Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

Morgan Hill Family Law Blog

Marriage may also be a good business decision

Marriage has always been considered a sacred bond in society, predating many nations and even some core tenets of the law. Some believe that marriage has spiritual value, while others say it is an evolutionary response to creating a unit for raising children. One way or the other, marriage is more than that in modern times.

There are several businesslike aspects to marriage, going back to the aggregation of property in a relationship under two people. It may be easier to invest or purchase a home with another person if you are married. It is also a simpler process of estate planning when a planned inheritor is a proven member of a person's family.

California may have the nation's most expensive divorces

A wedding can be one of the most stressful and expensive single events of our lives. No one is thinking about how a relationship could end while attending a marriage, but it does happen for roughly half of people who make the decision. And divorce often ends up just as stressful and expensive as the wedding.

This is especially true in California, where a recent study shows it may be the most expensive state for divorce. The legal process of ending a marriage costs an average of $17,500, more than the average car purchase and more than some people expect to put down on a house for a mortgage. This is twice as much as the lowest average, which is held by Montana.

The death of a legend raises questions about estate plans

Estate planning is rarely considered a pleasant topic. No one wants to think about what to do with their properties and assets after their death. But it can be a reassuring experience from at least one perspective. Solid estate plans offer a payoff to relatives, friends and charitable organizations that we decide to reward. When there is no or little planning, the results can be confusing and unpredictable.

The unexpected death of a professional basketball superstar has led to some early questions about his net worth of around $600 million. It was not immediately clear if the victim had a last will and testament that was valid at the time of his death, or a living will to dictate who could make decisions on his behalf.

Ways to protect your legacy when you remarry after divorce

A blended family begins when someone previously married or who has children from a prior relationship begins a relationship with another divorcee or someone who has children from their previous relationship or marriage. Blended families are more common now than they were decades ago when divorce was still relatively unusual.

Large, blended families with stepchildren and stepparents are simply a part of modern life. There are many ways for you to adjust to life as a stepparent, just as there are many unique legal and financial considerations that come with marrying someone who has children from a previous relationship or who does not have a biological tie to your children. What you may not consider is the impact on your estate plan.

How is child custody decided in California?

Everyone who is a part of a divorce in California probably has more questions than answers. This may be especially true when children are involved. Although kids deserve all the possible comforts and considerations during the end of their parents' marriage, they often experience the greatest emotional turmoil.

How does joint custody work when it comes to decisions?

How easy is it to adopt a child in California?

It may seem that family law is only for use in emotionally fraught situations like divorce or fights over child custody. But there is one vital function that should be bringing joy and hope to a family, and that is the growth of the family through adoption.

Who can adopt a child in California?

There are alternatives to divorce if there is no residency status

If you're living in California and living with a spouse that you would rather not, it might be time to make a change. Even if you have been emotionally committed to someone for a long time, there are quite a few reasons that someone may feel the need to end a marriage.

Residents of the Golden State may generally file for divorce if they meet the requirements. A section of the California Family Code requires at least one spouse in a filing for divorce to have lived in the state for at least six months and the county in which they have filed for a minimum of three months.

Here’s why you should consider a living trust

Even if you assume that your estate plan is complete, it never hurts to learn more about the many ways you can improve it. For example, the addition of a living trust could benefit you, your loved ones and your assets in a variety of ways.

Here are four reasons why you should consider a living trust:

  • Avoid the probate process: Upon your death, assets held in a living trust are not subject to probate, which allows them to be passed on to the appropriate party in a time-efficient manner.
  • Beneficial during incapacity: A properly designed living trust can care for you in the event that you're incapacitated and unable to express yourself. Your trustee has the legal right to step in during this time and make key decisions on your behalf.
  • Simple to change: A living trust is flexible to the point of being able to make changes as you best see fit.
  • Control: For example, if you want to leave assets to your children, but you don't want to give them access until they reach a certain age, you can set these terms and conditions in a living trust. This isn't something you can do with a will.

How to avoid arguments when co-parenting

Your divorce is in the past, you're moving on with your life and you've dedicated yourself to providing your children with the best life possible in the future.

There's only one problem: Your ex isn't as interested in co-parenting as you are.

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  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialization | Stephen W. Penn
  • Henry P. Collada Memorial Award 2012