Wednesday, December 10, 2014


QUESTION:  My husband of 18 years abandoned me and my 16 yr old son 11 months ago, leaving us homeless without any funds.  How can I get an order for child support and spousal support?  He is working, but he says he is not giving us any money and he refuses to provide me any information on his employment, medical insurance, etc.  When should my son and I receive any money from him, if at all?  Can we get back support from the day he left?

MY ANSWER:  You should try to find an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent yourself as soon as possible, and if unable to retain one, go to the Superior Court's self-help clinic for assistance by a volunteer attorney to file and get a divorce case and an Order to Show Cause for child custody, spousal support, and attorney's fees served on your husband.  Regarding "back support, you cannot get child support retroactive to a date prior to the date you file your divorce case, and you cannot get spousal support retroactive to a date prior to the date you file your  Request for Order seeking spousal support. There is no more time to lose. File and serve a divorce case and a Request for Order for Child and Spousal Support, without delay.  The Court sets hearings on Requests for Orders between 1 and 3 months after filing.  You should receive an Order for Child and Spousal Support approximately ten days after the hearing.


QUESTION:  My ex and I currently have joint physical/legal custody of our 3 children.  Recently, he beat our son, leaving a huge bruise on his upper leg and a smaller bruise. I reported and they arrested him for battery. We went to court and they are sending him to SCAN classes and if he doesn't attend by his deadline, he will be charged. In light of that, I am filing for sole custody. What are my chances? In addition, he is muslim and I am not. The children are free in my home to choose their own faith when they are old enough while they are NOT allowed to so in his home. Can I argue their right to freedom of religion?

MY ANSWER:  You have a fairly good case, but you would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you. You could report your ex's conduct and your son's injury to Child Protective Services, which would propel the case away from the Family Law Court and into Dependency Court, and when commenced, those proceedings would freeze all activity regarding your son in the Family Law case. Your husband's violence is not to be condoned, and even though the criminal case is temporarily on hold while he is going to SCAN classes, Child Protective Services can move quickly to protect your son - and likely all your children. The religion issue would not be dealt with in Dependency Court, but should be brought up in the Family Law case.

Monday, October 20, 2014


This blog addresses two cost-saving types or "scopes" of legal services that you can obtain to enable you to receive valuable guidance in your divorce or family law case and/or representation in specific issues or portions of your case from an experienced Family Law Attorney in areas where you require assistance, while not incurring the expense of full-service representation.

Those two scopes of services are Unbundled Legal Services and Limited Scope Representation.

"Unbundled Legal Services" are consultation services for a self-represented person by a lawyer who advises and assists you but doesn't represent you.  For details regarding Unbundled Legal Services, please click on any of the Unbundled Legal Services links in this blog.

"Limited Scope Representation" (or Limited Scope Legal Representation) is representation by a lawyer on a specific issue, or for a specific hearing or portion of your case, while you remain self-represented for the balance of issues and portions of your case.  For details regarding Limited Scope Representation, please click on any of the Limited Scope Representation links in this blog.

Both of those scopes of legal services enable people to save money while providing them quality legal advice and/or representation for crucial areas of their cases where they most need such assistance.

Unbundling and Limited Scope Representation afford you a la carte pricing.  You avoid having to pay the significant retainer fee required for full-service representation, and you avoid ongoing billings on things that the lawyer would have no choice but to handle with full-service representation.  You decide what you want to do yourself and what you want the lawyer to do.  That way, you can realize significant cost savings and greater control of your legal expenses, while obtaining legal assistance on things that you are ill-prepared to accomplish by yourself. 

At the Warner Center Law Offices of DONALD F. CONVISER, a Professional Corporation, we offer a choice of Unbundled Legal Services, Limited Scope Representation, or Full-Service Legal Representation, to assist and/or represent people in connection with their Divorce or Family Law cases, primarily in Los Angeles County and Ventura County.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


QUESTION:  Can I give money to my adult daughters as a gift and not have it be considered part of the marital assets or community property if I gift it before filing for divorce? Also, can I give money to my nieces or nephews for college and have it excluded or not included if it's given away before filing? I understand trying to hide or dispose of assets after filing isn't legal.


MY ANSWER:  Your proposed "gifts", whether before or after the divorce is filed, will come back to haunt you in your divorce case. You have a fiduciary duty to your spouse during the marriage until all community assets are distributed pursuant to a divorce Judgment, to manage and preserve community assets for the benefit of the marital community. If you give any funds away, not only will you not have those funds available to share with your spouse, but the Court will order you to pay your spouse his/her community share of those funds, and may impose monetary sanctions on you [possibly in the amount of your community share as well as your spouse's community share] for intentionally disposing of community assets to deprive your spouse of his/her community share. Don't make the "gifts". You'll be made very sorry if you do.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


QUESTION:  If I have sole physical and legal custody of my minor children and I die, would the surviving parent automatically get custody of the children or would the surviving parent have to take my family to court?


MY ANSWER:  On your death, the surviving parent would normally be automatically entitled to custody of your minor children. However, other interested parties could petition the Probate Court for guardianship of the minor children if the surviving parent is an inappropriate parent, is in prison, is in a mental institution, etc.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


QUESTION: My child's father and I just received a modification of support per his request. I was not given any credit towards daycare expenses I have been paying, and the judge just mailed the new order. Can I now file and ask for 1/2 of child care to be paid directly to our provider? Our provider is my mother, who is licensed and in business in our county. She lives with me full time, and has been taking care of our child since day 1 so we can both work. Now that support has gone down due to increased weekend timeshare, I cannot afford to pay child care on my own. ================================================ MY RESPONSE: You should have brought that matter up at the last Child Support hearing. If you requested, at that hearing, that the father share in the child care expenses, and the Court denied your request, the Court likely won't allow you a second bite of the same apple. If you didn't bring that matter up at the last Child Support hearing, you could bring it up in a separate OSC, but you might not prevail for a number of reasons. A material change of circumstances has not occurred since the last OSC - the same circumstances prevail (other than the modification of custody and Child Support that resulted from that OSC). Also, the fact that your child care provider is your mother (as opposed to a 3rd party child care provider) could be a problem. However, it probably wouldn't hurt for you to file an OSC to seek an order for the father to pay 1/2 of the child care expenses (or even a proportionate share based on your respective incomes).


QUESTION: I have a 3 month old baby and i want to leave California to move to Texas with my sister. The father of the baby did sign the birth certificate but is not in the picture. Is it ok to move out of state? I never married the father of the baby. ================================================== MY RESPONSE: Yes, you can move to Texas with your baby. There are no restraining orders in place to restrain you for doing so, and the father evidently isn't interested in a relationship with his child. You would best apprise the father of your move, and your Texas address, to protect you against parental kidnapping claims. Once your baby has lived in Texas for six (6) months, Texas will become your child's "home state" for Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act purposes, provided no action for chid custody or visitation had been instituted in California before then.