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Posted on in Family Law

CA family lawyerThere is no age limit to marry in the state of California. However, there are new restrictions that have been put in place to help reduce the number of unwanted underage marriages that have been forced upon the minors by their parents or others. These restrictions, which will begin January 1st, 2019, include the following:

  • Parents of the minor will have to meet with court officials separate from their children;
  • The minor, or minors, will have to meet with court officials, separate from their parents; and
  • Minors must wait at least 30 days before getting married unless they are 17 years old and have graduated high school or one of the spouses is pregnant.

These separate meetings are used to ensure that the parents or others are not forcing or coercing the minor to get married. If you have questions about underage marriage as a parent or a minor, call a San Jose family law attorney.

Reasons For and Against Underage Marriage

There are a number of valid reasons why two minors would marry one another, or why a minor would want to marry an adult 18 years of age or older. While underage marriage is somewhat rare in the U.S. (in Los Angeles County there were only 44 petitions for underage marriages in the last five years), it is common in third world countries.

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California family lawyerGiven that divorce is so hard on adults, it is no wonder that for a child, divorce can be such a traumatic event as to cause serious developmental problems for years into their lives. High conflict divorces, in which parents yell at each other, use abusive language, break furniture, or resort to physical violence, can damage the way a child develops relationships when they become an adult. Divorces are bound to bring out the worst aspects of an already crumbling relationship, which is why it is so important to mitigate the conflict between you and your spouse during divorce for your child’s sake.

Four Steps to Reduce Stress on Your Child

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, there are four key steps to take to manage conflict during your divorce. These include the following:

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Posted on in Family Law

California family lawyerAs caretakers of their senior citizen parents, adult children have many responsibilities that range from making meals and ensuring that prescriptions are taken, to arranging doctors appointments and helping their parent up and out of chairs. As elder parents grow older, they can become even frailer, their balance may fade, and generally even their cognitive abilities diminish. With poor balance, skin that breaks easily, and a poor understanding of what is going on if they suffer from dementia, accidents can mistakenly lead to domestic violence charges of elder abuse. If you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, you need to speak to a San Jose family attorney as soon as possible.

Wrongly Accusing a Family Member

Elder abuse is certainly a problem in California and throughout the U.S., and family members of the victim are often the perpetrators. Doctors and paramedics are sometimes quick to jump to conclusions because they do see real domestic violence on a regular basis, and may inform law enforcement of the incident. You may have just been taking your elderly parent to the hospital for stitches after they stumbled and fell, but you could end up in jail if things go wrong. Even worse, the elderly person may not fully understand, or remember, what actually happened. Law enforcement may even coax out information from the elderly person by leading them on; their testimony may have been completely fabricated.

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California family attorneyYou may have heard that California family courts make custody and visitation decisions based on the best interest of your child. But what does that really mean? An experienced Santa Clara County child custody attorney will be able to give you a detailed answer to that question.

Factors that Contribute to a Child’s Best Interests

When the court makes a decision regarding the custody of your child or the visitation rights that you or another party may have, the court looks solely at what is in the child’s best interests. Usually, it is in the child’s best interests if the two parents share custody equally, though that is not always true and is not always possible given the location of each parent or their relationship with each other. Here is a closer look at what ‘best interests” actually means:

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California divorce lawyerVA benefits are awarded to disabled military veterans based on their individual level of disability. For some, VA disability benefits are only part of their total income, while for others, these monthly benefits are their sole source of income. Currently, the maximum monthly VA disability benefit compensation is $2,915.55 for a single veteran with a 100 percent degree of disability and no dependents. However, with a spouse, children, and/or parents as dependents, the benefits can rise. A divorce will likely alter a veteran’s monthly benefits, as well as a child who reaches the age of 18 and moves out, as well as other life events.

To find out more about how your benefits may change, or what you can expect to happen if you fail to pay alimony or child support, we encourage you to talk to an attorney. Similarly, if your spouse is failing to pay child support or alimony, their VA benefits can be garnished so that you and your child are given what you deserve.

Garnishment

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Posted on in Family Law

California family attorneyWe live in a world that is fast-paced and people’s finances can reflect that. If you have obtained a divorce and have children between you and your ex-spouse, a child support order was determined at the time of the divorce. However, these financial agreements do not automatically change when your financial health does. It is important for your financial future, and for the future of your children, that you modify any court-ordered child support when one spouse has a major change in their income.

When Might be an Appropriate Time to Ask for a Child Support Modification?

Child support cannot be retroactively changed, so if you think your child support orders need to be modified, it is in your best interest to act sooner versus later. Several indicators that it might be time to reevaluate the child support payments include if either parent has:

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California domestic violence laws, California family lawyerThe most common civil harassment, like domestic violence, consists of stalking, threats, sexual assault, assault, battery, and other forms of serious harassment. Harassment is defined as unlawful actual violence or a credible threat of real violence, with those threats seriously intimidating, harassing, or annoying someone, and there being no good reason for the harassment.The main difference between civil harassment and domestic violence is that in the case of civil harassment, you and the perpetrator must have never been in a domestic partnership, never dated, and never had an intimate relationship. However, according to California law, civil harassment can be inflicted by a relative such as an aunt, uncle, or cousin, but not from a closer blood relationship, such as a brother or sister. Filing a restraining order under California section 527.6 for civil harassment can offer you protection from a distant family member, a neighbor, friend, co-worker, bully, or another person that has made themselves a serious threat to your life. Minors under the age of 12 are also allowed to appear in court to request restraining orders as well.

What Is a Credible Threat of Violence?

In order for civil harassment to have occurred, the harasser must have acted with violence towards you, such as battery or sexual assault, for example, or they must have created a credible threat of violence. A credible threat of violence is doing or saying something in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to be afraid for their safety, or be afraid for the safety of their family. This includes saying threatening things over the phone or in person, sending harassing text messages or emails, harassment through social media, stalking, and following.

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Posted on in Family Law

California divorce lawyer, California child support attorneyWith medical costs that seem to double every year, now is not the time to be without medical insurance. Your children, especially, should have quality medical care. The risk of being involved in a traffic collision, coming down with an illness, or falling out of a tree fort are simply too great in order to go without insurance.

Child Support Orders Include Medical Support

Child support is not simply a financial aid for food and clothing. All child support orders also require a medical support element in California, which is also upheld under federal law. Medical support means that one or both parents will be responsible for providing health insurance at a reasonable cost, according to California law. Keep in mind that in order to meet the state’s requirements, health insurance coverage must include vision as well as dental coverage as part of the single plan or in addition to the plan.

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Posted on in Family Law

California custody attorney, California family law attorneyEmancipation is the legal process of a minor (someone under the age of 18) becoming a legal adult. Teenagers have varying reasons as to why they may wish to become emancipated. Whether they are fleeing an abusive household or wish to get married at a young age, a minor as young as 14 years of age can apply to become emancipated by the state and legally make their own decisions.

What Are Parents Legally Responsible for Providing?

By getting emancipated, a minor can no longer depend on the legal guardianship and care of their parents. While there may be aspects of emancipation that seem to grant more freedom of choice, becoming emancipated is a decision that should be thought of carefully before going through with. For example, an emancipated teen can no longer rely on their parents for any support. In California, parents are legally responsible, and bound by child abuse and neglect law, to provide:

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California family law attorney, California divorce lawyerTwenty people are physically abused by their intimate partner every 60 seconds in the U.S. While domestic violence has decreased in the past decade, it is still one of the most common violent crimes that takes place and is easily one of the least reported. While half of all domestic violence cases are reported to the police, only one in five women who are physically injured by domestic violence seek medical treatment for their injuries, according to the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In the vast majority of cases (85 percent), women are the victims of domestic violence. Men are victims 10 percent of the time, and in those cases, are most likely victims of another man’s brutality.

Recovery Process

There are many well-established support groups and programs in San Jose and the Bay Area that help victims recover and make themselves whole after living with domestic violence. There are shelters for battered women and children to escape the abuse immediately, and talk lines to offer support today. While the first steps are to report the abuse to the police, contact a lawyer, and get away from the abuse, the end-goal process of healing takes more time and self-care. For that, there are a variety of options to chose from, including therapy, group therapy, and counseling from a licensed psychologist.

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California custody attorney, California family law attorneyParents who are bound to the legal obligations and responsibilities set forth by family court owe it to their child and the child’s custodial parent to uphold visitation agreements. However, it is not uncommon that visitation orders are disobeyed. This causes unnecessary emotional stress on you as the custodial parent, and furthermore, your child as well. If you are struggling with a parent that is continually violating their visitation order, contact an experienced family law attorney at once. A skilled attorney will come up with a solution that is in the best interest of your child’s well-being and help protect your interests throughout each step of the process.

What Constitutes a Visitation Violation?

You may not see eye to eye on everything that the child’s other parent does or the specific activities that they do with the child. Letting a 12-year-old watch a PG-13 movie in the other room while the parent cooks dinner probably would not constitute a visitation violation in any family court. Such an agreement may be held between both parents, informally, but unless it is ordered by the court, it will not be a mandate under the law. However, if the parent fails to adhere to the specific terms provided in the visitation order, they may find themselves in trouble, as the court treats visitation violations, and the well-being of the child, very seriously. Some common examples of violations are as follows:

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California divorce lawyer, California family law attorneyWhile extreme mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and other narcotics have become the norm over the past few decades, sexual assault criminals have not been dealt with even close to as strictly. That may all be changing in California, as policy makers are coming to a final decision on a new Assembly Bill (number 2888) that would give mandatory minimum sentences to those who have been convicted of sexual assault, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Much of the momentum behind this bill has been created in the aftermath of the Brock Turner incident, in which a convicted rapist was released from jail in less than three months and served no prison time for his crime. Such a bill would go a long way in closing out loopholes, poor judgment, and a culture of victim blaming that allowed the justice system to fail in the recent Stanford incident. What some are not aware of is that sexual assault is highly prevalent in relationships and marriages. If you have been sexually assaulted or experience ongoing domestic violence, you need legal representation at once.

Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Can Unfortunately Go Hand-in-Hand

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Posted on in Visitation

California custody laws, California family law attorneyNot all divorces and separations go smoothly or end with the desired outcome - in fact, when children are involved, few do. The issue of custody and visitation rights is one of serious debate and emotional turmoil, as the court’s decision on the matter will affect the child and both parents for years to come.

Visitation and custody force a couple to find some grounds for cooperation and mutual understanding when the fact is that neither of those two things were strong enough in the relationship to make it last in the first place. So how do you cope with it now? For some parents, the task of handing over their child to a partner that they do not deem fit to be a guardian is too much and they may wonder if they can simply refuse to allow visitation to continue. If you are heading down this path, or need legal counsel to re-address custody or visitation rights, contact the child custody and visitation rights attorneys at our office as soon as possible so that we can help guide you in the right direction.

Your Custodial Rights Could Be in Jeopardy

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California divorce attorney, California family law attorneyUnfortunately, just like adults, not all children speak up when they have been abused or neglected. As such, it is often the responsibility of adult family and friends to keep a close eye on the child and parent(s) when abuse is suspected. However, the signs and symptoms are sometimes incredibly hard to spot. Physical abuse and neglect can be even more difficult to detect when the child is very young. If you are a parent and suspect that your divorced spouse or separated partner is abusing or neglecting your child during their visitation or custody periods, you need to contact an attorney at once. Additionally, if you are a grandparent or other family member, friend, or neighbor, it may be up to you to speak up and bring your suspicions to the attention of the authorities.

If you suspect your child or a child in your family is being neglected or abused, contact the authorities immediately, along with a dedicated family attorney in the San Jose area. The custody and visitation rights of the parent in question may be revoked, as no child deserves to be treated in such a manner.

Child Abuse and Neglect Can Impact a Child for a Lifetime

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Posted on in Family Law

California domestic violence attorney, California family law attorneyDomestic violence is a rampant and growing problem in California. The vast majority of domestic violence cases, as well as cases of child abuse, are never reported to any authority. In Santa Clara county alone, from 2010 to 2011, domestic violence homicides rose from five to 16. From 2005 to 2006, 11 percent of adult women reported being assaulted by their partner. More people are seeking shelter in domestic violence shelters than in the past.

How Common Are False Domestic Violence Allegations?

Ultimately, false allegations of domestic violence are fairly rare. There is an incorrect belief that there is a large number of entirely false domestic violence allegations, created to take revenge, obtain child custody, or for other self-serving purposes. The truth, however, is that there are very few allegations of domestic violence that are untrue.

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California family law attorney, California surrogacy lawyerThe stress put on a relationship when there are difficulties conceiving are sometimes enormous. The prospect of going the route of a surrogate mother is appealing to more and more couples when fertility treatments and other measures do not work. However, surrogate pregnancies are sometimes exceedingly difficult. The last thing that an expecting couple wants during the surrogate pregnancy are issues with the surrogate’s diet and health, not to mention the very real scenario that the surrogate mother will express interest in keeping her biological child after birth.

Additionally, surrogate mothers need the protection of such a legal document as well. To ensure that their rights are recognized and they receive fair treatment, surrogate mothers greatly benefit from legal contract services. To help avoid many of the problems, and mitigate others along the way, it is crucial to come up with a strong legal contract with the help of your lawyer for all the parties involved in a surrogate pregnancy. If you wish to learn more about what we offer our clients going through surrogacy pregnancies, reach out to an attorney at our office today for more information.

Issues that Arise During Surrogacy

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b2ap3_thumbnail_deadbeat-parent.jpgWhat happens when a parent who owes child support disappears? It may seem like an impossible endeavor, but even parents who have fled the city, changed their phone number, and moved to an unknown address can be tracked down and held accountable for the child support payments that they owe. By working with your attorney and the California Parent Locator Service (CPLS), you can track down the noncustodial father or mother of your child and make sure that they are held accountable for the payments that they owe, either through payroll withholding, federal tax refund withholding, or revoking their driver's license or even having them jailed until payments are made.

What Can the California Department of Child Support Services Accomplish?

According to the California Department of Child Support Services, the California Parent Locator Service (CPLS) can be used for any and all of the following:

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California custody laws, California family law attorneyAccording to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of marriages result in divorce, with subsequent marriages having an even worse rate of success. Divorces are, of course, very hard on young children. An even more difficult scenario is moving after a separation. Relocation to a different state can cause serious conflict between the two separated parents, as well as problems for their child as well. Often, moving is a huge stress on young children, and can have long lasting negative effects. However, a good job opportunity or the chance to live with other family members may be too good to pass up and may be seen as positives in the eyes of the court. But, is it always possible for one parent to relocate without the blessings of the other parent? How does a parent gain the court’s permission, or prove to the court that a move would not be in the best interest of the child? 

According to California law, the parent with primary custody may move away with the child unless the other parent is able to prove that the relocation would harm the child. However, if the custody is shared (a joint custody), the parent that wants to move with the child must prove to the court that the move is in the child’s best interest, which may be a tall task. Because the final decision is left to the court and these decisions vary, based on the individual circumstances of each case, it is imperative to seek the best legal counsel available whether you plan on relocating or you are opposed to the other parent’s plans for relocation.

Traveling Out of State and Out of Country

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