710 S. Myrtle Avenue #247

Monrovia, CA 91016

Office: 626.789.1980

Ann C. Schneider

ATTORNEY AT LAW -- MEDIATOR

FAMILY LAW

The breakup of a marriage is almost always a difficult and fearful experience, but you need not go it alone.  I can help you navigate the legal process and facilitate communication to assist in crafting solutions to problems such as:

 

Divorce ("Dissolution of Marriage") / Legal Separation

The decision to divorce or separate can be a difficult one.  Even if you are only thinking of divorce/separation, you will want to consult an attorney in order to plan ahead regarding issues such as:

 

  • Safety Plan: If you are concerned with your safety, or the safety of your children, in the event of a divorce or legal separation, you need to plan ahead for your physical and financial protection.  

 

  • Records:  Know what documents and computer records may be important to have in the event of a divorce.

 

 

Paternity

If parents are married when a child is born, the law assumes that the husband is the father and the wife is the mother, so paternity is automatically established in most cases.  But for unmarried parents, parentage of their children needs to be established legally to ensure a child obtains all legal rights and privileges to which he or she may be entitled, such as:

 

  • Financial support from both parents
  • Legal documentation identifying both parents
  • Access to family medical records and history
  • Health and life insurance coverage from either parent
  • Inheritance rights
  • Public benefits such as social security or veteran’s benefits

 

 

Child Custody

I can help you negotiate for, or request that the court order, an appropriate child custody arrangement.  There are two elements to a custody arrangement—“legal” custody, and “physical” custody.

 

  • Legal Custody: Legal Custody determines who makes important decisions for your children (like health care, education, and welfare).  Legal Custody can be either "joint" (both parents share the right and responsibility to make the important decisions about the health, education, and welfare of the children), or "sole" (only one parent has the right and responsibility to make the important decisions about the health, education, and welfare of the children).

 

  • Physical Custody:  Physical Custody determines where the children will live.  Physical Custody can be either "joint" (the children live with both parents, or "sole/primary" (the children live with one parent most of the time and usually visit the other parent).
 
 
Child Visitation

I can facilitate negotiations, or help you obtain and order, for workable child visitation arrangements.  There are several types of visitation arrangements that should be considered:

 

  • Scheduled Visitation: With tutoring, sports, and other afterschool activities, child visitation arrangements can become complicated.  A detailed visitation plan will usually prevent conflicts and confusion and foster co-parenting.  Visitation schedules can include holidays, special occasions (like birthdays, mother's day, father's day, and other important dates for the family), and vacations.

 

  • Reasonable Visitation: An order for “reasonable visitation” does not have details as to when the children will be with each parent.  These orders are open-ended and allow the parents to work it out between themselves. This type of visitation plan can work if parents get along very well and can be flexible and communicate well with one another.  However, these agreements are difficult to enforce if there are any disagreements.

 

  • Supervised Visitation: An order for supervised visitation may be appropriate if there are issues with the children’s safety and well-being.  Examples are: (1) a parent has a substance abuse issue; (2) a parent has issues with domestic violence; or (3) a parent is reestablishing contact with a child after a long period of absence. 

 

  • No Visitation: A court may order no visitation to a parent under circumstances where, even with supervision, visitation by a parent would be physically or emotionally harmful to the children.  This is a rare circumstance which requires a finding that it is not in the best interest of the children for the parent to have any contact with the children.

 

 

Child Support

I can help you obtain an award of child support.  Child support is the amount of money that a parent pays every month for the support of children and their living expenses.  California uses a formula or “guideline” to figure out how much child support should be paid.  The parties may agree to an amount that is different from the guideline, but the court must find that this amount is in the child’s best interests.

Child support calculation depends on many factors, including:

 

  • The parents’ earnings and earning capacity
  • The parents’ non-employment income
  • The number of children
  • The time the children spend with each parent
  • The parents’ tax filing status
  • Whether there are children from another relationship
  • Health insurance expenses and uninsured health-care costs
  • Mandatory union dues and retirement contributions
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • Child care costs
  • Travel costs for visitation
  • Special educational needs and extracurricular activities

 

 

Spousal Support

I can assist you in negotiating for, or request that the family court order, spousal support.  The family court considers many factors in determining whether to order spousal support, and the length of time a spouse can receive spousal support, including:

 

  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • Each party’s earnings and earning capacity.  This factor includes consideration of the following:

          --  The marketable skills of the spouse requesting support

          --  The job market for those skills

          --  The time and expense the spouse will need to get the education or training to develop more marketable skills or to get a job;

          --  Child care issues

  • The parties’ ages and health
  • The parties’ debts and property
  • Whether one spouse supported the other while he or she obtained an education, training, career, or professional license
  • Domestic violence during the marriage
  • Tax implications

 

 

Property and Debt Allocation

The division of property and debts in a divorce proceeding can be a complicated process.  It requires an understanding of the types of property recognized in California:

 

  • Community/Quasi-Community Property/Debts:  In simple terms, this is property/debt which was acquired by the parties during the marriage, other than by gift or inheritance.  In California, each spouse or partner owns one-half of the community property and is responsible for one-half of the debt.

 

  • Separate Property/Debts:  This is property that a spouse owned or debt a spouse incurred before the marriage or after separation.  Inheritances and gifts made to one spouse are also the separate property of that spouse.  Income earned from separate property, and property bought with separate property, are also separate property.

 

Often, community/quasi-community property and separate property are mixed, or “comingled.”  For example, the down payment of the marital home might have been purchased with the separate property funds of one spouse and community property funds for subsequent mortgage payments.   As another example, a pension fund may include monies earned both before and during a marriage. 

 

I can help determine the separate and community values of the assets to ensure a fair property distribution.

 

 

Restraining Orders (Domestic Violence / Workplace Violence / Civil Harassment)

Incidents of domestic violence (violence, abuse, harassment, or threats between persons in an intimate relationship), workplace violence (violence, harassment, or threats in the workplace), and civil harassment (abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or serious harassment by someone you do not have a close relationship with (such as a neighbor or roommate) are on the rise.  Further, there are instances of persons filing false claims of violence or harassment to gain an advantage against another.  Whether you need a restraining order or need to defend yourself against a charge of violence or harassment, I can help.

 

 

Name Change

I can help you obtain a court order changing your name, whether you wish to change the name as a result of divorce or for another reason.

 

 

 

Each case is different.  Whether these issues can be resolved through a negotiated settlement agreement, or you need to assert your rights in court, my goal is to help you obtain a fair resolution in a cost-effective manner.

 

Call me at (626) 789-1980 or email me at aschneider@aschneiderlaw.com.  Your initial consultation is free.