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Popstar David Van Day toured the world with bands Buck’s Fizz and Dollar and also dated a string of beautiful women. Now, the 58 year old can be found in a few old people homes in Moulton.

David’s bankruptcy was mainly because of the money he would spend on drugs. He once reportedly blew over 100 Euro on cocaine. After becoming bankrupt, he stopped using drugs and started selling fast-food in Brighton, which gave him the nickname “Burger Van Day.”

He later re-invented himself from pop to reality TV personality which was the highlight of stint in the “I’m a Celebrity jungle” in 2008.

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San Jose Family Law Attorney comments on Fiduciary Duties

Ronald Miserendino, once a multi-millionaire, may live the rest of his life in poverty. According to an article on Trading Markets.com, the ex-millionaire’s plan to hide assets from his ex wife has been in a Milwaukee County jail since 2005 facing ten counts of bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering. Miserendino built up a successful real estate management and development company called Trace Corp. After his spouse filed for divorce in 2001, Miserendino secretly set out to liquidate his company’s assets and to go into hiding. By the time the divorce was final, Miserendino had converted nearly $5 million to cash and stashed it in safe deposit boxes in Australia and several other states. In the family court, Miserendino had agreed to pay his now ex-wife $750,000 from the $2.9 million he had hidden in an Australian safe deposit box; he thought he would be able to keep the rest of the $2.9 million. However, the IRS is now bringing a civil action to collect back taxes and penalties, leaving him owing more than he is worth. In addition to back taxes and penalties, Miserendino also faces additional jail time.

In California, as in other states, the family code imposes on both parties the obligation to act in the highest good faith where transactions concerning the other party is involved. Among other duties, spouses are required to disclose all material facts and information regarding the existence, characterization and valuation of all assets in which the community has an interest; and to act in the highest good faith and fair dealing as to all activities that affect the assets and liabilities of the other party. Liquidating a community asset such as a business, and/or hiding funds would certainly violate the California Family Code. Therefore, in addition to possible jail time and sanctions for his federal offenses, Miserendino would likely have faced sanctions for serious violations of fiduciary duties owed to his spouse had their divorce been litigated in California.

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San Jose Divorce Attorney

There many ways for a person to pass their estate to their children at their death. The most commonly known way is through a Will. A Will is usually a formal document outlining how a person wants to distribute all their assets after passing away. The document has many requirements to be valid, such as signatures of witnesses and notaries, etc. (Some exceptions apply). In California, a Will needs to go through the “probate” process which may delay the distribution of the estate by many months. Such a delay can be detrimental because estate debts will not wait for the court to examine a Will, they will come due much sooner than that.

This delay of transfer of money can be partially avoided by a “Totten Trust.” A Totten Trust is also known as a “Payable on Death” Account or POD for short. A typical POD account is a bank account. The owner of the account (often called the Settlor) names a beneficiary to the account or a person who will receive all its contents upon the owner’s death. During the owner’s life, they can use the account just like a regular bank account. They are allowed to withdraw money, deposit money, or even close the account. The beneficiary has no actual right to the money while the owner lives. The only time the beneficiary has any rights is after the owner passes away. Therefore beneficiary cannot make withdrawals or block the owner from doing the same while the owner is alive.

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San Jose Family Attorney

With divorce rates what they are today its not surprising that so many couples are choosing to start a family together without taking the traditional walk down the aisle first. That is the case with actress Jessica Alba and her boyfriend Cash Warren who just announced they are expecting a child in the spring of next year. Of course sometimes having a child out of wedlock is also an unexpected surprise.

Most people do not realize the legal consequences of having a child out of wedlock. At birth the father cannot be added to the child’s birth certificate in California if the parties are not married, unless he first signs a voluntary declaration of paternity. This form can have legal consequences in the future especially if the mother later requests child support from the father. In addition if the parents cannot agree on child custody and visitation and they need to go to court they once again have to establish the paternity of the child first. If the couple splits up before the child is born the mother may give the child her surname which can then require the father to go to court to have his surname added legally.

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When two people get divorced, the best advice they could ever receive is “move on.” The marriage is over and the parties need to move on and rebuild their lives. However, the California Family Code does not always give people the option to move on. The law allows for a spouse to ask for spousal support (also called alimony) from the other spouse who makes significantly more. This spousal support could go on for years. It is really difficult to move on in your life when you are paying your ex-spouse money every month or if you are trying to collect from your ex-spouse every month. It is a little reminder of how you two are still dependent on each other.

However, alternatives do exist. One possible alternative is to “buy out” your spouse at the time of marriage. At the end of a divorce, the court will probably set an amount and duration for alimony. For example, the court may order alimony of $500.00 per month for 3 years. This would be the equivalent of $18,000.00. Instead, the paying spouse could offer a one time buy out to cover the $18,000.00 or a reduced amount and terminate spousal support at the time of payment. While this may not be the best financial choice, it is a really good life choice because then the parties can move on without a three year commitment.

Even more important is that the lump sum buy out need not be in cash. It could be some property equivalent to the cash such as a car, stock, retirement account, or the furniture.

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Terry “Hulk” Hogan’s wife, Terry Bollea, recently filed for divorce, calling the 24-year marriage “irretrievably broken.” Hogan, a wrestler and reality television star, appeared alongside his family in four seasons of the reality show, “Hogan knows best.” Reportedly, Bollea is seeking half of the parties’ $9.5 million in assets, including a share of the value of the Bel Air mansion the parties once shared. Newspaper reports indicate that in her divorce petition filed in Florida, Bollea has requested to share custody of the parties’ 17-year old son, Nick, whose primary residence she would like to remain with her with Hogan having “liberal” visitation rights. The parties’ eldest child, 19-year old daughter, Brooke, is not legally subject to any child support requirements.

It appears that Bollea is also seeking to split the couples’ marital property, which includes the 17-000 square foot Bel Air mansion, real property in Clearwater Beach, Florida, and a condominium under construction in Las Vegas. Additionally, Bollea is requesting spousal support from her estranged husband. In a statement to a reporter last week, Hogan stated that the divorce petition caught him completely off guard. Reports have also surfaced that Hogan is “devastated” by his wife’s decision to file for divorce and friends of the couple are shocked by Bollea’s decision to do so.

If you or someone you know is facing a similar situation or simply have questions about the divorce process, child custody and visitation or any other family law issue, such as spousal support, child support and issues related to division of marital property, please contact Sagaria Law. Our team of family law attorneys can answer any family law questions you may have and assist you through the process. We represent clients from Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Monterey County, San Mateo County, and surrounding areas. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys.

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Last Friday, November 23, 2007, representatives from 68 countries gathered in the Hague to finalize the text of a new international convention intended to make it easier for parents to collect child support from parents living in other countries. The new convention calls for countries to exchange information and employ measures such as wage assignments, withholding pension payments or tax refunds and making deductions from welfare payments. Countries may also use measures such as revoking or denying drivers licenses. Among the nations signing the text were the United States, Canada, Australia, and Brazil along with several major European and Asian countries.

California law already allows the use of similar measures to collect child support from in-state and out of state parents. However, it can be very difficult to collect child support when a parent has left the United States. The new convention, which organizers hope will come into force within three years, will hopefully make it easier for parents, with the help of child support authorities, to collect child support.

Whether you need a child support order, or maybe you are having trouble collecting on an existing order, our team of experienced and talented family law attorneys can assist you. We have offices throughout the Bay Area, including San Jose, Fremont and Monterey, and offer a free consultation to answer your questions.

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As a general rule and unless otherwise designated, spousal support (also known as alimony) is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payor. On the contrary, child support is not taxable to anyone and is not deductible. Unlike other personal deductions, the deduction for spousal support is are an “adjustment to income” for both California and federal income tax purposes. This means the payments reduce gross income in calculating adjusted gross income and may generally be deducted even though the taxpayer does not itemize deductions. Since the party who pays spousal support is usually in a much higher tax bracket than the recipient, such payments may generate significant tax savings.

The following are important factors to keep in mind in regards to the deductibility of spousal support payments: (1) The payments must be in cash and must be received by or on behalf of the supported spouse. (2) The cash payment must be received under a divorce or separation instrument. (3) All of part of spousal support payments may be nontaxable or nondeductible simply by designating them as such in the divorce or separation instrument. (4) The payor’s obligation to pay spousal support must cease upon the death of the supported spouse. (5) Spousal support payments are not deductible if the payor and payee file a joint tax return together for the taxable year in question. (6) The payee must provide the payor with his/her social security number and the payor must disclose this information on his/her tax return. (7) Upon a final judgment of divorce or separation, payments are not deductible if the separated/divorced spouses are living in the same dwelling.

If you have any additional questions about spousal support or any other family law issue, please contact Sagaria Law. Our team of family law attorneys can answer any family law questions you may have and assist you through the process. We represent clients from Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Monterey County, San Mateo County, and surrounding areas. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys.

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A recent Pennsylvania court decision declared a marriage invalid because the couple had been married by an internet-ordained minister. Heyer v. Hollerbush No. 2007 SU 2132 Y08 (York Col, Pa., Ct. C.P) held that the officiant who conducted the marriage ceremony was unauthorized under state law to perform a wedding. San Jose Divorce attorneys believe this case sets a dangerous precedent in which unhappy spouses who want out of a marriage and do not want to pay spousal support or engage in property division could simply argue that since the wedding was not valid, neither is the marriage.

Currently, internet-ordained ministers are legal in all 50 states, except for certain counties in Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where the practice has been legally challenged. Seattle-based Universal Life Church, the largest provider of online ordination, claims to have ordained more than 20 million ministers through the mail or online since 1959. Prominent divorce attorney, Raoul Felder, in New York, who handled New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s second divorce stated that he would not recommend getting married through the use of an intenet-ordained minister, but rather advised the safest route was to go through a regular county clerk. Regardless of this court ruling, some divorce attorneys continue to believe that courts remain likely to rule in favor of the spouse being left, not the one claiming an invalid marriage, as the law favors marriage. For example, where parties had a ceremony, marriage license, and lived together, it is believed that courts will protect the spouse who would otherwise be injured.
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