General Property Issues Related to Divorce and Family Law in California.

Community PropertyCalifornia is a community property state. All property that is purchased or acquired during marriage, or transmuted (converted) to community property during marriage is community property.The husband and wife in a marriage, each own an undivided one half interest in all community property of the marriage.Community property is not divided, unless divorce proceedings are initiated, or upon the death of either the husband or wife.Community property can be either real property or personal property. Community property can also be businesses, pension plans, or any other type of tangible thing that is acquired during marriage.Community property is ordinarily one of the major issues involved in divorce actions.Quasi Community PropertyQuasi community property is property that is acquired outside of the state of California during marriage. Although married couples may have purchased property in a state that is not a community property state like California, the property will basically be treated as though it were community property for purposes division in a divorce action in the state of California.BusinessesBusinesses that were started during a marriage are community property.
In some instances a person may have owned an existing business before they were married, and continue the business after marriage. In a divorce action, the courts will allocate a percentage of value to the business “after marriage” to determine which portion of the business is community property.If you owned an existing business before marriage, it is extremely important for you to consult with an attorney in a divorce action as soon as possible.PensionsAny portion of Pensions, IRA’s, 401(k) s, Retirement plans, etc., that were contributed during marriage are community property.Ordinarily the funds from pension plans are not obtainable until the pension plan vests and matures. Therefore special orders are necessary from the court so that each party is able to get their portion of any retirement plan after it matures and vests. These orders are ordinarily called qualified domestic relations orders or QDRO’s for short.Obviously parties to a divorce have a vested interest in ensuring that they get their fair portion of any pension or retirement plans after a divorce.Community Income, Bank Accounts, Stock, and InvestmentsAll income earned during a marriage is considered community income. This is true even in one of the parties to a marriage earns money in a business that was theirs prior to marriage. Community income is the same as community property, in that each party owns a one half undivided interest in community income.Each party to the marriage has a right to spend and use community income, even if they are not the one that earned the money. However, after legal separation or the initiation of divorce proceedings, parties may only use community property for the necessities of life and to pay their attorney.Likewise, any bank accounts, stock, and/or investments that are acquired during the marriage are also community property. This is true even if the bank account, stock, and/or investment is only in the name of one of the parties.Some parties try to secret money into separate bank accounts during marriage, and/or hide assets there were acquired during marriage from the other party.If you are a party in a divorce action, you have what is called a fiduciary duty of disclosure. What this means is that you must disclose all assets, bank accounts, and other of the investments that were acquired during the marriage to the other party. If you fail to fully disclose your assets and/or income to the court and the other party, the court could severely punish you.You may have read about the case where a wife won the lottery, and then initiated divorce proceedings against her husband. She failed to inform the court and her husband about the fact that she won the lottery. As punishment for her failure to disclose the fact that she won the lottery, the court gave her husband the entire amount of the lottery winnings.Separate PropertySeparate property is all property that was acquired before marriage; during marriage by devise, will, or inheritance; and after legal separation. The proceeds from a personal-injury judgment or settlement are also separate property, even if they were received during marriage.Upon the court making a finding that property is separate property, the person owning said separate property will leave the marriage with their separate property.Separate property can be transmuted (converted) to community property by intent, or by inadvertence. For instance, a party may have a separate bank account before marriage that would be considered separate property. If the party then takes income that was earned during marriage and deposits that money into their separate bank account, they may have by inadvertence converted that bank account to community property.Obviously, parties in a divorce proceeding will most likely want to keep their own separate property after the divorce is over. It is very important for you to contact an attorney with regard to the issue of separate property to ensure that you get to keep her separate property after the divorce.If you are contemplating filing for divorce or are presently involved in a divorce proceeding, you may call our law firm for a free consultation at 818-739-1544 ext. 10, or go to our family law website at http://www.divorce-legal.net .By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2006

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The Only Level Playing Field in Investing – Options

I learned options late in life, accidentally, trawling the pages of the ancient magazine Exchange and Mart in 1995. A full page article showed how an options trader could work from home, (actually in bed) using prices from the BBC’s teletext, back in the day. A lot has changed, but options have been around for centuries-pre-dating shares, being used for pricing ships’ cargoes. In the 1980s options became exchange traded, and fortunes were made. Warren Buffett is a keen options trader, Nassim Taleb was the most prolific. They are not idiots and neither are you if you have read thus far.

Investing is the word we use for a trade that went wrong! Investing is mostly passive and requires you to be right and/or to tuck your stocks away for decades. With markets hitting new highs and valuations stretched, you have to realise the stock market cannot keep going up. If you are happy with paltry dividends and the certainty that your stock will at some point in the future be worth half what it is today, then read no further. QE is no longer on the table and that is all that has separated stocks from realistic valuations.

So what are options all about? In our world we only trade the FTSE100 options. Why? Because the entire index is unlikely to get arrested for fraud/sexual harassment/bogus accounting/toxic products, and all the other nasties that can destroy a company’s rep in a heartbeat. So FTSE is the underlying on which our derivatives are based. Options are the right to buy or sell the underlying (priced by the exchange at £10 per point cash settled) but NOT the obligation. In the same way as insurance companies collect premiums, however, options can be sold. Did you ever see a poor insurance company? When you get it right, selling options can bring you a monthly income stream of a comfortable 2% per month, consistently. Nothing else comes close.

So who are the buyers of options if everybody sells them? Well that is the biggest part of education, and the reason I have traded profitably since 1999. Yes I have had failures, and panics- but I made nice profits in February while the market dropped 10%, despite being a bit dim! I learned about options from an expensive course and from much of the free training on the internet. A while ago I met a like-minded options trader, he runs the website to which I contribute every week, with a real trade, and general tittle tattle about our world. It’s utterly mind-blowing when you start to understand options and the endless combinations, and 20 or more strategies that we use. I love options trading and I want to reach those with a pot of cash who seek income, and a sensible method with risk management, but who don’t know where to start. We are not just about newbies though-there are insights for all. And… we don’t want your money.

10 Ways the USD Affects World Markets

The United States is the world’s strongest and largest economy. US currency remains dominant over other global currencies in the international markets. The behavior of the US Dollar impacts global markets significantly, culminating to both positive and adverse consequences in these markets.

Here are 10 ways that the USD affects world markets:

A stronger USD slows down trade in the international markets. A stronger USD weakens the other currencies in global markets, making it more expensive to purchase dollar-denominated commodities.
However, these markets also get excited if they are exporting to the United States. The stronger dollar causes depreciation of the local currencies in these markets, creating inflation of the domestic currencies.
When the USD rallies against other currencies, demand shifts from the United States market to the global markets, hence increasing economic and financial activity in the global markets.
A stronger USD also attracts capital inflows in foreign direct investment (FDI) and other investment from USD investors to these markets. This is mostly experienced in developing countries where the markets are emerging markets with high economic growth rates.
Capital inflows in USD in these foreign markets spur economic activities such as lending, employment, and consumption, hence stimulating growth in these markets.
Commodities such as precious metals and oil in the international market are quoted in USD. Therefore, the performance of the USD determines the cost of living in world markets. The consequences of a weaker USD to these markets include lower gas prices while a stronger USD makes the gas more expensive to purchase for the consumer.
Global financial markets monitor the USD closely to ascertain the spot price for fast moving commodities. Any fluctuations in the USD trigger a series of sales and purchases of these commodities in speculation of either outcome based on the behavior of the dollar.
A hike in the Federal Reserve rate causes the dollar to become more expensive for investors. This can trigger capital flight from these markets; slowing growth and reducing demand for USD-denominated products.
Also, high-interest rates can reduce USD liquidity and subsequently reduce investment, resulting in job losses and a global recession as recently experienced in the 2007 global recession.
As a reserve currency and standard international currency in most countries, the interest rate of the USD determines the cost of financing foreign debts for the global markets. The foreign exchange rate of the USD determines interest paid and the accessibility of credit in the world financial market while still having an impact on the balance of payment based on the USD reserves held by an entity.
Chris Bouchard is a strategic consultant who works with non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs to apply concepts and techniques to identify complex strategic issues, find practical solutions, and devise strategies to create and win a unique strategic position. He also offers project development, proposal writing, and project evaluation services.