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Bay Area Family Law Blog

How are second homes and vacation properties treated in divorce?

The Bay Area real estate market is very tight. Property here is notoriously expensive and very difficult to find. A couple might search for months or years to find the right second home or vacation getaway in the area. Even after locating a property, it’s still possible to spend tens – or even hundreds – of thousands of dollars remodeling and refurbishing it to make it your own.

So, what happens to all your hard work in the event of a divorce? How are second homes and vacation properties treated during property division negotiations? What are the options when it comes to dividing up this expensive real estate?

Can mediation make holiday co-parenting easier?

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the end-of-year holidays are upon us. Diwali, Hanukah, and Christmas will all be here before we know it. While this is supposed to be the happiest time of the year for the whole family, it can be particularly stressful if a divorce is happening at the same time.

Family mediation is particularly helpful when it comes to making child custody and visitation/parenting time arrangements. This is something to keep in mind if you are going through a divorce right now (or are preparing for one) during the busy holiday season. Mediation allows you to work collaboratively to set your own custody and parenting time arrangements, including how your children will be spending their holidays.

Younger couples getting prenups at a higher rate

Prenuptial agreements – perhaps better known as “prenups” – are becoming more common amongst today’s couples. There are several reasons why this generation of engaged couples (including the millennials and Gen Xers) are seeking prenups at a higher rate than past generations.

In particular, millennials and Gen Xers are waiting until they are older to marry. We mentioned in a previous post how this is impacting the nation’s divorce rate, but it’s driving the uptick in prenuptial agreements as well.

The different types of mediation

We tend to hear the term “mediation” and think that it encompasses a single technique for dispute resolution. That actually isn’t the case, though. There are several different types of mediation that might work for a particular case.

Picking the right kind, and the right type of mediator, can help you reach a solution that brings self-satisfaction and overall workability. In this post, we describe four differing approaches.

New California law addresses pet custody in divorce

A newly signed law – that goes into effect on January 1, 2019 – makes it possible for California family court judges to award custody of beloved animals during divorce proceedings. Until now, the courts decided pet custody as part of a couple’s property settlement agreement. This new statute seemingly gives pets higher status as true members of the family.

Under Assembly Bill 2274, judges will be able to award joint or sole legal ownership of a pet and can take into consideration the prior and future care of the animal. For example, if the parties argue about custody of their beloved Pomeranian or English Bulldog, the judge can take testimony about who primarily cared for the animal in the past, as well as who purchased the dog and who is best able to care for the animal going forward.

The graying of divorce in California

We discussed in a previous post how some demographics – Generation X and Millennials – are bucking the trend of divorce and staying married.

This definitely isn’t the case for older Americans, though. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that divorces for couples age 50 and older nationwide have more than doubled since the 1990s.

Tips for avoiding a child custody battle

While the decision to divorce may not have been yours, if you have children you must put yourself in their shoes with each step you take in the divorce process. How you react has the potential to affect your long-term relationship with your child(ren). 

First, you need to separate negative emotions you may be feeling toward your ex, from the fact that children love both parents. Avoid making negative comments about the other parent in front of children. They are a product of both of their parents. If you (or others) make negative comments about the other parent, the children can feel that the criticism includes them. Avoiding destructive language will help your children to adjust to a post-divorce life and help you as you move toward developing a workable co-parenting plan. While it is important to protect your parental rights, you must keep your child’s best interests top of mind. Here are some other tips:

Millennial generation divorcing less often than others

How does the way you approach marriage affect divorce? A revealing new study shows that the millennial generation – as well as those in “Generation X” – are getting divorced at lower rates than other demographics.

Researcher Philip Cohen, a University of Maryland sociology professor, reveals that the divorce rate fell between 8 and 18 percent (across several demographics, including “baby boomers”) between 2008 and 2016. There are several factors influencing the nation’s dropping divorce rate, particularly among couples under the age of 45.

Feeling stuck in a bad relationship?

Have you ever felt stuck in a bad relationship, but found yourself unable to take the first step towards changing your situation? Have you gone through relationship “doldrums,” not seeing a way out? If so, you are not alone.

Sadly, flailing relationships abound these days, with one or both partners unwilling – or simply not able – to make headway in the direction of positive change. It turns out, though, that this indecisiveness is not a showing of weakness, a personal failing, or a lack of willpower. There is a scientific phenomenon to explain it: the “sunk-cost effect.”

Learning from the family relations mistakes of Steve Jobs

There are likely many lessons to be gleaned from the recent memoir of Steve Jobs’ daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Some of them are abstract, facing up to one’s past, remembering pain and working through it. Most of them are unique to Lisa’s relationship with her genius, yet famously abrasive father.

Others are less ephemeral, however. These are ones that we can apply to our own lives if we ever find ourselves in a similar situation: the impact of a divorce or the end of a relationship on the parent-child dynamic, especially during a transition to shared custody.

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