Splitting Liabilities in a CA Divorce

Splitting Liabilities in a CA Divorce

Dividing assets and liabilities in a California divorce can be problematic. Some elements of property division are not cut and dried, and many factors can influence how these arrangements are made. Many are concerned about getting their share of the assets from a marriage, but what happens to the debts?

Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger addresses the complexities involved in splitting liabilities in a CA divorce and how she can help.

Community Property and Debt

California operates under the community property principle, a system designed to ensure fairness. This means generally that, in the absence of other arrangements, both parties will receive an equal share of everything they acquired while married. Any separate property owned before the marriage or obtained after the separation remains the owner’s sole property, providing a sense of security in the process. There are complex exceptions to the division of property acquired during marriage or prior to marriage. 

However, the community property principle also applies to debt. Other arrangements can also come into play here, but typically, both parties in a divorce are responsible for half of the debt incurred  during the marriage.. Unfortunately, these issues are not always so black and white—they more often appear filled with grey areas.

A CA Property Division Lawyer like Judy Burger can work with you to help make the best decisions and arrangements.

Dividing Debt in a California Divorce

Property division can be confusing because of so many potential exceptions relating to community, separate, and co-mingled assets. Here are just a few potential examples:

  1. The divorcing couple’s marital debts are greater than the value of their community assets. A family law judge may assign more debt to the spouse earning more income.
  2. Some marital debt incurred by one spouse may be ruled as separate debt by the judge due to extenuating circumstances (like a cheating spouse using family money to buy gifts or fund travel for the affair).
  3. Student debt funded by marital income may be ruled as separate debt to the one benefitting from the education. One spouse may be directed to reimburse the other for a portion of the student debt already paid.

Complex situations like these are why you need an experienced CA property division lawyer on your team to help ensure you are treated fairly.

Date of Separation and Property Division

California is somewhat unique in that it uses the date of your separation to distinguish between most marital and separate property. Most other states use the official date of the divorce. Once both parties agree the marriage is over, they are considered to be leading separate lives (even if they still live together). From that moment, both are acquiring separate assets and debts.

This is a significant matter in your divorce, but agreeing on a specific date of separation can be tricky. The exact date can be argued from many points and affects which assets and debts are to be retained, split, or surrendered to the other spouse.

Get Experienced Help with CA Property Division

California Certified Family Law Specialist Judy Burger has the resources, working relationships, and expertise to help with the most complex property and debt divisions and business valuations. She harnesses the expertise of various professionals to help ascertain pertinent facts that influence who should be responsible for debts and how assets are to be divided.

Spouses and their attorneys cannot always be trusted to act fairly, so you need an experienced lawyer guarding your best interests. Decisions and arrangements made during these negotiations can affect your life and future. Contact Attorney Judy Burger at one of her eight offices conveniently located throughout California to schedule a consultation.


Your Top 12 Child Custody FAQs Answered

Your Top 12 Child Custody FAQs Answered

Child custody is one of family law’s most complicated and emotional issues. Parents understandably have questions and concerns about the child custody process. Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger answers the top 12 child custody questions clients ask us throughout California.

Most Common Child Custody FAQs

  1. What is child custody?

Child custody is the legal and physical responsibility for a child. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about a child’s upbringing, including education, religion, and healthcare. Physical custody refers to where the child lives and who cares for the child.

  1. What is the difference between sole and joint custody? Sole custody means that one parent has exclusive legal and physical custody of the child. Joint custody means that both parents share legal and physical custody of the child.
  2. What factors do the courts consider when determining child custody? The courts consider several factors when determining child custody, including the child’s age and needs, the parents’ ability to care for the child, the child’s relationship with each parent, and any history of abuse or neglect.
  3. Can grandparents or other family members get custody of a child? In some cases, grandparents or other family members can get custody of a child. However, the court will consider the child’s best interests and the parents’ rights before awarding custody to a third party.
  4. Can a child choose which parent to live with? Sometimes, a child can express a preference for which parent to live with. The court will consider the child’s age and maturity level before taking their preference into account.
  5. Can child custody orders be modified? Yes, child custody orders can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent’s relocation or a change in the child’s needs.
  6. What is a parenting plan? A parenting plan is a written agreement between parents that outlines each parent’s responsibilities and rights regarding the child. It includes details about custody, visitation, and decision-making.
  7. What is supervised visitation? Supervised visitation is when a parent is allowed to visit with their child but only under the supervision of a third party, such as a social worker or family member.
  8. Can a parent move out of state with their child after a custody order has been issued? If a parent wants to move out of state with their child after a custody order has been issued, they must obtain permission from the other parent or the court.
  9. Can I get custody of a child in another state?

It is possible, but it requires petitioning for custody in the state where the child lives. Attorney Judy Burger can help you understand the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and what is required.

  1. How can I prove the other parent is unfit?

This requires presenting evidence to the court that demonstrates the other parent clearly endangers your child’s safety and well-being. Photos, videos, doctor reports, witness testimony, and more may be used to present your case.

  1. What are my parental rights?

Married spouses have joint custody of their children under the law until a court-ordered custody order is in effect. Unmarried mothers have sole physical custody of their children until the father legally establishes paternity. Court-issued custody orders grant certain rights according to the circumstances.

What If I Have Other Questions?

What should I do if I need help with child custody issues? If you need help with child custody issues, you should consult with experienced Family Law Attorney Judy Burger. She can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the legal process.

Child custody can be a complex and emotional issue. Understanding the process and your rights can help you make informed decisions and protect your child’s best interests. Contact Certified Family Law Specialist Judy Burger with your questions and concerns.


What Makes a CA Certified Family Law Specialist Different?

What Makes a CA Certified Family Law Specialist Different?

Family law matters are often intensely personal and highly emotional. Dealing with families and relationships is always complex and much is at stake for everyone involved. You want more than an attorney when family law issues arise – you want a specialist. California Family Law Attorney Judy L. Burger is a Certified Family Law Specialist who is able to handle complex personal cases through court petitions, negotiation, and litigation.

What makes a CA Certified Family Law Specialist different from run-of-the-mill family law and divorce lawyers?

A High Level of Specialization

Obtaining a law degree and passing the California State Bar exam to practice law is only the beginning. Certified specialists in any area of law must pass a rigorous set or requirements to demonstrate their exceptional knowledge, experience, and proficiency. Only after completing this extensive process does the state bar award the attorney a specialist certificate.

To become a Certified Family Law Specialist in CA, attorneys must satisfy the following prerequisites

  1. Pass a written examination
  2. Continuously practice law in their specialty area for at least five years
  3. Complete continuing education in their specialty area
  4. Receive favorable evaluations by other attorneys and judges
  5. Demonstrate experience in a variety of family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, domestic violence restraining orders, property division, and more.

Becoming a certified family law specialist takes time, experience, and extensive knowledge.

Superior Experience in Family Law Cases

Certified Family Law Specialists must continue to demonstrate their expertise by handling complex family law cases to further broaden their knowledge and experience. Recertification every five years requires more continuing education while putting this extensive knowledge into action helping California families.

A CFLS will have considerable experience with:

  • Messy divorces
  • Complex business valuations
  • Sophisticated property divisions
  • Tense negotiations
  • Filing petitions with the court
  • Advising clients
  • Litigating difficult child custody and support cases
  • Ex parte hearings
  • Domestic violence
  • More…

Seasoned representation by a Certified Family Law Specialist like Judy Burger means the putting encyclopedic knowledge, extensive education, years of real-world experience, and measured expertise in your corner. She is vastly more qualified to help you get the results you need and want than other non-certified family law attorneys.

Why Should I Choose a Certified Family Law Specialist Instead of a Family Law Attorney?

Family law matters can be rough on you mentally and emotionally. The possible complexities and problems are legion and specific to every case. However, a CFLS has likely encountered similar cases before and has experience helping families find solutions. If you anticipate a difficult road ahead in your divorce, child custody, support, or related matters, choose a CFLS like Judy L. Burger.

Here are some examples of cases where we recommend a Certified Family Law Specialist:

  • Both parties have agreed to a divorce, but that’s all you agree on.
  • You have differences of opinion about matters like college debt, large real estate holdings, retirement funds, and other asset divisions.
  • You have small children still at home and cannot agree on a custody and support arrangement.
  • Both parties grew up in different cultures, so family rights and extended family concerns are involved.
  • Both parties jointly own a business.
  • One or both divorcing parties are active duty military.
  • You or your child’s safety is threatened.
  • You or your child are victims of abuse.

CFLS Judy Burger has trained for just these and many other situations so she knows how to help you. In fact, she’s been there with other families before. She can guide you through negotiations, difficult conversations, far-reaching decisions, and even embattled litigation with compassion and fortitude.

When you need stable counsel and steady legal representation through one of the most difficult times of your life, you need the services of a Certified Family Law Specialist. Contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger as soon as possible to discuss your case and next steps. We have offices throughout California for your convenience.

CA Domestic Violence Restraining Orders 101

CA Domestic Violence Restraining Orders 101

A domestic violence restraining order  is issued by courts to protect people from threatened or actual abuse from others with whom they have a relationship. California law allows granting protective orders for physical, psychological, and emotional abuse. California Family Law Attorney Judy L. Burger can help you understand more about restraining orders and when you need to petition the court for one.

Here is some basic information about domestic violence restraining orders that you should know.

You can also get immediate assistance by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Who Can Request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in California?

Anyone age 12 and older can request a domestic violence restraining order if they have a close relationship with the person who has threatened abuse or actually committed abusive acts. California law defines a close relationship as including individuals who are:

  • Dating
  • Used to date
  • Currently or previously living together in a relationship (not roommates)
  • Married
  • Separated
  • Divorced
  • Co-parenting a child
  • Blood relatives (parent, grandparent, sibling, etc.)
  • In-laws

You may also need an ex parte, or emergency, restraining order. Attorney Judy Burger can explain more about this temporary measure. Call us now for assistance.

How Can a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Help Me?

Why should you file for a domestic violence restraining order against someone? This legal court order provides a layer of protection from harm. The court may enact the following measures against someone:

  • Stop abusive actions
  • Stay away from you (including anyplace you frequent, like home, work, or school)
  • Have no contact with you (including phone, text, mail, email, deliveries, third persons, etc.)
  • Provide support (child support, payments on jointly-owned property, etc.)
  • Grant exclusive use (like a home or car jointly-owned with the abuser)
  • Pay restitution (such as for property damage or medical expenses caused by abusive actions)
  • Relinquish firearms in their possession
  • Attend a treatment program
  • Undergo regular drug tests

The courts may also issue orders relating to child custody, support, and visitation in consideration of the child’s safety and welfare. They may order the abuser to stay away from places the child may frequent, such as schools, daycare, doctors, after-school activities, and more.

Tips for Filing a Restraining Order

Attorney Judy Burger can walk you through the process of filing for a domestic violence restraining order in California. This is often helpful due to the anxiety and fear that often accompanies the circumstances making it necessary. Her experience and confident demeanor are an anchor to help you as you seek stability, relief, and direction during troublesome times.

As you consider what is needed for a restraining order, it is helpful to think of your petition as a blueprint for testifying at a trial. What should be included?

  1. The specifics of the abuse or threats you have experienced. Be as detailed as possible, including dates, times, locations, and other pertinent facts. Think of it as a log of your abusive experience.
  2. Consider the type of help you need. What do you need the order to accomplish? Stop the abuse, prohibit contact, protect your children, provide support or other measures.
  3. Collect evidence to accompany the order petition. Screenshot emails, texts, and social media posts. Photograph damaged items and physical trauma from the abuse. Photograph destroyed property, clothing, personal items like a damaged phone, and other evidence.
  4. Collect witness statements. Record their testimony in writing or digitally.

The more specifics you can provide, the stronger your petition for a restraining order. Overwhelming evidence can also motivate the court to enact stronger protections. Think through the above factors and be ready to discuss everything with Attorney Judy Burger in a confidential consultation. She can also provide further guidance and advice on your next steps.

Get Help from a Certified Family Law Specialist

Judy L. Burger is certified by the California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Family Law Specialist. She is your strong and aggressive advocate in highly conflicted domestic matters when you need the law on your side. Her encyclopedic knowledge of CA law and astute representation offers the protection and guidance you need in domestic violence cases. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger has locations throughout Northern, Central, and Southern California for your convenience. Get the help you need to stop the abuse and get on with your life. Call us today.


Exploring Business Valuations in a Property Division

Exploring Business Valuations in a Property Division

One of the most contentious issues in divorce proceedings is dividing property and assets. This can be especially challenging when a couple owns a business together. In such cases, business valuations are an integral part of the property division process. CA Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger understands the intricacies of business valuations in a property division.

She has numerous long-term working relationships with area Forensic Accountants and Actuaries, Ligation Real Estate Appraisers, Real Estate Attorneys, Business and Corporate Attorneys, Title Companies, and Real Estate Professionals who assist her when business valuations are needed for a divorce case.

Let’s explore this topic a bit further.

What Are Business Valuations?

Business valuations are the process of determining the economic value of a business or company. It is a complex process that involves analyzing the financial records of the company, its assets, liabilities, market competition, and other relevant factors. The value of a business includes various factors, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Profitability
  • Growth potential
  • Future earnings prospects
  • Market competition
  • Industry trends
  • Capital structure
  • Market value of assets
  • Company management

A jointly-owned business is considered to be an asset in divorce cases and is subject to division between the divorcing spouses. This can often be challenging because each spouse may have differing options about the value of the business, and some of these may be difficult to quantify objectively. As a result, disputes and conflicts are common.

Attorney Judy Burger works with respected professionals who are experienced business valuation experts to help overcome these challenges. They partner together to thoroughly analyze the financial records, assess assets and liabilities, and consider other relevant factors that impact the company’s value.

Methods of Business Valuations

Selecting the correct valuation method is one of the most critical factors in business valuations. Several valuation methods are available. Choosing the best method depends on the type of business, its size, and other relevant factors. Judy Burger and her team of experts choose the most appropriate method for valuing the business.

There are over a dozen different business valuation methods, but these are the most common:

Asset-based Approach

Also called the book value method, this valuation method is based on the value of the company’s assets, including its tangible and intangible assets. The expert will consider the value of the company’s assets, such as its inventory, property, and equipment, and subtract its liabilities to arrive at the net asset value of the business.

Income-based Approach

This valuation method is based on the income generated by the business. The expert will assess the company’s historical and projected earnings and apply an appropriate capitalization rate or discount rate to arrive at the present value of the business.

Market-based Approach

This valuation method is based on the market value of similar businesses. The expert will analyze the sales of comparable businesses and arrive at a fair market value for the business being valued.

Times Revenue Method

The times revenue valuation method uses a multiplier dependent on the industry and economic environment of the business. It is applied to a stream of revenues generated over a certain period of time.

Get Help with Business Valuations and Property Division in a CA Divorce

Establishing the correct value of a business in a divorce case can be a challenging process, so it requires skills and expertise. Certified Family Law Specialist Judy Burger works with experienced valuation experts to ensure a fair and accurate valuation of your business. She is tenacious regarding fairness and preserving your rights throughout the divorce and property division journey.

Contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger for more information and to schedule a consultation.

Your Top 10 FAQs Answered About Family Law in California

Your Top 10 FAQs Answered About Family Law in California

Family law deals with issues like divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. If you are going through a family law issue in California, you likely have many questions about the process and your rights. Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger answers the top ten questions we’re asked at our California practice about Family Law matters.

Of course, we can only provide the barest facts in an article. More complete explanations and answers to other questions are available in a complimentary consultation. Contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger to schedule your consultation.

Top 10 Family Law FAQs

Review these common questions clients routinely ask Attorney Judy Burger during initial consultations at her offices.

1. What is the process for getting a divorce in California?

To get a divorce in California, you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. You will need to serve your spouse with the petition and wait for their response. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on all issues, such as child custody and property division, the court will schedule a trial to decide these issues for you.

2. How is child custody determined in California?

California courts determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider factors such as the child’s age, health, and relationship with each parent. Generally, the court prefers frequent and continuous contact with both parents as long as it is in the child’s best interests.

3. How is child support determined in California?

California law provides guidelines for determining child support. The guidelines take into account the net disposable income of each parent and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Other factors, such as the child’s needs and the standard of living before the divorce, may also be considered.

4. What is spousal support in California?

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is financial support paid from one spouse to the other after a divorce. Spousal support can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances of the case.

5. How is spousal support determined in California?

California law requires the court to consider various factors when determining spousal support, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living before the divorce, and the age and health of each spouse. The court has discretion in determining the amount and duration of spousal support.

6. How is property divided in a California divorce?

California is a community property state, which means that property acquired during the marriage is generally divided equally between the spouses. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the court may consider factors such as the length of the marriage and the economic circumstances of each spouse.

7. Can I get a restraining order in a family law case?

Yes, if you are a victim of domestic violence or harassment, you can obtain a restraining order to protect yourself and your children. The court may issue a temporary restraining order, followed by a hearing to determine whether a permanent restraining order is necessary.

8. Can I modify a child custody or support order?

Yes, if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or relocation, you can petition the court to modify a child custody or support order. The court will consider the child’s best interests when deciding.

9. What is mediation in a family law case?

Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps the parties in a family law case reach a mutually acceptable agreement. It can be voluntary or court-ordered and can be a cost-effective alternative to litigation.

10. Do I need a lawyer for a family law case in California?

While you are not required to have a lawyer for a family law case in California, it is highly recommended. Family law cases can be complex and emotional, and having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can help protect your rights and interests.

Seasoned Family Law Representation in California

Family law issues in California can be challenging and emotional, but understanding your rights and the legal process can help alleviate some of the stress. If you have questions about a family law issue in California, contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, with eight offices across the state to serve you.


Overcoming Common Property Division Obstacles During a Divorce

Overcoming Common Property Division Obstacles During a Divorce

A property division can be fraught with obstacles during a divorce. Partners can accumulate assets of significant value over the years, and dividing them equally is virtually impossible. California Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger has extensive experience helping divorcing couples divide their property equitably and with the least rancor.

She shares the benefit of her experience in these tips for overcoming common property division obstacles during a divorce.

Common Obstacles to Dividing Property in a Divorce

Divorce can be difficult enough, but adding complex asset divisions into the mix often stretches tempers and emotions to the breaking point. Such divisions are never easy because they involve more than easily sectioned assets. Some of the most common obstacles to dividing property in a divorce include:

  • Family or Jointly-Owned Businesses – Determining who keeps the business, how it is divided, or other related questions is often complex.
  • Common Property—The home and other common property are often a serious point of contention in divorce property divisions.
  • Sentimental Property – A favorite book collection or family heirloom can cause negotiations to reach an impasse.
  • Digital Assets – Music collections and even the right to use online consumer awards can cause a breakdown in property division negotiations.
  • Retirement Benefits—Joint investments and retirement accounts can be real sticking points when determining an equitable property division.
  • Marital Debts – Couples can disagree more about debts than assets, and creating an arrangement to cover debts can be the hardest aspect of a property division.
  • Small Children – Younger children and custody considerations add several layers of additional concerns when dividing assets and marital properties.

Tips for a Smoother Property Division During Divorce

How can you help the property division process go much smoother? Follow these tips:

Don’t Be In a Hurry

Property divisions take time, and more complex assets and issues will require even more. Resolve to be patient and allow the process to play out. Critical factors, such as business valuations, asset valuations, and other processes, require time to be completed. Trust Attorney Judy L. Burger to work diligently with the best resources and leading experts to get the facts you need before serious decisions can be made.

Start With Short-Term Solutions

Begin by keeping things on an even keel. Make sure both households stay afloat for several months. Keep the rent, mortgages, car payments, and other bills current while everything else is being figured out. Focus on caring for yourself and your family, especially if children are involved. Seek amicable arrangements to keep life going steady for a while.

Focus on Needs and Interests, Not Positions

Avoid starting off with solid pronouncements like “I demand the house and the children every weekend.” Focus instead on your needs and interests and those of your family. What does everyone need to live on? How can you maintain a good relationship with the children? How will their needs best be met?

Get Seasoned Legal Guidance

Negotiating the minefields of divorce and property divisions without a seasoned family law attorney is like braving uncharted shoals hidden by large waves – you’re asking for disaster. A Certified Family Law Specialist like Judy Burger has the recognized expertise for navigating complicated divorce negotiations and property divisions.

She can guide the negotiations and offer strategic counsel while representing your interests and those of your children. An experienced third party like her can prevent serious misunderstandings, emotional arguments, and other detriments to a favorable outcome.

CA Divorce & Property Division Guidance

Troublesome relations and complex asset divisions are no problem for Attorney Judy Burger. She has successfully guided numerous complex divorces and property divisions so families can move forward. Contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger in California for legal representation, mediation, negotiation, and litigation concerning divorce and complex property divisions.

How Far Is Too Far When Considering a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

How Far Is Too Far When Considering a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order provides significant legal protections for you and your children. These legal orders are specifically for people with whom you have had a close relationship, including family, in-laws, current or former dating partners, current or former spouses, and others.

Filing for a domestic violence restraining order against someone is a big step that should be considered carefully. It is often an emotional and traumatic time, and numerous factors and circumstances can cloud your thinking. How do you know when it’s time to obtain legal protection? Or, how far is too far when considering a domestic violence restraining order?

Defining Domestic Violence

The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as follows:

“Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, or technological actions or threats of actions or other patterns of coercive behavior that influence another person within an intimate partner relationship. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

Accordingly, you should consider a domestic violence restraining order when you are subjected to behaviors that:

  • Intimidate
  • Manipulate
  • Humiliate
  • Isolate
  • Frighten
  • Terrorize
  • Coerce
  • Threaten
  • Blame
  • Hurt
  • Injure
  • Wound

Such behavior toward you or your children is sufficient grounds for filing to obtain an order of protection. However, keep in mind that the court will need proof that some sort of threatening behavior has affected or is likely to affect you and/or your children.

How Far Is Too Far?

Asking, “How far is too far?” or “How much should I put up with?” before considering a domestic violence restraining order is not necessarily the right question. When you or your child experience abuse or feel threatened, that is the time to act. Contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger for immediate assistance with obtaining a restraining order.

You can also get immediate assistance by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

How to File for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Certified CA Family Law Specialist Judy Burger can walk with you through the difficult circumstances that prompt filing for a domestic violence restraining order in California. She will help you construct the necessary petition to present to the court. Imagine drawing a blueprint for a court testimony – your petition should contain similar elements, including:

  1. Specific details of the threats or abuse to you or your child. Record all the dates, locations, and other facts you can remember.
  2. Evidence that backs up your petition, like emails, texts, pictures, social media posts, damaged property, or physical marks on your/your child’s body.
  3. Witness or expert statements that back your petition, like doctor’s notes, photos, witness testimonies, and more, in written or digital media.
  4. Ask for what kind of help you need. What do you need the order to accomplish? Stop the abuse, prohibit contact, protect your children, provide support, or other measures.

File the Petition

Turn in your request to the court. A judge may also grant you an ex parte (emergency) hearing and order of protection in certain circumstances.

Serve Notice

The party from whom you seek protection will be served an official notice of the pending court action and any ex parte orders against them.

Appear in Court

You and the other party appear in court to present your cases to a family law judge. He or she will issue orders accordingly.

Get Help from a Certified Family Law Specialist

Attorney Judy Burger can help you more in a confidential consultation. She knows how to take immediate steps to protect you and your privacy and can offer more guidance about what you should do next. Contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger at the location nearest you in North, Central, and Southern California to get the help you need to stop the abuse.


What Can I Expect During a Child Custody Court Hearing?

What Can I Expect During a Child Custody Court Hearing?

Facing a child custody hearing in California can be nerve-wracking and worrisome. However, fear of the unknown is what generates the most anxiety. Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger has helped numerous clients prepare for child custody hearings. Every client gets her personal attention and the benefit of her expertise.

The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger reviews what you can expect during a child custody court hearing and how we can help you.

The Typical Child Custody Hearing

Every child custody hearing is different due to the individuals and circumstances involved. However, each follows a similar format. Here is what you can expect.

The Setting

Your child custody court hearing will be held in a courtroom and presided over by a family law judge. Both parents and their legal representatives may be present. Family witnesses, expert witnesses, teachers, therapists, and other specialists may also be present and submit evidence to the court.

The Judge

The judge is a duly appointed legal arbiter with significant training and background in family law matters. His or her role is to decide what is in the best interests of the child or children in question. They will weigh all the evidence presented before making any official rulings. The judge may also ask you and your spouse questions and may speak with your child privately I order to obtain as much information as possible for making the best decision.

Presenting Evidence

Your attorney will help you collect and prepare evidence and your own testimony supporting your case. Each parent will have the opportunity to present evidence for consideration. This can include witness testimony, specialist testimony, medical records, financial records, school records, audio recordings, video, and more. Your attorney will also help you prepare to answer questions about your evidence and testimony from the judge and on cross-examination.

Cross-Examination and Rebuttals

Each parent or their attorney is given the chance to cross-examine the other parent’s witnesses and evidence. At this point, you may challenge any claims or evidence and provide support to refute those claims. A Family Law Attorney like Judy Burger knows how to make sure your rights are protected and the other parties follow the letter of the law in all areas. She can also provide strong rebuttals when necessary.

Possible Child Custody Hearing Outcomes  

After gleaning every bit of evidence and testimony possible from all parties, the judge will issue a ruling granting orders and permissions that govern both parents’ future actions. Here are some possible outcomes:

Child Custody

The judge will grant custody rights to the parents.

  • Sole Custody: This parent has legal and physical custody of the child or children.
  • Joint Custody: In this case, both parents share legal and physical custody of the child or children. This requires an approved parenting plan outlining each parent’s responsibilities.

Visitation Rights

If one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent may be granted visitation rights. The judge will decide the visitation schedule based on what is in the best interest of the child.

Support Agreements

The judge may also order a support agreement in which both parents share the responsibility for meeting their children’s needs.

Existing Child Custody Arrangement Modifications

If an existing custody arrangement is in place, either parent may request a modification if circumstances have significantly changed. The judge will consider the request and decide based on what is in the child’s best interest.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help

Attorney Judy Burger knows family law in California and how to pursue the best custody and support arrangements for your case. She can help you understand and prepare for the custody hearing process, collect evidence, prepare you for testimony, prepare for expected challenges during the hearing, construct a parenting plan, and further advocate for your interests.

When you’re facing a child custody hearing, contact the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger in California for seasoned expertise.

Top Questions Concerning Child Support and Military Personnel

Top Questions Concerning Child Support and Military Personnel

Child support is a critical aspect of Family Law. Thousands of military personnel and their families reside in California, so it is essential to understand how child support orders affect service members and their families in the state. Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger addresses some of the most common questions concerning child support and military personnel.

Child Support and the Military FAQ

Every situation is different, so you need to consult with Family Law Attorney Judy Burger when questions or issues arise about child support and service members. Here are some basics to know about child support and military personnel.

  1. How is child support calculated for military personnel?

In California, child support is calculated based on several factors, including each parent’s income, time spent with the child, and other expenses. However, there are additional considerations for service members, including allowances and special pay, like Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), hazardous duty pay, sea pay, and more. Although some of these forms of pay are non-taxable, California law includes them all when calculating child support.

  1. Can military personnel be ordered to pay child support even if they are stationed overseas?

Yes. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects active-duty military personnel from legal action, including child support proceedings, while on active duty. However, this protection does not apply to service members who are not on active duty or who are in arrears in their child support payments.

  1. Can military personnel be held in contempt of court for failure to pay child support?

Yes. Failure to pay child support can result in serious consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and loss of security clearance. It is essential to keep up with child support payments, even if stationed overseas or on active duty.

  1. Can military personnel modify child support orders?

Yes, military personnel can modify support orders based on a change in circumstances, such as a change in income or a change in the custody arrangement. However, it is essential to follow the proper legal procedures for modifying support orders to avoid potential legal consequences. The Family Court generally grants expedited hearings for service members who receive deployment orders and need to address child support or custody order modifications.

  1. What happens to child support payments if service members are deployed or transferred?

If soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines are deployed or transferred, child support payments must continue to be made. However, there are legal provisions that allow for modifications to child support orders in these circumstances. It is crucial to contact experienced Family Law Attorney Judy Burger to help you navigate the legal process.

Get Help from a California Child Support Lawyer

Child support can be a complicated issue, especially for military families. It is essential to understand the legal requirements and protections afforded to military personnel. California Family Code §3047 provides guidance for many issues that can arise when a military service member faces mobilization, deployment, or a temporary assignment that takes them outside the state or country and causes complications with following court-ordered support or custody agreements.

Attorney Judy Burger can provide guidance and support to ensure that child support obligations are met and that the best interests of the child are protected. Child custody and support issues are already challenging, and the pressure of unexpected changes due to military service adds even more complexity. Get the help you need in California from The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We have eight offices to serve you.