Divorce

Divorce

Sunday, September 30, 2018

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.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Best Attorney? What You Want May or May Not Work for Your Case

The correct word is probably more like "appropriate", since each case has the claimed facts, and each side has some type of emotional deal that goes with it.

Family law attorneys may focus on divorces, but child custody does not require a divorce in the first place?  Whether married or unmarried, the issue of kids is common, and the issues involving kids is also commonly a point of problematic issues.




While many attorneys can handle custody issues, and financial issues, and legal issues, there really is not one type of person,  attorney wise, that will be the best fit for all clients. Having knowledge of procedure in family law is a given, but pretty much the way family law attorneys handle divorces and cases can vary.  Some may like to focus on mediation and settlement, and that's pretty much what they do.

It does not take a litigator to focus on settlement. It does not take a real fighter to focus on mediation.


So for those who wish to settle everything, and they can actually agree to work out something, that's great. Should they have to pay $3k, $5k; or even $60k, $200k, or close, to work it out? Maybe, if there are serious numbers in the portfolio, many issues with properties, and tax issues. Or large businesses and valuations (let's say a dentist wants to sell the practice; or doctor wants to divide the practice,etc.) Would that require an attorney or a tax person? Could be both but seems more like tax to me.....

However, for the not so rich  people who don't get along and couldn't work out a plan if you paid both of them, and for any couple that has long been fighting about various issues, of which money might only be one small issue, it may not be the mediator type attorney that can work anything out.
In many cases, clients will not back down for varying reasons, and some of those reasons are definitely valid? and why not? Maybe they are actually being ripped off? Maybe one party has no parenting skills whatsoever? Maybe one parent is on drugs?


What attorney commonly sees, is that one parent is really off base in his or her attitude toward the kids, or whatever they are fighting about, and the other parent will not give in-- and often times, rightly so...  On the other hand, sometimes one person is dead set on some type of action he or she wants, and will not let that go (say, one wants to keep a house but the other wants it..) Or, commonly seen, is that one parent is the better caretaker of kids but is always working, leaving the not so good parent taking care of the kids--but doing a terrible job?

Then there could be domestic violence issues and not any money issues? OR one or both parents have their own issues inherent to their personalities, and that will fuel more fighting.

For the most part, the non financial workouts are often much more difficult emotionally, and the financial ones can be maddening rather than depressing.  You don't usually need litigation for financial workouts if people can agree upon numbers or certain assets. Sometimes there will be fighting because no one will agree on actual numbers, thus there is no agreement on who gets what.

There could be deceit or huge discrepancies used in the financial holdings, in which case tracing would be used and investigators or CPAs if needed. Litigation might have to be used if there is fraud or something close. It could be that spousal support would be an issue as one side claims he/she doesn't make the amount the other side claims?     



Normally -- fraud doesn't just get mediated away? There is a lot written in the family code concerning finances because historically, some people have chosen to try and swindle the spouse; therefore, litigation is usually required. Large dealership sales, acquisitions and larger transfers can be very big litigation issues, especially if they were done without oversight.


As for the children and custody fights, sometimes both parents have some fairly common beliefs and not every parent is wrong. Sometimes a mediator can decide what is in the best interest of the kids, but other times we have seen some decisions that are not exactly what we would call fair...



It might be when some people look for attorneys, they really want a fighter and not a weak advocate. It is true that some attorneys are not able to actually litigate because they really have little skill at trial advocacy. Others may have better skills at settling issues, because they can find some common ground to parcel out to each side.  In choosing an advocate, each client probably needs to feel confident to some degree, that whatever type of action they are trying to get--that the attorney can actually do that action for them.  

The best way for an attorney to find out whether they are suited to a case is to ask a lot of specific questions.  It takes more time, but in the long run it will help the client, and the attorney can better perform the duties required. Hopefully that would lead to success for the client's case!

Monday, September 17, 2018

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]

Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California.

ALAN S., JR., Petitioner, v. The SUPERIOR COURT of Orange County, Respondent; Mary T., Real Party in Interest.

No. G041034.

    Decided: March 18, 2009

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. ]


CONTACT ATTORNEY 530 359 8810 IF YOU NEED HELP ON YOUR LEGAL CASE WHETHER IT'S FILED ALREADY OR NOT!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Winning v. Settling ... What is the Difference?

In family law, it's often stated there are no winners?

...  HOWEVER when it is YOUR case in family law, do you WANT to be the loser?

Probably not.

Therefore it makes sense that "settling" a case involves some concessions, right? Well, conceding something that is not important, doesn't amount to much simply because it doesn't matter so much. So we are left with either wanting to win something key, and important in most cases?
                                     
Attorney herein doesn't believe that any parent should just give up on something
 important, if in fact it is rationale and not errant, unproductive, or just plain crazy.

 Winning rationally is not problematic.

What is problematic is when entrenched parents simply insist on something that is not key, or they are very selfish and small minded, or they are possibly narcissistic and possibly bi polar.

In the last case, if either parent has mental issues [which is more common that you know] involving anxiety, OCD and the like, we will find issues that may not be actual issues, but will appear to the parent focusing on "it", to be an issue that expands or blows up out of control. Winning at all costs is not usually what should be done..in cases like these.


High conflict cases are usually entrenched parents
 that have issues of their own
OR they had issues before, 
OR they make mountains out of molehills 
until it is way, way, way out of control...

Parents that spend $25k or $125k on obtaining custody may or may not be justified. Some parents are only fighting over custody to save money in support, but others may be doing it to gain a "one up" on the other parent.

And some attorneys will keep the case going because the fighting is paying them more money, and attorney herein has seen other attorneys file MANY meritless motions simply to apparently get paid more, and instead of explaining to their client the truth, the attorney gets paid and the client doesn't get any relief obviously.  How does attorney know this?  Because attorney herein has witnessed it, it's that simple.

 Attorney's goal is  to get the client what the client deserves and each case is different.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Former Client on National Geographic+ Current Client..Singer Jack Russell

Yes, Jack is one of my clients..........I can feel for the guy after the horrific fire in 2003....

Jack Russell is the original singer of the band Great White (80's metal) and is now the singer of his band, Jack Russell's Great White...due to the lawsuit settlement, Jack took the Jack Russell's Great White name for his band, and the other band is named Great White.  The very sad fire that happened in 2003 in Rhode Island took a horrible toll on Jack's band, the audience, and the relatives and friends that were all there.  A memorial setting has now been erected where the nightclub used to be.

Unfortunately, some people who don't understand the truth of how things work legally, feel that Jack is responsible for the fire; but Jack is the singer? Do we really believe that if any band was in any venue (even a huge stadium) and that something went wrong, we would blame the SINGER(s)??

That's pure nonsense.

Legal fact patterns require understanding the law. The official fire report that was published indicated negligence with the the club owners and the band's manager--not anyone else. A fire suppression system was not in place (but should have been) and the foam used in the building was also not legal due to its flammability. How would a singer know any of this?

 He/or she as a "singer"  would not know, and would never be expected to know that. Which is why Jack Russell was not charged with a crime.   Why didn't the local fire inspector know anything about the foam?  These types of questions indicate, and the fire report proves, the exits and safety routes were improper also, and that people were blocked from trying to get out? Essentially the flammability level of the foam was so high that it only took about four seconds to start igniting. No members of the band were found to be at fault legally.

The manager (who is not a member of the band) and the club owners were found liable, and after it was all said and done, according to online research, many corporations (Home depot, Anheuser Busch,etc) donated MILLIONS to the victims/families. Estimates seem to indicate it was over $120 million years ago.   No one talks about this, but research does have its points. Nevertheless,  Rhode Island Survivors and victims' relatives have now been offered a total of nearly $175 million from the governments and a variety of companies sued over the fire [this was noted in 2008.]

Had this happened in California, attorney believes the government local fire inspectors would not be immune and a tort claim could be filed. Municipal immunity and governmental tort immunity is a complicated subject which arises when individuals want to sue a governmental entity. Surprisingly, there are quite a few situations in animal law cases involving governmental immunity. This link explains 42 USC 1983 claims  http://www.constitution.org/brief/forsythe_42-1983.htm  

YES, this is about constitutional law......


https://youtu.be/uaWTKVqam1k


As of September 2008, at least $115 million in settlement agreements had been paid, or offered, to the victims or their families by various defendants:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Station_nightclub_fire
  • In September 2008, The Jack Russell Tour Group Inc. offered $1 million in a settlement to survivors and victim's relatives,[32] the maximum allowed under the band's insurance plan.[33]
  • Club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian have offered to settle for $813,000,[34] which is to be covered by their insurance plan due to the pair having bankruptcy protection from lawsuits.[34]
  • The State of Rhode Island and the town of West Warwick agreed to pay $10 million as settlement.[35]
  • Sealed Air Corporation agreed to pay $25 million as settlement. Sealed Air made soundproofing foam installed in the club.[36]
  • In February 2008, Providence television station WPRI-TV made an out-of-court settlement of $30 million as a result of the claim that their video journalist was said to be obstructing escape and not sufficiently helping people exit.[37]
  • In March 2008, JBL Speakers settled out of court for $815,000. JBL was accused of using flammable foam inside their speakers. The company denied any wrongdoing.[38]
  • Anheuser-Busch has offered $5 million.[39] McLaughlin & Moran, Anheuser-Busch's distributor, has offered $16 million.[39]
  • Home Depot and Polar Industries, Inc. (a Connecticut-based insulation company), made a settlement offer of $5 million.[40]
  • Providence radio station WHJY-FM promoted the show, which was emcee'd by its DJ, Mike "The Doctor" Gonsalves (who was one of the casualties that night). Clear Channel Broadcasting, WHYJ's parent company, paid a settlement of $22 million in February 2008.[41]
There are other named defendants who have not yet made a settlement offer, including American Foam Corporation, who sold the insulation to the Station Nightclub.
==============================================================

Here is one of the videos from National Geographic showing attorney's  former family law client working to pull burls out. Al works locally and also travels to pull in different areas. A good burl
can be worth many thousands. Usually the burls Al pulls end up on high end vehicles,
vessels, and planes. High end veneer is pricey and highly coveted in industries catering
to the rich and famous, or just people wanting high end furniture.



http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/filthy-riches/videos/hollowed-out-hope/#


What is An Affordable Attorney?

Original Post August 2017

"Affordable attorney" -- for divorce, custody, restraining orders, paternity and division of property--  is probably something that most people believe, doesn't really exist.
In a way, that could be correct, as most attorneys charge quite a bit when the hourly rate is considered.

Many attorneys do charge for consultations, but some do not. Most attorneys with many years of experience do charge for consults.  The real question is, how many clients can really afford an attorney without going broke?  It is this attorney's experience that many clients will expend as much as possible and then find they are broke and haven't achieved the result they wanted.

Further, this attorney has found that in nearly all cases where an opposing attorney represents the other side, this attorney's [the attorney who wrote this post] client's fees, are about  40-50% less than the opposing side, if not higher. Thus the opposing side's fees could be $5,000, but my client's fees would be about 50% less.

There are almost NO attorneys that do not charge by the hour.  Thus in order to charge a client less,
the attorney must either charge less per hour, or not charge the client for work done.




If a client has paid less for legal work,  BUT END UP GETTING THE RESULT YOU WANTED-- then you have gained  not only monetary savings, but have experienced what is like to have an attorney that actually cares about the client!!
Most attorneys are in this field for the money, and not necessarily  to produce a result; that is the opinion of attorney herein based upon years of watching the billing of other attorneys.

If you want actual, true value, and want to get more than you pay for, then I could possibly be a good match for your case.   I do not play games, and call them as I see them;  I am usually correct. This may result, at times, in other people or even attorneys, becoming irate under pressure.

This is nothing new to attorney herein.... 
in fact, one attorney (in court hearing)
 actually had the nerve to claim out loud-- that attorney herein
 'did not know family law' -- which is very untrue--
whereupon Judge then decided to award my client
 spousal support for 1/2 of the length of the marriage?  

We didn't expect to obtain any spousal support, as the ex had filed a DV TRO against my client, which ex's attorney just kept pushing forward (for a year, mind you) and never set a trial date.... BUT this then caused ex's  attorney to run back to his office and send attorney herein a nasty email claiming they were going to stop making 1/2 of the house payment, and evict my client? Which all went against the agreement that the other attorney himself actually devised?????Hello??!!~!

Call (530) 359 8810 to see if I am right!!!  As a dedicated litigator, I do not lose very often. Get results now!