Carlsbad Family Law Attorneys



Why Katie Hamilton Should Request to Transfer Her Divorce to California

In February, Josh Hamilton filed for divorce from his wife of 11 years, Katie. The couple has 4 young children together. TMZ reports that Katie was completely blindsided by Josh’s decision to file for divorce stating, “It came out of nowhere. There was no big fight or blow up. Nothing sparked it.” In fact, just one month before Josh filed, the couple was reportedly as in love as ever with Katie posting a picture on Instagram of

the two on a romantic date.

The interesting angle of this case is that Josh filed for divorce in Tarrant County, Texas–not the couples marital residence of Newport, California. Considering the differences between divorce law in California and in Texas, Katie very well may want to try and get the Texas divorce dismissed in favor of filing in California.

Is Texas the appropriate Jurisdiction?

Texas and California have nearly identical statutory residency requirements related to the filing of a divorce action. In California, the filing party must have been a resident of the state for the preceding 6 months and a resident of the county for the preceding 3 months leading up to the filing of the Petition of Dissolution. The key difference in Texas is the use of the word “domiciliary” in place of “resident.”

A “domiciliary” is one that “resides and intends to remain” in a certain jurisdiction. A “resident” is one who dwells for a period of time. A resident becomes a domiciliary if it is determined that he/she intends to remain in that location. This is a very important distinction. If the Hamilton’s are domiciled in California then Josh Hamilton’s divorce Petition in Texas should be dismissed.

While it may be true that Hamilton spent 5 years in Texas with the Rangers, on December 13, 2012 Hamilton signed on with the Anaheim Angels to a 5 year, $125 million contract; his family owns a $16.5 million home in Newport, California; and his wife and children live in California. Regardless whether or not Josh had been in Texas for 6 months prior to filing for divorce, he is still under contract with a California baseball team for another 2 years and a strong argument could be made that his intended domicile is California. But why would it matter?

Katie Hamilton’s right to spousal support would be limited Texas

The laws regarding spousal support or “alimony” are completely different in Texas than in California. California spousal support laws strongly favor the spouse receiving support as opposed to the spousal support laws in Texas. Texas law regarding alimony is much more restrictive.

In Texas there is a presumption against an order for spousal support. It is the immediate burden of the spouse requesting spousal support to overcome the presumption by proving that he or she needs spousal support in order to provide for “basic needs.” Further, the amount os spousal support cannot exceed $5,000 per month. In stark contrast, California law requires that an order for spousal support be made in order that the supported spouse may live as close to the marital standard of living subject to the other spouse’s ability to pay among other factors. There is no statutory limit and the policy favors a spousal support order as opposed to creating a presumption against.

The biggest difference here is that in California, the amount of spousal support is based on the martial standard of living, while in Texas, the amount is determined by assessing what is needed in order to satisfy basic needs.” Says John Griffith, a divorce lawyer in Encinitas, California.

Of course there is much to this case that has not yet been made public and these issues have most likely been thoughtfully considered by divorce lawyers on both sides of the case. We’ll see what the future holds and as with most high asset divorces, this will most likely end up in a well structured martial settlement agreement.

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  • John N. Griffith, Esq., CFLS
  • Catie E. Young, Esq., CFLS
  • Amy J. Lass, Esq., CFLS
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  • John N. Griffith, Esq., CFLS John N. Griffith, Esq., CFLS

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    John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. Prior to opening Griffith, Young & Lass, he worked as the managing partner of one of the largest family law firms in North County San Diego.
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    Catie E. Young excels in child custody cases and move-away trials. She has a unique approach to child custody cases and clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases. Since joining the firm, she has continuously brought her zeal and compassion to representing clients in child custody and domestic violence cases, and in December 2011, she became a partner at Griffith, Young & Lass.
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  • Amy J. Lass, Esq., CFLS Amy J. Lass, Esq., CFLS

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    Amy Lass, a certified family law specialist, was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting. Amy went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006.
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  • Shirin Asgari, Esq. Shirin Asgari, Esq.

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    Attorney Shirin Asgari has a broad spectrum of legal experience and has handled matters in family law, criminal law, business law, and national security law. Currently, she focuses on family law matters and is a strong advocate for the rights of her clients. She dedicates time and attention to the needs of each client and the unique circumstances their case presents.
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  • Eric Cowdery, Esq. Eric Cowdery, Esq.

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    Eric Cowdery earned his bachelor’s and Master’s degrees before earning his JD from Golden Gate University as part of the Honors Lawyering Program. He was admitted to the California Bar Association in 2013 and has been working diligently in the field ever since. Taking a personalized approach to each case, Eric Cowdery is committed to working with clients to help them through the often confusing and complex legal process of divorce.

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  • Jeffrey Wittliff, Esq. Jeffrey Wittliff, Esq.

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    Jeffrey Whittliff is extremely attentive to his cases and believes in thorough preparation and the value of regular client communication. Behind the scenes, he has an extensive background in research related to all areas of family law, propounding discovery when necessary, and negotiation to settle cases with opposing parties.
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  • Joshua Yee, Esq. Joshua Yee, Esq.

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    Attorney Joshua Yeereceived his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, from the University of California, San Diego. Joshua went on to receive his Juris Doctor degree from University of San Francisco. His experience working with a local Certified Family Law Specialist solidified his desire to become a family law attorney. Since becoming an attorney, Josh has exclusively practiced in family law.
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  • Shaudi Malekzadeh, Esq. Shaudi Malekzadeh, Esq.

    Associate

    Shaudi Malekzadeh is a Carlsbad family law attorney at Griffith, Young & Lass, advocating for the rights and interests of Southern California families in a variety of family law cases, such as child custody, alimony, spousal support, and the division of community property. She is committed to delivering effective legal representation to our clients, aggressively advocating for their legal rights, and offering compassionate legal advice.
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