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What to expect in your Family Law Case as things begin to reopen

Friday, May 8th, 2020
Categories: Blog, COVID-19 Coronavirus, Filing for Divorce, Uncategorized

Stay at home orders have been in effect for what feels like forever and with the possibility of things opening up in the very near future, people are understandably anxious to get back to “normal” for their family law cases to be heard and move forward. However, all indications are that things will not immediately go back to the way they were and that the reopening of the state and the courts will be gradual.

So what does this mean for courthouses and your family law case?

No one is completely sure about when the courthouses plan to resume “normal” operations. It is important to manage your expectations about when and how your case will be heard. Chances are, if you already had a hearing scheduled prior to the courthouse closures, it has been continued. This may continue to happen and it is expected that the courts will have a lengthly backlog of cases that still need to be heard. Current estimates are that cases could see a delay of up to six months, but again, no one is completely sure since th information is constantly changing. The expectation is that the cases the court deems to be the most urgent will be heard first and then the remainder will be heard after.

The courts may also not look or function like they used to before coronavirus. Social distancing will most likely still be enforced, courthouses may be restricted to essential people only, and more cases and mediations may be heard or conducted by phone or virtually over platforms such as Zoom.

What if you want to file for Divorce right now?

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney Evan Braunstein is here to help you with all of your family law needs, including divorces during the coronavirus pandemic. If you have already made the decision to file for divorce, there is no reason to delay filing your petition. Deciding to file for divorce is a big step and we are here to assist you with everything that entails. This will help ensure that you are properly prepared and able to move forward once the courts reopen.

We are open and ready to assist you

The Law Offices of Evan Braunstein are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Our work here is essential and we remain open and committed to assisting our clients with their family law needs. 

What to expect in your Family Law Case during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020
Categories: Blog, COVID-19 Coronavirus

It’s no surprise that over the last couple weeks, the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic  has affected almost every part of our daily lives and this includes the courts and a lot of court cases. So what does this mean for you and your case or any case you are thinking about filing?

The Law Offices of Evan Braunstein knows this can be a confusing and maybe even frustrating time but we are here and ready to help you. Here is a breakdown of what is happening in the Los Angeles  and Orange County courts. Keep in mind, that this information is subject to change and so you should always check the appropriate court website and/or call us to speak with an attorney.

Family Law Courts in Los Angeles County during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

From March 20th to June 22, 2020, all Los Angeles County courtrooms will be closed except for certain essential functions including but not limited to, domestic violence temporary restraining orders, family law ex parte proceedings, restraining order hearings, and hague international kidnapping proceedings. Additionally, only authorized parties including but not limited to, Judges, Commissioners, Court Staff, Attorneys, Parties, and Witnesses will be allowed into the courthouse. You can however, file documents but as of March 23, 2020, the clerks office is closed to the public and all filings are being submitted via a drop box.

This means that if your hearing was scheduled between March 20th and June 22, 2020, your case has probably been continued. The court will send out a notice of continuance which you will receive in the mail. We know this can be frustrating, especially when planning for time off from work but this is a safety measure that was not taken lightly. If you are looking to file a new case, you can do so by submitting the filings to the drop box. Be sure to visit the Los Angeles County Court website for up to date information.

Family Law Courts in Orange County during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

From March 17th to June 1, 2020, the Orange County Family Law Courtrooms will be closed. For domestic violence cases with a pending hearing before April 6th, the hearing and temporary restraining orders are being automatically extended for good cause. The only electronic filings being accepted by the Family Law court are for domestic violence restraining orders and emergency child custody requests that involve an imminent threat of injury or death to a child.

This means that if your hearing was scheduled between March 17th and June 1, 2020, your case has probably been continued. If you are looking to file a new case or any additional paperwork in your case, you will not be able to do so until at least June 1, 2020. Be sure to visit the Orange County Court website  for up to date information.

We’re here for you

The Law Offices of Evan Braunstein will remain open for normal business hours during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our work is essential and we will be here to answer your calls and emails and to help you with your family law needs including but not limited to domestic violence restraining orders, ex parte applications, and divorces.

Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019
Categories: Blog, Division and Valuation of Property

Since the home you share with your spouse is likely one of the most valuable assets involved in your divorce, you’ll definitely want to know how it’s treated under California divorce law. The question of who gets the house is far from simple but, in general, the statutes regarding the division of assets apply. There are more complex issues that you should discuss with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, but some background information may be helpful.

Ownership is the Initial Consideration

Before getting to the issue of who takes the house in divorce, you’ll first need to determine who owns it. The question revolves around the concept of marital versus separate property. Community property states like California will usually presume that a home purchased during the marriage belongs to both spouses. When a spouse bought the house before marriage, it’s usually considered separate and not subject to division in divorce.

However, the issue may become murky when one name appears on the deed and the home was purchased after the couple married.

Methods for Dividing the Interests in the Marital Home

Ultimately, the house will be distributed according to what the court orders. How it gets into the final divorce decree may vary, and there are two ways of handling the issue:

  • Agreement: If you and your spouse can compromise on how to divvy up interests in the home, a court is not likely to disturb your agreement. To protect your rights, you should consult with an attorney during negotiations, finalizing the agreement, transferring title, and preparing the order.
  • Court Hearing: When parties to a divorce cannot agree, a court will make a decision on who gets the house after conducting a full hearing on the issue. There are countless factors a judge will consider, such as who gets custody of children, a determination on alimony, division of other assets, and others.

Property Division Options for Parties to Consider

Regardless of whether the house is the subject of an agreement or a judge’s decision, there are multiple alternatives.

  • Sale to a Third Party: Both spouses may relinquish their ownership interests in the home by selling it to someone else and distributing the proceeds. Note that the division of the sale funds may not be exactly 50-50, as there may be equitable reasons to deviate from an exact split.
  • Buyout: One spouse may buy the other out, either through direct payment, applying amounts gained through division of other marital property, assuming the mortgage, or combinations of these structures.
  • Deferred Sale: It’s possible to keep the home in both of your names for a designated time period, at which point you’ll sell and divide the proceeds. A deferred sale is often wise when there are school-age children and the custodial parent wants to remain in the home.

Contact a Century City Divorce Lawyer to Discuss Real Estate and Other Marital Assets

For more information or answers to additional questions on who gets the house in divorce, please contact the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein. You can set up a consultation with a Century City divorce attorney by calling 877.721.4551.

How Divorce Modification Works in California

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
Categories: Blog, Modification of Order

When a divorce is finalized and a judgment is issued by a court, that judgment is typically permanent, and parties to the divorce are expected to adhere to it. However, as life circumstances change, a divorce order can be modified to fit the needs of the divorced parties. As your Century City divorce lawyer, I can competently guide you through the process of seeking modification of your divorce order in California. This article explores the different aspects of divorce modification, what it is, and how to navigate a modification order if your circumstances require it.

What Issues in a Divorce Order Can Be Modified?

Only certain elements of a divorce judgment are eligible for modification. This includes child custody arrangements, child support, and/or spousal support. Property division determinations are not modifiable, meaning that once the divorce is finalized, the division determination issued by the court is final.

When Can a Divorce Judgment Be Modified?

In order to change a spousal support order, child support order, or child custody arrangement, the party who is petitioning for the modification must be able to demonstrate that a significant change in circumstances has occurred. The court will only warrant a divorce modification under specific guidelines, however, some of which include the following:

  • One party loses their job;
  • The child suffers an injury or illness that requires a change in the support order;
  • The amount of time that a child spends with each parent has changed significantly;
  • A parent has become incarcerated;
  • One parent has another child from another relationship.

There are a few other exceptions that serve as qualifying divorce judgment factors, but most of these are rare circumstances which I can review with you as a divorce attorney in California.

How to Start the Modification Process

If you want to change a divorce order, one of the best ways to start is to discuss the issue with your ex-spouse. Often, simply by talking to your ex, you can both reach an agreement about the modification, making the court petition for the change much easier (modifications that are supported by both parties are almost always approved).

In order to legally change a support order, you will need to fill out the appropriate forms and file them with the court. These forms can be provided to you by your lawyer, or are obtainable online.

If your ex is in disagreement about the change, you may need to mediate the issue, or even go to court to resolve it.

Working with an LA Divorce Modification Lawyer Is Recommended

Before you start the process of talking to your ex-spouse about modifying a divorce order or filling out the modification paperwork, I recommend consulting with a qualified LA divorce modification lawyer. When you consult with me, I can inform you as to whether or not you have a case for modification based on your circumstances, and if so, how to begin. I will help you gather the necessary paperwork and file all of the court documents on your behalf. In the event that the modification is contested, I will also represent you in court to ensure your rights are protected. To schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein, please feel free to call me directly or send a message.

How Child Custody Is Determined and Different Custody Arrangements

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
Categories: Blog, Child Custody

Child custody in California refers to the allocation of decision making authority and parenting. There are several factors and laws that determine the fair division of a child’s time between parents, all predicated on the needs of their children. As you navigate the divorce process, it will be crucial not only to understand how child custody is determined but also to ensure that you have a dedicated LA divorce lawyer at your side. A divorce lawyer will go beyond simply providing you with the information you need to understand child custody arrangements and will advocate for you, your children, and the most advantageous results after a divorce.

Types of Custody Arrangements in California

The state of California recognizes both legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the legal right to make decisions about your child’s life, such as where the child will go to school, the religion in which the child will be raised, to where the child is allowed to travel, and medical decisions regarding the child’s health. Physical custody is the right to spend time with your child, thereby being responsible for providing for the child’s health, safety, clothing, shelter, food, and other aspects of their well-being.

Both types of child custody are considered joint or sole custody arrangements. A sole custody order means that one parent is solely responsible for the care of his or her child. A joint custody order holds that both parents will be responsible for the care of their child. A common arrangement is one in which both parents have legal decision-making power regarding a child, but only one parent has physical custody. In other situations, parents will share both legal and physical custody, or a parent may be awarded sole physical and legal custody under extenuating circumstances.

How Is a Custody Determination Made?

Courts in California urge parents to work together to form a parenting plan without the intervention of the court. While establishing such a plan incorporates many complicated factors, especially in a contested divorce, methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation, can be employed to help parties reach a solution.

If the two parties cannot reach an agreement on their own, they must turn to the courts in a child custody hearing. If a court is tasked with making a determination about legal and physical custody of a child, it will do so based on the best interests of the child. Factors the court considers in determining the best interests, as found in California Family Code Section 3011 include:

  • The health and safety of the child;
  • History of abuse relevant to any party involved;
  • The nature and amount of a child’s parents with both parents;
  • Use of controlled substances;
  • The relationship that the child maintains with other children in the family; and
  • More.

Call a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer Today

If you are involved in a child custody determination suit, working with a skilled family law attorney who can advise you regarding your rights and your options is highly recommended. This is especially true if you and the child’s other parent cannot reach an agreement outside of court.  As an experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney, I have the expertise and commitment that you need to navigate your child custody order and can assist you throughout all stages of the child custody determination process. For your initial consultation, please call me today.

How Surrogate Child Custody is Determined in a Divorce

Monday, February 4th, 2019
Categories: Blog, Child Custody

Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman agrees to carry a baby for another couple who is unable to have a baby on their own. Surrogacy is a complex process on its own, but if there is a subsequent divorce involved, determining child custody can be a contentious process. Depending on the type of surrogacy, the terms of the agreement, where are you in the process, and the parties involved, the outcome will vary. It’s crucial that you speak with a Century City divorce lawyer right away to get a clearer picture of your situation and what options are available to you.

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Can You Reduce My Alimony/Spousal Support Payment?

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
Categories: Blog, Spousal Support

If you are getting a divorce in Century City and you are the higher income-earning spouse, it’s definitely possible that you will be asked to pay spousal support, also known as alimony, as part of your divorce settlement. How much you are asked to pay depends on a variety of factors. Here are some frequently asked questions our Century City divorce lawyer often hears from clients in regards to alimony and spousal support reduction.

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How All Types of Debt Are Divided in a California Divorce

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018
Categories: Blog

When a couple divorces, one of the most pressing issues that they will have to work together to resolve before a court will finalize their divorce is that of division of property and debts. Because California is a community property state, all community property (debts and assets alike) must be divided equitably amongst parties.

But what is considered community or separate debt can be confusing and even contentious. At the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein, our Century City divorce lawyer can help you to understand the various types of debt and how they are to be divided. Call today for more information.

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Understanding Uncontested Divorce and How to Achieve One

Friday, November 2nd, 2018
Categories: Blog, Filing for Divorce

You may assume that divorces are always messy – that separating couples fight, and that issues in a divorce take the intervention of a judge in order to resolve. However, this is not always the case; in fact, many couples are able to pursue an uncontested divorce, which mitigates high divorce expenses, stress, and hurt feelings. At the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein, our Los Angeles divorce lawyer advocates for uncontested divorce whenever possible. Here’s what you should know.

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5 Surprising Facts About Divorce You Should Know

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
Categories: Blog, Filing for Divorce

Before you file for a divorce with the help of a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, it’s important to get as much information about the divorce process as possible. Here are five surprising facts about divorce you should know, and if you need more information about divorce that’s specific to your situation, reach out to a qualified divorce lawyer.

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