Hi Dan, I should set the record straight. Splitting the hive is not the main part of my strategy, it just makes it easier to move the hive & find the queen later on, after the main part of my strategy.
The main part of my strategy is to move the hive away so that the field, guard & all of the mature bees move into the weak colony, provided everything is fine with the weak colony. There should be no need to inspect the weak colony until most of the angry bees have expired.
Believe me, once the mature bees have left the angry hive, leaving only nurse bees, the job of finding the queen will be so much easier. Also the queen will be easier to spot on a frame with most of mature bees gone.
If people are counting numbers of hives in the yard, by all means leave the two brood boxes together.
When it comes to saving a queen vs a law suit, there are times when it would seem trivial to place importance of saving the queen. Avoiding a law suit would seem more important to me.
Probably the best thing to do would be to move the hives away.
I wonder how far you’d have to drive out of San Diago before you hit a semi-rural area. It wouldn’t take long before you found someone willing to have bees on their property in exchange for honey.