Check out our Summer 2018 newsletter. It has been a busy and exciting period for everyone at Sperling Diarian & McAllister.
Everyone knows the latest health trends and the “magic diet” that will get you in the body you want for this Summer. Paying attention to physical and mental health is a common, everyday activity, and rightfully so. But what about your legal health?
Your legal wellbeing is more important to you than you know, and failing to take good care of this aspect of your life could have serious implications for your future, your family, and your finances. Here are just a few tips to make sure that these areas of your life are adequately protected from an unexpected lawsuit.
- Have a Will or Trust. These testamentary documents could save your heirs thousands of dollars in probate fees and attorney’s fees. A Trust is particularly useful because the property in a Trust does not go through probate, the time-consuming and expensive process of transferring property from the decedent to his or her heirs. Even if you do not have much property, a simple Will designates the administrator of your estate and who receives what. Contact us today for help in drafting these vital documents.
- Define Contractual Relationships. So many contractual relationships are casual and do not involve a written contract. If you rent a room to a tenant, for example, you may not have bothered with drafting a specific contract, setting forth the rights and obligations that you and your roomie have to one another. But if things go south, there are laws in place that could severely impact your ability to get that unpleasant roommate out of your home, or to protect yourself from an unfair landlord. A landlord/tenant contract clearly defines the boundaries, expectations, rights, and obligations of all Parties, which is essential if the landlord/tenant relationship falls apart.
- Keep Updated Insurance Policies. Everyone knows that auto insurance is a legal requirement in California, but what about renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance? Having inadequate coverage could be financially devastating in the event of a fire, earthquake, or injury on your property. If a guest gets hurt on your property or is bit by an animal, do you have sufficient coverage to pay the attorney’s fees, damages, and other costs associated with such an injury? Contact your policyholder to make sure.
- Buy Worker’s Compensation or Malpractice Insurance. If you are a professional, such as a lawyer or a doctor, with assets, make sure that you have an up-to-date malpractice insurance policy. Similarly, if you are a contractor, construction manager, or entrepreneur with people working under you, make sure you have adequate Worker’s Compensation insurance, even if you believe that your underlings are “independent contractors” and not “employees.” It could save your financial welfare. A serious claim of malpractice or workplace injury could strip you of your home, savings, and retirement accounts without these protective policies in place.
- What About Unexpected Lawsuits? Even if none of the above categories seem to apply to you, there is always the terrifying possibility of an unexpected lawsuit. A small car accident that leads to a claim of injury, or words spoken in anger that lead to someone filing for a restraining order, in today’s world, it is impossible to know when a lawsuit is right around the corner. Even if there is absolutely no basis for the lawsuit, you will probably still have to foot the bill for attorney’s fees upfront. You might be able to recover those fees down the road, but most defense attorneys charge you first, then ask for reimbursements later. Spend a little time thinking about how you would approach the problem if it happened to you by researching legal plans, double-checking your insurance policies, or even calling an attorney to ask for general advice.
The attorneys at Sperling Diarian & McAllister have built a reputation as being honest, hardworking, and fair. We are committed to protecting your interests, helping your financial planning, and protecting your assets. Contact us at (818) 205-9090. We are happy to assist you.
In California, when one parent decides to move away from the other and take the children along, the case becomes a “move away” case. Both parents are free to go wherever they want, whenever they want. The only time that it becomes a move away case, is when the moving parent wants to take the children along.
If you are planning on moving away, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Even a move of a short distance can be a “move away.”The Court has found that a move away case exists where the other parent’s relationship with the children will be affected by the move. In Los Angeles, that means that a move of a fairly short distance could be considered a move away case if heavy traffic prevents the other parent from exercising their old visitation schedule.
- Sole legal custody does not equal the right to move away. Even though Family Code 7501 states that the custodial parent has the right to change the child’s residence, Courts will not grant the move-away without a consideration of all relevant factors. The landmark case on move away, In Re Marriage of Burgess(1996) 13 Cal.4th 25 and its successor, In Re Marriage of LaMusga(2004) 32 Cal.4th 1072 established a lengthy set of factors used by the Court in determining move away cases.
- These are the LaMusgafactors:1) The reason for the proposed move; 2) The child’s interest in stability and continuity in custodial arrangement; 3) The distance of the proposed move; 4) The age of the child; 5) The child’s relationship with both parents; 6) The relationship between the parents; 7) The wishes of the child; and 8) The extent to which the parents currently are sharing custody. A discussion of all eight factors is a blog entry in and of itself.
- The move-away process will likely be a lengthy one.If you plan on moving in the next two months, do not expect the Court to be done with the move away evaluation. Most Courts require a separate evaluation of the child and family situation by a third party, in most cases a Parenting Plan Assessment (PPA) or similar assessment. Due to high demand and low availability, these assessments can take months to complete.
- Moving without the Court’s consent could be detrimental to your future success.If a parentage (unmarried with children) or divorce case has been filed and there is no Judgment, moving without an agreement or Court order is a violation of the Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs) and could place you at risk of a contempt of Court action. Even if your case is post-judgment, Courts do not look kindly on parents who move away without an agreement or Order, and the decision could impact the Court’s order when the assessments are completed.
- The remedy for a move-away without permission is return of the child, not the other parent.If the other parent to your children has moved away without your consent or a Court order, the remedy is an order placing the children in your custody. The Court will not make an order that the other parent return to their former residence. In some situations, such as where the non-custodial parent travels for work, it may not be feasible to be the primary caretaker, regardless of the injustice of the move.
This is just a brief introduction to this complex area of law. It has been said that move-away cases are the hardest cases for the judge to determine, because the impact on the parents and the children is so extreme, even when the right decision is made.
If you are planning on moving away with your children, or if you have learned that the other parent plans on moving, do not wait to get help. The attorneys at Sperling Diarian & McAllister have tried numerous move-away cases, and we can help you. Call us today at (818) 205-9090 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our newsletter for Spring 2018!
You have probably heard the rumor that under the new Tax Law, spousal support (alimony) will no longer be counted as income to the payee, and will no longer count be a deduction to the payor. For decades, this has been the status quo.
The silver lining is that this new rule does not come into effect until January 1, 2019. If your divorce is entered before then, you’re in the clear. And it looks like the law will not affect divorce Judgments entered prior to January 1, 2019.
What does this mean for you if you are thinking about divorce, or in the middle of an open divorce case? According to the American Bar Association, there is a prediction that divorce rates will skyrocket in 2018 as couples try to take advantage of the tax law before it’s gone.
One thing for certain is that it will affect negotiations in family law disputes. Gone are the days when the paying spouse can agree to pay spousal support “after taxes,” i.e., pay the payee’s tax burden on top of the regular spousal support. This will now be status quo. That is bad news for the payee because they now have one less bargaining chip to up the amount of money they see in their spousal support awards.
But the payee spouse is not the only one who could be negatively affected by this. The paying spouse also takes a hit because they will have to pay income taxes on their entire wages, taxes that may otherwise be offset by the deduction for spousal support. A CPA can best advise on the dollar-for-dollar impact the law will make on high-earning payors.
If you are thinking of divorcing, then seriously consider taking advantage of the tax law in 2018 before it expires. Talk to your CPA or financial advisor as soon as possible to figure out the tax consequences to you. Remember that even though 2018 seems like it just started, the year is almost up to try and finish your divorce. With California’s six-month mandatory waiting period, even if you file in February, your earliest divorce date is in August, and in actuality most divorces take a lot longer.
The attorneys at Sperling Diarian & McAllister is here to help! Contact Mitchell Sperling at (818) 205-9090 Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, don’t stay silent. There are systems in place to help protect you. Even if you and your abuser are not married, the Court can help you get away from your abuser and find shelter. Domestic violence does not just mean physical assault or battery. It can mean harassing messages, emotional abuse, and threats of violence.
A Domestic Violence Restraining Order can help you. These orders were designed specifically for individuals who suffer from abuse from a spouse, domestic partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé/fiancée, or close family member (such as a parent/stepparent, sibling/stepsibling, or in-law, to name a few).
While a Temporary Restraining Order is readily obtained, you will have to prove up your case in Court for a “permanent” (1-5 year) Restraining Order. Here are some tips to help you prepare your case, whether you are represented or in pro per (unrepresented by an attorney):
- Keep detailed records of all incidents, noting the dates, times, and places of when events took place. Store your records in a place where your abuser cannot find them, such as your vehicle, cell phone, or office. Also take notes of any witnesses who could testify about the events.
- If you feel threatened, call the police. Law enforcement is there to help you and to make sure that you are safe.
- Do not stay at home if you are afraid that your abuser will find out that you intend to file for a Restraining Order. Stay in a hotel, or with a friend (preferably someone whose address your abuser does not know).
- If you and your abuser share children in common, you can ask the Court to protect your kids as well, but you have to be able to show why the kids need protection. If they were also victims of your abuser’s anger, or if they witnessed your abuser’s anger towards you, that may be grounds to have them protected.
- Your abuser will have the right to cross-examine you at the hearing, so be prepared to answer questions from him or her. While the judicial officer may field questions that are harassing in nature, it may be extremely emotionally trying to have to answer inquiries from your abuser.
There is a way out of domestic violence situations. We can help you, and you do not have to suffer in silence. Remember, domestic violence does not just mean physical abuse. The Courts recognize that many other actions constitute domestic violence, to name a few, harassment, credible threats of violence, and credible threats of child abduction.
For more information, contact Mitchell Sperling with Sperling Diarian & McAllister at (818) 205-9090. We can help you.
It is a common, although mistaken, belief that the family law courts favor the mother in custody and visitation cases. In fact, the Court cannot give either parent precedence for custody or visitation based solely on gender. This has even been codified in various sections of the California Family Code.
If the mother of your children tries to tell you that you do not have rights to see your child, she is incorrect. You have rights, too. You have equal rights to have custody or visitation with your children, even if your name is not on the birth certificate (as long as you can show the Court that there is a bond between you and your children).
The attorneys and staff at Sperling Diarian McAllister and Shore wish you a happy and loving Father’s Day.
We have changed the name of our firm from The Sperling Law Firm to Sperling Diarian McAllister and Shore. We are excited to announce this change.
Attorney Mitchell Sperling is the founder of Sperling Diarian McAllister and Shore based in Los Angeles County. Mitchell’s practice is focused on resolution of family law disputes, including, but not limited to, divorce, child custody/visitation, support, and division of assets. Mitchell represents major stars, producers, director, writers, and other celebrities. Mitchell Sperling was born in the early 1950’s, an era where life was idyllic, free, and easy. Educated at local schools in Los Angeles, Mitchell soon became an aficionado of the Los Angeles lifestyle. Mr. Sperling is an active member of the legal community. He serves as a volunteer family law mediator and a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Attorney Aree Diarian is partner attorney at Sperling Diarian McAllister and Shore and works to vigorously represent her clients in all aspects of marital dissolutions. She earned her J.D. at Trinity Law School, where she graduated with cum laude honors, and earned her B.A. at University of California, Irvine, where she graduated with magna cum laude honors. During her years in law school, she was an active leader in numerous campus organizations, including a nonprofit corporation that provides legal services to the poorest and most needy segment of society in Southern California. Aree also served as Editor on the law review board.
Attorney Lauren McAllister graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, minoring in English Literature. She attended law school at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, where she graduated cum laude. In addition to her J.D., Lauren received her Certificate in Dispute Resolution and her Certificate in Criminal Legal Practice. She also served as an Executive Editor of the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal. Lauren is passionate about family law and providing the highest level of representation to clients.
Attorney Steven Shore graduated from University of West Los Angeles 1993. Mr. Shore has been certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a Family Law Specialist. He has spent his entire career working hard to protect the rights of California and build a better community. Steven is highly experienced in Family Law, Criminal Law and Civil Law. He combines his knowledge of law with a compassionate approach to each client.