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Can I File for a Summary Dissolution

The Orange County (California) Superior Court’s website (www.occourts.org) explains that couples who have been married for less than 5 years; have no children; do not have many debts or property; and agree on how they wish to divide their belongings may file for a easier divorce processes referred to as a "Summary Dissolution". The requirements are: 1.) Married less than 5 years (date of marriage to date of separation); 2.) Have no children, born or adopted, before or during the marriage (and are not currently expecting); 3.) Do not own any land/buildings (real property); 4.) Do not rent land/buildings (except for your current residence, as...

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Blood Testing & DUIs

On September 20, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown approved a Senate bill to amend § 1524 of the CA Penal Code, allowing officers to obtain the necessary search warrants in DUI investigations to conduct blood testing on DUI suspects when they refuse to comply. Previously, a search warrant could only be obtained if there was probable cause, supported by affidavit, in an effort to collect evidence of a felony. Since most DUI convictions are classified as misdemeanors, this provided a problem for law enforcement in collecting key evidence in DUI cases. The Fourth Amendment also protects citizens from...

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2014 Brings New Laws for Drivers in California

The California Legislature passed the following laws that will take effect (for the most part) starting January 1, 2014: AB 61 allows drivers to park at broken parking meters or pay stations up to the posted time limit without receiving a ticket from the local city or county. AB 194 prohibits drivers under 18 from using any sort of mobile device, even hands-free, while driving unless it is for an emergency call to law enforcement or other emergency service. AB 8 will continue to impose extra fees on vehicle owners through 2023 when they register their vehicles; including: $3 for alternative fuel development...

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Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce (Dissolution)

Being that they both require the same forms and usually lead couples to the same eventual outcome - a dissolution of marriage – it’s understandable that there is often confusion about what legal separation and divorce each entail. The main difference is that a divorce is considered final, whereas a legal separation is not. In a legal separation: 1.) Your marital status will NOT be changed. 2.) You are unable to remarry. 3.) There is no jurisdictional requirement to be met before filing, whereas to file for divorce (or dissolution as it is legally referred) in California, you must be a resident of this state for...

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“Bah-du-bum-bah-bah…New York City Father Not Lovin’ It”

Earlier this month, the New York Daily News reported about an Upper East Side father who was labeled as “wholly” incapable of being able to take care for his 4-year-old son after he refused to cave on the child’s demand to eat at McDonald’s. David Schorr, an attorney and college teacher, and Bari Yunis, a fashion firm executive for Rue La La, have been engaged in a contentious custody battle over their Happy Meal-loving son. Schorr claims that he did not want to take his child to the fast food giant because he had been eating too much junk food, and instead...

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Withholding Rent When Landlords Ignore Serious Problems

Renting can sometimes be a frustrating experience, especially when a landlord drags their feet or outright ignores major issues tenants are experiencing. One tactic that fed-up renters are often curious about utilizing is the “rent withholding remedy.” By law, a tenant is allowed to withhold some or all of the rent if the landlord fails to resolve serious defects that violate the implied warranty of habitability (authority: Green v. Superior Court (1974), 10 Cal.3d 616). If the bolding and underlining wasn’t enough, serious is the key word here… In the Green v. Superior Court case, the following defects were deemed severe enough to justify...

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O.C. Cracking Down on DUI and Traffic Offenders to Increase Road Safety

In October of this year, The O.C. Sheriff’s Department announced they have been awarded a $163,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program that will attempt to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the roadways by implementing special enforcement and public education efforts. Since 2011, traffic-related deaths have been on the rise – 2.6% higher in 2011 than in 2010 – and that trend is expected to continue rising. DUI-related incidents are responsible for the largest portion of these deaths, at nearly 30%, with drug-impaired driving and distracted driving becoming increasingly common contributors. According to the department’s news...

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Pets Considered Personal Property in Divorce

For any animal lover, the fact that courts in every state currently regard pets as material property in divorce proceedings, having the same consideration as a dining room set, is a difficult concept to grasp. Although this court battle regarding a French bulldog named Stitch was not the result of a divorce, it did bring up the issue of how the law applies to our beloved “furry family members” and whether their well-being should be given consideration more akin to child custody, instead of mere property ownership. You can read the specifics of the case at http://savestitch.webs.com, but in short – Stitch was the center of a...

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How Do Domestic Violence Laws Protect Children?

Acts of domestic violence can leave a lasting impact on children in many devastating ways, either as victims or witnesses of abuse. Current literature suggests children exposed to domestic violence are more likely than their peers to struggle with a host of long-term difficulties, ranging from behavioral and social issues to emotional and cognitive problems. Using “the best interests of the child” as a guideline, many domestic violence laws have provisions in place to protect children. For example: Increased criminal penalties. In many states, a conviction for domestic violence committed in the presence of a child may result in stiffer penalties such as longer...

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage in California

On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the private sponsors of Prop. 8 did not have legal standing to appeal after the ballot measure was struck down by a federal judge in San Francisco.  The court’s action sends the case back to California, where state and federal judges and the state’s top officials have said same-sex marriage is a matter of equal rights.  This now opens the gates to same-sex marriage in CA. as being legally recognized. However, there it may take about 25 days before marriage licenses can be issued and marriages performed as there...

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