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How Much Will it Cost to Start My Family Law Case in Los Angeles?

One of the first questions people often ask when they seek a divorce lawyer’s assistance is ‘How much will my case cost?’ Unfortunately, the answer given is often unsatisfactory because it can be vague. At the outset of a case, it is difficult to determine an exact dollar amount a person will be charged because all cases are different and each case has qualities that can make the process more or less expensive. The typical response to the question ‘How much will my case cost?’ is a frustrating, “It depends.” The time spent, the complexity of the case, and experience of your attorney are all factors that affect the final dollar amount for your proceeding. If you need information on … Continued

Grandparent Visitation in California

Grandparents can play an incredibly important role in the development of young children. Having many positive figures involved in raising a child can lead to better child development and a more supportive environment in which to raise the child. However, there are certain cases in which a child’s parents or guardian decides that he or she does not want the child’s grandparents to be involved in the rearing of the child. Do Grandparents Have any Visitation Rights in California? California law affords grandparents the opportunity to have reasonable visitation with a grandchild in certain situations. The Courts in California allow grandparents to ask for reasonable visitation if the court finds that there is a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and … Continued

Serving as a Legal Guardian in California

Serving as a legal guardian for a child can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Despite the positive experiences that can come from serving as a guardian, there are also many responsibilities involved. In California, a legal guardian is anyone who is an adult whom the court gives the authority to provide care for a child and manage a child’s assets. In California, relatives and friends can serve as a guardian if the court approves their appointment. If you would like more info on this topic, contact Berenji & Associates for more information. What are the Duties of a Guardian in California? When you become a guardian in the state of California, you assume legal responsibility for a child. In the eyes … Continued

California Same-Sex Marriage Update

Same-sex marriages have a long global history dating back to Roman times, however, they have just recently become recognized in the United States and around the world. While the recognition of same-sex marriages is relatively new, the challenges many same-sex couples face are similar to those of many heterosexual couples, such as divorce, property division, child custody, and marital benefits. However, some same-sex couples still face legal and social issues when it comes to the arena of family law. Same-sex marriage continues to be an issue in many states, despite guidance from the US Supreme court. While it is the law of the land that same-sex marriages are legal, some counties and county workers have refused the issuance of marriage … Continued

Child Support Services in Los Angeles

As we recently celebrated Father’s Day, we were able to reflect on what it means to be a father and what responsibilities come with being a parent. One of the largest responsibilities for a father in the state of California is ensuring that his children are properly supported. This support, while it includes things like emotional support, also includes financial support. California law indicates that every parent has a legal duty to financially support his or her child. Across the country, men disproportionately pay child support payments, accounting for 85% of those ordered to pay. Men also generally see a higher average child support payment ordered compared to their female counterparts. Paying child support can become difficult if an individual … Continued

Family Law Issues with an Incarcerated Spouse or Parent

From the famous Alcatraz to the notorious San Quentin prison, prisons in California have had a substantial place in California’s culture, and a serious role in the lives of many of California’s residents. As of last week, there were 179,612 inmates in the California Department of Corrections system. While we are not criminal defense lawyers, we do practice family law, and there are many cases that come to the family court that involve a spouse or parent who is incarcerated.   Child Support and an Incarcerated Parent One of the most direct ties between family law and the California prison system is the failure to pay child support. If a court orders you to pay child support, it is your … Continued

Changes to California’s Foster Care System

There are some significant changes coming to California’s foster care system. In 2017 California’s foster care homes will be shutting down, or at a minimum changing because of legislation passed in September of last year. The bill seeks to improve the state’s foster care system and encourage family based placements for children rather than group homes. This bill will also increase the need for experienced divorce and family law attorneys who are comfortable with adoption law. This bill effectively would transition from the use of group homes to short term residential treatment centers. Only children with “clinical” needs would not be place in family homes. For more information, contact Berenji & Associates today. Critiques of the Bill Those who do … Continued

Celebrity Divorce and Intellectual Property Division

In recent weeks, rumors have been swirling about the divorce of one of rock’s most famous couples. Depending on which gossip column you read, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne are considering a divorce, are considering a separation, or are planning on staying together. While the gossip changes daily, one thing that will not change in the event they get a divorce is the legal process they have to go through. Los Angeles High Net Worth Divorce With many celebrities and wealthy individuals living in the area, Beverly Hills and the surrounding neighborhoods is a place that is not unfamiliar with high profile divorces. The Osbournes share a net worth of approximately 220 million dollars, so any property division resulting from their … Continued

Prince’s Paternity Action

In recent weeks, the news has been full of stories surrounding the singer Prince’s death. In the latest addition to the saga, a man has claimed that he is the late artist’s son and wants a paternity test. If the man’s relationship to the singer can be proved by clear and convincing evidence, he would stand to gain a sizable portion of Prince’s estate because there have been reports that Prince did not leave a will. Proving paternity in the distribution of Prince’s assets will likely get much more news attention. Why is it Important to Determine Paternity? In addition to the complications that can arise in the distribution of an estate after an individual’s death, there are many reasons … Continued

Social Media’s Impact on Family Court Proceedings

According to some studies five new Facebook profiles are generated every second and nearly 6,000 tweets are sent out per second. In a number that has almost certainly increased since the study’s release, a 2011 research study indicated that there were 18,747,420 Facebook users in California. This meant that nearly one out of every two California residents had a Facebook profile. By analogy, in the context of family law, this would mean that in every divorce decree issued in 2011, at least one of the spouses involved in the proceeding would have an online presence. Since 2011 Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media have grown exponentially. Social media takes up a large presence in our personal and professional … Continued

Child Custody and the Indian Child Welfare Act

In recent weeks, California has exploded with news stories about a small child named Lexi. Lexi, at first review, is much like any other kindergarten student. She loves playing in her yard, horses, and drawing. However, unlike many other children her age, Lexi’s name has gotten national media attention due a unique child custody issue. The child custody dispute stems from a battle between Lexi’s California foster parents and the Choctaw Native American Tribe. Lexi has a small part of Choctaw heritage and her biological father is a member of the Choctaw tribe but her birth mother is not. However, while Choctaw is only a fraction of Lexi’s heritage it has caused a large stir in California over who is … Continued

Understanding Family Law – Spousal Support in California

Californians may see the opportunity to change the way alimony works in their state in November 2016. This change would come about if a Los Angeles area man can get 365,880 signatures from registered voters. The man’s petition calls for the California Legislature to end the award of alimony during divorce and annulment proceedings, and only reserve alimony awards until after a divorce is final. His plan would effectively eliminate most forms of temporary support. Temporary support can be important before a final order to help with expenses while there is uncertainty about an outcome. While time will tell if that man’s petition will be successful other similar petitions have appeared with little support, California’s current spousal support laws are complex, … Continued

Are You in Need of a Premarital Agreement?

When contemplating marriage, couples often consider entering into an agreement or contract that divides assets upon a divorce. Whether you know it as a premarital agreement or a prenuptial agreement, the very thought of it can have one running for the hills. But are premarital agreements REALLY that bad? When most couples discuss a premarital agreement, the partner that is being asked to sign one may become defensive, but premarital agreements can work out in everyone’s favor. What could be seen as a divisive contract can become a reason for trust to exist. In fact, one in ten couples enter into some form of a premarital agreement before marriage so that their assets can be protected. If you have more … Continued

Fraud in Divorce Settlements

We know the story all too well: Together you and your spouse build a company from the bottom up. The company is making a considerable amount of money. Later, after all of the blood, sweat, and tears, you realize that you and your spouse are no longer in sync. One of you requests a divorce and during the preliminary hearings, you disclose your assets and liabilities to one another. The divorce is finalized and you receive your share of the divorce settlement. However, you later realize that the company you both built together is worth considerably more than what you have settled for. What do you do now if you realize there was fraud on the part of your ex-spouse? … Continued

How Social Media is Reshaping Divorce

Over the past decade, social media has grown to permeate all aspects of daily life. Increasingly, that includes the realm of divorce. Posts, tweets, and other activities on a range of social media platforms are impacting divorce cases in Los Angeles and throughout the country. As attorneys specializing in Los Angeles divorce cases, we see the heightened influence of social media every day at Berenji & Associates. To help you protect yourself in your divorce, we have taken some time to assemble a few of the ways social media is reshaping how divorce works. There are Fewer Ways to Avoid a Divorce Summons In New York, divorce papers can now be served via Facebook when there is no suitable alternative. That … Continued

When Child Custody Goes International

Conflicts over child custody in a divorce are hard enough when the parties live near each other. When the separating spouses live primarily in two different countries, however, things can become much more complicated in a hurry. If you need help with child custody matters, call Berenji & Associates today for a free consultation. Such was the case with actress Kelly Rutherford, whose two children were ordered to live in France with their father, Daniel Giersch, after the couple’s divorce in 2009. After an international legal battle lasting several years, a Los Angeles family court judge ordered the return of the two children to Rutherford late last month. The Case of Kelly Rutherford As international marriages become more common, Rutherford’s … Continued

How to Manage a Small Business Through Divorce

Any entrepreneur knows the work, time, and money that goes into building a successful business. That is why the fate of a small business is of primary concern to those going through a divorce. Business owners must take special care to avoid the possibility of any conflicts or disputes disrupting the flow of daily operations. At Berenji & Associates, our divorce attorneys understand the unique challenges entrepreneurs face in divorce settings. Many of our clients are local business owners in the Los Angeles area. That is why we have put together this quick guide to getting through divorce while maintaining a healthy business. If you need more information, call Los Angeles divorce lawyer Hossein Berenji for a free consultation. Determine … Continued

Prenups: Not Just for the Rich and Famous

Marriage is a contract, and like any contract, it helps to know the terms and conditions before signing the dotted line. That is where a prenuptial agreement, or a “prenup,” comes in. This document clearly dictates how property will be distributed upon the death of a spouse (in lieu of a will or trust) or the breakup of a marriage. Unfortunately, these documents have a bad reputation for their association with high profile celebrity divorces. As a recent New York Times column points out, all couples can benefit from the clarity a prenuptial agreement provides. The challenge is negotiating the agreement in a friendly and non-adversarial setting. At Berenji & Associates, we help couples throughout Los Angeles create prenuptial agreements … Continued

California Spouses Fight Alimony Payments

A recent CBS Los Angeles story highlights a controversial issue in California divorce law: Spousal support, otherwise known as alimony. After a long legal battle over alimony payments, a divorced Huntington Beach man founded CalAlimonyReform.org, an organization with the sole aim of ending spousal support in California.

Community Property Concepts: Transmutation

California is a community property jurisdiction. Which means that there is a presumption that all the assets and debts that are attained during the marriage are community in nature, belonging to both husband and wife. In the event of a divorce, the property is divided equally among the parties. This is only a presumption and it can be rebutted under certain circumstances. Transmutation One legal concept used to rebut the presumption of community property for assets attained during the marriage is “Transmutation”. This is the process by which the parties change the character of a property from community to the separate property of another or from separate property of one spouse to community property. Depending on when the property was … Continued