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Are There Advantages to a Mediated Divorce?

Will mediation work for your divorce?Divorce can be a stressful experience for most couples. Depending on the type of relationship that existed before the split, a divorce can be destructive for the entire family. Fortunately, there is an option for divorce that relies on cooperation and that takes place outside of the courtroom. Mediation is where a disinterested third party helps former spouses come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce. For some couples, there are major advantages to a mediated divorce.

  1. Mediation takes place out of court: Mediation does not involve a courtroom or a judge. Instead of a judge, a neutral third party (mediator) helps former couples come to a compromise on the terms of their divorce. Decisions on child custody and the division of property are worked out by couples with the help of a mediator.
  2. It is less expensive: A mediated divorce is less expensive than a regular divorce. It takes less time and does not involve multiple lawyers or time off work to attend court. You and your spouse work with a single mediator who fits into your busy schedule. There may be fewer disputes during a mediated divorce. With a regular divorce, disputes involve separate court dates and more attorney’s fees.
  3. Mediation is good for the kids: Divorce is incredibly stressful on children. They may have to contend with you and your former spouse fighting over disputes. Worst of all, they get no say in the terms of the divorce.
  4. You control the outcome: With a normal divorce, you are at the mercy of your attorneys and the judge. They are the parties that will ultimately decide the outcome of your divorce. This is not the case with mediation, where you, your spouse and your children have control over the outcome.
  5. Mediation is not adversarial: A typical divorce can become nasty. Attorneys fight over who gets certain pieces of property, where the children go or who gets the dog after the divorce is finalized. Spouses may be encouraged to point out each other’s faults to get the best deal. With a mediated divorce, there is less backstabbing and more cooperation between all of the parties involved. The mediator wants to help you and your spouse create terms that you can agree on.

Is Mediation the Right Choice?

Unfortunately, mediation is not an option for all divorcing couples. Some marriages are in such bad shape that it is unlikely mediation could work. However, if you are willing to work with your former spouse and a neutral third party to create the terms of your divorce, then mediation is an option that you should strongly consider.

If you want to learn more about this option, then you should speak with the experienced San Jose divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C.

Do I Need a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

Domestic violence questions? Call us for helpDomestic violence is notorious for leaving not only physical scars, but also psychological trauma that can last a lifetime. If you are being subjected to abuse, then it is essential to take steps to protect yourself from further harm. In California, you can receive a restraining order if you are a victim of domestic violence. Under California law, domestic violence can be physical or psychological abuse conducted by someone you have a close relationship with. You may need a restraining order in cases where:

  • You are being physically abused: If you are being physically abused, then speak with an attorney right away to begin the process of filing a restraining order. The same is true if your children are being abused. Sexual abuse should also warrant a restraining order.
  • You are being threatened: If you or your children are being threatened with violence, then it is essential to file a restraining order. Save any emails or voicemails as evidence. Threats of violence can easily turn into actual violence, so do not wait.
  • You are being harassed: If you or your children are being harassed, then you may be able to seek a restraining order. Stalking may fall into this category.

Domestic violence should always be treated as an emergency, even if it does not involve physical violence.

How Long Do Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Last in California?

There are three different types of restraining orders for domestic violence in California that last for varying periods of time. An Emergency Protective Order can be requested by a law enforcement officer if they have reason to suspect domestic violence is occurring. This type of restraining order can follow after police are summoned to respond to a domestic violence call. The judge who issues the order can ask the abusive person to stay away from you for up to seven calendar days or five business days.

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) is signed by a judge and typically lasts for several weeks. However, a DVRO can also be extended for up to five years in some cases. This type of order requires the offending person to cease the abuse behavior or face the consequences.

A Criminal Protective Order (CRO) is issued after the offending person has been arrested or charged with a crime. This is the most serious type of restraining order and may last for three or more years. During this time, the abuse person must stay away from you or face arrest.

The initial process of filing a protective order and the hearings that follow can be exhausting for victims of domestic violence. Our attorneys can help facilitate this process to give you or your children the best chance of escaping the abuse. If you are experiencing domestic violence and want to file a restraining order, then please speak with one of our Santa Clara family law lawyers at 408-493-0082.

When Might It Be Necessary to Modify Child Support Payments?

Questions about child support? Call us for helpOur blog last week discussed what child support in California may cover and why it is necessary to adhere to the terms of the agreement. However, there are situations that may arise after your divorce that could make it necessary to decrease these payments. You may be able to modify the child support agreement for lower payments in situations that include:

  • An illness or injury: If you suffer an injury or illness, the medical expenses could make your payments unaffordable. This is especially true if the health condition results in a permanent disability.
  • Job loss or demotion: If you lose your job or are demoted at work, your income will almost certainly drop. You may need to lower your child support payments in such cases.
  • Your child’s financial needs change: Your child’s health or education needs could change. For example, your child could require fewer education expenses. It may be possible to lower child support payment in such cases.
  • Your former spouse’s financial needs change: If you are making payments to your former spouse and his or her income increases, then it may become necessary to seek a modification for lower payments.
  • You have a new child: If you have or adopt a new child, then your child support may be reduced. You would need to have more money on hand to care for the new child.
  • You spend more time with your child: If you spend more time with your child, then you could argue for a reduction in payments because you are directly paying for more of his or her expenses.
  • The custodial parent is squandering the support payments: If your former spouse is not using the child support payments for the benefit of your child, then you may be able to argue for a reduction in payments.

These are only a few of many possible examples where it could be possible to modify your child support agreement. It is important to understand that even if you and your spouse agree to modify the payments, you must still receive approval from the court.

Should I Wait to Modify Child Support Payments?

If you or your former spouse’s financial needs change, then it is important to seek a modification as soon as possible. Future blogs will discuss what can happen if you do not make these payments. As attorneys with years of experience handling divorce cases, we can tell you the consequences are not pretty.

Our Santa Clara County divorce law firm can review your circumstances to help you determine whether you would qualify for a modification to your child support agreement. For further help on this issue, please call us at 408-493-0082 for a consultation.

What Could Child Support Payments Cover in California?

Questions about divorce? Give us a call!Child support payments are a common cause of strife between former spouses. One spouse may disagree with how much the payments are or how they are being used. The other spouse may argue the payments are not enough.

If the court orders you to pay child support, then the amount you owe will depend on your circumstances. The court will typically require you or your former spouse (or both of you) to cover your child’s living and medical expenses. Expenses covered by child support may include:

  • Food, housing and clothing: Child support payments are supposed to cover basic necessities. Your payments may cover mortgage payments, rent for an apartment and clothing.
  • Education expenses: Your payments could cover the cost of attending school, hiring tutors, books and school supplies. Any type of expense related to the child’s education may be included.
  • Medical expenses: Child support payments may be used to cover health insurance premiums, medical bills. In some cases, unmet health expenses may be split between the custodial and noncustodial parent.
  • Transportation: Payments could go towards the cost of transportation, such as bus tickets, gas or airplane tickets. In addition, payments could be used on repairing a vehicle that is needed for transportation.
  • Child care services: Your children may need to attend a daycare. Child support payments could cover the costs of a daycare center. In addition, they may cover the cost of hiring a babysitter.
  • Extracurricular activities and entertainment: If your child participated in after school sports, then child support payments may cover the necessary athletic equipment. Payments could also cover entertainment costs.

Child support payments in California are typically not monitored by the court unless there is a reason to suspect your child is being neglected. Payments cover a wide variety of expenses that are associated with raising your child.

For most families, it is essential to ensure child support agreements are being enforced. If a party responsible for child support payments does not meet the terms of this agreement, they can face severe punishments. Child support agreements are legally binding. If you do not adhere to the agreement, you could be found in contempt of court.

When payments become difficult or impossible, it is imperative to modify the child support agreement. Our next blog will discuss circumstances where modifications may be necessary.

At the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., our Santa Clara family law lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients resolve any issues that may arise from the conditions of child support agreements.

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Can I Keep My Dog After a Divorce?

Questions about divorce? Give us a call!It is not uncommon for dog owners to consider their pets as members of the family. If this sounds familiar, then you may be concerned as to whether you can keep your dog after the divorce is finalized. California courts generally see pets as community property. As a result, pet ownership after a divorce is not always a black and white issue. Courts may look at multiple factors to determine who will retain ownership of a dog after the divorce. These factors may include:

  • Did you provide most of care for the dog? The court may look at which spouse provided the most care and companionship for the dog. For example, the court may consider who took the dog for walks every morning or paid for veterinary expenses when it was sick.
  • Who can provide the best care for the dog? It takes a lot of money and personal time to provide adequate care for a dog. For example, the court may consider whether you or your spouse can afford food, visits to a veterinarian and other expenses. The court may consider which spouse is financially, professionally and emotionally able to provide care and companionship for the dog. In some cases, the court may grant ownership of the dog to the spouse who is granted custody of the children.
  • Who owned the dog before and during marriage? Dogs are generally considered community property in cases where they were jointly purchased during a marriage. If you owned the dog before your marriage, then you could maintain ownership after the divorce. This could also be true if you were gifted the dog in an inheritance.
  • Is there a prenuptial agreement? If a prenuptial agreement specified ownership before the marriage, then the dog would go to the owner specified in the agreement.

What Could Help Me Maintain Ownership of My Dog After a Divorce?

There are other factors that could be relevant to the court’s final decision. If you want to retain ownership of the family dog, then it can help to provide evidence that you provided the majority of its care and companionship during the marriage. Bills for veterinary care, food and toys could help in this regard. Family members and neighbors may also provide testimony that you were the sole person who walked or played with the dog. Even social media photos and posts of you with your pet could become useful.

An attorney can help you compile evidence that may be relevant to your case. Evidence will help your attorney convince the court that you are the most suitable owner.

Unless there is a prenuptial agreement, community property is divided evenly during a divorce. You may have other properties that you wish to keep. The Santa Clara divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. can help you settle property disputes that may arise during your divorce.

Can an Attorney Argue to Reduce or Dismiss My DUI Charges?

Arrested for a DUI, call our law office.You are not automatically guilty after being arrested for a DUI. Prosecutors must first prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be charged with a crime. If you are arrested for a DUI, then it is important to contact an attorney for help. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to argue for a reduction or dismissal of charges. These instances may include:

  • Malfunctioning breathalyzers: If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, then law enforcement may use a breathalyzer to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Breathalyzers may have defects that produce inaccurate readings.
  • Improper field sobriety tests: Law enforcement may ask you to take a field sobriety test during a DUI stop. There are three field sobriety tests sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Police officers may incorrectly administer or evaluate one or more of these three tests. In addition, other factors not related to alcohol or drug intoxication could have caused you to fail. Field sobriety tests are notorious for producing false positives.
  • Lack of probable cause: Police officers must have a reason to stop, detain and place you under arrest. In other words, they must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion. An attorney may argue for a dismissal of charges if police lacked probable cause.
  • Factors unrelated to intoxication: Certain health conditions, such as acid reflux disease, may cause inaccurate results on a breathalyzer test. Diabetes and hypoglycemia may also confuse a breathalyzer. Mouthwash can trigger a false reading because it may contain trace amounts of alcohol.
  • Police misconduct: If police violate your constitutional rights during a DUI stop, then an attorney may be able to argue for a reduction or dismissal of charges. It would depend on the circumstances.

Do I Need an Attorney After a DUI in the Bay Area?

We have only discussed a few possible examples of where an attorney could argue for a reduction or dismissal of charges. Each arrest is going to be slightly different, so it is important to have an experienced attorney review the details of your case.

The penalties for a DUI in California are steep and may affect multiple areas of your life. This is especially true if you are being charged with a felony DUI in California. In addition to jail time, it could become much more difficult to secure employment or housing if you are charged. Do not take a chance with the rest of your life by not calling an attorney.

Bay Area criminal defense attorney Daniel Jensen has more than 35 years of experience working in the criminal justice system. In addition to spending 14 years working in law enforcement, Daniel Jensen also has 25 years of experience practicing law in civil, criminal, state and federal courts.

Have you been Arrested for a Marijuana DUI?

Using marijuana is now legal in California. Of course, many people are now wondering whether you can use it before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. So far, there is no legal limit in place concerning driving under the influence of marijuana. San Diego scientists are currently working on a project that will help determine the legal limit for drivers who use marijuana, especially when a marijuana DUI is concerned.

San Diego Marijuana Study

This study, done by the San Diego Center for Cannabis Research at the University of California, hopes to determine just when a marijuana DUI is possible. The study entails participants smoking weed in different strengths before undergoing a driving simulation. Participants will be tested right after they smoke and then again hours later. Neither the participants nor the researchers will know who is smoking marijuana with TCH, as a placebo will also be part of the study. THC is the psychoactive compound that users need to get high. The research team, headed by Dr. Igor Grant, will monitor saliva, blood and breath levels in participants. They will also have participants engage in other cognitive tests other than driving in order to determine the actual point of impairment.

Will California Marijuana DUI Laws be Affected?

As marijuana becomes easier to obtain, it is important to understand how much a person can smoke before their ability to safely drive is impaired. In 2018, licenses to sell marijuana will become legal, and the number of impaired drivers is expected to increase. While DUI laws are not caught up with marijuana laws, this study could help determine a legal limit for those who drive after imbibing. Grant has stated that having a moderate amount of marijuana in a person’s system doesn’t greatly increase the chances of them causing an automobile accident. The goal of the study is to determine just what the definition of moderate is and when it will affect the user’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Call an Attorney Today

Call our experienced attorneys if you or a loved one has been charged with a marijuana DUI. Our marijuana DUI defense attorneys have years of practice defending against DUI charges and can help you with your case today.

Criminal Defense Attorneys in Santa Clara

Have you been accused of a crime in the Santa Clara area? Regardless of how you plan to plea, the best way to assure that your right of innocence is protected is to obtain the services of criminal defense attorneys in Santa Clara.

What Type of Crime Does a Criminal Defense Law Firm Do?

Criminal defense attorneys in Santa Clara cover a wide variety of criminal charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies and their clientele includes individuals from all walks of life. Specific crimes that criminal defense attorneys in Santa Clara may be able to help you with include, but are not limited to: murder, prostitution, kidnapping, assault, drug offenses, theft, arson, and rape.  (more…)

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