The Importance of Full Disclosure in California Divorce Cases

A June 2023 unpublished opinion from Los Angeles County reaffirms the importance of full disclosure in divorce cases. This article will summarize the case and highlight the takeaways for divorce law in California.

What were the basic facts of Frausto v. Frausto?

  • Although this was an unpublished case, it provides an interesting case study on the issue of undisclosed assets in a divorce. 
  • Over 20 years after the court entered a final judgment, the ex-wife filed a petition to adjudicate the ex-husband’s pension, which had not been disclosed. 
  • As per the California Family Code, there is no time limit on the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate assets that were not disclosed.
  • The court affirmed the order granting the ex-wife an interest in the pension. 

What are the takeaways from this case for a California divorce? 

  • Failure to fully disclose assets in a California divorce will not prevent an ex-spouse from later winning a claim against the undisclosed assets. 
  • The court will not impose a time limit on a former spouse’s claim to undisclosed assets. 
  • The family court has continuing jurisdiction of undisclosed assets, and that continuing jurisdiction can last a long time (20 years in the Frausto case!).  

What are my options if I think that my spouse his assets, but my divorce is final?

  • This case shows that one option if you think an ex-spouse has hidden assets is to petition the court for a share of the asset.
  • An important consideration is to bring your claim as soon as possible. As this case shows, a delay in pursing a claim against an undisclosed assets is not fatal to your claim (the court held that it was not compelled to consider the defense of laches in the Frausto case). However, you can anticipate that your ex-spouse may raise equity as a defense if there is an unreasonable delay in pursing your claim against the undisclosed asset.  

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Whether you are just beginning your divorce, in the middle, or have post-judgment issues to resolve, at the Law Office of David Knecht, we are here to help you! We have extensive experience with family law which includes all matters concerning divorce in California.  Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

Divorce Mediation Success Rate

According to a recent article published by, divorce mediation has an 80% success rate for resolving divorces amicably. Many California couples find that they can use divorce mediation to end the marriage more amicably and faster than battling through the litigation process. This article explores the purpose and benefits of mediation as well as the factors influencing the success of mediation with information sourced from  

The purpose of mediation. 

  • Mediation is voluntary. 
  • Mediation encourages open communication and compromise.
  • The mediator is a neutral third party whose goal is to facilitate a resolution that is acceptable to both parties. 
  • The mediator can give parties unbiased opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of their legal arguments. 
  • The mediator is typically very experienced and can suggest various options to questions involving custody and/or property division.

 Factors influencing success of mediation. 

  • The presence of a neutral mediator balances power and facilitates productive discussions. 
  • The voluntary nature of mediation encourages commitment to finding solutions that work for both parties.
  • The flexibility of mediation allows couples to address concerns and options that are unique to their family and circumstances, which would be more customized than the solutions a court would generally impose. 


 Benefits of mediation. 

  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Speed.
  • A healthier, more constructive transition to post-divorce life.
  • Promotes amicable resolutions, which can help reduce the stress and anxiety of children caught in the divorce process. 
  • Creativity in solution finding is much easier through mediation.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

The statistics show that mediation can be an effective tool for divorcing couples, and having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney by your side during the mediation process can further facilitate the success of the process.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with divorce all other family law matters. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

Name Change After Divorce in California

According to a 2022 CNN article, about 80% of women in the U.S. change their surname when they get married and a small percentage of men change their name with marriage

If you are getting divorced in California, you may also be considering changing your name. Some people want a name change to mark a new identity and others may want to return to a name that was better known professionally or socially. This article will summarize the various processes for name change in California, with information sourced from the California courts self-help resources.

Changing your name back to a former legal name during a California divorce. 

  • There are two different forms to use, depending on whether you are changing your name when you finish your divorce or after your divorce.
  • The forms are FL-395 or FL-180. 

 If you want to change your name to something completely new. 

  • If you want to create a new name, then the process and forms are different than the ones used for divorce. 
  • You would use a petition for change of name. NC-100

 Steps to complete after your name is changed. 

  • Complete an Application for a Social Security Card with the Social Security Administration.
  • Contact the California Division of Motor Vehicles.
  • Contact the California Department of Health to obtain a new birth certificate with your amended name. 

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Changing your name can be a positive step for some people in starting a new life after the divorce. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with all matters related to divorce and can assist you in changing your name and following through on the steps to complete after the name change is accomplished. For help with divorce and all other family law matters, please contact us at 707-451-4502. 

How to Survive Living Together During the Divorce

Many couples remain living in the same home during the divorce process, and it is very challenging. This article will summarize best practices suggested by a website devoted to providing support and solutions for thriving beyond divorce, with the source here:

Talk with your children. 

  • It is important for both you and your spouse to explain what is happening and to reassure children that although things are changing, you both love them and are committed to making sure that they are supported and cared for. 

 Take the roommate approach and establish boundaries.

  • Discuss how your home will be divided so that each person has privacy. 
  • Get your own room.
  • Respect boundaries and demand respect for yours. 

 Create a parenting schedule. 

  • Even though you are all under one roof, you are now coparents and need to determine what the parenting schedule is and stick to it. 

Embrace a new normal. 

  • Living together gives you and the children the opportunity to adjust slowly to a new normal. You can model for your children resilience to change and adaptability that may help them adjust positively to their new normal. 

 Practice self-care. 

  • Your physical, emotional, social and professional well-being are paramount for you to navigate the divorce process and be a leader to help your children successfully navigate their new normal also. Do not be afraid to focus on yourself and do what you need to do, whether that be therapy, exercise, relaxation, etc. to take care of your own well-being.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

The divorce process can be challenging, but finding great legal counsel you can trust can help reduce the stress.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with divorce all other family law matters. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

Who Has a Better Chance of Getting Custody of the Kids in a California Divorce?

This article considers statistics relating to the physical custody of children and also the legal factors involved in these decisions.   

What are the statistics on physical custody?


These statistics are according to data published in 20202, which can be accessed here, 

  • Nearly 4 in 5 custodial parents were mothers. 
  • However, in more than half of the cases, the parties agree that the mother should have custody. 

Does this mean that there is a bias toward mother’s for physical custody? 

  • The legal standards, which will be described below, do not contain a gender bias. 
  • The statistics do not necessarily support the finding of a gender bias in the law because many of the parties surveyed had a parenting plan that was agreed upon by the parties and not based on a court award of custody. 


 What are the legal standards for determining physical custody?


Some of the factors that a judge may consider are listed on the self-help website of the California courts which can be accessed here. Factors that can be considered in determining the best interest of the child are the following:

  • Age and health of the child.
  • The emotional ties between the parents and the child.
  • The child’s ties to their school, home and community.
  • The ability of each parent to care for the child. 
  • Any history of family violence. 
  • Any regular and ongoing substance abuse by either parent. 

Contact an Experienced Divorce Firm

Each case is different, and whether you are a mother or father, the purpose of the family laws in California are to protect the best interest of your children. You need an attorney who understands family law and has the requisite experience to help you navigate the system. If you need help with any divorce issue or a other family law legal matter, contact the Law Office of David Knecht.  We have extensive experience with family law will listen to you and fight to achieve your goals. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

How Should I Tell My School Aged Children About Divorce?

One of the most important and challenging conversations a parent can have with their children is telling them about a divorce. It’s a discussion that will likely always be remembered, so handling this topic is of utmost importance. This article summarizes content from and provides a checklist for parents to guide them in breaking the news to their children in a positive way. The full article can be found here


  • Begin by affirming your love for the children and assuring them that you will always be their parent. Tell them that you will always be there for them, but there will be some changes in the family. 

Acknowledge Problems but Don’t Detail Them.

  • Acknowledge that there were problems in the marriage and that you tried to fix them, but do not go into detail about what you think your spouse did wrong. Those are adult issues and too complex and heavy or children, and also you do not want to place your children in a situation where they feel they have to take sides. Be clear with the children that they were in no way at fault and consider apologizing to them for impacting their lives with this new change. 

Consider Your Words. 

  • Consider your children and carefully choose your words. For example, the word “divorce” can be extremely triggering to some children, so you may want to start by calling it a separation. For other children, they may want or need a more direct explanation from you. Make a decision ahead of the conversation about the words you will use. 

Convey Security and Confidence. 

  • Your children need to know that both you and then will be ok. Avoid expressing insecurity about what will happen or how you will get by financially. Try to express confidence and security to your children so that they will feel safe to weather the changes. If one parent is moving out, it is helpful if they already have those arrangements in place so that they can tell the children where they will be and confirm to them that they will still be available and accessible. 

Have the Conversation Together with Your CoParent. 

  • Although emotions may be running high with your coparent, it is often beneficial to work jointly to deliver the message to the children. This can provide confidence to the children that both parents love them and will work together. Emphasize that you will both try to do your best to make the changes as easy on the children as possible. 

Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer

Even if you are just contemplating a divorce, but not certain that you want to go forward, contacting an experienced divorce attorney can be helpful. You can make a plan and know your options. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience helping clients with a California divorce, and we are happy to answer your family law questions. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

3 Myths and Misconceptions about Postnuptial Agreements in California

If you are planning to get married, you may be getting advice from family or friends encouraging you to get a “prenup.” A prenuptial agreement is contract entered into prior to marriage that often contains provisions for property and debt division in the event of a divorce. This article addresses some of the common myths and misconceptions regarding prenup agreements.  

  A prenup dooms your marriage. 

  • Asking your loved one to sign a prenup is not very romantic, but often marriage involves challenges where thoughtful planning and communication can trump the romance and assumptions that come in the courtship stage, which is why loving relatives and friends urge couples to keep the romance alive later in the marriage by tackling tough topics before conflicts arise. 
  • Asking for a prenup is not bucking a trend, but rather following it. As reported on, 44% of singles think a prenup is a good idea and 15% of divorcing couples wish they had signed a prenup. 

Prenups are expensive to get or are just for rich people

  • Truth is, not matter how much or little money you have, everyone at some level cares about money because it is the way we survive. 
  • You may have student loans or credit card debts or may plan to incur those during the marriage. 
  • You may inherit money during the marriage. 
  • You may want a safety net against your future spouse’s unhealthy behaviors (money toward addictions, uncontrolled spending, etc. )

Prenups are unfair 

  • The most widely publicized prenup cases are often those that are unfair to one spouse, but the norm is to create a balanced and fair agreement that effectuates the goals of both spouses. 
  • Both parties should be represented each by their own lawyer to ensure fairness in the prenup process. 

Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer

Many couples want a simple prenup that doesn’t break the bank and others want a complex contract that deals with significant assets and future income. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of cost and complexity, here at the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in prenuptial agreements in California and can help you successfully prepare a contract within your budget that meets your goals. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 


How Can Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Strengthen Marriages?

Many people are reluctant to broach the topic of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to their fiancée or spouse with the concern that it may be seen as a hostile or distrusting gesture, but in an article published at, the author (who is a wealth advisor and divorced parent herself) asserts that these types of agreements can actually strengthen marriage and can avoid disastrous consequences in divorce

Why talk about prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements before things go sour?

  • Life is unpredictable and marriage is difficult
  • Talking about challenging topics while the marriage is still good is better than waiting until the typically adversarial construct of a divorce
  • Money and communication are the two top reasons why people get divorced,

What is a prenup or postnup and why do you need one?

  • A prenup is a contract entered prior to marriage
  • A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenup except that it is executed after a couple is already married. 
  • It commonly addresses spousal support and provisions of assets in a divorce
  • It’s not just for the rich and famous. Everyone has something worth protecting.
  • It can address property, debt, future inheritances and earnings. 
  • Information or documents that show assets and debts.

What are topics to consider in a prenup/postnup?

  • Division of assets and debts
  • Amount and duration of maintenance/alimony upon divorce
  • Ownership and use of property 
  • Trusts or wills

Can a prenup or postnup determine child custody or support?

  • No, parental responsibilities and child support are based on the best interest of the children, so they cannot be negotiated in advance of a marriage or divorce.

Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer

An experienced family lawyer can help you with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that can save time and anxiety in the future. At the Law Office of David Knecht we have extensive experience with family law in California and can help you successfully prepare these agreements. We look forward to assisting you.  Contact us at 707-451-4502. 


Preparation for Mediation in a Divorce Case

This article follows our previous introduction to mediation. This is part 2, which will provide information on how to prepare for mediation in a divorce case, with information derived from the California Court website.


Choosing the mediator

  • Selecting the mediator is an important decision in preparing for a successful mediation, and the right mediator is a very personal decision.
  • For some parties, an excellent mediator might be a former judge to provide experience and information on legal issues. 
  • For other parties, an excellent mediator might be one with the right temperament to fit the parties. Some mediators are more sensitive and collaborative and others tend to be more formal and commanding. 
  • The differences in mediators are as numerous as the differences in attorneys, judges and experts, so no two are alike, and you want to find one that you believe best fits your personality and the opposing party.


Understanding the process

  • Mediation can take different forms. In some cases, the mediator meets with each party separately. In other instances, the mediator might lead a discussion of both parties and counsel. In some instances attorneys will be present an in other instances, unrepresented parties seek to use the mediator without retaining and attorney. 


  • Find out ahead the time constraints of the parties and the mediator, so that you can properly pace yourself during the process. 

Ask yourself difficult and probing questions prior to the mediation


  • Seek to see the strengths and weaknesses of your own case. Be realistic in assessing your position. 


  • Try to understand.  Strive to analyze the arguments of the other party and contemplate how to address them. Are there solutions you can think of where all parties win?


  • Learn from the past but focus on the future. You cannot change the past, but you can learn from it. What do you know about your former spouse that will influence your decisions? How can you predict their behavior to foresee problems and challenges that may arise and how can those be addressed ahead of time in the mediation process?
  • Let go of emotion. This is one of the most difficult steps of mediation. A court case can never resolve the anger and hurt that is involved in most divorces, so expecting vindication is a barrier to an effective settlement. To the extent that you can view the case logically and impartially, this will help you understand and accept a result that may be in your best interest. 


Mediation can be an emotional and challenging process, but it is an extremely important step in the divorce process where the right attorney can add tremendous value. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have years of experience with divorce and specifically with divorce mediation. Call us today at 707-451-4502. 


What is Mediation for a Divorce Case?

This article will provide introductory information about the purpose of mediation, how it works and what to do to prepare for a divorce mediation with information derived from the California Court website.

What is divorce mediation?

  • It is a flexible dispute resolution process with an independent third party who helps to facilitate communication and solution-finding between parties to resolve their own dispute outside of the court system. 

Does the mediator take sides?

  • The mediator is intended to be a neutral party who does not take sides, make decisions, offer legal advice or reveal confidential information. 
  • However, an effective mediator may offer an opinion or share references to legal authority that may be on point for the question at hand. A mediator may provide context with information on how issues have been previously decided by the court.  

What if I have concerns about the process? 

  • If you have any concerns about the mediation process, you should raise those and make sure they are resolved to your satisfaction prior to proceeding. 
  • Some common concerns can include practical considerations like the billing rate of the mediator and your responsibility to pay, or legal concerns such as whether  a judge can make negative inferences against you if you do not settle or whether the information shared in mediation is confidential.
  • It is the mediator’s job to resolve any concerns that you may have prior to the process, and you should not be afraid to ask questions throughout the mediation process. 

 What are some best practices to ensure a successful mediation? 

  • Ask the mediator how to best utilize their services. The mediator often has experience and can guide you as to how to maximize their time and experience. 
  • Come ready to participate fully, honestly and courteously. 
  • Be willing to understand the other party’s arguments. This does not mean you need to agree with them, but understanding your opponent is a good step in finding out of the box solutions. 
  • Assess litigation costs and prospects realistically to yourself. You typically will not get everything you want in a mediation, so assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your case will help you focus on the wins that are most important to you. 


There are many divorce lawyers, but not all family law attorneys have extensive experience. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have years of experience with divorce and other family law issues. Additionally, we have a commitment to customize our approach to your specific needs and seek to understand your goals and help you achieve them. Call us at 707-451-4502.