2011 brought more than just Tsunamis an increasing national debt and failed prophesies about the end of the world. From the perspective of a San Jose Divorce Lawyer there were some definable trends and emerging issues in Family Law.
One of those trends was the ongoing encroachment and erosion of privacy rights by our government, including cracking the door open to having your children testify about what is going in in your home. That has scary implications that reach beyond Family Law.
Another trend, more positive, in my opinion, has been the increasing willingness of the Courts to enforce fiduciary duties. Too often parties in a divorce have been hiding money, and trying to get away with it.
A third trend has been divorces with underwater homes, where the parties fight over who gets stuck with the debt instead of who gets how much of the equity in the home. It is uncertain how that trend will play out, since the primary thrust of California Divorce Law as it relates to the division of property has been to divide the equity fairly between spouses, generally on as close to a 50/50 basis as possible. The California Legislature was simply not thinking about falling real property values when it drafted the Family Code, nor were the Courts — until recently. It seems probable that there will be changes in the law in the near future that try to answer the questions posed by falling home values more fairly. Thus, a current bout of unfairness will likely lead to greater fairness for future generations — we just have to get there first.