Divorce

How Long Does Getting a Divorce Take?

How long does getting a divorce take? There is not a definitive answer for everyone. A lot of factors come into play such as where you live, how quickly the pair can come to agreement on terms of the divorce, and more. 

Here are a few things that affect the overall timing.

How Long Does a Divorce Take – Waiting Period Requirements

One factor that plays into the time required for a divorce is the waiting period.

A waiting period is often referred to as a “cooling off” period. It is the length of time required by certain states before a divorce can be filed or finalized. This gives the couple time to work things out. Sometimes divorce papers are submitted as part of an emotional outburst, and this helps rectify things before they’re set in stone.

Every state has a different waiting period. Some, such as Nevada, are very short. You only have to wait 14-28 days after filing the divorce papers before it can be finalized. Others take much longer. In California, you need to wait 6 months and 1 day after the papers were filed until you can get a divorce.

This is generally a good thing, because it ensures the couple is ready for this major life change before it legally happens. Some families are able to work things out and stay together, and this long timeline gives them a better chance of that happening. 

How Long Does a Divorce Take – Separation Requirements

A separation requirement is the amount of time the two people must be separated before getting a divorce. The reason for this is similar to the waiting period. It gives the couple some time to re-evaluate and determine if divorce is what they really want.

Not all states have a separation requirement. In that case, the couple can actually still live together during the divorce. This usually happens if children are involved, so at least they can still have both parents around. In California, it’s possible for people who are divorced to keep living together. 

What Else Affects How Long a Divorce Can Take?

Besides the waiting period and separation requirements, the main thing affecting how long a divorce takes is the back and forth between the spouses and their attorneys. There are generally disagreements regarding a few factors

  • Who gets the house
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Financial assets

There is no blanket black-and-white policy with how to manage these. Each divorce situation is different, and sometimes it can take months to come to an agreement. Even though some people are able to figure these things out and be divorced quickly, others draw it out to get as much as possible from the separation. 

Are you ready to file for divorce or has your partner filed papers? Give us a call at 714.456.9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com. We look forward to helping you through this difficult situation. 

Courtesy of Cuselleration

legal name change

How do I Change My Name or My Child’s Name

Wondering how to change your name? Or maybe you’ve decided to change your child’s legal name? The good news is these processes are not too difficult, and we can help you with both. However, keep in mind there are a few differences between changing your own name as an adult and changing your child’s name.

Let’s start by talking about changing your child’s name.

How to Change Your Child’s Name

The first and most important step is to make sure both parents are in agreement with the name change. This generally makes the process go smoother. If they aren’t in agreement, other things may come into play such as who is the primary guardian of the child. 

Assuming both parents agree to a name change, the next step is to submit a Petition for Change of Name for the child, which we can help you with. Once submitted, you will be given a court date between 6 and 12 weeks after the submission. 

If the court approves the name change, it will issue a “decree.” The decree changes your child’s name. 

So to summarize:

  1. Parents fill out the forms together
  2. Have a lawyer review your forms
  3. Make 3 or more copies of the forms
  4. Submit the forms to the court clerk
  5. Publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name
  6. Go to the court hearing
  7. Receive the Decree Changing Name from the court

To change your own name, the process is a little different, but still very similar. 

How to Change Your Own Name

At a high level, there are 3 main reasons why people change their names. They:

  1.  Get married
  2. Get divorced and want to revert back to their maiden name
  3.  Just want a new legal name

Start the process by submitting several documents with the court clerk:

  • A name change form
  • The order to show cause to change your name
  • A decree to change your name

Similar to changing the name of a child, we recommend having us review your documents before you submit. You don’t want to waste your time and money submitting something that has errors or missing information. 

Assuming everything is correct, the judge will usually grant you the new legal name. 

So the process isn’t too difficult, but it is time-consuming between filling out the paperwork, submitting to the court and waiting for a decision. 

Before submitting, keep a few things in mind. 

Things to Keep in Mind Before You Change Your Name

You can’t change it to anything  – Don’t plan on changing your name to a celebrity, using numbers, punctuation marks, a trademarked name or something offensive. Those won’t be approved, plus you’d probably regret it down the road anyway. 

Divorce and marriage are the easiest times to get a name change– This change is almost expected during these events in your life. If you are choosing to change your name without one of these events supporting it, the process may take a little longer and will probably involve more paperwork. 

Ready to get started on the name change form for you or your child? We’re here for you, just click here to contact Von Esch Law today.

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Rights of Construction Workers in California

Rights of Construction Workers in California

What are the rights of construction workers in California? At a high level, here is what the law says. 

Construction Workers Have the Right to Safe Work

The construction industry is a dangerous one. Heavy equipment, heights, and big pieces of raw materials all add up to an environment that requires caution. 

Given this environment, employers are required to give their employees a safe place to work. That could mean several things:

  • Equipment should be properly maintained to help avoid failure. 
  • Workers should have sufficient safety equipment for their tasks such as hard hats, safety harnesses, and brightly colored vests. 
  • Signs indicating dangers around the worksite. 

While obvious dangers don’t need to be pointed out by the owner, it’s usually better for them to be safe than sorry.

Who Can Sue for Construction Accidents?

The first thing to know is that if the employer has worker’s compensation insurance, a general contractor’s employee can’t sue their employer under the Worker’s Compensation law. The best way for them is to submit a claim to their worker’s compensation benefits. 

This is called the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine. There are a few exceptions, but this is the general rule. The benefit to the employee is they only have to prove they were injured on-site, and not prove fault to recover benefits. 

There is a downside though. Construction workers only receive a fraction of earnings in workers’ compensation benefits and cannot recover damages due to pain and emotional distress under the law. 

This doesn’t apply to just general contractor employees. Employees of the owner cannot sue the employer for the same reasons – the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine.

Types of Damages in Construction Accident Cases

The most common types of damages recovered by the plaintiff include

  • Medical expenses
  • Estimated future medical expenses
  • Estimated future loss of wages
  • Loss of wages already incurred

Usually, experts in these fields will be brought in to estimate these values. For example, health care professionals will testify to determine estimated medical expenses. An expert in the industry or economist may be brought in to estimate the future loss of wages. 

Another type of damage, which is often seen as the most important, includes pain, suffering, and emotional distress. This is more difficult to estimate compared to lost wages or medical expenses, so each case is different. 

Punitive damages also come into play. If the plaintiff can prove the wrongdoer was malicious, fraudulent or despicable they can get punitive damages. This is meant to set an example in society and punish the wrongdoer. 

Loss of consortium is another type of damage, which can be claimed by the plaintiff’s spouse. This is to recover damages due to the loss of factors that occurred due to the injured spouse’s non-availability due to the injury. The negative experience of seeing the plaintiff suffer is also part of the loss of consortium. 

Construction accident law can get messy. While we’ve tried to cover a few of the basics here, there is a lot more to it. If you have specific questions, give us a call at 714.456.9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Review Contracts?

Do You Need a Lawyer to Review Contracts?

Do you really need a lawyer to review contracts? After all, you’re a smart person and can read it yourself, right? Why spend the money to have an attorney double-check it to make sure everything is aligned? 

The short answer is this: by hiring a lawyer, you spend a small amount of money now to prevent losing a lot of money later. Here are a few reasons why you should have a lawyer review business contracts. 

Lawyer Contract Review Reason #1: Avoid Pitfalls

The main reason to have an attorney look at your documents is to help you avoid potential pitfalls later on. For example, an attorney can identify if there is unclear language in the document which could lead to an issue later. A business contract is no place for gray areas. 

You want a contract to be very clear. Any kind of ambiguity opens a door for issues to walkthrough later on. But what seems clear to you or the other party may not necessarily be clear in the legal world. That’s why you need a set of eyes looking for these types of litigation gray areas. 

Lawyer Contract Review Reason #2: You Aren’t an Expert

You’re an expert in your field. That’s why other people or companies pay for your products and services. They trust in your skills and knowledge, which is how you’re able to produce something valuable enough to sell.

Are you an expert in contracts? No. Just because you’ve signed contracts in the past doesn’t make you an expert. It does give you an idea of what to look for, but it doesn’t mean you can rely completely on yourself in this matter. 

This is different than trying to do a basic maintenance task around your house, or learning how to use a new piece of software. Those things don’t have the potential to cause massive damage to your company and reputation. 

Contract lawyers, on the other hand, are experts. Let them do what they do best so you can do what you do best. 

Lawyer Contract Review Reason #3: Fight Fire with Fire

Contracts are usually a bit one-sided when they are first drafted. Whoever creates the first draft has their (or their client’s) interests in mind. That’s fair and makes sense, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. 

Hiring a contract attorney to review the document helps you balance the document so both sides win. The lawyer will be able to identify things that seem out of place and can recommend a change. They may also come up with ideas on what to add so the document is more reflective of your interests. 

Can you try to do these things without help? Sure. However, a fresh set of eyes from your attorney can make all the difference. It’s the same reason why authors hire editors, companies hire 3rd parties to perform market research, etc. 

So do you really need a lawyer to review business contracts? Yes – we protect your interests and help you avoid major problems down the road. 

Do you have a document you need to be reviewed? We’re here for you, click here to contact Von Esch Law today.

Spousal Support 101 - The Basics

Spousal Support 101 – The Basics

What is spousal support? How is it determined? This article explains what it is, how it’s calculated, how long it lasts and more. 

What is Spousal Support?

You’ll often hear spousal support and alimony used interchangeably. That’s because they are essentially the same thing. They are both payments for the support of an ex-spouse ordered by the court. This can include a number of things, and every case is a bit different. 

For example, one person may need to provide spousal support to cover just about everything: the house, car, food, clothing, etc. However, another individual may only need to provide enough money to cover the ex-spouse’s car or mortgage payment. 

How is Spousal Support Determined?

It depends on the current status of both the contributor and recipient. If the recipient has a successful career and is able to take care of themselves, the amount will likely be a lot less. However, if the recipient is raising kids full-time and unable to have a career, the amount will likely go up. 

Another factor is current lifestyle. What is the current lifestyle of the recipient? Do they live in a 5 bedroom house with a swimming pool in an expensive part of town? Or do they have a lower-priced home out in the suburbs or a rural area? These factors come into play as well, because the goal of the court is to avoid major lifestyle impacts. 

These are just a few factors. There’s even more to consider here:

  • Education level of the recipient: Are they educated enough to have support themselves and their dependents, or will they need to go back to school?
  • Age and physical condition of the recipient
  • Financial condition (i.e. assets available)
  • Length of the marriage
  • The ability of the contributor to both support the ex-spouse and him/herself

As you can tell, there are many gray areas with spousal support. It doesn’t have the same kind of strict guidelines we see with child support. 

How Long Must Spousal Support be Paid? 

Again, this is a bit of a gray area. It’s common for spousal support to be rehabilitative. That means it only lasts long enough to help the ex-spouse get back on their feet. That could mean finishing their education, landing a good job, etc. 

Sometimes it lasts a bit longer though. If the divorce decree doesn’t have specific termination criteria then the payments must continue until the court orders otherwise. One example that can cause the court to order a change is marriage. If the recipient remarries, the court usually determines the spousal support no longer needs to be paid. 

One thing to keep in mind is that times are changing. It used to be that spousal support was almost always a man sending financial support to his ex-wife. There is a trend of more women giving spousal support to men since the number of women in the workforce has increased. There is also a trend of more same-sex cases, where the ex-spouse with the highest income has to provide spousal support to their ex-spouse. 

For more personalized advice on spousal support, give us a call at 714. 456. 9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Courtesy of Cuselleration

What is Considered Domestic Violence

What is Considered Domestic Violence?

What is considered domestic violence? Most people have some kind of idea what’s involved, but it’s actually a broader topic than most expect. 

Here are the different types of domestic violence, along with a short explanation of each. 

Types of Domestic Violence

Physical Abuse -This is probably what most people think of. It’s any physically aggressive behavior, threat of physical harm, indirectly harming someone physically or withholding physical needs from someone. Threats, punches, denying food or sleep, and holding people hostage all come under this type of abuse. 

Emotional Abuse – This is any kind of behavior that exploits another person’s vulnerability, security or character. One example is insulting or criticizing someone to lower their confidence and self-esteem. Regularly ignoring or neglecting the victim’s needs also falls here. Telling someone they’re mentally unstable or incompetent is emotional abuse. 

Control – This is when one person maintains dominance over the victim. They control the victim’s behavior and believe it’s perfectly justified. One example is not giving the victim freedom with the types of clothes or hairstyle they wear. They may invade the victim’s privacy by never giving them time alone. Sometimes children are used to help control the victim parent by using them as spies or threatening to harm the child. 

Sexual Abuse – This is forcing sexual behavior on someone or using sexual behavior in an exploitative fashion. Sometimes it can be using force or manipulation to make the victim partake in sexual activities with other people or do things they don’t want to. In addition to these, it could be engaging in sexual activity with someone who can’t consent, for example if they’ve used drugs or are asleep. 

Isolation – Similar to control, this keeps the victim from seeing people they want to see. By keeping them socially isolated, the victim doesn’t get to see that the rest of the world wouldn’t agree with the types of abuse the victim is suffering. The victim is often told things to make this behavior sound okay by saying things like “if you really loved me, you’d want to spend time with me instead of your family or friends.”

Verbal Abuse – Somewhat self-explanatory, this includes any language used to threaten, embarrass or unfairly criticize the victim. Maybe the victim is being called names, or are constantly told they are undesirable or ugly. This could also include constantly be yelled at, or never talked to. Threats to hurt or kill the victim or their loved ones is also considered verbal abuse. 

How do I Know if This is Domestic Violence?

People involved in domestic violence situations don’t always know it. They may realize they’re being abused, but don’t consider reporting it to the proper authorities. 

If you know someone who seems like they’re being abused (including yourself), the best thing you can do is talk to someone who understands the subject. You never know until you ask, and it’s important to resolve these situations as early as possible. The longer it goes on, the more harm will be done to the victim. 

We’re here for you, click here to contact Von Esch Law today. 

The Most Important Parts of a Business Plan

The Most Important Parts of a Business Plan

After working with a lot of clients over the years, we’ve determined the most important parts of a business plan. Even though it’s important the whole thing is done well, here are the areas we recommend spending a little extra time on. 

Executive Summary

This is commonly accepted as the most important part of a business plan. If you don’t have a good executive summary, you won’t draw the reader in. They won’t won’t be interested in reading the rest of the document, so you would’ve wasted a lot of time and effort drafting it. 

Your executive summary should include a few key things:

  • Purpose of the plan
  • Business name
  • Location
  • The services or products you offer

The balance here is having a short summary that also communicates what you need to. Get them excited about the opportunity they’re learning about. 

Company Description

This part of the business plan is where you can dive a bit deeper into your company. This helps the reader understand the business as a whole.

A few key elements here include:

Legal Entity – How is your business legally structured? Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S Corp or C Corp? 

Brief History – The reader doesn’t need to know every single thing your business has done over the last few months. But when was it started? What need was it created to fill?

Stakeholders – A stakeholder is anyone involved in the company. Suppliers, customers, employees, owners – they’re all considered stakeholders.

High-Level Goals – How big is the company going to grow over the next few years? How are you going to achieve that goal? 

Marketing Plan – You’ll get in more detail with this later. But what’s your overall marketing plan? How will you get new leads and reach new potential customers?

Again, this is all at a high level. You’re still warming up the reader and giving them an understanding of what you’re trying to do. 

Products and Services

This section may sound simplistic, but there’s more to it than you might expect. Yes, the point of this section is to explain what products and services you sell. But you also need to explain why they fill a need. 

For example, let’s say you offer a lawn mowing service. Why does your area need another one? How is your company different/better than the others? You need to be specific here. If you just say something generic like “we have the best people” or “we do the best job,” that’s not enough. 

The best way to do this is to get very specific. So instead of having a lawn mowing service that does anything and everything, maybe you just maintain the yards around office buildings. Or instead of doing landscaping for any residential home, you only do it for a certain high-end neighborhood. 

Other things to include in this section are your costs, suppliers, and prices. You need to prove that you’re able to actually make a decent profit. 

Financial Projections

Everything leads up to this section. This can make or break your business plan, as it needs to be appealing to investors. 

Don’t be unrealistic, but don’t be too conservative either. It takes time to get a business off the ground – investors understand that. But you still need to have something exciting enough that they’ll consider funding you. 

Need help with your business plan? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Child Custody

Child Custody 101 – The Different Types of Custody

This Child Custody 101 article was crafted for one thing – to help simplify a complex subject. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the terminology often used when referring to the subject. 

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

This is a big one, so let’s start with it. At a high level, there are two types of custody – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent’s responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and overall well-being. Physical custody is just like it sounds – it refers to who lives with the child. 

Within those two buckets are several types of custody. Here are the most common.

Sole Custody of a Child

This parent is solely responsible for the child. This means exclusive physical and legal custody. The parent without custody has limited access to the child. This is often called visitation. 

Note that visitation doesn’t mean the parent can only see the child on rare occasions. It just means they don’t have the right to make decisions regarding where the child lives or things like education or the primary physician. 

Joint Custody of a Child

Joint custody means both parents have rights and responsibilities to care for the child. The first thing that may come to mind is a 50/50 split. In reality that’s difficult for everyone, so usually the responsibilities and time spent with the child lean more towards one parent than the other. Ideally, the time would be split as evenly as possible, and both parents would participate in major decisions affecting the child. 

Click here to read more about child custody laws during the holiday season.

Alternating Custody

This is where the parents alternate taking care of the child. For example, it may be that the mother keeps the children for 5 days a week, and the father keeps them for the weekend. Or maybe they stay with one parent for 3 days, then go back to the other parent’s home for another 3 days. Every family has a different arrangement that works for them. What’s important is that it works for everyone and both parents are still involved in the child’s life. 

More Types of Custody

Most situations end up in one of the situations listed above. Here are a few others that sometimes occur. 

Bird’s Nest – This is where a child lives in the same home all the time and the parents move in and out. The benefit is more consistency for the child but can be hard on the parents. 

Serial – This is where a child lives with one parent for a certain period of time (Ex: until they’re a teenager) and then they move in with the other parent for a certain time increment. 

Third-party – If the courts determine the parents are unfit to care for the kids, they can grant custody to another family member such as an aunt, uncle, grandparent or older sibling. 

Split – This is usually seen as a last resort, as it is hard on the entire family. Split custody is where one parent takes some children, and the other parent takes the others. This is difficult because children benefit from being with their siblings. Even if their parents have joint or alternating custody and the children are constantly moving from one parent’s home to the other, at least they always have each other. Split custody removes that and makes things complex. 

Do you have a question about the different types of custody? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

How to Start a Business in California

How to Start a Business in California

Want to start a business in California? The good news is it’s not as complicated as you might think. People do it every single day. As long as you go through these steps, you’ll be set up and ready to go in no time. 

Here are the basic steps to complete:

Step 1: Pick a Legal Structure

The first decision you need to make is how you want your company to be legally structured. Here are the four main structures you’ll see for small businesses:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
  • Corporation

Each structure has its pros and cons, but we highly recommend making either an LLC or a corporation. The biggest advantage they have is security. Your personal assets are protected from loss in case of a lawsuit against the company. If you have a partnership or sole proprietorship, a lawsuit against the business can also come after your own personal assets.

Step 2: Pick a Name

The most important thing here is to make sure you don’t pick a name that’s already been taken – especially by a company in your industry. You can do a business name search for what you’re thinking and see if anything pops up. If not, you’re probably in the clear. If something does come up, dig a little more to see if they might be a competitor or if they are in a very different industry. 

Once you pick your name, make sure you buy the appropriate Internet domain address to go along with your growing business. 

Step 3: Create Your Business Identity and Get Permits

Now that you know your name and business structure, it’s time to register your business. If you’re a partnership or sole proprietor, you don’t need to register your business. If you go the LLC or corporation route, you’ll need to submit an Article of Organization or Article of Incorporation respectively. 

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to go more local. Register your business with your local city and county so they have a record. If your industry requires and permits or licenses to do the work, get those ASAP before you start getting too many questions about it. 

Step 4: Pick Your Location

Now it’s time to start narrowing in on your business location. Will you have a standalone building? Use a vacant space in a strip mall? Or just do everything online?

There’s no right or wrong answer. The truth is you never know if a location will do well or not. That doesn’t mean you can’t research though. In fact, it should make you want to do more research to better understand the market. 

Step 5: Set up for Taxes

Taxes are handled a little differently for each of the business structures. We recommend going through this step with an accountant who is used to working with small businesses. They’ll make sure it’s done right and you aren’t setting yourself up to lose (too much!) money. 

These are the first steps to starting a business in California. Not too bad, right? The good news is it’s relatively simple. The bad news is that it takes a lot of time and effort. We are here to help. 

Have any questions about starting a business in California? Contact us today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

California Laws for Child Custody During the Holiday Season

The holidays are approaching us! When it comes to most families, the common fall and winter holidays are a great time to rest and spend time with your relatives. This can be very hard for moms and dads who have been through a divorce.

Are you planning on divorcing your husband or wife? It is imperative that you put all of your energy and time into creating a custody schedule that will be best for your children. Children need a thought out custody arrangement that also incorporates holiday plans, so that they know what to expect. 

How does a timeshare custody arrangement have an effect on the holidays?

What we mean by time custody is the time that is spent with the mom or dad. To say it an additional way, it reflects the time of physical custody with the child. You need to know the percentage of custody each parent will have. This could have an effect on how often you are allowed to see your kid.

But did you know that holidays are not exempt from this? If you would like to spend fall or winter holidays with your children, you might need to give up time spent with them during other times  throughout the year. Unless, the opposing makes an agreement with you, the time with your children cannot go above the timeshare percentage.

What about the holidays and time spent with your child?

You, as a mom or dad, are obligated to make a child custody arrangement prior to the divorcing finalization. You too need to agree on certain details about the mom and dad spending time with the children. Find an agreement with one another takes a ton of sacrifice and time. You will need to work with each other to find the best outcome for your children when it comes to holidays as well. 

Is there an age requirement for custody to be in effect for holidays?

Moms and dads to think about sharing a holiday with their kids altogether. It may be best to get along with your ex-husband or wife and spend the holidays together with your kids, rather than giving up the special day. This will most likely benefit your kids the most. 

Click here to learn a father’s custody rights!

What are some instances of custody agreement during the holidays?

You can make a custody agreement and split up holidays between each other in many ways. Below are some instances of custody agreements that have been used by moms and dads.

Switching the Holidays: Moms and dads can make an agreement to have their kids on different holidays. The holiday rotation will happen each year. For example, dad gets custody of the kids for Thanksgiving on every odd year. Mom gets kids on Thanksgiving for even year.

Splitting Up Christmas and Christmas Eve: These two days in December are very special for most families. Moms and dads will have an agreement to divide time with the children between Christmas and Christmas Eve. For instance, mom gets time with the kids on Christmas and dad gets time with the kids on Christmas Eve. 

Spring Break and Christmas Break: If moms and dads live across the country from each other, they need to make a custody agreement that meets both of the parents wants when it comes to spending time with the kids. Travelling could be expensive and take up a lot of time. Children could get anxiety and sadness when they are being sent from parent to parent. 

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

Courtesy of Cuselleration