Areas Of Practice

If you are considering a divorce, it is very important that you contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney in order to “plan ahead” or even if you have just been served with “surprise” paperwork. I have over twenty-five years experience and have seen all aspects which may arise in a divorce and can provide advice on how to navigate the pitfalls. Such issues may include:

  • Child custody
  • Child visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal Support
  • Property division
  • Mediation
 

I am always hopeful and do my best that a settlement can be reached or at least on a portion of the issues. It is far better to decide your own fate rather than have a judge decide it for you. Additionally, the more that is agreed on, the less billing hours will be required to bring your matter to completion. In any event, you will want the legal paperwork done properly. I often sit in court and view people attempting to represent themselves who simply miss what the court is trying to tell them. Sometimes the issues present a more complex situation wherein it is even more necessary that you have legal representation.

An often overlooked point is that if you retain an experienced attorney in negotiation, the stress is lessened since the attorney provides a “go between” so that the parties need not interact on delicate issues.

I have helped countless individuals navigate simple and complex divorces. I can discuss it all with you a free thirty minute consultation. I look forward to speaking with you.

An annulment of marriage action is similar to a divorce, however, the court’s finding is that there was never a valid marriage to begin with. It is based upon certain grounds which legally render the marriage void. If a person was forced into a marriage with duress or there was fraud involved or the person did not have the capacity, (mental or physical) to enter into the marriage. Similarly, someone who is still married to a prior spouse cannot enter into a valid marriage without terminating that prior marriage.

It is important to properly present the relevant grounds and most courts require a hearing in order to establish the need for the annulment. If there are children involved, this provides additional complications and legal steps that must be taken to protect them.

A legal separation is an action similar to a dissolution of the marriage (divorce) but the parties are not free to remarry at conclusion of it. There may be several reasons why parties would choose to proceed in this manner. One could be for religious reasons. Another so that health insurance can be maintained for an ailing partner. The processes are the same in that property and debt are divided and a judgment signed by the court formally separates the parties’ financial responsibilities. The issues with a legal separation are the same as those in a divorce. Who is going to takeover and pay the mortgage? Which party will pay which credit cards and how will this impact the credit ratings? Will one of the individuals receive spousal support? What will be the division of responsibility for the children? All of these issues can get resolved and worked out in a legal separation agreement with the help of an experienced family law attorney such as myself. An attorney will eliminate the necessity of the two spouses dealing with each other under a very stressful and emotional time. It is important that the lawyer you choose has your best interests as the main focus. Call me for a free thirty minute consultation about your situation.

Child custody is a serious legal issue and the proper initial handling is important in that it may affect all issues of your and your child’s life in the future. Once there are court orders you are obligated to follow the court’s decision. The well-being of your children depends on what you do so guidance from an experienced family law attorney knowledgeable in child custody is important. I have successfully helped countless numbers of parents with innumerable fact scenarios. Sometimes the other parent simply doesn’t want to “share” or perhaps the other parent is a danger to the child’s health or welfare. Each case is very individual and I recommend that you call me at my office to set-up a free thirty minute consultation so that the orders you end up with are orders that you can live with.

Additionally, circumstances regarding any child custody order can change. A parent can return to court to modify orders based on a “change of circumstances.” The initial language in the judgment will have a bearing on the “burden of proof” necessary to modify custody. Protect your rights and call me. We can discuss your case personally.

When dealing with any issue regarding child visitation, it is crucial to contact a child visitation attorney in your local area. Child visitation rights can ultimately affect every aspect of your life. Court orders and agreements can often be violated. Sometimes a person may feel they are being punished by not being allowed to see their children under the circumstances that they would desire. Let’s talk about what is appropriate in your case and what facts the court takes into consideration. The “best interest” of the child is always what is the primary concern and the child must be protected from harm of any type. Protecting children’s and parent’s rights has been my focus for many years. I am very interested in your case and will talk to you for thirty minutes at no cost either by phone or in my office. We can together evaluate your legal options concerning your case and how best to proceed.

It is a tragedy of our culture that domestic violence is fairly common. What is particularly horrible is that it is one’s own family member or loved one is perpetrating the crime. Not only is it illegal but it can have far reaching effects as to child custody, spousal support and other areas of family law. Further, it may develop into a very dangerous situation where personal injury or even death is the result.

Sometimes, however, one partner may accuse the other of domestic violence to obtain a perceived advantage in a divorce action. At such times it is urgent and invaluable to have the correct legal representation to defend such an action.

It can be very frightening to have suffered spousal abuse or domestic violence and the victim may hesitate to contact authorities for fear of future harm and particularly when children are involved. The children themselves must be protected, not only from the violence, but from witnessing same.

Causing fear is often one of the main elements of spousal abuse and often times the offender will apologize later and promise it will never again occur but, unfortunately, statistics tell a different story. It is important to get proper representation for the prosecution of a domestic violence restraining order or to defend against false accusations. It is important to discern the facts when one partner attempts to “set up” circumstances to lend evidence to his or her claim of domestic violence. Because I have been practicing for over twenty-five years I can help decipher those signs and circumstances and properly present your case to the court. Time is an important factor with these types of cases so do not delay in allowing me to give you the proper advice and representation.

It is obvious that children will be best served by having a continuing and supportive relationship with both parents after a divorce or legal separation. This is especially true after the rupture of the family dynamic caused by a divorce. Often, divorced or unmarried fathers are given short shrift in legal proceedings involving their children by courts that favor mothers in custody and visitation disputes. It is imperative that a father who finds himself in such a situation should retain the services of a family lawyer who will knowledgeably and aggressively promote his rights in matters of child custody, visitation, paternity, child support and any modification of those existing agreements or orders.

I have been assiduously promoting father’s rights throughout my career and will work vigorously to ensure your paternal rights are safeguarded and are treated in a fair and just manner.

People do not always put forth their best behavior when involved in a stressful and emotional circumstance such as divorce. Sometimes it may be necessary to obtain a restraining order to block the other party form certain actions such as removing children from the state or inflicting physical harm such as domestic violence. Once a child has left the state, it is much more complex to obtain the return.

It is crucial in these situations that you contact a local family law attorney that is familiar with obtaining restraining orders. Your own safety can be the issue or those of a resident child. Once there is a court order, violation of these orders can incur criminal penalties such as arrest and prosecution. Restraining orders can be obtained on an immediate basis. Please allow me to help you “de-stress” the situation. Call me and we can speak at no charge for approximately thirty minutes to determine your best legal options.

Child support plays a vital part in protecting your child’s future. How will the costs of rearing a child be worked out between two parents who have decided to part? There is a general formula that is used in California which is calculated through a computer program. I subscribe to the identical formula program that a judge would use so can accurately predict (as long as we have the correct facts to include) what support amount would be ordered. There are individual factors such as income and time share that are variable in each case. I have over 25 years experience that have allowed me to know how to maximize the effect of the numbers.

Child support is always modifiable as life factors can change over the years. The parties may have changes in employment and income or the visitation of one parent may be altered. In a free thirty minute consultation, I can address the viability of those changes, whether for your benefit or not. Let me help you and your child(ren) have the best result possible.

Spousal support is an issue resulting when two spouses separate their finances. The two parties may completely disagree on the amount that should be paid to the other or their understanding of the purpose for the support or how to calculate “income.” Either party may be eligible for spousal support in California upon certain conditions. It is important to contact a spousal support attorney in your local area. Some aspects taken into consideration by the court when setting
long-term spousal support are:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The income of each party.
  • How bills incurred during the marriage were paid in the past.
  • Health and age of each partner.
  • Requisite expenses of each partner.
  • Whether children are still living at home.

 

Temporary spousal support is set pursuant to California Guidelines as calculated by a computer program.

Each set of facts which may or may not support spousal support is very different and it is important to have a local family law attorney advise you about what is best done in your case. Spousal support (alimony) amounts may also be modified. An existing agreement or court order
may need review and updating due to changes in circumstance such as in employment or financial condition.

California is a “community property state.” This means that any assets (or debts) acquired by either or both parties during the marriage is presumed to be community property for purposes of property division. This means each party should receive one-half of the value of the property or be one-half responsible for the debt. Sometimes issues may center around title on deeds or tracing of separate property down payments or contributions. This area of the law can become complex. It is important to use a local knowledgeable family law attorney to unwind these issues. I recommend that you call me at my office for a free thirty (30) minute consolation during which we can ascertain how to get your best “deal.” Inheritances and gifts are not included as community assets.

There are numerous situations that might cause the need to assign a legal guardian for a child. This may occur if the child is unsafe with the parents, a parent is in incarcerated or a parent has passed away. Guardianship is not the same as adoption. The adopting person becomes the legal parent of the child with the same duties and privileges of a birth parent. In Guardianship, However, the guardian may have many of the same rights in lieu of a parent but the child legally retains his or her own parents.

There is no requirement that legal guardian be a relative but often a family member steps forward.

Sometimes a guardianship is necessary in order to include the child on the guardian’s healthcare policy and the guardianship provides that the guardian can make decisions regarding the child’s education, medical and dental care. A guardianship can continue until the child reaches the age of 18 (becomes an adult) or can be terminated earlier if a judge deems that it is safe to do so. I have many years experience in guardianship practice and can represent persons seeking to become guardians or parents desirous of opposing a guardianship. I look forward to discussing the details of your case with you.

In a divorce action, pension benefits accrued during the marriage become part of the property settlement. If you or your partner has a pension, the court will determine how to divide the asset. Depending on the type of pension asset, it can be divided “in kind” between the parties by a Qualified Domestic Relation Order which divides the portions for distribution upon retirement or offset in some other way against other property assets. Obviously, this can become a complex issue so the guidance of a knowledgeable family law attorney is valuable. It becomes very important how the language in a divorce judgment is written. Each case is unique and I am very happy to find out your facts and assist you with your case to make sure you receive the full value of your investment of time and money and guarantee your retirement.

A mediator does not represent either party in the divorce, separation or annulment and is an impartial third party. It is best to have an experienced family law attorney to act as mediator because the law can be explained and implemented and applied to facts by that attorney in order to avoid the necessity of going to court. Each party will have an opportunity to bring forward their demands and concerns.

Most attorney costs surround court appearances since multiple other cases are heard on the same day and one must “wait their turn.” Mediation is an excellent option for reducing expensive court time. Sometimes the parties cannot have necessary discussion without argument or hurt feelings and stress so it is of benefit to both parties to hire an experienced family law mediator. I have over twenty-five years of experience and my skills in negotiation are a strongpoint. Let me assist you and your family in this manner.

Under certain circumstances grandparents may be given rights to visitation with their grandchildren. In particular, where the children and grandparent have had a very bonded relationship and have spent substantial time together. These rights would be outside of any other custodial time awarded to the parents.

It is always best, if possible, to arrange visitation with a grandchild directly with the parent. Some parents are more willing than others to be helpful in this manner. Conversely, some parents will fight to ensure that the grandparent does not get to visit the child which could be a result of anger or emotional issues that get in the way. This is where an experienced Grandparent’s Rights attorney can help by bringing the important issues to the court’s attention.

It may also be an option for the grandparents to join an existing case between the two parents. I am dedicated to my clients and will always work to increase the chances of a good outcome; the more loving relationships a child may possess, the more secure an individual he or she will become.

What a great thing it is to become the legal parent of a stepchild that you have become bonded to! To terminate the other biological parent’s rights so that you can step in as the legal parent is the only sure way to make sure a stepparent’s custodial position is secured in case of the death of the custodial parent. If you would like to adopt your stepchild, you should contact a stepparent adoption attorney in your area. I have helped many, many stepparents adopt a loved child successfully, with or without the consent of the other biological parent. Sometimes the biological parent is still living but can’t be found or he or she may have deserted the family that is now yours. Sometimes the actual parent may be incarcerated or in trouble with the law or that parent simply has made no effort to take care of their own child. These may all be precursors to your adoption quest.

I am well-versed in how to accomplish stepparent adoptions and would be very interested in talking to you about your situation. I look forward to your free legal consultation wherein we can discuss this important and life changing event for all involved.

Probate is the legal process which passes title to property from the decedent to a beneficiary. If the decedent names the beneficiaries in a Will, the representative is called an Executor; if there is no will and title passes according to California Intestate Succession, for instance (California states who as “next of kin” should inherit) the estate representative is call the Administrator. There are many requisites in processing a probate including publication and appropriate notices set forth by statute. It is fairly complex and may take several months. There may be “short-cuts” due to the size of the estate or other title considerations.

An informed legal analysis of what is required or what may be streamlined is important to save time and money. Further, in a probate there will be a final report required and may need to include an accounting of the actions and monies surrounding the estate. This part is quite detailed and a knowledgeable attorney can assure the best presentation so that there are no delays. I am well qualified to assist you in probate matters and would like to speak about your case during a free thirty minute consultation. I can highlight the basics of what may or may not be required to pass title to assets.

When one becomes the Conservator of another person, that Conservator “steps into the shoes” of the Conservatee. This does not mean the Conservator becomes personally responsible for the Conservatee’s debts or other liabilities. Some of the responsibilities of the Conservator may include:

  • Protecting the person’s finances.
  • Meeting their needs.
  • Making an inventory of the person’s assets.
  • Insuring the person applies for and qualifies for benefits.
  • Keeping correct and exact financial records.
  • Investing the person’s money.
  • Making a report to the court and other parties as required by law.

 

A person’s situation may require a conservatorship of the person (primarily health and safety issues) or a conservatorship of the estate to protect and properly maximize income and assets.

Often times a conservatorship is required for a person of advanced age that loses the ability to take care of his or her self. A developmentally disabled individual or someone who has become disabled by an accident, disease or has mental incapacity. IF you have questions regarding these complex legal issues, I can assist you in preparing the voluminous forms with a view toward the proper presentation of your case and can process your case through the court.

An adult in California can change his or her name for a myriad of reasons including simply not liking your birth name for aesthetic reasons. Maybe the name is simply hard to spell. More and more frequently, due to the complexities of life, people are having difficulties matching birth certificate names with DMV records and passports or other legal documents. A Decree Changing Name resolves most issues.

Although it may seem antiquated, one of the requirements in California for a legal name change is that the notice of the petition must be published in a newspaper. This is calculated to give notice to the public so that objections be made if there are valid reasons to do so. In all of my years I have never yet received an objection but it is still a legal requirement that must be completed or the judge cannot grant the petition. The timing of the notice and the appropriateness of the newspaper coverage is very important to be done properly. Having an attorney take care of all the details for your legal name change simplifies and expedites the process and paves the way for a successful outcome.

name change