Domestic Violence Warning Signs to Watch Out For

Do you have an inkling that a loved one is suffering some sort of abuse? Here are a few domestic warning signs to keep in mind.

Domestic Warning Signs: Physical Signs

This is what most people think of when they hear the term domestic violence. Sometimes these signs are obvious to spot, other times they’re a bit more subtle. 

A few things to look for include:

  • Bruises on arms or legs
  • Swollen or busted lips
  • Black eyes
  • Hurt wrists
  • Marks on the person’s neck

Keep in mind that many times the victim will try to cover these injuries up. For example, they wear sunglasses even when they’re inside or it’s a cloudy day outside. Perhaps they’re wearing excessive clothing even though it’s hot outside.

Even if you don’t see any of these signs, there are others to watch out for.

Domestic Warning Signs: Emotional Signs

Not all domestic violence situations become physical. But you can almost always see some sort of emotional impact on the victim. 

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Sleep habits change. Sometimes the victim will just want to sleep all the time, or complain about not getting enough sleep. 
  • Excessive substance use, such as drugs or alcohol
  • Lower interest in daily activities such as work or social events
  • Constant anxiety 
  • Easily agitated
  • Lowered self-esteem, leading to being overly apologetic or acting meek

In a domestic violence situation, the abuser is trying to lift themself up and feel better by breaking down the victim. Whether it’s done verbally or physically, the end result is often the same. The victim experiences a roller coaster of emotions and it’s hard for them to cope. This leads to some of the warning signs above.

Domestic Abuse Warning Signs: The Abuser

So far we’ve mainly talked about what you may see happen to the victim. But another way to spot domestic abuse is by looking for certain behaviors in the abuser. 

At a high level, remember that domestic abuse is about control. The abuser is expressing dominance over the victim, and it can show up a lot of different ways. 

Jealousy – Does it seem like one partner tends to get overly jealous? This shows insecurity on their part, a common trait of abusers. 

Quick temper – Is one partner always setting off the temper of the other, even with minor things? 

Cruelty to kids or animals – Remember that the abuser wants control. Since kids and animals are more easily controlled than adults, abusers often show dominance by being cruel to those weaker than themselves. 

Controlling the victim – Does one partner always have a say in what the other victim wears, says or does? That’s not normal, and is a common sign there’s a domestic abuse issue going on.

Demeaning toward the victim – Some abusers will regularly tear down their partner. They may not necessarily have a bad temper while doing so, but the constant verbal abuse is not normal and is a bad sign. 

Domestic abuse warning signs aren’t always able to be seen. Sometimes the victim covers things up, or justifies the abuser’s behavior. But if you or someone you love is involved in a domestic violence situation, give us a call at 714.456.9118. We’ll help you through it.

A house cut in half

What is Property and Business Division?

In a divorce, what is property and business division? At a high level, it’s just like it sounds. It refers to how much of a couple’s property is divided between the two parties, as well as how a business is divided. This can be tricky though, as there are a number of factors that go into the division. 

Property Division – The Basics

During a divorce, most of the assets owned by the couple are considered to be jointly owned. These can be both physical assets and monetary assets. For example:

  • Homes (houses, condos, townhouses)
  • Furniture
  • Cars
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Precious metals such as gold or silver
  • Collections and antiques
  • Jewelry

Because these items make up the bulk of wealth for most families, they play a significant role in the property division part of the divorce. That said, there are a few exceptions that arise from time to time. 

Property and Business Division – The Exceptions

Even though most of the assets owned by a family are considered during a divorce, some tend to be left out and remain in the hands of a particular owner. Here are the most common exceptions.

  • Property owned prior to the marriage. Note that if the spouse is added to the title, this is more likely to be considered an asset that can be divided during the divorce. 
  • Pain and suffering money received from a personal injury judgement, assuming it wasn’t put into a joint account or all spent. 
  • An inheritance received by one spouse, assuming it isn’t incorporated into the rest of the family’s assets such as using cash to buy mutual funds in a joint account.
  • A gift received by one spouse from a third party. For example if your in-laws buy a car for your spouse and it’s only in their name. 

Notice a theme? The general theme is that if assets get brought into the family and are considered owned by both parties, it won’t be an exception anymore. 

Business division is also something that can get messy.

Business Division in a Divorce

Several things go into the business division in a divorce. 

First – Is it operated by just one spouse who started the business before the couple was married? If so, there is a better chance the business will not need to be divided. Even though the income from the business may be considered during the alimony and financial support piece of the divorce, the business and its assets may not need to be split between the couple.

What if the business was started during the marriage, and both spouses participate? Maybe they both work for the business or maybe both owners tend to use the business funds as their own personal money to pay for things like meals, clothes, cars or vacations. In those cases, the court is more likely to have the business divided up. 

Every property and business division case is different. For more personalized advice and guidance, please give us a call at 714.456.9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com

Courtesy of Cuselleration

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

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. 

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!

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

 

Father’s Custody Rights in California

In regards to kids and their parents, parents have legal rights to maintain the relationship with them. These California laws see that both the mom and dad have the same chance at being close with their kids. Also, California laws have been implemented so that the California courts or other government representatives will not be allowed to interject in the relationship between a kid and parent unless highly needed for the protection their kid. In regards to the father’s custody rights or child custody cases in California, California family law courts utilize the highest quality interests of the minor as the standard.

The Result of a Dad in a Kid’s Life

Often times, the mom is seen as the first provider and highest on the totem pole in a kid’s life. Studies have recently found that a dad or father figure also has a great effect on emotional developments and on a kid’s childhood. Many dads are known as the caring one and effective at disciplining the child. The involvement of the dad in a kid’s life makes a huge impact on 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 the wedlock and the mom’s husband is considered the kid’s dad.

-When a kid is born and a male has been in the home with the kid’s mom and acts as family, has committed to the kid, and is seen as the kid’s dad even if they aren’t related biologically.

-The kid’s fatherly needs to be known when these two circumstances are not currently happening in the home.

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

Parents should sign a voluntary declaration of paternity to make the child’s paternity known. The medical provider needs to provide the mom and the alleged dad the correct information when it comes to time sign this voluntary declaration form when a mom who is not married delivers the baby in a medical setting. During the signing of this form, both the mom and dad need to state that they are the parents to the kid. The dad’s name is legally written and signed on the birth certificate. The dad then is responsible to this kid when this is finished.

The kid may or may not be acknowledged as a party in this paternity action case if he or she is below the the age of twelve. But he or she will be considered a party in this case, if they are above the age of twelve. The court may assign a representative for the kid in these two circumstances. This person appears in court on the kid’s and represents what will most likely be in the kid’s best interests.

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

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Do Children Have Rights in California Child Custody Cases?

Nobody gets married thinking it will end in divorce. That unfortunately usually becomes the result. A break up in marriage is a rough time for everyone who is part of the family, specifically the kids. Both parents contribute to the benefits of their kid. When the mom or dad might be the top person to care for the kid, the other parent might be giving to the child monetarily. Both of these responsibilities are important for supporting a flourishing child. Usually assistance from a great family lawyer is just as essential to your life as a parent. You should not experience this break up by yourself. Obtaining a good lawyer to represent you is crucial. The California court system will have a great understanding of your point of view and how you care for your child when your attorney manifests your case. You should steer clear of expensive errors by  letting our experienced attorneys to secure your custody rights and represent you when it comes to the needs of your children.

When do California courts listen to what kids need in these cases? A kid may want to live with one parent over the other after the split. However, is it right to include the kids in the custody disputes in court? Specifically for kids, divorce cases can be extremely traumatizing. Is it okay for a kid to witness the pain and animosity of his or her parents during the trials? We think “occasionally.”

What the child has a say in

There are many laws in California that secure the rights for the kids. Usually the courts in California want both parents to contribute financially while having joint custody. The mother, father, and the court are responsible for making decisions on the best interest of the kids and ensuring that they have a healthy environment in the custody arrangements.

Kids have a great love for their mother and father. They would like both parents to be proud of them. However, it can become hard when kids are stuck in the middle of a nasty divorce. The mother and father usually disagree on who gets the child when, child support and visitation. All of these arrangements are already confusing for kids, so it may be best to not make children choose sides and cause a stressful situation. The laws in our state are cautious in getting what they need from the kid to make a decision.

How old does a child need to be to make decisions?

Even though there aren’t laws that say a certain age a child needs to be to make custody decisions, most courts in California think that the age of thirteen or fourteen is old enough to have a say as to why they prefer to live with the mom or dad. The court will consider that the adolescent age of the child is usually difficult and that he or she has a good chance of behaving badly to cope with the split.

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!

Courtesy of Cuselleration