COVID-19 has affected all sectors of the U.S. population. The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has issued stay-at-home orders for all residents, with limited exceptions for “essential works.” In California alone, over 1 million workers have filed for employment benefits. The San Diego Courthouses have all closed to the public and were only processing temporary restraining orders. As of April 8, 2020, the Superior Courts have expanded their accessibility slightly allowing for limited Ex Parte (emergency) Hearings. Since the Court’s official closure in mid-March, it is believed the Court has received over 7,000 documents via U.S. Mail. None of these documents have been processed during the closure. This figure does not account for the presumably high number of Court filings that have been postponed or the number of hearings that were scheduled to occur during the 2 ½ months the Court has been closed. Those hearings will have to be continued to a date in the future. So, what can we expect once the Courts are able to re-open in any capacity? Continue reading
Although a divorce in California could be finalized in as quickly as 6 months, if the former spouses have children together they are stuck with each other for 18 years, and longer! The truth is that child custody and visitation issues linger long after the final divorce papers are signed. This is because as children grow older their needs and activities change. Similarly, throughout the years parents move on with their separate lives and some acquire new jobs or partners. Due to these factors, a visitation schedule that was implemented at the beginning of the case may not always work for the family a few years later. This blog will explore how parents can request a modification to the current visitation schedule exercised by their family. Continue reading
Making headlines recently, a 26 year old man was arrested after punching his mother in the face during a dispute about toilet paper. A few months ago this news likely would not have even made the headlines. The state of our world as we know it has drastically changed and headlines, like this one, are becoming more common place.
At first glance this headline might appear amusing or even bring up flashbacks to that episode of Seinfeld when Elaine’s bathroom “stall-mate” just could not “spare a square.” In reality, the underlying issues being addressed in this caption are much more severe than they may at first seem. What is the issue? Domestic violence and its’ escalation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is domestic violence? Continue reading
The other day I was asked, “Why do I need to pay child support to my ex-wife if we care for our children equally?” This is a great question that requires some understanding of both California law and public policy. At first blush it may seem unreasonable and unfair that one parent must pay the other parent child support even though both parents equally care, house, feed, and pay for their children’s livelihood and well-being.
Let’s start by looking at California Family Code section 4053, which is the statute that provides courts with overarching principals to consider when implementing a child support order. This statues states, in part, that “a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support the parent’s minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.” (emphasis added.) The statute also states that, “the [child support] guideline takes into account each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children” and that “each parent should pay for the support of the children according to the parent’s ability.” (emphasis added.) The statute also explains that child support “should minimize significant disparities in the children’s living standards in the two homes” and that “children should share in the standard of living of both parents.” (emphasis added.) Continue reading
Although a divorce in California could be finalized in as quickly as six months, if the former spouses have children together they are stuck with each other for 18 years, and longer! The truth is that child custody and visitation issues linger long after the final divorce papers are signed.
This is because as children grow older their needs and activities change. Similarly, throughout the years parents move on with their separate lives and some acquire new jobs or partners. Due to these factors, a visitation schedule that was implemented at the beginning of the case may not always work for the family a few years later. This blog will explore how parents can request a modification to the current visitation schedule exercised by their family.
It is no secret that the San Diego Family Law Courts are overutilized, overworked, and overbooked. When a party files a motion with the court it can often take several months, or longer, to get a hearing date! This can be frustrating for litigants who want to move their case forward towards closure. But what happens when an emergency comes up in your case and you cannot wait months for a hearing date? Luckily, there is a procedure and solution to allow the court to hear an emergency issue within a day or two, and that is called an “Ex Parte” hearing. At an Ex Parte hearing, judges can make temporary emergency orders, when appropriate.
Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 5.151(b), “[t]he purpose of a request for emergency orders is to address matters that cannot be heard on the court’s regular hearing calendar….[and] the process is used to request that the court: Continue reading
In the ideal world, parents would be able to agree on a custody and visitation arrangement that is in the best interest of their children, without the need to go to court. However, if the parents cannot agree on a custody plan then one party, or both, must file a motion with the court to have the judge decide on the issue.
The global spread of COVID-19 (a.k.a Corona Virus) is affecting millions and has been deemed by the United States government a national pandemic. Both the Federal and California state governments are calling upon citizens to do their part in assisting with slowing the spread of this novel virus, which has given rise to sudden deviations from all of our normal routines.
As experienced Family Law attorneys, we anticipate the current state of affairs may be especially difficult for separated or divorced parents trying to navigate through these peculiar times. The following are general guidelines, based on our experience, that we believe all co-parents should be cognizant of: Continue reading
Did you know in the state of California, you do not need to be genetically related to a child for a Court to find you to be the child’s parent and issue orders for you to pay financial support of the child?
It’s true! And it can occur under the following circumstances:
Family law courts across the nation adhere to “guidelines” and a statutory formula in determining appropriate child support awards. In actuality, the “guidelines” provide mandatory requirements intended to create uniformity in the calculations of child support that are presumed correct.
The guidelines take into account the general principles that (1) a parent’s first and primary obligation is to support his or her minor child consistent with his or her own circumstances and “station in life” (“station in life” meaning the parents’ social standings, i.e. lifestyle, work status, economic circumstances, etc.); and (2) both parents are by law mutually responsible for the support of their child. Continue reading