Divorce

Divorce can involve serious financial and emotional issues. McManis Faulkner attorneys understand that every issue in a divorce is important to everyone involved. We advise clients about the ways California divorce laws apply to their particular situations and work closely with clients to determine the dispute resolution process that is best suited to their case, including negotiation, mediation, and litigation in public court or before a private judge. When appropriate, we collaborate with other professionals, such as forensic accountants, business valuators, appraisers, and psychologists. Our ultimate goal is to obtain a fair, practical resolution while minimizing the emotional impact on the entire family.


Case Studies

Divorce Case Studies

Hidden Assets

Result:
Order that client receive reimbursement for $50,000 that the spouse secreted during marriage in connection with his extramarital affair.

Client:
Stay-at-home Mother

Overview:

After 17 years of marriage, the wife arrived home one afternoon to find her husband’s personal belongings in a moving truck. The wife was suspicious of the husband’s financial management during their marriage. To determine whether he had diverted assets, McManis Faulkner prepared and served significant discovery. Through this process, it was found that the husband opened new accounts during the marriage in his mistress’ name and transferred community funds into this “firewall” account. McManis Faulkner traced these funds to community sources and obtained an order that he repay the client everything that was rightfully hers.

In the same case, McManis Faulkner traced a reimbursement claim for the client related to a separate property inheritance that the parties had used for the down payment on the family residence. The parties were nearly divorced a decade ago, but decided not to go through with it. The client’s attorney from a decade ago never discovered her right to these significant funds, but McManis Faulkner was able to trace them and provide her with a much-needed nest egg for her new life.




"Marvin" Case

Result:
Seven-figure divorce settlement for client in spite of many obstacles including a prenuptial agreement.

Client:
Retired Flight Attendant, Stay-at-home Mother

Overview:

A flight attendant, who was the sole support for her four children, met a single, never married doctor on a flight. After a long-distance relationship developed into deep attachment, the doctor asked the flight attendant to move with her children to California. After several years of living in a rented house, the doctor asked the flight attendant and her children to live with him. She moved in, continuing her own work, as well as acting as a homemaker and hostess for the doctor’s growing business. When the airline she worked for ceased operations, the doctor asked her not to find another job so that she could devote herself to him, his business and the household. Finally, the doctor asked her to marry him, but only if she signed a prenuptial agreement renouncing all rights to the income and assets accumulated in their years together and severely limiting her rights to future income. Now totally dependent on the doctor, she signed the agreement. Shortly thereafter, the doctor left her and filed for divorce. The doctor tried to enforce the premarital agreement. McManis Faulkner challenged the validity of the premarital agreement. The main issue in the case was the client’s right to the large increase in the value of the doctor’s business before marriage, which represented the major economic asset. Unmarried couples typically have no rights in the assets and income of each other accumulated while they live together, even if they later marry. Only if the couple has a contract (oral or written) with each other are they entitled to share assets accumulated during their relationship. The doctor nevertheless agreed to settle, paying the client more than $1 million.




Settlement of Spousal Support Based on Vocational Assessment

Result:
Negotiated settlement of spousal support based on vocational assessment and discovery showing one party’s failure to earn to capacity.

Client:
High Tech Executive

Overview:

McManis Faulkner successfully implemented the work of vocational experts and work efforts orders to show that the supported spouse was malingering and not actively seeking re-employment. Experts were used to assess the spouse’s earning capacity. The experts’ reports and testimony demonstrated specific activities the spouse should have performed to become self-supporting. The spouse’s failure to follow the Court’s orders and recommendations of the vocational experts resulted in the client paying a modest support award with termination of support in three years.




High Asset Case / Community Business

Result:
Dissolution of marriage with multi-million dollar assets including valuation and division of real property and complex settlements involving buyout of spousal support and valuation and division of business.

Client:
Business owner

Overview:

The case was resolved largely without litigation, through the cooperation and collaboration of the parties and counsel who worked through the issues and exchanged information in a cost-efficient manner. Forensic accountants assisted in determining the value of a privately held business. McManis Faulkner used creative solutions to craft a settlement that included the division of one spouse’s interest in the community business.