Family Law Blog

How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly called, is used to make sure both parties are not driven to poverty after a divorce. If one side of a divorcing party is used to a certain standard of living and does not have a way to support that standard themselves, then the other side of a divorcing party will be expected to pay spousal support for them. However, the bright side is that spousal support is not forever.

Most commonly, spousal support will be deemed as rehabilitative. This means the supporting spouse will only need to pay alimony until the receiving spouse has received education or training into order to become self-supporting.

However, not all spousal support awards will be so reasonable. If your divorce decree does not specify an alimony termination date, then the payments will have to continue until the court orders it. Typically alimony can be ended for a number of other reasons, such as if the paying party suffers a significant loss of income. However, most commonly, alimony will end if the recipient remarries or the paying party dies. However, if the recipient still can't support themselves when the paying party dies, alimony can continue to be paid from their estate or life insurance proceeds.

If you are starting divorce proceedings, then alimony may be one of your big worries, but definitely not the only worry. As there is no such thing as an amicable divorce, you need representation to make sure you get your fair share of a dissolved marriage. For consultation on your case, contact us today.

Do You Have the Right to Parenting Time?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Once referred to as visitation, parenting time is the time a parent spends with a child after the parents have separated. While parenting time doesn’t matter if you have been named the custodial parent, typically it is used to describe the time the noncustodial parent spends with their child. However, do you actually have a right to parenting time?

Parenting time is not a right, so you do not automatically have the right to see your child if you are not the custodial parent. The court decides if parenting time is in the best interests of the child, but will typically grant at least some parenting time unless the noncustodial parent has a history of harm or abuse to the child or others.

Once parenting time has been granted, unless abuse starts to show itself, it is difficult to have parenting time taken away. Even if the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support, the court cannot take away your parenting time, but you may face other consequences.

If you are trying to get the maximum amount of parenting time with your child, one of the main things that the court will look at is your history with the child. It is best to write down what sort of relationship you have had, how much time you previously spent with the child, and how much of that time included overnights.

If you are in the process of a separation and are trying to get custody or parenting time with your child in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.

Is A Prenuptial Agreement Right For You?

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Is a prenup the right thing for you? 

"Well, um...er..."

We get it.

Talking to your future spouse about creating and signing a prenuptial agreement is not romantic in the least. However, the lack of romance doesn't make the idea any less important when it comes to protecting your legal and financial rights. 

Prenuptial Agreement=Divorce Insurance

Just as you don't want to think about your loving relationship ending in divorce, you don't want to think about your life ending in a terrible accident or illness that leaves your spouse and kids without the resources necessary to carry on. That's why you buy life insurance. In that vein, a prenuptial agreement is protection against something going wrong. Like life insurance, you hope you never need it but can have peace-of-mind knowing it's there. 

What Can a Prenup Do? 

A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can: 

  • Protect your property, including property acquired during the course of your marriage
  • Prevent future court costs
  • Protect you from taking on legal responsibility for a spouse's debt
  • Provide an opportunity to resolve potential issues now before they arise


What a Prenup Can't Do

Not all family law issues can be resolved within the language of a prenuptial agreement. For example, a prenup cannot decide child custody issues or settle disputes about how to raise them. 

If a prenuptial agreement sounds like something you could benefit from, speaking to an experienced family law attorney is the next step in the process. Contact us anytime to schedule a consultation.

When Can a Grandparent Gain Custody of a Child?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

When parents cannot properly raise a child, for whatever reason, grandparents often take over the responsibility. This is often done without a court's intervention but legal custody requires a judge's order. This poses difficulties if one or both parents refuse to relinquish custody. Learn what events can convince the court to give the legal responsibility of a child to a grandparent.

You must have a compelling reason for seeking custody of a child as courts are reluctant to take children away from parents. Judges are most likely to rule in your favor when you can prove a serious issue threatens the physical, mental and/or emotional health of the child. These include cases where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol, is physically abusive or neglectful or has a serious mental illness that impairs her ability to care for the child.

A judge's obligation is to always consider what is in the best interest of the child. So, if you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild, you must prove the child will fare better with you than anyone else. So, you must provide a healthy, safe environment that the child does not have with his parents (or other legal guardians). Show the court you have a stable home and can provide the child with such things as proper nutrition, a bedroom, peaceful environment, toys and an appropriate education.

A judge is more likely to give you custody in cases where you are already a prime caregiver for the child. If you can prove you regularly take care of the child in your home, then the court knows the child is familiar and comfortable with the environment you provide. In general, judges prefer to place children with family members rather than foster or adoptive homes so this is something in your favor.

You can gain custody of your grandchild in certain circumstances. If you believe the child is in danger or his welfare is in jeopardy by remaining with his parents, you can petition the court for custody. Bring evidence such as pictures, letters and digital messages and affidavits from witnesses to prove the child needs relief  from his current environment. Also, show the court proof of your ability to provide a home and the best care for your grandchild.

Contact us for more information regarding legal custody of children.


The Big Step of Emancipation

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Emancipation is when a minor is considered an adult by the court. It releases your parents from all legal authority and control over you. Though many teenagers dream of living on their own, emancipation is not for everyone. It can be hard to grow up and learn to take responsibility for yourself, especially if you have pushed your parents away by going through court.

Before you ask for emancipation, you need to make sure that you can take care of yourself financially. You will need to find a place to live, learn to take care of your own health, and make your own meals. You will need a job to support yourself. You are considered an adult and are legally responsible for any contracts that you sign. You are also financially liable for anything that happens.

Though most teenagers want their freedom, emancipation is rarely the way to go. However, there are some situations where you might have to consider it. If your parents are abusive or negligent, you may be better off. You may object to the way that your parents live and think you would do better on your own. Some teenagers become emancipated in order to get married without their parents’ blessing.

Emancipation is a big step so it is important to make sure that you take time to really think about your actions. Most of the time, your parents will get hurt throughout the process so you might end up losing their support for a long time. You need to make sure that you really think you will be better off without them before you take this step.

Though it is possible to get emancipated without going through the courts, it can be very helpful to consult with a lawyer to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs.

Getting a Temporary Restraining Order

Thursday, April 13, 2017

When most people hear the words restraining order, they think about an abused and scared woman. However, they can also be needed during bitter divorces. They are also called an order of protection and are put in place to help people going through divorces.

Everyone knows that divorce can really hurt people and families, causing them to act inappropriately. They may lash out physically, emotionally, and even financially. For this reason, many people get a temporary restraining order in order to protect their family.

Some people will do anything when they are faced with an awful divorce. They may try to move the children without the other parent knowing. They may wipe out combined bank accounts, leaving the other person with no money at all. Really scared people may take a loan out on the house without the other person knowing.

Because of this, temporary restraining orders can maintain the status quo until your divorce is over. It is temporary and will end as soon as your divorce is all settled. By then, you will know how everything is divided and settled and there will be no need for any harsh actions. It will be time to let go and start to move on.

In order to get a temporary restraining order, the party will need to file a petition for a restraining order at the same time that he or she files for divorce. The sooner this is done, the less likely that you will have to worry about protecting your family and your money. However, a temporary restraining order can also be issued at any time during the divorce if the need arises.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs. We want to make sure that you and your family are protected during this scary time in your life.


Divorce: What About The "Fur Babies"?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

We have reached a point in the journey of man where a canine companion is no longer viewed as a tool to be disposed of when it is no longer useful. Dogs have truly become "man's best friend" and couples even talk of their "fur babies" as members of their family. 

We have also reached a point in the journey of mankind where the divorce rate is above 50 percent. This begs the question, what happens to the dogs in the event of divorce? 

What Does The Law Say?

How dogs are treated in a divorce depends on the state the divorce is taking place in. Some states treat dogs as if they are inanimate property, while others have detailed statutes about how to divide up canine custody. For example, Alaska recently passed a law that will treat dogs as children while Texas treats dogs no differently than Grandpa's work bench. 

In California, pets are considered to be personal property, with courts working only to award a pet to one of the spouses in the event of divorce. While some courts will consider the best interest of the pet in making a decision, this is not a given. Where possible, it can be beneficial for the couple to work out a contractual agreement on their own in order to avoid litigation. 

Peace Of Mind For Beverly Hills Pet Owners

If you are considering a divorce and have concerns about what will happen to your dog, speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer can help put your mind at ease. Contact us to schedule a consultation.


Terminating Your Domestic Partnership

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Many people are a part of a domestic partnership. Unfortunately, just like marriages, there are times when it doesn’t work out. Unlike marriage, you can’t get divorced when you are in a domestic partnership. Instead, it needs to be terminated.

There are several ways to go about this, depending on several factors. Some people are able to mail a form to the Secretary of State’s office. To do this, you need to meet the following requirements.

  • Your partnership has lasted less than five years.
  • Neither of you can be pregnant or have children.
  • You or your partner do not own any property.

When you meet these requirements, your partnership will be dissolved six months after you file the paperwork. These types of partnerships are simple to terminate. It is when you have been together for years, own homes, and have children where it can be a little harder to terminate your partnership.

For this reason, most people will need to go to court to terminate their partnership. The court will help you divide up your assets. If children are involved, child custody and support are determined. The courts will also determine if spousal support is needed.

If you filed in California but no longer live there, you may have to go through their court system in order to terminate your domestic partnership. This depends on where you live so be sure to consult a lawyer who is local you live. If you have to go through California, you have to agree to accept the way that their courts dissolve your partnership and your assets.

It is possible to terminate your domestic partnership though it depends on several factors on how you can go about it. Simple partnerships (where you don’t have property or children) can be terminated easily with a form while others need to go through the court system.  

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Requirements for a Domestic Partnership

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Often compared to marriage, a domestic partnership is a contract for those who are committed to each other but may be unable or unwilling to marry. The main reason that two people would want to go through a domestic partnership is to be considered family. It allows two people to share health insurance, just as if they were married.

There are some requirements that must be met prior to become domestic partners. These include:

  • Both parties need to be over eighteen years old.
  • No one is married to another person.
  • Neither parties are in another domestic partnership with someone else.
  • Both parties can’t be related by blood. This essentially means that the couple could get married to each other in the state of California if they wanted to.
  • They have to have a common residence which means that they live in the same home. This doesn’t mean that both of their names need to be on the deed. It just means that they live together. They will not be disqualified if they both own separate homes, as long as they are living together at the time of the court hearing.

Domestic partnerships are often done for couples who are the same sex, though some people who are older than sixty two are more likely to join a domestic partnership over marriage. To register as a domestic partner, you need to fill out the form and sign it at a notary’s office. It then needs to be mailed to the Secretary of State, along with the fee.  

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Benefits of a Domestic Partnership

Thursday, March 16, 2017

domestic partnership is often compared to marriage. These partnerships are contracts between unmarried couples who live together. It is even more common for people who are in same-sex relationships to apply for domestic partnership especially in states where they are unable to get married.

Some benefits of applying for a domestic partnership include:

  • Domestic partners can get coverage on a family health insurance policy. Health insurance can be quite costly so it is often helpful to get the entire family on a single policy.
  • Domestic partners have visitation rights in hospitals and jails. Before domestic partnerships, many couples were not allowed to visit each other in hospitals and jails. There are many times when only family is allowed to come in. Under a domestic partnership, you are considered family.
  • If your partner is sick or dies, you are allowed family or bereavement leave under a domestic partnership. Prior to domestic partnerships, you were not allowed to take time off when your significant other was sick. With a partnership, you are treated as family, getting family or bereavement leave.

Though it is not as common as it used to be, domestic partnerships are a valuable alternative to marriage. It allows couples to be treated as a family. They can share their health insurance, as well as take bereavement and family leave when needed. It also gives you the right to visit in hospitals or even jail when only the family is allowed to visit.  

Contact us for all of your legal needs.