For Californians, careers in entertainment, stars or aspiring stars of stage and screen, family law matters can be complex and delicate. Resolving these issues discretely requires a special skill set to protect your rights, meet your needs, and that respects the realities of your personal life and career. Particularly when it comes to assessing your assets derived from a variety of entertainment-related projects, you need an experienced attorney to represent your interests.
The Santa Barbara attorneys at Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, know that those who have succeeded in the entertainment industry need effective family law representation that is able to deal with complex income streams and the ability to maintain a level of discretion that respects your privacy and your career.
Child Custody for Entertainers on the Move
Ensuring that your voice is heard during the consideration of child custody and visitation is an essential part of your family law attorney’s responsibility to you.
Child custody issues are a priority for parents who are facing divorce because:
- You may have concerns about the parenting skills of your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
- You may simply want to be able to protect your relationship with your children.
Those with careers in the entertainment industry have unique circumstances that need consideration when the determination of child custody is taking place. In many cases, professional entertainers will need to travel out of state or abroad for possibly extended periods of time. It is critical that your child custody agreement recognizes and effectively addresses such exceptional circumstances, and an experienced family law attorney is the key to ensuring the court takes your view of the situation.
Child Support Requirements During Divorce
Child support can be an element that needs to be worked out during a divorce or it can be a completely separate issue. Given the fact that California utilizes state guidelines in the determination of child support levels, the process is more or less the same whether the determination is made along with the divorce or in a separate order. The state guidelines employ a formula that will dictate the appropriate child support levels for your particular circumstances.
Child support depends on several factors, such as:
- Your income
- The other parent’s income
- Healthcare costs for your child
- Daycare and education costs
- Other necessary expenses
Ensuring the Court Recognizes the Character of Your Income
For those who have careers in the entertainment industry, determining income can pose more of a challenge than for someone who has a single income source and can submit their W-2.
Entertainment professionals are likely to have:
- More than one income stream
- Varying levels of income from year to year
- Extensive expenses and particular financial benefits as part of their contracts
Professional entertainers need to secure the representation of attorneys who have experience with ensuring that the court fully understands the reality of your situation and the complexities of your income streams before it makes its final determination on child support. We are skilled in justifying the need for deviation from state guidelines and we can help you secure child support levels that are a fit for your financial situation.
Guiding You Through the Divorce Process
Divorce is always a challenge. Even when both spouses are able to agree on many of the issues at hand, facing such a thorough restructuring of their personal lives will place extraordinary stress on divorcing spouses and their children. This makes it all the more critical that you have representation experienced in dealing with the particular issues that are part of your divorce.
For professional entertainers and others in the entertainment industry, it is essential to have legal representation that has dealt with unique income streams and substantial assets, as well as the overriding need for discretion. Our attorneys are skilled in creating solutions regarding divorce that will address the extraordinary circumstances of your situation. We understand the concerns that entertainment professionals face when divorce becomes a reality.
Expert Financial Advice for High Earners in the Entertainment Industry
The financial expertise that our attorneys possess is critical in advising entertainers and their families about important matters related to family law. For example, in typical divorces, the court will work to assess the income and assets of the spouses. For those with successful entertainment industry careers, this may pose a challenge as income may vary greatly, and it may come from a variety of sources including overseas sources.
In addition to our attorneys’ own expertise in finance, we bring in outside experts to help us secure the most favorable arrangements for our clients when the financial aspects of a divorce are being decided, including:
- Spousal support
- Property division
- Child support
Another issue that arises is the need for securing deviations from state guidelines. Issues like child support are determined using state guidelines. Deviation from those guidelines can be a real necessity for those in the entertainment industry given the financial realities that often accompany such careers. Thorough justification is required for a judge to deviate from the guidelines, so it is critical you engage our attorneys, who know how to present evidence that can provide a judge with sufficient grounds to ensure you get the favorable outcome you deserve.
Establishing Prenuptial Agreements to Protect Your Assets
Professional entertainers and others in the entertainment industry can lead dynamic lives. Your career can reach unexpected levels with the success of your next project. Careers in entertainment offer a number of truly remarkable rewards. Predictability, however, is not a characteristic that the careers of most professional entertainers enjoy. If marriage is a part of your future, take the time to consider the benefits that a prenuptial agreement can confer.
The benefits of a prenuptial agreement include:
- It allow you to set out in clear terms how a divorce would be handled.
- It minimizes what there is to fight over and the level of attention a dispute may draw.
- It forces a frank conversation between the couple, which can help them identify goals.
For entertainment professionals, the variability of income and career trajectory make it almost essential that any consideration of marriage be prefaced by learning more about the protections a prenuptial agreement can provide. Ensuring that all aspects of your prenuptial agreement are enforceable is a key element to the successful creation of such an agreement. Professional entertainers may relocate and the laws of each state can be different. Our experience can help you secure a prenuptial agreement that creates real security for you.
Resolving Spousal Support Issues
Spousal support can be an extremely contentious element to any divorce. This can be especially true when there is dramatic disparity between each spouse’s income and earning potential. If one spouse is earning an exceptional income, one side can end up feeling taken advantage of and the other can end up feeling abandoned. Given the high emotions that can be generated by the question of spousal support, it is especially important for entertainment professionals and their spouses to secure the representation of attorneys who are skilled in dealing with the economic factors that are associated with a successful career.
What happens when a particular project has been completed during the marriage, but no income has been realized from it until after the divorce? How do you characterize that piece of intellectual property and the income it generates? There are many complex questions that surround the determination of spousal support in these situations. Experience is the key to successfully securing a spousal support arrangement that fully comprehends your situation.
Modification of Family Court Orders
When circumstances have changed sufficiently that the agreements established during a divorce or other family court action are no longer adequate to govern the behavior and interaction of the former spouses one can petition the court to modify that failing aspect of the agreement. The lives of those in the entertainment industry can be quite dynamic compared to those in other professions. Your work schedule may require you to be out of town for extended periods. Income may fluctuate in such a way that deserves special attention.
Entertainers may sporadically receive substantial single-instance payments. This is an exceptionally different situation than most family courts and the applicable state guidelines were designed to accommodate. Our attorneys have the experience necessary to help ensure that the court recognizes the uniqueness of your situation.
Providing Assistance with Property Division
Professional entertainers can have substantial assets and property. When you are faced with divorce, most people have an idea in mind of what property they feel belongs to them and what property they want to keep. When one spouse has earned a significantly larger income than the other, the division of property can become an intense point of dispute.
For entertainment professionals and their spouses, it can be difficult to navigate the division of property for a number of reasons, including:
- Substantial volume of property or assets
- Intellectual property created partially during and partially before the marriage
- Intellectual property that may have been developed during the marriage that did not earn income until after the divorce was begun
- Ownership interests in businesses that are partnerships or some sort of partial stake
We also understand the importance of keeping an eye toward the potential tax implications of any decisions made during the division of property. At Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, we are experienced in creating effective solutions in even the most complex of property divisions. When necessary, we have access to outside financial experts who can provide us with an even greater depth of knowledge to help ensure that hard-to-value assets receive an accurate appraisal.
Obtaining Protective / Restraining Orders
Our California family law firm has ample experience advising both “ordinary” people and well-known public figures as they proceed through family law matters, such as allegations of incidents of domestic violence or stalking. Our lawyers can help you mitigate potential damage that legal actions of this type can trigger for well-known individuals in the entertainment industry. What type of protective order do you need to keep peace and carry on with your professional life in the midst of a romantic breakup or a divorce?
Our attorneys can help you obtain any of the following:
- An emergency protective order (EPO)
- A temporary protective order (TPO)
- A “permanent” restraining order or a criminal protective order
On the other hand, if you are an entertainer and have been named in a protective order, rest assured that our reputable law firm has the necessary skills and experience to maximize your opportunities to get that order lifted if you believe it is unwarranted. Keeping one’s private life private can be a supreme challenge for entertainers and celebrities. If you need a protective order or a restraining order, or if your spouse has named you in such an order, how will you keep this information from becoming fodder for TV celebrity gossip shows? We obtain protective orders for entertainers while protecting our clients’ privacy.
Emancipation of Minors: Counsel for Young Entertainers
A person who achieves success as an entertainer may have a range of valid reasons for seeking legal independence from the oversight of a parent or guardian.
In recognition of this fact, the California Family Code contains provisions for emancipation of minors, with requirements that include:
- A person must be 14 years old or older to petition for emancipation.
- The petitioner for emancipation must complete Judicial Counsel form FL-150 and demonstrate conclusively to the presiding judge that he or she is financially self-supporting.
- Parents or guardians may consent to the emancipation or contest it—and either they or the minor have a right to appeal a judge’s approval or denial of the petition.
Our law firm is a proven resource for people making complex decisions and targeting favorable outcomes in courts throughout the California area. This includes our founding attorney Brent Kaspar’s well-earned standing as an advocate for high-profile film and music industry professionals facing all types of family law challenges.
A lawyer at our firm will offer sensitive guidance and solid legal information if you are an entertainer between the ages of 14 and 18 who wants control over your own finances and career. You will not be pressured to make a decision you are not ready for, but you will gain the benefit of understanding your options and exactly what is involved in emancipation.
Need to Have a Family Court Order Enforced?
The other party may cease to act in accordance with the terms that they agreed to in the past. You may feel powerless to force them to comply with the terms that are laid out in your divorce decree or other family law agreement. But, you are not. With effective representation, the court can be persuaded to take action and enforce the terms that are being ignored.
A key for entertainment professionals and those involved in family law disputes with them is knowing where income streams are derived from. If a party is failing to comply on a financial matter, knowing where the income is coming from, be it out of state or out of the country, is crucial to being able to remedy the situation. Our experienced attorneys have this knowledge. The family law courts can be asked to enforce the terms of a divorce or another family court action such as a child custody case where the parents had never married.