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FLARPL

Discussion in 'Alimony & Spousal Support' started by jessiereithofer, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. jessiereithofer

    jessiereithofer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    I need to hire an attorney to represent me in continuing spousal support. I have no money but will be selling my home in Utah. Can my attorney prepare a FLARPL in California securing payment via my home in Utah?
     
  2. KatDini

    KatDini Well-Known Member

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    You would need to ask your attorney that question.
     
  3. jessiereithofer

    jessiereithofer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was hoping I to know before I went to an attorney.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Most attorneys have little interest in the CA Family Code section 2033, some will use the mechanism as a remedy of last resort for some clients. The attorneys I know seek money for their services.

    Be wary of any attorney who takes an interest in placing a lien on real estate, other attorneys say the attorney using CA Family Code section 2033 could be desperate for business.


    Here is an excellent answer to your question by a CA licensed attorney, Thurman W. Arnold III, a Palm Springs Divorce Attorney (licensed to practice law in CA).

    A client can grant their lawyer a FLARPL - or "Family Law Attorney Real Property Lien." In some respects it is like placing a mortgage or line of credit on real property. If there is sufficient equity in a home, condominium, vacant land or commercial real estate some attorneys will agree to work now in the expectation that they will be paid later, so long as they have a security interest that protects the fees they earn. The involved real estate is being encumbered and not sold to the attorney, and its purpose is not to have the attorney wind up owning your valuable assets but instead to assure a source of payment if all else fails. Indeed, divorce lawyers are not trying to leverage themselves into stealing your hard-earned assets - but it could feel that way.

    Lawyers hate FLARPLs. They are a big hassle with a number of rules and procedures that must be followed exactly, and by their nature they create of conflict of interest between the attorney and client that, at a minimum, can drive of wedge between them and become a source of suspicion and distrust. Clients panic when they think that if they default on the obligation to pay their attorney that he or she may foreclose them out. Ironically though, and at least for me, the only clients for whom I would even consider using one are the ones that I trust and respect the most. I wouldn't dream of entering into what equates with an economic partnership of sorts with any client that was highly litigious, reactive, narcissistic or a bad risk for any number of reasons. When I do consider them at all, it is because I really, really care about that client's circumstances and I know that if I otherwise have to withdraw from the case, they will be ruined by the other side; I also recognize that any client that gives me a lien upon their home cannot help but resent it.

    Where the property to be secured belongs to the community estate, the client can only hypothecate their one-half interest and not the half belonging to the other spouse. This means that in order for a FLARPL to provide the attorney meaningful protections that he will be paid, there must be substantial equity relative to any pre-existing mortgages or other secured loans because the client only has one-half the net value to offer up. Usually the question of using a FLARPL only arises once fees have grown to become a big number. Obviously a family attorney is much more likely to be willing to accept one if the property is free and clear, but that is rarely the case. If its fair market value isn't significantly greater than the amounts owing senior lenders, it isn't going to be a tool that works.

    Sometimes the home or building that might secured the FLARPL is itself a hotly contested issue in the case in terms of whether it is properly characterized as community or separate property. Again, in those situations, it is not a viable solution. The other party is entitled to object as described in Family Code section 2034 to one spouse encumbering the property. Again, only the one client's interest in the property is directly affected but once a FLARPL is recorded with the County Recorder's office it becomes a lien like any other, and that can cloud title and adversely affect marketability. Few litigants will feel warmly about the other spouse's attorney effectively gaining a deed of trust on one of their assets. Still, even if the other spouse or domestic partner objects and requests a court hearing to challenge the allowing the FLARPL to take hold, most family court judges will approve them.

    In over thirty years of practicing divorce and family law I have used a FLARPL only once, and only a few of my colleagues have reported ever employing them to me. A couple who have asked me about my thoughts concerning them have complained about how difficult they can be to enforce. One in particular got stuck holding a couple before the real estate market imploded, which therefore become utterly worthless. If the property is lost through foreclosure or non-judicial sale to a senior encumbrancer, kiss the security good bye.

    The device created by Family Code section 2033 is a remedy of last resort, and makes sense only on a very small fraction of my high-conflict litigation cases.

    If you wish to learn about how to create a FLARPL please read the excellent article by my associate, Michael C. Peterson - we actually provide you all the templates you need to create one (as always, do your own due diligence!).
    If you wish to examine documents necessary to create a FLARPL, visit us here What Is A FLARPL? | Will My Attorney Accept a FLARPL? | How Pay My Divorce Attorney | Which Is Best Divorce Website !


    This is the attorney's website, don't take this as an endorsement of this particular attorney, it is meant to allow you to read other legal postings by the CA attorney:

    Cal Family Code Section 2033 | What Is A FLARPL? | Family Law Real Property Liens | Divorce Attorneys and FLARPLS
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    This seems like a rather bizarre question. If you're referring to a specific attorney, we obviously have no way of knowing what some unknown attorney is and isn't capable of doing. If you're asking a more general question (e.g., "can an attorney prepare a FLARPL"), the answer is that some attorneys (generally family law attorneys) have that ability, while most non-family law attorneys probably don't even know what a "FLARPL" is.

    The better question is whether your lawyer (or any lawyer you'd like to hire) will accept a lien against your Utah home and a promise of payment once the home sells. Needless to say, we have no way of knowing whether any particular attorney will or won't represent you on such terms. All you can do is call your attorney or an attorney and ask.
     
  6. jessiereithofer

    jessiereithofer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I still don't think you are understanding my question. I have already read the article you provided above, as well as server others. My question is, is it possible for a California attorney to take a lien on Utah property; is it valid in another state?
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    If it's prepared and perfected properly, yes.
     
  8. jessiereithofer

    jessiereithofer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you. That's just what I needed to know.
     

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