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.