April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983. In 2016, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation that: “During National Child Abuse Prevention month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is…

What are your duties under California Penal Code 290? The Sex Offender Registration Act requires you to registration annually if you are convicted of certain sex crimes. Formerly a conviction for any sex crime required lifetime registration. But the passage of Senate Bill No. 384, which commences January 2021, will establish a three- tier system…

A default judgment in dissolution of marriage cases is a judgment attained when the respondent fails to file a response. The petitioner then can file a request with the court to move forward in the case without the respondent’s involvement. “It is a fundamental concept of due process that a judgment against a defendant cannot…

The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is not always clear from state to state.  In general, it is fair to say that a misdemeanor is defined by the maximum length of time a person is incarcerated, usually no more than one year.  Crimes with a minimum jail time of over a year are…

Happy New Year and that means for many “cleaning” up their criminal record. My clients come to me because they want to “erase” a conviction for personal reasons but most do it because it negatively impacts them in getting a job or a professional license. A criminal conviction may lead to an administrative investigation and…

The noncustodial parent (the parent who is not the primary physical custodian) must make a prima facie showing of detriment to child from proposed move to obtain an evidentiary hearing. I just had a hearing in which the noncustodial parent who lives in California requested that the court order my client who is in Italy…

Trade secrets are defined in California Civil Code section 3426.1 (d) as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that: (1) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use;…

A client who did not have an attorney during her divorce last year focused her intent in getting sole legal and physical custody of their very young child. In essence, she waived her rights to a much higher child and spousal support along with community asset division and in exchange she would have sole custody….

I have a client that resides in Illinois while mom and children (only 1 remaining minor) presently all live in Israel.  Mother requested the Los Angeles County Department of Child Support (DCSS) to enforce a private divorce order. The issues are a request for a modification of child support and determination of arrearages brought forth…

Atty. Castañeda concluded a three-week trial and successfully argued for her client, among other things, attorney fees and sanctions.  Due to the international aspects of the divorce (i.e. business transactions in the Middle East, Asia and California), tracing financial information was a challenge. Atty. Castañeda strategically and comprehensively proved to the Court that the litigation…

All too often in family law parties “stonewall” one another. They make frivolous request. They inundate the other side with faxes, emails, messages, letters, useless interrogatories, and more. They refuse to accept a reasonable settlement offer. What can a spouse do? California Family Code, Section 271 basically states that if “the other side doesn’t play…

As a result of having been taken into custody, assessed and admitted pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code  (WIC) sections 5150, 5151 and 5152 as a danger to self or others, you are prohibited from owning, possessing, controlling, receiving, or purchasing a firearm for a period of five years from the date of discharge. A…

It is important to understand that when people live together, whether or not they are married, a “confidential relationship” arises between them. For married persons this relationship arises from a legally recognized nature of matrimony. For unmarried persons, certain important legal obligations are present but may be of lesser value. Nonetheless, due to the trust…

There are several ways a prenuptial agreement can be attacked and found invalid. A premarital agreement is unenforceable if a party against whom enforcement is sought proves either of the following: (1) consent was involuntary; (2) the agreement was unconscionable. I have a client that was not represented by an attorney at the time she…

Although family law and criminal law are two very distinct areas of the law, they frequently overlap creating challenges for lawyers who specialize in just one area. When a family law case involves elements of criminal law such as domestic violence, child abuse, restraining orders, alcohol  (DUI) or drug offenses, the case becomes exponentially more…

It is approaching July 4th and as many of us know many people enjoy “blowing” things up. It maybe a “homage” to the rockets’ red glare that Americans love fireworks and prior to 1950, few states regulated them. But due to concern over injuries, enactment of laws were implemented. Even sparklers burns at 2,000 degrees…

I had two clients call me recently about why they were not provided their “Miranda” rights prior to the police asking them questions. If you are not under “arrest,” the rights are not triggered. Both clients made admissions to the alleged crimes and the analysis then proceeds to whether they were under arrest and should…

With the travel season here beginning, you can be sure that the police will be setting up sobriety checkpoints.  In California and in many states, police conducting checkpoints must comply with a strict guideline that is laid out by case laws. In California, the landmark case is  Ingersoll v. Palmer.  Why are these case laws…

Divorces could take years and in California, at least six months minimum would be required. If you want or need to get divorced sooner, there is a Motion for Bifurcation in which a party asks the court to terminate the marriage and restore each spouse to their single status. In some situations, the parties’ or…

Professional licensing agencies may suspend or revoke a license issued for reasons enumerated in the California Business and Professions Code (BPC). For many who have criminal convictions, whether they are doctors, nurses, contractors, they will be served and must defend against an accusation that   impacts their careers and livelihood. I had a client come in…