Father’s Custody Rights in California

When it comes to children and their parents, parents have legal rights to have a relationship with them. This right is usually enforced by California state laws, and these laws see that both moms and dads have an equal chance at a relationship with their kids. California laws have also been put in place so that the court system or other government agencies will not be allowed to interject in a parent and child relationship unless absolutely necessary to protect the child. When it comes to a California father’s rights or child custody cases, California family law courts use the best interests of the minor child as the standard.

Effects of a Father in a Kid’s Life

The mother has often been viewed as the primary provider and most important figure in a kid’s life. More recent studies have shown that a father or father figure also has a profound effect on kid’s upbringing as well as their development emotionally. Most fathers are known as capable caregivers and effective disciplinarians. A father’s involvement in a kid’s life is key to how this child develops social skills, language skills and also affects cognitive development. Fathers who are supportive and loving have been shown to have a positive effect on a kid’s life.

Establishing Paternity in the State of California

When it comes to establishing a father’s paternity, it means either a child’s parents or the government has determined that a specific male individual is the kid’s father. In some cases, California law assumes the identity of the child’s dad, such as:

-When a kid is born into a marriage and the mother’s husband is considered the kid’s father.

-When a kid is born and a male has been living with the kid’s mom  in a family-like manner, has demonstrated a commitment to the kid, and is considered to be the kid’s father even if he is not the biological dad.

-When these two circumstances aren’t present, the kid’s paternity needs to be established.

Click here to learn whether children have a say in child custody arrangements!

The best way for parents to establish the child’s paternity is by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity. When a woman who is not married gives birth in a medical setting, the medical providers at that facility must provide her and the alleged father information on signing this voluntary declaration form. When this form is signed, both of the parents acknowledge they are the kid’s parents, and the dad’s name is legally added to the birth certificate. When this is complete, the dad assumes all rights and responsibilities to that child.

If kids in question are under the age of twelve, they may or may not be considered a party in this paternity action case. But if children are over the age of twelve, they will be considered a party in this case. In both circumstances, the court might appoint a representative for the kid, which is usually referred to as the guardian ad litem. This person appears in court on the kid’s behalf to represent what is ultimately in the kid’s best interests.

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

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Everything You Need to Know About Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

It is against California law for an employer to discriminate against an individual based on his or her ethnicity or race. Employees who are harassed or discriminated against based on ethnicity or race could file a lawsuit against their employer for the damages done.

1. Could a California employer refuse to hire an individual because of his or her race or color?

No, an employer in California can’t refuse to bring on someone because of his or her race or ethnicity. Employment discrimination because of an individual’s race is a big violation of California state and federal law.

It is not legal for an employer with five or more employees to discriminate against a person based on race, as seen under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act .

2. What exactly is racial and ethnic discrimination?

Racial and ethnic discrimination often refers to treating an individual differently because of the location they were born in, the way they are seen, or because of their ethnicity. Color, race and ethnicity could have various meanings to different people. There is oftentimes a ton of overlap. But any discrimination based on color, race or ethnicity is not legal in California.

Racial discrimination could also involve national origin discrimination in employment is treating an employee or job applicant badly because they are from a certain country or appear to be from a certain ethnic background.

Ethnicity can refer to cultural characteristics based on where an individual was born or where their ancestors came from. This is the same as the definition of national origin under California law. National origin refers to a person’s place of birth or original heritage. The laws against race discrimination are not only limited to employers. These laws also apply to labor organizations and unions. These are prohibited from expelling, excluding or restricting membership to an individual based on color or race.

A Person’s Perceived Race

Racism in employment is not legal even if the person is wrong about the victim’s ethnicity. The California employment laws against discrimination based on race or color also also apply to the race or color that is perceived. It is not a defense to racial discrimination if the employer has made an error about the applicant’s race or color.

For instance, an employer conducting an interview might choose not to hire an applicant because the employer does not trust Chinese people. The applicant was actually a United States citizen, born in America to parents from South Korea.

If the applicant files a complaint against the employer for race discrimination, the fact that the employer has made an error about the applicant’s race is not a defense. The employer might still be in violation of workplace discrimination laws for any discrimination based on race.

Click here to learn why you need a lawyer to review your contract!

3. Can you be discriminated against by someone from the same race?

An employer could discriminate against someone from the same race. California’s employment discrimination laws are not based on the employer’s race but make any race discrimination not lawful.

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

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Do Children Have A Say In California Child Custody Arrangements?

No one enters a marriage thinking it will end in divorce. That unfortunately often becomes a reality. A divorce is a tough time for all who are involved, especially when kids are involved. Each parent contributes to the well being of their child. While one parent might be the primary caregiver, the other parent might be the financial provider. Each of these positions is essential in raising a happy and healthy child. Sometimes help from a great attorney is just as important to your personal happiness and health. Do not go through this divorce alone. Having an attorney to represent you is critical. The courts will have a better understanding of your views and contributions once your lawyer builds your case. You should  avoid costly mistakes by allowing our professionals to protect your rights and advocate for the best interest of children.

At what point does the court take the requests of children in mind? A child might prefer the notion of living with one parent or the other after a divorce. But is it healthy or fair to include the child in an often painful and ugly divorce? Divorce cases tend to be very emotional, especially for the children. Should a child witness the anger and oftentimes cruel behavior of their parents during these family law trials? The answer is only “sometimes.”

A Child’s Rights

The state of California has a lot of laws in place to protect the interest of children during a divorce. The court aims to let the child to receive financial support from both parents and provide joint custody unless this is not an option. It is the responsibility of the parents and the court to choose the best interest of children and ensure they are getting adequate support in a stable environment after the divorce. 

Children of course love their parents. They want to make their parents happy with them. But this becomes difficult when kids are in the middle of a messy divorce. Parents oftentimes have disagreements determining custody, child support and visitation,. These changes are already confusing enough for children, but forcing them to choose sides only causes them unnecessary guilt and stress.California laws are very careful to obtain the information they need without further harming the child.

At what age could the child speak for himself/herself?

While no law permits the child to decide their custody status, many California courts believe  fourteen years of age is old enough to express themselves and the reasons why they would prefer one parent over the other. But the courts also take into consideration that the teenage years are often challenging and a child might display bad behavior to cope with a divorce.

Click here to learn who keeps the car in a divorce!

What if the young child wants to live with one parent over the other?

In a case where a child is young, the courts need to intervene. Children usually function on emotion. They might say they want to live with one parent instead of the other for reasons that have everything to do with the parents and not a lot to do with the child. 

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

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Why You Need a Lawyer to Prepare and Review Your Contract

What is Contract Preparation?
A contract is a legally binding agreement. Contracts could be written or oral, but most important contracts are often written and signed by both parties. Contracts are the foundation of your business, and might be simple or extremely complex. Examples of contracts include sales agreements, employment contracts, real estate purchase contracts, and confidentiality agreements.

Preparing a contract is the act of writing out the terms and details of the contract, in order to outline the legal obligations of both parties, so that they fully understand the terms of the agreement and their respective duties towards each other. Contracts can be drafted by anyone, but a lawyer is often needed in order to make a reliable and secure contract, especially for the more complex contracts.

How are the Contracts Prepared?
Contracts might appear in many different forms, but one of the most used contracts is a standard form contract. A standard form contract, or standardized agreement is a contract between two parties, where the contract is prepared by one of the parties, and the other party has little or no ability to negotiate the terms that are more favorable for them. Common instances of adhesion contracts include insurance policies, housing and apartment leases, and tickets to events or shows.

What is a Contract Review?
To simply put it, a contract review is when a person signing the contract carefully reviews the document or has a lawyer review the document. This is to ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract.

Contract review is an essential step to make sure that there are little to no contract disputes in the future. When a contract dispute occurs, the first thing that the courts look at is the language of the document itself. If a problem were to happen, both parties could refer to the contract and pinpoint what is expected of them.

A clearly written and easily understood contract could reduce confusion between the parties. But if a contract is not written clearly, legal issues might arise. Therefore, it is imperative to thoroughly review or have an attorney perform a complete review of any contract before you sign it.

Since contracts could be lengthy and have become increasingly complex, most people often skim over paragraphs and do not actually know what they are signing. Having a qualified business lawyer look over your contract or contract draft may save you from a legal mess down the road.

Click here to learn sexual harassment laws in California!

Should You Hire a Lawyer to Assist with Contract Drafting and Review?
Preparing and understanding contracts could be a very complex process. It might be in your best interests to consult with our knowledgeable and well qualified business attorneys.

Our experienced business attorneys will assist you from start to finish through the contract drafting and reviewing process and safeguard you against any complications. We will also help prevent other legal issues that arise from a poorly written contract and represent you in court, if needed.

Do you have a question about contract preparation and review? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

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Who Gets to Keep the Car in a Divorce in California?

Do you want to know who gets to keep the car when you divorce?  Household budgets are strained, forcing most families to make hard financial decisions. Some families have become households with one car or using public transportation to get around. If the marriage ends up in divorce, the couple must choose who keeps the car. Property division in divorce is one of the most highly contested issues in the divorce. The answer is based on the property laws in California. Speak to one of our family law attorneys for a free attorney consultation and learn what property is yours!

Property Division in a Divorce

Since it is chosen at a state level, property division in divorce could be a tricky thing. If the couple is in agreement about how property will be distributed, they are permitted to make these choices on their own. But retaining a family law attorney is the best way to make sure that property is divided according to the law. A trained and experienced divorce attorney should let you know about the roles of property division in divorce and how to get you what you deserve!

Many states follow common law guidelines regarding property. If one spouse bought and paid for the car completely, this individual is the owner. If both spouses have their names on the car title, each is considered fifty percent owner. In states that follow the community property laws, property received during the marriage is divided evenly during divorce. This does not include property that was an inheritance or obtained before the marriage. Community property laws view husband and wife as equal contributors to the marriage so the court strives to distribute property equitably.

Even though this process sounds simple, it could be very complicated, especially when both spouses want to keep the family vehicle. In a community property state, the spouse who makes the strongest case will be the winner. For instance, the spouse can emphasize that the car is needed for commuting purposes because public transportation is not available and walking is not feasible. A stay-at-home mom could stress that she needs the car to drive kids to school and transport them to activities and medical appointments.

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If one individual made a more substantial down payment on the car or made most of the loan or lease payments, that could sway the court to give the car to that person during divorce. If the vehicle was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and that individual made all loan payments, it will most likely be awarded to that person. But the other spouse might be entitled to something of equal value.

Fights over the family car can turn ugly, with one spouse taking it away and not returning it. To stop the situation from reaching this point, you should talk to a family law attorney. We know how to handle the fair division of individual and marital property in divorce without the situation ending in an argument. 

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

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Your Guide to Sexual Harassment Laws in California

If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, you are definitely not alone. According to one current EEOC study, one out of four every women and one out of every five men have experienced the misfortune of sexual harassment.  

You only need to read the news or do a search of the “me too” hashtag to find endless stories of disturbing conduct, much of which amounts to sexual harassment inside the workplace.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo is a Latin term meaning this for that. The term means the idea of an exchange. In this case, quid pro quo harassment happens when someone conditions your continued employment, hiring, promotion or benefits on your submission to sexual advances or some other kind of sexual behavior. Quid pro quo harassment could be meant as an offer or threat.  This type of sexual harassment is considered extreme enough that a single incident can give rise to liability.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

This type of sexual harassment happens when the nature of the offending behavior is so pervasive or severe that it unreasonably interferes with your work, alters the conditions of your employment or makes an intimidating or offensive workplace. You could experience and suffer from a hostile work environment even if the behavior is not directly aimed at you.

A single act of sexual harassment may be extreme enough to be unlawful.Behavior that is less severe might also become so pervasive that it becomes unlawful, even if the single incident on its own wasn’t particularly offensive or hostile. The legal test of whether or not something qualifies as a hostile work environment sexual harassment includes both objective and subjective components.

Who will be liable for sexual harassment claims in California?

Under the California law, an employee who is the perpetrator of the sexual harassment is personally liable for damages to their victim regardless of whether or not the employer was aware or should have known about the harassment.

Employers are held strictly liable if the sexual harassment was at the hands of a supervisor or if the perpetrator of the harassment was the employer. This means that if the harassment was perpetrated by the supervisor, the employer is responsible for the victim’s damage whether or not the employer was aware or should have known about it and regardless of whether or not they took corrective action.

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While some interpretations of California sexual harassment can evoke some uncomfortable laughs, sexual harassment is very far from a laughing matter and could cause serious trauma for its victims. This also does not stop harassers from claiming the offending behavior was just a mere joke. In few cases cases, it might actually be the perpetrator’s misguided intention to be funny.  But it is not just the harasser’s intent that matters. It’s how an objective person would react and the impact of that behavior that results in whether or not the behavior constitutes sexual harassment. 

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

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Pet Custody Laws in California

You may think of your dog as your fur child, but California law would not agree. In regards to the law, they are really no different than the precious items or the home. But in more and more homes in California, splitting the pets can get pretty contentious. When you put all of your expenses together, it is no wonder that we are beginning to see a higher number of custody battles involving companion animals.

In the mid-90s, Florida’s First District Court of Appeals overturned a decision of the trial court that granted Kathryn Bennett visits with her family dog Roddy. The dog was an asset before marriage and belonged to her ex-husband, Ronald Greg Bennett, who was then awarded custody, while his ex-wife was only given visits with Roddy every other weekend and every other Christmas holiday. Ms. Bennett went back to court contending that her ex-husband was not compliant with the visitation the court had ordered.

But instead of applying her rights as a dog parent, the appeals court denied that they even existed. Pets must be awarded pursuant to the dictates of equitable distribution statute.

This ruling goes on to say that determinations as to custody and visitation will lead to continuing enforcement and supervision problems. The courts were overwhelmed with the supervision of visitation, custody and support matters related to the protection of children. They could not undertake the same responsibility as to animals.

When a judge chooses who should get the cat or dog, these factors as who spends more time with the pet, who cares for it and takes it to the vet and who brought it into the relationship in the first place needs to be considered.

Divorcing couples who quarrel over their pets might not be dealing with an underlying issue. An ex who takes his or her former spouse to court over and over in regards to visiting the dog or paying veterinary bills probably is not as concerned about the dog as he or she is about controlling an ex-husband or ex-wife. In a case of divorce, the dog or cat might become a symbol of power and control and might be seen as the one entity that still loves me unconditionally.

Click here to learn child abuse laws in California!

The legal battles that involve pets can be a large emotional investment with an uncertain outcome that can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. The divorce also takes a toll on the animal. A once energetic pet might become depressed, He or she might sleep more, consume food less and lose interest in activities such as walking and playing with his owner. He or she might start having accidents in the house or grooming himself excessively.

You should decide what is best for your pet. Put your own feelings aside to get to that decision. You will need to consider such factors as who fed and cared for them before the divorce and who can afford to pay for their veterinary care and other expenses.

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

Courtesy of Cuselleration

4 Ways to Protect Yourself From Business Fraud

Every company is susceptible to fraud. This is largely because there are so many different kinds of fraud.

Cybercriminals adapt their ways almost as quickly as cyber security firms make new products and services. It is almost impossible to protect against every type of attack.

1. Secure Your Accounts

If you have not made separate bank and credit card accounts for your personal life and company, you should do so now. If cyber hackers get their hands on one account, they will not have access to the other. Make sure to look into the security systems your bank uses online banking to be sure things like automatic logout are available. Make a monitored reimbursement policy for team member expenses and stick to it. If you are going to give credit cards to your employees,  be sure that the card provider has suitable fraud protections in place.

2. Safeguard your computers

Hackers are experts at cracking systems in computers. A firm firewall could help protect your business data, while antivirus software could help detect breaches early on. There are several cyber security vendors. Look for the product that best addresses your needs. You should set up strict protocols that require employees to make passwords that are hard to decipher. Make sure to have your employees change their passwords every sixty to ninety days.

Click here to learn pregnancy protection laws in California!

3. Do an employee background check

When you are expanding your workforce, it is critical to find people who are not only well-qualified but who are also trustworthy. Do not rely only on references and work history. Make sure to conduct a thorough background check.

There are companies that could provide this service for you. Many of them charge between thirty to fifty dollars per report. When you narrow down the list of potential hires to one or two, you could run a check on the finalists prior to making your final decision. You should make sure you obtain proper permission to run the check

4. Make a secure entry

A secure entry system could keep out unwanted visitors. Some key-card systems bring out time-stamped records of an employee’s entries and exits from your office.

Management can also limit access to specific areas to certain people. For example, you could use a key card system to only let the tech managers inside the server room. Limiting the access to sensitive areas will keep you and your business safer.

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

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Here Are Child Abuse Laws in California

If you’re a parent, you have most likely wondered at some point or another the things that exactly constitutes child abuse. Knowing the kinds of physical contact are acceptable could be very difficult to determine. It used to be that the parent who felt that their child needed a beating with a belt was not thought of any differently than a parent who felt beating their child was wrong. Physical punishment was actually widely accepted as an effective method of parenting.

In the present day, things are extremely different. Depending upon detailed circumstances, the smallest of physical contact could result in a criminal charge for committing child abuse. Different areas of the US have different laws governing physical contact between a parent and a child with penalties and definitions of abuse varying wildly.

The laws in California pertaining to physical child abuse are somewhat average when compared to laws throughout the United States. People facing criminal charges for committing child abuse are encouraged to contact our domestic violence defense law firm for a  free consultation. There are some instances in which parents are falsely accused.

Different Types of Child Abuse

What is considered child abuse could range from emotional, physical, sexual and neglect. There are different ways in a which a person could abuse a child. While some experts may say that emotional child abuse is as damaging if not more than physical abuse, there is no question that all different types of abuse could negatively affect a child throughout their lifetime.

The following are the types of child abuse are:

Emotional Abuse: When a parent consistently shames or humiliates a child in any way it can be considered emotional child abuse.

Child Neglect: If a parent constantly fails to fulfill their child’s basic needs, this will be considered child neglect.

Sexual Abuse: If a parent or another adult engages in physical contact with a kid’s genitals or coerces a child into creating contact with their own genitals, they are then committing sexual abuse upon a child.

Physical Child Abuse: A parent who physically hurts or injures a child on purpose they are considered physically abusive. The gray area is whether or not the parent was intentionally trying to discipline their child. If the purpose of the harm was to discipline, there are still instances in which discipline could go too far. In these cases, perpetrators could be charged and convicted for committing physical child abuse.

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Specific actions that can result in child abuse charges are making purposeful physical contact with a child that leaves a mark, getting involved in a physical fight with your child resulting in marks and bruises, and using a belt or another object to beat the child.

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

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Workplace Pregnancy Protection Laws in California

California law brings significant protection for pregnant employees.  In addition to prohibiting discrimination or harassment in regards to pregnancy status, the law California requires an employer to allow an employee disabled by childbirth, pregnancy or related medical conditions to take a leave of absence and to maintain her health insurance during the pregnancy leave.  It also mandates the employer to provide other forms of reasonable accommodation as necessary. The requirements to the pregnancy discrimination regulations that took effect seven years ago expanded the protections in several regards, including an expanded definition of the conditions that might render a woman disabled by pregnancy and the extension of protections to employees perceived as pregnant or disabled by pregnancy even if she is not actually pregnant.

The depth of protection for pregnant employees under the California law presents a challenge for companies and creates a number of varied issues and legal claims.  But one aspect of these laws that causes or contributes to some of the issues related to pregnancy we see has to do with a fundamental aspect of the laws that does not get a lot of discussion:  To stay compliant with the laws and avoid claims for pregnancy discrimination, an employer needs to have common sense.

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If a pregnant woman is unable to perform the essential functions of her job, the employer is mandated to treat her as a temporarily disabled employee. This means that the employer must make the same accommodations as it would for an employee who cannot perform some or all of his or her job functions due to a temporary disability. This might include changing some of the job functions, having the pregnant employee do alternative functions or offering the employee paid or unpaid leave.

Employers aren’t required to give pregnant employees preferential treatment. Their duty is to treat them equal to other employees and not to discriminate against them in any employment decisions because of the pregnancy. Employers are allowed to terminate pregnant employees for excessive absences from work, even if those absences were caused by reasons related to pregnancy.

California law requires that an employer does not act on those assumptions but to instead handle each situation as unique and not one in which the employer’s history might repeat itself. To many businesses and managers not as familiar with California law, making decisions that ignore experiences in the past and common sense may seem bad for business. But in dealing with issues related to pregnant employees, employers need to in some extent ignore what has happened in the past with pregnant employees and resist making decisions based on what it expects to happen no matter how likely the outcome will be predicted. A busy manager concerned about staffing and meeting the needs of the company might understandably find it hard to do so.  But even an absence of any hostility toward the pregnant employee and a singular focus on preparing for the very real possibility that the pregnancy and the employee’s plans after pregnancy will adversely affect business will not necessarily protect the employer. When dealing with pregnancy topics in the workplace, good intentions and reliance on past experience might not provide a defense.

Do you have a question about pregnancy laws in the workplace in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration