Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why does it exist in child custody cases.

 

Res Judicata

Generally, you may need to prove significant change in circumstances when you ask for a modification of a child custody order in family court. The key phrases here are “modification” and “custody order.” In the legal field there is this concept called “Res Judicata.” This is the principle that states, for the sake of judicial efficiency, a case should not keep getting re-litigated if it has already been litigated or decided once on its merits. The way Res Judicata is incorporated within child custody laws is through the rule of significant change in circumstances. So, assuming there is a final custody order, one way you can modify it is to first prove a significant change in circumstances. In short, you are telling the court that there are no issues with Res Judicata since there are new facts (changed circumstances) that are significant enough to requires modification (litigation). Thus, you are not re-litigating the exact case that was litigated previously. In fact, change in circumstances requires a showing of circumstances that did not exist at the time the custody order was made.

Exceptions to Change in Circumstances

Given that Res Judicata is the governing principle behind the significant change in circumstances rule, then we can logically deduce certain exceptions to the significant change in circumstances. So, in California, the type of cases stated below proof of significant change in circumstances may not be required for child custody modification.

Temporary vs. Final Custody Orders  

If a child custody order is temporary and not final judgment or final order of the court, then you do not need to prove significant change in circumstances to change custody. So often the issue here comes down to the definitions of final and temporary custody orders.

 

Increasing Parenting Time or Visitation

If you are just asking the court for more time with your child and not necessarily a change in custody you do not need to prove significant change in circumstances. For example,  you may want more visitation time with your child. Perhaps, you want an additional weekend per month. If your request is not significant enough to be considered a change in custody, then you do not need to point to significant change in circumstances. You may only need to prove that the change you request is in the best interest of the child.

Conclusion 

California law recognizes exceptions to the significant change in circumstances rule in modification of child custody orders. Like the rule itself, exceptions are also governed by the principles of Res Judicata . We hope you found this article informative.

 

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

 

Address: 23832 Rockfield Blvd Ste # 175,

Lake Forest, Ca, 92630

Email: Contact@Sabetilaw.com 

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Custody of William Jr.

Custody of William Jr.

Birth of William Jr.

Ana, after a brief relationship with Garay becomes pregnant. Ana informs Garay about the pregnancy, but Garay does’t believe he is the father. Ana gives birth to a baby boy. The year is 1979. William Jr. is the name given to the baby boy. William Jr. becomes the subject of a child custody dispute that changes how custody laws are interpreted and applied in California and across the US.

Fatherhood

Ana, now a single mother, is also a nursing student. She is having a difficult time financially. So she goes to the family court and requests that the court order Garay to pay child support. Garay demands a blood test.  A blood test is taken. Garay is the biological father of William Jr.

Making it work

Garay realizing he is the father of William Jr. agrees to pay child support. He tells Ana that they should explore the possibility of forming a family. Garay moves-in with Ana and William Jr. but after six weeks Ana and Garay realize the relationship will not work. So, Garay moves out.

Custody dispute

Garay wants consistent visitation with his son William Jr. He wants to be a father. Ana refuses to agree to visitation or custody. Ana asks the family court to give her exclusive custody. Garay, in response, also asks for exclusive custody. A child custody dispute starts.

Child custody trial  

The custody of William Jr. goes to trial. The judge recognizes that custody determination must be based on the best interest of the child. Meanwhile, Garay is now married. Ana continues to study to become a nurse.

Garay’s case  

Garay argues that it is in the best interest of the child to reside with him since he is in a much better financial position. Garay is married. William Jr. can be cared for by his stepmother who will stay at home. As a result, William Jr. doesn’t have to stay with a babysitter or at different daycare centers. Garay – he argues- would never prevent Ana from visiting William Jr. if he has exclusive custody. Thus, Garay argues he should have custody.

Ana’s case

Ana argues that child custody has already been established.  Ana has been caring for William Jr. since birth. She should continue to have custody and nothing should change.  A change in custody would create instability in the child’s life since there is a strong parent-child emotional bond developed between Ana and William Jr. The same emotional parent-child bond does not exist between William Jr. and Garay. So, it is harmful to change custody now.

Family Court Judge Decides

The judge decides that it is in the best interest of the child to reside with Garay.  He is much better off financially. He can provide a more comfortable home and a living situation. He is married which means that there is someone to care for and raise the child. William Jr. would not have to stay with a babysitter or at daycare centers. On the other hand, Ana is a working single mother. A nursing student. She is not financially stable. Ana will not allow Garay to have visitation. Yet, Garay will give Ana visitation. Therefore- the judge decides- it is in the best interest of William Jr. to reside with his father.

t

Is this story based on a real case ?

Yes !

Burchard v. Garay

California Supreme Court Case 1986

Devastation

Ana is devastated. She realizes that she  lost custody of her son and vows to appeal.  She wants her son back. So, she appeals.

Appeal

Ana appeals to a higher court. The appellate court. Ana tells the higher court the family judge abused its discretion by giving Garay exclusive custody. Yet, the appeal court decides the judge did not abuse its discretion and the decision of the trial court is valid. Ana appeals to the California Supreme Court. Thus, she continues the fight.

Supreme Court

California Supreme Court agrees with Ana. The court decides the family judge abused its discretion. Increase in wealth is not correlated with better parenting. More importantly, wealth does not correlate with the degree of love and affection a parent can provide a child. If each parent can provide adequate care for the child, then the relative economic situation of each parent should not be a factor in custody. Even if Ana struggles financially, the law allows her to get child support.

The court agrees that the best interest of the child should determine who gets custody. Yet the best interest of the child should be determined by looking into the parent-child emotional ties and established bonds. Not money. Ana was the primary caretaker from birth. The parent-child emotional bond is much stronger between Ana and William Jr.  Ana’s refusal to agree to a visitation arrangement does not justify changing custody. Both Ana and Garay have acted immaturely. However, no evidence existed to suggest Ana would refuse to follow a court ordered visitation. The family court judge made an error and thus abused its discretion.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Story of Infidelity & Divorce

Story of Infidelity & Divorce

Story of Infidelity and Divorce

An exceedingly common reason for divorce is spousal infidelity. Rarely is the case that infidelity is the root cause of marital problems. More often, infidelity seems to be a symptom of a marital conflict which has not been properly dealt with. Yet, infidelity and divorce are interconnected since infidelity, even if not the root cause of conflict, is at least a trigger which causes one spouse to initiate divorce. Considering the connection between infidelity and divorce, many people, during their consultation with a divorce lawyer ask whether and how the marital infidelity will impact their divorce. This blog uses the story of Infidelity and divorce of John and Hailey to illustrate the impact of infidelity on divorce, custody, child support, spousal support and division of assets and debts.

Infidelity and Divorce of John and Hailey

Hailey and John have been married for 15 years and have two children 10 and 9 years old. Right before the birth of their first child, John and Hailey purchased a house near Johns work in Orange County California. Hailey is a nurse by profession but has stayed home to raise the children since birth of the oldest one. John is a medical engineer who obtained his degree and job during marriage. John makes about $200,000 per year. Recently, Hailey finds out that John has been having an affair for the past 12 months. John has spent, using a credit card, $30,000  on fancy hotels and restaurants. John also took out a $40,000 loan. Hailey finds out John used the loan money to purchase a new car for his mistress. Most of the $30,000 was also used by John on his affair.  Hailey is devastated.  She scheduled a free consultation with a local divorce lawyer.

Request a Free Consultation

Zoom Consultation with a local divorce lawyer

Hailey meets virtually with a local divorce lawyer for a free zoom consultation. The following is an excerpt of their discussion.

  Does my husband’s infidelity help my divorce case?

A»  No. California is a no-fault  divorce state. Your husband’s infidelity itself will not hurt or help you in obtaining custody, child support, spousal support or dividing the assets and debts. Thus, infidelity is not something that will be an issue in the courts.

 

Even though I am a nurse, I have not worked for years. My husband was the wage earner. I stayed home to raise the children. How do I survive financially after divorce?

You have been married for 15 years. During most of your marriage you stayed home and raised the children. Marriages longer than 10 years are usually considered long-term. This means you may get long-term spousal support. Additionally, since you have been the primary caretaker of the children, we can ask the court for primary physical custody. This means the children will spend more time with you which will allow you to request and receive child custody under California law. 

 

My husbands name is the only name on the title of the house. What happens to the house?

If the house was purchased during marriage, it is presumed to belong to the community. This means that the house should be divided 50/50 unless there is some sort of postnuptial or prenuptial agreement or that your husband purchased the house with his separate property. We will make sure you get that which you are entitled to under the law.

Q» How should we divide debts after divorce

A» The marital money he spent on his affair should be reimbursed to you. This includes the loan and the credit card debts. However, the reimbursement is only to the extent that he used marital money and resources on his affair. The other debts accrued during marriage should be 50/50 unless we make a different agreement. If necessary,  I can ask the court to award you a higher percentage of the house to make up for the money your husband spent on his affair. 

 

Q» Who stays in the house during divorce?

A» Depends on many factors. If there is no domestic violence issue, we can ask that your husband leave the house since you are the primary caretaker of the children.

 

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a narcissist 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a set of behavioral patterns and thinking characterized by a need of for admiration, feeling of grandiosity and lack of empathy. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has a list of traits and criteria for mental health practitioners to determine whether a person has NPD. Sometimes, in divorce cases, one spouses is suffering from NPD. Divorcing a narcissist is difficult. Here, we will give you some tips on how to deal with a narcissist during and after divorce. We hope you find this information useful.

Who is A Narcissist 

Simply being arrogant or mean spirited is not the same as being a narcissist within the context of the NPD. Make sure you find out whether your ex is a narcissist. This may be a difficult thing to do if they are not willing to be diagnosed voluntarily. However, there may be legal tools in the family court (if you have children) to make a diagnosis possible. So, depending on your case, it may be a good idea to talk to and hire a divorce lawyer.

Hire a Divorce Lawyer 

If you are dealing with a narcissist it is a good idea to hire a divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer can help you remain objective. A narcissist may abuse the court system as a forum to seek revenge. Hire a divorce lawyer to protect yourself from a narcissist ex.

Do Not Rationalize 

People often try to use logic to try to persuade a narcissist. This likely will be a futile waste of energy and time since the narcissist is unlikely to change behavior based on logic and common sense. Thus, recognize this reality and act accordingly.

Set Strict Boundaries 

To deal with a narcissist you should set boundaries. They way you can do that is not feel obligated to justify or explain yourself for every decision or action you take. When you feel that you are being manipulated standup for yourself or if necessary, leave the situation. Do not accept or answer questions that are unreasonably intrusive. In doing so, you can set boundaries so you don’t get pushed around by the narcissist in your life.

Limit Contact 

Limiting contact with a narcissist is extremely important. Obviously, for one reason or another, this narcissist must be a part of your life. It is important that you limit communication to matters pertaining divorce or co-parenting (if necessary). Otherwise, there is no reason for you to be in a consent communication with the narcissist that goes beyond the scope of that which is necessary. Thus, limit contact.

Document Communication 

A communication with narcissist should be documented. If you are required to talk on the phone, make sure you follow the applicable local and state laws if you are going to record the phone call. Otherwise, feel free to communicate via email or text message. Many courts require parents to use parenting apps for co-parenting. So, consider using a parenting app to document communication.

Conclusion 

Divorcing a narcissist is hard. Co-parenting with a narcissist can be harder. The tips above are not all inclusive. Consider implementing those that you find useful. Hopefully, with a thoughtful strategy you can deal with the narcissist in your life so you can live the happy life you deserve.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

 

Address: 23832 Rockfield Blvd Ste # 175,

Lake Forest, Ca, 92630

Email: Contact@Sabetilaw.com 

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Family Law Hearings During Covid19

Family Law Hearings During Covid19

Family law hearings during Covid19

Covid19 has caused major disruptions  in the lives of people around the world. In the past several months most of us have been required to adapt to the reality of life in the age of Covid19. This article is intended to inform you on how Covid19 impacted the family court in orange county and the rest of California. Additionally, if you have a pending case in the family court, we hope to  give you some guidance on what you can do to resolve your family law dispute through a private family mediation.

California stay home order

On March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay home order. The purpose was to protect the health and safety of those in California during the Covid19.  As a result, state courts all around California closed their doors to non-emergency matters. Most trials and hearings were rescheduled. On March 28, 2020, Governor Newsom gave the judicial council of California power to modify certain laws within the court system for the protection and health of Californians. Therefore, a lot has changed as to the  rules of state courts in California.

Impact on family courts

Visit the courts website to learn about the exact changes since each county has its own set of rules and local procedures.   In many counties, family law hearings are now conducted virtually.  Many hearings were changed to status conferences. This has caused a large backlog of cases in family courts. Family law trials have been delayed. Depending on the nature and facts of your case the court may hear your case virtually or in person if physical presence is necessary.

Emergency family law cases

There is a large backlog in family courts. Yet, emergency cases like domestic violence, or ex-parte custody matters will be heard.  Time sensitive cases will also be heard by the court. Yet,  many divorce and custody cases that are not time sensitive or emergency have been rescheduled. To determine whether your case can be heard by the court, talk to a family law attorney in your area.

Family law private mediation

If you have a family dispute you can always turn to private mediation for effective ways to resolve your dispute. Mediation is when parties agree to resolve their dispute with a help of a neutral person. Mediation is effective in simple and complex disputes whether it is a family disputes or a dispute between corporate giants like Samsung and Apple. In a family dispute with a help of a mediator you can resolve your complex family dispute, cheaper and more effectively.

Conclusion

Despite Covid19 disruptions, you can still work to resolve your family dispute privately with the help from lawyers and mediators. Thus, you do not have to wait for the family court.  Take charge and use other dispute resolution tools shown to be more effective. In doing so, you can save money and time while working on truly resolving your legal dispute.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Best Interest of the Child

Best Interest of the Child

Best Interest of the Child

The phrase “best interest of the child” is commonly used in California child custody disputes. So, it is reasonable to ask what does this phrase mean? This article is intended to help you learn the legal meaning of the phrase “best interest of the child” or “child’s best interest” in California child custody disputes. We hope you find this blog useful.

Court’s Discretionary Power

When it comes to child custody dispute in California, the law gives the family court judges a broad discretion in determining which parent gets custody. This discretionary standard means that one judge can rule in one way while another judge can rule in another way. Because the law gives this broad discretion to family court judges, it is often difficult to persuade an appellate court judge to reverse the custody determination of the lower family court. In cases where the appellate court does reverse the lower court’s decision it is often because the lower court judge has abused its discretion.  Thus, in most cases appeal can be a uphill battle.

Best interest of the child in California

Think of the concept of “best interest of the child” as a set of presumptions. What do I mean? Well, when you file a child custody petition, the court will automatically presume that it is in the “best interest of the child” to have a relationship with both parents. It is difficult to persuade the family court that “it is in the best interest of the child” to not have a relationship with one parent. Even if one parent is unable to provide adequate care, that parent is entitled to reasonable visitation.

Agreement between parents

Very often when there is a custody dispute there is some sort of temporary arrangement between parents as to custody, visitation and decision making. This agreement may or may not be in writing. However, the judge often turns this arrangement into a temporary court order until there is an actual trial as to the merits of the case. The judges do this because the law says the judge can presume that an ongoing arrangement between parents regarding custody and visitation is presumed to be in the best interest of the child unless one party shows otherwise. So, an agreement between parents as to custody or visitation can easily overcome the presumption that the child should have equal time with both parents.

Other Factors- See Family Code § 3011

What does it take to persuade a judge a certain arrangement is not in the best interest of the child? The family code gives some factors for the judge to consider. However, there are so many other factors the judge can consider in determining the best interest of the child.

Some of the statutory factors the judge will consider are the following:

  • Heath, safety, and welfare of the child;
  • Spousal or child abuse;
  • The nature and amount of contact with the parents;
  •  Abuse of illegal drugs, alcohol, or controlled substances;

Additionally, the court will consider which parent is more likely to allow the child to have a relationship with both parents. So, if the judge is persuaded that you won’t allow the child to have a relationship with the other parent, the judge may grant custody to the other parent.

Conclusion

In our opinion, you should work with a family law attorney to increase your chances of success in any family law matter outside and inside of the family court. In doing so, you will be able to use the right set of concepts and law to argue your position whether it is to the court or to the other parent.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county
  • Family law private mediation

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

 

Address: 23832 Rockfield Blvd Ste # 175,

Lake Forest, Ca, 92630

Email: Contact@Sabetilaw.com 

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

730 Evaluation in California

730 Evaluation in California

What you need to know about 730 Evaluation in California

California Evidence Code 730 is commonly referred to as 730 evaluation in family law court. This law states that in court, at any time, the judge can order that an expert be assigned to investigate the issue that the judge must decide on. For example, in a child custody matter, one parent may claim that the other parent is unfit to have custody of the child. The court needs evidence to determine whether the claim is true. Thus, the court, on its own, or after request by a party, can appoint an expert to investigate and analyze. Remember, 730 evaluations are not just for custody cases. It applies to divorce and  financial issues as well. For instance, we have 730 child custody evaluations, 730 financial evaluations and more.  

730 Custody Evaluation

Court may order a 730 child custody evaluation  to determine who should have physical and legal custody of the child.  For example, if one parent is claiming the other parent is abusive, then the court may order an evaluation by a licensed social worker, psychologist or Marriage and Family Therapist. The role of the expert will be to collect data, determine facts, and analyze. Once the investigation is complete, the expert prepares a report for the court. The report may have a recommendation. The report may also be used as  evidence to help the court decide. Thus, 730 evaluations can become very important.

730 Financial Evaluation

The court usually orders a forensic accountant or other experts when there is a dispute regarding ownership, value, or misappropriation of property. These types of analysis are done by an expert. A report will be drafted by the expert so the lawyers and the court can determine the division of money or assets between the spouses. As with the custody evaluation the court will consider financial evaluation report as evidence in court. Thus, it is important to take it seriously.

730 Evaluation Cost

730 evaluations can become costly. Depending on the extend and complexity of the dispute it can cost thousands of dollars. Usually, the court will ask each spouse to file with the court an Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150). Based on that form and based on the finances and income of each party the court may either divide the cost or have one party pay it in entirety. Sometimes the court may require one party to pay and require the other party to pay his or her portion later. This is called allocation. Remember, the court can require the investigation despite the parties both disagreeing to the investigation. Additionally, the court can require one or both parties pay the cost. In short, this could cost the parties a significant amount of money depending on the complexity of the matter.

Will 730 Evaluation Be Fair

Generally, evaluators are neutral experts who are unbiased and uninterested third parties. In fact, the law requires the evaluators to be unbiased and neutral. Usually, one party cannot speak to or communicate with the evaluator in the absence or without the permission of all the parties or the judge. Thus, the evaluation should be fair. Having legal representation can help make sure that the evaluator does not have a previous personal relationship or other conflict of interest with the other party. So, it may be a good idea to have a lawyer to make sure everything is done properly.

Conclusion

730 evaluation is a report prepared by a court appointed expert. The report can be used as evidence to help the court make a proper decision in the family law case before it. Thus, it is important to take it very seriously.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

 

Address: 23832 Rockfield Blvd Ste # 175,

Lake Forest, Ca, 92630

Email: Contact@Sabetilaw.com 

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Questions to ask a divorce lawyer

Questions to ask a divorce lawyer

Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer 

Hiring a divorce lawyer is hard. It is hard because the divorce process is highly emotional. For most, divorce is a major life event. The law expects you to deal with the legal process of divorce, which is often very continuous and highly emotional, logically. So, it might be necessary to find a divorce lawyer as soon as possible if you are expecting a divorce. Many divorce lawyers offer free consultation while many do not. Regardless, a consultation with a divorce lawyer is an opportunity for you and the divorce lawyer to ask questions you have about the process. This blog will help you with coming up with a list of questions to ask a divorce lawyer during consultations.

Divorce Lawyer Communication Preference 

Ask your divorce lawyer about his or her preferred method of communication. Communication is important. The client makes some decisions. The divorce lawyer will need to make others. A good divorce lawyer must be able to explain to you the consequences of decisions. Whether it is via email, phone, text, or any combination of these, you should be comfortable with the method of communication. If you dislike communication by email or text, tell the lawyer. If you can better share your concerns and thoughts through email or text, then a question to ask a divorce lawyer is whether he or she can accommodate your preference. Lawyers are busy people. For some, talking over the phone is faster and clearer. Others may like to explain your case in writing. It is important that you and your divorce lawyer agree on how to communicate about your case. So, include this topic on your list of questions to ask a divorce lawyer.

Examples:

  1. What is your preferred method of communication?
  2. Can I text you or your office?
  3. Will I be able to contact you directly via phone?
  4. Can I contact you via email?
  5. How will you give me updates on my case?
  6. How often can I expect update or communication from you or your firm?

Questions to ask a divorce lawyer about attorney fees

An important set of questions to ask a divorce lawyer during a consultation concerns the fee structure of the lawyer or the firm. Most divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee. Client must pay an initial deposit. A divorce lawyer deducts the hourly fee from the initial fee. Once the deposit runs out, you may need to add more money. A divorce lawyer will charge between $250 to $600 per-hour, while a paralegal might charge $150 to $300 per-hour. A paralegal should do the basic legal work. Document preparation can be time consuming. It is unnecessary for a divorce lawyer to charge his fees in preparing documents; a paralegal can prepare that.  An associate attorney and not the senior partner should likely make a simple court appearance. When you meet for consultation, include fee structure questions in your list of questions to ask a divorce lawyer.

Example:

  1. How do you charge for your fees?
  2. What is your hourly fee?
  3. Do you do all the legal work?
  4. Do you have a paralegal to do the paperwork?
  5. What is your paralegals fee?
  6. Can lower level lawyers make the less important court appearances?

Ask the divorce lawyer for his or her initial thoughts

A good divorce lawyer must analyze the strength and weaknesses of your case. This is important because you (as a client) will need to make important decisions about how you want your case to move forward. A divorce lawyer can give you recommendations as to strategy. Yet, at the end, you are the ultimate decision maker. So, during a consultation, ask about the divorce lawyer about his or her initial thoughts on the strength and weaknesses of your case. Ask for his or her objective opinion. If a child custody is likely to be an issue, ask the divorce lawyer for his or her opinion. Most divorce lawyers will not give conclusive statements as to outcome. This is because divorce lawyers must make sure you are aware outcome of divorce cases are fact sensitive. Minor events can change outcomes. Yet, the divorce lawyer should be open to telling you the strengths and weaknesses of your case, guaranteeing no particular outcome.

Examples:

  1. What are your initial thoughts?
  2. What are the issues in my divorce?
  3. What are the strength and weaknesses of my case?

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN A DIVORCE LAWYER WHEN THERE IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 

In a high conflict divorce, domestic violence can become an issue as the divorce goes through the family court. If there is a domestic violence order (whether permanent or temporary) against you, then ask the lawyer about the meaning of the court order and what you must do to follow it. Court orders have the force of the law, even though they are orders made by judges. It is important that you understand them and follow them. If you are a protected person and the other party is violating the domestic violence order, then ask the divorce lawyer how you can enforce the order. You may be able to get a personal conduct order, move-out order or other protective orders to keep you safe and free from harassment, threats, or disruption of your peace.

Examples

  1. Is there a court order that limits what I can or cannot do?
  2. What does the court order mean?
  3. How can I follow the court order?
  4. Can I contact my child?
  5. I do not feel safe, what can I do to protect myself and my child?
  6. Can I get a restraining order or a move-out order?

QUESTIONS TO ASK A DIVORCE LAWYER WHEN CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED

Divorce is difficult when you have children. When you live with your children, you see them frequently.  Divorce changes things. A parent accustomed to freely spending time with his or her child is now obligated to follow a custody or visitation schedule. Courts like to give both parents the ability to have continuous and frequent contact with their child. Both parents may make important decisions for the child if the court orders joint legal custody. Primary physical custody may be given to one parent. Yet, a noncustodial parent will probably have reasonable parenting time. In child custody cases, patience is a virtue. Custody issues are highly emotional and contested in family court.  Include your child custody questions on the list of questions to ask a divorce lawyer during your initial meeting.

Examples:

  1. What is primary physical custody?
  2. What is legal physical custody?
  3. How does the court determine who gets custody?
  4. How often can I see my child?
  5. How often can I get visitation?
  6. What if I want to change custody later when I settle down after the divorce?
  7. My child does not want to spend time with me because of the divorce, what can I do?

QUESTIONS TO ASK A DIVORCE LAWYER ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT?

Child support questions should be among the list of important questions to ask a divorce lawyer during your initial meeting. Child support is a duty owed to the child by both parents. In California, each parent must contribute to supporting the child. The law presumes the custodial parent is supporting the child financially. Thus, the noncustodial parent will often have to pay the custodial parent his or her portion of support. Failure to pay child support in violation of a court order can be a criminal offense. Child support is modifiable. If not paid, unless changed, an enforcement action is often the legal remedy. When meeting with a divorce lawyer ask your child support obligations.

 

Examples

  1. Explain how child support works?
  2. Do I have an obligation to pay child support?
  3. How can I establish child support?
  4. How can I change child support amount?

Conclusion

In short, hiring a divorce lawyer is complicated. Hopefully by going over questions to ask your divorce lawyer, the process becomes easier.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

 

Address: 23832 Rockfield Blvd Ste # 175,

Lake Forest, Ca, 92630

Email: Contact@Sabetilaw.com 

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Preparing for custody mediation

Preparing for custody mediation

Preparing for custody mediation

In California, the law requires the parents to a child custody dispute participate in a court mandated custody mediation.  In this article, you will learn the steps you need to take to prepare for custody mediation in California family court.  We hope to give you practical advice on how to prepare for your child custody mediation.

What is custody mediation

Custody mediation is a process where parties try to negotiate a resolution to their dispute prior to the judge hearing the case. The law requires parents to participate in a custody mediation prior to the hearing. See Family Code 3170-3173 . The purpose is to encourage parents to resolve their child custody or visitation dispute through negotiation. Therefore, the law is encouraging you to resolve your family law dispute with minimal court involvement.

Who will be the child custody mediator

Custody mediator will be a neutral person whose job is to facilitate a discussion between the parents. Much of the time the court has certified mediators. Sometimes the mediators are former lawyers or current law students.  Remember, mediators are not judges. They cannot decide on anything. So, whether there is an agreement reached in mediation is a choice the parents have to make.

Can custody mediation help or hurt my case

Generally, everything that takes place during a custody mediation is confidential. In some counties, if the parents cannot agree to custody the mediator can make a custody recommendation to the judge. Additionally, the law requires that parents participate in good faith. However, there is no requirement that you agree to any custody arrangement in mediation. Therefore, it is important to participate in good-faith and be prepared to negotiate to make a success out of your custody mediation.

Preparing for child custody mediation

Below we will give you some practical advice on how to prepare for your child custody mediation.

Know your case!

It is important for you to know whether your custody case is weak or strong. This can help you determine how much leverage you have in mediation. Thus, know your case!

Create a custody or visitation proposal

In most cases even the none-custodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation with his or her child. To prepare for custody mediation, get a calendar and mark on a calendar the days each parent will have custody or visitation. You can mark “M” for mother and “F” for father. Feel free to include when custodial/visitation time starts and ends. You can even say at what time each parent is entitled to a phone call or face-time with the child.

Create alternative proposals

Creating alternative custody or visitation proposals will help you negotiate a fair custody agreement. So do not just create one. Have different options in case the other parent cannot accommodate one of the proposals.

Do not be late

You will have certain amount of grace period in case of traffic or emergencies. Try not to be late to your custody mediation. Remember, in some counties the mediator may make a custody recommendation to the judge. So, do not be late to make sure you don’t end up on the bad side of the mediator.

Be polite

Custody mediations are supposed to be cooperative. Because in custody disputes emotions are high it can be hard to be polite. It is important for you to participate in good-faith. Being polite may show good-faith participation. If you do not participate in good-faith the judge can reschedule the hearing to require you to participate in good-faith.

Show flexibility but do not be pushed

Showing flexibility to a reasonable proposals in a custody mediation is important. Remember, the goal is to act in the best interest of your child. However, do not be pushed around by the other side. A good strategy for showing flexibility but remaining firm is to give a counter proposal. For instance, if the other parent gives a suggestion that you do not agree with then take that suggestion and modify it to your liking and give a counter proposal. This way, you are engaging in a flexible but firm negotiation.

Conclusion

Custody mediation in California is required. It is important to prepare for your custody mediation for you to make the most out of your mediation. Participate in good-faith and consider implementing the suggestions in this blog. Doing so can help you succeed in your custody mediation in family court.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

 

Address: 23832 Rockfield Blvd Ste # 175,

Lake Forest, Ca, 92630

Email: Contact@Sabetilaw.com 

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Father winning custody

Father winning custody

What are the chances of a father winning custody

There is a common belief that in custody disputes the law prefers mothers instead of the fathers. Yet,  this is not the case. The law does not give preference based on sex. Thus, the chances of a father winning custody is the same as the chances of a mother winning custody. 

Request a Free Consultation

Primary Caretaker/Caregiver Rule

Whether you are the father or the mother has little impact whether you will get custody of your child. What matters is who is the primary caretaker/caregiver of the child. If the father is the primary caretaker then his chances of winning custody goes up. If the mother is the primary caregiver, then her chances of winning custody goes up. Thus, the sex of the parent is not relevant. 

Historical reasons 

Historically, mothers have assumed more of the care taking role within the family unit. In the modern age, things are changing. Many fathers are now primary caretakers since the father is the parent who changes diapers, takes the child to school and cooks while the mother goes out and works to support the family financially. Therefore, as society is changing the perception that the law favors mothers over father in child custody disputes will change as well.

Conclusion 

As stated, the primary caretaker rule is just one of the factors that the court will consider in determining whether you will get the custody of your child. So, talk to a local child custody lawyer to discuss other factors the court may consider for your specific case.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Reduce Child Support

Reduce Child Support

Reduce child support obligation 

In California, child support orders may be modified at any time before termination of the payer’s duty to pay support. Thus, you can ask the court to reduce your child support obligation. This article will help you understand how you can ask the court to reduce your child support obligations.

Family code on reducing child support

Remember, to reduce your child support obligation you must show that there is a decreased need for child support or you are unable to pay child support because of increase in expenses or decrease in income. Thus, unless there was an error in child support calculation you must show the court that the circumstances have changed and a decrease in child support is justified. 

Change of circumstances standard

To reduce the amount you need to pay you must prove to the court that there is a material change in circumstances that warrant a reduction. Material change means a significant change.

How can I show change of circumstance

As stated above  payor’s inability to pay child support is a changed circumstance that may warrant a reduction. Additionally, a decrease in need in child support is another change in circumstance. For example, if you lost your job or got a pay cut you may satisfy the changed circumstance requirement. Similarly, if you actually spend more time with your child as envisioned previously you can argue that that there is a decrease need in child support since your child spends more time with you. So, as you can see, the specific facts of your case is important.

Agreement to reduce child support

Child support belongs to the child. So you won’t be able to agree to reduce your child support obligation without involving the family court. If the parents agree to a reduction, the court must approve the agreement. Otherwise, your obligation to pay support will not be waived. This means years down the road, you may be asked to pay that which you did not pay plus interest. Thus, make sure you do things properly.

Conclusion 

To summarize, child support belongs to the child. To reduce your obligation to pay you must show the court that there is a changed of circumstance. If there is a valid order, your obligation to pay child support is not waived unless the court agrees to change the order. 

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed

Co-parenting after a divorce

Co-parenting after a divorce

Make co-parenting after a divorce or separation a success

Co-parenting after a divorce or separation can be very difficult. Just recognizing and accepting that you may need to co-parent with your ex is challenging on its own. However, the sooner you realize the importance of co-parenting after a divorce or separation the more you can focus on the well-being of your children. In this article you will get easy and practical tips on how to make co-parenting with your ex a success even after an emotional divorce or separation.

Request a Free Consultation

Have a parenting plan

A parenting plan is very useful. It will help you establish guidelines both of you can follow when it comes to co-parenting. A parenting plan will delegate responsibility to each parent and will clarify goals and expectations of each party. Thus, it is a great idea to have a professional help you draft a parenting plan parenting plan so you can make co-parenting after a divorce or separation a success.

Communicate in writing

Communication in writing can be a good idea in high conflict family law matters since it will reduce the emotional tension of a phone or in person conversation. Instead of calling the other parent you may want to send an email or text message. This will help lower conflict so you can focus on what the well-being of your children.

Use apps designed for co-parenting

Apps or programs designed for co-parenting can be useful since it keeps a record of the communication. This record may be used in court and be viewed by the attorneys and the judge. Thus, parties will likely be on their best behavior knowing that their communication will be read and scrutinized.

 

Take a co-parenting class

Sometimes if parties cannot co-parent the court might order them to take co-parenting classes. However, you do not have to wait for a court order to take these classes. Co-parenting classes are extremely useful. You can gain valuable information that will help you in raising your children for years to come. So, consider taking these classes even if not ordered by the court.

Be respectful

In a divorce or separation there is a lot of animosity. Emotions are high and each party might have things they want to say. It is easy to lose control and say something disrespectful. However, keep in mind that co-parenting is not about you but instead it is about your child or children. Simply being respectful can go a long way to reduce tension so both of you can focus on the well-being of your child.

Know your goal

Remain aware that your goal with co-parenting is to raise another human who can be a valuable member of society. Always keep this in mind. Your child has the right to live in a peaceful and loving environment without unnecessary conflict, stress, or anxiety. So, remember it is about the child.

Conclusion

Your child or children deserve to live in peace. In most cases, courts require parents to co-parent. In doing so consider drafting a parenting plan and incorporating some of the tips discussed in this article. Doing so will help you create a more peaceful life for your child or children.

Related Readings

Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

In California, modifying a child custody order requires a proof of significant change in circumstances. However, like most rules in the legal field, this rule also comes with important exceptions. Here, I will discuss some of those exceptions. However, first I will discuss where the change in circumstances rule comes from and why it exists in child custody cases.

read more

Sabeti Law & Associates 

  • Family law attorneys in orange county 
  • Family law private mediation 

Tel: 949-326-2626

Fax: 949-899-8259

Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Frirday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday- Sunday
Closed