Don_McLean_in_2012After a 30-year marriage, Don McLean and wife Patrisha have finalized their divorce. The “American Pie” singer’s divorce followed his January 2016 arrest on domestic violence assault charges, for which he plead not guilty. The divorce paperwork filed by Patrisha after this incident cited “adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences.” Continue reading

Sperm-donor-dad

He is a movie star who shot to fame on a motorcycle in “The Lost Boys.” She is a California massage therapist from a prominent East Coast family. With his sperm, her eggs and the wonder of in vitro fertilization, they produced a child, Gus.

From there, the tale gets very, very messy; a story that serves as a cautionary tale for any man considering donating sperm to a friend and any woman considering accepting it.

In February 2013, the actor lost a court battle to gain visitation rights with Gus under a California law that grants the mother full custody in the absence of a written agreement establishing parental rights before conception. But the fight for custody did not end there. Continue reading

depp-heard-divorce

The latest Hollywood divorce drama comes as Amber Heard files for divorce after a 15-month union with Johnny Depp. Heard alleged an incident of domestic violence just days before she filed for divorce, and pictures later surfaced of her with a black eye. The media is abuzz with discussions of whether the abuse actually happened, or whether it was just a ploy on Heard’s part to gain sympathy and secure more money from the divorce.

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paternity-set-aside

Can a judgment establishing paternity be set aside?

Under California Family Code Section 7646, if there has already been a judgment establishing paternity and the parents later find out dad is not really the biological father, the judgment can be set aside. Continue reading

grandparents-rights

What happens if you are a grandparent and you would like court ordered visitation rights with your grandchildren in California? In California, under Family Code section 3100, the family court may grant reasonable visitation rights to the grandparent of a minor child.

California can be fairly permissive when it comes to granting orders of visitation between  grandchildren and grandparents. In deciding whether to grant visitation rights to anyone, a court will always place the interests of the child first. For a court to order visitation, a California court will balance the interests of the child against the traditional right of the parents to decide who their children associate with. Continue reading

divorce-pets

Divorce can become even more stressful when pets are involved and both parties are attached. While many people feel as though their pets are part of the family, the law doesn’t see it that way.

In a divorce, a dispute over a pet is not treated like a child custody matter, where the court must look at what is in the best interest of the child and works towards a goal of frequent and continuing contact with each parent. Rather, a pet is treated as a piece of property, just as a car or any other inanimate object would be. Continue reading

getting-married

Getting engaged is an extremely happy time for any couple.  The act of showing off the ring (and for millennials posting hundreds of pictures of the ring to various social media accounts) fills a bride-to-be with an amazing sense of excitement and joy for the upcoming nuptials.

What often gets forgotten in all the excitement of a wedding is, what happens after the ceremony; after all of the gifts have been open, the guests have left and you are sitting in a home with your new partner.  This moment should be marked as the beginning of a long and fulfilling relationship, but unless you lived with your spouse before you were married, you may find yourself wondering just who you are married to.

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engagement-ring

“Will you marry me?” Once that special question is popped, generally it is followed up with that beautiful, but expensive diamond ring placed on her finger. So what happens to the ring when the wedding doesn’t happen?

Generally, once a gift is made in California it cannot be revoked. However, Civil Code § 1590 provides a specific rule for the gift of an engagement ring.

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THE FINISH LINE

In California divorce cases, the spouse who files the request for the divorce is known as the Petitioner and the spouse responding to the request is, appropriately, the Respondent. Most divorce lawyers will tell you that there is no real benefit to being the Petitioner or the Respondent in most cases (although this divorce lawyer will tell you, all other things being equal, its nicer to be the Petitioner because the Petitioner gets to go first and last at trial).

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custody-evaluations

In many high conflict cases, the Court cannot rely solely on the parties and the witnesses selected by the parties to come to an informed conclusion on child custody and visitation. The Court must rely on other professionals to investigate and evaluate the family’s circumstances. A custody evaluation is generally considered to be a matter of right to a noncustodial parent facing a request to move the children out of California. In California, there are generally three ways the Court can appoint evaluators.

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