My Spouse Has Psychological Concerns, Which I Believe are Relevant to a Determination of Child Custody. Can I Obtain Their Psychological Records and Submit it to the Family Court as Evidence?

There are various privileges as to evidence which can be admitted to a court. One of them being the psychotherapist-patient. This prevents communications in a therapist’s office, including the therapist file, from being revealed to anyone other than the client or those who work within the therapist’s office.

Technically speaking as per the Evidence Code, the psychotherapist-patient privilege covers, “confidential communications between patient and psychotherapist.”   Specifically, it includes information obtained by an examination of the patient, that:

  1. Is transmitted in confidence between a patient and the patient’s psychotherapist in the course of that relationship;
  2. Is transmitted by means that, as far as the patient is aware, disclose the information to no third persons other than those who are present to further the patient’s interest in the consultation, or those to whom disclosure is reasonably necessary for transmission of the information or accomplishment...

My Spouse Wants to Retire. Can I Force Them to Continue Working in Order to Receive the Same Amount of Support?

This very same question was asked in Marriage of Reynolds (1998) 63 CA4th 1373. “If Husband had indeed retired from active employment, could the trial court properly attribute to him a monthly income based on his ability to earn rather than his actual earnings, thus requiring him to work well past the "generally accepted retirement age of 65"?” In re Marriage of Reynolds (1998) 63 CA4th 1373; In re Marriage of Sinks, 204 Cal.App.3d 595. The answer was no. The Reynold court held no one may be compelled to work after the usual retirement age of 65.

The courts have held that a supporting spouse cannot deliberately shirk support obligations by refusing to work. Philbin v. Philbin (1971) 19 Cal.App.3d 115. The courts have also held that a supporting spouse cannot retire prematurely in order to avoid paying spousal support. In re Marriage of Sinks, 204 Cal.App.3d...

Can I Move Out of the Country with Our Child? International Relocation (Move Away)

In Re: Marriage of Condon is the leading authority on international move-away cases. In re Marriage of Condon (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 533. Moving out of the country with a child will obviously have a dramatic effect on a child’s relationship with the non-moving parent. Therefore, there are special rules for international move-away cases.

The Court analyzed Burgess and LaMusga in its decision (see prior blog entitled Relocation (Move Away) with a Child), which are the leading cases on move away ases within the United States.

In Condon, the court granted a move-away with Mother to Australia, and four vacations per year with Father. The factors the trial court used in its analysis included Mother’s ability to financially support herself in Australia rather than be wholly dependent on Husband for support; the impact of the parties' stressful relationship on the children; Mother’s extensive family in Australia; the children’s primary emotional...

Can a Parent Quit Their Job or Decrease Their Income to Decrease or Avoid Child Support?

There is strong public policy in favor of providing adequate child support, such that court often ‘impute income’ to a parent, in order to meet the needs of the child. Marriage of Destein (2001) 91 CA4th 1385, 1391.

While there is no statute to point to what defines earning capacity, its meaning has been well established in Marriage of Regnery (1989) 214 CA3d 1367, 1372. State v Vargas (1999) 70 CA4th 1123, 1125. The Regnery court found that one can be imputed when unemployed or underemployed parent. They adopted a three-part test allowing imputation when the parent has (1) the ability to work (taking into account factors such as age, occupation, skill, education, health, background, job experience, and qualifications, and (2) an opportunity to work (an employer willing to hire), but (3) lacks the willingness to work consistent with ability and opportunity. 214 CA3d at 1372. Courts after Regenery recognized...

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