Friday, June 14, 2019

Mediation-- Don't Wreck Your Chances

Most clients who have never been to mediation are not prepared and just argue over everything.

That is exactly what NOT to do.  Attorney has many years of time in on how to approach mediation, and can help guide clients before mediation so they do not  make catastrophic errors. Overly emotional parents tend to fare worse than logical parents as a general rule. Parents that are dead set on certain conditions, times and places, and not being flexible, often do not help. Each case is judged on the merits and pitfalls of everything involved (assuming we know what is really involved...)

It is true that some parents come to the table with facts that are not exactly great, but some parents  may lie in order to get what they feel is fair. Mediators have heard many stories over the years and hopefully the mediator you get won't be one that  rushes to judgment.

If you have never been to mediation or have already lost in mediation, and wish to change your status or change the parenting, call attorney today for consultation. 530.359.8810

Monday, May 20, 2019

Attorney C. Chan = The Fixer of Bad Cases!

Attorney has seen many, many cases that never had to get to the point that they are at--IF at least one client had changed some key methods. But it is to be expected that clients can't always fix their cases since they are wound up in the turmoil... right?

From attorney's outside view....fixing most cases is possible. It may not be fast. But it is likely doable over time. Also attorney finds that clients must sometimes modify their own actions and that of the kids as well. Apparently attorney herein is not alone when realizing that the FIXER name is known even by other attorneys, for example.... attorney just saw this online, and it is exactly the view of attorney herein........ at https://njfamilylaw.foxrothschild.com/2018/10/articles/general-new-jersey-family-law-news-updates/when-you-cant-find-a-better-man-five-tips-to-consider-when-preparing-for-divorce/

  1. Find the right “Fixer”:  The divorce process can be beyond overwhelming for countless reasons.  When searching for a divorce attorney, consider not just looking for someone who is experienced in family law.  Also consider retaining an attorney who you feel comfortable talking to.  Who you can trust.  Who you can confide in and discuss certain aspects of your life and your marriage that you may not ordinarily feel comfortable speaking about with anyone else.  Who is responsive and reliable.  Who can ultimately advocate for you in the way that you believe best serves your interests and those of your children.  Who will listen to you and be mindful of what you are looking to achieve.


There is no point to keep doing the same mistakes over 
and over and expecting a different result?

Therefore if the thing that needs changing just happens to be under your authority, then that's likely where the change needs to be made.  Judges get tried of hearing the same old stuff every day in court.  Pretty soon they are on auto pilot and send everyone to mediation.  But mediation doesn't change people.  


Judges should not be allowing defendants who are under Criminal Protective Orders to have custody of kids that they have abused....but that is what we are seeing?

Change cannot take place unless someone or something makes a change--it likely won't happen by itself. So in mediation, judges just read what the mediators have written down. When and if the clients don't follow what they are to do, we see repeated issues over and over and over.  Clearly the parties MUST implement some change somewhere.

So the biggest problems are usually that all of the parties:
1.  Don't want to change their behavior
2.  Don't want to jump through hoops
3.  Don't want to have to do anything that is inconvenient
4.  Don't want anyone telling them what to do.

It's pretty simple that if your other spouse or live in, is a difficult personality, takes meds for behavioral issues, or has been diagnosed with A B or C,  your case will take more work. Not every child should be raised primarily with a parent that has NO parenting skills at all.

But sometimes we have to make the best out of a bad situation. And sometimes that may mean we will be required to jump through a few hoops also. For most parents, this is doable. For some parents that have mental issues/or blocks, they will refuse to do whatever it is.  In those cases, the parent that won't comply will inevitably suffer in the long run. Because it isn't about you so much, as whether your behavior will or will not affect the kid or kids to a large degree.

As an example, a couple with kids  where one parent has serious issues and is not suitable as the
primary parent, will continue to battle the other parent for years in trying to keep his/her domain over the kids.

Obviously this person should not be primary custodial nor should he/she even have the kids overnight--that's when we start to have some really large damage with the kids... and to prevent that from being a vicious circle, someone has to step in.

Minor's counsel is NOT always the answer, and attorney has seen that minor's counsel is often given cases that will not change. Reason being, not all parents should be using "co-parenting".  Attorney has seen some pretty bad cases and co-parenting simply doesn't work well in really bad cases.  If you have that situation, call attorney--she may be able to restructure your case.

Examples of bad cases:  The father had apparently used inappropriate sexual conduct with minor female kids, kids taken to SCAN clinic in Sacramento, verifying abuse; father ended up with no contact, case was in the newspaper (all data changed for privacy) Father was forcing kids to watch sex videos with him...
                                   Mother was a drug user but able to outfox drug testing; father installed
hidden camera and was able to gain proof, leading to father obtaining the kids legally.

                                   Mother absconded with minor kids to another state; we hired a P.I. and locator to find location from cell phone data. Court ordered the Mother to return with child; in another case, Father hid minor children in Bay Area, changed their appearances. We obtained ex parte order for Father to return kids or be arrested. He returned the kids, Mother took back custody.

                                   Father believed Mother was allowed minor kids to be molested by either boyfriend or other male. Hired P.I. to assess Mother's whereabouts and meetups, determined which males were staying with Mother. Then had uninvolved trusted third party query kids and found out which person was the suspect. After this, the kids admitted it was happening. Mother lost custody.

One of the worst things that can happen to unprepared clients is to ignore the fact that if they are not married, and fail to file a paternity action in court, the other party can simply take the kids and leave the city, county or country, without the other parent knowing. Obviously this is kidnapping on a different level--but it is easier to get kids back if there is already a paternity action filed, because usually the District Attorney (which has government ability) can use their authority to expedite the search, since the paternity filing typically asks extensive background questions as to the parents.  And if the parents had told the truth on the initial documents, the police authority and FBI have more data at hand.
                                  Worst case: this was not attorney's case--BUT--a Father married to a former citizen of a European country, had two sons with the wife. The wife later absconded with both children, and although it was known what country they went to initially, it cost so much money that eventually the Father had to give up. He has never found the kids. [It might be when the kids are adults they might locate the Father on their own..]

                                   Non custody case: Mother and Father owned several houses, upon separation they lived in the separate houses; the court in Butte never got the case to trial, despite the so-called "track" program that had a rule that each party must agree to a certain date; so when parties did not agree, the case went back on the "track." Unfortunately, that system was not really how legal cases should get to trial (there are actually rules)--so the Mother did not get to trial until 7 (yes seven) years after the divorce was filed. On the stand at trial, attorney herein caught the Father lying about his bankruptcy petition (we had a copy of it)--and that was when the Father's attorney called time out, and offered us a deal giving the Mother a large sum of cash to end the case. It was a glorious day! 

NOTE: if you and/or spouse intend to file bankruptcy and you will be in the divorce at that time, you should seek counsel from a bankruptcy attorney. Nearly all of the bankruptcy documents are filed online and normally you will need a PACER account to view online data.  Attorney herein is licensed in the following CA federal courts (Eastern District, Southern District, and Northern District; and the State of Colorado Federal District Court.)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Mandated Mediation in Custody and Visitation Cases

    In most cases, the parents are required to go to a mandated mediation session where a mediator
will conduct an assessment of the situation overall-- in most cases the parents have not reached an agreement on visitation.  If they did reach an agreement, the mediator might add additional provisions.

   In addition, especially in cases which are problematic, the parents are told to use "Talking Parents" which is a website that allows the conversations between the parents to actually be SEEN by the judge.....there is no cost in most cases to use this service. Parents are given instructions when they sign up for the mediation appointment.

   Most parents go into mediation blind, meaning, they have no idea of what is going to happen, so they tend to just try and argue about various issues.  This is not the best approach obviously because the mediator's job is to create a workable solution that is somewhat fair given the specific circumstances.  Many parents are very unhappy with results of mediation, this is very common.

If you have read this far, then you may be interested to know that attorney herein actually helps clients prepare for mediation. Each case is different, and attorney wants to make sure the client knows what not to do, and what is either productive conduct, positive, or helpful. Many clients have no idea that what they may do is actually harmful to their case.  This should be avoided obviously, if one is trying to get another to see their "side."  This type of situation always comes up, because if you are going to mediation obviously there is some disagreement. Attorney has been doing these types of cases for more than 20+ years and can likely even predict which parent has a better chance of getting what they want for the kids.

If you are going to mediation and have a situation which is difficult, you will definitely need help preparing for mediation. Attorney has much experience in this area,  so call today to find out if we can help you on your case!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

TRUE: DV Convictions Can Possibly Take Abuser's Pension!!

Family Code Section 4325
(a) In any proceeding for dissolution of marriage where there is a criminal conviction for a domestic violence misdemeanor or a criminal conviction for a misdemeanor that results in a term of probation pursuant to Section 1203.097 of the Penal Code perpetrated by one spouse against the other spouse entered by the court within five years prior to the filing of the dissolution proceeding or during the course of the dissolution proceeding, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the following shall apply:

(1) An award of spousal support to the convicted spouse from the injured spouse is prohibited.
(2) If economic circumstances warrant, the court shall order the attorney's fees and costs incurred by the parties to be paid from the community assets. The injured spouse shall not be required to pay any attorney's fees of the convicted spouse out of the injured spouse's separate property.

(3) At the request of the injured spouse, the date of separation, as defined in Section 70, shall be the date of the incident giving rise to the conviction, or earlier, if the court finds circumstances that justify an earlier date.

(b) The court may consider documented evidence of a convicted spouse's history as a victim of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, perpetrated by the other spouse, or any other factors the court deems just and equitable, as conditions for rebutting this presumption.

(c) The rebuttable presumption created in this section may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.

(d) The court may determine, based on the facts of a particular case, that the injured spouse is entitled to up to 100 percent of the community property interest in his or her retirement and pension benefits. In determining whether and how to apportion the community property interest in the retirement and pension benefits of the injured spouse, the court shall consider all of the following factors:

(1) The misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, as well as documented evidence of other instances of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties or perpetrated by either party against either party's child, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence. The court shall also consider documented evidence of a convicted spouse's history as a victim of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, perpetrated by the other spouse.
(2) The duration of the marriage and when, based on documented evidence, incidents of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, occurred.
(3) The extent to which the convicted spouse's present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the convicted spouse to devote time to domestic duties.
(4) The extent to which the convicted spouse contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the injured spouse.
(5) The balance of the hardships to each party.
(6) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

(e) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Domestic violence misdemeanor" means a misdemeanor offense for an act of abuse, as described in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 6203, perpetrated by one spouse against the other spouse.
(2) "Injured spouse" means the spouse who has been the subject of the domestic violence misdemeanor for which the other spouse was convicted.

(f) The changes made to this section by the bill that added this subdivision shall only apply to convictions that occur on or after January 1, 2019.

Potential Huge Issues for Domestic Violence Cases in Regard to PENSIONS

IF there is any abuser who is violent--and yet maintains a good job--- he or she is most at risk, especially if a conviction for domestic violence happens. THIS IS VERY HUGE for anyone who already is on the edge of being convicted of domestic violence.

Attorney does work on both family law and criminal cases.  If you are in the bad position of
being accused of Domestic Violence, and you have a good job, you better not be convicted of the domestic violence.  For legal help on domestic violence, call attorney ASAP!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Child Support-- Do you Need to Increase or Decrease It??

California Child Support Guidelines

After the determination of a parent–child relationship, the next step is to calculate the appropriate    amount of child support. The formula used to calculate the appropriate amount of support is known          as the child support guidelines. California law provides guidelines to courts for setting the child        support payment amount. 
Child Support guidelines are based on each parent’s net disposable monthly income and the amount of time the child is cared for by each parent. For the purpose of deciding child support payment amounts,    the court considers income from all sources, whether or not it is reported or taxed under federal law.      The guidelines came into effect as part of an effort to make the calculation less of a judgment call and more of a mathematical equation.  Examples of circumstances that can affect the calculated child support      amount include a child’s educational expenses, special needs expenses, or travel expenses for a distant parent.
The income can be in the form of money, property or services, and includes:
  • Wages from a job
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Self-employment earnings
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability and workers' compensation
  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Rental Income
  • Social Security or pensions
  • Any payments or credit due or becoming due, regardless of the source, including lottery and prize winnings
  • Usually, a new spouse's income is not considered in setting support, however, we have seen judges consider      the effect that such income has on the net disposable income; therefore, it's probably worth a shot to mention    it if you are the receiving party, or where the difference in incomes between the two parents is vastly different.
The court determines net disposable income for each parent by considering certain items from his or her income, including:
  • Taxes
  • Ordinary union dues
  • Ordinary retirement contributions
  • Health premiums
  • Child or spousal support actually being paid
  • Costs of raising children from another relationship
The court uses the net disposable income for each parent
 and the percentage of time each parent spends with kids:

child support calculator

**If you are self employed, or have other children (not of this relationship), or have
tried to start your own business and borrowed money to do so, or if you had to quit your job
for varying reasons, or if you are re-married and the spouse loaned you separate money, or if you inherited money or won money via lotto or gambling; if you are actually married and won a large amount
in the state lotto; if you owe huge taxes and cannot pay them; if you owe real estate taxes and may lose your house; if you have credit card debt that you cannot keep up with and are losing 50% of your
pay before you even get your check; any of these situations , you should call attorney herein FIRST---before you make a big error or mistake.  Attorney has seen nearly all of the mentioned situations and some of them are quite workable if you don't do it wrong.
The DCSS calculator for California, is online at no cost; it will not be "exactly" the same as the one in Court, but it will be very close. https://gc.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse/guidelineCalculator

Friday, March 8, 2019

Parents, Marijuana Use and Custody in California

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

[This post has over 1,645 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.


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.//

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

Monday, March 4, 2019

Losing Your Case in Family Law Court??

You may not be alone.

We are noticing that many of the Domestic violence TRO cases, especially if the kids or custody is involved-- are being completely tossed aside, and thrown into mediation.
Mediation is unpredictable if you get what we believe is a bad mediator, and believe us, there is at least one of those there..........you can file a complaint with the court, not saying it would work, but if enough people do it, there might be some changes.  There is definitely a good mediator there also, and we are not sure exactly how cases are assigned.

Domestic violence can either be overlooked, or handled inappropriately by judges, at least in our
experience. Considering that counsel has practiced in larger jurisdictions such as San Diego, Sacramento, etc. it basically means we know that not all mediators are created equal.

It is true that some domestic violence cases are not actually valid. 

 But there are many that are absolutely valid, and if (for example)

 -- you have EVER obtained a criminal protective order, 

be advised that when an order comes out involving CUSTODY-- 

it is required that the Judge state on the order or 

modification--that there

 IS a current Criminal Protective Order  (CPO)!!  

This is the law in California.

WELL-- guess what?  We have seen a case where the Criminal Protective Order was mentioned at least over 100 (yes-- one hundred times) in the case file, and NONE of the orders EVER mentioned that there even WAS a CPO??  Only when attorney herein became involved, did any judge even seem to notice the CPO at all ---this is a travesty of justice, people !!!!

There are different types of CPOs  that can be issued...CPO--Domestic Violence; PC Section 136.2, PC Section 136.2(i)(1), PC Section 273.5(j), PC Section 646.9(k), see Judicial Council form CR-160 for example...Even if the CPO had expired--- we would mention it anyway for the background of the case.

Domestic violence cases can be very tricky and even dangerous legally. There is always new case law being published on the subject, because it tends to overwhelm the case, AND children are often the losers because of bad rulings. Don't let this happen to you. Get legal help ASAP especially if your truth is being smothered by improper rulings!! See family code section 3044, which the court usually hands out prior to mediation.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

When Courts allow Criminal Informants to Have custody?

Why WOULD a family law court knowingly give a criminal informant (aka snitch) the
minor children? Why would the police be trying to help the informant?  Why would everyone
ignore the other parent, and listen to the informant?  Should judges in family court give criminals the minor children?

If you didn't know before, apparently in this county one can be a snitch and then get treated like he's the greatest guy on earth.  Why?  Because obviously, he has done enough snitching such that the police, the District Attorneys, investigators and even the Judges in family law courts, will GIVE him custody???  and what of the kids? Apparently it doesn't matter if you give minor kids to criminals on purpose. Even if the kids have an attorney appointed to help them (also known as minor's counsel..)
From what we have seen, in informant cases, minor's counsel may not be much help? Or maybe
that's because he or she already knows that an informant will be given preference? Just guessing?

WARNING-- very little is written on family law cases where one parent is or was
a confidential informant.  These cases will nearly always be very difficult, because the
snitch will likely be given preference over the other parent depending on how much
leeway is owed to the snitch.

Bad parent may have:

Huge criminal history, jail, prison, VOP, you name it
Violation of nearly all parental ethics
Allowed to engage in child endangerment, slam into a vehicle 7 times with
  his own vehicle, with other parent/minor kids in it, and may not be charged?

Close to kidnapping, (or actual) and withheld visitation for months on and off
Lying nearly 100% of the time, no matter what subject
Used fraud and failed to properly give notice, but the Intent to Withhold Unit
just allows it, unfettered

Used kids as pawns and secretly grooming kids in bad ways
Was able to LIE to all JUDGES without  with some of them even knowing it????
Always able to get perpetual "intent to withhold" and when they expire, do nothing
   and keep the kids?

 Because both federal and state government allow criminals to work for
them as snitches, much has been written about the practice, and the pitfalls that occur.

  • Not to be outdone, academia has launched proposals for The Confidential Informant Accountability Act. A version of such a bill affecting federal law enforcement agencies is currently working its way through Congress. Its sponsor said the bill stems from a September 2016 report by the Office of the Department of Justice Inspector General about the extent of CI use by the DEA and ATF – with little or no oversight.


Police policy and procedures

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Save Money on Setting Child Support?

Most people realize that if they utilize the Dept. of Child Support Services (DCSS), obtaining support
may take awhile, but the Department does not charge the client in order to obtain the support from the paying parent.
In many cases where the paying parent has a job where the employer is a business
that is medium-large, or will clearly issue business checks or direct deposit, there may not be many issues.  However, if there is an employee working for a family owned business, or the worker is self employed on a cash basis, or the worker does odd jobs and doesn't have a checking account or pay taxes, or (just an example) is engaged in illegal sales of whatever (drugs, illegal goods, etc.) then
using the DCSS may not work.

Attorney will routinely see cases where clients go to court for child support, and will pay attorneys to carry out the process. Although some of these clients may do well to utilize attorneys, many cases can actually be handled with DCSS (as it does not cost anything).... Whether a client may be treated better by family law judge using the Dissomaster v the DCSS using the same Dissomaster is debatable. However some clients do not care to go to DCSS support hearings and simply would rather pay their attorney. DCSS essentially has a very wide basis of enforcement and tracking ability throughout the United States. DCSS can routinely work with other states for enforcement. It may take awhile, but it is done. This also applies to potential contempt issues.

If you have questions, feel free to call attorney herein at 530 797-6006. You should leave your name and a return number and attorney will get back with you. There is no charge for this.