Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Understanding a Father’s Rights in a Military Divorce

Military Divorce
If you are a father going through a military divorce it is important for you to understand your rights.  Many couples make the false assumption that the mother always gets the kids and has the right to do whatever she wants with them.  Do to this misconception, many fathers don’t even try to fight for custody even if they do want to spend time with their children.  If you are in this situation, here are facts that you need to know:

Most courts believe kids should spend time with both parents.
This is unlike the common belief that used to be prevalent in the court system.  No longer is it thought that kids only need their mother.  To the contrary, the court will try to ensure that kids grow up with the influence of both parents.  This is beneficial to fathers because even if the mother attempts to maintain full custody with limited visitation rights if you fight, the court will probably rule in your favor to some degree.  The key is that you have to present a parenting plan that you want so that the court can decide between them. 

Things you need to prove.
If you are going after full or partial custody of your children, it is important to establish several things.  This is true if you are going through a military divorce or civilian divorce.  You will want to prove that you have stable employment and can provide for the needs of the children financially.  If you are in the military, this becomes easier to do but in both cases, pay stubs are typically enough to demonstrate employment.  You will also want to demonstrate that you have stable housing for the children within their current school district.  If you want to take them out of their school district, it becomes a relocation case.  

As a father trying to keep custody of the children, it is best if you can remain in the house you have been living in as a family or can find something in the same neighborhood.  While the natural reaction may be to move far away from your ex, moving creates a less stable environment in the courts eyes and could work against you.
It also helps if you can demonstrate a solid support system.  This could be family, friends, your church group, etc.  A support system is important when raising children and if your ex has it, but you don’t, this could make it more difficult to gain full custody.  It shouldn’t, however, influence your ability to maintain joint custody. 

Child support
When representing clients going through a military divorce, we also work to ensure that any child support agreements are fair and can be lived with.  This could be challenging if one spouse wasn’t working during the marriage.  In these instances, you may have one child support agreement at the beginning of the divorce and go back to have it renegotiated at a later date to reflect a lesser amount, once they become employed.  
Remember that if you are a father going through a military divorce, you have just as many rights as the mother does.  To learn more, call and schedule your consultation. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Divorce Attorney Explains the Requirements for Getting a Divorce in California

As a divorce attorney in California, we work with couples that no longer wish to remain married and are interested in ending their relationship in either an amicable or contested divorce.  The family laws in each state are different so if you recently moved to California or are unfamiliar with our laws it is important to have a quick review prior to filing.  
Here is what you need to know:
  • Residency. If you want to divorce here, you must have lived in the state for at six months prior to filing (three of those must be in the county where your filing takes place).  Otherwise, if you recently moved you would have to either file in the state you came from or wait for the six months to pass before proceeding.  Most couples simply wait for the six months because of how inconvenient it is to have a legal proceeding take place in the state you no longer live in. 
  • California is a no-fault state. In some states, fault must be established in order to “qualify” for a divorce.  Otherwise, the request may not be granted.  As a divorce attorney in California, we know that you can get a divorce simply because you want one.  It is important to remember, however, that the judge may take the circumstances surrounding the divorce into consideration when making their ruling. 
  • Waiting Period.  In many states, there is a waiting period to see if the couple can reconcile.  The intent is to decrease the number of divorces, though it mostly only creates further challenges for divorcing couples.  In California, a couple must wait six months after filing before a divorce can be finalized. The judge may also delay the proceedings by an additional thirty days if they feel like the couple could reconcile. 
  • Division of assets.  The court will make a determination for how assets, property, and debts are split up.  
  • Children.  During the course of the trial, the judge will hear testimony and take facts into consideration to determine what is in the best interest of the children.  They will then make a ruling on who will maintain custody, visitation, and child support.  This can be the most difficult aspect of a divorce, and if you feel that the ruling was unjust, you can file a formal appeal. 
As a divorce attorney, many of our clients are new to this process and unsure of what to expect.  During the consultation, we will walk you through the steps that must be taken from filing to your final ruling.  It can take months and even a year for more complicated cases.  We always recommend speaking with a lawyer before filing so that you can have your ducks in a row and ensure that you and your children will be protected.  A divorce is a serious and complicated legal affair and having professional guidance will help you to get through it successfully. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Child Support Attorney Explains Visitation and Custody in California

Child Support Attorney
As a child support attorney, we regularly represent clients that want to make an adjustment to what they are paying in support.  In order to do this, you or your ex’s financial situation will have needed to change significantly, or an adjustment needs to be made to the custody and visitation schedule. 

In California, a parenting plan is established that determines where the child will be living and on what days they are with each parent.  In many cases, a child will primarily reside with one parent while seeing the other on weekends and during the evening once a week.  While this is a standard agreement, yours can be completely different, based on your needs and what is in the best interest of the child.  If you and your ex both live in the school district, it becomes much easier to arrange a unique shared parenting plan.  If, however, there is a distance between your homes or one lives in a different state, a judge will want to keep the child in the residence closest to their school during the school year. 

In most cases, even if one parent is awarded full custody the other will be granted visitation.  The amount of visitation can be adjusted up or down based on what is in the best interest of the child and the parents’ schedules. As a child support attorney, we understand that if you start spending more time with your children, the amount you pay in support should be reduced. This is often a good way to approach the adjustment.  We can file a Request for Order to Change or Modify a Previous Order.  This is a formal request to change how often you see your children and while doing so we will also request a modification to the support agreement. 

When the judge reviews our request, they will evaluate the current living situation for both parents along with what the child is used to.  As long as it doesn’t interfere with a child’s school schedule, a judge will typically agree to allow a child to spend as much time with both parents as is feasible.  They key is to demonstrate that the change would not disrupt the child’s life in any way or create a level of instability that they are not accustomed to.  

As a child support attorney, we always recommend going through the formalized process when making a major change to the parenting plan.  If you and your ex are helping each other out by switching days occasionally, that’s fine.  However, if you start to make a more permanent change such as taking them an additional day during the week, you should do it through the court system.  The reason being that if you are paying child support and start watching your child more often, the amount you pay in support will not change.  It will remain at a higher amount even though technically your ex is watching them less.  When you go through the process with the court, you can formalize the agreement so that they can’t go back to the old schedule without going back to court. 

Simultaneously, you can save money by getting your support order reduced. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Speak With a San Diego Lawyer to See if You Qualify for Spousal Support

San Diego Lawyer
As a San Diego lawyer, we help couples throughout the area as they go through a divorce.  One common question that we get is about spousal support.  Many spouses that were staying home or only working part time become concerned that they will be unable to support themselves.  This is understandable considering it takes time to reenter the workforce.  If you are seeking spousal support, here is what you need to know:

There are several types of alimony or spousal support.  Temporary alimony may be awarded while the couple is separated but not yet divorced.  In many cases, couples continue to share a bank account and pay bills jointly while going through the process.  This is a way to formalize the finances to ensure support.  Another type of alimony is for rehabilitation and provides for a spouse as they are going back to school or doing other activities in order to reach the point where they can support themselves.  Simultaneously, alimony can be awarded to strictly reimburse these types of expenses. Permanent alimony is where a spouse continues to receive funds until they die, remarry or for a set and prolonged period of time.  This can be in the form of monthly payments or in a lump sum.

As a San Diego lawyer, we know that the amount of alimony that a person receives is different in every case.  In some divorces, no alimony is given because both spouses earn an income and are self-sustaining.  In other circumstances, it is awarded but after the judge takes into accounts several factors starting with a review of the financial situation and standard of living that was maintained during the marriage.  If the couple had a high standard of living, more alimony would typically be awarded than if they were living on a tight budget.  It is all in relation to what life was like during the marriage.  The judge will also take into consideration the ability of the payer to continue supporting themselves while still paying alimony.  

In determining how much a spouse should be awarded, a judge will also look at age and potential ability to support themselves along with the length of the marriage.  For example, someone that is getting divorced after being married a couple of years and is in their thirties or prime working years, will probably get less alimony than someone that is near retirement age.  This is to ensure that those who did not support themselves during the marriage and would potentially be unable to do so will still maintain some standard of living and not suffer great harm due to a divorce.  On the other hand, those that are capable of earning a living may only be granted support for a short period while they get back on their feet. 

Every case is different so to find out what your chances are of receiving alimony and what a potential award would be, schedule a consultation.  As a San Diego lawyer, we can represent you both in and out of court to ensure that your rights are protected as you go through a divorce. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Happens to Your Pets in a Military Divorce?

Military Divorce
If you are going through a military divorce, it can be a complicated process both emotionally and practically.  There are many issues that will be decided during your divorce proceedings including how your assets will be divided, who gets to keep the house, and what happens with your child custody arrangements.
For members of the military, this entire process can be far more complicated because one spouse may want to move out of state in order to go back home.  Additionally, if one person is deployed the entire proceedings may need to be stayed until they get stateside.  With the variety of issues that can take place, we recommend working with an attorney that is experienced at working with military members and their families. 

Many people ask us what will happen to their pets in a military divorce.  Pets are members of the family but are not treated by the courts like children.  This means that the judge is under no obligation to consider how to divide “custody”.  Instead, a pet is typically treated as an asset would be. In other words, your pet could be treated like a car or the house.  During trial, the judge can make a binding ruling over who will keep your pet and what will happen to them. 

This is a risk because the judge will also be deciding what happens to all of your assets, your debts, your home and your children.  This is a lot to review and make a decision on, so there is no guarantee that they will spend the amount of time it will take to fully understand the relationship you have with your pet and why it is so important to you that you maintain that relationship.  

It is our job to prove the bond that you have with your pet and that you have been their primary caregiver.  We can help to demonstrate this by proving who took them to the vet and the groomers, who spent the most time with them, purchased them, etc.  The more information you can give us, the better as it will help us to build your case. After hearing the facts, the judge will decide who gets to keep your family pet. 

When handing a military divorce, with or without pets, we recommend that you try to mediate whenever possible.  This is non-binding negotiation with both parties and their attorneys.  You can be in separate rooms, and the negotiations can go back and forth while assets are divided, custody is determined, and the pets are discussed. The reason we recommend trying mediation is that you have more control over what happens that when you go to court.  You may not get exactly what you want, but you have the opportunity to compromise.  For example, we may be able to arrange a pet sharing schedule or your ex may agree to give up your pet if they get something else in exchange.  

To learn more or to get help, give us a call. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Speak With a Child Support Attorney if You Have Been Laid Off

Child Support Attorney
If you have lost your job, a child support attorney can help you to negotiate changes to your custody arrangements or child support.  When couples get divorced a judge makes a determination about where the kids will live, visitation schedules, and child support payments.  The goal is to create a plan that can last for as long as possible.  It is unreasonable, however, to assume that what is set when a child is five will still work when they are fifteen.  Life changes and when it does, adjustments need to be made. 

If you were working full time when the judge made their decision, this would have played a large role in determining the custody schedule and how much money you would either pay or receive on a monthly basis.  Losing that job could change everything.  For example, if both parents are working and one is laid off, that parent may want to provide child care now instead of paying for daycare.  This could impact the amount of days each parent has with the child since it is better for a child to be with a parent than in daycare. 

When the days that a child is with each parent are adjusted, the financial considerations must also be adjusted.  This means that if you gain days as a result of losing your job, the amount of money you would pay in child support would go down or the amount you receive could go up.  Simultaneously, there needs to be an adjustment made for how much money is exchanged because your income would have gone down.  As a child support attorney, we can help to make this happen by petitioning the court. 

As a divorced couple, neither one of you can make a change without the consent of the other or without going to court.  In many cases, ex-spouses do not agree so being able to negotiate is not a possibility.  In this case, we can try and mediate on your behalf.  This is a non-binding way to negotiate and take the emotion out of it at the same time.  Since they or their attorney, would be speaking with us the conversations should be more cordial and productive.  The goal of mediation is to attempt to settle outside of court where both sides have more control, and there is less cost involved. 

If they don't agree to any changes, we can schedule a court date and represent you before the judge.  We will build a case for how your job situation changing has impacted your schedule and your financial situation. The other side will likely argue against changing anything or reducing child support so it is important to provide us with as much detail as possible so that we can present a solid case that the judge will have a hard time disagreeing with.  

Remember, if your situation has changed you have the right to ask for your custody situation to change, as well.  To get help, call a child support attorney today. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Military Divorce Can Become Complicated Quickly

Military Divorce
If you are going through a military divorce, keep in mind that it will likely be more complicated than a civilian one, simply because of the various issues at play.  Active duty military members and their family face specific challenges that are unique; for example, when one spouse is on deployment another can still file for divorce. It becomes incredibly difficult to deal with a divorce from thousands of miles away where communication may be limited.

Are you currently deployed?

This puts you at a distinct disadvantage.  When someone files for divorce, the clock starts ticking on certain timeline issues and without a lawyer representing you, there may be no one local to ask for the process to be stopped or stayed pending their return.  JAG will sometimes get involved, but they are not going to represent you in divorce court.  You still need an experienced divorce lawyer to protect your interests.

Hiring an attorney is especially important if you are facing a military divorce and have children.  In this scenario, you need an advocate to present your side and how you are involved in caring for your children when you are home.  Oftentimes, active duty military members are portrayed by the other side as unengaged when this is simply not the case.  Being in the military is your job, and like any job, it does not diminish how you feel about your children.  Your responsibilities for work are simply different than if you had a 9-to-5 job.  We understand this and are experts at making a case for why you should still have joint custody of your children.

Dividing Finances

There are additional financial considerations that active duty military members and their spouse must consider.  When calculating things like child support, there are different forms of compensation that inexperienced lawyers don’t know how to sort through.  Things like housing allowances and combat pay need to be taken into consideration, and we know how to do so, when working with either party in a divorce.   Additionally, we can help to negotiate how things like retirement will be split up.

Where will you live?

This is a question that comes up frequently in a military divorce.  Typically, families move around a lot, but simply because you are stationed at a base, doesn’t mean that the divorcing spouse will want to stay there.  If you don’t have kids – it doesn’t matter.  Both parties are free to live where they choose.  If, however, you have children they will not be allowed to leave the state permanently without the courts consent.  An order of relocation will need to be filed as part of the divorce process and the judge will decide whether or not to grant it.  If the service member is obligated to stay stationed at a base for a period of time following the divorce, this can become even more complicated.

We are experienced with representing both service members and their spouses in a military divorce.  To get advice from an expert attorney, schedule your consultation today.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Child Support Attorney Can Help You Negotiate Back Payments

Child Support Attorney
As a child support attorney, we can help you to negotiate any back child support payments that you owe.  It is common for people to get into financial binds and be unable to meet their obligations.  The challenge is that once the court sets the amount you have to pay, it can’t be simply waived or postponed like another debt.  If you get too far behind, the other party can take you to court, and you can even end up in jail.

If you work with a lawyer, this can typically be prevented since we can negotiate on your behalf with the other party and represent you in court before a judge.  The key is to make a case for why you are unable to meet your obligations and what you will be able to do going forward.  If you make enough money, simply not paying isn’t a good argument.  You must demonstrate that you need more of the money you make to pay for your basic living expenses or to support other children that you have.  The goal of the court is to ensure that your children are provided for, not to make you homeless. Keeping this in mind, hiring an attorney and showing up to court is the first step.

People will typically get into legal trouble by not responding to requests for child support, not making any payments, and not showing up for court hearings.  If you fail to appear in court, a judge can issue a warrant for your arrest, and many people have spent time in jail as a result.  If, however, you make an effort to meet your obligations but simply cannot pay the full amount, it becomes much easier to plead your case before a judge.  As a child support attorney, we fight for our clients and seek adjustments to what is owed on a regular basis.

Another reason people tend to need help is if they didn’t know that they had any support obligations in the first place.  For example, if you didn’t know that you had a child, how could you have been paying child support?  Logic would say that you don’t owe anything, but the legal system doesn’t work this way.  Even if you are not aware of a child, the mother could come back at a later date and seek current and back child support.  This can create a difficult situation since most people don’t have enough savings to take care of the obligation.  The court will often garnish wages, as a result, which can hurt your ability to pay for housing, food, etc. In order to prevent this scenario, we recommend hiring a child support attorney that can work with the court to create a plan for caring for the child going forward without crippling you financially today.  The key is to take action right away so that the situation won’t escalate.  To learn how we can help, call to schedule a consultation.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce Lawyer
If you are looking for a divorce lawyer, Keen & Genochio Attorneys at Law can help you to navigate through the family court system and receive the best possible outcome.  There are no guarantees in a trial or a divorce, but having expert legal representation will ensure that your rights are protected and that you have someone fighting on your side. 

Before you speak with an attorney, there are several things you should know that will help you to select the right one.

Location is Important
Attorneys are licensed by the state, but each county tends to handle things differently.  This means different sets of paperwork, judges with different tendencies, ways of setting a trial date, etc.  These small differences may seem insignificant but if you hire an attorney outside of the area and they go up against a local one, the local lawyer may have an advantage.

Experience Counts
Make sure that you hire a divorce lawyer that is experienced with your type of case.  All divorces are not created equally.  For example, a standard divorce case typically involves two people that are living in the same general area and may or may not have children.  If you have significant assets, own a business, are looking to relocate, or are in the military, your case is automatically more complicated with several issues that need to be addressed.  Look for an attorney that has dealt with these types of complexities before and done so successfully.

Settlement and Court
If your divorce is amicable you may be able to settle it outside of court.  If not, you need to hire a lawyer that has the courtroom experience necessary to advocate on your behalf, question witnesses, and build a case in your favor.  This requires a different set of skills, so do not assume that your divorce lawyer has them, without asking.

Understand the Fee Structure
Before hiring someone, make sure that you understand how they charge and how much they charge.  Creating a mutual understanding is essential for ensuring that you are on the same page throughout the process.  You should also ask what fees you will be responsible for in addition to what your lawyer will charge.  This way you can budget for it.

Ask About Availability
Before hiring someone make sure that they have the time to take your case.  This is especially important if the case may go to trial.  If you are speaking with a firm with more than one attorney, ask if they work as a team or if someone is set to be a backup in case something happens to your main lawyer. The last thing you want is to end up in court with a junior associate that is new to your case.

With Keen & Genochio Attorneys at Law, you will receive expert legal advice and representation from an experienced divorce lawyer.  To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling (619) 232-2217.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Divorce Attorney Can Help with Your Business Valuation

Divorce Attorney
If you are getting a divorce, hire a divorce attorney to help you handle the case.  This is an incredibly difficult and sensitive time.  Trying to handle it on your own is unwise since emotion can complicate things, and your reasoning may not be as sharp as normal.  This is perfectly understandable since getting a divorce can be as traumatic as losing a family member.  Working with an expert lawyer can make the process easier so that you can focus on feeling better and taking care of your family.

There are many aspects to a divorce.  Not only are you changing your marital status but assets, and liabilities must be divided.  This includes everything from where you live to the cars that you drive and the family pet.  Every single item you own needs to be given to you or to your spouse, which can be cumbersome at best.  If you own a business, this process becomes much more complicated.

Dividing a business is not easy and normally not practical.  For example, you cannot take an operating company and say that one spouse gets the sales force and their revenue while the other gets the service staff and the revenue they generate.  A business doesn’t work like that so any division of it needs to be financial.  The question then becomes, what is your business worth?  A divorce attorney can help you to find out.

Since the business is a living and changing entity, a business valuation is typically done to determine how much it is worth.  This should be done by an expert such as a CPA or valuation specialist.  There are many ways to evaluate a company that may include looking at tax returns to determine net income along with placing  a value on intangibles like customer relationships and tangible items like equipment.   This is far more complicated that simply looking at your tax returns alone, so working with an expert is important.

Once the business value has been determined, the other party needs to agree to the value or dispute it by obtaining their own business valuation.  After each party has agreed to a set value, it is time to negotiate how much of the business each person should get and how the other person needs to pay them for it.  When hard assets like real estate are involved this can become easier by getting a loan to buy the other party out.  Otherwise, monthly payments are often arranged just like they would be if a partner buyout was being completed.  Working with an expert attorney will ensure that your interests are protected during this process.

As a divorce attorney, we often find that dividing up a business can be a sensitive matter.  This is because most people invest more than time in a business.  It can become their “baby” so to speak. Before you start the process call Keen & Genochio Attorneys at Law at (619) 232-2217 to schedule your consultation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Divorce Attorney Can Help You to Sort Through Your Finances

An attorney can help you to untangle your finances when getting a divorce. That is exactly what divorce is – an untangling of two lives and everything that is part of life.  This applies to large obvious things like a house to small things like a safety deposit box.  Anything that you own has to be sorted through with decisions made as to how it will be divided or who will keep what. This can be extremely tedious, especially for people that have been married a long time. 

It is wise to start by creating an inventory of every item that you own, every financial account, and every debt.  We can provide you with worksheets to take notes on.  Once this is done each item should be assigned a value, unless it is purely sentimental.  This way when everything is divided and it is easy to tell how fair the split is.  
The challenge is that most people cannot handle dividing everything up with their ex-spouse.  Tensions can be high, and each item represents a story or memory which can make emotions heightened.  Having an attorney help you to sort through everything is often the best way to go about it.  Most people are less inclined to be as emotional or passionate with a third party in the room so it can help to keep things calm.  If you and your ex each have an attorney, you can do this by having everyone sit down in a room for an hour or two.  Otherwise you can use the same attorney as a moderator.  This is typically only possible if you are getting along very well. 
When dividing larger assets it is common for the debt to stay with it.  For example, if you are keeping your home, the mortgage would also be your responsibility.  If they are keeping the truck, they will have the debt and payments associated with it.  For this reason some people choose not to have an equitable division of assets because they don’t want to make the debt payments.  If no one wants the asset or debt, a plan needs to be created for how to sell or liquidate it.  

Splitting up financial accounts can also be challenging.  Savings accounts are often split down the middle but retirement accounts can be a touchy issue. An attorney can help you to negotiate a compromise for these things when possible.  If one cannot be reached a judge will decide when the case goes to trial.  Reaching a compromise as quickly as possible is actually in your best interests.  It will make it possible for you to begin using the funds instead of having them frozen pending trial.  This can help you to pay for living expenses, etc.  It is okay if you can only reach an agreement on some of your assets and accounts.  Once an agreement is reached it can be signed and those items will not need to be addressed at trial which will shorten the process and remove unnecessary complications.  

To learn more about how an attorney can help you, call Keen & Genochio Attorneys at Law today.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A San Diego Lawyer Can Help You to Get a Restraining Order Against Your Ex

Divorce can get ugly and a lawyer can help you to navigate through the process.  There are times before or during the divorce one spouse can become violent, threatening, or volatile.  It is normal for people to get upset and worked up. The question is how upset are they getting and have they calmed down?  If your spouse or ex-spouse is threatening you and you are scared that you may become a victim of violence, a restraining order may be in order.  You can also obtain one if you believe they are stalking you.

A restraining order is a legal decree that prohibits them from coming within a certain distance of you.  If they violate the order you can call the police and have them arrested.  The major difference is that without a restraining order they would need to act violently or start threatening you before you can really call the police.  A restraining order gives you the right to do so before the situation escalates. 

It is important to have an experienced lawyer help you through the process. You have to prove that a restraining order is necessary, which can be difficult to do without help. Your ex-spouse may appear completely cool and calm in court which will give off the impression that they aren’t posing a threat to you.  Once outside of court, the behavior is likely to continue.  An attorney can help to present the facts so that the judge understands the severity of the issue and the need for you to be protected. 

There are two main types of restraining orders that you can get in California – personal conduct and stay-away orders.  

Personal Conduct Orders
This type of restraining order prevents the other party from contacting you via the phone, messages, and email.  They cannot harass you, stalk you, strike you, destroy your property or sexually harass you in any way. 

Stay-Away Orders
This is the type of restraining order that most people think of because it prevents them from coming within either fifty or 100 yards of you.  It applies to your physical person.  For example, if they were to see you in a grocery store they could not come within fifty or 100 yards.  It also applies to where you live and work, where your kids go to school, your car, and other important places you include on the list like church or a relative’s home.  
Stay-away orders can become complicated when you are sharing custody with an ex-spouse.  You will want the assistance of a lawyer to navigate through these challenges.  For example, in a normal stay-away order the other party cannot be too close to your kid’s school.  If it is their child too, this becomes impractical so a creative solution will need to be implemented.  The same holds true for custody exchanges.  A solution will have to be worked out to where you can trade custody without the order being violated, unless of course the child is also protected as part of the order.  

To learn more about restraining orders and how a lawyer can help, call Keen & Genochio Attorneys at Law today.

Monday, June 30, 2014

An Attorney Can Help You Get a Child Support Judgment

If you are divorced and receiving child support, an attorney can help you to collect on that support when your ex stops paying.  Many parents that are required to pay child support live up to their end of the bargain.  The challenge is that if they stop paying it can create a financial hardship for the one that is supposed to receive the payments.  Fortunately, there are ways to obtain your court ordered child support.

During your initial consultation, we will discuss your specific case and the circumstances surrounding the non-payment of child support.  We will need to know how much they are supposed to pay every month, how far behind they are, and if they have been making any form of payment recently.  Once retained, we will review the court order before making a recommendation on how to proceed.

As an attorney, we can help you to calculate how much is owed to you and draft a letter to be sent to your ex formerly requesting payment.  Sometimes people will respond to a lawyer, even when they have been ignoring your request.  The understanding that you will take legal action is a very compelling incentive to work out a payment plan.  This is an option for resolving the dispute and can even be settled out of court.  The key is to have a lawyer draft the agreements so that if they fall behind again, you have additional documentation.

If your ex is unresponsive or simply refuses to cooperate and pay child support, the next option is to go to court.  We will have the opportunity to present the judge with the initial order to pay child support, the documentation proving that support has not been received, and a formal request for a judgment in order to collect on what is owed.

The judge will typically review the income and employment information for your ex prior to making a final ruling.  Any information that you have regarding their employment should be provided prior to the hearing so that we can properly prepare and include it into our arguments.  As your attorney, we will argue the case on your behalf and make a compelling argument for the judge to enforce the child support order. 

If your ex is currently employed, their wages may be garnished in order to collect the child support.  This means that there employer would receive a letter informing them that a certain amount of money needs to be withheld from their paycheck and paid towards the obligation.  If you know that your spouse has that money available, and can prove it, the judge may order a lump sum to be paid at one time.  The key in both scenarios is proving that they have the resources to pay child support.

If your ex refuses to comply with the judgment, they could be sentenced to jail on a temporary basis.  This threat is typically enough to prompt people to start paying.  As a local attorney, we can help you through the process so that you can begin collecting the money you deserve.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Lawyer Can Help You Increase Your Visitation Privileges

If you are divorced, a lawyer can help you to make changes to your child custody and visitation agreements.  Just because a custody arrangement has been set with the other parent, or by a judge, does not mean that it has to stay set in stone until the child turns eighteen.  There are ways to make changes to the schedule by going through the court system.

As a parent that does not have primary custody, it can be incredibly difficult and painful to not see your child as often as you would like.  Sometimes the situation arises due to a military deployment, financial issues, a living situation, work reasons, or even substance abuse.  It may be hard to comprehend living with a set schedule for years to come, once the reason for the limited custody or visitation has been resolved.  Fortunately, the court system is designed to provide room for change.

Before you file for a change in child custody or visitation, make sure to consult an experienced lawyer.  The court system is exactly that – a system.  There are set rules and procedures that must be followed in order for your case to be heard and in order to win.  Going before a judge without understanding the rules could be detrimental to your case.  Additionally, when arguing why your custody arrangement should be adjusted it is important that your reasons fit within the statute that the judge must reference prior to making a ruling.

When the custody arrangement involves two parents that live in different states, the case becomes even more complicated.  California has a specific law in place, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) which sets forth that California has the right to enforce its actions, even if a parent moves out of state.  This enables custody cases set in California to continue to be enforceable after someone has moved away, as long as one of the parties still lives in the state.  This can be particularly relevant in military divorces.  

As a California custody lawyer, we are experts at understanding custody laws and how they can impact your case. As an experienced attorney, we help clients to gain back some, or all, of the visitation they have lost.  We understand that life circumstances can create situations that negatively impact our clients.  Rather than judging, we help each client to build a case for why they should regain or increase the time they have with their children.  If this is something you want to pursue consider that you will have the burden of proof to show why your request should be granted.  You will also need to demonstrate stability and that you can provide a safe and caring environment for the children when they are with you.  The judge will also make sure that the children will not be impacted negatively by an increase in your visitation time.  As your lawyer, we will help you to create a winning strategy that can be pursued in court. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Resolve Custody Disputes with Help from an Attorney

If you have children, an attorney can help you to navigate through the choppy waters of a custody dispute.  Going through a divorce is never easy and when children are involved it is even more complicated.  Instead of being able to simply divide your assets there are important decisions to be made that will impact your life, and the life of your child, until they turn eighteen.

While married, there are simple day to day decisions that are made about your children without really thinking about them.  Things like transportation to and from school, visiting the grandparents, attending family birthday parties, and buying new shoes are simply things that are done – rather than discussed.  Once divorced, these things are no longer simple.  That is why the court requires a thorough parenting plan to be written that makes allowances for these normal life activities.
As an attorney we ask our clients to start thinking about the following and consider how they would want to handle them:

·         Schooling.  Where do you want your child to attend school, both now and in the future?  Your parenting plan can specify this along with whether the decision is made by one parent, or both.
·         Transportation.  Who is responsible for transporting the children to and from school or to and from one parents’ house to the other?  When it comes to exchanging the children, drop off days, times, and locations can all be specified.
·         Special Occasions.  Consider every day or event that you deem to be a special occasion and specify where the children are (what parent they are with) on each of those days.  This will obviously include major holidays, but there are other family events that should be taken into consideration.  For example, list the birthday for every family member that is involved in the children’s lives.  If you don’t list your Grandma and the children are supposed to be with your ex-spouse that day, they will probably be unable to go to your Grandma’s birthday party.  It is better to be thorough.
·         Clothing.  Will each parent to be responsible for purchasing the children clothing that is worn at their house or is one parent going to buy all of their clothes with the other one reimbursing them?  Consider how you want to handle this so that there is no confusion.
·         Toys.  The children probably have a lot of toys that were accumulated throughout the course of your marriage.  Who gets to keep what at their house?  If you don’t specify, the spouse keeping your primary home may get all of the toys with it.

As an experienced attorney, we can help you to sort through these issues as part of your divorce and help you to sort through disputes after the fact.  Even if your divorce has been settled, you can go back and revise custody issues at a later date.  For more information or a consultation give us a call, and we will be happy to assist you. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Why Members of the Military Need a Family Lawyer

If you are in the military, a family lawyer can help you to sort through complex custody issues, divorce hearings, and child support.  For the men and women serving in our Armed Forces, it can be difficult to deal with matters at home when they are deployed. Unfortunately, that is when many service members are faced with these difficult and complicated family matters.

Our law firm specializes in working with military members and understand how to navigate through the local court system and military regulations. This is extremely important, as not understanding one of these aspects could lead to further legal complications.
For the past sixty years, we have been serving the military community in California.  We are an experienced family lawyer that can provide information and consultations to service members while they are deployed.  California requires a six month waiting period when applying for a divorce.  This process can be started while overseas with the help of our law office.  Using modern technology, we are able to communicate and provide legal services, just like we would if you were sitting in our office.

The financial aspects of military divorce are also more complicated.  The court has to make determinations as to what is joint property and what is separate property.  Things like reenlistment bonuses are up for dispute so you need to have a good case as to who should or shouldn’t have access to those funds.  Child support and spousal support are also determined in a divorce proceeding and more complicated when one of the spouses is deployed.  Things like combat pay can temporarily increase a persons’ income but are not available in the long term.  As an experienced family attorney, we understand the complications that arise when a member of the military is getting divorced and can help to make the process run more smoothly.

If you are in the service and are having difficulty with your spouse, you may want to schedule a consultation prior to leaving for deployment.  Even if you do not take action, it is wise to have an attorney on hand in the event that your spouse does.  Many troubled marriages lead to divorce while one spouse is deployed.  This can come as a blow to anyone that is far away from their family, without the ability to be there and sort through the issues.  By retaining a family lawyer before you leave, you can have the peace of mind that if your spouse does take action, someone local will be there looking out for your best interested.  This is especially important when children are involved as your attorney will need to make the case for why you should have a specific custody arrangement 

To learn more about how we can help, simply contact our office at 619-232-2217 to schedule an appointment.  We can meet with you in person, or if you are currently deployed, remotely.   We will do our best to make the process of family disputes go as smoothly as possible. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

San Diego Lawyer Helps Families

San Diego Lawyer
If you are contemplating divorce, a San Diego lawyer can help.  We work with families as they go through a divorce and afterwards if they are unhappy with the judges decision.  Family court is a complicated place with divorce laws and procedures dictating outcomes more often than actual facts.  If you don’t know what you are doing you can get lost in the process, deal with extreme frustrations, and lose the things that are the most important to you.  We understand that this is a difficult time emotionally and will take care of the legal details so that you can focus on helping your family through the process.

Everyone only has so much bandwidth.  While going through a divorce people are dealing with the emotional loss of their family unit and when children are involved you will not only have to process through your own emotions but also theirs.  When you add on top moving to a new house, sorting through belongings, and speaking with family and friends, it can become a roller coaster of emotions that make it difficult to handle the technical aspects of the divorce.  We sympathize for the difficulty you are facing but understand that the process doesn’t stop.

As a San Diego lawyer, we handle the legal aspect so that you don’t have to.  There are a massive amount of forms that need to be completed, documents that must be filed, hearings that need to be scheduled, and appearances before the court.  Even savvy business people can find it difficult to navigate through the complexities of the court system.  Don’t make the mistake of trying to go it on your own, especially when children are involved.  The decisions you make now will impact the rest of your life, or at least until your children turn eighteen.

If you and your spouse are having an amicable divorce there is the possibility of setting outside of court.  Whether working through your attorneys or your attorneys and a mediator, you may be able to reach a consensus on the various issues within your divorce.  If you can, it will save you time and money, and you will have more control over the outcome.  Court is unpredictable, and the judge will make decisions that you have to live with, whether you like them or not.  It may be wise to try mediation if you are in the place to do so.  We will still protect your interest and make sure that you don’t agree to anything that could harm you in the long run.

If you have already completed your divorce but don’t like the current custody or child support arrangement, you can go to court and have the decision reconsidered.  We can help you with this process.  The key is that we need to present new information that was not presented during your prior divorce trial.  This may be as simple as you or your ex spouse’s income changing or the children wishing to go to a new school.  Whatever it may be if it is related to your divorce give us a call and we will be happy to review your case. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tips from a Local Divorce Attorney

Divorce Attorney
This is a difficult time and a divorce attorney can guide you through the process so that you and your assets are protected. If you are considering a divorce, we recommend that you schedule an appointment to have a consultation.  There are things you can do ahead of time to protect yourself and your family.
Here are some things to consider:
·         Where do you want to live after the divorce?  You need to make preparations for this ahead of time.  If you have children, the home becomes more valuable because whoever continues to live in the “family home” could be viewed to have more stability.  If you want to share custody try to live within the school district, even if you do move.  This is one of several factors when determining custody so if possible, put yourself in a good position by staying in the home until after the divorce has been finalized.
·         What custody schedule do you want to have?  Try to set the schedule at the time of separation for what you want to have in the long run.  Judges will often look to the existing schedule to determine what is working.  If it appears to be going fine, they will likely just keep your existing schedule in place as part of the divorce.  If you want primary custody try to keep the kids as much as you can now.
·         What do you do for work?  Employment consistency will help with showing you are stable and a good provider for the kids.  If you haven’t been working and have been depending on your spouse for income, we can help you to create a strategy to obtain spousal support. 
·         Examine your assets.  Are their certain things that you want out of the divorce?  If so we need to know right away and know your thinking behind why you thing they should belong to you.  It is our job to make your case and the more information we have, the better.
·         What will you compromise on?  As a divorce attorney, it is rare to see someone get everything that they want.  It is best to know which items you are willing to compromise on and which ones you are non-negotiable.  This gives us something to work with.
·         Bank accounts.  If you want to get a divorce, it is smart to take out a credit card in your name only and to open a separate bank account where you can place some savings.  When your spouse finds out about the divorce, they could respond in anger and try to take you off of your accounts.  While this is illegal, and we can help correct it, you could be in a temporary lurch and this is not a stress you need to deal with. Prepare for financial challenges by saving some money.

Timing is important when you are planning for a divorce.  If you do it correctly, you can have more of what you want.  Call us today to learn how a local divorce attorney can help. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How an Attorney Can Help With a Military Divorce

As a San Diego attorney, we work with a lot of military families that are going through a divorce.  This is a difficult time for anyone and being in the military can present a whole new set of challenges.  There are both California laws and military laws that need to be followed, making hiring an experienced military lawyer an important part of the process.
We work with people that are stationed at North Island Naval Air Station, Camp Pendleton, Miramar Naval AirStation, and Coronado. If you are stationed at a California base, and currently deployed overseas, we can still help you with the divorce process. Since California requires a six month waiting period many soldiers find it best to start the process while they are deployed so that it can be finalized when they return.
Military divorces can be more complicated for several reasons, including:
·         Finances.  As an attorney for military families, we understand how to calculate a soldier’s total compensation.  Military pay is not as straight forward as civilian pay and can be confusing to some attorneys and judges.  This can be made even more confusing during a deployment.  Proper calculations are important for determining child support and spousal support, when applicable.
·         Establishing residency.  Most residency laws are based on where you have been living.  If you have been deployed or temporarily stationed at a different base, this can become complicated.  If your spouse didn’t move with you immediately, this can also complicate the issue.  We can help you to sort out residency issues so that the appropriate jurisdiction can be established.
·         Retirements and pensions.  These are assets that can be divided similarly to how a home or bank accounts can be divided.  We will help you build a case as to what you are entitled to and why.
·         Determining custody.  As a military member, it is important that your custody rights are preserved.  Just because you have been deployed doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have rights to see your children.  It is important that you have an attorney that can advocate for your rights.  Simultaneously if you are a military spouse you may have specific custody concerns that you want to have examined.  We advocate for our client, regardless of whether they are in the military or married to someone who is.
·         Attorney fees.  In our consultation, we will discuss attorney’s fees and the possibilities of having them paid for by your spouse.  The percentage each person pays is up for negotiations or will be determined by a judge.

We can make it easier to navigate through your divorce and ensure that the outcome is in line with what you desire.  There are no guarantees that you will get everything that you want, so the goal is to get as much as you want as possible.  Working with a lawyer that has worked with military families will help you to achieve your goals.  We will work with military members, stationed here or overseas, and their soon to be ex-spouses.  Our loyalty is to our clients, and we advocate for their best interest in every situation.