Renkin Law & Associates recommends that prior to a divorce case being filed and/or heard, all reconciliation and mediation avenues be addressed and exhausted before the petition is filed with the court.
Lawyers at Renkin Law carefully scrutinize and assess all divorce petitions and bring to light all available options to their clients. Although some couples might initially disagree, going to court should be the last choice for divorcing couples. The judge’s primary role is to resolve any issues the couple is unable to.
During a divorce mediation process, emotions run incredibly high and cooperation seems like an unattainable objective. If this scenario drags out, it can tie the process up,and both parties can accumulate massive financial hardship as a result. The end result is a prolonged healing process and will put their lives on hold until resolved.
To alleviate this situation, a settlement should be addressed through negotiation by your lawyer. A divorce professional at Renkin Law has the expertise to look at all options and determine which is the most workable and beneficial for each party in the divorce process. By so doing, you can retain many things that are important to you.
Renkin Law gives advice in order to negotiate for your best overall settlement. First, it is imperative to set your priorities at the onset. Second, it is recommended that each party knows beforehand what they are willing to concede, what areas to concede in and what areas you are firm on. Third, each party must be realistic and view the entire picture in order to know how to give and take. Fourth, do not react to any emotional outbreaks from the other party in order to end up with no resolution whatsoever. Fifth, whenever a settlement is offered, study it carefully before coming up with a response. Be open-minded to any and all settlement offers.
Quick info about divorce mediation:
Resolving family disputes through mediation
Conflict Resolution Center Education
Reasons to stay away from mediation
About mediation divorce lawyers
Top FAQs about divorce mediation costs
Additional mediation resources
Can you get a divorce for cheating or gaining weight
Celebrity/large divorce settlements
Can child support expenses go up?
The difference between community and separate property states
Domestic violence awareness month
Is it okay to get a divorce over the internet
Resolving Family Disputes Through Mediation in California
Mediation is a very common form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in divorce cases. It’s considered to be an effective means of resolving any type of dispute that doesn’t require a third-party determination or a judicial ruling. That is one of the main reasons it is used for family law mediation issues in divorce cases in San Diego. The mediator is not a judge and cannot force one party or the other to do anything different. Instead, the mediator is a neutral third party who is able to help the two disagreeing parties negotiate a settlement they can agree on.
This is called facilitative mediation, and it can be used for spousal support, child support, child custody, guardianship and other matters. If an agreement can be reached, the judge in the divorce case will often sign off on that agreement. Some cases do call for the view or opinion of the mediator, and that’s called evaluative mediation. However, it is important to remember that mediation is not binding in the same way a court order would be, and the mediator cannot force either party to accept a particular agreement.
The parties can work directly with a mediator; or, they can each hire an attorney to represent them. However, due to the complexities involved in most family-related legal matters, it is generally advisable to hire a lawyer to help you protect your interests in mediation.
Mediation has a structure, a timetable and an element of participation that is not seen in traditional negotiation. Mediators often use a number of techniques to improve the dialogue between disputants, with the goal of helping the parties reach an agreement that works for everyone. Success depends on the skill and training of the mediator, who must remain impartial.
National Conflict Resolution Center Education
San Diego has many attorneys from which to choose. Differentiating between them means understanding and evaluating their education, credentials and experience, so you can choose the right one for your case. A key quality that sets the Law Office of Renkin & Associates apart from other family law practices in San Diego County is Richard Renkin’s Mediation Education with the National Conflict Resolution Center.
This training educates participants in new and different techniques for dealing with impasse, ethical dilemmas, money issues, high-conflict personalities and adaptations of the facilitative model in business and legal settings. Since not all divorces are simple, and high-end divorces can mean many discussions and disagreements over assets, having a good mediator can make a significant difference in the end result of your divorce case.
Reasons to Stay Away from Mediation
As we mentioned above, mediation isn’t for everyone. Here are some reasons why it might not make sense to use this form of ADR:
- In order to use mediation, one of the first requirements is that both parties are committed to the process. If they aren’t, in most cases trying to mediate will be waste of both parties’ time and money.
- For mediation to work, the parties have to be capable of reaching a common ground. If the parties are too far apart or too steadfast in their positions, they may not able to achieving a voluntary resolution.
- One party is susceptible to being unduly influenced by the other party. Mediation is supposed to produce a result that works for everyone, but sometimes divorcing spouses and other family members will try to use intimidation or manipulation to get what they want to the other party’s detriment.
- People often mediate before they have all of the facts. When mediation is used purely for its cost-saving efficiencies, this can lead to spouses and other parties agreeing to terms before they have all of the information they need to make an informed decision.
Importantly, you may not always know in advance if someone is willing to undertake mediation in good faith. For example, a spouse who is out for revenge or wants to try to deplete the other spouse’s legal fund may try to use mediation as a weapon rather than a tool for compromise. This is yet another reason to be cautious about jumping into mediation.
When We Recommend Using Mediation in a Divorce or Family Law Dispute
Despite these potential drawbacks, mediation can have substantial benefits under the right circumstances. So, when do we recommend mediation?
We typically favor the use of mediation in connection with litigation. What we mean by this is, rather than relying solely on mediation, it is often a more effective tool for resolving specific issues once a case is on track for trial. For example, say you are getting a divorce and you and your spouse are able to work together on a parenting plan, but are completely at odds on who gets what in terms of your assets. You may be able to mediate your custody arrangement in order to narrow down the issues that are truly in dispute.
Or, maybe your case has been on track for trial over the past several months. Now, you and your spouse have exchanged all of the key information, you’ve had time to process what is happening, and after preliminary negotiations, you think you may see a light at the end of the tunnel. In this situation, you may be able to turn to mediation to structure a fully-informed and cost-effective resolution.
Mediation Trained Divorce Lawyer in California
Whether you’re planning to litigate, negotiate or enter divorce mediation, San Diego-based Richard M. Renkin, Esq., CFLS, has a skill set that can only benefit you and your case. Through an intensive 32-hour course, Mr. Renkin gained knowledge and experience in the following areas:
- Conflict theory
- The stages of mediated problem-solving
- Balancing power
- Managing negotiations
- Strategic communication skills
- Handling emotions and impasse
- Mediator ethics
- Drafting agreements
- The role of attorneys, advisors and dispute resolution professionals
Since receiving training in conflict resolution, Mr. Renkin has mediated hundreds of cases for clients. He’s also served as a pro tem settlement judge and has a long history of acting as a settlement conference judge for the Superior Court.
Questions Answered about California Divorce and Mediation Costs
Q: What are the costs of a divorce mediation?
A: Many reasons exist for choosing family law mediation. Most importantly, mediation can allow you and your spouse to make your own decisions about your divorce in a manner that’s more cost-effective than taking your case to court. When you decide to resolve your disputes through mediation instead of a court proceeding, you’ll have a mediator who will ensure that any decisions made are equitable and fair to each of the spouses involved.
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In addition to being a cost-effective method for handling divorce disputes, it allows spouses to be involved in the negotiation process. In other words, you’ll have a key role in determining things like property division and child custody.
Choosing mediation can also allow you to keep your children from being in the middle of your divorce. While litigation can create a substantial amount of anxiety for spouses, it can also have a detrimental effect on children. Mediation can help to keep animosity to a minimum, as it focuses on collaboration, negotiation, and agreement.
Q: I’m not sure that my busy work schedule allows for mediation. How many sessions will I need to attend, and how long will those mediation sessions last?
A: The length and number of mediation sessions vary depending on each case, but they usually last about 2 to 3 hours. Some couples can resolve their disputes in a short number of sessions, while others need more time. Mediation can be a good option for many professional fathers in the San Diego area, and it usually takes less time than a traditional divorce. We encourage you to speak with a San Diego divorce lawyer with experience in both mediation and litigation. We can help to determine whether mediation is a good option for you.
Q: If I opt for mediation, how long will I have to wait before my divorce becomes final?
A: Unlike a traditional divorce proceeding in California, in which you must wait 6 months between filing for the divorce until it can become final, mediation allows you to avoid that 6-month waiting period. Indeed, with mediation, your final judgment can be entered before 6 months have elapsed. Then, your official marital status will shift from being married to single on a future date that coincides with the 6-month rule.
Q: I’m concerned that my divorce case will hurt my professional reputation if my spouse contests matters like support and custody. Will other people know the details of my mediation sessions?
A: In short, the answer is no. One of the advantageous aspects of mediation is that all of the discussions that take place within your sessions are privileged and confidential. Indeed, California law specifically stipulates that “all communications, negotiations, or settlement discussions by and between participants in the course of a mediation or a mediation case evaluation shall remain confidential.”
We know how important your professional reputation can be, and even if your divorce ultimately requires litigation, we have the experience to ensure that you’re satisfied with the outcome. Contact a San Diego divorce attorney to learn more about mediation and litigation options for divorce.
Can Mediation Save Your Divorce?
When talking about the options for getting a divorce, the discussion often focuses on the distinction between going to court or reaching an amicable resolution through informal methods. However, there is not necessarily a clear line between the two; and, when it comes to pursuing an out-of-court settlement, there are a few different options available.
One of these options is mediation. Mediation allows divorcing spouses to seek outside help without resorting to letting someone else (i.e. a judge) making decisions for them. But, mediation is not just used in amicable divorces. In many cases, spouses will use mediation (often under a court order) to find common ground on certain issues in the broader context of divorce litigation.
How Mediation Can Help with Resolving Contested Issues in a Divorce
Whether negotiations in an amicable divorce are becoming unproductive or it appears that litigating spouses would benefit from trying to work together, mediation can be an attractive solution for both parties. Working with an experienced family law mediator offers benefits including:
- Insights from an unbiased third party who is knowledgeable about divorce law and theories of conflict resolution;
- A structured, yet informal, approach to conflict resolution that promotes cooperation and good-faith efforts to find areas for compromise;
- A strategic approach to communications that prevents emotions from getting in the way of progress;
- The flexibility to schedule mediation sessions at times and locations that work with everyone’s schedules and that fit with the overall progress of the divorce; and,
- The ability to find mutually-agreeable solutions that you and your spouse may not have considered on your own.
However, as we have previously discussed, mediation is not right for everyone. There are a number of reasons why it may be in one spouse’s (or both spouses’) best interests to stay away from mediation. Just like all other aspects of getting divorced, the decision of whether to pursue mediation is one that needs to be made with due consideration of all of the relevant factors and a forward-looking assessment of the potential outcomes of the process.
Additional Resources on California Divorce Mediation
If you are preparing for a divorce in North County and Downtown San Diego, CA, we encourage you to learn as much as you can about the options that are available. These resources will help you gain a better understanding of the role of mediation in divorce, as well as the benefits (and potential limitations) involved:
- Resolving Family Disputes Through Mediation
- Questions Answered about California Divorce and Mediation
- Resolve Your Divorce or Separation Out of Court
- Custody Mediation in the California Courts
When is the Right Time to Pursue Mediation in Connection with a Divorce?
There is no one “right” time to pursue mediation in connection with a divorce. While divorcing spouses may agree up front to pursue mediation, an agreement to use mediation can also come as negotiations progress. In any divorce, attorneys represent clients in mediation during pre-trial divorce litigation proceedings. One of the keys to successful divorce mediation is access to information, and divorcing spouses can obtain the information they need to make informed decisions in mediation through the pre-trial litigation process. Litigation (and negotiation) can also help narrow down the issues in dispute so that spouses can focus their mediation efforts where they are likely to be the most productive.
Can You Get a Divorce for Cheating or Gaining Weight
They say that you can contract into anything. With prenuptial agreements becoming so commonplace, this is seeming more and more true – but how much of your spouse’s behavior can you actually control via a contract? If your spouse does not hold up the other half of the bargain, are you entitled to more of the assets in the divorce? Agreements between spouses that seek to govern how one or both members of the marriage will behave are called lifestyle clauses, and their contents and validity vary greatly.
Many couples attempt to dissuade each other from cheating by agreeing to allocate more assets in a divorce to one spouse if the other spouse is unfaithful. These clauses have been enforced in many states as long as the infidelity is proven and the agreement did not otherwise go against public policy. However, California is the exception. These clauses are against public policy since they are contrary to the state’s no-fault divorce laws. Not only do these clauses complicate divorce proceedings, allegations of infidelity are very hard to prove. Even with an infidelity clause and a cheating soon-to-be-ex-spouse, you typically will not get a larger settlement just because your spouse was unfaithful – unless he or she spent considerable money on the cheating process or on the person with whom he or she cheated.
Other clauses that seek to govern behavior during the marriage also seem to be frowned upon in California – as well as in other states. For example, a court is unlikely to enforce a prenuptial clause that specifies that a spouse will not gain a certain amount of weight or that he or she will be responsible for all of the chores. However, clauses about how money is spent during the marriage may be enforced, and many aspects of prenuptial agreements are perfectly acceptable and valid.
Although lifestyle clauses typically are not enforceable in California, one of the spouses would have to actually challenge the clause in order to prevent it from being enforced. Depending on how public the divorce is, one spouse may not want to go through the motions and publicity of discussing his or her sex life in court in order to save some money, and the clause may also deter infidelity for the same reason. Additionally, even if your lifestyle clause would never be enforceable, talking about these issues with your fiancé(e) before the marriage or even with your spouse after you get married may help foster communication and outline expectations for the marriage. Even if your lifestyle clause would be found to be unenforceable, it should not render the rest of your prenuptial agreement invalid if you have a severability clause.
Celebrity Divorce Settlements
High profile divorces are no laughing matter, especially when there millions or even billions of dollars at stake. Even with prenuptial agreements in place, there are many complications that can arise in high-end California divorce courts. Celebrities stand to lose a large part of their net worth, which can turn an amicable situation into one filled with grief, animosity, and pain.
In recent years, the payout of high profile divorces has been staggering. In 2011, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver parted ways, with her settlement amounting to between $250 and $375 million. In 2000, Robert Johnson and his wife of 30 years reached a settlement of $400 million. Although celebrities and other public figures have the advice and counsel of an attorney, a large part of these settlements are the result of lengthy marriages where the spouses had an integral part of the celebrity’s success.
The biggest celebrity divorce of all time is Mel Gibson’s, where he was directed to pay his wife of 31 years a reported $425 million dollars, child support of $750,000, and future residuals from previous films he recorded while they were married for the rest of her life.
How do these large divorce settlements occur?
Most of the time, if the celebrity or public figure was just beginning their career, they did not think about having a prenuptial agreement in place. Even if they were properly advised by a California family law firm, their prenuptial agreement may have had stipulations that included the spouse being paid a certain amount for every year they were married. Former American Idol judge Randy Jackson did not have a prenuptial agreement in place, and his wife of 18 years received $20 million dollars.
Successful business owners face similar challenges. In 2010, Wynn Resorts billionaire Steve Wynn had to pay his wife $741 million in stock. She holds 9.7 million shares, which is currently about $1.2 billion.
It is not uncommon for individuals to request post-nuptial agreements once they realize they need to protect their assets. A San Diego divorce lawyer can give you advice on moving forward, especially if you feel that you have a lot to lose in the event of a divorce. Being proactive in protecting your best interests is the right thing to do. High-end divorces can be especially traumatic on the children, and dividing assets that were highly valued can be difficult to let go.
Celebrity Paternity and Custody Matters
Last year, we covered some of the celebrity divorce settlements that have made headlines in California in recent years – including some of the most expensive divorces in history. To kick off 2016, we are taking a look at some recent headlines involving celebrity paternity and child custody matters.
Celebrity Paternity- The Rock Welcomes a Baby Girl
In December, Duane “The Rock” Johnson and long-time girlfriend Lauren Hashian welcomed their first child, Jasmine. Does the fact that The Rock and Ms. Hashian are unmarried have any effect on The Rock’s parental rights?
The short answer is, “no.” In California, a baby’s biology determines parental rights, and since The Rock’s parentage appears to be undisputed, he should enjoy full parental rights with regard to baby Jasmine. Although, if there were a question as to paternity, he would need to submit to a paternity test in order to confirm that he is Jasmine’s father. This is because the presumption of fatherhood that applies when a child is born to married couples does not apply when a child is born out of wedlock. Importantly, even with married parents, this is a rebuttable presumption, meaning that either parent can seek judicial intervention in order to establish that the husband is not the father.
But, what if unmarried parents are not living together or cannot agree on things like child support, custody, and visitation? If unmarried parents are not living together or cannot come to terms on how they will raise and provide financial support for their children, then they may need to go to court in order to establish custody and visitation rights and determine who owes child support. Or, if the parents are able to work together, they may be able to formulate a parenting plan without asking a judge to make decisions for them. Either way, the process is similar to that for establishing rights and obligations in a divorce, though there can be some unique aspects as well.
Importantly, none of this is to suggest that The Rock and Ms. Hashian are involved in a custody dispute. By all accounts everyone is happy and the parties appear to have a healthy family relationship. However, the issue of paternity when a child is born to unmarried parents is an important one, and The Rock and Ms. Hashian’s well-publicized addition to their family provides a good opportunity for people in similar situations to learn about their parental rights and responsibilities.
Madonna’s Custody Battle
In a less amicable situation, the Queen of Pop appears to be involved in a contentious custody dispute with her former husband, Guy Ritchie. Two days before Christmas, Madonna asked a judge to order her 15-year-old son’s return to the United States from England, where he lives with his father. The judge granted the signer’s request, and on Christmas Day she posted a photo of herself and her son, Rocco, online.
Interestingly, the judge granted the request even though Rocco has allegedly stated that he would prefer to live with his father. In addition, regardless of custody and visitation rights, parents must try to work together to foster their children’s relationships with both parents. When parents are at odds and live in different states (or, as in this case, in different countries), this can often be a challenge. If you have questions about establishing or enforcing custody, visitation, or child support in California, we invite you to contact us for a case evaluation.
Can Child Support Go Up When an Ex Makes More Money in California?
Child support orders are not permanent but are instead adaptable over time. While no payment order will change automatically, the court can change child support orders if there is a change in circumstances; in some cases, the change in a custodial parent’s earnings, a change in custody, or a change in the amount of time you spend with your children can all be reasons that the court could approve a new order.
In California, a court-ordered child support plan may be adjusted if certain material circumstances in the lives of either party change substantially after the initial order was made. This includes significant changes in the income of either party, as well as if there is a change in the amount of time the child spends with either parent, or in the cost of child care.
There are, however, exceptions to this general rule of change. For example, if either spouse remarries, the income of the new spouse will generally not be considered, beyond tax consequences, when calculating a new child support order.
Changes in Income
Changes in income from one parent may allow for modification to be made to a child support order. The court will not only examine the salaries and wages of the other parent, but will also take into account for income generated through rent, royalties, dividends, bonuses and other sources.
While the amount of money a parent generates can call for a change in a child support order, it is important to note that this change can be offset by an increase in your wealth or a change in the amount of time your child spends with each parent.
In order to request a change in your child support order, you must file a Request for Order (stating your reasons for requesting the modification) as well as an Income and Expense Declaration. A copy of these documents must be filed with the court, as well as provided to your ex. This is followed by a court hearing, during which the court will review both parties’ finances and any other relevant information.
This also serves as an opportunity to present evidence to support your argument for modifying child support due to an increase in your ex’s increased income.
Income is one of several factors to be considered by the court when modifying child support orders. The court will consider factors such as financial hardship (i.e. extraordinary health care costs), travel costs for visitation, and other childcare-related costs, such as educational needs.
Changing a child support order can be a complicated matter. You should be sure to speak with an experienced California family lawyer before seeking a substantial change to your child support order.
Constant Connectivity as a Risk Factor for Divorce
Although divorce rates in the United States have declined gradually since 2000, in recent years, the number of divorces in which social media and connected devices have played a factor has been on the rise. Studies show that constant connectivity affects parents’ relationships with their children as well, with nearly a third of children saying that they feel “unimportant” when their parents pay too much attention to their phones.
While smartphones have become indispensable in many respects, there is little question that some people – by some accounts nearly half of the adult population – spend more time on their phones than they should. What constitutes “too much” is highly dependent upon each individual’s personal, work, and family circumstances, but knowing where to draw the line can be critical to preserving and fostering your relationship with your spouse and children.
Statistics: Family Members and Their Connected Devices
Of course, even if you are an admitted high-volume smartphone or tablet user, there is a good chance that you are not the only one in your household. Consider these statistics published by various institutions and media outlets, including the Brigham Young University (BYU), CNBC.com, and CNN:
- In a study conducted by researchers at BYU, more than half of female respondents, “reported that phones, computers and other technology devices were significantly disruptive in their relationships, couplehood and family lives.” This included mobile device use by both spouses.
- A state-by-state study reported by CNBC.com found that, “a 20 percent annual increase in Facebook enrollment was associated with anywhere from a 2.18 percent to a 4.32 percent increase in divorce rates depending on the model used.”
- A survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2010 found that approximately 20 percent of all divorces involved one or both spouses’ use of Facebook in one way or another.
- According to CNN, 50 percent of teens say they are “addicted” to their mobile devices, and 59 percent of parents say their children have a smartphone addiction.
- By the same token, Today.com reports that 54 percent of kids say their parents spend too much time on their phones.
These types of statistics led one licensed psychologist to write for Psychology Today:
“While the big 3 disputes for couples’ arguments used to be sex, money, and kids, it seems smartphones are rapidly rising up that list.”
What if Mobile Devices are Negatively Impacting Your Family Life?
Experts provide a number of recommendations for spouses who are struggling to connect at home and for parents whose’ relationships with their children have been negatively impacted by mobile devices. Some of the most-common examples include:
- Making sure you and your spouse both unplug when you get home from work.
- Keeping mobile devices out of the dining room and the bedroom, and designating technology-free family time.
- Making sure everyone is aware of their phone usage, and putting real-life family interactions before status updates, texts, and direct messages.
If it seems that the damage to your marriage is irreconcilable, you may also be considering a divorce. While this is certainly an option you have available, before filing for divorce, it is important to understand the implications and consider the alternatives; and, if you ultimately decide to file, there are steps you will need to take to get prepared. If you are contemplating a divorce and would like more information about the steps involved in the process, we encourage you to inquire about a confidential initial case evaluation.
The Difference Between Community and Separate Property States and Why It Affects You
Whether you live in a community or separate property state is important even if you and your spouse never get divorced, since a state’s property status also dictates how much property you and your spouse can leave in your will and to whom. In the case of a divorce or a death, property will be split up into a few classifications.
Separate property belongs to just one of the spouses. Examples of separate property include property that was owned by just one of the spouses before the marriage. If property or assets are acquired in one spouse’s name during the marriage as a gift, then those will typically be considered separate property, despite the marriage. Additionally, if one spouse uses separate property assets in order to obtain other assets and it seems clear that he or she intends to keep these assets separate, then they will generally remain separate property. If you receive money from a personal injury case, typically the amount allocated to pain and suffering will be considered separate property while the amount allocated to lost income will be marital property. The laws on the specifics of what is considered separate property varies slightly depending on the state.
Unlike separate property, marital property belongs to both spouses and is typically anything that is earned or received during the marriage. Inheritance is one exception to this, but it can become marital property in some instances such as if it is placed in a joint checking account. Spouses can choose to make other exceptions, though, usually via a pre- or post-nuptial agreement.
Not only do the above definitions vary significantly from state to state, each state has one of two property ownership systems: separate or community.
Separate Property States
These states are sometimes referred to as common law states, and ownership of property is determined by whose name is on the deed, who paid for it or to whom it was given. If both you and your spouse are listed on the deed, it is assumed that you each own 50% unless there is documentation showing otherwise.
Community Property States
In community property states, both spouses are entitled to property acquired while they are married no matter whose name it is in, and each spouse is entitled to 50% of all income earned during the marriage regardless of who earns it. However, property acquired before the marriage and inheritance or gifts obtained at any time typically remain separate property. California is a community property state, as are Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In Alaska, couples have the option to decide if they would like their property to be community or separate property.
No matter how complicated your divorce, we can help. For help with your case or in any other aspect of family law , you can turn to the Law Office of Renkin & Associates for the help that you deserve. We are prepared to answer your questions and fight for your assets.
Divorce in San Diego and the Impact on Retirement Accounts
Divorce in San Diego for Retirees
Nowadays, many baby boomers are getting divorced. Statistically, one in four over the age of 50 is getting divorced. The challenges facing this age group are quite different than the younger generation.
Some of these mitigating factors in this age group are retirement accounts, pension plans and Social Security benefits. With many couples, retirement is a huge portion of their overall net worth and will have to be addressed in an equitable fashion. It is not a simple matter to untangle due to tax and financial issues.
Retirement Accounts Related to Divorce in San Diego
An important point to remember is that retirement funds created during the marriage are viewed as marital property. Financial contributions to a 401(k) are accumulated through salary deductions and through years of salary earned. Both partners in a marriage depend on this money when they reach retirement age. Any retirement monies during the course of a marriage are viewed as joint marital property. However, if one partner has a retirement account prior to a marriage, those funds deposited before marriage remain separate property.
In a divorce situation, the Family court is obligated to adhere to federal guidelines when dividing 401(k) or 403 (b) plans. However when IRA’s become part of the process, the state law where the couple resides decides how the division process occurs.
Divorce in San Diego in Court
Division of a 401(k) plan, including numerous other pension plans, requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). If your divorce settlement agreement decrees that you will be splitting a pension or a 401(k) plan, a court must sign a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, commonly abbreviated as QDRO. A QDRO will instruct the plan administrator on how to pay the non-employee spouse’s share of the plan benefits. A QDRO allows the funds in a retirement account to be separated and withdrawn without tax penalties and deposited in the other spouse’s account.
Divorce Tax Strategies
Getting divorced can be a hectic experience: it’s often emotional, complicated, and lasts longer than most people would like. To add another layer of unpleasantness to your divorce, there are tax implications that need to be considered as you work through you separation. Splitting from your spouse, dividing up your assets and sharing custody of your children all can affect your taxes. With guidance from an experienced divorce attorney with knowledge about the tax implications of your divorce, you can develop a tax strategy for your divorce that will be in your best interests.
Tax Strategy Considerations For Your Divorce
There are a number of factors that will impact your taxes once you get divorced. Below are several of the more important issues that you will need to consider when developing a divorce tax strategy that is right for you.
- Your filing status is going to change. Your marital status as of December 31 controls how your taxes will be treated, and your marital status is based on when your divorce becomes final. It may be in you and your ex-spouse’s best interest to delay finalizing your divorce so that you can get one extra year as joint filers, which can save you money on your taxes.
- Dealing with real property transfers. Most couples sell assets and other property or transfer property from one spouse to the other as part of their divorce settlement. For example, while real property transfers during divorce are not taxed, remember that the property tax burdens and the cost basis accompany a property transfer. This means you will be responsible for the property taxes on property that is transferred to you during the divorce, and when you sell the property, you will have to pay capital gains tax going back to before you obtained the property as part of your divorce.
- Issues involving children.
- Are you going to claim your child(ren) as your dependent(s) after the divorce? A child can be claimed as a dependent for tax purposes only once. This means that only one parent can claim a child as a dependent and get the child tax credit associated with that child.
- Tax credits. Only parents who claim their child as a dependent are eligible for the child tax credit for that child or an American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning college credit for the child. If the parent has custody, but does not claim the child as a dependent, the parent may claim a child-care tax credit for work-related expenses incurred for the care of a child under the age of 13.
- Deductions for child medical expenses. Even if you do not claim your child as your dependent for tax purposes, if you pay for the child’s medical expenses, you can deduct those costs for tax purposes. This is still true even if you do not have custody of your child.
Divorce and Valentines Day
Divorce and Valentine’s Day: Avoiding the Commercial Hype
Like many other holidays, Valentine’s Day is a commercialized holiday that, to some, symbolizes everything about love and partnership. However, for those who are divorced or are currently planning a divorce, dealing with the commercial hype can be both overwhelming and annoying.
But there are ways to not let the promotion of love and togetherness get you down and out about your situation – no matter if you’re a woman or a man.
Tips for Getting Through Valentine’s Day as a Divorcee
Here are a few tips for getting through Valentine’s Day – and enjoying your day, most importantly – despite your current status.
Ignore the Stigma
First thing first, you’ll need to remember that every holiday isn’t meant for everybody. Though you may want to partake in the festivities and activities of every holiday, if the occasion doesn’t fit your situation, it’s important you know that ahead of time so as to avoid feeling down about the fact that you are not involved at the level others may be involved.
That said, avoid buying into the stigma that anyone without a valentine on Valentine’s Day is likely depressed or unhappy.
Be Honest with Yourself and Others
It’s completely normal for friends and family to inquire about your plans for an upcoming holiday – especially if they don’t know all of the details about your situation.
If this is the case, you should be prepared to offer an honest answer. This does not necessarily mean that you have to divulge a ton of information, it just means that you know what your plans are (or are not) considering your status and you are ready to be asked those types of questions.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Another
There’s no rule stating that you have to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a significant other. If you have children or a loved one, make plans for the holiday with them.
Doing this will be just as enjoyable as if you were spending time with a significant other. The holiday is essentially based on showing your love and affection for someone – regardless of who that someone is.
Not surprisingly, there is an upward trend in the amount of people spending Valentine’s Day alone and treating themselves to all of the treats that come with the occasion. This is a great idea for a person who has recently been divorced or are in the process of a divorce.
This way, you are using the holiday as a way to appreciate yourself instead of a day to wallow in sorrow or disappointment. Regardless of who you are or what you are going through, the Valentine’s Day holiday is designed to be enjoyed. If spending that time alone is not good enough for you, try rounding up a few friends who wouldn’t mind spending that time together. Either way, you are making the most of your situation and overcoming whatever plight is commonly associated with going through a divorce.
How Renkin Law Divorce Attorneys Can Help
Statistics show that divorce filings rise nearly 40% around Valentine’s Day – so, you’re not alone. If you and your spouse are considering divorce and are ready to move forward with the process, our competent attorneys here at Renkin Law are available to offer you the legal assistance you need. Please contact our family law office with any questions about how to handle the process.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Since 1987, October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month-long and national effort to raise awareness about domestic violence evolved from the Day of Unity, first observed in October of 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Over the past 30 years, domestic violence in the U.S. has decreased by 64 percent. There has been a great push forward in terms of awareness and prevention but there are still greater strides to be made. Recent high profile stories of domestic violence involving professional athletes have once again served to remind all of us about the work in education and prevention still to be done.
High Profile Domestic Violence Cases
In the recent domestic violence case involving pro football player Ray Rice, one of the most disturbing elements of the story was the inadequate and seemingly disgraceful response of the National Football League as it apparently tried to both downplay the severity of the incident while blaming the victim.
Public debate focusing on why the victim in the incident, who was Mr. Rice’s fiancee at the time the battery occurred, later married him only highlighted how much more public education is needed about domestic violence and its effects on victims and families.
Know the Warning Signs
Domestic violence usually occurs in private settings, like a family home, so it can sometimes be difficult to know when such incidents are occurring. Many victims feel fear, shame and embarrassment about what is happening to them and are reluctant to speak out.
Here are four red flags that indicate a domestic violence situation could be occurring:
1. Social Isolation
Have you noticed that you friend or family member isn’t socializing as much as they used to? Do they appear to be increasingly withdrawn, nervous, distracted or high strung?
2. Controlling Behavior
Does it appear that your friend or family member’s partner has an unusual amount of control over activities such as their daily schedule, the clothes that they wear, and/or their finances?
3. Belittling or Aggressive Behavior
Have you noticed that your friend or family member’s partner ridicules them in public or displays volatile behavior?
4. Traumatized Behavior
Have you noticed other changes in your friend’s or family member’s or their children’s behavior? Do they appear to be frightened, nervous, or uncomfortable when the suspected abuser is around?
How You Can Help
If you notice one or more of these red flags in the life of someone you love, do some research on the local resources for combatting domestic violence in your community. Offering your loved one a non-judgmental ear about what may be going on and sharing local domestic violence resource info can help you open the conversation in a low pressure but high value way.
From our many years of work with clients in need of divorce proceedings in California, we know that housing resources are often critical. We’re proud to share this resource for locating domestic violence shelters.
Domestic Violence Month
With national domestic violence month coming to a close, it is important for victims and potential victims to recognize the signs of domestic abuse and to know how to get help. An experienced San Diego divorce lawyer can provide immediate assistance with securing a restraining order, beginning divorce proceedings and obtaining spousal support.
What Is Domestic Violence?
The Judicial Branch of California defines domestic violence as abuse or threats that occur in an intimate relationship. Such abuse can occur between people who:
- Are married or domestic partners.
- Are dating, or dated in the past.
- Are living together, or lived together in the past.
- Have a child together.
- Are close relatives by marriage or by blood.
Domestic violence can include:
- Physically attempting to harm another individual, either intentionally or recklessly.
- Causing an individual to fear physical harm.
- Sexual assault.
- Stalking, harassing or threatening someone.
- Destroying another person’s property.
- Disturbing another person’s peace.
- Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse.
Domestic abuse happens to people regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation. It can occur in both same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.
Signs of Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse can be difficult to detect for those who are close to the situation, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health notes. The office points out that forced sex is always rape, even if the two individuals involved are married.
Threatening or cruel words also can constitute abuse, and they may serve as a sign that an individual will become physically violent. If you experience any of the following signs of domestic abuse, a qualified family law attorney can assist in getting the protection you need. Domestic abuse may occur when an individual:
- Monitors your activities frequently or all the time.
- Stops you from seeing friends or loved ones.
- Stops you or discourages you from working or going to school.
- Baselessly accuses you of unfaithfulness.
- Becomes angry after drinking alcohol or using drugs.
- Controls your access to money.
- Controls your access to necessary medications.
- Embarrasses you in front of other people.
- Attempts to control your everyday decisions.
- Threatens harm to you, your children or pets.
If you believe you are a victim of domestic abuse, contact an experienced divorce attorney for assistance. Your attorney will guide you in next steps and provide you with additional community resources for support.
Actions to Take in an Abusive Situation
A court can issue a domestic violence restraining order to provide you with protection. You can seek such an order if an individual has abused you or threatened to do so and you have a close domestic or family relationship with the individual. You also can file a restraining order on behalf of your child, if he or she is being abused.
Specific circumstances may necessitate filing other types of restraining orders, including:
- A civil harassment restraining order, which can be used for distant family members, roommates, neighbors, coworkers and others.
- A workplace violence restraining order, which an employer may file to protect an employee from harassment, stalking or violence.
- A dependent adult or elder abuse restraining order, for a victim who is a senior aged 65 and older or a dependent adult aged 18 to 64.
Is it Ever Okay to Get an Online Divorce?
If you think filing for divorce online seems like an appealing option, you are not alone. More and more companies are offering “online divorce” services to meet this increased demand for couples seeking a cheap, impersonal alternative.
But, is getting divorced online a good idea? More specifically, is it a good idea for you?
When it Might Make Sense to File for Divorce Online
Using an online service to file for divorce in California can be a viable option in certain, limited circumstances. If you pay them a fee, these providers will only help you get a divorce. However, the fact that a service provider offers an “easier, less costly” divorce option or a “100% court approval guarantee” should not be your only consideration when deciding whether it makes sense to get a divorce online. At a minimum, you should not file for divorce online unless:
- You understand what is involved in the divorce process;
- The service provider is reputable and has a consistent record of securing enforceable divorce orders in San Diego County, California; and,
- You do not have children, neither spouse is seeking alimony, and you are confident that there are no questions about the ownership or distribution of separate and marital property.
If you have any questions, or if you are not sure about any aspect of your divorce, you should speak with an experienced attorney.
Reasons Not to Get an Online Divorce
In addition, there are certain circumstances where it will clearly not be in your best interests to file for divorce online. As suggested above, online service providers should only be used for simple, uncontested divorces (and even then, getting a divorce online still may not be your best option). If any of the following describe your personal circumstances, it will be important to have the advice and representation of an experienced divorce lawyer to help protect your interests in your divorce:
- You and/or Your Spouse Have Children. If you and your spouse have children together or either of you have children from a prior relationship, you will want legal representation. Dealing with child custody and child support requires a thorough understanding of California’s divorce laws, and you certainly do not want to make mistakes that could affect your children’s wellbeing or your ability to spend as much time with them as possible.
- You and/or Your Spouse Own a Business. Dealing with business ownership in a California divorce can be extremely challenging as well. There are numerous factors that go into determining each spouse’s interest in a family-owned business, and what your company ownership documents say will not necessarily be determinative.
- You and/or Your Spouse Are (or Were) in the Military. From retirement benefits to custody rights and the impact of deployment, military officers (active and retired) and their spouses face a number of unique issues when it comes to getting divorced.
- You and/or Your Spouse Have Retirement Accounts. Pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, and other defined contribution and defined benefit plans raise unique issues in the divorce context as well. Whether you need to protect your retirement assets or you need to make sure you are set up to receive distributions from your spouse’s account, this is another key area where it is crucial to have a trusted advocate on your side.
- You and/or Your Spouse Have Significant Assets. In any high-net-worth divorce, experienced legal representation is critical. From protecting your non-marital assets to dealing with spousal support and complex marital property division, you simply cannot afford to try to go through your divorce alone.
- You and Your Spouse Signed a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement. Finally, if you and your spouse signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, this could have drastic implications for the outcome of your divorce. Or, the entire agreement could be unenforceable. To understand the implications of your prenup or postnup, you will need to speak with a qualified attorney.
Family Law in California: 2015 Year in Review
2015: Most Popular California Family Law Stories
From U.S. Supreme Court decisions to practical tips for coping with divorce, we covered several different topics on our blog in 2015. Here are some of the highlights:
1. Major Developments in California Family Law
We reported on two major legal developments affecting California residents in 2015. In July, the California Supreme Court provided clarification on what it means to be separated for purposes of establishing alimony and child support. The California Supreme Court held that in order to be “separated” (which is a requirement for the courts to award financial support), spouses must be physically living under separate roofs.
Less than a month earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges in which it held that all 50 states must allow and recognize same-sex marriages. While California legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision still has important implications gay and lesbian couples statewide.
2. Should You Sign a Prenuptial Agreement?
We also published two articles discussing the benefits and limitations of prenuptial agreements. Despite their stigma, prenuptial agreements are about much more than simply “planning for divorce.” In one article, we discussed the requirements for creating an enforceable prenuptial agreement. Making sure you avoid the pitfalls that can render a prenuptial agreement invalid is crucial to getting what you want out of your pre-marriage planning.
In a second article, we discussed the specific issue of protecting your business with a premarital agreement. After covering the basic requirements for a valid contract, we touched on a variety of issues that are unique to protecting ownership of a privately-held business in a divorce.
3. Preparing for Divorce and Life After Divorce
As you might expect, the majority of our articles in 2015 focused on topics relating to divorce. These included articles about planning for divorce, what to expect during the divorce process, and living life after your divorce. Take a look back at some of our most popular articles:
- What is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?
- The Financial Benefits of a Trial Separation versus a Legal Separation
- How Fast Can You Get a Divorce?
- How to Split Up Retirement Accounts in a Divorce
- What to Do if Your Spouse is Hiding Assets
- Who Gets the Debt in the Divorce?
- Should I Revise My Will After My Divorce?
4. Spousal Support and the Financial Impacts of Child Custody
During the Summer, we published three articles covering issues relating to spousal support (alimony) and the financial impacts of child custody. In Understanding California Spousal Support, we outlined the factors that the California courts consider when awarding alimony. A few weeks later, we covered additional considerations for spouses either seeking or expecting to pay spousal support.
In an article titled, Child Custody – What is Legal vs. Physical Custody?, we also covered some of the financial and tax issues parents need to consider when seeking physical custody rights in a divorce.
5. Seasonal Tips for Parenting, Divorce, and Protecting Yourself from Domestic Violence
Finally, throughout the year we published a number of articles providing tips for dealing with the holidays and taking action to protect yourself from domestic violence. For example, in July we discussed custody o
ptions during summer break when kids are off from school. We also covered Domestic Violence Month in October, and then finished the year with an article that provides tips for handling the holiday season while going through a divorce.
How Should Parents Handle the February Blues?
For parents, one of the most emotionally-difficult aspects of contemplating a divorce is anticipating the effects that the divorce will have on their children. This is an issue that comes into particular focus during after the holidays die down, commonly known as the “February Blues”
As with all aspects of getting divorced, when it comes to handling the February Blues, it is important to plan ahead. Here are seven tips that can help parents prepare:
1. Understand Your Custody Arrangement
As a practical matter, one of the first considerations is understanding the terms of your custody arrangement. Are you and your former spouse alternating weekends? Violating the terms of a custody arrangement can have serious consequences, and it is important not to make mistakes that could have legal implications.
2. Create New Traditions
If you stick to your old traditions, just without your former spouse, this may simply serve as a reminder to your children that things are not as they used to be. To avoid the weighty feeling of an elephant in the room, it can be helpful to try something new. Create new traditions not with a focus on simply distracting your children from their thoughts, but with a focus on finding new ways to create lasting memories.
3. Put Together a Schedule
When activities come to a lull, this can often bring up memories of the past as well. To avoid uncomfortable situations that can put a damper on the day, put together a full schedule of activities that will keep you and your children living in the moment. From meals to games, take the time to build a schedule in advance that will fill your day.
4. Talk to Your Children
For older children in particular, simply avoiding the issue will not always be enough. So talk to your children and let them know that you understand what they are going through.
5. Reach out to Friends and Family
One way to break from tradition is to spend time with different friends and family members. If you are worried about “interfering”, keep in mind that he or she most likely would be more than happy to spend time with you and your children. Reach out early and make travel arrangements in advance to avoid unnecessary stress.
6. Don’t Forget about Yourself
Post-divorce winters are not just hard on the children, they are hard on the parents as well. Going through a divorce is a major life event, and it is completely normal to face unfamiliar emotions when things are different as a result of your divorce. Use your social network for support, seek professional help if necessary, and focus on finding constructive ways to cope with uncertainty that is inherent in restarting your single life.
7. Avoid Negativity
Finally, even if you and your former spouse remain at odds after your divorce, try not to let any negativity creep in. Bashing your former spouse is not going to make your children’s day brighter. Instead, try to focus on highlighting the positives.
Planning Spring Break for Your Child when Divorced
For many parents, planning holidays and vacations is among the most challenging aspects of parenting after a divorce. In an ideal scenario, divorcing parents will create a comprehensive parenting plan during the divorce process, and this plan will provide clear guidance for how to handle trips during spring and summer breaks.
However, it is not possible to plan for all possible contingencies, and certain aspects of a comprehensive parenting plan will still leave issues to be resolved as and when they arise. With regard to spring break in particular, some of the types of issues divorced parents may need to address include:
1. Who Gets the Kids During Spring Break?
A well-prepared parenting plan should provide clear guidance as to which parent gets the kids during spring break. There are a few different, common approaches; and, if you are currently divorced, you should review your parenting plan to see what it says. If you are contemplating a divorce, you should think about your desires and what your spouse is likely to want as well.
2. Can You Take a Trip Outside of California?
Oftentimes, parenting plans will include special provisions for out-of-state vacations. If you are thinking about planning a trip with your kids outside of California, you should make sure you have a clear understanding of your rights and obligations.
Depending upon the terms of your parenting plan, you may simply have an obligation to notify your former spouse of your plans, or you may need to work with your former spouse to select a mutually-agreeable destination.
3. Can You Take a Trip Out of the Country?
Similar considerations apply to taking a trip out of the country. What does your parenting plan say? Of course, once you overcome any hurdles related to the terms of your divorce, you will need to make sure you obtain all necessary travel documents as well.
4. Do Special Rules Apply During Spring Break?
If your parenting plan addresses issues such as curfew, cell phone use, and television time, will the standard rules apply during your spring break trip? If your parenting plan does not specifically address how to handle these issues during spring break, it may be in everyone’s best interests for you to discuss any potential deviations with your former spouse.
5. Can Friends Come?
Can your children’s friends come with you? Do you want your kids’ friends to come, or are you hoping to spend as much time bonding with your children as possible? Once again, your parenting plan should provide guidance as far as the options that are available, and then You can make final decisions consistent with the terms of your plan.
6. Do You Need to Discuss Your Specific Vacation Plans with Your Former Spouse?
What if you want to introduce your children to something new, such as rock climbing or swimming with dolphins, and what if your former spouse is not as comfortable with these prospects as you are? Even if you do not necessarily need to discuss your plans with your former spouse under the terms of your parenting plan, doing so may help prevent unnecessary hostilities.
7. When Will Your Children Talk to Your Former Spouse?
Finally, when taking a trip with your children after a divorce, it may also be necessary or advisable to establish specific times for your children to talk with their other parent. In many cases, this can help assuage concerns over long-distance travel, and it can help ensure that you will have similar opportunities to talk to your children next time they take a trip with your former spouse.
The Pros and Cons of an Uncontested Divorce in California
While there are a few different ways to describe and categorize the various methods of getting a divorce in California, in the broadest terms, a divorce can either be “contested” or “uncontested.” In a contested divorce, the spouses go to court and present arguments to a judge who then renders a binding decision. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses work through the divorce process amicably, and then they submit a marital settlement agreement to the court for the judge’s approval.
But, even here, some further clarification is required. First, in order to pursue an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse do not need to be in complete agreement from the outset. In fact, the substantial majority of uncontested divorces involve settlement negotiations.
Second, initiating a contested or uncontested divorce does not lock you into one particular path. Many divorces that start out contested end up being resolved via settlement; and, in some cases, spouses who initially pursue an uncontested divorce find that they have no choice but to resort to divorce litigation.
What Do California Spouses Need to Know about Uncontested Divorce?
If you are preparing to go through a divorce and think that an uncontested divorce might be your best option, what else do you need to know about the uncontested divorce process? Here is an overview of some pros and cons:
What are the Pros of an Uncontested Divorce?
Pro #1: It Saves Time.
Uncontested divorces will almost invariably be quicker than contested divorces. Why? Because, even if it takes you and your spouse a while to negotiate your property division, financial support, and parenting plan arrangements, the amount of time it takes will still pale in comparison to the amount of time it would take you to litigate these issues in court. As long as you and your spouse stay motivated and stay on track, an uncontested divorce will be the most efficient way to end your marriage.
Pro #2: It Saves Money.
Getting an uncontested divorce also saves money. Litigating a divorce can be expensive; and, while there are steps your divorce lawyer can take to help keep the costs down, many of the costs associated with divorce litigation are simply unavoidable. In contrast, with an uncontested divorce, the efficiencies involved mean that the costs remain in control as well, and you have more flexibility to address issues such as tax planning which can provide financial savings for you and your spouse.
Pro #3: It Avoids Hostility.
Litigating a contentious divorce can breed hostility that lasts long after the judge issues an order dissolving your marriage. This can create additional challenges post-divorce, especially if you and your spouse have minor children.
Pro #4: It Gives You Options.
During an uncontested divorce, spouses can work together to consider flexible and creative alternatives that meet both of their respective needs. The more willing you and your spouse are to work together (even if you have competing goals), the more likely you are to find a solution that works for both of you.
Pro #5: It Gives You Control.
Finally, pursuing an uncontested divorce gives you control over the final outcome. Instead of a judge deciding the terms of your divorce for you, you and your spouse will be able to finalize a settlement once you are both satisfied with the terms you have negotiated.
What are the Cons of an Uncontested Divorce?
If those are the pros of an uncontested divorce, then what are the cons? The truth is, if you approach your uncontested divorce the right way and rely on the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney, there really aren’t any. However, if you try to work through an uncontested divorce on your own without the benefit of legal advice, then some potential drawbacks include:
Con #1 Overlooking issues
If you pursue an uncontested divorce without an attorney, you might overlook issues that need to be addressed.
Con #2: Post-Divorce Complications
If you overlook issues and your marital settlement agreement is incomplete, this can lead to challenging complications post-divorce.
Con #3: Unenforceable Settlement Terms
In California, there are rules regarding the enforceability of marital settlement agreements and the terms to which spouses can agree regarding things like child support and parenting time. If you negotiate an unenforceable agreement, this will draw out the process and force you and your spouse to renegotiate the terms of your divorce.
Richard Renkin awarded AV Preeminent Judicial Award
At the Law Office of Renkin & Associates, we adhere to the highest of standards when it comes to representing our clients. Richard Renkin was recently awarded the AV Preeminent Judicial Award, which exemplifies this commitment to legal excellence. This distinction is bestowed upon only the very best lawyers as judged on both judiciary matters and ethical standards. The AV Preeminent Rating is given only after a strenuous Peer Review Rating process, reflecting the opinions of the members of the Bar and Judiciary. This rating is monitored and managed by Martindale-Hubbell, considered the gold standard in attorney ratings. Richard M. Renkin’s being awarded this highly favorable rating is proof that he is one of the very best in his field.
What The AV Preeminent Award Means:
The AV Preeminent Judicial Award is considered the highest possible distinction that can be given to an attorney. Richard’s earning it showcases his commitment to the ethical practice of law and his devotion to his clients. The award is only given to lawyers who achieve a 4.5-5.0 average rating in the areas of legal experience, communication ability, judgment, analytical capabilities and legal knowledge.
History of Martindale-Hubbell Peer Reviews:
Martindale-Hubbell created the peer review system in 1887. It was established as a way to rate lawyers on the basis of their professional ethics along with judges’ and peers’ confidential opinions of said lawyers. The Martindale-Hubble Peer Review rating has remained the most prestigious and highly respected lawyer rating system for over a hundred years. This highly sought after distinction awarded by Martindale-Hubbell is often considered the most important criteria when evaluating the merits of a lawyer. This exclusivity of this rating can set a lawyer above his or her peers.
Richard M. Renkin’s Background And The Expertise of The Law Office of Renkin & Associates:
The aforementioned Richard M. Renkin has assisted clients in the San Diego region since 1991. All together, he has almost 30 years of experience practicing law in the state of California. His primary focus is the representation of professionals, such as scientists, engineers, doctors, attorneys and business owners. The practice areas of the Law Office of Renkin & Associates include services such as high-assets divorces, spousal support cases, child custody and visitation issues, guardianship cases, civil unions, restraining orders, along with family mediation. If you or your loved one has need of any of these services, consider choosing the Law Office of Renkin & Associates, where our commitment to excellence in both legal and ethical matters is exemplified through our AV Preeminent Award rating.
California Family Courts Require Mediation for Child Custody Disputes
Family courts in California also require child custody disputes to go through the mediation process before parents can proceed to court, so it’s extremely helpful to have a skilled mediator on your side. We are experts at determining the right course of action and planning each step of the process to achieve the most advantageous solution for you.
For further support or advice, call our office at 619-299-7100 or email us to schedule a case evaluation with a San Diego divorce attorney.