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Recent Posts in Family Law Category

  • Can the court impose a requirement that I submit to an indefinite order for drug or alcohol testing as a prerequisite to custody or visitation?

    No. This very subject was addressed in a recent case (Heidi S. Vs. David H). In that case, the Court made an order that required mother to submit to drug testing indefinitely as a condition of increased and eventual unmonitored visitation, and to order that a positive or missed drug or alcohol test would trigger a return to limited monitored visitation. The Court may only order testing for a ...
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  • What kind of testing can I request if I suspect the other parent has a substance abuse issue?

    The Court can make an order that a parent must submit to random alcohol or dug testing by means of a breathalyzer or urine test. The court cannot order a hair follicle test over the objection of either party. With urine tests, either the parent or the court-ordered facility provides the parent with a window of time to appear and submit to a urine test. There is usually a 4 hour window that cannot ...
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  • Can the court order drug/alcohol testing of the other parent?

    Yes, if competent evidence that either the parent has a substance abuse issue, the court can order the drug or alcohol testing of the parent. Competent evidence could include a criminal record(DUI) involving substance abuse, witnesses to the substance abuse or other social media depicting the substance abuse. The Court must make a finding that based on a preponderance of the evidence that the ...
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  • Can the court order counseling for either the parents or for our children in a California family law case?

    Yes, the court can order counseling pursuant to family code section 3190 if it finds that such counseling would be beneficial to the children. The focus of the counseling is dispute resolution and teaching the parents co-parenting skills rather than resolving marital or relationship disputes. The cost for such counseling is usually equally divided between the parties and may continue for a finite ...
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  • The other parent took my children out of the state under the pretenses that they were going to return, what do I do?

    As set forth elsewhere, it is not uncommon for one parent to deceive the other parent that they will be visiting family in another state for a short period only to return after the visit. The parent then requests additional time in other state or tells the other parent that they will be staying in the other state and not returning the children. If this occurs, it is imperative to file and serve ...
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  • How do I serve the other parent with my request for modification of the existing parenting plan?

    The answer depends on whether only temporary orders have been made (pre-judgment) or whether is a final order (post-judgment). If the matter is the former, service by mail is acceptable. If the matter is post-judgment, personal service is required unless the other parent completes and submits an address verification form that verifies that they mailed the documents to the right address. Under ...
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  • My case was in dependency court, but it is now concluded. Can I modify my parenting plan in family court?

    Yes, once your case is concluded in dependency court, you will be provided with an "exit order" which is treated the same way as a judgment from family court. You must still meet the criteria of a substantial change in circumstances to modify an exit order from dependency court. To modify your exit order in family court, you will need to file either a dissolution action (if you are married) or ...
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  • What does "Ex Parte" mean and what should I do if I was given Ex Parte notice?

    An Ex Parte is an emergency that needs the court's attention right away. The criteria used by the court is an imminent threat of physical harm to the children that requires immediate action by the court. For example, if you discover that the other parent is driving drunk with your children in the car or is planning to flee to Mexico with your children, an Ex Parte would be an appropriate request ...
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  • How does a permanent/judgment custody order effect my right to move out of state?

    If you have a permanent/judgment order for custody and visitation that awards you primary or sole physical custody, you are able to relocate (move away [anything in excess of 25 miles]) with the children by petitioning the court to do so. The burden would be on the non-custodial parent to prove that the move would be detrimental to the children. This is a very difficult task compared to parents ...
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  • Who is the new judicial officer in Department B in the Pomona courthouse?

    As of August 2016, we have a new judicial officer for family law at the Pomona courthouse. Judge John Slawson is the newest addition to the Pomona courthouse. Judge Slawson previously was a family law judge at the Torrance courthouse. Judge Slawson takes the bench at approximately 8:45 am every day. He calls matters that have attorneys 1st which is a great cost-savings for people that hire ...
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  • When can the Court set aside a fraudulent transfer in a California Family law case?

    In Nautalis vs. Yang, the Fourth District discusses the good faith defense to set aside of a fraudulent transfer. It said that (w)e publish our opinion because of our analysis of the requirements of the good faith defense. Some cases have held that a transferee cannot avail itself of the good faith defense if the transferee had fraudulent intent, colluded with a person who was engaged in a ...
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  • What are the new developments to Los Angeles County Conciliation Court Agreement for parents to be aware of?

    In Los Angeles County, prior to the Court making orders for Child Custody and Visitation, the parties are required to attend mediation. The proper term for this mediation is Conciliation Court where the parties meet with a MFT to discuss parenting plans in an effort to reach an agreement which is memorialized into a writing and submitted to the Court. The Court has recently inserted language in ...
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  • Do I need to hire an attorney or can I represent myself in Family Court?

    In People vs. Roa, a Second District Court reversed the trial court’s order committing D indefinitely to the custody of the Department of State Hospitals after a jury found him to be a sexually violent predator under the SVPA. It held that under People v. Sanchez , “the trial court erred by allowing the experts to recite case-specific facts that were not independently proven by admissible ...
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  • What Is Legal Custody?

    Legal Custody is defined as the right to make certain decisions regarding the parties= minor children as well as the obligation to share certain information with the other parent. As with physical custody, there are two types of Legal Custody (Sole & Joint). Common decisions that are involved with Legal Custody include, but are not limited to the following: 1) Selection of Doctor, Dentist, Mental ...
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  • If my custody order sets forth that I have "reasonable" or monitored visitation, must I show a change of circumstances to modify my judgment (final order)?

    Often I have clients bring in judgments (paternity or dissolution) setting forth a "reasonable" visitation schedule and informing me that they are having issues with the other parenting in seeing their children. This is typically followed by the question, "What is reasonable?" For whatever reason there is a box on judgment forms that a party can check that says 'reasonable visitation." However, ...
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  • How do I terminate a guardianship order and have my children returned to me?

    A parent seeking to terminate the guardianship has the burden to show the following in order to terminate the guardianship: a) that the initial basis for ordering the guardianship no longer exists & b) that she or he is fit to resume custody. For example, if a parent lost custody of their children due to a drinking problem that resulted in the injury to their child and guardianship was granted to ...
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  • Pomona Courthouse Family Law Department: Department D

    Department D of the Pomona courthouse is first courtroom as you exist the elevator. As with the other departments, they may or may not open their doors at 8:30 a.m. Often if there are large lines of people outside waiting to get in the building, all of the courtrooms tend to open later. Commissioner Rocky L. Crabb is the judicial officer assigned to Department D. You must check in with the Bailiff ...
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  • Pomona Courthouse Family Law Department: Department C

    Department C of the Pomona courthouse is located in the middle of the hallway. As with the other departments, they may or may not open their doors at 8:30 a.m. Often if there are large lines of people outside waiting to get in the building, all of the courtrooms tend to open later. Commissioner Christian is the judicial officer assigned to Department C. Before you enter the courtroom, make sure ...
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  • Pomona Courthouse Family Law Department Updates

    There have been some changes at the Pomona courthouse Family Law department in the last few years so I will be posting individual updates on each of the three Family Law judicial officers for 2017 as well as providing an overview of the Pomona courthouse in general. The Pomona courthouse is located at 400 Civic Center Plaza Pomona, Ca 91766. Parking is available across the street for $8.00 or you ...
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  • What Are Some of the Factors the Court Considers in Deciding Whether I Can Move Away With My Child?

    Move away in this context means that the current parenting schedule (if you have one), is no longer practical for the parties based on the distance between the respective homes. With this definition in mind, some of the considerations are as follows: A. The Court must consider whether the planned move is consistent with the child's best interest or whether the child would be otherwise prejudiced. ...
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  • Determining the Date of Separation

    How does the Court currently determine the date of separation in a California family law action? A recent case came down that drastically changed the criteria for determining what the appropriate date of separation is. Previously, had parties objectively acted in such a way that showed others that they were living separate and apart (opening separate bank accounts, filing separate tax returns ...
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  • Restricting Visitation Because of Child Support

    The other parent is either not paying or is always late on paying their child support, do I have to allow him or her to visit my child? Yes. The right of child visitation cannot be expressly conditioned on the other parent's timely payment of support. The appropriate remedy for non-payment or late payment of child support is to either bring a contempt action, obtain a wage assignment or to enlist ...
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  • Child Concealment & Child Support

    Can I limit or restrict my child support obligation as a means to enforce my visitation rights with my child? The answer to this question rests on whether the child is secreted/hidden until the age of majority or ends before that time. The Court found in IRMO Comer (1996) 14 Cal.4th 504 that a custodial parent's concealment of the child is not a defense to the collection of child support arrears ...
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  • Child Support and Enforcing Visitation

    The other parent is interfering with my visitation. May I withhold child support to get him or her to comply with the existing visitation order? No. Absent providing actual evidence of concealment, you may not withhold the payment of child support to the other parent. For example, if the other parent is frequently late to the exchanges or doesn't permit visitation at all, your appropriate remedy ...
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  • Spousal Support & Visitation Rights

    Can I stop paying my spousal support if the other parent denies me visitation with my children? The Court has found that the deliberate rust ration of the other parent's visitation rights may be the basis for the termination of spousal support payments by the con-custodial parent. An example of this frustration includes, but is not limited to, the custodial parent moving out of state and secreting ...
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