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Parents often aim to keep their families intact, but despite their intentions, many parents decide to separate and share custody of their children. Raising a child can be costly, and it is not uncommon for one parent to seek financial support from the other. Even co-parents that have an amicable relationship may not always agree as to the best way to split time with their children during important events like holidays or who should bear the costs of transporting the child from one parent’s home to another. As such, it is smart for anyone who shares custody of a child to contact a seasoned San Diego child custody lawyer to assess their options.

Child Support

One issue that commonly arises when parents share custody of a child and one parent is required to pay support, is that the obligor parent believes they are paying the other parent to care for their children and becomes resentful. In truth, it only appears that way on paper. The California Courts employ statutory child support guidelines to determine how much each parent should contribute to their child’s upbringing. In general, the guidelines dictate that the parent who earns more money should provide more money towards the costs of raising the child.

Under California law, any property acquired during the marriage is deemed community property, which means each spouse owns it equally. There are some acts that can change the character of a property, however, and people with separate assets must be mindful of behavior that may impact their property rights. Recently, a California court set forth a ruling discussing how and when the nature of a property is defined and how to assess whether transmutation occurred. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is smart to speak to a knowledgeable San Diego divorce attorney regarding your rights.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband bought a house before he got married. When the couple wed, the husband had paid off the mortgage for the home. Additionally, he had a retirement account he paid into before the marriage. He did not contribute any money to the account after the wedding, however. The couple resided in the house the man purchased for a number of years after they married and then decided to move to a second home.

Allegedly, the husband kept the first house after the move. He obtained a loan for the second home that was solely in his name and took money out of his retirement account for the down payment. Both the application for the loan and the deed to the house stated that the house was granted to the husband as his sole and separate property. The husband ultimately sold the first home and used the money from the sale to pay for the second home. The wife filed for divorce, and one of the main sources of contention during the divorce proceedings was whether the second home was the husband’s separate property, community property, or a combination of both. The Court determined that it was community property, and the husband appealed. Continue reading

In many instances in which a couple ends their romantic relationship, they have contentious disagreements. In some cases, their arguments become physical. Fortunately, the law allows victims of domestic violence to seek protective orders to prevent further harm. The courts must comply with the proper procedure prior to issuing such orders, and if they do not, such orders may be vacated. This was demonstrated recently in a California case in which the parties both sought restraining orders against one another. If you are the victim of domestic violence, it is prudent to speak to a skilled San Diego family law attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for seeking protection.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father dated for a year, during which they had a child together. Their relationship was marked by acts of violence committed by the father and the total inability of the parties to communicate with one another effectively. After the relationship ended, they each filed requests for Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) restraining orders against the other.

Allegedly, the court held an evidentiary hearing, after which it found that both parties acted as primary aggressors against each other, and neither had acted in self-defense. Thus, the court entered mutual orders against both parties and issued an order granting joint legal and physical custody of the minor child. The mother appealed. Continue reading

Generally, parties engaged in family law disputes are required to pay for their own attorneys. In some family law matters, however, they may be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees from the opposing party. The grounds for ordering one party to pay another’s legal fees were the topic of an opinion issued by a California court earlier this month in a custody case. If you need help with a custody dispute, it is advisable to consult a capable San Diego child custody lawyer to evaluate what measures you can take to protect your parental rights.

The Factual Background

Reportedly, the mother gave birth to a son in November 2018. She then instituted a child support claim against the father. The father’s paternity was established via genetic testing, after which the court entered a stipulated judgment. The father subsequently sought sole custody of the child and a protective order against the mother, arguing she engaged in harassment and cyberstalking.

Relationships often fall apart, and when they do, it is not uncommon for one party to move to another city or state. If disagreements between formerly romantically involved people result in legal action, it may be uncertain which forum has the right to handle such disputes. It is clear, however, that the California courts cannot preside over a family law matter if they do not have jurisdiction over the parties. This was demonstrated in a recent California case in which the court ultimately vacated a domestic violence restraining order against the defendant, citing the lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. If you are involved in a family law dispute with someone who lives in another state, it is in your best interest to retain a seasoned San Diego family law attorney to discuss your options for protecting your interests.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in California in 2005, had three children, and moved to Texas in 2015. The wife left Texas in 2019 to return to her parent’s home in California and took the minor children with her. She subsequently filed a petition for legal separation and requested a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO).  The husband moved to quash service of process with regard to the DVRO request, but the court denied his motion and issued an order granting the wife’s request. The husband appealed, arguing the court erred by denying his motion to quash.

Personal Jurisdiction in California Family Law Cases

The husband argued that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over him, and therefore should have granted his motion to quash and dismissed the case with prejudice. On appeal, the court agreed and directed the trial court to issue an order granting the husband’s motion to quash the DVRO. Continue reading

The courts will typically take numerous factors into consideration when determining child support obligations. In cases in which the courts lack adequate information to make a final determination, they will often issue interim orders pending the receipt of additional data. It is important to note that, as illustrated in a recent California ruling, such orders may not impose actual support obligations on the parties involved. If you have questions regarding the potential financial impact of sharing custody of a child, it is smart to contact a trusted San Diego child support lawyer to discuss what evidence you may need to produce to obtain a fair outcome.

The History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in 2001 and had three children, two of whom are still minors. In 2015, the wife filed a divorce action. The following year, in accordance with a marital settlement agreement, the trial court entered a judgment of dissolution and granted the husband and wife joint physical and legal custody of their children. The court also ordered the husband to pay child support.

California is unique in that it allows for three people to be deemed the parents of a child. For example, a child may have a mother and two fathers. Simply because a person is entitled to status as the presumed father of a child does not mean they should be granted parental rights, though. Recently, a California court discussed the factors evaluated in determining whether to grant a party third-parent status in an opinion issued in a matter in which a child’s biological father sought custody rights. If you need assistance with a custody matter, it is advisable to confer with a knowledgeable San Diego child custody lawyer to determine your options for seeking a just outcome.

The History of the Case

It is reported that in 2015, the mother had two romantic relationships that overlapped: one with the third-party father and one with the father. She became pregnant and advised the third-party father that he was not the father of the child, based on the information from her doctor regarding the date of conception. The father signed a voluntary declaration of parentage and was listed on the child’s birth certificate. She later married the father.

Allegedly, a few years later, the mother determined that the third-party father was the biological father of her child, which was confirmed via DNA testing. She permitted the third-party father to visit with the child on a few occasions but later advised him she did not believe it was in the child’s best interest for them to form a relationship. The third-party father filed a petition to establish a third-party parent relationship with the child. The court denied the petition, and the third-party father appealed.

Factors Weighed in Determining Whether to Grant Third-Party Rights Continue reading

When a couple decides to end their marriage, who owns what property is often one of the biggest points of contention. Typically, in cases in which the parties dispute whether an asset is marital or separate, they will provide evidence in support of their positions. If they fail to do so, it may adversely impact their rights, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling. If you intend to end your marriage, it is in your best interest to retain a capable San Diego divorce lawyer to aid you in striving to protect your interests.

The Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in October 2007 and separated in April 2015. The wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage a year and a half later. The husband purchased a home prior to the marriage, and the couple lived in the home from 2005 until they separated. They used community funds throughout the marriage to pay the mortgage for the home, however. Following a one-day trial, the trial court determined that a portion of the home was community property. The husband appealed, arguing that the trial court improperly calculated the community share of the home.

Evidence Regarding the Nature of Property

On appeal, the appellate court found in favor of the husband, reversed the trial court ruling, and remanded for further proceedings. The appellate court explained that where the parties do not dispute that there is a community property interest in a home, both parties are obligated to ensure that the court has the information needed to determine that interest. Here, the husband erroneously believed it was the wife’s duty to provide the court with such information and failed to offer any. Continue reading

There are many ways to raise a child, and some parents engage in childrearing habits that may be viewed as unconventional. For example, parents may choose to adopt a nomadic lifestyle instead of raising their children in one location. In such instances, it may not immediately be clear what state has jurisdiction over custody disputes. Recently, a California court discussed the assumption of jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the Act) in a matter in which the state terminated a mother’s parental rights. If you need assistance with a custody dispute, it is smart to meet with a dedicated San Diego child custody lawyer regarding your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

History of the Case

It is reported that the mother lived in a van with her two minor adopted children. In 2019, Montana’s child protective services removed the children from the mother’s care due to evidence she abused and neglected them. A court placed the children with their grandmother but later returned them to the mother’s care. The mother and one of the children then traveled to Washington, where she was again investigated by child protective services before ending up in California.

Allegedly, the mother, who had significant mental health issues, called the police regarding a perceived bomb threat and was placed under a psychiatric hold. The Department of Children and Family services moved to terminate the mother’s parental rights and the child was removed from the mother’s custody. The mother later objected, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter. Continue reading

Appointing a guardian ad litem for a parent in a dependency matter drastically alters the parent’s role. Specifically, it allocates control and direction of the litigation to the guardian ad litem rather than the parent. Although it is sometimes necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the parent, as explained in a recent opinion issued by a California court, the appointment of a guardian ad litem should not be used as a means to restrain a difficult parent, even if the parent repeatedly acts against their own interests and that of their child and interferes with court proceedings. If your parental rights are in jeopardy, it is advisable to speak to a skilled San Diego child custody attorney to discuss what measures you can take to protect your interests.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that in June 2018 and in January 2019, the mother presented to the emergency departments of a hospital complaining of migraines and pain. Blood tests during her visits revealed her BAC to be .297 and .296, respectively. Following her second trip to the hospital, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (the Department) filed a petition to have the mother’s minor son deemed a dependent of the state, alleging that the mother had an extensive history of alcohol abuse and suffered from anxiety and depression, which rendered her unable to care for her minor son.

Allegedly, the court sustained the allegations in the complaint and deemed the mother’s son a dependent child. The mother underwent a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, and the doctor that examined her concluded that she suffered from anxiety and anger issues but that they arose out of the dependency proceeding and not a mental illness. Due to the mother’s erratic behavior and repeated disputes with her attorney during the pendency of proceedings, the court raised the issue of whether to appoint a guardian ad litem for the mother. The court ultimately decided to appoint a guardian ad litem for the mother, after which she appealed. Continue reading

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