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Breaking up outside of Marriage

Family, LGBT, San Francisco0 comments

Many modern families function in today’s day and age without marriage.  Legally though this creates some unique problems.  For example, what happens if a long term couple who is never married breaks up?  Often many couples own significant property together and/or have children together and so even though they were never married they find themselves facing problems typically associated with a divorce.

The answer, it turns out, is fairly complicated: the family code in California is primary structured to address marital or registered domestic partnership relationships, or, biological or adopted children, but it is not structured to deal with property division of unmarried couples.  So, if a couple is not married and has issues outside of child custody, then they have to rely on a different set of laws that were not necessarily structured with a couple breaking up in mind.

For example, if a couple is never married, owns property together, and has children then family law will govern their rights and responsibility over the children (such as child support, visitation and custody), but, general civil law will govern the division of assets.  The civil law portion that often arises for such couples as either: a Partition Action or a Marvin claim.

A partition action is a lawsuit that asks a judge to divide a piece of property if co-owners cannot agree on how to do this.  A Marvin claim is a lawsuit that asks a court to enforce agreements that arose during the relationship.  (Ie if one partner says “honey I will take care of you forever” the other partner asks for palimony).

Some actions like Marvin claims, are pretty challenging to bring, while other claims, like partition actions, have a more rote application. Whether you are trying to understand your rights or avoid a prolonged court battle, the attorneys of Jones & Devoy have experience with non-martial dissolution and can make sure that your rights are protected.

Special Issues in LGBT Divorces

Family, LGBT, San Francisco, San Francisco Family Law, Uncategorized0 comments

Because of the patchwork way that laws emerged for gay, lesbian and queer couples, undoing a marriage or domestic partnership can present many unique challenges.   For example, certain states like Kentucky, explicitly do not recognize unions similar to marriage such as civil unions or registered domestic partnership.

So, while the recent supreme court decisions finds an ultimate right to marry, it has not found an ultimate right to a domestic partnership or civil union.  The bizarre result of this is if you are getting divorced in Kentucky there is a chance that the judge in Kentucky will not dissolve your registered domestic partnership.

Thankfully, California has law that any party may file in the state to dissolve a registered domestic partnership or marriage if their home jurisdiction will not recognize them.  While California’s progressive laws certainly reduce the number of issues that might come up in a same sex divorce or dissolution it cannot eliminate them all.

Than San Francisco based lawyers of Jones & Devoy have experience helping members of the LGBT community navigate the ever changing landscape of same sex law.

Tenant Buy Out Agreements in San Francsico

Civil Litigation, Landlord-Tenant, San Francisco0 comments

Tenant protection laws are so strong in San Francisco that it is often more expedient for a landlord to pursue a “Tenant Buy Out” rather than trying to evict them.  A Tenant Buy Out is where a landlord pays a tenant a set amount of money to leave the unit.

For many years these agreements were unregulated and only general contract law applied.  However, as housing became tighter and tighter, more and more landlords started using  in tenant buyouts in San Francisco.  In response, in March of 2015 San Francisco passed the Administrative Code 37.9E.  37.9E requires landlords to make very particular disclosures, in writing, to a tenant before they present or negotiate a Buy Out Agreement.

Failure to follow the procedures allows a tenant to void the entire agreement.  Further, a tenant can try to recover attorney fees during such a voiding action.  So, landlords are advised to be extremely careful when trying to effectuate a buyout.

The attorneys at Jones & Devoy have experience in meeting all of the requirements for tenant buy-out agreements and can make sure that your interest is well protected.

LGBT Friendly Modifications to Adoption Law in California

Adoption, Family, San Francisco, San Francisco Family Law, Uncategorized0 comments

The California Legislature has taken care to streamline the Adoption Process for the unique needs of same sex couples where frequently one parent is not the biological parent of the child.  Before the amendment of the law a stepparent where one parent came into a child’s life later, versus a “stepparent” who was on the birth certificate (as is typical for same sex couples) were treated at law the same.  This meant that if a gay or lesbian couple had a child together, and were both on a child’s birth certificate, the court was legally required to conduct a home investigation and hold a formal hearing for the adoption.

Now, fortunately, California has streamlined the entire process so that an investigation and formal hearing are not necessarily required for confirmations of parentage.  This is good news for LGBT couples!  With the change of leadership in the White House queer couples are well served to make sure that they have lined up as many legal protections establishing that they are the lawful parents of their children.

While not every adoption case can be done without an investigation or court hearing, the attorneys at Jones & Devoy can help you tee up your case to maximize your chances of a smooth process.

Tenancy in Common Agreements in California

Arbitration, Business and Corporations, Civil Litigation, Real Estate, San Francisco0 comments

houseTenancy in Common Agreements (also known as a TIC Agreement) are agreements between co-owners of real property.  Although co-owners always begin a purchase with the best of intentions, unfortunately disputes between co-owners occur.  Without an agreement co-owners of real estate are forced to go through an action called a “Partition Action.”  Partition Actions are a special kind of court proceeding specially designed to divide up real property as between co-owners.

While it is fortuitous that a special kind of action exists, like any court action, the process is long and arduous.  Having a well worded agreement then is essential to avoid a lengthy court battle.  Often an Tenancy in Common Agreement will attempt to not only preemptively determine the rights or parties, but, will also provide a procedure if an disagreement arises.  Often this involves an agreement to mediate or arbitrate so that the parties are not stuck with the long wait times associated with court battles.

Generally these agreements should be negotiated and discussed before the purchase of a piece of Real Property.  The idea being that if the parties cannot agree on the governing of piece of real property then it is advantageous for the parties to have an opportunity to cancel the purchase.

While a TIC Agreement requires an additional initial investment, often the amount of headache it can save down the road far, far outweighs the up front cost. The San Francisco based real estate attorneys can assist with preparing or reviewing a TIC Agreement to make sure your rights are protected.

 

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    Alexander T. Jones

    Mr. Jones has an extensive background in both general litigation and family law as well as experience in various business and transactional matters…

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    Practicing civil litigation with an emphasis on client advocacy, Mr. Devoy is experienced in litigating a wide range of legal matters …

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