5 Things to Know About Spousal Support in California

Alimony is always a contentious subject to navigate, especially when it is in the context of a divorce. Most people understand the basics behind alimony, where a higher-earning spouse makes regular payments to the other partner, but there are still a lot of misconceptions about alimony and its presence in divorce proceedings.

Our experienced attorneys will be able to review the circumstances surrounding each divorce case and give advice and counsel about spousal support laws, and how they might be impacting a case.

One of the biggest points of confusion stems from the fact that each state has their own laws and requirements related to alimony. Alimony is commonly known as spousal support. Here are five things to know about spousal support in California.

1. Spousal Support Is Not Necessarily Set Forever

Circumstances surrounding spousal support can change, and one side can petition to make changes to the support that was originally ordered in settlement agreements. For example, a paying spouse who is in an accident and finds income being diverted to medical bills can work to possibly modify the terms of support. However, both sides will have to agree to any changes, or you might have to go to court to settle any disputes if an amicable change is not able to be reached.

2. Spousal Support Stops After Death

Spousal payment requirements terminate once either spouse passes away. This means a payor spouse’s estate will not be held responsible to keep up with payments. If the spouse being supported passes away, their estate is not allowed to petition the payor spouse for funds.

3. Spousal Support is Only Allowed for Financial Purposes

In California, spousal support is only awarded for purposes related to finances. It is not doled out due to misdeeds like adultery, and it can not be used as a tool to punish bad behavior. However, a judge is able to withhold support if a supported spouse carries out an act of violence against the would-be payor.

4. Spousal Support Is A Calculation of Multiple Factors

There is no set algorithm or calculation used to decide the amounts of spousal support. All instances are calculated based on the specific circumstances of a couple. Judges in a case will weigh multiple factors before deciding on amounts, like marriage duration, ages, health, income, employment ability, and ability to pay.

Generally, spousal support is set to be somewhat equal to the standard of living a supported spouse was able to have during the marriage. In California, spousal support is also able to be tax deductible for the payor, as long as they are not filing joint taxes with the supported spouse.

Click here to learn California property division laws!

5. California Has Multiple Types of Support

California divorce cases have the option of allowing temporary or permanent spousal support. Temporary support is one that might be mandated before a divorce is officially finalized, and will not carry over once the divorce is rendered official. It is used as a tool to make sure the lower-earning spouse has enough money to be provided for during proceedings.

On the other hand, permanent support comes in the form of regular payments from the payor spouse to the supported one. This is mandated for a specific period of time after a divorce is finalized, and is intended to help the supported spouse maintain a financial level they had during the marriage itself.

Do you have a question about spousal support in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

3 Reasons You Should Have a Lawyer Review Your Contracts

It can be tricky as an entrepreneur to call up a lawyer to review a contract. But failing to do so can have devastating consequences for your business.

A lot of things can go wrong thanks with a bad contract. You could end up forking over a lot more money than you should. You could lose your rights to valuable property, and even expose yourself to risky (and costly) lawsuits.

Therefore, it is important to spend the money on having a lawyer review contracts. It will be a lot more expensive for an individual to come in at the end of the day to revise and fix a bad one.

Here are three reasons why you should have a lawyer review your contracts.

1. Courts Find Them Easier to Enforce
A good contract means that it holds weight in court. But a generic contract or one you wrote yourself, thanks to the internet might not be able to actually be enforced in your area.

If you’ve chosen to broker an oral agreement, it might not even be valid for certain types of transactions.

On the other hand, contracts that have been reviewed and edited by a lawyer ensures that important jargon and terms are included so the contract is valid. Plus, a good lawyer will make sure the agreement is up-to-date based on state laws.

This is particularly important when it comes to non-compete agreements. They can be a variable way for you to keep talent from working with a competitor, but a non-compete you crafted yourself probably will have some sort of error that could make the whole agreement non-enforceable.

2. Contracts Reviewed or Written by an Attorney Are Thorough
Poorly written contracts, or one with glaring gaps, could open you up to disputes or expensive lawsuits. Lawyers are experts when it comes to contracts. They understand how to write them in a clear manner and how to mitigate any potential problems on the horizon.

A good attorney who reviews a contract will be able to fill in the gaps that someone might have missed and will have the legal know-how to suggest additional clauses.

Lawyers know that a good contract includes stipulations about what happens if one party does not hold up their end of the bargain.

Well-written contracts also take steps to limit your liability in a scenario that is beyond your control. Additionally, they will incorporate so-called “boilerplate” clauses that will minimize frivolous disputes.

With the help of a good lawyer, a contract becomes a document that helps resolve problems. It becomes something that can help shorten the length of any disputes, and make sure you stand a better chance of
winning the case.

Click here to learn the 5 ways for your business to avoid legal issues!

3. Attorneys Can Help Craft Contracts That Save You Money
An experienced attorney in your industry will know about the types of standard language and terms. As a result, their expertise will translate in a contract that favors you, their client.

Having an attorney look over a contract, or taking the steps to revise one, can be a useful way for you to potentially save a lot of money. An attorney on your side can give advice about how to push the boundaries in your favor, or at least advise you about reasonable terms and negotiation standards.

If you are writing a contract on your own, and the other side has an experienced attorney working on theirs, you might be subject to unfair terms or be put at a bad negotiating vantage point.

Overall, getting good legal advice when it comes to contracts can make or break your business.

Do you have a contract that needs to be carefully reviewed by an attorney? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Pro and Cons of Signing A Prenuptial Agreement

Nearly one million divorces happen every year in the US. According to a survey carried out by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2010, three out of 4 lawyers said there was an increase in the demand for prenuptial agreements over a period of five years.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that a couple needs to sign before they get married. It stipulates how marital debts and assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. It also indicates what each party brings into the marriage and the assets acquired during marriage. Prenuptial agreements help minimize confusion, stress, and high legal fees in the event of a divorce or death. It is highly recommended for:

  • Couples with children from another marriage
  • Those entering another marriage
  • Couples with big age, debts, businesses, and income differences

Benefits of Signing a Prenuptial Agreement

  1. Minimize conflicts – In the event of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement will make it easier to distribute assets. It makes the divorce process faster, less traumatic, and more respectful. It can also help to speed up the court process, because it gives the court a clear picture of what the couple initially intended. Additionally, couples can state in the agreement how every asset will be divided among their children, helping protect their future inheritance.
  2. Debts – A prenuptial agreement enables the couple to have a clear distinction of their debts. It separates the marital debt from individual debt and it protects the debt-free spouse from assuming the debt responsibility of the other.
  3. Protection of property – A prenuptial contract is important since it helps to distinguish between spouses’ separate property and marital property. During a divorce, marital property is divided equally but separate property is not subject to division.
  4. Transparency – This form of agreement also helps promote transparency among spouses regarding each other’s financial situation. It gives a full disclosure of the assets and debts of each party, making each party aware of their partners’ spending and budgets. It also enables the couple to plan for their financial future.
  5. Spouse protection – In the instance of there being an agreement for one partner to leave their career to take care of kids, this agreement ensures compensation in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement also limits the amount of spousal support paid by another spouse during divorce.

Disadvantages of Signing a Prenuptial Agreement

  1. Change of circumstances – Most couples sign a prenuptial agreement without anticipating the future. Due to life uncertainties, the agreement may get impacted, thus a need for updating it. These situations can arise due to sickness, career change, or children. Sometimes, the agreement can even be rendered useless.
  2. The validity of the agreement – The court will scrutinize every detail of the prenuptial agreement in order to establish the validity and enforceability of the contract. It can be rejected if it is established that during the making of the agreement, there was non-disclosure of some assets, absence of representation, fraud, or duress.
  3. Planning for a divorce before marriage – Prenuptial agreements are enforced when either a party dies or the marriage is dissolved. Many people view signing a prenup as accepting failure in the marriage before attempting it. Trust issues may arise as a result of a prenuptial agreement, leaving the spouses vulnerable to a divorce.
  4. Child support – The court is the final decision maker when it comes to matters regarding the children’s support and welfare. A prenuptial agreement should not involve child custody and support matters. The court will disregard an agreement that includes child support.
  5. Not necessary – Sometimes, couples may bring up this uncomfortable conversation, only to realize their state laws do not permit prenuptial agreements for certain issues. It is imperative that couples first look into the enforceability of prenuptial agreements within their jurisdiction.

A prenuptial agreement, if done well, is useful in the event of a divorce. Signing a prenuptial agreement is a personal decision that should be based on the individual’s specifics and circumstances. If you and your future spouse are weighing the pros and cons of signing a prenup, give us a call to set up a consultation with one of the members of our team.

How to Protect Your Business from Copyright Lawsuits

Think your company has the next ‘big idea’, good enough to break into your industry? Chances are, someone else has had the same idea. At Von Esch Law Group, we’ve seen too many start-ups and business owners face patent litigation from companies waiting to file lawsuits against unsuspecting entrepreneurs. Here are 4 tips for avoiding copyright infringement throughout each stage of your development.

  1. Be cautious if it’s not your own.

 

You may think this goes without saying, but so many business owners get caught in this tricky copyright trap. If a piece of content was not created by you or your company, whether in person or on the internet, a high level of caution is required when deciding if it’s acceptable to reuse. If you find content you want to use for business purposes, especially photographs and music, check the permissions or license to see whether you can use it for free or need to pay a fee.

  1. Big companies do care.

With so many massive corporations pushing out content daily, it can be tempting to take a small piece of their content – like an Instagram post or 3-second video clip – for your business’s personal use. However, more often than not, they’ll be looking out for this small form of plagiarism. New software has made it possible for companies to monitor any content being republished on the web, no matter how small. Play it safe and avoid this type of copyright infringement.

  1. Don’t forget to look for “fair use”.

While these infringement laws may seem scary, there may be a way around them. “Fair use” is an exemption offered to those who wish to use a piece of content with a copyright license for educational purposes. While this option requires you to read the fine lines, it often allows you access to otherwise prohibited content for educational use.

  1. Start early.

Just had an idea for a business, product, or service? It’s never too early to start researching the current patents associated with your idea. Whether you assign it to your development team or look into it yourself, thoroughly researching the copyrights related to your product can help you avoid a major headache (and lawsuit) in the future.

In addition to following these tips, our team at Von Esch Law highly recommends hiring a legal team to walk you through each step of your business or product development. We specialize in business law and have helped countless clients avoid costly lawsuits. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation with our team!

4 Facts You Should Know About Domestic Violence

When it comes to domestic violence, California already has special rules that have been put in place to combat this heinous crime. Domestic violence may consist of anything from threatening, stalking, abandoning, inflicting any kind of physical injury, or damaging of property. And as for the rule governing domestic violence, these crimes are distinguishable. They are of different types as mentioned above.

There are laws meant to protect victims who suffer from corporal injury from their current or former intimate partners. The California Penal Code can either be filed as a felony or simply a misdemeanor.

1. Domestic violence reports

In most instances, you may not entirely understand even what is mentioned in the police report regarding domestic violence. Men and women who are accused of inflicting violence are sometimes the victims of the crime. That is where you can make your judgment saying that the domestic violence system isn’t entirely 100% perfect, or even close to it, based on some arrests that the authorities may end up making.

In some situations, you find that these investigatory decisions are made based on the superficial factors only – not looking at the facts behind the scenes. For example, if the perpetrator calls 911 first on the victim or even looks to be more upset or had more apparent physical or any other kind of injury, there will most likely be a bias. In some situations, gender bias may

even come to play. Simply put, the time has come where abusers can now manipulate the system to their advantage.

2. The prosecutor’s charge

Before any judgment is ruled on the abuser, the victim plus his/her prosecutor first need to convince the jury, beyond any reasonable doubt, that corporal punishment was inflicted by an intimate partner. Only then, will the case even be considered to be a domestically violent crime. Distinguish whether the injuries were willful or intentional on the intimate partner. And whether it has caused any traumatic condition to the victim of the crime.

3. Did the injury sustained cause any traumatic condition to the victim?

Some people get angered pretty quickly and are light on their hands. Before they even notice it, their hands and/or feet are flying about hitting their partners. But even so, you still need to prove to the DA whether or not the strike was meant to cause the victim and unintended injury or not. Remember, though, that it is your actions that caused the victim to suffer any injuries in the first place.

4. Legal Defenses

You can use any number of the defenses mentioned below depending on the manner of your domestic violence case.

  • Lack of willful intent
  • False accusations
  • Self-defense
  • Lack of proof

Penalty enhancement situations may include:

  • Prior convictions
  • Great bodily injury
  • Child endangerment
  • Elder abuse

Do you have a question about domestic violence? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

It is not an uncommon occurrence to find that the disabled in the society end up being discriminated in the workplace. But then again, it also isn’t a good practice to discriminate or undermine anyone who is disabled anywhere. Fortunately, California state laws offer protection for the disabled from any kind of discrimination at work.

Most of these state laws also prohibit an employer from subjecting any of their disabled employees to any kind of unequal treatment in regards to your actual or perceived disabilities. So, how will you know whether you are being subjected to any form of discrimination at work due to your disability?

Read below to find out.

What is disability discrimination?

If you are disabled in any way and working, then you can spot any kind of disability discrimination either from your employer or fellow employees quite easily. This unlawful habit may even start right from the moment you are applying for a new job. The moment you realize that you are being

treated unfavorably by your interviewer or employer qualifies as a disability discrimination. California also has laws that expect employers to provide reasonable accommodation to their disabled employees and/or applicants.

Definition of disability

A disability is a state of any medical condition which impairs activity. This can also include an employee’s ability to work optimally in the workplace. Disabilities can always take many different forms. Most disabilities are usually physical impairments. But you will also find situations where psychiatric conditions can hinder an employee or applicant from performing at work.

As a disabled applicant or employee, you also need to know that not all disabilities are protected by law. So, for you to be protected, you first need to qualify for a job, then see whether your California laws protect employees of applicants with your kind of disability.

Signs of disability discrimination in the workplace

Aside from the clear fact that California has put federal laws in place to protect the disabled from any kind of discrimination at work, disability discrimination occurrences still happen. The moment you realize that your employee is subjecting you to less favorable working environments due to your medical condition, you will know that you are being discriminated against. These forms of discrimination may include reduced working hours, denial of a raise and/or promotions, or even write-ups.

Common disability discrimination signs at work

  • Being threatened or even harassed due to your disability
  • An employer, not hiring you due to your disability
  • Being publicly shamed due to your disability
  • Verbal abuse by an employer due to your disability
  • Being cyber-bullied either by your employer or co-workers due to your disability
  • Being demoted as a result of your disability
  • Denial of promotions due to your disability
  • Being left out of staff meetings due to your disability
  • Contract termination as a result of your disability.

Do you have a question disability discrimination in the workplace? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Von Esch Law Group Welcomes Newest Attorney David V. Luu

The Von Esch Law Group is proud to announce our newest attorney, David V. Luu. His extensive knowledge and experience will be a great asset to our law firm and our clients.

David has been the recipient of the California Rising Star Award for two consecutive years on top of other honors and awards such as the Litigation Clients’ Choice Award, AVVO Litigation Clients’ Choice, AAA rating from the Business Consumers Alliance, and A Rated from Better Business Bureau. It’s clear that David is someone who goes above and beyond for his clients in order to ensure the highest quality of service. Along with his incredible work ethic, David is also well-equipped with the knowledge and experience of handling areas of business law and real estate law. Clients can rest assured knowing they are in the most capable hands as David believes in working with each client to ensure they fully understand the result that they want and giving them a legal strategy to get there.

Among the dozens of his five-star reviews, David’s clients have expressed how pleased they’ve been with his services. “David was a blessing…He gives me hope for humanity.” “He is the most careful and client-oriented attorney I’ve ever seen.” “I could not be happier with David and his great service and I am forever grateful.”

The Von Esch Law Group understands that dealing with legal cases can be tough, especially when handling personal matters or high-stake cases. Hiring the right attorney can make or break the results of a case. Clients of the firm can be assured that every case with the Von Esch Law Group is entrusted in the hands of attorneys with reliable litigation experience. With the addition of David, we can continue to ensure the utmost respect and care for our clients.

Please join us in welcoming David Luu to the Von Esch Law Group! We are excited to have him as a part of our team.

What is a Child Custody Agreement?

Families that have everything planned out for them and are living the good life with their kids together under one roof feel that they may never need to learn about custody agreements and visitation schedules. But the issue is that these divorce is real and can happen to your family.

One thing spouses always need to know when getting into any commitment, especially marriage, is that anything can happen. Two partners will either stay together and happily, or things might go south and end in divorce. In most cases, children are involved.

When children are involved, one partner is going to have primary custody of them, and the other parent will have scheduled visitation rights or even have the children visit from time to time depending on the relationship of the partners after the separation.

In situations that involve mental health and or domestic violence, however, this status doesn’t apply. In general, if the spouse who doesn’t have custody over the children is reasonable, of sound mind, and is actively involved in their children’s lives, then the separated parties can come together and have a child custody agreement.

Reaching an agreement with the other partner can help you gain some form of control over the whole process. The best first step here is to prepare a visitation schedule. This will definitely help the two of you to build a healthy co-parenting relationship and allow your children to still be part of both of your lives without much stress from either of the separated spouses.

Most people usually think that having a judge decide your case is always the best option. But it isn’t. in fact, litigation needs to be your backup plan only if agreements between you and your separated partner isn’t possible. Courts can end up damaging any chance of having a good co-parenting relationship as revelations and tempers can end up flying back and forth.

Child Custody Agreement

There are three terms in a custody agreement: legal custody, visitation schedule, and physical custody. The agreement of any situation here needs to be in writing and filed by the court so as to ensure that the court order is enforced. In most situations, signatures are needed to make the agreements notarized.

Legal Custody

This has to do with the parent who will be making all of the parenting decisions on matters relating to the children’s health, welfare, and education. A joint legal custody can also be agreed upon which allows both parents to have equal rights to make such decisions about their children.

Physical Custody

This type of custody deals more with which household the children are going to primarily live in. Joint physical custody can also be agreed upon in situations where both parents will be having equal times with the kids in their homes. But in cases where the children only live with one parent and only visit the other occasionally, it is referred to as sole physical custody.

Visitation

In some situations, a visitation plan may need to be generated and agreed upon by both parents. Visitations can be every day, holidays, vacations, special days, etc. It is also important to note that each of these categories is considered separate even though they relate to one another.

Do you have a question child custody agreements? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Basics of Wrongful Termination in California

When employers take it upon themselves to fire their employees in violation of the statute or policy of the business or state, it constitutes wrongful termination. You will always find that in almost every work situation, the employee always thinks that their continued employment in any business or company is under the sole discretion of their bosses and that they don’t have any protection from being fired whenever their boss/employer deems it necessary.

But, there are instances where the employer can be committing employment violation by terminating an employee’s contract. It is vital that you, as the employee, know all of your rights as a worker in any business, especially the ones that touch on your employment and termination of a contract. There are steps that you can take to protect yourself against any wrongful termination in your place of work. Sometimes, it is your ignorance that is what will end up getting you fired. Like not knowing the limits and situations with which your employer has the power to fire you.

Every business is different. Each business has a different set of rules and regulations which they need to abide by. And the employer also has his/her own set of rules and regulations which he/she must follow. Firing an employee may be among some of the powers that an employer is allowed and granted, but only under certain circumstances, and not at his/her own leisure and feelings.

That being said, here is some basic information that you need to know which might help protect you from wrongful termination of your contract at your place of work.

At-will employment

This is a type of employment where an employer and employee relationship at work is of an indefinite duration. This means that either of the parties has the power to terminate the relationship even for reasons that are not illegal. Maybe even for no reason at all. In most cases, you can find that some of the work relationships between the employer and the employee that start as at-will is usually transformed into an employment situation by the employer. From here, the employer can only fire the employee for a just cause, and either through oral statements or written material.

There are, however, some exceptions that count when referring to the at-will employment rule. In situations where an employer fires an  employee in violation of the stature and public policies of the business and of the state, it is referred to as wrongful termination. But the California prohibits employers from discriminating any employees based on employment decisions, wrongful termination inclusive, on the basis of factors such as, but not limited to the following:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Medical conditions
  • Disability
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Religious creed
  • Sexual orientation

So, if an employer were to fire any of his/her employees based on any of these factors, then that would be considered wrongful termination. Wrongful termination can also occur if an employer fires his/her employee for refusing to break the law.

Do you think you have been wrongfully terminated? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Financial Fraud Laws in California

Fraud is another way of referring to malicious or trickery behavior that one person or entity uses to gain a dishonest advantage over the other. So, financial fraud means that one individual, otherwise known as the fraudster, dupes another and gains some monetary advantage over the victim.

In California, for one, you will notice that people never hesitate one bit when they realize that they can gain some monetary advantage at the expense of some unaware individual. They will violate any rule there is regarding fraud at any time and day. These financial fraud cases are usually more prevalent among family members or someone related to the fraudster in a significant way. Engaging in acts that dupe another victim, which can end up injuring or harming him can also be considered fraud in California.

Fraudulent acts are usually driven by two motives and the first and most common motive is usually the financial gain aspect of it all. The second motive is when the fraudster is looking to try and escape some criminal activity of some kind and with those two in mind, you can ascertain that there are quite a number of fraudulent acts that require the attention of the laws in California. When you do enough study in this field, you will notice that even though most of these fraudulent acts may be based mostly on these two motivators, some are completely different and are not even linked to the said motivations.

Laws and penalties

In California, these fraudulent crimes are referred to as the “white collar crimes.” Any case concerning fraud is usually a very serious offense and need to be handled with care. In most cases, the fraudsters are usually subjected to very harsh fines or a substantial number of years in their prison sentences.

Fraud-related crimes always carry different and specific penalties for them. In fact, many of the fraudulent acts committed in California, called the California Wobbler offenses, are a short way of saying that they will all be charged using the California theft laws in relation to the perpetrator’s felony offenses or misdemeanors.

The degree of sentencing you are going to receive in regards to your fraud case depends a lot more on your criminal records and history and the facts that have been presented in the case. California also regards some types of fraud cases as automatic felonies like cyber fraud which are under the federal crimes department. If found guilty of such a fraud case, you stand a chance of being prosecuted in state or federal law courts and this will only subject you to even higher penalties than with the lower cases.

Fraud defense

Most of the time you find that many of the attorneys of the defense teams using serious legal defenses in an attempt to try and have the initial penalties that the defendant is expected to pay to be lowered. Most of them use defense strategies that many of the attorneys in the defense teams usually use is the matter of intent of the defendant. If the attorney can be able to prove that the defendant never really had any intentions of defrauding anyone, then the charges can be significantly dropped, and in some rare cases maybe even dismissed.

Do you have a question about financial fraud laws in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!