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The Ilumni Institute is proud to present Raising the Bar. We are committed to providing Family Law attorneys with relevant and engaging content to enrich their service to their clients.

Real Property Land Mines: Protecting Your Client's Interests in Divorce

Real property land mines can derail even the most straightforward divorce case. Whether a divorcing couple is looking to sell a mutually owned property, or one spouse is looking to buy the other one out, handling property issues correctly is the lynchpin for helping clients move forward. Not only that, but many attorneys (and other important fees) are paid out of the proceeds of a home sale. That sale lingering for months longer than it should affects everyone in the case. 

In this session, we’ll discuss some of the common land mines that can disrupt real property issues, and what attorneys can do to help their clients navigate around them.

The Impact of the Real Estate Market on Your Practice

As the real estate market changes, houses can linger on the market longer. More showings can be required to get the same house sold. Foreclosures can loom as a bigger threat. This results in shakier transactions — and a less certain business future for attorneys who are getting paid out of the results of transactions.

Qualifying for a Buy-Out: The Five-Step Smell Test

Your client wants to keep the house. They are adamant that you go before the judge to make it happen. Before you put yourself on the line — is a buyout even possible? What’s their credit score? Is their income high enough to qualify? By performing a quick smell test, you can make sure your client isn’t wasting their money and everyone else’s time by fighting for something that isn’t even possible.

Complying with Real Property Due Diligence

A “surprise” IRS lien, a forbearance deferment, or a secret love-child support lien can derail a case. Proper due diligence could have caught any of these scenarios before the case even got going. From loan payoffs, to title reports, to liens, due diligence is an essential best practice — as long as you know where to look.

Family Law Orders that Sabotage the Sale

Court orders regarding real estate often have two major issues: They aren’t specific enough about how the house should be handled — or — They are too specific and try to mandate what the market will do. Precise and well-written court orders can make the difference between a successful case and one that languishes in market purgatory.

The Role of a CDRE™ in Family Law Cases

Just like any other part of the case, real property deserves its own expert. From keeping you educated on current real property issues to being a resource for matters that arise in your cases, a CDRE™ has a streamlined process for mitigating and preventing conflict, so that the sale of the house can occur and the parties can maximize the return from their biggest financial asset.


Meet the Presenters

Laurel Starks, Divorce Real Estate Agent and Founder of The Ilumni Institute  

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Laurel Starks is a recognized court-appointed expert and trained neutral in family law cases involving real estate matters. Her focus on divorce-related real estate has led to over $180 million in sales volume throughout Southern California, and she is often regarded by her peers as the pioneer of the divorce real estate niche.

Laurel has advised, consulted, and testified in hundreds of divorce cases, facilitating the sale of real property, as well as providing fair market valuation reports and testimony.. She is a national speaker on topics pertaining to real estate in family law.

Attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals have come to rely on Laurel’s knowledge, judgment, and integrity, as well as her ability to explain complex real estate matters to those affected by them.

  • Laurel is the author of The House Matters in Divorce: Untangling the Legal, Financial, and Emotional Ties to the House in Divorce (Publisher: Unhooked Books, 2016).
  • In 2016, she was recognized as an Inman Innovator by Inman News for her pioneering work in the divorce real estate field.
  • In 2017, she was recognized as an Inman Influencer for her contributions to the real estate industry as the founder of The Ilumni Institute.
  • In 2008 and 2014, she completed Divorce Mediation Training under the instruction of the legendary Forrest “Woody” Mosten, Esq. 
  • In 2007, she completed Collaborative Divorce Team Training and was the first practicing real estate agent to attend CD Training.

Marie Moreno-Myers, Esq. - Certified Family Law Specialist

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Attorney Myers is recognized as a Certified Family Law Specialist by the California State Board of Legal Specialization. She continues to participate in the rigorous education process to maintain her specialization. With over 38 years of legal service, she helps clients achieve positive outcomes in their family law cases. She successfully completed the preeminent trial training program for family law practitioners through the American Bar Association Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute and is a former professor of community property at the California Southern Law School in Riverside.

Attorney Myers is on the Riverside County Superior Courts List of Approved Minor’s Counsel Attorneys.  She takes these special cases by Court Appointment only. As Minor’s Counsel, she provides legal representation to children involved in family law cases. Her role as a fact-finder is to learn about the child’s best interest including the health, safety, and welfare of the child by gathering information from interviews with the child, parents, therapists, and/or doctors. She also evaluates school and medical records, psychological evaluations, and any other information that provides relevant insight pertaining to the child’s needs.

In addition to being minor’s counsel, Attorney Myers operates her private law practice, The Law Offices of Marie Moreno-Myers in Riverside County.  She is a seasoned trial attorney, with extensive experience in dealing with complex property issues.  She has had hundreds of contested hearings including multi-day trials, including direct examination and cross-examination of expert witnesses.

Jason Gordon, Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert,
Certified Divorce Lending Professional, and Senior Mortgage Loan Officer 

Jason Gordon is a San Diego-based licensed Residential Mortgage Loan Officer with extensive experience working with divorcing home buyers and homeowners as a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP), Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE), and a Real Estate Collaboration Specialist – Divorce (RCS-D). As a CDLP, CDRE, and RCS-D, Jason has been trained to proactively identify obstacles divorcing clients face when trying to maintain mortgage financing, while providing collaborative guidance during the settlement process to better enable future mortgage financing opportunities. Jason actively presents educational content to real estate professionals to help them effectively and responsibly assist divorcing clients.





When: September 22nd, 2021
12:00 - 1:15PM PST (3:00 - 4:15PM EST)

Where: Ilumni U (via Zoom)

Cost: $55 (complimentary to guests of CDREs)