Divorce

Divorce

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Is Limited Scope Right for Your Case?

Limited scope representation helps self-represented litigants 




What this basically means, is that an attorney can, in Family law, handle only certain aspects of a case, such as, for example---- JUST domestic violence, but NOT the divorce, or the child support, or the mediation recommendation......OR, for example, JUST the adoption of the mediation recommendation [which is typically done at the law and motion hearing], OR, just the issue of whether or not supervised visits are warranted temporarily, etc.

How this helps litigants who do not have a full time attorney--it can enable clients to:

  • Prepare their documents legibly, completely, and accurately; · 
  • Prepare their cases based on a better understanding of the law and court procedures than they would have if left on their own; 
  • Obtain representation for portions of their cases, such as court hearings, even if they cannot afford full representation; and
  • Obtain assistance in preparing, understanding, and enforcing court orders.


 This assistance can reduce the number of errors in documents; limit the time wasted by the court, litigants, and opposing attorneys because of the procedural difficulties and mistakes of self-represented litigants; and decrease docket congestion and demands on court personnel.

In focus groups on this topic, judges indicated a strong interest in having self-represented litigants obtain as much information and assistance from attorneys as possible. 

They pointed to the California courts’ positive experience with self-help programs such as the family law facilitator program, which educates litigants and assists them with paperwork. These programs, however, cannot meet the needs of all self-represented litigants and, because of existing regulations, must limit the services they can offer.

               If you need some targeted legal help, call us today!  (530) 359-8810

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Do You Want to Win Your Case? Should You Hire a Litigator? Do You Care?

What Type of Attorney do You Really Need? Do You Want to Win? You Don't Care?

Do you have a case where you want to win, or need to win your case?
Do you have the winning facts?  Do you know what law would or would not support your position? Do you want or need an actual litigator for your case?






Hiring an advocate (attorney litigator) is not the same as hiring collaborative attorneys. Also, mediating* a case with only one attorney means ...The mediator helps people talk the issues through, supposedly helping to "settle" the dispute themselves. In this attorney's opinion, it would not be recommended in most cases, because typically the overbearing spouse simply bulldozes the other spouse.

*[Mediation for visitation is not the same thing as mediation of an entire divorce case. Mediation for visitation/custody is required by law in CA when there is no agreement.]


There are many pitfalls that can arise in divorce; many of them involve financial transactions that one spouse had no knowledge of; assets that one spouse did not know about; children that were conceived outside the marriage and spouse never knew other spouse was paying; secret business dealings that was predicated on all cash; illegal actions by one spouse implicating the other spouse who had no knowledge; large debts racked up by one spouse, without the other spouse even knowing such debt existed; one spouse signing the other spouse's name for a credit card, then ruining the other spouse's credit.... NONE of these things, in this attorney's opinion, should be addressed in either mediation or collaborative law scenario.

That is because there was a huge breach of fiduciary duty that has serious consequences to the guilty spouse. That should be done in court since the guilty spouse should have to pay for wrongdoing. (Of course if you are too afraid because your spouse might try and kill you then you better go get help right away.)
                                           


Especially if you have issues in the 3 lines below, which happened BEFORE the case finalized---- you should never hire anyone except an advocate litigator. Aggressive at that. Plus, there are huge time barriers to trying to set aside any of this!

Fraud, Duress
Mistake, Coercion,
Failure to Exchange Declarations (Assets Debts)

We live in a society where people often want what they want, and when clients hire attorneys to get something done, especially in family law, it's often because one SIDE tried to take advantage of the other side.  If you have a family law case where both of you AGREE on everything then of course you don't really need an attorney, except perhaps to create a settlement agreement.

HOWEVER, the vast majority of most divorces and break ups, are because the couple cannot agree on a lot of things, including (just an example....) post judgment orders.........

How to raise the kids-- too lenient?  too strict?
How to spend income from employment or inheritance
How to train kids  to have moral values
How to get along with other family members that don't live with you
How to avoid too much tv, too much bad influence, too much Facebook?
What to do with a lazy spouse that refuses to help out--with anything?
What to do with spouse that is either dangerous, aggressive, drinks too much
How to get out of supervised visits?? You have an ex spouse also?
Spouse drinks, smokes, gambles, does drugs, shops too much? Hoarding?
Spouse AND kids do nothing but stay on Facebook and phone 24/7??
Your kids are not only lazy, they are spoiled rotten and you blame the spouse?
Your spouse is bipolar and can't be controlled?


Of all the problems attorney has seen over several decades, the problems around children tend to generate the worst issues, followed by physical harm, financial issues, and alcohol or drug use.

And remarkably, attorney has seen clients REFUSE to take what he/she is entitled to, and then SETTLE a case by using an attorney who ONLY settles cases--- in other words, the attorney is not a litigator. That is absurd.  

If you are entitled to something, why would you pay someone to settle a case when you could have settled it without help????   Collaborative law and mediation means if you don't settle the case using whomever you hired, those attorneys cannot represent you in court anyway.

You THEN have to hire new attorneys!!

While mediation and collaborative may be good for some cases (which means you are settling case by paying people to settle it without court)-- it is essentially negotiation. Judges are not involved. If you work something out and then don't like it later--- what you have -- is a problem.

              Some of the down sides of  collaborative law (which includes hiring people like accountants and other experts) and which makes it costly:

The Expense; Impact of termination and cost of new counsel; No advocacy for one or both parties; directed conversation between parties, power imbalances, difficult issues might remain secret (such as domestic violence, addictions, drugs, gambling, infidelities,etc.); Possible inadequate information collection, potentially less support for views of children.

Basically, in mediation there is no advocate for YOU.
In collaborative law, BOTH sides work on issues, but NO ONE is an advocate for YOUR side.
The collaborative view is to work out issues, not really take sides as an advocate----a true advocate is there to represent YOU, not the spouse.

This is part of the reason that most people in a divorce WANT an advocate, and need a litigator --- because they are being taken advantage of, steamrolled, or being misled or manipulated.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Affordable Family Law Cases, Is it Possible? Our NEW Maverick Paralegal Services!

NEW!!!! We will be offering the most cost effective services utilizing our lowest pricing and costs where we can offer legal advice, paralegal technology, or a combination of the same. This will enable clients who might not be able to afford full legal services, to still obtain advice and document prep but not actual courtroom appearances. This is strictly by choice, by the clients themselves.


Legal "leaps" will always require help--don't fail or falter                     because you didn't know how                                                         to obtain the correct help!! 




 We expect to be able to cover family law, some civil cases, cross over cases, higher end small claims and possibly contested evictions.  Additionally, attorney is well versed in animal law cases, having done such cases in both State and Federal Courts (Sacramento, San Diego, Hollywood, Denver, CO, etc.) 
Attorney is one of the very, very few that has done many difficult cases ... even working only part time.  One of the only ways to be able to do this is to perform tasks and oversee cases related to paralegal type work which do not require court hearings, traveling, and having to communicate with opposing attorneys. Attorney can do regular legal work of course, but we are attempting to also provide services to those who do not need 100% complete legal services [in other words, the case would not require court litigation to extent of needing a full time attorney on the case..}


Even if helping self represented clients to properly understand the law so that their documents are done properly is better than never getting any help, or just guessing? Many people do lose their cases not so much because of what they did, but because of how they positioned their documents for the court. Judges do not have huge amounts of hours to spend on each case, and most pro se clients have seen this.





Perhaps if you know you have a good case,  you really need help in the document and documentation area. Don't wait too long, try and get help ASAP. You may only be doing "documents" but why lose when perhaps you could have won, had you known what you really should be doing or should have done?  We have done many cases and helped people get what they need!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Winning in Unusual Way! from 2015


In another instance of trial, after cross examining the other party, the opposing counsel suddenly called a recess.

After 7 years of never being able to get a dime out of the ex, who had already filed bankruptcy, my client, having previously used 3 different lawyers, [w/o a good result],  ended up contacting attorney herein --- for trial.
The opposing attorney stopped the trial and offered a combo of about $23,000 combined cash/property $100,000, and attorney fees of $6,000. This likely meant that if they had NOT stopped the trial, my client would had gotten spousal, but we would have had to chase him forever across the USA to get it. Client elected to take the offer. Because attorney herein cornered the ex spouse on the stand for what appeared to be potential bankruptcy fraud, the rest is history......

In another instance, a civil case by a former wife against former husband and girlfriend, the husband  had already been convicted of homicide (and was on appeal, he lost); the case then went to jury on issue on civil liability as to both husband and girlfriend. Keeping in mind husband was already convicted of first degree murder, the jury decided that husband was only 60% at fault in civil case. 

Normally the civil case has much less burden of proof, so finding the husband only 60% and not 100% evidently meant, jury wanted to punish the girlfriend because they took 40% and assigned it-- NOT-- to the husband. This verdict was reported in Verdict Search, a national reporting source for large verdicts nationwide. Counsel representing the girlfriend was from insurance defense firm.

Currently, the former wife has not been able to collect much on the verdict [of millions] after paying fees/costs and it is anticipated she will not be able to collect in the future. Very interesting case, which also involved animals (pet dogs) owned by the husband/son. Son was stabbed when father went to check on condition of dogs; father claims son ran into the knife by lunging forward.

In a very unusual scenario, attorney was substituted into a case with a client who did not reside locally;  a hearing on an issue was set for a date only several days away, at which time attorney believed the hearing could be continued. It seems the hearing was in fact a trial (according to Judge) -- and the client was not present and Judge did not want to continue the issue. Attorney went forward on the issue, with no witness or client. Using only cross examination, Attorney actually won the trial--much to surprise of  witnesses present and including opposing counsel.

This is very uncommon, but imagine how your case might work out if attorney can do this, without even having a client or a witness?

Attorney thinks it's fair to say, you would be in good hands. Especially if other attorneys have failed in the past on your case.

Note: All of these scenarios are actual cases but by no means are such outcomes considered standard. Each case has different facts and various laws which will apply; each case can vary tremendously, and attorney is not representing that such outcomes are common. However, attorney does have a very high percent of cases that settle or result in what the client wanted.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Parents, Marijuana Use and Custody in California

Could you lose custody of your children due to smoking marijuana?

[This post has over 1,851 views so apparently parents are concerned!]




Most county employed mediators have standard provisions that parents should adhere from smoking in presence of children, or sometimes even when the kids are under the control of that specific parent. Further, even if smoking is allowed in certain areas, many mediators don't want kids near second hand smoke, period. EVEN if it's inside the house in another room...EVEN if it's anywhere near where the kids might be, play, or access? Like outside?  **Note: in one mediation case, a mediator told a client that because MJ smoking is legal, to drop the issue...quite frankly, the actual smoking or use of the drug (even where legal) is not necessarily proper inside, where kids are, or in cars and other certain places? or where kids have any type of respiratory issue/other ailments? In any event, despite the mediator, it is NOT a good idea for MJ to be used around kids, period. Don't care if it's legal.

The "smoking" will generally cover most forms of tobacco and possibly edibles.... (cigar, cigarette, vape, medical MJ, etc...)  And many times, smoking by third parties in the home may not be a good idea due to secondhand smoke. VAPING is almost worst because it is becoming well known, that the nicotine involved, is fused with scents (i.e. cherry,etc) that the teens are running to buy/try?   https://vaping360.com/how-old-to-vape/

In Butte County, a jury has previously returned a guilty verdict over an issue of whether medical marijuana is a defense (to child endangerment charges)--- the long contested case of  Daisy Bram, where allegedly, the lesser count of misdemeanor child endangerment was found (as opposed to child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm)... Judge Glusman ruled that no valid evidence was presented as to the certified use of medicinal marijuana and thus it was not available as a defense. Ms. Bram was not represented by counsel, which obviously hindered her defense.

http://reason.com/blog/2014/03/07/daisy-bram-a-witness-in-federal-case-aga

Child Endangerment in California...

Under Penal Code section 273a  there is a possibility of criminal prosecution whenever a child is under your care or custody and you:
  • Willfully permit the child to suffer;
  • Inflict unjustifiable physical or mental pain upon any child; or
  • Willfully endanger the health of a child.
If the prosecuting agency in your county believes that you are “endangering the health of your child” by smoking marijuana or growing it in a home where your children reside, you may face criminal charges....

These charges may be filed as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Of course, if the court order stated that any type of smoking or use of same is not allowed while child is under your care, a violation might be a contempt charge potentially, if the other spouse or another was to bring that claim forward?
If convicted of felony child endangerment, you could be sentenced to up to six years in prison and ordered to pay a maximum $10,000 fine. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.


Why is Alcohol Allowed But Not MJ?


Generally, no courts like the idea of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, edibles, cigarettes, cigars, etc. when it comes to kids. Although there are tons of rules regarding drunk driving, there are not tons of rules for intoxication at home due to getting high on drugs, including legal marijuana and the like. While the hearsay out there is that MJ will be used, consumed and grown by large business, including beer companies, and that the feds will be changing those laws, it is a possibility, but we wouldn't bet your life on it happening super soon. The banks and other super duty corporations always want to benefit themselves first. BUT if they manage to do it, we can be assured that they will have already thought of safer ways to tone down common marijuana so that it would be as common as alcohol, and treated closer to the way alcohol is regulated.

OTOH, the presence of nicotine in the vaping formulas which are targeting teens (and apparently succeeding)-- is something that relies on curiosity and being popular, because "everyone" is trying it. However one is supposed to be 21 to be "vaping"....well, we are sure that plenty of people are ignoring that there law?? LOL
Parents that are smoking or vaping, your kids are watching you.

Note:  //The courts generally do not favor the smoking of MJ, even if it is medically prescribed. People with chronic anxiety often resort to marijuana use, or prescription meds. The meds only do so much, the overly anxious client will still be overly anxious, but somewhat better than with no meds at all.//
NOTE: JUST BECAUSE MARIJUANA HAS BEEN LEGALIZED TO SOME EXTENT, DOES NOT MEAN THAT OTHER MEANS OF USING MJ ARE LEGAL; FOR EXAMPLE, "SHATTER" IS NOT LEGAL? Using a huge commercial sized bong to ingest shatter is not legal? and certainly doing it with minor children in home is simply insane?  It becomes expensive to prove that one parent is an addict, especially on drugs which can be legal. Obviously that is due to fact that the parent who formerly witnessed such actions, is not living in home where it is presently being done?

https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/marijuana-what-parents-need-to-know/safety/  [Extremely informative...]  *Includes Signs of Accidental Exposure to Edibles

https://buttecountyfamilylawlawyer.blogspot.com/  Another site by attorney C. Chan
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