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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Warning Signs of an Abuser

The warning signs of an abuser are often easy to dismiss. While you may think that your husband is just "hot-tempered", his actions may be giving you clues to something more. The following article points out some of the characteristics of a potentially abusive man, and why you shouldn't lightly dismiss the signs.

Break the Pattern of Abusive Men

Women who get involved with abusive men are typically those who had abusive childhood home environments. This kind of upbringing tends to normalize abusive behavior in all relationships. What this means is that women from this kind of a background are not as keen to the subtleties of abuse the way “healthy” women are.

On a positive note, there is a silver lining here—all behavior can be relearned, including the ability to recognize early signs of abuse as unacceptable behaviors in a relationship. Once this is learned, a woman will be able to break free from unhealthy relationships with men who are no good for her.
by: Womens Divorce

To read this article in its entirety, kindly click here.


For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/--

Divorce Considerations

A divorce considerations guide to financial and legal strategies for women.

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, or are currently in the divorce process, the most important thing you need to do is accept responsibility for the outcome of your divorce. Because a woman's standard of living generally drops at least 30% after a divorce, the decisions that you make now can have a considerable effect on your future.

It is wise to establish a plan of action instead of going into your divorce blindly. Begin by being well informed and organized with the Divorce Record Keeper, a comprehensive divorce considerations help guide. This resource will enable you to keep track and record everything about your divorce from start to finish in a easy to reference fashion.

If it is inevitable that your marriage will end, utilize the following divorce considerations to protect yourself. Most importantly, if your spouse has initiated proceedings, do not sign anything until you are represented and informed by a lawyer. Also, do not use the same lawyer that is representing your spouse. Retain your own attorney to level the playing field and have fair representation.

Divorce Considerations on Money: Consider consulting a certified financial planner that is skilled in divorce proceedings.
by: Womens Divorce

To read this article in its entirety, please click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/--

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

IN DIVORCE WHO GETS THE ORGANS?

Dr. Richard Batista’s wife’s health was failing, and so was their marriage. To save them both, he offered to be the kidney donor his wife Dawnell badly needed.

Dawnell recovered, but their marriage didn’t. A few years later she filed for divorce. Now her husband says he wants his kidney back. If he can’t have it, he wants a payment of $1.5 million, the estimated worth of the organ.

Medical ethicists say Batista is unlikely to get either, as it’s illegal to exchange money for an organ and the law is clear that no gift, once given, can be forcibly taken back.

This is a sad story on all fronts. But would it be possible 10 or 20 years from now? As Dubner and Levitt wrote in The Times Magazine, our repugnance toward assigning monetary value to human life has grown, receded, and changed over time.

How long until, and under what conditions, will a market in donated organs become acceptable? Written by: Freakonomics

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/--

IS DIVORCE CONTAGIOUS??

Maybe. A new working paper finds “that divorce can spread between friends, siblings, and coworkers, and there are clusters of divorcees that extend two degrees of separation in the network.” Rose McDermott, Nicholas A. Christakis, and James H. Fowler relied on a 32-year sample from the Framingham Heart Study for their study. The authors conclude that “attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages serves to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship, and that, from a policy perspective, divorce should be understood as a collective phenomenon that extends far beyond those directly affected.”
Written by: Jon Forest

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/--

CHILD CUSTODY

You may face child custody issues if you are divorcing, separating or even if you are not married to the child's other parent. A custody order will determine the rights and duties of each parent and who gets to make decisions about where the children live, their education, etc. In most cases, both parents will have an on-going joint custody relationship with the children. Sole management of the children is only given if there would be severe negative affects on the physical or emotional health of the children.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/--

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Divorce Settlement Considerations

As you consider your divorce settlement, you may be tempted to sign it just to get things over and done with. This is a bad mistake. Even if everything looks fair and equitable, you may not really be getting a good deal. Below is an article by By William Donaldson, that outlines some major areas to consider in your divorce negotiations.

Divorce and Your Finances - The 7 Most Costly Mistakes

Each year there are nearly 1 million divorces in the United States, or about 50% of all marriages (2002 United States Census Bureau statistics). The real tragedy, however, is the financial devastation that occurs to many individuals after their divorce.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Top 5 Things To Consider When Hiring A Divorce Attorney

Hiring a divorce attorney to handle your divorce is a very important decision. The following are a few important guidelines to follow when hiring a divorce attorney.

1. Attorney's Experience
Any divorce attorney you consider should have substantially experienced in handling divorce cases in your area. An experienced divorce attorney will know what to expect of the judges in your jurisdiction and should be able to use this knowledge to your advantage. Additionally, the attorney should practice primarily in the field of divorce law.

2. Client Testimonials
The best way to decide which divorce attorney to use is to find out what former clients have to say about the attorney. If you do not know someone who has been a client of that particular divorce attorney, you should consider asking the attorney for a list of clients that you can contact who can describe their experience with the attorney.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Adult Children of Divorce

Adult kids of divorce (known as AKODs or ACODs) may be equally or more harmed by the loss of family stability and by parents' poor boundaries than are younger children.
It is commonly accepted that divorce has a developmental impact, and often a serious one, on teenagers and young children. The effect of their parents’ divorce on children who are already considered adults, though, is often dismissed. Adult children of divorce, or ACODs (AKODs, another common acronym, stands for "adult kids of divorce"), are often expected to be an "adult" and support their parents through the pain of separation and divorce. They may also be drawn into their parents’ arguments in ways that younger children might not be...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Tips for Raising Your Child Alone

No one ever said that raising a child alone would be easy, but sometimes every single parent needs help. Here are some tips for single parents to help ease the stress of going it alone.

You’re Not the Only One
It is easy to feel alone when you are a raising a child by yourself, but according to Parenting Without Partners, more than 12 million families in the United States are single parent families because of a death, divorce or seperation. Families with only one parent are becoming the “norm,” and resources are becoming more available for single parents.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Equitable Divorce Solutions: Alternative to Divorce Disputes

Marriages break up, your family doesn't have to. There is an alternative to traditional divorce solutions that will work better for everyone, especially the kids.

There is an Alternative to Divorce Disputes.

Sometimes your divorce really is more a matter of growing apart, than anything else. While there may be underlying issues that one or the other partner has (or both); mature, intelligent people are usually able to overcome these in the better interests of their children. The old method was to fight about who gets what, and who has control and custody of the children. Now, several couples have found ways to make things for better for both them and the kids. This is a collaborative divorce model that allows families to stay together, while still allowing the parents to have their own lives, separate from each other. Can it get better than that?

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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The Emotional Stages of Divorce

Similar to grief, the emotions faced in a divorce are complex and won't go away easily, but being more self-aware could help you cope better.

Divorce could also be coined “Relationship Death” as the emotions experienced are fairly similar to grieving over the loss of someone dear. The path to letting go of your marriage and finding acceptance is a difficult one, but being aware of what you are going through will help you navigate this challenging life transition. The negative feelings may not go away but harboring hope and staying positive is truly the path to recovery...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Maintaining Your Credit Status After Divorce

Divorce can be one of the most devastating events in one’s life. But beyond the heartache, there is another pitfall that can bring on huge headaches and threaten your reputation as a financially responsible adult. Your credit standing and identity confidentiality can be serious components of a divorce case.

Many people assume that divorce is primarily about division of property. However, when two individuals dissolve a marriage, there are usually shared debts and often mortgages and other loans in common which need to be carefully handled...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Should I keep Records of Support Payments?

YES. It is very important to keep a notebook with the following columns: Date Due, Amount, Date Paid, Arrearages, Check Number. No payment should either be made or taken in cash, since there will always be a disagreement later or about whether a payment was made. Such disagreements create unnecessary court hearings. Judges generally will give no credit for payments claimed to have been made in cash. It is usually cheaper to be accurate about all payments made or received, than to attempt to gain an advantage. That makes good records important. Also, the obligor's professional or driver's license may be suspended for failure to pay.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Monday, February 22, 2010

10 Misconceptions About Divorce Mediation

Mediation is the sensible alternative to litigation particularly when people are divorcing. When you think about divorce, you immediately think of lawyers, courts, judges, and litigation, not to mention expense and aggravation. People are not as familiar with mediation and often have erroneous notions about what the process of divorce mediation is all about.

The following are some of the common misconceptions about divorce mediation:

1. My spouse and I cannot be civil to one another; we argue all of the time. I thought that for mediation to work the couple must be on amicable terms.

This is not true. Mediators are trained to deal with volatile situations. Take a look at labor negotiations or negotiations in the middle east. Alternative: Divorce Mediation uses a clinical psychologist and family law attorney team when mediating a divorce. Their combined skills in dealing with difficult situations can reduce the acrimony and even help couples to learn the skills necessary for successful negotiations.

2. I won't need an attorney if I decide to mediate.

This is false. In fact, we urge couples seeking a divorce to have an attorney as a consultant to give legal advice and to go over documents prepared by the mediators. While the Deborah Vaupen of Alternatives is an attorney, she will assure each party that their best interests are being safeguarded.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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A best-selling Journey Back From Divorce

Author Elizabeth Gilbert often asked people she met in her travels if she could include them in the book she planned to write.
"Don't worry, nobody ever reads my books," she would tell them, shrugging off their concerns. "Except maybe my parents and a few friends."
That was before Eat, Pray, Love.
Gilbert's hugely successful memoir, chronicling her year abroad following a painful divorce, is published in 30 languages. More than 1 million copies of the paperback are in print...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Is Work Or A Divorce Keeping You From Your Child?

For parents burdened by a divorce or a heavy workload, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay in touch with their children and each other. Visitation rights might decree that a parent only gets to see a child every other weekend, or perhaps the parent returns home from the office so late each night that their kids are already asleep. Additionally, children themselves are becoming busier and busier - extra academic studies after school, practice with the sports team - which further reduces the contact between parent and child. Whatever the reasons, a communication chasm is appearing between many parents and their children.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Fight or Flight? How Men React To Divorce

I think it's important to understand the natural inclinations we have when we react to divorce. Each of us has a different response to things based on our previous experiences.
Fight or Flight - Which is Better?
As science has proven, our bodies and minds have two responses to stressors. It's called the "flight or fight" response. Either we react by fighting back against whatever is causing us stress or we run away. Divorce, and all that is wrapped up into it, is definitely stressful. It's stressful on us and it's stressful on our family and especially our children...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Innocent Victims of a Litigious Divorce: The Children

"The war of the Roses" depicted every couple's worst nightmare. Two people who were once in love are engaged in a major battle where both sides lose. Divorce is second only to death as the most stressful of life's experiences. And litigated divorce increases the emotional stress many times over due to the hostility generated and the high financial cost. This is the tragedy of an acrimonious divorce. Each side hires a lawyer as their hired gun.

There is an alternative to the bitter, acrimonious litigated divorce. Divorce Mediation mitigates the lengthy, costly and often damaging effects of a litigated divorce because it is more efficient and is sensitive to the emotional toll placed on spouses and their children. Couples are encouraged to communicate directly to one another thereby by-passing the indirect and expensive client-to-attorney-to-attorney-client communication chain. Our approach to mediation combines the psychotherapeutic skills of a psychologist and the legal skills of an attorney so that all aspects of dissolving a marriage can be addressed: legal, emotional and financial. The co-mediators are specially suited and trained to safeguard the best interests of the children, and acknowledge a couple's pain associated with a divorce without allowing those emotions to control the settlement procedure.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dividing Pension and Retirement Benefits

Under the Family Code of California, community property is divided between the spouses 50/50. Retirement benefits are a form of employment compensation, like earnings. Thus, regardless of when the benefits are vested or matured, for pensions based on time of service as opposed to a point system fn-1, the benefits are community property, to the extent earned during marriage, up to date of separation. For example, if the Participant [spouse earning the pension] earns benefits under the plan for 240 months, and is married prior to separation during 160 of those months, 2/3 of the benefits are community property. The other spouse therefore has a right to 50% of that 2/3 = 1/3 of the pension benefits. When these rights are established through an appropriate order [see below], the other spouse is recognized by the pensions as an Alternate Payee...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Evaluating Spousal Support

Unlike child support, only vague guidelines are established in California for evaluating the amount of spousal support. Unfortunately, broad latitude is given by judges with varying attitudes. Different results appear in cases with similar factual situations. Generally speaking, spousal support is based on the reasonable needs of the wife as they relate to the husband's ability to pay, in order to maintain the Marital Standard of Living, established during the marriage. Major factors commonly employed to determine the appropriate amount of support are as follows...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Negotiation tip: Patience and Persistence Are Your Hidden Strengths

Patience and persistence are two of the most effective weapons in your negotiation arsenal. Winning negotiators know that by staying calm, determined, and focused they gain advantage that translates into favorable deals.

During the negotiation process you test your counterpartís expectations and goals as well as your own. Agreement is reached only after each party is ready to move from the wishful into the realm of the possible. Change takes place over time in small, constant, incremental movements. You cannot rush the process. The right number at the wrong time is the wrong number...


To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Kids Learn to Bear Divorce

It's no secret that divorce is hard on kids.
Wendy Lokken, co-author of ""You and Me Make Three"", knows the heartache families experience when they go separate ways.
""I am a child of divorce and I am divorced with children,"" Lokken said.
That's why Lokken, a Naples resident, joined authors Gwendy Mangiamele, Edna Cucksey Stephens and illustrator Heather Drescher to write a book for kids about divorce. They'll sign copies of the book this month at three Naples book stores.
Offered along with the book is a teddy bear named B.B. the Bear who offers comfort and a safe place to talk about feelings.
""I was raised in North Dakota and divorce was just something we never talked about,"" Lokken said...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is Infidelity A Reason For Divorce?

Many women across America are faced with unfaithful husbands during the course of a marriage and weigh the pros and cons of divorce.
Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, author of Adultery: The Forgivable Sin, says her study reveals that only 35 percent of marriages can thrive after infidelity and that more than half of all marriages have had one person commit adultery...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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California Divorce Attorney Talks About "Contested" and "Uncontested" Divorce

A case is contested if the parties cannot agree and every one of the issues involved in their particular situation. Common areas of disagreement include, but are not limited to, the following: grounds, custody, visitation, division of assets, child support, maintenance (alimony), payment of family debts, contribution toward educational expenses (college or parochial), payment of health insurance for the dependent spouse, income tax structuring, etc...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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10 Questions to Ask Your Divorce Attorney

With a few clicks of the mouse and a web search query for the keywords "questions to ask a divorce attorney", you will find thousands of results listed. Divorce is a well addressed topic, and suggested questions for divorce lawyers are numerous. In other words, there are hundreds of questions that one could possibly ask - from general to case specific. Assuming fees and general attorney experience questions have been answered, there are ten basic questions that your family law attorney should be able to address...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Custody and Visitation

"Custody" is an emotionally laden term. To parties in a divorce, it often takes on the unintended meanings. Many parents believe that if they are not awarded custody, that they have somehow been determined to be an inferior parent. That is not the case. Custody determinations are necessary to provide stability for children in the way they are raised. It also helps to provide a home base and security which are important considerations for children of all ages, and even more so for the very young. Custody determinations in Minnesota are based on what is in the "best interests" of the children.
There are two types of custody, "legal" and "physical" custody...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Planning for Divorce

Nobody marries with the expectation of failure. Married couples never contemplate that the person they once loved could later seem to be a stranger and perhaps even an enemy. Yet, statistics paint an ugly picture. Approximately 4 out of 10 marriages today end in divorce. In divorce proceedings, women lose financially, their standard of living may drop as much as thirty percent in the first year following a divorce...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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California Divorce Attorney on the First Steps of Divorce

So it's official - you are getting a divorce. Wait, don't head straight for the couch with bonbons and a box of tissues. Now is not the time to fall apart; it's a time to step up to the plate and take control of your situation, effectively managing your divorce and transforming yourself through this transition...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Monday, February 8, 2010

Alternative to Court: Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is a new form of alternative dispute resolution that is being used to resolve family-law cases. It is, quite simply, a collaboration between both of the parties in a divorce case, their attorneys, and whatever other professionals they may need to settle their differences without going to court. In order to participate in a collaborative-law setting, both parties and both of their attorneys must agree not to fight in court. If either party does go to court, then the collaborative process ends, both of the parties' attorneys must resign, and each party has to find a new lawyer and start all over again...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Best California Divorce Attorney On What Discovery Is

"Discovery" is what makes real-life practice of law different from television dramas. Nothing in the law happens suddenly, and very little happens by surprise. Your lawyer has the right to ask your spouse about everything related to the case. That means just about everything in the area of finances and issues related to custody of your children. Included in discovery are subpoenas, interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and depositions...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Unreported Income and Hidden Assets

Unreported income and hidden assets are often alleged in divorce proceedings, with the spouse who is not running the business claiming that unreported income should increase both the spousal support award and the valuation of the family business. In civil litigation, it is often a partner or shareholder that is alleging that someone in his business is hiding income. The process of finding and proving unreported income or hidden assets is often one of the most difficult assignments of a forensic professional, and the costs must be weighed carefully against the potential benefits. However, in some cases, the process is much easier than one might think, as the following case histories illustrate...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Disobeying Court Orders Leads to More Trouble...

I'm sure we can all agree that people do foolish things. One of the most foolish is to disobey a court order, partic-ularly in a domestic relations court where matters of custody and family support are concerned. And compounding the foolishness are the attemps of attorneys who try to rationalize their clients' disobedience.Both clients and attorneys often rely on the same two excuses to try to justify disregarding court orders. They are (1) the other side did it first and (2) the court's order was based on dishonest or incorrect information.

Neither of those excuses works...

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Best California Divorce Attorney on If You're Thinking About Divorce

A little pre-divorce financial planning can go a long way towards making the divorce itself run more smoothly as well as providing you with additional protection. Doing your own homework can also save you money in legal fees. Here are some tips that you might want to download and keep handy...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Replacing Custody Battles With Parenting Plans

Children need both parents. Except in cases where one parent is abusive or unable to provide proper care and supervision, children benefit when both Mom and Dad play major roles in their lives. Mediation helps parents figure out how to manage child care under a totally new set of circumstances...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Divorce Tips: Alimony

There are a lot of people out there who believe that with every divorce there comes spousal support, otherwise known as alimony. And I will be the first to admit that before researching it and going through a divorce myself, I thought the same thing. But I found out very quickly that wasn't necessarily the case. There are some situations where you can expect to pay alimony regardless of what you try to do, but there are also cases where there will be no alimony awarded or at least it will be very short lived...

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Will the Judge Consider a Child's Preference in a Custody Matter?

There is no specific age when a child can decide where he/she will live; it depends on the age and maturity of the child and the circumstances of the case. The court can consider the child’s preference if it finds that the child is old enough and sufficiently mature to reason so that the child can form an intelligent preference as to custody...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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What Factors Are Considered in Child Custody Cases?

The California Family Code states that children should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage, or ended their relationship. In addition, it is the policy of the state to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing. All court orders for child custody must be designed to further these goals...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Children and Parentage in Domestic Partnerships

A child born to registered domestic partners will be considered the legal child of both partners without regard to either partner’s biological relation to the child.

Inclusion on the Child’s Birth Certificate:
Lesbians using artificial insemination can both be included on the child’s original birth certificate.
Gay men using a surrogate must obtain a court judgment of parentage to both be included on the birth certificate.

To obtain a court judgment, complete an adoption or obtain a judgment of parentage.
Adoptions:

Second Parent Adoption:
Available to all couples
The legal parent is not required to give up any of his rights to the child for his partner to adopt.
More costly.
More invasive home studies.
More time to complete.

Step-parent/Domestic Partner Adoption:
Available to registered domestic partners only
The legal parent is not required to give up any of his rights to the child for his partner to adopt
Easier because child is presumed to be residing in the home and the person chosen to adopt has been chosen by a fit, custodial parent.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Termination of Domestic Partnerships

Termination Without Filing a Proceeding for Dissolution only if:
The Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership is signed by both domestic partners.

No children have been born or adopted into the relationship, either before or after registration, and neither of the partners, to their knowledge, is pregnant.
The domestic partnership has been in existence no more than 5 years.
Neither party has an interest in real property wherever situated, with the exception of the lease of a residence occupied by either party which satisfies the following requirements:

The lease does not include an option to purchase
The lease terminates within 1 year from the date of filing the Notice of Termination.
There are no unpaid obligations (excluding automobile obligations) in excess of $4,000 incurred by either or both parties after registration of the domestic partnership.

The total fair market value of community property assets (excluding encumbrances and automobiles) is less than $32,000 and neither party has separate assets (excluding encumbrances and automobiles) in excess of $32,000.

The parties have executed an agreement setting forth the division of assets and the assumption of liabilities of the community property, and have executed any documents, title certificates, bills of sale, or other evidence of transfer necessary to effectuate the agreement.

The parties waive any right to support by the other.

The parties have read and understand a brochure prepared by the Secretary of State describing the requirements, nature, and effect of terminating a domestic partnership.

Both parties desire the domestic partnership to be terminated.

Termination shall be effective 6 months after the date of filing the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State.

Termination if No Longer Living in California:
Domestic partners must agree to allow CA courts to have jurisdiction over dissolution and other proceedings regarding domestic partner status.
CA’s Recognition of Non-CA Same Sex Unions:
A legal union of two persons of the same sex, other than a marriage, that was validly formed in another jurisdiction, and that is substantially equivalent ot a domestic partnership shall be recognized as a valid domestic partnership in this state regardless of whether it bears the name domestic partnership.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Child Custody

During dissolution, the highest emotional impact of the spouses often surrounds child custody. The Best Interest of The Child, is the standard that the court will use to determine where the child will be placed. The court uses this standard to decide who the primary care giver will be. Often times Custody is shared equally.
If the court must get involved, often the parties are sent to family court mediation to work out a parenting plan. Mediation is when both parties attend a conference with a neutral party in order to discuss proposals for custody and support arrangements The court typically looks at the status quo to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Both parties are encouraged to create a set schedule of shared-parenting. An example is having weekends with the child, rotating holidays, or weekly visits. After mediation, an attorney can formalize any agreements and litigate any unresolved issues.

Sometimes psychological evaluations of the children or parties are recommended. The primary goal is to find out if either parent suffers from a dysfunction which impairs their ability to care for the children. During the evaluation, the parties are subjected to a series of psychological tests and observations. A psychologist may also view the history of the family parenting plan, while giving most weight to the most recent plan. Generally a psychologist supports the most recent parenting plan for the child, except if there is a valid reason for dramatic change.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Discovery Phase of the Family Law Process

The third step involved in a dissolution of marriage is generally the discovery phase. This often includes the taking of depositions. A deposition is generally conducted in our conference room or the offices of the opposing counsel. A court reporter is present. At that time, I will be asking questions of your spouse for the following purposes:

(1) To secure information;
(2) To solidify testimony so it may not be changed at future hearings or trial
(3) To obtain necessary documentation to adequately present your case
(4) For the purpose of evaluating witnesses.

After the deposition, many times subpoenas are sent out to verify the information obtained at the deposition. By the time the first three steps are completed, the emotional involvement of the parties has generally subsided to the level where many cases are in fact resolved by settlement. We will then formulate a settlement offer for the purpose of resolving the case in total. Please be assured that no offer of settlement will be made without your knowledge. If the settlement offer is accepted or amendments thereto are agreeable to all parties, a settlement agreement will be prepared. This document essentially indicates which assets will be allocated to the wife and which assets will be allocated to the husband. It will also address the issues of custody and visitation, together with support and all other matters. Once the settlement agreement is signed by both parties and their attorneys, it is filed with the Superior Court in the form of a binding court order.
If there are custody and/or visitation disputes, they are now referred by the Court for mandatory counseling at "Conciliation Court" (within the Courthouse) prior to the Court hearing. If an Order to Show Cause is filed on your behalf, a copy will be given to you. Please note the date set for Conciliation and the hearing and immediately call to confirm your presence at both scheduled dates. The Conciliation date is mandatory, and you must appear for that meeting or the Court can order sanctions, fines or other orders against you.

If the matter cannot be resolved by stipulation, it will proceed to the fourth step, which is trial. A Mandatory Settlement Conference date approximately six (6) to eight (8) months from the date on which the trial is originally requested will be assigned. At this Mandatory Settlement Conference, we will be required to meet with a judge or one or two attorneys who limit their practice to Family Law. These attorneys or the judge will review our Settlement Conference Brief which we will have prepared in advance. They will review the positions of both sides with respect to all issues. They will then give a recommendation for the purpose of helping the parties resolve the case. If the matter is not resolved, the case will proceed to trial, usually within forty-five (45) days of the Mandatory Settlement Conference.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Monday, February 1, 2010

Do I Need A Divorce Attorney?

Good question, we hear that a lot, can I not just do the divorce on my own? Can I represent my case and my divorce myself in court? So when do you need a divorce lawyers help? It kind of is a no brainer, you know you need a lawyer for certain things, if you have been arrested, getting sued, if you have been charged with a certain crime; yes these are really good times to have a lawyer at hand, these are times that you may just be able to get through a legal battle on your own without a lawyer by your side...

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Domestic Partnership Law

Domestic partners are two adults sharing their lives in an intimate andcommitted relationship of mutual caring.

Requirements to Become Domestic Partners:
Both persons must file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State.
Both persons must have a common residence.
Neither can be married to another or be a domestic partner with another, which marriage or partnership has not been terminated, dissolved, or adjudged a nullity.
The two persons are not related by blood in a way that would prevent them from being married to each other in this state.
Both persons are at least 18 years of age.

Either:
Both persons are members of the same sex, or one or both of the persons meet the eligibility criteria under Title II of the SSA as defined in 42 USC Section 402(a) for old-age insurance benefits or Title XVI of the SSA as defined in 42 USC Section 1381 for aged individuals.
Both persons are capable of consenting to the domestic partnership.

Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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California Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage

California has a "no-fault" divorce system, which means that a dissolution can be granted if the court finds "irreconcilable differences" as the cause of the divorce. A requirement to dissolution is that one spouse must be a resident of California for 6 continuous months and of the county for a continuous 3-months prior to filing the Petition.

Dissolution takes place after six months and a day have passed since the Summons and Petition have effectively been served in the Respondent. Generally one spouse requests temporary court orders by filing for an Order to Show Cause hearing.
Discovery is then engaged in. During discovery, the parties exchange documents and information that is relevant to the case. A Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure is one aspect of discovery. This document is a court form which each party is required to list the community and separate property of the spouses. Following discovery, the parties and their attorneys will often attempt to settle the case without incurring the expenses of trial. If the case is agreed upon at this stage, a Marital Settlement Agreement will be prepared by an attorney. This agreement will have all the essential terms that the parties agreed on. The agreement is a contract which is signed by the parties and their counsel. In the event that a settlement is not reached then the parties attend a settlement conference, if the parties still can not reach a settlement, then a trial will likely take place.


For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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Overview of the Family Law Process

In California, one party initiates the dissolution proceeding by filing a Petition. The respondent will then be served the Petition (either personally or by mail). The party originally filing the Petition is known as the"Petitioner" and the other party is known as the "Respondent".

Following receipt of the Petition, the Respondent has 30 days (unless granted additional time by the Petitioner's attorney) in which to file his or her responding statement. After the 30-day period the case can be set for a Court hearing.
The first step in preparing for a dissolution of marriage includes preparation of the following pleadings:

(1) Summons
(2) Petition
(3) Order to Show Cause (for the purpose of requesting relief at the first hearing); (4) Temporary Restraining Orders
(5) Declarations
(6) Income and Expense Declaration
(7) Response, if appropriate
(8) Responsive Declaration to Order to Show Cause, if appropriate.

At our first meeting, we generally prepare all necessary paperwork in order to either initiate the divorce or to respond to the Petition filed by the spouse. These pleadings are then generally served upon the other party.
Once the pleadings are served upon the other party, the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage can be granted dissolving the parties' marital status, at the earliest six (6) months from the date of service. The purpose of the six-month waiting period is to encourage reconciliation between the spouses, and if in fact a reconciliation occurs during this period, kindly contact our offices and we will see that all paperwork is stopped.

After the pleadings have been drafted and served, the next step is the Order to Show Cause, the initial hearing. Generally, the following issues are addressed at the initial hearing: (1) Spousal support;(2) Child support;(3) Child custody and visitation;(4) Restraining orders;(5) Use of the residence and motor vehicles;(6) Joinder of any pension plans;(7) Request for attorney's fees and costs; and,(8) Any other miscellaneous relief which may be necessary in order to maintain stability for the benefit of the children and the parties. The first hearing will normally occur within twenty-five (25) days of the date the pleadings are initially filed with the court, absent any continuances.

At this hearing, the attorneys will argue the case and the courts generally will not take testimony at this time.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/




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