Tuesday, November 16, 2010

California Family Law

Divorce - "Uncontested vs. Contested" - one where the partners can arrive at a decision as to the terms of the divorce without going to trial. Uncontested divorces progress much quicker through the court structure and are therefore less costly.

Spousal Support (Alimony) - previous known as "alimony". Spousal support is not obligatory in most states. Though, if the conditions are such that a spouse will face hardships; for instance, if he or she does not obtain financial support after the divorce, then spousal support must be considered.

Annulment - is a legal process for asserting a marriage null and void. Annulment varies from divorce where the court terminates an otherwise legal marriage on a specific date.

Legal Separation - is a likely step towards divorce under United States courts. Couples are legally separated if they have successfully petitioned the court to acknowledge their separation; merely living separately does not form separation for these intentions. A period of legal separation constitutes grounds for divorce; the duration of that period varies from state to state.
Legal separation does not by design lead to divorce. The couple may reunite, in which case they need do nothing in order to stay married. If they do not reconcile, and want to divorce after the statutory time period, they have to file for divorce.

Property Settlement - Community Property and Separate Property - California is a community property state. Which means that both spouses are deemed to evenly own all money earned by either one, from the start of the marriage until the date of separation.

Premarital Agreements - Pre-Marital Agreements (also known as "pre-nuptial" or "ante-nuptial agreements") are binding legal agreements between the parties.

Restraining Orders
- An order from a court directing a person not to do something, such as to make contacts with another, go into the family home or remove a child from the state. Restraining orders are normally issued in cases in which spousal abuse or stalking is feared - or has taken place - in an effort to ensure the victim's safety. Restraining orders are also generally issued to cool down ugly disagreements between parties.

Personal Injury
- It can be difficult to ascertain a dollar amount on injuries you suffered in an accident. There are so many matters to consider, the time lost from work, medical expenses for ongoing injuries, doctor's bills, pain and suffering … etc. Insurance companies deliberate all these issues when determining on how much to propose in order to settle your case.


Immigration and Naturalization:


    • Lawful Permanent - A "green card" gives you official immigration status (Lawful Permanent Residency)
      in the United states.

      A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently
      living and working in the United States. If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have
      a relative who is a citizen of the United States or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident, you must go through a multi-step process.

    • Residency - If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative
      who is a citizen of the United States or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident, you must go through a multi-step process.

    1. the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition

2. the Department of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, the foreign national, even if you are already in the United States. When an immigrant visa number becomes immediately available to you, it means that you can apply to have one of the immigrant visa numbers assigned to you.

3. if you are already in the United States, you may apply to change your status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available for you. This is one way you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number.

    • Visas - A nonresident alien is issued a visa allowing entry into the U.S. However, Canadian and Mexican
      visitors may be allowed entry without a visa. A nonresident alien is a non-U.S. citizen who does not hold a Resident Alien Card.

Orange County Family Law Mediation Attorneys

Mediation is appropriate for the majority of  couples seeking a divorce. However, if there are concerns regarding domestic violence or if one spouse is bullied or subjugated by the other, then Mediation may not be the solution.
In addition, some individuals are too uncomfortable during the divorce procedures. In other words, they are too upset and possibly incapable to sit in the same room with their spouse.
In several situations, Mediation can be accomplished in separate rooms but mediation is a voluntary procedure and both parties need to consent to continue.
The Mediated Arrangement is not legally required; therefore, either party can abandon from it prior to the Consent Order being accepted by the Court. On the other hand, most people having gone through Mediation, are equipped to endorse their arrangement as they sense a level of obligation to it.
It is always wise to have a family law divorce attorney  supporting you throughout the Mediation Procedure. The Mediator is there to provide particulars of the accessible alternatives. However, the parties' individual Family Attorney’s can advise them of their legal rights, responsibilities and expectations and make sure that they are aware of this prior to partaking in Mediation.
The Divorce Family Attorney should also inform the parties on the conditions of the Mediated Agreement prior to filing it with the Court.
Does Mediation work?
Given that the Courts do not accumulate statistics as to how many Consent Orders are attained via Mediation or otherwise, it is easier said than done to gauge how successful Mediation is. Mediators are not informed after they have completed their task whether the couple have gone to have their agreement ratified into a Consent Order. It is the public policy to promote Mediation and more and more couples appear to be deciding on this course

Flat Fee Divorce

Bay Area family law practice offers refreshing alternative to traditional divorce billing
Walnut Creek, CA – June 21, 2010 – Divorce is too expensive, fees are too unpredictable, and attorneys pad their bills to maximize profits. At least that’s the general sentiment shared by many divorce clients in California.
According to family law attorney Gary D. Sparks, there is a better way. Attorney Sparks, whose small family law practice has offices in Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Vacaville just outside the Bay Area, is one of the first Northern California family law attorneys to forsake the traditional “billable hour” model in favor of flat fee (fixed fee) pricing for his clients.
“Many of my clients are concerned about their legal fees,” says Sparks, “and are worried that their family law case will put them into bankruptcy.” He continues, “More importantly, clients lay awake at night wondering how much their next bill will be, or how much that letter, phone call or email will cost. Flat fee billing removes the uncertainty from the process and gives clients the peace of mind and ability to know up front what their case is going to cost.”
Under the traditional hourly billing model, a family law attorney collects an initial retainer or security deposit – generally around $5,000 – and then bills against that retainer for every hour or fraction thereof. Then, some 14-15 hours later when the funds have run out, the attorney will demand to collect an additional retainer from the client. This cycle repeats until the case is complete, typically some $15,000 to $25,000 (or more) later.
On the other hand, under the flat fee model, the attorney quotes the client a fee in advance for the case, and that fee remains fixed for the remainder of the case unless some unanticipated event occurs. But even then, the attorney quotes the client a flat, fixed fee for that additional event. The base flat fee for an uncontested divorce begins at only $950, while the base flat fee for a contested divorce begins as low as $6,000.
Sparks explains, “The client’s base flat fee is based on several factors, including the size of the community property estate and whether or not there are businesses or professional practices to divide. To keep fees as low as possible, the base flat fee is quoted based on the assumption that the case will settle.” However, this is not always the case. “Sometimes a client needs to prepare a motion or defend against a motion and appear in Court. Other times a client may be deposed. Or the parties may need to seek the Court’s assistance with settlement. For each of these events, an additional flat-rate fee is quoted and applies.”
Flat fee pricing for family law cases represents a substantial value for clients and simplifies the process for both attorney and client. But it is important to understand the limitations of flat fee pricing ahead of time to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. Therefore, Sparks provides his clients with a detailed, comprehensive fee agreement that fully explains what is and what is not included.
Sparks concludes, “Clients are grateful that we are able to quote a fee for the case, giving them the assurance of knowing that everything necessary will be done to move the case forward and that the attorney is not doing unnecessary work or otherwise trying to maximize legal fees.”

Mayport shrimp boat Miss Alberta capsizes; 1 dead

Mayport Coast Guard crews were off the coast of Amelia Island today, trying to determine if any pollution was caused by the Monday capsizing of a shrimp boat that killed a crew member.As of Tuesday morning, the Coaast Guard still had not identified the crewman, said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Evanson of the Mayport Coast Guard station. The sunken vessel, the 36-foot Miss Alberta, is posing no hazard to navigation for other ships and boats, Evanson said. The shrimp boat’s owner is responsible for removing the underwater wreckage, he said. Shrimper Tony Malone, first mate aboard another shrimp boat, the Joe Bip, said his boat got a distress call about 3 p.m. Monday from the Miss Alberta, which was shrimping nearby, about a half mile from shore. Waves were about 5 feet offshore and winds were coming from the south at 17.5 mph and gusting at 21 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather buoy off the coast of St. Augustine. Malone dove into the water to save the two-member crew. “The boat was already upside down,” he said. He said he found the captain, who he and witnesses identified as Bo King of Mayport, swimming with his dead crew member tethered to him with a rope.

DUI means driving under the influence.

DUI means driving under the influence.

Stop Driving.

If your license has been suspended for DUI or DWI don't make it worse by driving under suspension.

Never drink and drive.

Once you have hopefully dealt with your DUI,never drink and drive again. First get an attorney.

Get a taxi, if you have been drinking: some clubs will even help pay for it. Have a friend come and get you. Walk. Do anything but drive.

Find the best DUI lawyer in your area. DUI attorneys are well worth every cent you pay. Go to any classes they suggest, it could reduce your penalties or possibly reduce your DUI auto insurance rates. Do as much research into DUI laws as possible for your area.

Some DUI charges are misdemeanors and some are DUI felony. Second DUI and third DUI charges increase your problems dramatically!

DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE after a DUI it could lead to jail time.

Here's some info on some larger states on DUI

History of Lawyers

The first people who could be called lawyers were the great speakers of ancient Greece.Individual people were presumed to present a defense their own cases, but that was circumvented by having a friend better at speaking do it for you . Around the middle of the fourth century, the Greeks got rid of the request for a friend.Second, a more serious obstacle, which the Greek orators never completely overcame, was the rule that no one could take a fee to plead the case of another. This law was disregarded in practice, but was never abolished, which meant that orators could never present themselves as legal professionals or experts. They had to uphold the ruse that they were an ordinary citizen helping out a friend for free, and so they could never organize into a real profession,with professional associations and titles ,like their modern lawyers. If one narrows the definition to those men who could practice the legal profession openly and legally, then the first lawyers would have to be the orators of ancient Rome A law enacted in 204 BC barred Roman advocates from taking fees, but the law was widely ignored.The ban on fees was abolished by Emperor Claudius who legalized advocacy as a profession and allowed the Roman advocates to become the first lawyers who could practice openly—but he also imposed a fee ceiling of 10,000 sesterces This was apparently not much money; the Satires of Juvenal complain that there was no money in working as an advocate.Like their Greek contemporaries, early Roman advocates were trained in rhetoric not law, and the judges before whom they argued were also not law-trained But very early on, unlike Greece, Rome developed a class of specialists who were learned in the law, known as jurisconsults iuris consulti Jurisconsults were wealthy amateurs who dabbled in law as an intellectual hobby; they did not make their primary living from it. They gave legal opinions responsa on legal issues to all comers Roman judges and governors would routinely consult with an advisory panel of jurisconsults before rendering a decision, and advocates and ordinary people also went to jurisconsults for legal opinions. Thus, the Romans were the first to have a class of people who spent their days thinking about legal problems, and this is why their law became so "precise, detailed, and technical.The notaries or tabelliones appeared in the late Roman Empire. Like their modern-day descendants, the civil law notaries, they were responsible for drafting wills, conveyances, and contracts. They were ubiquitous and most villages had one. In Roman times, notaries were widely considered to be inferior to advocates and jurisconsults.