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Los Angeles Family Law Blog

The Law Office of Peter A. Lauzon Featured in the Long Beach Press-Telegram!

In recognition of the 50-year anniversary of California's signing of the first no-fault law in the United States, Nathalie Paluch and the Law Office of Peter A. Lauzon was featured in the Long Beach Press-Telegram! Read the article here...

Fifty-Year Anniversary of California No-Fault Divorce Brings History Into Spotlight

On the 50-year anniversary of California's signing of the first no-fault law in the United States, family lawyer Nathalie Paluch, of the Law Office of Peter A. Lauzon, celebrates with a look back on the history of this momentous law and what it has done for women and men who dissolved marriages in a more safe, transparent and equitable manner.

Attorney Nathalie Paluch Featured in NPR's Marketplace for her Tips for International Adoption on World Adoption Day

In observance of World Adoption Day adoption attorney Nathalie Paluch, of the Law Office of Peter A. Lauzon, offers tips for passing the home study and interview required for many international adoptions this November 9, 2018.

Special Needs Families, Divorce and Bullying - A Column by Attorney Nathalie Paluch

Recently, I learned a story of a special needs family divorcing that broke my heart, and the saddest part is that it is all too common. In this story, the parent who was the primary caregiver was inclined initially to give up everything, truly everything, in the name of the well-being of the kids. Sounds like a good parent who deeply cares, all of which is true, but think about the well-being of the kids and parents, and how they all are affected by these decisions including loss of parent, stability, health, income, and more.
Here is the fact pattern with some information redacted due to privacy: Family owns a home with a substantial amount of equity, there is some money in the bank, but very little compared to the home equity, something common especially in the State of California. The primary caregiver makes less income and can only generate that income with family support that will be lost. When the divorce was announced, the primary caregiver parent offered (or was pressured) to relinquish physical custody, to leave the home with no buyout of community property or ongoing benefits, something that was initially accepted.
In this situation, one parent, who made every sacrifice so that the other could generate an income despite the challenges of raising a special needs family, is concerned about how to make it through the year, losing her income, benefits, housing, equity and more while the other makes and retains a very comfortable lifestyle.
With an 80% divorce rate among families of children with special needs, the sad truth is that parents, many times who are primary caregivers both male and female, and many times already in very high stress or compromised positions themselves, are getting coerced, pressured, bullied, or just confused into accepting deals that put both themselves and their children into a less-than-ideal scenario.
A special needs parent that our firm represents [with permission given by our client] initially experienced something similar prior to our representation. Our client almost left the family home, just to get out of the marriage, with a willingness to relinquish the equity and the place the children were accustomed to living, thinking that was the best way of not adding more stress into an already difficult life situation.  Our client was very overwhelmed by the idea of taking on court dates and paperwork in addition to the already overwhelming demands of a special needs child and not able to make clear choices. In the end, the Court afforded the rights granted to a person in this situation, above and beyond any initial "friendly" (read: coercive) offer by the other party.
Here's how the law really works. It is more simple than it seems. Community property says each party has 50% ownership of all property and assets established during a marriage. No party should struggle significantly more than the other, since each party built the life experienced by both. In matters with special needs families this is even more pronounced. Many times, one family member has a prolonged gap in work experience due to the needs of the child, the emergencies that arises, the therapies needed to be overseen, school management, advocacy, medical appointments, etc. But both members of many families are doing equal duty, divided in a way that can meet the needs of their unique situation.
No parent in this or any situation deserves to be bullied or to be denied his or her fair share. It isn't just about money or resources, it is about all people who love a child being able to be there with that child and for that child. For special needs children, where the demand is even more pronounced, it is even more important. Let's put an end to some of the bullying, confusion, coercion and alleged complexity in special needs divorces in the name of being "friendly." What is really friendly is when neither parent is on the verge of destitution and all people who love a child have the breathing room to be a positive influence in that child's life.

Featured in Long Beach Press Telegram -- Adoption Rate Drop Due To Perceived Legal Complexities According to Law Office of Peter A. Lauzon Attorney Nathalie Amir

With adoption rates declining or remaining low, the Law Office of Peter A. Lauzon attorney Nathalie Amir attributes this decline to the legal complexities of adoption, many times which can make adoption feel very difficult or overwhelming for families to navigate.

Is there a good time of year to file for divorce?

A common adage is that half of all marriages end in divorce. That is actually not quite true. The divorce rate in the United States is actually the lowest it has been in decades, according to a report in Time Magazine.

However, many couples still deal with divorce eventually. While it can be a daunting proposition to go through with divorcing a spouse, it is important to remember that if someone is going to go through with it, it requires adequate foresight. Both spouses need to collect financial records, they need to make other living arrangements, and they should consider filing at the best time of year for divorce: January.

Methods your spouse may use to conceal property

If you believe your marriage is nearing its end, the trust between you and your spouse may have already dissipated. Maybe you believe your partner has been unfaithful, or maybe you have other reasons to believe he or she is not being entirely truthful with you.

Sometimes, once marriages start circling the drain, spouses try to place themselves in comfortable financial positions because they see the end in sight. The methods they may use to do so are not always ethical, however, and this may mean you ultimately lose come divorce proceedings. Your best bet at fair and equitable asset division comes when you and your attorney have the full financial picture, so if you suspect your spouse might be hiding assets from you, know that he or she may:

Do you need a postnuptial agreement?

You may be no stranger to a prenuptial agreement. This legal document serves to eliminate a lot of the conflict in the event of a divorce by deciding on matters, such as property division, before the marriage takes place.

However, you cannot prepare for everything before marriage. Many concerns and circumstances do not become evident until many years after the wedding. This is where a postnuptial agreement comes in handy.

A guide to dividing stock options in your divorce

Some assets are fairly simple to divide during divorce, like selling your car and splitting the profits. If you are dividing more complex assets such as stock options, you face unique challenges. Stock options that cannot be sold off to a third party or do not have a fair market value can be particularly confusing to divide.

If you are going through a California divorce and dividing stock options, keep reading to learn what you can expect.

Divorce and your California vacation home

When you and your spouse divorce in California, you must find a way to divide all your properties equally, or else the court does it for you. Real estate can be tricky to split, and your vacation home may come with even more challenges.

Is it marital or separate property?

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