Santa Clarita Divorce | Don’t Get Scammed With Your Divorce

On a fairly frequent basis, I receive calls from people who have had a bad experience with another divorce paralegal firm. I hate getting these calls because we have to suffer the consequences of this when they call us.

They assume that all divorce paralegal firms are the same.  This is not the case, and I have to spend considerable time with these folks explaining the difference between the company they hired and us.

If people would just do their due diligence in the first place, they would not have been in this position to begin with.

In the most recent conversation which happened this week, was a gentleman who had already paid $500 to another company and they didn’t finish the job.  It did not matter what I said to him, he just was too bruised from the prior transaction with the other company.

He had nothing to be concerned about and we did everything to make him see that we were not that company that did this to him.  But I am not going to beg for business.

Over a two week period, I paid to have his documents shipped from our Burbank office to our main office in Valencia.  I opened his file and reviewed his documents and provided a timeline to get things done.  He called our office and he spoke with our receptionist, myself and my staff at least 10 times and we exchanged emails a dozen times at least.

Then he still wanted another phone call and still was unable to make a decision.

So what did I do?  I told him we decided not to work with him. I told him we cannot work with clients who do not value our service.  And despite the fact that he already signed an agreement for us to provide service and despite the cost to us to have his documents mailed, open and review his file and the many emails and phone calls, I said I was canceling the agreement and not going to charge him and mail his documents back to him.

Fortunately, we have grown our business enough where we don’t have to beg for business and if anything, we screen out clients to make sure people like this don’t get through the door. Because ever once and a while, one will get through and they become a nightmare to deal with.

Hopefully he finds someone that is willing to deal with him and who won’t take his money and run again.

Santa Clarita Divorce | Request For Order Serving Timeframes

Santa Clarita Divorce | Request For Order Serving Timeframes

I have talked about this several times before, but we still keep getting the questions about timeframes when filing a request for order, responding to a request for order or filing a reply declaration.  I discuss the serving timeframe requirements in this episode.

Santa Clarita Divorce | Request For Order Serving Timeframes

 

Santa Clarita Divorce | How To Write A Request For Order

First, what is a request for order.  A request for order is the name of a court form that you use when you want to ask the court to make orders, whether it be during your divorce or after it is finished.

I have spoke a lot about these request for orders and we probably handle 10 or so request for orders a month for people who need to get into court for new or modified court orders.

For the purpose of this article, I wanted to address the actual “how to” as far as formatting of your declaration which is the written narrative of what and more importantly, why you are asking for what you want.

I have become very skilled in writing request for orders for people and we have great track record for getting our clients what they want. It is all about how you write it.

My background in writing great declarations for request for orders comes from my almost 15 years as a Police Officer.  When I was a cop I had to write 5 to 10 police reports a day which all have to tell a story and follow certain criteria and most importantly the person I arrested had to be shown to be guilty.  This means we had to prove in the report that the person did all the things it takes to make them guilty of the crime.

Divorce and family law is the same way.  Each law or rule has elements that have to be meet in order for it to work.

Before I get to far into this, I want to advise you on how to structure this and then will give an example from a previous article I wrote so you have a better understanding of what I am talking about.

The first thing you need to do is complete the actual Request For Order Application form FL-300. Think of this as a cover pages (4 pages) which is a court form that has a series of check boxes and places for certain information.

Following the Request For Order Application, you will have to draft a written declaration.  This part is very important because this is your chance to tell the court what and why you want what you want and why the court should agree with you.

So as far as formatting this is what i will tell you. Be clear and concise. And make sure to never put in any drama into the declaration.  Shorter is better and you should include some case law or rules or codes if you have any to support your requests.

I don’t recommend you write your own declarations. I would suggest you hire us to prepare, file and serve your Request For Order and declaration.  The difference between getting what you want and not is in how the declaration is written.

We can help you with your Request for Order and we do a lot of them. Give me a call and we can discuss helping you.

How We Are Disrupting The California Divorce Business


Have you heard the word “disruptive” used to describe some business’s or business models? Disruptive in this sense is defined as follows “A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network”.

Here is what comes to mind when I hear disruptive innovations.  I am sure you have heard some of these and I will give you a little comparison.

Uber’s entry into the transportation industry effecting Taxi services.

Amazon’s effect on shopping.

Pandora’s effect on how we consume music.

Airbnb’s effect on options for hotels.

You can see how the introduction of these business models effected the business’s that had operated the same way for so many years without ever making changes to their business model.

So why do I bring this up.  I believe that our business is a disruptive business to the legal profession by providing affordable legal services to people.

When I first started this business, I did not feel that this business model was disruptive to law firms and attorneys. I felt that our client base was much different than the client base for attorneys.

However, as the years have gone by, I do notice some overlap. This overlap is in the shape of people who would have otherwise used an attorney for their divorce, but because we existed, they turned to us for help.  Many of these people never needed an attorney to begin with, they just didn’t know there was any other options.  And until we came along, there really was not anyone else out there doing what we are doing.

I am not saying that we created this industry.  Not at all.  The concept of independent paralegal services has been around a long time.  It was not until 12 or so plus years ago they put a new name to it, “Legal Document Assistant” to differentiate between what we do and what a paralegal does which is to be supervised by an attorney.

Anyway, our business model is a disruptive model to the lawyer and law firm business model. Many of our clients would have otherwise used an attorney had they not found us.  But this would have only been due to lack of options.  Many did not need an attorney or legal advice, but there was no other choice than to pay the big bucks for an attorney.

Here is a perfect example of a recent conversation that was disruptive to lawyers.

I received a call from a guy who had questions about attending a Trial Setting Conference. He was living out of state so he was looking for someone to attend the hearing on his behalf because he did not want to fly in.  He had called around and spoke to some attorneys and they were quoting him between $2,500 and $5,000 for a retainer fee.  This is pretty typical.

The one attorney said the $2,500 would only pay for her appearance at the TSC and anything else would be billed at $250 per hour.

Here is what I told him.  I told him that the Trial Setting Conference is not all that important and usually lasts about 15 minutes, if that.  I then told him it is possible to get permission from the court to appear telephonically.  ==>Here is the article which discusses more on that process<==

So he followed my advice and got permission for the court call. His total cost? $86.00…

$86.00 vs. $2,500.  And that money didn’t even go to me.  That went to the Company that provides the Court Call service.

You might say I have a bad business model.  I spent 30 minutes on the phone with this guy, looked up his court case number, provided him the number to the court and to court call.

I don’t think so though. This guy will call me back as his case progresses.  How can’t he after the help that was provided.

And that is how I operate my business.  I look out for the best interest of my clients, whether clients or not and whether I will make any money or not.  I think it will give me good Karma.

And I think it is a bad practice for an attorney to not tell someone that a hearing is only going to last 15 minutes and knowing he is out of state does not have any options so tries to bilk $2,500 out of him.

This is why attorneys have the reputation they have.

Santa Clarita Divorce | Divorce Assistance Via Live Chat On Divorce661.Com

If you have been to our website you may have noticed a green tab on the right hand side about half way down that says “Live Support”  This is a chat feature we have installed to allow for people who are visiting our site an easy way to ask questions if they are either not ready to pick up the phone or possibly can’t because they are at work and can’t discuss things over the phone.

It is a pretty popular function that people take advantage of. I actually man the live chat when it is on and I am available to be at my computer to answer questions as they come in.

When people are going through divorce they have lots of questions. That is why we have so much information out there in a variety of formats like our blog, podcast and Youtube channel.  In an industry that does not like to share information or provide answers to questions for free, out clients and people who find us are happy that we are out there providing this information.

The chat feature is just another way we are trying to help people get through their divorce in California.  While I wish I had time to man it 24 hours a day, I try to at least have the chat feature available a few hours a day when I am not with clients and sitting at my desk writing motions, etc.

So feel free to jump on board and use the chat feature if you are not able to call in.

Santa Clarita Divorce | Divorce Podcast On Soundcloud

One of the things I spend most of my time on to grow my business is to focus on giving people what they want? What do people want? They want information.

The legal industry is interesting. Most people attorneys keep information to themselves and don’t want to explain how things work because they are afraid you will realize that you might not need them.

I have always taken an opposite approach and spend most of my time giving out information in a variety of different formats.

We have information on our blogs, Facebook, a Youtube Channel as well as our podcast. We have been focusing our attention on Soundcloud lately so people can listen to the information we are giving out instead of having to read it.

We have found that people are starting to get away from reading and are consuming content on video or audio. Anything but reading it seems, but we still have to write as this is the only way for the search engines to find us because other than Youtube, search engines cannot hear what is in the podcasts.

Let me know if this is true for you.  How do you get your content for information you are looking for?

Change Of Venue California Family Law Code Of Civil Procedure 397.5

Change Of Venue California Family Law Code Of Civil Procedure 397.5

I am helping a client with their California family law case with a change of venue in Los Angeles Superior Court. Specifically we are talking about a change of venue based upon Family Law Code of Civil Procedure 397.5

Family Law Code of Civil Procedure 397.5 is a pretty specific code section that says;
In any proceeding for dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties under the Family Code, where it appears that both petitioner and respondent have moved from the county rendering the order, the court may, when the ends of justice and the convenience of the parties would be promoted by the change, order that the proceedings be transferred to the county of residence of either party.

This code does not leave much to argue against. It simply says that if both parties have moved from the County that they can make the request under 397.5.

However if you look at the words they chose to use, there is some conditions. First, the language used is “May”.  The Court “May” transfer the if both the petitioner and respondent have moved from the county.

Second, the language says “when the ends of justice and the convenience of the parties would be promoted by the change”.

So here is how I would write the requests for change of venue under 397.5. I would make sure not to take advantage of this section and think it is a done deal just by saying you both live outside the county.  I think you should include things that tell the court how it will be a convenience to the parties involved and to point out how the ends of justice would be met.

For those who are opposing the change of venue under 397.5, i would make sure to point out the opposite, of course, and explain why it is not in the best interest of the parties for the venue to be changed.

Some of these reasons could be that the person changing venue is only a few miles outside of the county and not much closer to the court they are asking it to me changed to.  Another reason would be to say (if it is true) that the only reason the other party is requesting the change is because they don’t like the judge and have been receiving unfavorable results at request for orders.

Again, I am writing an opposition request for order responsive declaration for a hearing coming up in a few weeks. I will write another post which details what the court’s ultimate decision was on this issue.

Santa Clarita Divorce | Calculating Child Support With Multiple Children Schedules

When you are going through a divorce in California, you are going to have to come up with some child support numbers if you have children.  The basic premise is that you use the court’s dissomaster software ( you won’t have access, but you will as our client) and punch in the income of the parties and the time share percentages.

It looks like this.

Dissomaster Example
Dissomaster Example

Generally it is pretty easy to figure out. You decide who has the kids what percentage of time and punch in the incomes of the parties and the the software spits out a number. The timeshare percentages are also usually pretty easy to figure out. It usually goes something like this;

There are 3 children and they are all with mom 80 percent of the time. Pretty strait forward.

But how about this scenario;

There are 3 kids and 2 of the kids spend 90% of the time with mom and 1 of the kids spends 20% of the time with mom.

So what is the average time share between the 3 kids?

This is the formula we used to make this determination.

3 kids

Mom
2 kids 90% of time = 180%
1 kid 20% = 20%

200% divided by 3 = 66.66 %

33.33 percent assigned to father as average time share percentage

What we did essentially is take the 2 kids with 90% and multiply that by 2 because there are 2 kids. Then the one kid, (1 x 20% = 20%) The total being 200% and then divided by the number of children to come up with the average time share.

I know this is not calculus, but i figured if one of our clients had a question on it then somebody else out there might as well.