A Problem Same-Sex Couples May Not Have Considered

GayMarriageMany couples rushed at the chance to get married when Massachusetts passed a law allowing same-sex marriages back in 2004. From all over the country, couples flew to Massachusetts, staying only long enough to get married before returning to their home states. Unfortunately, just like many heterosexual marriages, things don’t always work out and many same-sex partners have decided to go their separate ways. This is where some same-sex couples are running into a problem. If the state where a same-sex couple resides still does not recognize same-sex marriages, then the couple cannot get divorced. The obvious rationale is you can’t get divorced if you are not legally married. In order to get legally divorced, a same-sex couple must seek a divorce in a state where the union is recognized. Most if not all states require residency for a minimum period of time before you can seek a divorce. So, if a couple weds in Massachusetts but lives in Mississippi and they later decide to call it quits, they are typically stuck in the legal union, at least until they devise a solution to the lack of jurisdiction problem so they can get divorced in a same-sex marriage state. Thankfully, California provides an option for same-sex couples who got married in California but now live in another state. Same-sex married couples who got married in California but now live in another state that does not recognize same-sex marriages can file for divorced in California, despite California’s standard residency requirements for divorce. If you need assistance getting divorced from your same-sex spouse, contact us to learn more about the filing requirements and limits on the court’s jurisdiction. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we aggressively pursue the best outcome for you in your divorce or custody proceedings. Judy L. Burger is known for her effective representation of clients in complex family law 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.

Standard Child Abuse and Neglect Legal Procedures in California

ChildofDivorceWhen someone files a credible report regarding a child in danger, an investigation must be conducted by either a social worker or the police. They will decide if the child appears to be in imminent danger and whether it is necessary to remove the child from his or her home. Police or the social workers may decide that a child should be placed in temporary foster care for his or her safety if they believe the child was neglected, molested, or abused. The child may be sent to live with a relative, to the other legal parent if the parents do not live together, or to a foster home or shelter. Once a child is removed from the home, social services should conduct a deeper investigation about the home environment, the parent or other caretakers, and the child. After an investigation, social services will make recommendations regarding what action they consider to be best for the child’s safety and personal wellbeing. They may recommend filing a petition in court to have a child declared “dependent.” If you believe you have been wrongfully targeted by social services and need someone on your side to fight for you and your child, seek the help of an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. A delay could be used against you by social services later. 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 taking a firm stand in representing clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  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.

Basic Information About Child Support in California

safe and happyChild support is an amount of money a court orders either one parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the care of their child or children. Child support is normally ordered after a petition for divorce is filed, and usually the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.

Misconceptions abound regarding child support. Some noncustodial and custodial parents alike think the money is intended to help support the custodial parent. Others believe that child support should be put in a separate account to be used only for the children’s direct expenses, and still others believe every penny should be accounted for on a monthly basis. None of those misconceptions are true.  The broad purpose of child support is to help provide for the needs of the children, which means it may be used to help pay for rent and utilities, groceries, clothing, and so on.  A child support recipient does not normally have to account for how the money was spent. If you feel you are getting the short end of the stick where child support is concerned, then think about the long-term costs that will accrue over the years your children are entitled to support. Paying for competent, aggressive representation now is worth every penny. Like the old adage, when it comes to legal advice you get what you pay for. If you need an advocate on your side to fight for the outcome that is right for you and your children, contact an experienced family law attorney to petition the court on your behalf. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger will aggressively pursue the best outcome possible for you in your child support 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, custody, or child support 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 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.