Celebrity Engagements Remind Couples of the Importance of the Prenup

Posted December 30, 2010 in Family Law by Lonich and Patton.

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December 30, 2010
Celebrity Engagements Remind Couples of the Importance of the Prenup
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Over the past year, numerous celebrity couples have stepped forward with plans to marry.  In early November 2010, Nick Lachey announced he was engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo.  The couple had been dating for approximately four years prior to the engagement.  Shortly after Nick announced his soon-to-be marriage, news of Jessica Simpson’s (Lachey’s ex-wife) engagement surfaced.  Unlike the long courtship of her ex-husband, Simpson had only been dating her now-fiancé, NFL player Eric Johnson, for five and a half months prior to the engagement.  Additionally, Kelsey Grammer, who is not yet divorced from his third wife, announced plans to wed his fourth, Kayte Walsh.  With all of the buzz around celebrity engagements and divorces, one can only hope that these pop culture icons will enter into prenuptial agreements to protect their sizable assets.

Jessica Simpson has allegedly learned a valuable lesson involving the dangers of marrying without a prenuptial agreement.  Simpson’s decision not to sign a prenuptial agreement with Lachey reportedly cost her around $10 million.  Rumors in early December 2010 show that Jessica has learned her lesson and will “definitely” have a prenuptial agreement prior to marrying Johnson.

Unlike Simpson, Grammer does not appear to have learned the importance of the prenup.  Grammer’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Camille Donatacci, has just recently rejected Grammer’s offer to settle their case for around $30 million.  Because Donatacci and Grammer did not enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, Donataci appears to be holding out for at least $50 million in addition to child and spousal support.  According to Perez Hilton’s blog, an insider close to the couple shares that Grammer is “deeply in love” with Kayte Walsh would not “insult her by asking her to sign a prenup.”

As divorce rates rise, family law attorneys recommend that engaged couples consider entering into prenuptial agreements prior to marriage.  Prenuptial agreements are especially recommended if either party has significant assets or owns real estate.  For more information on California prenuptial agreements, please visit our website.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Sources: 

http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/how_camille_got_more_M6sGhLN4M07esaEQP6AKaJ

http://perezhilton.com/2010-12-30-kelsey-grammer-not-getting-prenup-for-third-marriage

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/dailydish/detail?entry_id=76889

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/19/inside-jessica-simpsons-e_n_786165.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/15/joe-simpson-reacts-to-jes_n_783508.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/12/09/2010-12-09_jessica_simpson_will_have_a_prenup_with_eric_johnson_report.html

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What is Domestic Violence? How You Can Get an Emergency Protective Order

Posted December 30, 2010 in Family Law by David Patton.

Note: People can tell what internet sites you have visited on your computer. Be safe, and use the internet at a local library, friend’s house, or at work!

Domestic violence is not just physical violence.  It includes spoken, written, emotional, and physical abuse.  It includes hair pulling, sexual assault, breaking into the victim’s home, stealing the victim’s property, etc.  A verbal threat of physical violence or a pattern of harassing behavior is also considered domestic violence.  Domestic violence is never acceptable, and it is also known as “abuse.”

In order to constitute domestic violence, the abuser and the victim must have a close relationship (i.e. married, divorced, separated, dating or dating in the past) or be related (i.e. parent, child, etc).  Domestic violence is not only damaging to the victim, but it is destructive to children living in the home as well.

If you are in danger, ask a police officer to request an “emergency protective order.”  You can ask for this order at any time – day or night.  An emergency protective order only lasts for five court days or seven calendar days.  Thus, before the emergency protective order expires it is highly suggested to seek a longer-term restraining order by filing the papers in family court.

If you need emergency shelter, or help with a restraining order, you can contact any of these local Santa Clara County resources:

For more information on how to protect yourself, or to proceed with a divorce, please contact our family law attorneys at Lonich & Patton.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Two Reasons Why Your Family Business May Need a Business Succession Plan

Posted December 29, 2010 in Estate Planning by Jennifer Mispagel.

According to the Small Business Administration, about 90 percent of all U.S. businesses are family owned and controlled.  Unfortunately, only about 30 percent of these businesses pass successfully to the second generation.  What is worse is that only about 15 percent of those then pass to the third generation.  A comprehensive business succession plan can ensure that your business continues in the family for generations to come.

There are two important reasons why you should have a business succession plan in place.  First, a business succession plan provides liquidity for owners.  While some business owners have sufficient savings to transfer their business to the next generation, others rely entirely on their business for income.  For those relying on business income, it is important to ensure the company will be able to fund the owner’s retirement plan.  If the owner desires to transfer the company to a younger generation, periodic gifts and sale of stocks to these individuals over the years should be part of their business succession plan.

Second, a business succession plan may allow a client to minimize the impact of transfer taxes.  For example, if successors to the business include grandchildren, the federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax might be imposed in addition to the estate tax.  As the tax implications can be quite large without a business plan, your family may be forced to sell off company assets in order to pay the transfer taxes.  However, careful planning and use of estate, GST, and gift tax exemptions are essential to minimizing the aggregate affect of taxes on your business.

Please contact our firm, Lonich & Patton, for more information on how to create a successful business succession plan.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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“Do It Yourself” Estate Plans Can Be Problematic

Posted December 20, 2010 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

Are you a person who is intrigued by a deal?  If so, you should understand that a “bargain-priced” estate plan may really not suit your needs nor save you money in the end.  While there are many online templates for wills, you need to be very careful when creating an estate plan without an attorney.  Each state has different rules and regulations on what makes a will valid and enforceable.  In addition, the differing financial and personal goals of individuals call for unique estate plans.

The need for caution when looking for a “bargain” estate plan was expressed in an article by the Morgan Law Group that wrote that regardless of whom you designate as a beneficiary to your IRA in your estate plan, the proceeds of your IRA will actually pass to whomever the beneficiary is on your IRA beneficiary designation document.  Although you may be able to create a trust online, in order for it to be effective, you must follow very specific steps to fund your trust.

For more information about estate plans tailored to your specific needs, please contact us.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Visitation Rights May be Affected by One Parent’s Decision to Move Out of the Area

Posted December 17, 2010 in Family Law by Eric Despotes.

Parental custody and visitation can be a contentious issue in divorce proceedings.  In general, the court will grant the noncustodial parent reasonable visitation rights unless it is shown that visitation would be detrimental to the child.  Whether you have visitation rights or primary custody of your children, you should be aware of the implication a change in residence may have on your responsibilities to your children and your ex-spouse.

For example, if you have primary custody of the children and live near your ex-spouse and you decide to move away with your children, your responsibility for ensuring your ex-partner continues to have reasonable visitation rights will increase.  The court has broad discretion to modify visitation orders to lessen the impact of the loss of contact with the non-custodial parent in these situations.  For example, the court may choose to increase visitation rights for the non-custodial parent during school vacations.  The court could choose to allocate the financial burden for paying for the children’s travel costs to you.  The court could also deny the custodial parent the right to move at all.

However, let’s assume you have primary custody and your ex-spouse decides to move out of the area.  In this case, the court may decide to modify the visitation schedule to provide for longer, but less frequent, visitation periods.

If you are interested in learning more about California custody and visitation, please contact us.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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