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Posted on in Divorce

California divorce lawyer, California family law attorneyProperty division is one of the biggest issues during divorce. Knowing what combined property exists between the couple is not only important, but is legally necessary. Hiding property is unlawful, and can hurt you in the long run. However, it is also important to have a grasp on what type of property is considered marital property, and what may be considered personal. If you are going through divorce, an experienced divorce attorney can provide invaluable advice and legal assistance throughout the process.

Community Property vs. Separate Property

California law recognizes two types of property: community and separate. Community property is property that is owned by a married couple or a domestic partnership, according to California law. Debt acquired during the marriage is also considered community property. Each spouse owns one-half of the community property, including the debt. Separate property is property of an individual that they owned before the marriage, was a gift or inheritance to them alone during the marriage, or any property that they earned, acquired, or were given after the date of separation. Additionally, gifts and inheritance are considered to be separate property, as well as financial compensation earned from a civil lawsuit.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyDeciding to adopt a pet can be an exciting commitment to make. Often the caretaking responsibilities are shared between spouses and children, and bonds are quickly formed. According to the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, six out of ten pet owners consider their pets to be a family member. Unfortunately, when divorce threatens to split a family apart, the companion animals are also involved.

Pets Are Considered Personal Property

While some couples consider their dog a child of sorts, the law almost always designates animals as personal property under the Fourth Amendment when settling assets in a divorce, according to the American Bar Association. This means the court decides what is in the best interests of the owners and not necessarily the pet’s well-being. One way to prevent ugly arguments over the pets is to include them in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your spouse.

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California custody attorney, California family law attorneyThe responsibility of legal custody is one of the most important decisions a family court judge makes. If you are given legal custody, you will be responsible for making all of the decisions, such as health care, school, travel, and more, for your child, according to California Courts. Because of this responsibility, it is imperative to prove to the court that you have your child’s best interest at heart. During a child custody contest, it is important to avoid some of the more common mistakes that many parents make. The California court will always make its decision in favor of the child’s best interest. As such, that decision is largely based on the stability of the parent’s physical, mental, and financial well-being. The court looks at the care that each parent is able to provide for the child, potential help from family members, which parent will be better equipped to ensure a safe home, as well as other criteria such as proximity to quality schools and the wishes of the child if the child is old enough to have an opinion. While there is no set guideline of what a parent should do leading up to and during a custody battle, an experienced attorney will provide invaluable guidance and legal counsel throughout the process. The San Jose child custody attorneys of Gemma V. Reyes Law are here to provide assistance in your time of need.

The California court will always make its decision in favor of the child’s best interest. As such, that decision is largely based on the stability of the parent’s physical, mental, and financial well-being. The court looks at the care that each parent is able to provide for the child, potential help from family members, which parent will be better equipped to ensure a safe home, as well as other criteria such as proximity to quality schools and the wishes of the child if the child is old enough to have an opinion. While there is no set guideline of what a parent should do leading up to and during a custody battle, an experienced attorney will provide invaluable guidance and legal counsel throughout the process. The San Jose child custody attorneys of Gemma V. Reyes Law are here to provide assistance in your time of need.

Never Make False Statements

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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 divorce attorney, California family law attorneyMany people view divorce as a fresh start to life, and this is true for some. But what happens when the divorce process itself is flawed from the beginning? As with marriages, not all divorces end in agreement. When a divorce case has been finalized by a court’s judgment, and both parties have legally agreed to the terms, there still may be an opportunity to have a specific part of that agreement, called an order, canceled. The process of canceling or “setting aside” a court order in a divorce case is difficult and complex, and in the end, is left to the judgment of the court. There is also a strict time limit for setting aside a motion. In California, you have six months from the date of the judgment to file a motion for setting aside an order, according to California Code 473. If you are unhappy with a court order in your divorce agreement, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Santa Clara County divorce attorney today.

Requesting an Order to be Set Aside Vs. Appeal or Reconsideration

Neither an appeal nor reconsideration are similar to setting aside an order. During an appeal, the same set of information will be presented to the court as in the original hearing, while a motion to set aside an order generally stems from an issue such as failing to show up to court or a type of excusable negligence. Make sure to consult with your attorney about the best way to proceed, either with an appeal or with a motion to set aside. You must have a valid reason for requesting a motion to set aside an order; otherwise, you may be forced to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees and costs associated with responding.

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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 family law attorney, California custody lawyerNot all marriages or separations end peacefully. When you are engaged in a custody dispute with the other parent, the relationship can turn even more sour. During this time it is important to keep the negativity at bay when you are around your child because of the difficulties they are going through, as well as the implications that it could have on the custody outcome. Everything you do and say around your child can be taken into consideration by the court if it is being documented by the other parent. Similarly, everything they say and do can be used against them as well. When deciding which parent will receive sole custody, the court always chooses in the best interest of the child, according to California Code 3040. To ensure that the court has all the information that it needs to make this crucial decision in your favor, it is important that you begin collecting information and documenting all types of interactions that the other parent has with your child. This should begin immediately and continue until a final decision has been made by the court.

Similarly, everything they say and do can be used against them as well. When deciding which parent will receive sole custody, the court always chooses in the best interest of the child, according to California Code 3040. To ensure that the court has all the information that it needs to make this crucial decision in your favor, it is important that you begin collecting information and documenting all types of interactions that the other parent has with your child. This should begin immediately and continue until a final decision has been made by the court.

What Type of Information Do I Need to Document?

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California custody lawyer, California family law attorneyWhether your parenting plan is mandated in court or is a guideline for you and your child’s other parent to use more informally, it is important to follow regardless. By following a well-crafted parenting plan, you can avoid confusion, conflict, and accidents down the road, and help to establish or maintain a positive working relationship with the other guardian.

Living Arrangement

There are many types of living arrangements to choose from if both parents are willing to share their time equally and are open to joint custody. The child may live with one parent on the weekdays and the other on the weekends. Or, they may live with one parent full-time and only spend visitation time with the other parent. While not as common, some parents decide to keep the child at one home while they take turns moving in and out, living in another home when they are not with the child. This is termed “bird nest custody.”

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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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Posted on in Child Custody

California child custody attorney, California family law attorneyIt is important to remember that the court will always choose what it believes to be in the best interest of your child. Whether a parent is abusive, constantly late for scheduled pick ups, or has a drug or alcohol problem, the court will take that information and make a decision based on the negatives that those characteristics bring to the table. The court may eventually decide, or decide right away, that a particular parent is a potential threat to their child’s well-being, and put restrictions on their visitation rights. Often, that restriction is to only allow supervised visitation. Whether you have had restrictions put on your visitation, you believe that the non-custodial parent should only be allowed supervised visitation, or you simply want to learn more about visitation orders in general, contact a skilled family law attorney for answers to your questions, as well as for immediate and experienced assistance.

Reasons for a Supervised Visit

The court may order all visitations for a parent to be supervised by a third-party person for various reasons. There may be a threat to the child or there may be a need to slowly establish a long-lost relationship before normal visitation can occur. The court will also determine the length and location of these supervised visits, according to California law. There are many reasons why the court may deem supervision a necessity, including:

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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 custody lawyerWhen it comes time for a judge to determine custody and visitation rights, the child’s (or children’s) well-being takes priority. The court will always choose in favor of the child’s physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional well-being, and custody and visitation will be granted accordingly.

It can seem entirely unfair for a mental health disorder to determine whether or not a parent will be able to visit their child on a regular basis, but that is often one of the factors that the court considers. After all, parents who suffer from certain mental illnesses pose a potential threat to their children’s mental and emotional well-being, according to various research outlined by the Institute for Family Violence Studies under FSU's College of Social Work.

The determining factors of visitation rights are often based on the non-custodial parent’s:

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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 paternity laws, California paternity attorneyWhile there is usually no question in regards to the identity of a child’s mother, the same is not always true of the father. Whether the biological father is unknown at the time of pregnancy, or the father shows up years later, a mother may wish to have a DNA test performed to find out who the child’s father is. Genetic paternity testing of a man’s DNA and the child’s DNA can reveal if the two are father and child.

How Paternity Testing Works

Half of a child’s DNA comes from their mother, and half comes from the father. A DNA test can reveal whether the father in question is truly the father or not. The process begins with a cheek swab from the inside of the alleged father’s mouth, as well as the child’s mouth. The DNA fingerprint of each is then profiled, with an accuracy of 99.99 percent. A paternity test can also be done while the mother is still pregnant with the child through blood analysis or more invasive measures by sampling the placental tissue.

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California divorce laws, California divorce attorneyThe military lifestyle is stressful on a family. The frequent uprooting of the family from one city to the next, the inherent dangers of military duty and the stresses that they bring, and the isolation and long periods of time spent alone that the non-military spouse endures can all wreak havoc on a marriage. When young children are involved in the picture, it can be even more stressful. As such, divorce is not uncommon. The rate of military divorce is 3 percent, according to the U.S. military, and just lower than the civilian divorce rate, which is 3.6 percent, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Military divorce law is different than civilian in that there are certain rules and regulations that go along with a military divorce in order to ensure that the service person's family is well taken care of. Often, the non-military spouse will have given up their own career aspirations in order to support their spouse’s military career. The constant moves across the country usually mean that the non-military spouse will not even be employed at all, or will be constantly underemployed. This leaves them with little job experience or relevancy if a divorce occurs and they have to provide for themselves after years of supporting their military spouse at home and raising the children. If you are going through a military divorce, contact the experienced San Jose military divorce attorneys at our office today to learn how we can provide you with professional assistance.

Dividing the Pension and Benefits

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California divorce attorney, California family law attorneyDivorce is not the only way to officially end a marriage in California. There are two other measures that can be taken: legal separation and annulment. The three variations of ending a marriage should be fully understood before pursuing any form of separation. Of course, if you are having serious problems with your marriage and are seeking an end, an experienced San Jose divorce, annulment, and legal separation attorney can provide the assistance you need to get through this hard time as smoothly as possible. Contact our attorneys today to discuss your options and to learn how we can assist you moving forward.

Divorce: The most Common Way to End a Marriage

The most common way couples end their marriages is by divorce. One or more parties will need to explain that the partnership can go no further due to irreconcilable differences, which is all that it takes in California to get a no-fault divorce. To be sure, this means that neither party needs to be “at fault” for a divorce in California. Additionally, both parties do not have to agree to get the divorce in the first place. If one person wants the divorce and cannot get the other to agree to sign the paperwork, the other partner will be able to obtain a default judgment, and the divorce becomes concrete, according to California Courts.

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