Sam Dalton Passes Away At The Age Of 90

Sam Dalton was a lawyer who recently passed away at the age of 90. He practiced law for six decades. He was known for adamantly opposing the death penalty. He was also known for representing people who could not afford to hire an attorney. Moon Landrieu is the mayor of New Orleans. He is a graduate of Loyola University Law School. He stated that Sam was a good lawyer. He also stated that Sam was also a good person.

Moon also talked about his favorite memories of Sam. He stated that he remembers when Sam would come into the courtroom with lunch stains on his suit. He was totally committed to helping people. In 1992, Sam was given the Benjamin Smith Award. Mary Howell is another attorney who practices in New Orleans. He stated that Sam was the attorney who fought for the little guy.

Sam was known for challenging the 2 percent handling charge. This is a fee that is added to the cost of bail bonds. Sam was opposed to the fee because he stated that it victimized poor people. He has handled over 300 capital cases.

Walter Koon is one of the people that was spared from the death penalty because of Sam. He faced the death penalty after he killed his estranged wife. Sam stated that did not receive the proper counsel at the trial court level. Walter was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of the parole.

Sam stated that he never wanted to portray Walter as the model sinner. However, he still felt that the death penalty was inhumane. Sam was married with children. When he was not working, he was spending time with his family. Sam’s funeral arrangements will be handled by Garden of Memories Funeral Home. A date has not been set yet.

How Licensed Texas and Out-Of-State Lawyers Can Provide Crucial Legal Services to Hurricane Harvey Victims

The Texas Supreme Court recently released a favorable emergency order that allows out-of-state lawyers to provide pro bono assistance to victims of the fatal Hurricane Harvey. The order has been enforced for the next six months and is applicable in two main ways. First, legal practice is legalized through a pro bono program that provides crucial services to Hurricane Harvey victims. However, interested lawyers must fill a temporary registration form outlining their intention to the bar.

Secondly, licensed lawyers are allowed to provide legal services to Texas if residents are displaced from their native home due to Hurricane Harvey. The Texas Supreme Court also enforced two other orders in line with Hurricane Harvey. The first order allows for radical changes to procedures and deadlines to courts adversely affected by the Hurricane. The second order focuses on suspending limitation in civil cases in the event claimants can prove catastrophic conditions resulting from Hurricane Harvey. In relation to this, Saundra Brown, a prominent manager at the disaster response unit at Lone Star Legal Aid, insisted that the legal assistance would be beneficial to thousands of victims in need.

While most lawyers from the firm work remotely, senior members from the team are stationed at Texarkana after the company’s Houston headquarters had been damaged in a deceptive fire explosion. In such a situation, lawyers have been tasked with reporting for disaster appeals with FEMA to ensure that people secure income for home repairs, deal with insurance claims and obtain temporary housing.

According to Saundra Brown, the newly drafted lawyers can play an integral role in assisting with the FEMA appeals, while also providing legal assistance to victims at the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center. To promote service delivery, the Division has provided hotline numbers for both Louisiana and Texas as follows (800)504-7030 and (800)310-7029. The relief webpage contains precise information regarding volunteer recruitment.

As the Director of YLD’s Disaster Legal Service Program, Andrew VanSingel is tasked with selecting competent lawyers from the vast list of emails that has flooded his inbox. Each lawyer selected will be brought up to speed on how they should assist Hurricane Harvey victims.

Before selection can be done, interested lawyers must be referred to the State Bar of Texas to uniquely present their proficiency in handling pro bono legal aid. Furthermore, interested out-of-state lawyers can also donate money to groups such as the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and the Lone Star Legal Aid.

Scott Peterson Speaks from Jail

Convicted Modesto murderer Scott Peterson is speaking out from prison. While he sits on death row for murdering his pregnant wife Laci, Peterson is reaching out in order to insist on his innocence. The new information comes as Peterson waits for word on his latest appeal.

Laci Peterson went missing shortly before Christmas. She was 27 years old. Police later found her body on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

Scott Peterson says that he wasn’t the last one to see Laci the day she went missing. Peterson blames police for failing to follow leads from witnesses that saw her walking in the neighborhood after he last reported seeing her. He says that the police didn’t have any DNA evidence against him, and that their case was circumstantial.

Peterson said he expected the jury to find him not guilty. He said that he was surprised and shocked when the guilty verdict came down. He said the verdict affected him physically, and he felt sick to his stomach.

After Laci’s disappearance, news leaked that Peterson was having an affair with Amber Frey. Frey reported that Peterson told her that he wasn’t married. He also told her that he lost his wife. Police described Peterson’s behavior after the disappearance as strange. They say that his dishonesty to Frey was a motive for murder.

For now, Peterson’s case waits on appeal at the California Supreme Court. This appeal is the latest of appeals that Peterson began filing in 2012. If his appeal doesn’t succeed, he’s set to die by lethal injection. He waits in San Quentin State Prison. Attorneys for the State of California have filed a response to the appeal.

The reply from state attorneys calls Peterson one of the worst kinds of offenders. They say that Peterson acted callously when he ignored the welfare of his wife and unborn son. The State’s reply to Peterson’s latest appeal is several hundred pages long. Even though there are more than 700 people on California’s death row, the state last carried out an execution approximately a decade ago.

Specifically, the appeal says that the state left prospective jurors in the jury pool even though they disagreed with the death penalty. The appeal says that the court should have dismissed many jurors that they left in the pool. The appeal also argues that admission of certain evidence was unfair. Specifically, Peterson says that the court shouldn’t have admitted evidence about police dogs tracking Laci’s scent. The appeal says that this evidence is too unreliable to justify a death penalty conviction.

Lebanon Overturns Its Marry-Your-Rapist Law

Lebanon on Wednesday made headlines after repealing a piece of legislation that gave rapists a way to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Lebanon has joined a number of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East that have reversed such provisions following pressure by Arab women’s movements.

How Serious Is the Marry-Your-Rapist Law?

Several countries, including some from the Arab region and some from the Catholic countries such as the Philippines, have permitted men charged with rape to be excused if they accept to marry their accusers. Women’s movements have for years launched a massive campaign against these laws, claiming that they aggravate the suffering of victimized survivors.

The law was repealed after all the members of parliament voted against it. According to the women’s rights groups, parliament is their first step towards changing the sentiments in patriarchal communities. In these communities, a family’s honor is closely associated with a woman’s chastity.

Abaad’s Fight against the Marry Your Rapist Law

Ghida Anani, the founder of Abaad; which is a women’s rights movement in Lebanon, remarked that repealing the legislation was the first step towards transforming the traditions and mindset of the Lebanese. She reassured the world that this was just the beginning and that a behavioral and awareness campaign would follow. The aim of these campaigns is to make women aware that rapists can no longer escape punishment.

Abaad had campaigned vigorously against this legislation. The group had mounted billboards all over Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, depicting a woman wearing a bloodied and torn up bridal gown. A caption next to the image read in Arabic, “Wearing a white dress does not conceal rape”.

A group of government ministers had expressed their intention to have the law repealed. The main hurdle was the parliamentary vote, and the parliamentarians unanimously agreed to revise Section 522 of the legal provision.

Lebanon’s move came after other countries in the region had taken a similar stance. Jordan’s parliament recently voted to revoke this law. Tunisia is another country that followed the same path in July. Morocco repealed their marry-your-rapist law three years ago after a teenager committed suicide after being required to marry the man who had raped her.

Kentucky Lawmakers Sign Shared Parenting Law

Divorcing parents in Kentucky are more likely to find themselves sharing custody of the children than ever before. That’s because lawmakers amended Kentucky’s child custody laws to presume that it’s best for children to split time equally with each parent after a divorce. Courts don’t have to order joint custody if they think it’s likely to cause abuse and neglect of a child. Otherwise, joint custody with equal parenting time is the new normal in Kentucky, instead of the exception.

Parents don’t have to agree on a joint custody arrangement or even a parenting schedule in order for the court to award joint custody under the new law. Instead, the court may impose the schedule that they see fit as long as it’s as equal as possible. The law doesn’t change custody agreements that are already in place.

Parents must file an affidavit affirmatively demanding to exercise their parenting time. If a parent fails to file the affidavit, the court may award primary custody to the other parent. Parents must be sure to submit their affidavit timely, so that the court can consider it when making their initial decision.

In addition to the court considering whether joint custody may cause abuse and neglect, Kentucky’s new parenting law allows the court to make sure that both parents have adequate housing for the child. This means having a place for a child to sleep for at least eight hours each day without interruptions. It also means that a parent must have adequate food, clothing and other daily necessities for the child. If a parent doesn’t have adequate housing and other provisions for the child, the court should still try to maximize time with each parent in a way that ensures the child’s safety.

The vote for the new law was unanimous among Kentucky lawmakers. Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne sponsored the bill along with representatives Jason Petrie and Robby Mills. Lawmakers that support the bill say that their position has the backing of research on outcomes for children. Dr. Ryan Schroeder of the University of Louisville testified in support of the bill at hearings in the Kentucky legislature.

The National Parents Organization of Kentucky also publicly supported the bill. Governor Matt Bevin signed it into law in July, 2017. In addition to improved outcomes for children, supporters hope that the new law reduces animosity during divorce, because in most cases, parents no longer have to worry about losing the majority of the time with their children.


Hawaiian Federal Judge Revises Travel Ban

A Hawaiian federal judge recently revised the ‘family relationships’ clause of the President’s travel ban. Less than thirty days ago, the US Supreme Court voted unanimously that the President had the Constitutional authority to use executive orders to impose a travel ban that the administration believed was in the best interest of national security. The travel ban restricts travel from six countries: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia. The only exceptions to the ban are travelers who have what the Supreme Court called a “bona fide relationship” with someone in the United States. The language was intentionally vague and received additional clarity from Hawaii’s Judge Derrick Watson.

The Trump administration’s initial definition of bona fide relationships included only immediate family members, such as parents or brothers and sisters. Pushing back against the administration’s definition, Watson argued that relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, and other blood relatives like aunts and uncles, should also be exempted if those people already live in the United States.

Hawaii made headlines earlier this year by being the first to oppose travel restrictions brought on by the Trump administration. The state’s Attorney General, Doug Chin, said that the state’s tourism industry would suffer greatly if travel restrictions were levied. Not only is tourism the largest revenue generator for Hawaiian residents and business owners, it also generates huge tax revenues for the state.

Attorney General Chin released a statement following the revisions made to the travel ban that states his opposition to the administration’s scope of the previous version of the plan. “Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough. Courts have found that this executive order has no basis in stopping terrorism.”

The revised ban will take effect immediately. While the original case addressed whether the White House had the authority to issue executive orders that it believed would protect national security, the Supreme Court will address the Constitutionality of the contents of the travel ban later this year.

Enacting Every Child Succeeds Law Proves Difficult

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has shocked her critics on the feedback she has given states who have already submitted their plans under the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Unlike the previous No Child Left Behind Act, this new law passed under President Obama allows states to set their own benchmarks.

Power Returned to Locals?

The new law is designed to return most of the power to state boards of education. The law, however, requires each state to submit a plan to the federal government on how they plan to measure success. Each state must also identify the process they will use if a school fails to meet the required goals.

Delaware’s Plan Returned for Revision

One of the first states to submit a plan was Delaware. An assistant secretary with the United States Secretary of Education returned the plan to the state saying that the plan was not ambitious enough. The plan called for up to 25 percent of students to not meet state requirements each year without a school district receiving any punishment.
Another early state to submit was Tennessee where they claimed that all students spoke English. The United States Department of Education recommended that Tennessee rethink their policy because an estimated 50,000 students in the state speak English as a second language.

Betsy DeVos Overzealous According to Some

Yet, another state to submit their plan early was New Mexico. While the United States Department of Education has not given the state any feedback on their plan yet, the acting superintendent of schools says that he sees Betsy DeVos as being overzealous in maintaining control in Washington D.C,

States May Feel Defeated

The Council for Chief State School Officials says that the United States Department of Education has put states in a hard place. Many states had assured educators and parents that the plan they developed would receive approval in Washington D.C. but now that does not seem to be the case. He says he is very concerned that residents in states who had looked forward to local control would feel defeated because of the federal government’s actions.

Republicans Postpone Senate Vote on Healthcare

Republicans in the Senate have decided to postpone a vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. The bill is the next chapter in an attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ushered in to existence by democrats under President Obama. The newer Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 shepherded by Senate Republicans is the follow-up to the House of Representative’s American Health Care Act of 2017 passed under the stewardship of Congressman Paul Ryan.

Democratic senators have been vehement in their opposition to the Senate’s healthcare reform proposition, but it wasn’t until Republican senators like Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rand Paul began voicing their misgivings that Republican leadership understood the extend of opposition to the proposal. On Tuesday, June 27th the Republican-controlled Senate lead by majority leader Mitch McConnell decided to postpone a vote on healthcare reform under after the July 4th recess.

Sources claim that Republicans were backed in to forcing a postponement of a vote on healthcare due to opposition within the Republican party. An additional inducement to postpone came from President Trump, who called Republicans to the White House in order to reconcile the divisions among their own ranks. The trouble is that Republicans have only a slim majority in the U.S. Senate – as opposed to the House of Representatives where Republicans enjoy a more robust majority – and any Republican opposition among Republican senators could greatly complicated speedy passage of H.R. 1628, or the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

Senator McConnell claimed that postponing the vote until after the July 4th recess was informed by a desire to make other senators feel comfortable with the bill and its implications. Opponents across the aisle claim that Senator Mitch McConnell didn’t have the necessary votes to see the bill’s passage this week and decided to take his chances until after the July 4th recess. Democratic senators, in fact, are unanimous in their opposition to the Senate’s healthcare overhaul.

Another factor that swayed the debate in democrat’s favor was the fact that the Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the Senate’s healthcare overhaul would leave over 20 million Americans without insurance over the next ten years. The new Senate bill would, however, chisel over $300 billion from the federal budget over that time frame, which is music to the ears of conservative politicians concerned about the federal deficit. Senators return July 10th.

How to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

A subpoena is one of the most powerful tools a litigant or attorney has in their arsenal to develop and present important information and evidence to the court. In family law, subpoenas are vital because these are often contentious affairs. During family law cases, parties are commonly reluctant to produce the requested evidence or documents. In this common instance, you must ask the court to issue a subpoena to force the other party to comply with the request. Continue reading to learn the basic steps of having a subpoena issued for family law court.

Steps to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

In a nutshell, you must fill out the form, file it with the court, and have the person served, and submit an official notice to the court. With this powerful legal document, the individual will be held legally responsible to comply or produce the specified evidence or documents.

Fill Out the Form

The first step to issue a subpoena is to fill out the appropriate subpoena form. While each state’s requirements may vary, most of the information will be the same. You must provide your name underneath the defendant or plaintiff field. Below the name field, you should find boxes for civil and criminal. Family law matters are classified as civil issues, so you should check civil. Then fill out the address and other requested information of the person who is being subpoenaed.

The “You Are Ordered” Section

It’s important to check all of the appropriate boxes in the section titled, “You Are Ordered.” You must include the time and place if you are ordering someone to show up at a hearing. A few of the most common reasons family law courts issue subpoenas are to:

  • To produce evidence or documents
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a deposition
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a trial

In any case, make sure you check all of the options that apply to your case.

Issuing the Subpoena

Finally, fill out the rest of the information, such as your address, name, and contact phone number. Then sign and date the document. If you aren’t an attorney, you should check with your respective family law court because you may have to get permission of the court to issue the subpoena. Most states do require an attorney in order for the subpoena to be issued.

Serving the Subpoena

Since family law matters can be difficult for all parties, it’s best to serve subpoenas by certified mail. However, you can choose to use a personal service, which involves a process server delivering it directly to the person by hand. It’s important for the individual delivering the subpoena to be over the age of 18 and be someone other than you. Simply put, you cannot provide personal service delivery for yourself because it is illegal and can further intensify the already messy family law conflict. Doing it yourself can even lead to violence. In addition, doing personal service yourself will cause your proceedings to be dismissed or cause a delay.

Filing with the Court

After the subpoena has been delivered through personal hand delivery or by certified mail, you should file the form with the appropriate family law court. To do so, send a copy of the form with a short letter letting the court know that the individual has been subpoenaed.

In any case, filing a family law subpoena is confusing if you do not have previous experience. Instead of doing it alone, contact a San Francisco Bay area divorce attorney for assistance.

What is the Function of a Family Law Paralegal?

You may be looking for answers from a family attorney for advice involving divorce, separation, adoption, domestic abuse or many other family related issues. When you call, the receptionist might refer you to a family law paralegal at their law firm. You think to yourself, I thought I would have to get advice from a lawyer about this and how can a family law paralegal help me? Today, we will be looking at this question in its entirety.

The Bigger Picture of Family Law

Family law covers a lot of ground. A lot of clients typically seek out family law because of divorce, but parents don’t have to be married to one another to have custody or support issues. Family law can also cover guardianship, adoption, paternity testing, annulment, child abuse or neglect. Many family law practices specialize in divorce while others cover a broader range of issues.

Where the Paralegal Comes In

When you call the law office for the first time most of the time you will be transferred to a paralegal who will ask you specific questions regarding your case and keep you focused on what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes you may be emotionally frustrated or angry, and these emotions may come up during the call for your particular case. The paralegal will go over these questions with you and pass it on the lawyer. This information is vital, as the lawyer will go over a transcript of key facts covered by your initial interview with the paralegal. As a nurse is an assistant to a doctor, so a paralegal is an assistant to a lawyer, but the paralegal cannot give a client any legal advice.

Smart Filing

Lawyers are typically involved in several cases at the same time, so they need to be extremely organized. Law firms have been using cloud technology to have their client’s information sent to their smart devices, so it’s readily available anywhere and anytime. The paralegal keeps clients files with all their information up to date that can be easily available in both hard-copy and virtually in the cloud. The paralegal also has to keep up with the drafts and documents lawyers need when they go to court.

Investigation & Discovery

They say the devil is in the details and as a paralegal you will have to get every detail possible when helping a client. You will have to have your investigation skills fined tuned as you will be digging up financial details about your client. Sometimes during your research you will find gaps, and in these cases you will have to use discovery methods. Discovery uses subpoenas, electronic discovery using digital forensics, depositions, interrogatories, or request for admissions. You might even have to hire a private investigator to track down details as well.

Maintaining Court Contact

As a paralegal, you have to have constant contact with the court for the attorneys who employee you. You will be notified if anything changes from the court and will have to keep the lawyers informed on those details. An example would be, a judge orders a marital counseling for the client and or a mediation over the children. This is important information that needs to be updated.


Today, we’ve seen that a family law paralegal is often a client’s point of contact who serves that client directly and indirectly by accomplishing particular tasks for a lawyer. Whether you are contacting a family law firm for a divorce or another situation, we encourage you to receive the help you need today to resolve your dilemma.

Can a Psychiatric Diagnosis Hurt You in a Divorce?

One in four adults will experience mental health issues at some point during their lives.  Coupled with the statistic that between 40 and 50% of marriages will end in divorce, you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that the overlap between those two sets of figures is substantial, and that mental health issues are likely to have figured highly in many of those decisions to separate.

However, mental health problems aren’t just a factor in deciding to split, they can also heavily influence how your divorce proceeds, the outcome with regard to the final settlement, and even how family relationships are affected.  Your or your spouse’s decision to disclose a mental health issue diagnosis during divorce proceedings is entirely your or their own, but it’s worth bearing in mind the following, if only to get some clarity on what is already a very stressful situation for the whole family.

  • Undiagnosed conditions can have a significant bearing on events leading to a split in the first place – illnesses such as personality disorders can be very difficult to pin down, as the sufferer can be quite adept at turning the problems round on their partner, and no diagnosis means no treatment.  Divorcing under these circumstances can be extremely fraught, as it is unlikely that a reasonable result can be found without a great deal of distress on both sides.
  • Any diagnosis of depression or other mental health issues will already be bewildering for your children to comprehend, and they may resent the parent that won’t interact with them, or is otherwise emotionally absent.  If you can, putting the needs of your children first and parting as amicably as possible will help to lessen any blame they may place upon their parent over their illness.  Many states accept diagnosis with a mental illness as perfect grounds for a no-fault divorce, which can reduce heartache and bad feeling for all parties.
  • In terms of the settlement awarded, a psychiatric diagnosis could actually work in the favor of the mentally ill partner.  For example, a judge may rule that they are in need of financial support from their former spouse, especially if they have custody of any children and are otherwise capable of providing loving and appropriate care.

If the marriage breakdown is less amicable, and the mental health issues that have caused it have led to erratic and even violent behavior, it is important to keep an accurate and truthful record of events, and to have independent witnesses for any negotiations over property, custody, and finances.  If you fear for your physical well-being, or fear that the partner that is ill may harm others or themselves, it is extremely important to know where you can access immediate and appropriate assistance.  This may be either from the police or from mental health services, or if the illness is symptomatic or resulting from alcohol or substance abuse, an appropriate case worker or counselor.

There is no clear answer as to whether a psychiatric diagnosis will hurt or help you during divorce proceedings, but this one thing is certain; if you have children, any new openness and honesty you achieve as a result of full disclosure will enable you to continue to co-parent in a respectful and understanding manner.

Why Hire a Divorce Attorney?

Approximately half of marriages end in divorce, and with no-fault divorces you can have a clean break from a spouse without proving any wrongdoing.

That said, filing for divorce is always an emotional decision that neither spouse takes lightly. A divorce attorney can patiently walk you through no-fault or contested divorce proceedings in a way that fits your schedule and gives you options.

Expertise of Divorce Attorneys

The process of divorce normally proceeds according to state law rather than federal mandates. California, in fact, approved no-fault divorces over two generations ago and continues to offer no-fault divorces to this day.

A divorce attorney has experience in an area of law known as civil law. This area of law is concerned with handling the sometimes emotionally fraught emotions between private relations and coming to mutually beneficial solutions for each party.

Let’s face it – divorce can be complicated and messy. Annulling a marriage, child custody and visitation rights are serious matters that require the help of an objective third party.

A qualified divorce attorney or family law attorney can help you achieve control and move your life in a more positive direction.

Avoid Costly Errors

Divorce proceedings can take six to twelve months to complete even with an experienced divorce attorney. In a state like California that has a long history of allowing for no-fault divorces, moreover, it can be challenging to figure out your options by going it alone.

California allows three ways to end a marriage or domestic partnership: marriage annulment, divorce and legal separation. Choosing one of these options and filling out a petition or summons can be challenging enough – knowing all of your rights when it comes to responding to, say, a marriage annulment can add to the complications.

Whether you’re filing for divorce or responding to one, the process is tremendously stressful for those embroiled in divorce proceedings. The areas of civil law associated with divorce are very complicated. Just hearing the word “divorce” can also make it challenging to think clearly and without strong emotions like anger, regret and anxiety.

An experienced divorce attorney can walk you through every form you’ll need to endorse and every asset you’ll need to appraise in order to move on with your life.

Align Yourself with an Expert

Divorce can be very high stakes and permanently alter the lifestyles of both spouses as well as children and other family members. Potentially millions of dollars are at stake and child visitation rights as well as child support payments hang in the balance.

An experienced divorce attorney or family law lawyer understands all of the procedural issues surrounding no-fault divorces, contested divorces, and child custody cases.

A family law attorney can help you file the proper paperwork, properly appraise all of your assets and make a convincing case to a judge. Aligning with an experienced expert in divorce proceedings can get the the best child support and alimony outcomes available given your unique circumstances.

Get In Touch Today

Set up a consultation with a divorce attorney today to get a better grasp of all of your legal options. California is a no-fault divorce state, yet judges also hear cases over legal separation and marriage annulments. Contact our divorce attorneys today to find out which option is best for you.

How’s California Spousal Support Determined?

During the divorce process you might encounter a petition for spousal support. Spousal support, sometimes called alimony, is not an uncommon request and may be granted, along with child support (or in the absence of child support) for a number of reasons. The court decides what the appropriate spousal support is for each particular case, by taking into consideration the specifics of the case, the marriage, the length of the marriage as well as other circumstances.

Spousal Support in California

Spousal support, often a hot button issue, is decided in California by considering many different aspects of the marriage, and the life that will be led by both parties after the marriage is dissolved. The length of the marriage often comes into play when a court is ruling on spousal support. The length of the marriage greatly impacts whether or not spousal support will be granted, often times. A judge will also consider whether or not the person who is asking for spousal support can support themselves with marketable skills. For example, if a 20 year marriage dissolves in which the wife has never worked, she is unlikely to have marketable skills, and, thus will require support until marketable skills or necessary education is achieved.

A court will also take into account whether or not the party asking for spousal support has had their income potential impaired by their time spent outside the workforce because of the marriage. The court will decide whether or not the supported party was removed from the workforce to devote time to their marriage and domestic work, as well.

The supporting party’s needs are also taken into account when dealing with spousal support in court. For example, a judge will consider the lifestyle that both parties have become accustom to in the marriage, and he or she will also look at the monetary obligations of both parties. The supporting party must be able to sustain their own lifestyle appropriately while paying spousal support, and the court will not impose a financial hardship on one party in the interest of the other.

How Does Child Support Impact Spousal Support

Spousal support can be granted regardless of whether or not children were conceived during the marriage, however, many courts rule more favorably for spousal support if there are children involved, specifically, if the supported individual gave up their employment in the interest of caring for children. In many cases, the court agrees that the supported party should not take time away from the raising of children, as they had done during the marriage, for gainful employment and will rule in favor of spousal support to keep the children in a lifestyle they are both familiar and comfortable with. With that being said, however, spousal support can have an end date, and in cases were raising children is a deciding factor, the spousal support may end when the children involved in the case reach an age in which they can reasonably care for themselves.

The Length of Spousal Support

Many people think of spousal support as a never ending agreement. That simply is not the case. In the state of California, most spousal support decrees are for no longer than half the length of the marriage. This is considered enough time for the supported party to gain the skills they need to support their own lifestyle and interests. The length of the marriage, the age and the health of the parties, and other previsions may alter that time frame, however.

What is a Prenup?

A prenup, or prenuptial agreement, is a legal document created before entering into a marriage. A prenup can include many provisions, but usually it provides for the division of property and spousal support in the event of the legal dissolution of a marriage. In some states, prenups also include provisions for the forfeiture of assets if the marriage ends in divorce because of adultery, and conditions of guardianship in the event of divorce. Prenups affect alimony payments, property rights, and other assets after a marriage ends. Prenups are also made in the event of death of one partner in a marriage.

Properly Drafted and Executed Prenups

In the US, some prenuptial agreements can be circumvented if it is found that they are not properly drafted and executed. In the state of California, a properly drafted and executed prenup is very powerful. There are five factors that constitute a valid prenup in most jurisdictions in the US:

  1. Must be in writing. Some couples make oral prenups, but they are mostly unenforceable in a court of law. Any marriage lawyer will strongly urge both parties to draft a prenuptial agreement in writing, signed by both parties.
  2. Must be entered into and executed voluntarily. Couples should take steps to prove that the agreement was voluntary. Some couples retain a private judge present during the signing to ensure that neither party has been coerced, and, to show proof of this.
  3. Full and/or fair disclosure when the agreement is officially entered into.
  4. Cannot be deemed unconscionable. This provision typically involves the guardianship of children, who are very often negatively affected by divorce.
  5. Must be officially executed by both parties, as opposed to their attorneys. Both parties must agree to a legal acknowledgement before a notary public for the prenup to be valid.

Prenups in California

Prenuptial law in California varies slightly from other states because it does not recognize penalties for adultery or using recreational drugs that are common in many prenups in other states. Californian courts will also refuse to enforce requirements that children be raised in a certain religion and other requirements written into a prenuptial contract. Couples can waive their rights to share communal property in California, and prenups can limit spousal support to one party or another unless a court rules that support limitations are unconscionable.

Why You Need a Lawyer

There can be many legal pitfalls surrounding prenups, especially in California, where these agreements are considered very powerful. Any contract that you sign, prenup or otherwise, should be read first by a lawyer who can watch for any improprieties and ensure that the contract is legal and benefits you. In California, there are special requirements for those signing prenups without legal representation. You cannot limit spousal support without a lawyer present at the signing, for example. If you wish to call for the payment of a lump sum at the time of divorce, Californian courts may deem the agreement null and void. Lump sum payments at the outset of divorce have come under attack recently in Californian courts because it has been ruled that it promotes divorce. There are many small nuances to prenups that most lay people miss.

Divorce Attorneys

Divorce attorneys help negotiate the terms of a divorce in accordance with the prenuptial agreement. Make sure that you get the best legal counsel when negotiating such a personal and sensitive legal issue. Both parties are encouraged to have legal help when navigating the legal terms of a divorce settlement. Figuring out where the prenup fits into those negotiations is the key to an amicable settlement for both parties.

Mediation and Arbitration

A good lawyer always wants what’s best for the client and, in many cases, that involves alternative dispute resolution processes that keep client fees more manageable and prevents clients from having to step foot in a courtroom. Mediation and arbitration have helped thousands of couples to navigate their divorce agreements as peacefully as possible, keeps families from going to court over child custody issues or entering the agonizing probate process, and they have helped corporate clients resolve any number of disputes.

Work With an  Arbitration Lawyer for Win-Win Resolutions

Most people automatically envision “going to the courthouse” when they think about legal disputes. In fact, the courtroom should always be the last alternative. By the time you get to court, you have spent quite a bit of time, energy and money – and more will continue to be spent as long as the case is being worked out in front of a judge. Instead, we recommend alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a means of saving your money, time and precious life energy. In best case scenarios, ADR will also help to preserve your personal and professional relationships, which is a win-win situation for all.

What is Mediation?

A lawyer specializing in mediation can help you to resolve a multitude of disputes ranging from personal injury claims, conflicts with employees and management, small claims issues to disputes between neighbors or divorce and child custody agreements. Both parties must be in agreement regarding the mediator who oversees the process. The mediator remains an entirely neutral facilitator; he is not there to agree or disagree with either party, assess blame, or in any way affect the final outcome of the mediation process other than to act as a resource in regards to California law. However, it is the mediator’s job to facilitate concessions from either side when things are at a stand-still in order to avoid further conflict, dispute or a potential trial.

In our experience, the vast majority of clients who use mediation as a means of settling their claims are successful in resolving their dispute(s). If, for some reason, both parties are unable to come to a resolution, then you have the right to proceed with a trial and we can help you to prepare for the next step.

What is Arbitration?

Typically, the arbitration process is more formal than mediation. In most cases, arbitration occurs as the result of a pre-dispute contract that stipulates both parties must seek arbitration before any conflict or dispute can be taken to court. There are two different forms of arbitration: Binding and Non-Binding.

Binding arbitration means that the arbitrator’s decision is final and cannot be overturned or reversed except for extremely limited circumstances. If the arbitration is non-binding, either party can reject the arbitrator’s decision and pursue a trial.