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Posted on in Family Law

California family lawyerReproductive rights are currently, as always in the past few decades, a point of controversy. Abortion is the most hotly contested reproductive right, while issues of the rights to contraception and sex education are also fought fiercely against by various religious groups. As an adult, as a parent, or as a minor, understanding these reproductive rights is an important aspect of family law that a San Jose attorney can help you to better understand.

Women’s Rights to Medical Services and Her Own Medical Choices

Under Roe v. Wade, it is a federal right to be able to terminate a pregnancy by getting an abortion, to have access to reproductive health services, to have access to contraceptives, and do not have these right interfered with by politicians. Patients also have the right to get pregnant, plan a family, raise their children, and the right to privacy (confidentiality with their physician). As such, a patient can keep a pregnancy test secret, as well as any other medical procedures they have done.

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Posted on in Divorce

California divorce lawyerWhen most people think of divorce, they imagine a courtroom, drained bank accounts, yelling, and both sides leaving unsatisfied and traumatized by the experience. However, divorce does not have to be like that. In fact, many divorces are not settled in court by a judge and go nowhere near a courtroom. One pathway that may be right for you and your spouse is what is called an amicable or collaborative divorce. To learn more about collaborative divorce, you must get in touch with an experienced collaborative divorce attorney in San Jose.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

A collaborative divorce is settled by a mediator, who is usually a retired judge or lawyer, with both parties' attorneys present. This takes place outside of the courtroom, far from any judge or jury. Instead of a judge hearing the arguments and pleas of both sides and then making a decision, a mediator will help the two sides come to a conclusion on their own.

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Posted on in Family Law

California family lawyerBringing a child into your home through adoption is cause for joy and excitement, but along with it comes some very complex legal paperwork, rules, and regulations. Adoption law can quickly become confusing, even to the legal-minded, which is why working with an experienced and trusted family law attorney who has a focus on adoption is necessary. Some of the most common questions that prospective San Jose adoptive parents have are outlined below.

What Monetary Support Must Be Provided to the Birth Mother?

If you are adopting a yet-to-be-born child, the adoptive mother may request certain things to be paid for in order to sign a termination of parental rights agreement. Typically, requests of medical bills, legal costs, food, and possibly shelter are made by birth mothers. However, there are no laws or rules that mandate certain items or services to be provided. There is, however, a law that strictly prohibits payment to any party for placement of a child or consent for adoption.

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Posted on in Divorce

California family lawyerA woman who had gone through a divorce a year earlier took her car to the mechanic, who found a GPS device that the woman’s ex-husband had installed--a GPS device that still had 25 to 50 percent of its battery left, which meant that it had only been on the car for a few weeks. The woman knew that her ex had been tracking her, but she did not know how. She had gone out of town and stayed at friend’s houses in an attempt to escape her ex, who was physically abusive to her. He ended up knowing where she was at all times because of the GPS device, which, if the car was owned jointly during the marriage, he had a legal right to install a GPS device on. While bizarre, particularly because there was evidence of abuse, this type of spousal stalking is legal. Stalking cases such as this have become more prevalent with technology as ex’s attempt to control or monitor the other party. A San Jose family law attorney may be able to shed light on whether such tracking measures are legal or not.

California’s Gray Area Law

In California, it is legal to put a GPS tracker on a car as long as the owner gives consent. For jointly owned vehicles, it is generally legal, though the law is somewhat less clear. Personal investigators are using GPS devices frequently to track their targets. A husband may wish to track his wife or ex-wife, and because he jointly owned the vehicle and gave his consent, the majority of personal investigators feel legally entitled to use GPS, according to an investigation done by one media outlet. Of 20 personal investigators that were contacted about this, 16 replied and only one refused to use GPS in this regard.

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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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Posted on in Child Custody

California divorce attorneyMarried couples who decided to adopt face a similar situation that other couples face when they decide to get divorced. If you are going through a divorce, and have an adopted child of any age (under 18), it is in your best interest to contact a San Jose divorce and child custody attorney at once to discuss your options and legal plan to achieve your custody goals.

The Court Treats an Adopted Child Like a Biological Child

You may have heard that during a court decision regarding child custody, California family courts make the decision in favor of the child’s best interest. This could mean joint legal custody, sole legal custody for one parent, physical custody for one parent, split custody if there are multiple children that do not get along or visitation rights for the father or mother. When a child has been adopted by a couple, the court uses the same set of criteria to come to its custody conclusion. Usually, the court believes that joint custody is in the child’s best interest, as having both parents in his or her life will lead to decreased chances of behavioral and learning problems--two things that adopted children are more likely to suffer from regardless, according to the Atlantic. The criteria that the court takes into consideration include:

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California child support attorneyChild support is a tricky subject for California Courts to get right. On one hand, the courts strive to provide custodial parents and their children with enough to get by on in addition to any income of the custodial parent, and on the other hand, the court cannot put the noncustodial parent into financial ruin by ordering too great of child support payments. Whether the original support order was adequate or not, custodial parents do have the right to seek modification when circumstances have changed significantly and for the foreseeable future. Contact a San Jose child support attorney for more information on how to proceed.

Cost of Living Increases

Santa Clara County is the fifth most expensive metropolitan area in the country to live in, according to Huffington Post. This may be no surprise to a single mom or dad, who is struggling to pay rent, put food on the table, pay for childcare, and save for the future. As a custodial parent’s cost of living increases and is beyond their control, they may seek a modification of child support to help make up the difference.

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California custody attorneyOne of the greatest challenges that parents face during divorce is keeping their feelings under control, and keeping their mouths shut when discussing the other parent in front of their children. Children are smarter and more intuitive than we often give them credit for. Even a young toddler still learning to speak can sense the hostility that is being directed toward a parent when the other is talking about them behind their back. Alienating a parent has life-long lasting implications for children, causing low self-esteem, self-hatred, depression, substance abuse, lack of trust, and more. It is in your best interest to contact a Santa Clara County custody attorney to discuss the dos and don’ts of how to behave during a child custody battle.

Posting Online

It is important to remember that the other party can and will use everything to their advantage. This means that if you post negative comments, send threatening emails or texts, or come off as the bitter, angry party, it will be used to your disadvantage. Keeping a calm demeanor is both important in the courtroom, as well as out.

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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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Posted on in Visitation

California divorce attorneyWhile it is ideal for children to see their parents in person, there are a lot of changing circumstances to a child visitation schedule that can prohibit physical contact. The children may travel with one parent for an extended summer vacation, one spouse may relocate for a job, or a child’s day may be too busy with school and sports to travel between homes. In these circumstances it may be useful for parents to take advantage of electronic communications to connect with their children on a regular basis. If you or your former spouse are looking to make changes in your parenting plan or are trying to incorporate virtual visitation into your scheduling, contact an experienced San Jose child custody and visitation lawyer to learn more. We will assist you throughout each step of your case.

Types of Electronic Communication

One of the most common devices used to communicate virtually is the cell phone. According to the CTIA Wireless Foundation, 38 percent of children who are two or younger have used a cell phone to access media. Even if a child is young, they can still engage with an absent parent via electronic devices with the help of an adult. Children can also connect with parents on tablets, computers, video gaming systems, and more. Communication can include:

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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 custody lawyerMany may be surprised to find out that the vast majority of child abductions are initiated by parents and family members. In fact, the most common cause of child abduction is during a child custody dispute between parents or families. To be sure, 78 percent of all family child abductors are noncustodial parents of that child, according to Child Find of America. If your child has been abducted, or you have been accused of abduction as a parent, you need to seek legal help at once from a San Jose family law attorney.

Parental Child Abduction

Only 115 cases of missing children or abductions involved an abduction from a complete stranger, which amounts to one-one-hundredth of one percent, according to the Washington Post. Most children either get temporarily lost on their own or are taken by a family member, usually a parent. That parent, who is typically the noncustodial parent, although in some cases may not bet, abducts their own child because they:

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Posted on in Child Custody

California family lawyerChild custody can be a complicated topic for those that are new to it. If you are in a legal battle over your child’s custody, or if you believe that it will come to that eventually, it is important to not only work with an experienced family law attorney, but to fully understand what custody means in all of its forms. Contact our office today to discuss your concerns and your goals with one of our experienced child custody attorneys.

Legal Custody

In most court decisions, as well as out of court agreements, legal custody of children is split between both parents equally. Legal custody gives the parent or parents the ability to make important decisions about their children, such as healthcare, education, and religion. Legal custody can either be joint or sole. In a joint legal custody scenario, both parents would have equal decision-making rights. However, if only one parent has the right to make legal decisions for their child, such as the case of sole custody, the other parent is not allowed to make decisions. If they do, they could be held in contempt of court and risk losing other custody or visitation rights. If you have split legal custody, however, it does not mean that you and the child’s other parent have to agree on every decision, according to California law. Working together to come to a middle ground may be necessary much of the time.

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Posted on in Divorce

California divorce lawyer, California military divorce attorneyUnfortunately, military divorces, which have special rules applied by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, can be much more complicated, time-consuming, and difficult than a civilian divorce. Because of this, we strongly encourage you to seek legal counsel. It can be an overwhelming process, which leads to mistakes being made and an even longer, drawn-out struggle for both parties. To speak with an experienced San Jose military divorce attorney today, contact our office at once to schedule a free consultation.

Filing For Military Divorce in California

As a military member or a service member’s spouse, you should file for divorce in the state that you have legal custody in. It is important to keep in mind that the state where the military member resides has the legal ability to divide the pension. However, the service member, if they currently reside in Florida for example, can agree to allow California divide the pension if they so desire.

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California family lawyer, California divorce lawyerThere are many reasons that the court may consider a child custody modification. Common reasons for modifications include if the child is in physical or emotional danger from one of their parents, if one of the parents continuously violates the terms of the court agreement, a relocation of one of the parents, a severe injury or illness of either parent, or if your child persists on living with you for another reason and they are old enough to have a valid opinion in the court’s eyes. But what if there is no specific problem with the other parent that can be pointed to, and the child’s actions alone show a need for change? If your child is in danger of heading down the wrong road in life due to your divorce and separation, and the stress of living with the other parent, it may be necessary to pursue a modification.

Rebellion after Divorce Is Normal for Children, but Trouble with the Law Is Not

Many children act up after their parents get divorced or separated. In fact, many studies have shown that children of divorce “score significantly lower on measures of academic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, self-concept, and social relations.” That does not mean that getting in trouble with the law, flunking out of school, getting in fights, underage drinking, theft, aggression, graffiti, and other forms of acting out should be tolerated or ignored. Rebellion is normal, but if the other parent is influencing or even encouraging the poor behavior, there may be grounds for a custody modification.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

California family lawyer, California divorce lawyerOne of the most common reasons that a couple gets divorced is due to financial concerns. Similarly, one of the most common reasons that a couple or individual files for bankruptcy is because of a divorce. If you are currently facing the prospect of divorce and bankruptcy, many of your questions can be answered by an attorney, who can also provide the legal assistance that you require to accomplish. We urge you to reach out to an experienced Santa Clara or San Jose bankruptcy attorney today.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Over 5,000 people file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy each year in northern California alone, according to the United States Bankruptcy Court. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a great option for getting a fresh start because it does put a cap on the debt limit of the debtor, the debtor does not have to go through with a repayment plan, and it discharges more types of debt. It is a relatively quick and painless process, though there are income limitations. However, you cannot repeat Chapter 7 within a time frame of six years, according to California courts.

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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 Bankruptcy

Calfornia bankruptcy attorney, California chapter 7 lawyerFinancial troubles are one of the most common concerns that Americans have on a regular basis. Medical issues are right up there among most people’s worries. Unfortunately, having a serious medical complication, due to an injury or illness, often results in serious financial trouble as well. If you have suffered a traumatic injury, illness, or other medical complication that has caused you crippling debt, bankruptcy may be the right choice. For hundreds of thousands of Americans, filing bankruptcy due to piling medical bills is the only way out.

Sixty-Two Percent of Bankruptcies Are Caused in Part by Medical Bills

According to CNN, roughly 1.5 million Americans file for bankruptcy each year. Moreover, over half of those people file bankruptcy due to a medical reason. From 2001 to 2007, Harvard researchers found that bankruptcies due to medical bills increased by almost 50 percent, growing from 46 percent of all bankruptcies to 62 percent by 2007. The report, published in The American Journal of Medicine, surveyed 2,314 people who had filed for bankruptcy in 2007 to get its findings. The average family has $17,943 in out-of-pocket medical expense.

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