The definition of domestic violence is best summed up by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (“NCADV”). According to NCADV, Domestic Violence is defined as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.”

As if divorce was not difficult enough, many family law litigants find themselves having to deal with domestic violence issues. When most people think of domestic violence, they tend to think of physical violence, but in California the definition is much broader. Continue reading


I handle a lot of child custody cases.  That is not surprising since I am a Family Law Attorney, but I have many colleagues that simply do not handle custody cases at all.  They will either bring in co-counsel to handle the case or not accept the case entirely.  Handling child custody cases can be difficult, and I cannot count the amount of clients who have cried in my office.  The truth is child custody is a very emotional issue at the best of times.  At the worst of times…well it can sometimes be soul crushing work.  Having said that, I love handling custody and working with parents to find positive resolutions to very emotional issues.

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Kelly Rutherford’s heart wrenching custody battle over her two children, aged 6 and 9 years old, made headlines again last month as a Judge in Monaco ruled that the children were to stay there with their father and that Rutherford was no longer allowed to bring them to the United States. In case you are not familiar with the 6-year-long custody battle that has ensued, here is a brief overview of the key events leading up to this decision:

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Looking to get married but need extra cash to fund the wedding? Try submitting an application to Swanluv, a new startup company launching in February 2016 that is offering up to $10,000 to help couples fund their dream weddings. The catch? If you end up getting divorced, the money must be repaid…in addition to the interest accrued to-date. However, if you never divorce, you never have to pay them a dime.

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Just last month, on December 4, 2015, the final judgment of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith’s divorce was filed. While we are always interested in the latest celebrity divorce news, this one caught our attention because of the substantial amount of money that Antonio will be paying Melanie in spousal support; $65,000 per month! And the real kicker is that after an almost-20-year marriage, and even though Antonio will be paying what us mere mortals would consider an exorbitant amount in support, their divorce seems to have been completely civil. Also interesting is that the couple executed a post-nuptial agreement in 2004, which delegated how the income from their individual entertainment projects for the next 10 years would be divided.

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Lost jobs are an unfortunate reality of the present economy. Sadly, some of those already facing this unfortunate reality are also hit with another tragedy at the same time: divorce. This issue has hit close to home recently as technology giant Qualcomm laid-off 1,314 full-time San Diego employees in recent months due to company restructuring. Although Qualcomm has provided the laid-off employees with severance packages in order to assist with the transition to new employment, it’s never easy to lose a job and face the uncertainty that comes with unemployment. Continue reading


In my previous blog, I raised several questions that you need to discuss with you attorney before you make a request for the party to be drug tested. In this blog I will answer these questions and provide some ideas to assist in deciding whether they are important in your case.

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The abuse of alcohol and/or drugs by a parent can have an enormous impact on their children’s lives. That impact can range from the irrational or angry behavior of a parent under the influence, exposure to drugs or drug use, or safety concerns related to a parent who is under the influence and caring for the children.

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California judges can make so many different types of spousal support orders, it can make a lawyers’ head spin, let alone the actual parties to a divorce. For instance, many people need help understanding the difference between a $0 spousal support order and an order where the Court terminates jurisdiction to award support (it turns out, there can be a huge difference). Let’s go over each type of spousal support order a Court can make.

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Attorney fees can be a very important issue in many divorce cases. Most family law litigants in California, and certainly their attorneys, are familiar with Family Code section 2030, which awards attorney fees on a “need and ability” basis. This statute is designed to make sure that each party has equal access to legal representation. This makes perfect sense: as a matter of public policy, we don’t want people prevailing on issues as important as child support and child custody because the prevailing party had an attorney and the losing party did not.

There are, however, many other mechanisms that allow the Court to award attorney fees and/or sanctions, many of which are underutilized. They are discussed below.

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