I always wanted to be an attorney so I could help people. I realize this is an idealistic statement but, sometimes I “jump start” a new beginning for some of my clients. Here are some examples:

My client resided in Turin, Italy with her young toddler and we were in the midst of a very complex custody and visitation case. After several hearings, the court agreed that sole custody of the minor would be with my client. Visitation was ordered to occur in Italy and the father would be allowed to have visitation which my client always consented to but with certain parameters set. The parents are slowly parenting “together” and hopefully a visit to California will someday occur.

I took on a case of great complexity in Orange County Superior Court involving a case that went to trial, appealed, and now the husband’s passport was revoked. He has business in India, and it was critical that he is able to travel to and from the United States to India. The case involved re-evaluating the Judgment which was established in 2013 and court orders from 2014 to 2016. Luckily, the same judicial officer who handled the case in 2013 to 2016 is still the same judge assigned to the case. After several in-person hearings in court which involved witnesses, including the wife’s prior attorney (who the court requested to be present in a hearing), and “involvement” of the Child Support Services Department of Orange County, my client’s passport was released, and a six-figure overpayment was ordered for my client.

A restraining order hearing, whether I am representing the requesting party or defending the restrained party, harks me back to the days of being a Deputy District Attorney (albeit without a jury). The imminent danger(s) are present and one’s liberty (the restrained party) is at stake. It was a renewal of an order of a restraining order and the danger to my client, her child, and her mother was still as present, as it was three years ago. Hence, a permanent order was the goal. After several continuances, an in-person court hearing took place and after testimony of nearly ten witnesses, the judicial officer concluded that my client’s request for a permanent order must be affirmed.

I had a case/client in San Diego in 2016 that necessitated for us to prepare for trial but two weeks prior to the scheduled date, opposing counsel agreed to our proposed offer and a Judgment was finalized in January 2017. But around March 2020, this client called my office since he was experiencing some issues with the wife’s new attorney. He attempted to deal with the problem without an attorney but realized he could not. The issue was about arrears and he needed advice as to whether the calculations provided to him were accurate. More importantly, he wanted to “not be taken advantage of.” An existing request for order had already been filed by the wife’s attorney but no real effort to prevent a hearing was done. I am a firm believer in meeting and conferring with the opposing party/attorney to ensure that no court intervention is necessary. Unfortunately, even after my client agreed to the balance and paid in full, the attorney wanted his legal fees. The sole issue of her attorney fees was litigated, reconsidered by the court and finalized.

Law is a “grind”-some of my law school classmates are no longer practicing in the traditional sense. I still put on the suit, go to court, draft motions and if necessary, take a case to trial. It is a great deal of work but there are some highlights. These “wins” mentioned above occurred in 2020 and like all aspects of our lives and our world, the pandemic has dramatically made court hearings more challenging. As we look forward to 2021, I have not lost sight of the fact that many of our family and friends know someone who has lost a family member, friend, a colleague to Covid-19 and my prayers and hope are with them.

I opened the Law Offices of Carina Castaneda 15 years ago after having been a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County for 10 years. I have been an attorney in California since 1995 and even after all these years and the cases I have had the opportunity to work on, I continue to marvel at the complexity of legal work that is required of me. We are all anxious to turn the page to 2021 and I continue to be humbled in the trust that my clients place on me and my team.

Thank you for your continued support to the growth of the Law Offices of Carina Castaneda and as always, any comments or inquiries, do not hesitate to email me at [email protected] or call my office at 310-601-7144.

Happy New Year and may you and your loved ones have abundant blessings for 2021!

– Carina

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