Mountain Flowers

Mountain Flowers

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Attorney Fees, Costs....Would you Pay $10,987 and Get Almost Nothing?

Well.....we aren't making it up when we say we have seen TONS of clients pay $250, $275, $300, $325, even $350/hr for legal fees (that doesn't include costs....) and what did they get for all that?
About an average of 23hr of work, supposedly. As a true example-- one of attorney's best friends actually paid over $23,000 for legal work which included one trial (custody) with no experts. All of the nickel and dime-ing for every single second of work adds up very very quickly--every stamp, every piece of paper, every email, every call, you name it. [Attorney herein believes the same case could have been done for about $7000 or less...]

IN many cases we have seen, most attorneys don't do anything that special, unless they are really dedicated. We have actually seen motions filed and continued which probably took 20 minutes to churn out by the assistant, got the client no relief at all, didn't change anything in the case except to avoid a long cause hearing, was not heard by any judge, and then it just gets done over again by the attorney going to court and RE-submitting the same thing?  This is not a joke. Sure there were a few emails and emailed conversations, and more of the same motion being continued and refiled?  When that client's bill is approaching $7,000, we say that's called not only bad lawyering, but a client rip-off in our opinion.  

Now when attorneys in the old days were billing (and by this, we mean PRIOR to everyone owning a computer, everyone on the Internet, and Facebook, and PRIOR to most services NOT requiring client to even come into the office????)........... then attorney overhead had to include taking the office RENT, all utilities, whatever things are needed for an office;  the office employee's salaries, ALL of the expensive print advertising, ALL of the stuff needed to keep current on the law (meaning PRINT and books...and all subscriptions in print)...........and then, most attorneys figure out what it's going to cost them to LIVE (not work, but live)............and by adding up all those numbers (what it costs to live and what it costs to maintain the office/ads/subscriptions,etc) then the attorney would take that number, and figure out if he/she worked 40, 50, or 60hr a week, what SALARY is needed for the attorney, in order to meet all of those expenses, PLUS additional money to have [not just to live on.]

Clearly, if an attorney is figuring $5,000 for employee salary/office and $5,000 for living expenses, the attorney needs $10,000 just to run the office/live. That doesn't include tax money being set aside either.  That's $2,500 per week. Many attorneys have no problem turning $2,500 per week. At 40hrs per week, if an attorney was actually charging $275/hour, that's $11,000 a WEEK--- if-- the attorney worked 40hr straight at the billable fee.

Office costs might remain the same, but the Internet and non print data have created far less cost as far as law advertising goes.  Internet advertising is much less expensive than print advertising. Many attorneys don't keep hard copies anymore, they keep DATA files. Even the Courts are moving to all data files. Why pay an attorney huge fees unless you definitely have a very very complicated case?

It's safe to say, this attorney herein,  does nothing remotely even close to the nonsense talked about above (regarding the huge fees for very little time/work...) Attorney works harder than 95% of attorneys out there, to gain a result for client, not to line attorney's pocket. Attorney's cases have been in the media, in newspapers, online, in Verdict Search, and on television.

Most of the cases involved family law and animal law issues; the Verdict Search case involved premise liability in a murder case.  And not just in Chico, Oroville, Red Bluff or Redding,  but Sacramento, Santa Cruz,  Roseville, San Diego and even Washington.

If you don't want to pay full price and get nothing, then contact attorney herein. Full authentic recommendations from actual clients.

Chico Family Law Lawyers - Justia

Pro Se Family Law Case of the Century-- Court Finds for Husband

In this case the trial court had ordered $9,000 in attorney's fees to a wife during a divorce case, citing disparity in the wife's gross income as a court clerk of $5,135/mo and that of her husband, who grossed $8,333/mo. as a law librarian. 

When the husband appealed the fee order, he pointed out that not only was his income not substantially greater so as to support such a large attorney fee award, but that he has significant costs and expenses including child support and spousal support, after which he was not left with enough income to pay attorneys fees.

Past cases have clearly emphasized that the court should consider need and ability to pay, but this case is unique in that the court specifically considered the husband's actual expenses and also considered his hefty child and spousal support obligations in determining that it was unfair to make him pay attorneys fees under these circumstances.
If your spouse is requesting that you pay his or her attorneys fees, you should definitely cite this case and argue the same logic, that after you are ordered to pay child support and spousal support that you just don't have money to meet your monthly budget --- and then pay your spouse's attorneys fees on top of all that.                           [full text]

Click either to read the case. You will almost never find a case like this.
It's almost enough to make one cry in realizing sometimes there is Justice in this world today but it doesn't come easy..... and NOTE-- the Husband was making over $8,000 a month (which in Los Angeles area, doesn't go too far. ]

Parents, Marijuana Use and Custody in California

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

Most 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.  The "smoking" will generally cover most forms of tobacco (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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Make Sure to Hire Attorney That Understands Bankruptcy in Divorce

I Was Ordered to Pay for My Spouse's Attorney Fees. Can I Wipe Them Out if I File for Bankruptcy?

It's common to hear about  an ex spouse filing for bankruptcy after a divorce is over, and often the spouse will list the other spouse's  attorney fees as a debt on the bankruptcy schedules. Thus, attorney fees as a dischargeable debt in bankruptcy become a big issue.
The key question is whether the attorney fee debt is declared as a support obligation-- or--- as a property settlement claim.
The California Bankruptcy Court  declared obligations to pay spousal support and attorney fees as non-dischargeable pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5). Van Aken v. Van Aken, 2005 Fed. App. 0001 (6th Cir. 2005).
If a spouse attempts to discharge an attorney fee award, it is imperative that the other party IMMEDIATELY file an adversary proceeding with the Bankruptcy Court. This request calls for a Court hearing over the dispute, and the Court decides whether the  fee award is support and non-dischargeable. 
Likewise, the Bankruptcy Court could determine the  fee award was a form of equitable distribution that can be discharged. 
The Court could also order the payment terms be restructured. It is important to note that if a non-debtor spouse ignores a spouse's bankruptcy filing, disastrous results could ensure. No objection typically means the debtor spouse will successfully discharge a  fee obligation.
As can be seen, IF your attorney sets up a settlement wherein YOUR support is called a property settlement, and not support-- you may end up in trouble if fees were awarded to you, and the ex files bankruptcy. some attorneys do not like to call spousal support what it is (and support is taxable to payee) so they end up calling it something else. Depending on what they called it in the settlement documents, this could make a big difference in bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a very complex subject which is both legally and technically complicated. No divorce settlement should ever be entered into without FIRST figuring out, what would the effect be IF the other party filed bankruptcy--before, during, or after divorce. The timing can make a big difference, and the fallout, especially if a house is involved can become quite complicated.