Rob: Hello everyone, we are here with Santa Clarita family law and divorce attorney Rand Pinsky. Hello Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Hello Rob.
Rob: Now Rand, there are people who might want to try handling a divorce on their own. Let’s face it, a lot of folks try to do this on their own. They hire outside help, a forms processor, maybe a paralegal something like that, or they just try to do it on their own. What kind advice would you have for folks like that?
Rand Pinsky: Well first of all, there are many tools available, depending on the type of complexity of the divorce that you have. So, if you have a case that has no children, no property, very short time period, you can probably get around at not having to go to an attorney to have the process completed.
Rob: You mean the marriage is short lived?
Rand Pinsky: Short lived . . .
Rand Pinsky: Two years, three years something like that.
Rob: All right.
Rand Pinsky: So here are some of the tools that are available to you. Every courthouse has something called the self help center. You can go to the self help center, and for free, these people there will assist you in preparing initial divorce papers, settlement agreements, anything that is necessary to complete the divorce process. And in fact, quite a few times in court a judge will say to the people, "I think you should go to the self help center to obtain help and assistance in getting your divorce processed."
A second thing that you can do, there is a provision in the law called Limited Scope Representation. Limited scope representation is a great concept. This is where an individual can work on the divorce themselves, but when they come to an area that needs extra attention, let’s say there's a custody argument or a support argument, you can hire an attorney specifically for that one particular issue. That way you get the expertise of an attorney on that issue, but you're not having to pay them for the entire divorce process, which sometimes can be costly.
Rob: So do you offer that?
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely. It's a wonderful service and it's something that I utilize quite often.
Rob: And can that help keep some cost down?
Rand Pinsky: Yes it does.
Rob: Okay. What about mediation as an alternative to hiring a lawyer?
Rand Pinsky: Mediation is another wonderful tool that's been in existence now for 10 or 15 years. Under mediation you get both, husband and wife to come to an attorney or to a mediator and the mediator works as a neutral, in trying to resolve the issues. So you'll work with both sides. You'll advise them as to what the law is and then you'll help and guide them in making decisions as to what is unique and special to their particular divorce.
Rob: So when you say a neutral party, you're not taking one side or the other.
Rand Pinsky: You're not taking one side or the other. And of course, you need, I think, special people to do this. You need both parties that are agreeable and willing to work, because it's a hard process. It can be a stressful process, but it can be a very successful and fulfilling process also.
Rob: So you should be ready to give and take?
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely.
Rob: Do you also . . . aside from limited scope representation, do you also offer yourself as a mediator?
Rand Pinsky: Yes I do.
Rob: Okay, well that's terrific Rand. Listen, thank you very much for the time that you spent with us today about these alternatives to hiring a lawyer and doing that very formal process. And if people want to get in touch with you, how do they go about doing that?
Rand Pinsky: Best way is to go to my website, RandPinsky.com or you can always call me, (661)295-4644.
Rob: Thank you very much Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Thanks Rob.
Rob: Hello everyone, we are here with Santa Clarita family law and divorce attorney, Rand Pinsky. Hello Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Hello Rob.
Rob: Now Rand, you are serving Santa Clarita area correct?
Rand Pinsky: Yes.
Rob: How long have you been a lawyer?
Rand Pinsky: I've been practicing law for 40 year now, and probably the last 15 exclusively in Santa Clarita area.
Rob: Now in today's video, I want to talk to you a little bit about an issue that comes up, the issue of property division. Now, I understand California is a community property state. How does that play into the notion of property division?
Rand Pinsky: Well the first thing we have to do is understand what is community property.
Rob: All right.
Rand Pinsky: Community property is anything that is acquired by the party during the course of the marriage. And it doesn't matter whether it was bought by the wife's money or the husband's money, or their earnings. Either one, during the course of the marriage, that particular asset becomes a community property asset.
Rob: Okay. What about this community property? Does it have to be divided equally or what do we do with that?
Rand Pinsky: The law does say that there needs to be an equal division of the community property at the divorce process. So that doesn't mean you get a spoon and she gets a spoon, or you get a knife and she gets a knife, or a plate and a plate. It means value wise. So some of the items that we look at, and probably the biggest three items that any community has, would be one the community residence, two, any IRA or 401K, three would be pensions.
Rob: Oh. What about those? I mean that sounds really dicey and confusing, IRA and pensions. How do you split those up?
Rand Pinsky: Well first of all, there's something . . . since these things are governed by federal law, there's a document that you create, and there's attorneys that specialize in doing this called a qualified domestic relations order. So you look at the account, if it's a 401K or an IRA, and if it started during the course of the marriage, each party gets 50% of this asset. Now again, because it's earned during the course of the marriage, anything that you may have earned prior to the marriage is your separate property. Or anything earned after the date of separation is your separate property. So it's only between date of marriage and date of separation.
Rob: So sounds to me like there is a concerted effort to make sure that the estate or all of the assets in general, are divided equally as much as possible.
Rand Pinsky: Yes, in fact, family law is very strong on full disclosure of assets. And during the divorce process, you'll have to fill out a document called a schedule of assets and debts. And this schedule which is a very helpful tool to the family law attorney, will go through any possible asset you may think of. So it covers houses, and cars, and savings, and insurance. It covers all your debt, credit card debt, tax obligations, student loans. It's a very extensive list.
Rob: You know, I didn't talk about this with you before, but what if one of the spouses were to try to hide assets or. . . do you ever run into that, where people are not quite you know, fully disclosing what they have?
Rand Pinsky: Oh it has happened. And courts, because of their strong feelings of full disclosure, if a person does not offer all their information and it's later determined that they have withheld or hidden assets, the court can either award that entire asset to the other spouse . . .
Rand Pinsky: Or file some type of sanction against that individual.
Rob: Okay, so full disclosure best way to go.
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely.
Rob: What about you know, gifts a spouse may have received or an inheritance? What about those kinds of things?
Rand Pinsky: Well you've identified things that are outside of the community property definition. So if you get a gift, if you get an inheritance, as long as you keep these things separate and don't commingle them . . . and that's a lingo term for combining your assets into the family's asset. These things can very easily be determined to be your separate property. Also personal injury awards can be separate property.
Rob: Well Rand, thank you so much for the time you spent with us today about property division. And if people want to get in touch with you and talk about their specific situation, how can they reach you?
Rand Pinsky: Best way, you can go to my website, RandPinsky.com, or call me (661)295-4644.
Rob: Thank you very much Rand.
Rand Pinsky: You're welcome Rob.
Rob: Hello everyone, we are here with Santa Clarita divorce and family law attorney Rand Pinsky.
Rand Pinsky: Hello Rob.
Rob: Rand, today in this particular video, I want to talk about the issue of child support and spousal support or I guess what they sometimes refer to as alimony.
Rand Pinsky: Sure.
Rob: Can you talk a little bit about these topics?
Rand Pinsky: Of course. Child support is probably the second most discussed item in the divorce process, the first one of course being custody and visitation of the children.
Rob: What are some of the sticking points? For example, I would imagine that one parent might be afraid that they're paying too much or that the money is not being used wisely.
Rand Pinsky: Well, that's one of the arguments you hear 50% of the time and the other argument you hear 50% of the time is I'm not getting enough money to take care of the needs of the children. So of course the supported spouse, or the spouse or the parent that is receiving the child support, always wants to get as much as they can. The parent that is paying the other spouse or the other parent wants to make sure that the money that they're giving is going to the children and the children's welfare and not to the other parent for whatever other reasons.
Rob: What about this notion of something called guideline child support? What is guideline child support?
Rand Pinsky: Guideline child support is the underlying basis and foundation for determining what child support should be. Many years ago, the state legislature came up with a formula to try to determine what child support should be and they wanted something that would be applicable throughout the entire state of California. So they came up with this formula. They called it guideline child support. The formula was very complex, the computer people got involved and they created a tax program called a dissomaster. The dissomaster is the tool that both family law judges and family law attorneys use to determine what guideline child support should be and under most situations, a court is bound to award guideline child support in any divorce process.
Rob: So this dissomaster is essentially a software program.
Rand Pinsky: Yes.
Rob: And the idea is to try to make it uniform across the state.
Rand Pinsky: Correct.
Rob: What are some of the variables that affect child support?
Rand Pinsky: Well the two main variables that go into the formula are one the percentage of time each parent has with the minor child and two the income each party has. So theoretically, if you are the spouse or the parent that has the children, the more time you have the child, the more money you're going to get, whereas on the other hand if you're the paying spouse, or the paying parent, the more time you have the child, the less support you'll have to pay. And then of course the income of both sides vary and that's used to try to make the determination as to what support should be.
Rob: Well what about some other variables? Let's say for example a kid needs a lot of daycare or they're involved in a very expensive sport like hockey or something that requires a lot of money, are those also variables?
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely. There are something called add ons. So other things that you look at would be daycare, or special needs, if they need tutors, these types of things, the hockey, et cetera, extra curricular activities, these things are added on to the guideline support and usually they're divided 50-50 among the parties. You also have health care. Is one party paying for health insurance? If that's the case, they get credit for that type of health insurance and the dollar amounts they're paying. So this dissomaster tax program takes all of these things into consideration and then comes up with a number. And of course depending on whether you represent the paying spouse or the receiving spouse, you're going to argue over some of these particular issues as to what goes into the formula.
Rob: Now earlier we mentioned the notion of spousal support or alimony. How does that figure into all of this?
Rand Pinsky: Spousal support or alimony, alimony is the old term from 35, 40 years ago. That's to determine what kind of assistance the spouse is going to receive. When a divorce case starts, a spouse is usually entitled to some type of temporary spousal support. In California, we have a law that says if a marriage is more than 10 years in length, a party is entitled to long term spousal support, but it's not necessarily they're entitled to get the actual dollar amount, it means that they always retain the right to ask for it. In a marriage less than 10 years, the court has the ability to put a cut off date as to support and the general rule is that usually you can get spousal support for half of the length of the marriage.
Rob: These are of course issues that you would discuss during the initial consultation, correct?
Rand Pinsky: Yes you would.
Rob: Okay. Now if somebody wanted to get in touch with you and they have a child support issue, or spousal support issue, how can they get in touch with you?
Rand Pinsky: The best way is to go to my web site RandPinsky.com or call me at (661)295-4644.
Rob: Thank you very much for the time you spent with us today Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Thank you Rob.
Rob: Hello everyone. We are here with Santa Clarita family and divorce attorney, Rand Pinsky. Hello Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Hello Rob.
Rob: Rand, today I want to discuss some general issues and some general matters that come up in divorce and family law. First of all, what is this thing called irreconcilable differences?
Rand Pinsky: This is a legal term that is found on all divorce pleading papers and what it says is "I don't get along any more with my spouse" and the part about that which is important is California is a no fault divorce state. So, if you state to a judge "I don't get along with my spouse any more" that is enough for a judge to grant a dissolution of the marriage and take the parties from the status of married to the status of unmarried.
Rob: So I don't have to prove that so-and-so did a bad thing or isn't a nice person. I can just say "I can no longer get along with this person".
Rand Pinsky: That is correct.
Rob: And that's sufficient.
Rand Pinsky: That is sufficient.
Rob: What about this six months process? How long does it usually take for these divorces to make their way to the courts?
Rand Pinsky: The divorce process, by law, takes a minimum of six months from the date that the second spouse is served with the divorce papers. During this six month period, the parties try to work out a contract between themselves called a Marital Settlement Agreement and this Marital Settlement Agreement will lay out all the terms, rights and conditions of the divorce. So it will include the big issues of child custody and child support, parenting plans, division of property; these types of issues.
Rob: What is some of the terminology that you might see?
Rand Pinsky: The terminology is important because you'll hear it all the time when you're in court. You have the petitioner- the petitioner is the spouse that files the divorce papers. You have the respondent who is the spouse that receives the divorce papers. It doesn't matter whether you are the petitioner or the respondent. The rights, rules and laws are applicable to both sides equally.
Rob: If somebody wants a divorce, do both the husband and the wife have to agree to the divorce or is just one person petitioning the court sufficient?
Rand Pinsky: Because we are a no fault state, if one party wants a divorce, the other party cannot do anything to stop it.
Rob: Okay. So they don't have to agree to it.
Rand Pinsky: They do not have to agree to it.
Rob: Now where does the divorce process take place?
Rand Pinsky: The divorce process takes place of course at the court house. The people who live in Santa Clarita, and that's the major focus of my practice, we can either file divorce papers in the San Fernando Court, which is our local jurisdiction, or we can file all the way in downtown Los Angeles. I have found that for the convenience of the clients, for the fact that I am in San Fernando probably two times a week, I know the court clerks, I know the judges, I'm familiar with them, that it's much less stressful for clients to appear in San Fernando.
Rob: So it's more convenient in most cases.
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely.
Rob: One more question, Rand. Do people need to get separate attorneys or can they get the same lawyer?
Rand Pinsky: You can have the same lawyer, you can have different lawyers. A lot of it depends upon the attitude of the parties. If you have a husband and wife that are amicable to the divorce process, you can use one lawyer. You can have one lawyer representing one of the spouses and work with the other client, or the other spouse. You can put together a marital settlement agreement, then when the process is done you can have the other spouse take it to another attorney and have them review it to make sure that it's fair and equitable.
Rob: Well Rand, thank you so much for spending some time with us talking about this general information. And if people want to get in touch with you, how can they do that?
Rand Pinsky: Quite easily. You can always go to my website randpinsky.com or feel free to call me (661)295-4644.
Rob: This has been a moment with Santa Clarita divorce and family law attorney Rand Pinsky. Thank you, Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Thank you Rob.
Rob: Hello everyone we are here with Rand Pinsky who is a Santa Clarita divorce and family law attorney. Hello Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Hello Rob.
Rob: Rand, today in this particular video segment we want to talk about the issue of child custody and child visitations. Which I understand can be a very contentious issue between parents.
Rand Pinsky: I would say that child custody and visitation is probably the number one item that we discuss with our clients throughout the entire divorce process.
Rob: Now what if the parents can't agree on the custody and the visitation issue?
Rand Pinsky: Well the courts have set up a very complex process. Very comprehensive to take care of situations where the mother and the father can not agree upon a custody arrangement or what's called a, "parenting plan."
Rob: Okay can you walk us through that process?
Rand Pinsky: Well sure. The first thing that happens is this. It's determined that mom and dad can not come up with an agreement as to how custody should be shared among the parties. The courts are concerned of what is in the best interest of the minor child. So the first thing that we do once an agreement can not be paid are that the parties are ordered to go to custody mediation. This is a process where mom and dad are ordered to go to a trained therapist. A court employee who will work with mom and dad and try to come up with a parenting plan. In Los Angeles you are required to go to this custody mediation but you are not required to actually come up with an agreement.
Rob: Now is this what you call a conciliation court order or is that something different?
Rand Pinsky: No this is a conciliation court. Because you don't use the word conciliation cause sometimes clients think that conciliation means you're trying to get the parties back together as husband and wife. So I like to use the term, custody mediation.
Rob: So to understand this the court is ordering the parents to go and try to work this out; work out the issues with a mediator of some sort.
Rand Pinsky: Yes with a trained professional.
Rob: Okay now what is the judges role in all of this?
Rand Pinsky: Well as I explained if the parties can not reach an agreement or a parenting plan through the custody mediation now you go to a judge. And the judge has many options available to him. The first thing the judge can do is he can appoint what's called minor's counsel. Minor's counsel is an attorney that will represent the interest of the children. The attorney will speak to mom and dad. Will speak to the child. And then at some future court hearing make a recommendation to the court as to what they think is best for their client.
Rob: What is this parenting plan assessment? What is that?
Rand Pinsky: A parenting plan assessment is another tool that the court uses to try to determine what's in the best interest of the minor child. So here the parties go to a similar person like the custody mediator. But here they spend one or two full days talking with the mediator, bringing in some collateral sources, and this parenting plan assessment officer will make a determination what he thinks is best for the minor child then will go to court on an afternoon. The evaluator will make a recommendation to the judge and the attorneys and the clients have an opportunity to question or support the findings of this individual.
If that doesn't work or if the court doesn't want to use a parenting plan assessment then they have another option of appointing what's called an outside child evaluation study. Now this can become very expensive. It's very complex. The outside expert will spend three to four months interviewing, testing the parties, talking to collateral sources and then will come up with about a 60 page report as to what they think is in the best interest of the minor child. The cost of this can from anywhere from $6,000 on up. So if the parties can not work out an agreement they're looking at some very hefty costs.
Rob: So it sounds like it would be in the best interest of the parents to try to work something out short of that.
Rand Pinsky: It would be in the best interest of the children and the parents to work something out.
Rob: Now I understand there are two different types of custody. Can you shed some light on that.
Rand Pinsky: There are two types of custody. You will have what's called legal custody and we have physical custody. Legal custody and that's usually joint meaning both mom and dad have equal say so's in the upbringing of the children; religion, education, driver's license, passports, sometimes even tattoos.
Rob: Oh boy. Let's not get into that. How about that?
Rand Pinsky: Oh and then you have physical custody. Physical custody that's where's the child going to be spending the majority of their time. We talked a little bit about that earlier as I talked about the process of custody mediation, minor's counsel, these types of things. So that's what physical custody is.
Rob: Now here's an issue that sometimes comes up. People ask, "Does my child have any say in the matter?"
Rand Pinsky: A child can have a say but it's very, very limited. Over the last 5 or 6 years there's been a law passed that will allow a 14-year-old child to have some input into the custody agreement as long as certain perimeters are met. So yes a 14-year-old or older can have a say so, but it's not an automatic thing.
Rob: Well I want to thank you Rand for spending some time with us today. Child custody and child visitation can be a very thorny subject I would imagine.
Rand Pinsky: Very much so. And very emotional.
Rob: Very emotional and I would imagine that having a lawyer who's been down the river so to speak would be a good thing to have.
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely. Thank you Rob.
Rob: And you serve the entire Santa Clarita Valley correct?
Rand Pinsky: Yes I do.
Rob: You live here as a matter of fact?
Rand Pinsky: I do live in Santa Clarita. I've had my practice here for probably 15 of the 40 years I've been practicing law.
Rob: So if somebody wanted to get in touch with you how do they go about doing that?
Rand Pinsky: The easiest way is go to my website, RandPinsky.com or please call me (661)295-4644.
Rob: Once again Rand thank you very much for the time you spent with us today.
Rand Pinsky: Thank you Rob.
If you need help with your Santa Clarita divorce or child custody matter, call Rand at 661-295-4644 to set up a consultation.
Rob: Good afternoon everyone. We are here with Santa Clarita, family law and divorce attorney, Rand Pinsky. Hello Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Good Morning, Rob.
Rob: Rand, I want to talk to you today about what people can expect at their first consultation with you as a divorce attorney. Can you walk us through the process?
Rand: Absolutely. The first consultation is probably one of the most important times of the meeting between the attorney and the potential client. Something has happened that has now made this individual decide that, they want to speak to an attorney. Two of the main reasons are either, one, they are contemplating divorce, or two, they're the spouse that just got served with divorce papers and they're not sure what has to happen.
The bottom line for both these types of people is at the initial consultation, we want to give them plenty of education about the divorce process, so that they can make informed decisions about where they're going and how the divorce process should work.
Rob: And so you kind of serve as that a guide letting them know what their options are, and what routes they can take.
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely, it's similar to a guide on a river.
Rob: Oh, like a river rafting.
Rand Pinsky: Like river rafting. You don't want to go down, let's say the Kern River on the rapids, the first time by yourself without any help and assistance.
Rand Pinsky: The family law attorney, myself, we can provide that guidance. We know where to turn, and we know where the pitfalls are, and we can make that journey a lot simpler and less stressful than what it can be without the guide.
Rob: Now I understand that there are a lot of decisions that need to be made during this divorce process. But there are three major areas in particular. First, the children. Can you address that?
Rand Pinsky: Well, sure. I would say that the first concern of every divorce case that I've seen in the last forty years is... What about my children? The courts are very concerned about that. Your family law attorney should be very concerned about that. And the question becomes, what is in the best interest of a minor child? So the courts have a very educated and good system that helps the court decide, what's best for the child. There are many different steps to it, and as we go through the initial consultation, we do address these different steps.
Rob: So issues such as child custody, child visitation, things like that would be addressed?
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely, yes.
Rob: Now what about the second major area? The issue of support. Spousal and child support.
Rand Pinsky: Now that's a very important topic also. You will have the spouse that comes in that says, "How am I going to take care of my children?" You're going to have the spouse that comes in and says, "I don't want pay through arms and legs to do this, because I think the other parent is going to waste this money away." So we spend a lot of time talking about, how child support is structured.
We talk about something called the dissomaster, which is a tax program that helps judges and attorneys determine what the proper level of support should be for children. We also have the issue with spousal support. Depending on the terms and the situation of each particular marriage, the court will consider whether or not spousal support should be awarded in any particular case.
Rob: And during the initial consultation do you also talk about, property division? How the assets are going to be divided.
Rand Pinsky: That's always a concern. So we do talk about community property. Quite simply, community property is anything that's been acquired during the course of the marriage. Doesn't matter whether the husband or the wife is the one that acquired it, or whose money may have paid for it. So we do talk about property.
Rob: Okay. So if someone did want a guide as they go down this river, sort of speak, if somebody wanted a river-guide, such as yourself, how would they get in touch with you?
Rand Pinsky: The best way is to go to my website, randpinsky.com. Or you could always call me, (661)295-4644.
Rob: Rand Pinsky, thank you so much for spending time with us today. If folks need help with their divorce matter or family law matter, they can certainly get in touch with you, and we thank you for your time.
Rand Pinsky: Thank you, Rob.
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The Date of Separation in a dissolution of marriage action can have a financial impact on the parties. The Family Code states that the "earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor children living with, or in the custody of the spouse, while living separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property of the spouse". Otherwise, generally speaking, the earnings and accumulations can be considered community property and may be subject to an equal division.
The question becomes, "HOW DO YOU DETERMINE SEPARATE AND APART"? There is no set statutory definition. The Family Law Courts have through a series of cases tried to determine guidelines that can be considered in making this determination.
The first factor is "Have the parties come to a parting of the ways with no present intention of resuming marital relations". An alternative factor can be "Does the parties conduct evidence a complete and final breakdown in the marital relationship. Living in separate residences is not necessarily "separate and apart". However, living under the same roof physically apart, with one spouse's intent that the marriage is ended may be sufficient to satisfy the "separate and apart" requirement.
Other factors that can be taken into consideration by the Court in determining "separate and apart" are the type of contact the parties maintain, going on family vacations, attending social events together, filing joint tax returns, exchange of gifts on special occasions, the payment of household bills, and engaging in sexual relations.
To summarize, the bottom line is "What are the parties' intent"? The Court is required to consider all evidence relating to this intent. The burden of proof that applies to determining the date of separation is a preponderance of the evidence. Depending on how the Court determines the date of separation can have a substantial impact on the financial issues of the divorce.
THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER - WARNING SIGNS OF POTENTIAL CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION PROBLEMS
Now is the time to think about and plan for holiday schedules involving children with divorced or divorcing parents. If a parent thinks that there will be some conflict about where the children will spend the holiday, the parent should address this issue now and not wait till later.
Many questions arise during the holiday season as to the rights of the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent as they pertain to visitation with the minor children. It is a time of additional stress for the parents and the children, as the non-custodial parent wants more time with the children and the custodial parent thinks that the children are spending too much time with the non-custodial parent.
To avoid this situation, first consult and review the Divorce Judgment. The Divorce Judgment should explain the rights of the parties during the holiday season. The judgment can be a simple as "reasonable visitation by agreement of the parties" or as specific as defining each holiday visitation as Thanksgiving Day from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. in even numbered years and 5 P.M. to 10 P.M. in odd numbered years. Usually the more detailed the visitation schedule, the less opportunity there is for confusion or ambiguity among the parties.
If the Judgment is silent on visitation or is confusing or ambiguous, the parties should seek the services of the court mediator. In conciliation court the parties can meet with a trained professional who can assist the parties in developing a visitation schedule for the holiday season. Conciliation Court is very busy and it is recommended to make an appointment as soon as possible.
There are times when the parties cannot reach an agreement. Then the parties can ask a judge to make a decision. The process to obtain the Court's assistance in visitation is called An Order To Show Cause. It may take 4 -6 weeks to schedule a court hearing. Therefore, if a party believes that there may be conflict between the parties, it is better to schedule a court hearing sooner rather than later.
Finally, there are some times when at the last moment one party will not abide by the Divorce Judgment. Then the parties can seek an emergency hearing before a judge.
Domestic Violence can have a substantial impact on one's family law case.
For example, there is a rebuttable presumption that a spouse convicted of an act of domestic violence within five years prior to the filing of the dissolution proceeding, or at any time thereafter cannot be awarded spousal support. Family Code § 4325(a). However, the convicted spouse can rebut this presumption showing that they had been a victim of domestic violence.
What are the requirements for this presumption to apply? First, the violence must occur between the parties to the dissolution. The presumption does not apply if the domestic violence conviction was against a former spouse, child, relative or cohabitant. Second, there must be an "act of domestic violence". An "act of domestic violence" is defined as an abuse perpetrated against a spouse. Abuse can be an intentional or reckless attempt to cause bodily injury, a sexual assault, or any behavior that can place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury. Abuse can also include molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, harassing, telephoning, destroying personal property or disturbing the peace of the other party. Finally, the criminal conviction for domestic violence must occur within five years prior to the filing of the dissolution action.
To rebut this presumption, the convicted spouse has the burden of proof to show the nonexistence of the presumed fact (that spousal support should be denied). The convicted spouse can show that they were in fact the victim of domestic violence perpetrated by the other spouse or by any other factors the court deems just and proper. Proof might be in the form of medical bills, police reports, photographs, or witness testimony.
To conclude, being convicted of domestic violence can have a substantial impact on your family law case.