Brownness

I Want A Divorce: Legal Reasons #13

keep-calm-because-i-want-a-divorceIt is never easy to make the decision to end a marriage.  Divorce can be a hugely personal and emotional process. More often than not, if uncontested, it can be that an attorney can handle the process for both parties. However, if there is significant property and children involved, it is best both parties are represented by their own counsel.   Here are three things to keep in mind

 

  1. Date of Separation:In California dissolution cases the phrase “Date of Separation” (“DOS”) is what we refer to as a “term of art”–it is a phrase with legal significance separate from its colloquial usage.

    In California, this legal term refers to the day that one spouse finally determined that his or her marriage was over, and subsequently did not change his or her mind.  If there is a contest over date of separation, the court looks to external behaviors which support the internal decision to finally end the marriage.  Commonly, the court will look at whether the parties maintain a romantic relationship, whether they hold themselves out in public as man and wife, whether they exchange articles of affection, whether they maintain joint finances, whether they engage in therapy or similar to revive the marriage, whether they communicate with each other or third parties about continuing the marriage, or getting back together, etc. The court is looking for “indicia of finality.”

  2. Fiduciary Duty: The California Family Code imposes fiduciary disclosure duties on spouses who are dissolving their marriage.  These duties require each party to disclose information and documents that are material to the case – without being requested. In transactions between themselves, spouses are “subject to the general rules governing fiduciary relationships which control the actions of persons occupying confidential relations with each other,” which “imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other.
  3.  Divorce Options:There are three main routes to take during a divorce. Mediation, collaborative divorce, and litigation.

    Meditation tends to be the least costly but will only be successful if both parties are willing to work together with one expert. All documents and matters discussed in mediation are completely confidential, however, the final judgement does become a public document and is filed with the court. This route of divorce is often the quickest route.

    Collaborative divorces involve divorce lawyers for each party involved. It generally costs more than mediation and will also take longer because there are both meetings with just the client and their divorce lawyers, as well as the other party and their divorce lawyers. Everything, except the final judgement, is kept confidential.

    Litigation often results when the parties involved cannot agree or work with each other, or if there is a history of abuse, or a history of a power imbalance. This process is not private — all of the pleadings are put into the public record. Litigation is the most costly of all the options because if the case goes to full litigation it can go on for a long time thus driving the cost of the divorce up. A judge will make the final decision in this type of divorce, but it can be appealed which can drive the cost up even more. This divorce route takes the longest as well.

Family

Coming Home

6357840794800179231895413296_tumblr_lkg7jkmfl01qe0za9o1_500_largeThere is nothing like being away from everything familiar to you for a few days and reflect on what’s important, what’s bothersome and what never mattered at all. As the sun rays bounced off the glorious green waters of Cancun, I held myself grateful for how much truly I have in my life. That’s the thing about gratitude, just like bathing, it is only effective when done regularly.

Time and time again, I am reminded of what I have and that if I only focus on what I don’t have, I will forever thirst for a happiness that is illusory. It takes stepping away from it all and reflecting on the things that truly matter. When all material things are stripped, it comes down to camaraderie, connection, and love.  Sure, it’s nice to have material things, but truly what remains are experiences and that comes from sharing moments with loved ones.

Although I went for a bachelor party. I came back feeling closer to my brother in-laws and other men who I have not had much time with before. It was a great reminder that when everyone is open to being connected, how much can be created and made stronger in relationships.

For that, I am grateful.

Food For Thought, Inpsiration

Facebook Hiding

mask-truth-self-quotes3It’s hard to be on Facebook sometimes. When tragedy strikes or some kind of win ( NBA finals), I get a steady stream of opinions, thoughts, and fights that it makes me want to quit social media. It is this kind of barrage that makes me wonder when the lines for oversharing were blurred. It feels as if everyone (including me) has a megaphone and we are just blaring away our mouth. Yet am I truly listening anymore? More and more, I just scroll, scroll, looking aimlessly at the shouts and then after a few minutes shut it off.

It feels like an empty snack. You keep consuming but never feel full.  It also a form of avoiding and hiding.  Unlike social media, you cannot turn off life, but it sure feels that way sometimes when I close that app on my phone. I feel I have shut of a gusher of information and images that no longer bombard my soul .Yet then I go back again. But sometimes there are moments. Just a breath. I remind myself why I choose to be on social media. To connect, to remember, to know my loved ones are ok and to reminisce. I put down the judgemental and avoiding hat and enjoy social media for what it is not what I want it to be. Just like life.

Brownness

So You Got Rear Ended. Now What? Legal Reasons #12

texting2 image (1)Last week, I had a new employee who was on her way to fill out their paperwork and begin training, and unfortunately ended up getting rear ended. This has become a common occurrence as the use of cell phones while driving has increased exponentially.

If you are involved in an automobile accident in which your vehicle is rear-ended, most of the time, the driver that hit your car from behind will be determined to be at fault, no matter why you stopped. Fault is not codified into the State of California vehicle code. Therefore, the police determine fault when they issue their accident report. This determination is based upon the damage to the vehicles as well as the basic “rule of the road” that requires a driver to be able to stop safely if traffic stops suddenly ahead of him or her. If he or she cannot stop safely, the driver is traveling too fast, too closely, or both, and therefore in violation of the vehicle code.

In a typical rear-end car wreck, the driver in front is either stopped or slowing when the driver in back hits the car from behind. While it is the policy of most insurance companies to accept that the driver in the back car is at fault in a rear-end collision, that is not the law. Therefore, insurance companies offer to settle claims based on their estimate of what would probably happen if the case came to trial–who would be found at fault, and how much they would be liable for. Generally, people who get rear-ended are not determined to be negligent, while those who rear-end them are.

No matter what, always get checked out by a doctor. Your health is always the biggest priority. And if you feel you are getting the run around from the party and/or their insurance, it might be time for you to call in your own big guns. 🙂

 

Legal

HowTo Get Out Of Your Gym Membership Contract: Legal Reasons #11

We are now in the middle of 2016, and there are some (many of us) who signed up for gym memberships with weight loss or getting fit as our New Year’s resolution. There are really only two paths. You either use the gym or you don’t. Now if you were ambitious, you perhaps signed up for a lifetime plan or perhaps you went to a gym that even has a bar (never mind that beer is always cheaper at home), but now that monthly cost stings each time you see it on your financial statement. You have heard the horror stories of how some had to pay for years.  Although California has laws in place, it is ALWAYS a good idea to speak to the manager at your gym. More often than they can either freeze your account or based on your situation, even cancel. In general, it is a good idea to be aware of California laws.

The Contract. All gym membership contracts must be in writing, and the gym must give you a copy when you sign up. The term cannot exceed 3 years, which means lifetime contracts are not allowed. Be sure to read every part of your contract carefully before signing. If a gym representative makes you any special offers when you’re signing up, be sure they are included in your contract.

Your Right to Cancel. Even after you sign your contract, you have 5 days to cancel. You must give your notice to cancel in writing by mailing a letter to the business. The gym then has 10 days to give you a refund. If you pay more than $1500 you may have additional time to cancel. Learn more about additional cancellation times at the California Department of Consumer Affairs website: http://bit.ly/1usXVLE.

Prior to cancelling a contract, you must be up to date on all membership fees and fees for any services you have used during that time.

Membership Fees. All fees, not including interest or finance charges, may not be more than $4,400 over the course of the contract, and a gym cannot require that you make payments for longer than the term of the contract.

If You Move. You have the right to cancel your contract at any time if you move farther than 25 miles away from the gym you signed up with, and if there is no gym available for transfer within 25 miles of your new residence.