What to Look for in a Divorce Attorney

Woman in target

Finding the Right Attorney

Family law matters usually involve highly charged emotions as people deal with the fallout from a broken marriage, a messy divorce and ongoing custody issues. When emotions run high, it’s critical to have an attorney who can clearly explain the ground rules and impart confidence that your case is being handled effectively.

Knowing What to Look For

Here are some tips to help you find the right lawyer for you:
  • Experience Counts. Find out how long the prospective attorney has practiced family law in California and approximately how many such cases he or she has handled.
  • Resources Count. Find out whether the prospective attorney has sufficient resources to handle your case efficiently and effectively.  For instance, if your attorney carries a large caseload, he or she should have a sufficient number of assistants to help manage the caseload.  Alternatively, if the prospective attorney has a light office staff, does he or she use technology to help manage the load?
  • Personality Counts. You should perceive that a prospective attorney is prepared to be a strong advocate and is willing and able to fight for the best outcome possible for you.  Personalities vary greatly among attorneys, as with any other profession, but mid-divorce is not the time to wish your attorney were more aggressive.
Choosing the right attorney in the beginning can save you a lot of time and stress and allow you to get on with your life as quickly as possible. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we will effectively and efficiently pursue the best outcome possible for you in your divorce or custody proceedings. Judy L. Burger is known for her aggressive representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  If you are a parent facing a divorce or custody dispute, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form

What are the Basics of an Annulment in California?

OopsWe recently discussed the ongoing saga of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. Our readers may recall that the couple split up after being married for a very short time. Kardashian wants a divorce while Humphries wants an annulment. Most people are familiar with divorce, but what exactly is an annulment and how do you go about getting one? An annulment is declared when a court determines that your marriage or legal partnership was invalid from the start.  The ten-dollar Latin legal phrase is “void ab initio,” when means void from the beginning. An annulment basically unwinds a marriage as though it never existed.  Some of the reasons a marriage can be declared void in California include bigamy and incest.  Other grounds for an annulment include:
  1. When one party was of unsound mind.
  2. When one party was induced to enter into the marriage by fraud.
  3. When one of the parties was forced into the marriage.
  4. When one of the parties was physically incapacitated at the time of the marriage and the incapacitation appears to be incurable.
If you feel that your marriage meets the criteria to be annulled, contact the Law Offices of Judy Burger today. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we will aggressively pursue the best outcome possible for you in your divorce or annulment proceedings.  Judy L. Burger is known for taking a firm stand for her clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  Call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

Basic Paternity Rules in California

Father CustodyEstablishing Paternity

When a woman gives birth to a child, California law automatically recognizes that woman as the mother of the child. If the woman is married and living with her spouse, then her husband is recognized as the child’s father. However, if the two parties are not married, then the law only recognizes the father if paternity is legally established. Establishing paternity grants the child all the benefits and rights of children born to parents that are married, and can be very important for the child if the parents become separated, divorced, or were never married in the first place, especially if the father is interested in retaining proper custody and visitation rights. Also, establishing paternity allows the child to be legally entitled to child support during the father’s life and possibly inheritance or other death benefit upon the father’s death. Establishing paternity benefits the child in a number of ways.  Children are entitled to have legal proof of both parents’ identities, family medical records in case of an inherited condition, life or medical insurance if the parents have it, and financial support from both parents. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we will actively pursue the best strategy to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child in legal family matters.  Judy L. Burger is known for her tenacious representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  If you are a parent facing a divorce, custody dispute, or other family law issue, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

Becoming an Adult by Emancipation in California

TeensEmancipation is a legal way for a child to become an adult before reaching the age of adulthood, which in California is eighteen years. Once a child is emancipated, his or her parents do not legally have custody or control of him or her any longer. Children who are emancipated lose the right to be supported by their parents, but they have the freedom to make their own choices regarding medical care, applying for a work permit, signing up for school or college, and living where they choose. Emancipated or not, children of mandatory school age must continue going to school. There are basically three ways to become emancipated. Getting married or joining the U.S. Armed Forces will have the effect of emancipation, but both require a parent’s consent. The third way for a child to become emancipated is to obtain a judicial declaration of emancipation. There are several requirements a child must fulfill before a court will grant emancipation, so it is best to proceed with the help of a qualified family law attorney if court is the only viable option. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger represents client of all ages in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas. Judy L. Burger is known for aggressively representing clients in divorce, custody, and other contested family law cases. If you need a dedicated advocate on your side, contact us today to learn more about how we can help. Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

California Adoption Basics

Man's hands hold kid's handful

Adoption is the legal process of creating a new parent-child relationship with an adopting parent who is not a child’s birth parent. An adoptive parent may be a stepparent or domestic partner of one of the birth parents, a relative, or someone completely unrelated. The most important qualifying factor is that the adoptive parent must unequivocally desire to permanently be the parent of a particular child. Once the adoption process is final, adoptive parents hold all legal rights and responsibilities of a parent-child relationship. This new parent-child relationship is permanent and is exactly the same as that of a birth family. The most common type of adoption in California is a stepparent or domestic partner adoption. In a stepparent or domestic partner adoption, the spouse or domestic partner of the child’s parent adopts the child. The couple must be legally married or registered as domestic partners. This type of adoption is a little simpler than the others, because one of the child’s birth parents remains the child’s parent. To learn more about the adoption process, contact an experienced California family law attorney.  At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we can discuss your options and recommend a strategy to help you achieve the best outcome possible in your family court proceedings. Judy L. Burger is known for taking a firm stand in representing clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  If you are a parent facing a family law dispute, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

Notifying the Other Birth Parent of an Adoption

iStock_girl w sunflowerAdopting a stepchild or domestic partner’s child is a fairly common milestone for many families.  Adoption has the effect of uniting a family while legally terminating the parental rights of a birth parent who has little or no involvement in the child’s life. In many cases, the uninvolved birth parent will consent to an adoption. It is also possible to carry out an adoption without his or her consent. Allowing an adoption without a parent’s consent is a serious matter, so a court will not proceed until the uninvolved birth parent has had a chance to present his or her objections. If possible, one way to speed up an adoption case is to get the uninvolved birth parent’s written consent to the adoption. If written consent is not possible, then the prospective adoptive parent must locate the uninvolved birth parent and provide a last known address to the court. If the uninvolved birth parent cannot be located, the prospective adoptive parent must convince the court that he or she made a good faith effort to find the uninvolved parent and notify him or her of the adoption proceedings. A stepparent or domestic partner adoption should be a joyful time for your family. Talk to an attorney experienced in California family law to help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, without any unexpected surprises along the way. Judy L. Burger is an experienced California family law attorney serving the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento area.  If your family is considering an adoption, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

Can Spouses Reconcile During Divorce Proceedings?

Dating We recently discussed the fact that Kobe and Vanessa Bryant decided to try to work things out rather than get divorced.  It happens.  Sometimes after deciding to file for divorce, couples work out their differences and decide to stay together. If you already have your divorce proceedings in court, it may be possible to stop the proceedings before the divorce becomes final. A divorce is initiated by filing a petition for divorce. To stop the proceedings, the spouse who filed the petition has to file a Request for Dismissal. If the other spouse filed a Response, then the other spouse will also have to join or file a Request for Dismissal. Keep in mind that if you later want to pursue the divorce, you will have to start over with a new petition and pay the filing fees again. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we take a firm stand to represent the best interests of our clients. If you and your spouse decide to give your marriage another chance, we will support your wishes wholeheartedly. Until then, we will aggressively pursue the best outcome possible for you in your divorce or custody proceedings. Judy L. Burger is known for her tenacious representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  If you are a parent facing a divorce or custody dispute, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

Taking Your Ex Back to Court to Collect Your Fair Share

MoneyvLove Some divorces can be accomplished in what seems like a blink of the eye.  Oftentimes, a young couple without children or assets to speak of simply needs to sign a few legal documents to go their separate ways.  But as years go by and marriages get longer, divorces get more complicated as children are born and assets are accumulated. Such was the case with Frank and Jamie McCourt. At the time of their divorce, Frank was the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In determining Jamie’s stake in the family assets, Frank estimated the value of marital assets, including the Dodgers franchise, at roughly $300 million. Eventually, the divorce was finalized in October of 2011and Jamie was awarded $131 million. Not exactly half, but not too shabby, either. A mere six monthly later, however, Frank sold the Dodgers franchise for a whopping $2.15 billion. (That’s right, billion with a ‘B’). Jamie promptly took Frank back to court, feeling she had been cheated out of her fair share. Among other things, Jamie alleged that Frank grossly undervalued the business. Situations like this are not uncommon, particularly when the marital assets include a business. An experienced and pragmatic divorce attorney understands the importance of a fair business valuation conducted by a qualified expert. Be sure your attorney is prepared with the facts so you can get your fair share the first time around. If you feel like your spouse took you to the cleaners in your divorce, before giving up, consider your options for taking your ex back to court. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we will aggressively pursue the best outcome possible for you in your divorce or custody proceedings.  Depending on the status of your case, time may be of the essence, so don’t delay. Judy L. Burger is known for her tenacious representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  If you are a parent facing a divorce or custody dispute, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

I Don’t Want My Ex to Move Away with My Child

Home SoldIn today’s highly mobile job market, employees are often faced with either moving or losing a job altogether.  This creates an especially difficult situation after a divorce.  Depending on the distance involved, one parent may no longer be able to exercise frequent visitation. Generally speaking, a parent with sole physical custody of a child can move away unless the other parent can prove in court that the move would cause irreparable harm to the child.  On the other hand, if parents share joint physical custody then the parent who wants to move may be required to prove the move will serve the child’s best interest. The laws that regulate these situations are complicated and like most laws, there are exceptions.  The first thing you should do if you find yourself on either side of this dilemma is contact a qualified family law attorney.  Your attorney can explain the current law and help you decide which steps to take next. If you are worried that your ex-spouse may move away with your child, or if you are the one who needs to move to accept a job or start a new life, contact the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger today. Judy L. Burger is known for her tenacious representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.

Can a Man Legally Adopt His Wife’s Last Name When Marrying in California?

EngagementIn California, our state allows both men and women to change their last names when they get married if one or both of them choose to do so.  California is one of only nine states that officially has this equal opportunity law on the books. A recent incident in Florida brought to light the lingering gender discrimination in other parts of the country.  According to news reports, a Florida man was accused of fraud by the state Department of Motor Vehicles after he adopted his wife’s last name following their 2011 marriage. Lazaro Dinh decided to take his wife’s last name rather than vice versa. Lazaro said he had no emotional ties to his last name and he wanted to help his wife’s Vietnamese family perpetuate their surname. After the wedding, Lazaro followed the usual steps to obtain a new passport and Social Security card.  He also changed his bank accounts and credit cards before attempting to obtain a new driver’s license. Lazaro then applied for a new driver’s license the same way female Floridians do when changing their name after marriage.  The Florida DMV issued Lazaro a new license and he went on with life. More than a year later, Lazaro received a letter from Florida’s DMV informing him that his license had been suspended due to an accusation of “obtaining a driving license by fraud”. He first thought it must be a mistake, but when he called the DMV office in Tallahassee he was told that in order to legally change his name he must do so through a court, a process that takes several months and over $400 in filing fees. When Lazaro explained that his name change was the result of a marriage he was told the rule only applied to women. Luckily for Lazaro, the Florida DMV decided not to pursue fraud charges at roughly the same time the news hit the internet. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we will aggressively pursue the best outcome possible for you in your divorce or custody proceedings.  Judy L. Burger is known for her tenacious representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  If you are a parent facing a divorce or custody dispute, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.