Frequently Asked Questions
I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF MY OLD CONVICTIONS ARE ON MY RECORD, CAN YOU HELP?
Yes, we will instruct you how to get your record, and advise you of your options for expungement.
I PLEAD GUILTY TO SOMETHING, AND NOW THEY WANT TO DEPORT ME, WHAT CAN I DO?
In many cases we have been able to withdraw your guilty plea, we will need to see the transcript from the hearing, and can advise you.
How soon can I be divorced?
Six months and one day from the day the person is served, or when the judgment is filed, whichever is later.
How much does it cost?
Each case is different, depending on many factors, a consultation will help you determine that. Any consultation fee will be credited toward your initial deposit if you retain our services.
Do you do mediation?
We can represent you at mediation, or act as mediator for Family Law.
I am afraid of my ex - what are my options?
Your first line of defense is to call 911. If there is time to prepare, Restraining Orders are a valuable tool to assist you in protecting yourself and your family. Sometimes criminal charges must be brought, and in extreme cases you may qualify for a confidential address.
What will happen with our children?
In California, custody should be granted by an order of preference, according to "the best interests of the child." Family Code Section 3040(a). The best case is to both parents jointly, followed by placement with the parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent. If to neither parent, then to the person or persons in whose home the child has been living, as long as it is wholesome and stable.
Do children need an attorney?
In certain civil actions, a minor will require a Guardian ad Litem. We can help with that. Sometimes children are appointed "Minor's Counsel" to make sure their voice is heard when the parents can't stop fighting. If Department of Children and Family Services becomes involved, you may loose custody for a period of time while the matter is investigated.
What is a 730 evaluation?
A "730" takes its name from Evidence Code 730 which states: "When it appears to the court, at any time before or during the trial of an action, that expert evidence is or may be required by the court or by any party tot he action, the court on its own motion or on motion of any party may appoint one or more experts to investigate, to render a report as may be ordered by the court, or to testify as an expert at the trial of the action relative tot he fact or matter as to which the expert evidence is or may be required." You and your spouse usually split the cost, and the expert, often a psychologist, comes in to interview everyone in the child's life and render an opinion with the court about who may be the better parent.
ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE:
What is the difference between a will and trust?
Both a will and a trust will pass your earthly estate. Only a trust avoids probate.
How much is a will or a trust?
A Will (with Durable Powers of Attorney) is typically $450.00 per person.
A Trust for one settlor is $1,500.00, for most couples we charge $2,000.00 unless there are complexities.
Will Joint Tenancy protect me from Probate?
It will if only one of the two on title (with rights of survivorship) dies. If both go, then the heirs will need to probate the property--even if you have made a will. There is legislation making its way through the California legislature, which, if passed, will give our clients a new option, that of transfer on death. This way some small estates may be able to avoid probate without creating a trust.
What are Probate fees?
They are fees you pay to the executor and to the attorney, in addition to court fees. The are:
4% of the first $100,000 of decedent's estate (based on market, not equity of any real estate)
3% of the next $100,000
2% of the next $800,000
1% of the next $9,000,000
5% of the next $15,000,000
A reasonable fee thereafter