How You Can Get the Child Support Money You Need

Posted January 28, 2011 in Family Law by Lonich and Patton.

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January 28, 2011
How You Can Get the Child Support Money You Need
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If you are a Bay Area resident who is shouldering the financial responsibility of your child alone, you may be interested in learning more about the details of California’s child support system.

Child support is a certain sum of money that the court orders one parent to pay the other parent.  When a California court is calculating the amount of child support one parent should pay the other, it looks at several key factors.  These factors include how much the parents earn (or can earn), the other parent’s income, the number of children the couple has together, how much time the parents spend with their children, health insurance expenses, daycare costs, and other things.

The child support money is intended to be used to financially support the couple’s child(ren).  Child support is typically paid to care for minor children (children under 18) who are living at home and unable to support themselves.  However, parents can agree to support children longer than the age of majority.  In addition, a court may order continued child support for a child over 18 who is disabled and unable to care for themselves.

For more information about child support, please contact Lonich & Patton.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Passing Your Vacation Home to the Next Generation

Posted January 27, 2011 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

A family vacation home is more than just a piece of real property.  It is a place where cherished memories are made by the dozens.  It is also an asset that some individuals hope to pass down from generation to generation.  If you feel this way about your vacation home, you can develop an estate plan that accomplishes your goal of keeping your valuable property in the family.

A California estate planning attorney can help you transition ownership of your valued home to the next generation while reducing tax implications.  You may be interested in tailoring an estate plan that slowly transfers ownership of the home to the next generation of family members during your lifetime.  This option utilizes federal tax law so that you can reduce your estate tax by taking advantage of lifetime gift tax deductions.

For more information about estate plans tailored to your specific needs, please contact our San Jose estate planning attorneys at Lonich & Patton.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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New Family Law Legislation Enacted in Response to a 2007 California Supreme Court Ruling

Posted January 26, 2011 in Family Law by Gina Policastri.

A recent legislative change affecting family law cases was brought about by the 2007 California Supreme Court ruling in Elkins v. Superior Court, which held that reducing live testimony in family law cases deprives parties of due process protection.  In response to this ruling, the California legislature enacted a new law regarding the introduction of live testimony in family law cases.  The new law was codified in §217 of the California Family Law Code.

Absent a stipulation of the parties or a finding of good cause, Section 217 requires that upon an order to show cause or notice of a motion, the court should receive any relevant “live, competent testimony” within the scope of any hearing.  In addition, §217 authorizes the court to “ask questions of the parties.”  The court “may make a finding of good cause to refuse to receive live testimony” in appropriate cases.  In such cases, the court must state the reasons for its denial on the record or in writing.  Section 217 also requires the Judicial Council to “adopt a statewide ruling of court regarding the factors a court shall consider in making a finding of good cause.”

Additionally, the new legislation requires that a party seeking to present live testimony from nonparty witnesses must “file and serve a witness list with a brief description of the anticipated testimony” prior to the date of the hearing.  On request, the court may grant a brief continuance if the list is not served prior to the hearing.

As California family law is constantly changing, it is very important to consult a qualified family law attorney when encountering a divorce or child custody issues.  For more information about California family law, please contact our attorneys at Lonich & Patton for more information.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Source:

Cal. Family Law Monthly, Vol. 2010; No. 11.

Official California Legislative Information

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New Federal Regulations Increase Hospital & Visitation Rights for Same-Sex Couples

Posted January 25, 2011 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

Earlier this month, new federal regulations pertaining to hospital visitation became effective.  These regulations require hospitals receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid money to have written visitation policies in place.  The new law also requires hospitals to inform patients (or a patient’s representative) of their rights regarding visitors.

The new regulations require federally funded hospitals to allow patients to designate their own visitors.  The new law also requires hospitals to allow patients the right to make personal decisions regarding whom they will appoint to make medical decisions on their behalf, regardless of gender or sexual identity. Hospitals refusing to comply with these new regulations will risk losing funding.  These new regulations largely increase the rights of same-sex couples in relation to medical decisions.

If you live in California, and if you are interested in protecting your right to appoint a representative to make healthcare decisions during your incapacitation, you may be interested in learning more about an advanced healthcare directive or a durable power of attorney.  An advance healthcare directive allows you to appoint a specified individual to make healthcare decisions based upon your specific wishes in the event you become incapacitated.  A durable power of attorney allows your appointed agent to address your financial and property issues when you are unable to do so.

For more information on a durable power of attorney or an advanced health care directive, please contact us.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Sources:  The Huffington Post; The Columbia Dispatch


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Florida Court Orders Chidi Ahanotu to Surrender His Half-Time Championship Ring in Divorce Case

Posted January 21, 2011 in Family Law by Lonich and Patton.

USA Today reports that a Florida divorce court recently ordered Chidi Ahanotu to handover the championship ring he won in 2002 while he was a defensive lineman for the St. Louis Rams.  This decision has been viewed as unfair by some members of the public.

The court ordered Ahanotu to surrender the ring in order to pay the $130,000 he owes for his ex-wife’s legal fees.  Ahanotu was not quiet about his view on the ruling:  “This court system is a farce . . . This court wants a man to hand over his once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment to pay some damn attorney’s fees? I could see if it was going to pay something for my children or my ex-wife.”

It is important to remember that the law relating to divorce and legal procedures vary by state.  In California, a trial court has broad discretion in deciding whether or not to award attorneys fees and costs in marital proceedings.  The court’s decision will not be overruled on appeal unless there is a showing of an abuse of discretion.  This means that the judge’s decision will remain intact on appeal unless it is shown that no judge could have reasonably decided to order (or deny) awarding attorneys fees and costs.

For more information about California’s divorce process, please contact our attorneys at Lonich & Patton.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Source:  USA Today


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