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The response to COVID-19 differs across the nation. This post explains the latest updates and rules for around child support, spousal support, custody and visitation, and getting divorce in California. Official information is available at the California courts homepage

The latest news out of the courts, now more than week old, is known as Emergency Rule 13. Emergency Rule 13 recognizes that people’s income may have changed and allows Californians to put into motion a request to change a support order. 

We’ll take a look at how Rule 13 and COVID-19 have impacted your ability to file for divorce and request a change to support or custody orders.

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The coronavirus strain known as COVID-19 has impacted our relationships, our marriages and domestic partnerships, our children, our livelihoods, and our health. It also limits our movement, which may exacerbate incidents of domestic violence. 

If you are in danger right now, call 911. Even in areas under a shelter-in-place order, police are responding to emergency calls. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence in California during COVID-19, you may feel like your options are limited. Please know help is available. This post will first explain what domestic violence is and who can be impacted by domestic violence. We will then

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The strain of coronavirus known as COVID-19 has impacted nearly every American in some way or another. While some must worry about their health, nearly all of us are concerned about our livelihoods. 

The Wall Street Journal surveyed 57 economists recently who estimated that Americans will lose 14.4 million jobs in the coming months and the unemployment rate may reach 13% in June. We are not economists and we cannot predict the future, but we do understand the impact job loss and job uncertainty has on your ability to pay child support—now and in the future. 

Depending on your situation, your outlook may differ. We will take a look at three common scenarios and let you know the chief considerations of each:

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The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has Californians and residents of most other states limiting their travel, shopping, and socializing. The San Francisco Bay Area led the nation in responding to the epidemic, as six counties adopted a shelter-in-place order starting March 16 (the order was recently extended to May 1). A few days later, the entire state of California joined suit, and now the majority of U.S states are under a full or partial shelter-in-place order. As a result, separated or divorced parents across the nation are left navigating the question of how to co-parent and whether their current custodial arrangements are safe for parent and child alike.

In this article, we’ll offer some insights into your options for co-parenting during COVID-19 by taking a look at three common scenarios:

  • You were in the process of negotiating or litigating a custodial arrangement before the outbreak and don’t have a custody order in place.

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Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has the world in an unprecedented state of uncertainty and instability. Six counties around the San Francisco Bay Area were among the first to shelter in place starting March 16 and the order was recently extended to May 1. A few days later, the entire state of California joined suit. We’ve even moved the federal income tax day back three months, the first time this has occurred on a national scale. But relationships don’t hold like paperwork can, and in times of uncertainty, it’s often reassuring to know your full set of options. 

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If you’re already in the process of getting separated or divorced, paying or receiving support, co-parenting, or establishing a custody arrangement in California, you probably have many questions. We will answer as many as we can anticipate now and will update this page as new decisions are made and published or as things settle down and reopen. 

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Most divorce cases are accompanied by a variety of emotions: sadness, anger, grief, frustration, embarrassment, and relief. One emotion neither party to a divorce should experience is the feeling that they got away with something. You can and should celebrate settlements that you feel good about (or the mere fact of settlement at all), but neither you nor your ex should feel satisfaction at pulling the wool over each other’s eyes. In California, especially, hiding assets from your partner so as to avoid a fair settlement is particularly frowned upon.

Let’s take a look at why hidden (or omitted) assets are so bad and what you should do if you discover after a divorce that your ex hid assets from you.

You’re Required to Make A Full and Accurate Disclosure

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In many respects, the outcome of a divorce can feel entirely out of your control. You can’t make your ex be reasonable, agreeable, transparent—any of the qualities that would help make separation easier. You also can’t avoid the anger, sadness, depression and other emotions that accompany the end of a significant relationship. 

But what you can do is understand your rights, select the best partners and experts to support you on this journey, and weigh your options carefully in pursuing a resolution that gives you the best psychological, economic, social, and familial outcomes possible. 

Practice Self Care

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Navigating a high-asset divorce can often feel like wandering through a rich and well-stocked bookshop. No matter who you talk to or which book you pull off the shelf, you get another piece of advice, some of which seems to contradict what you heard or read before. Short of reading every volume or talking to every divorce attorney, it can be hard to know when you’ve addressed the issues most important to you and your particular situation.

But knowledge is power, and when it’s time for you and your spouse to go your separate ways, it can save a lot of time, money, and headache to reflect on these six elements of a divorce and how they impact wealthy families.

Child Custody: Strive for Honesty and Flexibility

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We’re lawyers. We have to start a blog post answering whether you have to pay income tax on alimony with a caveat. So, for the record, the answer is complicated and may change at any time. Thank you for your patience. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at why it is so complicated, and how you can know, right now, whether you will have to pay income tax on alimony (known as spousal support in California) payments.

Before we begin, you may want to open a second link to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a piece of legislation that went into effect in 2018 (and really affected divorcing couples starting in 2019). Not interested in reading the fine print of federal legislation? We do not blame you, but that is exactly why this question, “Do you have to pay income tax on alimony?” gets so complicated.

A Shifting Federal Tax Landscape

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On the playground, our relationships with one another are guided by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is where we learned to take turns with the jump rope, to push each other on the swings, and to jump off the slide when we reached the bottom to make room for the next kid.

In a marriage in California, however, we are held to an even higher standard than that of the Golden Rule: that of a fiduciary. Being a fiduciary to your spouse brings with it a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to act in good faith, to ensure fair dealing, and to avoid taking unfair advantage of the other. It is a heavy responsibility that impacts all elements of the relationship: the documents you keep, the information you share, and the choices you make.

In most cases, a rule like fiduciary duty only takes center stage when it has been broken. So what does a breach of fiduciary duty mean under California Family Law? Let’s take a closer look at when this duty applies, what it covers, and the penalties that exist under California law to hold spouses accountable to one another—both during the marriage and while separated.

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