At the very beginning, Daniel Hillard throws a huge party that prompts his divorce. Daniel is forced to move out of the house and into a sh*tty apartment. How is this legal?
Daniel Hillard and his wife live in California, which decides how to divide property in a divorce by what is referred to as “community property.” Community property is everything that a married couple own together—which includes everything bought or received while the couple was married that wasn't a gift or inheritance.
So, we must assume that the house was “community property” and that the court had to make a decision of how to divide it during the divorce. A court has a few options—it may order that the couple sell and divide the profits, or that the spouse staying in the home “buy out” the departing spouse.
However, when the spouses have minor children in common, the court may delay the sale of the home to minimize the impact of the divorce on the minor children.
This would mean both spouses continue to own the home jointly for a set period, giving the custodial parent exclusive use of the home during this time. This delay could be what forced Daniel out and into an apartment.
What would a custody battle look like for this kind of divorce?
It's ultimately within the discretion of the court. Courts will encourage divorcing couples to reach a mutually agreeable arrangement, and may send the couple to court-ordered mediation to foster a compromise. If no agreement is reached, a court will evaluate a series of factors, putting paramount importance on the “best interests of the children.”
A social worker is sent to Daniel’s apartment twice a week to “check” on Daniel to make sure he has a job, etc. Is this normal for a divorce?
It may be, it may not. While it seems a bit overblown in Daniel’s context, it is conceivable that a court, faced with such an elaborate and disastrous birthday party and a spouse that walks off his job, would question whether there is any temporary mental, physical, or emotional condition that could render child visitation unsafe.
In this context, they may seek to have a social worker “check” on Daniel, to make sure that he is not suffering from any condition that would render supervised visitation necessary.