An annulment is very different from divorces. In a divorce, there are no questions about the marriage. You simply want to end it and move forward with your life. In an annulment, the marriage itself is questioned—whether it is valid and enforceable. In California, there are 2 types of annulments: (1) void marriage (not legally…

I have a client that has a visitation order of a mere 5% due to a prior restraining order. He came to my office and wants to know what his options would be. Since the restraining order had expired, a modification is “necessary or proper” in the child’s best interests. Generally, a custody or visitation…

Like most states, the standard for child custody determinations in California is the overall best interest of the child with an emphasis on assuring the “health, safety, and welfare” of the child and “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents. This is especially true when there are no issues of child abuse, domestic violence, or…

Family Code (FC) 2030 (a) to (d) enables a party without financial resources to have an “equal” playing field. Access to representation and preservation of each spouse’s rights is critical. This code section applies to divorces, annulment or legal separation cases and any subsequent family law matter related to those three types of actions. The…

A mother who resides in Norway is pursuing a case against my client who resides in California. As noted in my prior articles, Department of Child Support will enforce child support cases even if the mother and child is outside of the United States since we have treaties with certain countries. My client did not…

It is the end of the year and for many that is a time to assess one’s financial situation. For many clients, it seems like child support debt is something they can never “erase.” Unlike many debts, bankruptcy does not “zero” out your child support debt. In fact, the public policy towards collecting child support…

This area of law is unique in that it requires one to make “business decisions” (i.e. money and property) as well as decisions concerning “personal relationships” (i.e. who gets the children, how often does the mother/father see the children).  These factors combine with the complexity of the rules and procedures of family law make one’s…

Not having the funds to retain an attorney is a source of great anxiety for many family law litigants.  Proceeding without an attorney can have negative economic consequences. It is already an emotional issue and it seems even more impossible to navigate and comply with the strict guidelines required in a divorce case. Without a…

The language of Family Code (FC) section 4320(i), one of the factors that the court must consider in evaluating post-judgment or “permanent” alimony orders states: “Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in section 6211, between the parties, including but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated…

The U.S. government has negotiated federal- level reciprocity arrangements with several countries on behalf of U.S. jurisdictions. If a parent who owes child support lives in one of the 26 countries, that country will assist the U.S. in working the case, and vice versa. These countries are formally called Foreign Reciprocating Countries or FRC. I…

Ex parte motions, or “emergency” motions, are common in divorce and custody cases. Ex parte relief is requested when it is impractical or impossible to wait the minimum statutory period for the court to hear a “regular” motion. For example, a new client came in last week, wanting to stop her husband from taking their…

A support order is a judgment and they are installment payment plans. Each installment is subject to a legal interest rate (California is 10%). I have had many clients inquire about how many missed payments are required to commence enforcement. There is no rule that a series of payments are required. As soon as one…

An annulment is very different from divorces. In a divorce, there are no questions about the marriage. You simply want to end it and move forward with your life. In an annulment, the marriage itself is questioned—whether it is valid and enforceable. In California, there are 2 types of annulments: (1) void marriage (not legally…

I have had clients call me in the United States due a child support order established in either a different country of a different states. Just last week, I had an individual residing in Arizona and was frantic about finding an attorney who knew how to “handle” state child support cases. His case in particular…

“Arrears” means past due support.  Arrears are created when a child support order is made and there have periods of time in which payments were paid partially or not at all.  If you owe arrears, you may be able to reduce the arrears (and interests) significantly.   Arrears owed to the local child support agency for…

I am in the middle of a case that will likely be going to trial since one of the contested issues is when will spousal support terminate—opposing party wants it continue “until remarriage, death of either parties, or until further order of the court.” Unlike with child support orders (where the court retains jurisdiction to…

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. The court will strongly scrutinize the facts on a case-by-case basis factors that the judge…

When alimony or spousal support is an issue when jurisdiction terminates, if at all should be discussed. In California, a marriage of 10 years is usually defined as a marriage of long duration. As such, it is important to discuss not only how much spousal support should be but for how long. Unlike with child…

Atty. Castaneda won a dismissal for her client on all 10 counts of family law contempt charges on July 9, 2015. On September 22, 2015, the Court of Appeal, (2nd District) affirmed the trial court’s order dismissing all the charges. The appellate court in a 2 line decision stated: “The court has read and considered…

If you think your divorce will be a fight, prepare to take the steps prior to the start of your divorce. Part of the divorce process is figuring out how you will pay for things until your divorce settlement is finalized. Despite significant gains by women, in many marriages it is still the husband who…