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Woodland Hills Divorce Law Blog

Steps when there is a 911 call about domestic violence

Domestic violence does not discriminate against alleged defendants or victims. It occurs between California individuals regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic backgrounds and age. As described by the Guidelines for Effective Response to Domestic Abuse, within the state generally and the law enforcement community specifically, most law enforcement agencies have a domestic violence protocol.

This protocol seeks to better ensure that the department upholds certain standards and follows those standards throughout a domestic violence investigation. A properly handled investigation, followed by appropriate prosecutorial decisions and actions, tends to lead to justice for both parties.

Reviewing the effects of your divorce on your will

While the dissolution of your marriage in Los Angeles may come as welcome relief to you, it does not necessarily end your association with your former spouse. If yours is case where there are considerable assets to distribute between to two of you, then it may take years for those matters to be sorted out. Some in your situation have come to us here at The Thomas Law Offices concerned that even their deaths will not sever their links with their ex-spouses, and that the only way for them to avoid having their exes take the rest of what is theirs is to revise their wills. Is such action required following your divorce? 

You will likely be happy to hear that it is not. According to Section 6122 of the California Probate Code, the annulment or dissolution of your marriage revokes the rights of your ex-spouse to any of the following: 

  • Any disposition of property made to him or her in your will
  • Any powers of appointment granted to him or her in your will
  • Any provisions naming him or her as an officer of your estate (e.g., executor, guardian, trustee)

Determining a domestic abuser's custody rights

Domestic violence continues to be an issue that plagues certain marriages in Los Angeles. Whether such abuse represents a single incident or a continued pattern of behavior, the results can be just as damaging. Indeed, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that the number of intimate partner attacks that occur in the U.S. averages out to about 20 per minute. When such incidents result in divorce, the perpetrators' actions are taken into account when determining factors such as child custody. Yet does a history of domestic violence automatically prevent one from having any future association with his or her kids? 

First, it should be understood what the court considers as evidence of a history of domestic violence. According to the California Family Code, such a history is only established if one involved in a custody case has been convicted of domestic abuse within the previous five years. Thus, unsubstantiated claims of domestic violence may not be enough to legally define one as a perpetrator. 

Things you should remember during divorce mediation

If you and your spouse are considering a divorce and questioning what methods to use in facilitating your decision, you are certainly not alone. Many California couples have the same question and your decision is entirely up to your personal preference, the needs of you and your spouse and the time you have available.

Mediation is one method that many people have found to be highly effective in making decisions, resolving differences and reaching amicable solutions that benefit each party. According to the Huffington Post, if you and your spouse do choose to utilize mediation as a resource, there are some valuable things you should remember. These include the following:

  • Be courteous: Often, mediation discussions will involve disagreements and contention. However, it is imperative that you remain calm and courteous, especially if the other party is not behaving the same way.
  • Be empathetic: Do your best to be sensitive to the feelings of your former spouse. Try to understand why they feel the way they do or why they have acted out a certain way.
  • Ask for verification: If you are confused about which topic is being discussed or suspect that your former spouse is not talking about the same issue as you are, ask for verification. Determining that all parties have a mutual understanding and are talking about the same topic can avoid wasted time and unnecessary frustration.
  • Practice humility: At times, you may need to admit that you were wrong or give up previous claims for the benefit of both parties. During these times, practice humility and be willing to concede when necessary.

Resolving custody issues in same-sex divorce cases

Given that is has been only in recent years that same-sex marriages have been legally recognized in the U.S., it may come as little surprise to learn that much confusion still surrounds the application of family law principles to such unions. Yet the growth of such marriages has prompted the need to develop appropriate interpretations of statutes related to marriage and the family. Indeed, the Pew Research Center reports that there may be up to 71,165 legally married same-sex couples in America. With this rise in same-sex marriages has also come an increase in same-sex divorces, which has forced California lawmakers to rule on how laws such as child custody and support apply to these cases. 

The issue of custody (and, by extension, child support) as it applies to same-sex couples has encountered obstacles in its interpretation due to the unique nature of the parent-child relationship in such cases. Typically, only one parent has a biological connection to the children, which may call into question the role the other should have in visiting and supporting them should the couple split. In the past, custody rulings in such cases tended to favor the biological parent, excluding the other from any visitation rights. At the same time, due to the other parent not having a biological link to the children, courts were often hesitant to require him or her to pay child support. 

How can I simplify co-parenting?

Are you a newly separated or divorced parent in California? If so, you no doubt have quickly realized that while you may be able to extricate yourself from a romantic relationship with your former partner, you cannot avoid the need to work with that person to help raise your joint children. In fact, you likely don't want to as you know that maintaining healthy relationships with both parents is in the best interest of kids when and where possible. That said, making this happen is not always easy.

The Online Mom indicates that technology may well hold the key to making it easier than you ever thought possible to co-parent with your former spouse or partner. There are numerous apps and websites available that give you and your child's other parent the ability to track a lot of things in one place. These tools also reduce the level of in-person contact you may need to have that often leads to conflict.

Does your spouse have off-shore accounts?

When spouses in California are faced with dividing everything they own during divorce, the temptation to hide assets can sometimes become irresistible. If you fear that your spouse has hidden funds in off-short accounts, you may be worried about how you will find this information and ensure that you get a fair settlement. The American Bar Association has created a guide to help you find any monies that your spouse may be attempting to hide in foreign banks.

With the rise of internet banking, hiding assets has become more difficult in some ways, but easier in others. Foreign accounts are more common than they used to be, making off-short activity less suspicious. Transferring money can also be done with a click of the button, as opposed to the lengthy process that used to be required. While it is easier to send money to foreign accounts, the Internal Revenue Service has also worked to ensure that those funds are trackable and easy to find.

Custody and visitation in the domestic violence scenario

Domestic violence, an extremely difficult aspect of some relationships, becomes even more complicated to adjudicate when there are children in the family.

As described by the Judicial Branch of California, the rights of parents to custody of and visitation with the children will likely change if there is an additional factor of domestic violence. If a judge finds DV, he must use special rules to decide custody.

Divorce mediation: the pros and cons

Whether it is divorce or legal separation, procedures can initially seem overwhelming. Yet mediation in California is a process many spouses are turning to, since it allows a neutral third party to help determine the often tricky details of divorce.

In California, individuals may select from a number of divorce cases; mediation is widely seen as a positive alternative to solving complex issues of divorce. While there are pros and cons to this approach to divorce, many claim that having a mediator involved allows for, at minimum, more peace of mind during the process.

Back-to-school season and ending your marriage

For couples who have children, back-to-school season can generate additional anxiety with regard to child support, property division, and even the decision to file for divorce. At Thomas Law Offices, we know how hard it can be to navigate through family law matters for parents who are trying to prepare their children for school. Moreover, deciding to end your marriage could generate uncertainty for your child, but you could be able to make this transition easier by talking with your child and preparing yourself for divorce matters that may arise.

Whether you are running around trying to buy school supplies and clothes or you are trying to help your child adjust to their new schedule after summer ends, handling family law issues can be difficult during this time of year. Fortunately, there are ways you may be able to simplify your divorce experience, such as having talks with your child about what is going on and turning to a knowledgeable mediator.

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