we come back, we are not going to have a lot of time to talk about that but I do want to just briefly chat on that for our listeners before the show ends. So we are going to come back with Richard Renkin with Renkin Law on Inside Law. Stay tuned, we will be back in just a moment.
Vince Scuncio: Alright, we are rocking out here on Inside Law with Vince Scuncio the Attorney’s Realtor and my special guest today Richard Renkin with Renkin Law. Really quick, I just want to kind of let everyone know to get ahold of Richard the best number to reach him at is 619-299-7100. I will repeat that a couple of times before we end the show but…
Richard Renkin: Before we go on and we talk about some more subjects, I need to give a shout out to my favorite lady Paula. We have been married 32 years. My daughter Allison might also be listening. I don’t think my son Robert is on but…
Vince Scuncio: You have grandkids too.
Richard Renkin: I’ve got grandkids too. I think I bring an interesting perspective to the family. I lost my dad kind of early like I know you lost your wife but I’m lucky enough to be married to the same wonderful woman who puts up with me in my ups and my downs and going into trials and all the stress and everything and my family too; Allison. They are my two favorite ladies. They support me and I love them and I want them to both know.
Vince Scuncio: Well good, so ladies if you are listening…shout out to you. Richard you also said something again during the break like we talked about which I thought was pretty on point as far as, people like we had mentioned step over dollars to get the dimes. Do you truly believe you get what you pay for and you made kind of a great comment that I wanted you to repeat if you could.
Richard Renkin: If I remember the comment, is it I don’t need to milk the case? You know I’m busy and if you hire the right lawyer they are busy and they don’t have to milk your case. They don’t have to get you to do things. They don’t have to churn your case. Find an attorney who cares about you. Find an attorney who thinks your family is important to you. It is really….it is a relationship between myself and the client; again it is both financial, it is both emotional. I charge a pretty fair price for somebody with my experience; I’ll be honest with you but I’m worth it because I know how to get things done and I provide advice. Do you want to spend $100,000 deciding who gets the dog? If you want to I’ll fight. I’m a bull dog. If you want to fight over who gets the dog, I’m your man but I’m going to write you a letter saying you really ought to go to the pound because there is another dog that loves you and that you are going to love and it is not worth the money but if you want to fight, I’m here to fight. If you want to settle, I’m a great negotiator, you can settle. Those things are up to you. You are the client. It is your divorce. It is not my divorce. I provide options. You provide responses and you make decisions. I think it has worked really, really well for me.
Vince Scuncio: Well you know that is a great point because people are always afraid, oh I don’t want to rack up tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills by going to court.
Richard Renkin: Hey folks, if you are in court it is because you are not being reasonable or one side is not being reasonable.
Vince Scuncio: Or one side is not being reasonable or both and if you are willing to pay somebody to stand there with you to do that you kind of gotta bear some of that responsibility yourself.
Richard Renkin: The way I present this to my clients is everything in America costs money and if you want to get your divorce done, get to done, get to finished, there is a cost.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: Whether the cost is money or the cost is you know giving up a little time with your kids, or your cost is putting your pride in your back pocket, there is a cost to getting your case done. I provide you those options and you decide if you want to pay that cost or not.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: It is a fairly straight-forward process. Again if you know that 50/50, if you know what you are dividing 50/50 and when you are dividing it 50/50, that is where it comes in and you give your client options.
Vince Scuncio: Nice. Well again if you want to get a hold of Richard, you can get a hold of him at 619-299-7100. It’s Richard Renkin. It is R-E-N-K-I-N – website: http://www.RenkinLaw.com. Check Richard out. Again you want a specialist. You want somebody that has been doing this a long time, knows the ins and outs of the court, and you are also the president of the San Diego Family Bar Association.
Richard Renkin: Yes, the San Diego Family Law Bar Association.
Vince Scuncio: You’ve been around for a while and you kind of know what you are doing.
Richard Renkin: Kinda?
Vince Scuncio: You really do. It is very rare when I’m sitting here and I’m learning something as I am interviewing people. I’ve learned a lot just in our discussion before the show and during the show, things I had not really considered as far as you know collaborative law versus what I would say more traditional.
Richard Renkin: Versus mediation. There are plenty of ways of getting to the divorce, the question is what works for you and where are you and your spouse in that adjustment process.
Vince Scuncio: Yeah, and it is not just yourself it is your spouse as well. Where are they at? That is kind of important to know.
Richard Renkin: Everybody wants to make a great offer right up front.
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: But what happens is the other spouse is not ready and they think they are being cheated. So even though yes you may want to make that great offer right up front, if you are not willing to give their lawyer the time to do their discovery and to recognize that your offer is great; if you try to kind of shove it down their throats they think they are being cheated even though you think you are doing the right thing. There are so many balances of emotion and so many balances of power in this. It is a very touchy feely area of the law but it is also very procedurally direct.
Vince Scuncio: Right yeah. Well again we are talking today with Richard Renkin with Renkin Law. You can get ahold of him at 619-299-7100, www.renkinlaw.com. That is R-E-N-K-I-N law.com. We talked about a lot of stuff. We still have a couple of minutes more to talk and you know we talked about if you have a business ahead of time, you have a house ahead of time, we didn’t really get a chance to talk too much about kids and all of that. I think it would be a great topic to have you back on the show down the road because I think there is a lot more to be said on that side of it. Real quickly what are you seeing as kind of a trend in law right now, is there anything that you see coming?
Richard Renkin: The law looks to promote 50/50 and the big problem that I see is when someone is demanding 50/50 and it is not really in the child’s best interest. If you are a traveling salesman and you are away from the children for 2 weeks per month even if it is 1 week per month can you really create a continuity in structure for that child and be a traveling salesman?
Vince Scuncio: Right.
Richard Renkin: It is really hard. You know if you put your kids first. If you care about their needs before you care about your child support payment, whether you are getting it or giving it, either way if you put those kids first it is going to work out. You just have to believe it is going to work out.
Vince Scuncio: Yeah and keep in mind your kids are not your weapons and they are not your property right. They are your children.
Richard Renkin: They are people and they grow up scarred and sometimes those scars can be positive things but sometimes those scars most times those scars can be very negative things and it is just a matter of how much do you want to scar your children in order to “win” or in order to hurt the other side and it is difficult. Sometimes you don’t even know you are doing it. I have a number of cases right now where the parental or custodial parent thinks they are doing the right thing and it is just so obvious to everybody around them they are hurting the children and we are getting them into therapy and we are getting psychological evaluations and we are spending a lot of time and money but people don’t realize when they see their children as property. It is the way they have been raised. It is what they think they are supposed to do and it is so hard to break that cycle.
Vince Scuncio: Yeah. Well Richard thank you so much for being on the show today. I really do appreciate your time. I know you are busy and I hope you don’t send me a bill. (Laughter).
Richard Renkin: Thank you for having me.
Vince Scuncio: You are very welcome. So today we’ve had Richard Renkin with Renkin Law. Again you can get ahold of him at 619-299-7100. You can check us out on Facebook Inside The Law and get his bio as well as his website. Again thank you for tuning in for Inside Law with Vince Scuncio, the Attorney’s Realtor. We will be here next Thursday 2:00 to 3:00. Tune in. Have a great weekend and talk to you next week.
Richard Renkin: Thank you again.
Photo via flickr by C_osett