A Restraining Order Attorney Can Help You Obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

restraining order attorneyThere are unfortunate situations where you may be in fear of, or have been, abused by someone you know. A knowledgeable restraining order attorney can help you obtain a domestic violence restraining order against your abuser to prevent further abuse. The order can extend to your family or household members.

Domestic Violence Defined

California defines domestic violence as abuse, or threats of abuse, between people who are or have been in an intimate relationship — i.e., married, domestic partners, reside or resided together, dating or dated, or has a child together — or are related by blood or marriage.

Abuse Defined

Abuse is the:

  • Intentional or reckless hurting, or trying to hurt you, physically;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Use of threats, promise of harm, or other means to make a person reasonably afraid that you or someone else are about to be seriously hurt; or,
  • Harassing, threatening, stalking, hitting you, or similar behavior; disturbing your peace; or destroying your personal property.

Abuse may involve shoving, kicking, pushing, hair pulling, throwing objects, following or scaring you, keeping you from freely coming and going, or even physical abuse of family pets. Abuse can take other forms, such as verbal, emotional or psychological. Abusers may utilize a combination of tactics to gain power and control over you.

If any of instances described above has occurred to you, immediately contact a tenacious restraining order attorney Rick Banks, who can help you obtain a domestic violence restraining order.

Purpose of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Domestic violence restraining orders can require the abuser to do the following:

  • Not have contact or go near you, your children, relatives and those who reside with you;
  • Stay away from your work, home, or your children’s child care or schools;
  • Move out of your house, even if you are residing together;
  • Not own or possess a gun;
  • Abide by child custody and visitation orders;
  • Pay child support;
  • Pay spousal (if married) or partner (if domestic partners) support;
  • Remain away from your pets;
  • Transfer the rights to a cellphone account and number to you;
  • Pay specific bills;
  • Not make alterations to insurance policies;
  • If you are married or domestic partners, to not do anything significant or incur large expenses affecting your or the other person’s property;
  • Release or return certain property; and,
  • Complete a 52-week batterer intervention program.

Once the court issues a restraining order, they enter it into the CLETS, a statewide computer system that is accessible by all law enforcement officers. The restraining order is valid nationwide; however, you should contact your local police and advise them of your orders if you move out of California.

All restraining orders are valid in California, even if the order is from an outside state or was issued by a tribal court. You may register, although not required to be valid, your restraining order with the court to have it entered into California’s statewide domestic violence computer system.

A Restraining Order Can’t…

Domestic violence restraining orders cannot do the following:

  • Terminate your marriage or domestic partnership.
  • Establish parentage (paternity) of your children with the abuser (restrained person), unless you and the abuser agree to the parentage of your children and the court enters a judgment regarding parentage.

Effect of the Restraining Order

Ramifications of a restraining order is severe, such as criminal and civil liability, presumption that the abuser should not have custody of the children for five years, loss of right to own a firearm, loss of employment opportunities or professional license, and possible deportation.

Call a Restraining Order Attorney

If you are a victim of abuse, contact restraining order attorney Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 to receive help obtaining a restraining order or other relief.

Custody Attorney: Everything You Need to Know About Child Custody

custody attorneyParents of a minor child who are neither involved nor residing together will need to determine where the child will reside, where the child will attend school or child care, and other major decisions affecting the child. Sometimes parents may reach an agreement  regarding their minor child, but other times, they may need assistance from the court. Rick D. Banks is an experienced custody attorney and can help you throughout the child custody process.

Custody Order Types

California has two types of child custody:

  • Legal Custody – who will make arrangements concerning the child’s education, health and welfare
  • Physical Custody – with whom the child will reside

A knowledgeable custody attorney can help you come to the custody agreement that best suits your family.

Legal Custody

Legal custody could be joint or solo. Joint legal custody is when both of the parents share the rights and responsibilities to make major decisions concerning the child’s welfare, health, and education. Sole legal custody is when one parent is responsible and has rights towards the child. These vital decisions include:

  • Child care
  • School
  • Religious activities or institutions
  • Mental health therapy or counseling, if needed
  • Health professional care, such as pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor
  • Travel
  • Sports, vacation, extracurricular activities, and summer camp
  • Residence (where the child will live)

Parents with joint legal custody have the right to determine the issues listed above but they don’t need to agree on every single item except those the court expressly enumerated. For the benefit for the child and to maintain a cordial relationship, parents should cooperate and communicate with one another to avoid needing to go to court. A custody attorney can help negotiate appropriate legal custody terms.

Physical Custody

Similarly, physical custody could be joint or single. Joint physical custody is when the children live with both of their parents. Solo or primary physical custody is when for the majority of the time, the children reside with one parent and may visit the other parent.

The children may not live with each parent equally if the parents have joint physical custody. Sometimes, the children may reside with one parent more because it is difficult to divide the time evenly. Further, depending on various factors, including the age of the child and with whom the child spent more time prior to the couple’s split, the child may reside with the primary caretaker more until the child is older. The primary custodial parent is the parent with whom the child resides with the majority of the time. A custody attorney can help you establish a physical custody and visitation arrangement that is appropriate for your family.

What Can Affect Custodial Rights

California courts must consider the “best interest of the child” when deciding custody cases. They have two guiding policies:

  • Primary concern is the child’s health, safety, and welfare; and,
  • Child’s benefit from frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

Within the two policies’ parameters, the judge may consider any factor related to parenting, taking into account all facts and circumstances. For example, a court may not grant any custodial rights or visitation, or may limit visitation rights, to a parent if that parent abused drugs or alcohol, was always absent, committed domestic violence, was convicted of certain types of physical or sexual child abuse, or has a mental disorder. 

Talk to an Experienced Custody Attorney

If you’re deciding your own parenting arrangements with respect to both legal and physical custody, or if you need assistance in obtaining child custody or modifying a custody order, call a skilled custody attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 for help.

Child Support Modification Lawyer Discusses Amending Your Child Support Order

Child support modification lawyerWhen a couple has a child and then chooses to separate, the non-custodial parent is legally obligated to pay child support to the custodial parent to ensure the financial well being of minor child until the child reaches the age of 18. People’s lives are not static; therefore, changes can occur. When the change affects the amount of child support that is needed or can be provided, then a request for change in child support payments may be needed. Child support modification lawyer Rick Banks can review your circumstances and help you with your child support modification request.

Reasons for Child Support Modification

The court will entertain requests for modification of child support payments in two situations:

  • The original child support arrangement failed to adhere to state or county child support guidelines and requirements, irrespective of the fact that the guidelines had changed since the original arrangement, the parties agreed to the arrangement outside of court, or that there was an error.
  • There is a “change in circumstances” that resulted in the insufficiency or damage of the original child support payments.

What Qualifies as a Change In Circumstances?

The person seeking an alternation of child support payments must show a significant “change in circumstances” that warrants modifying the child support order, such as the following:

  • Income change
  • Unemployment
  • One parent has a child from another relationship
  • Incarceration
  • Child’s needs changed (i.e., child care, education, healthcare)
  • Amount of time child spends with either parent
  • Change in any of the factors relied upon in deciding child support

If you have had, or anticipate having, a change in circumstances as listed above, it is crucial you seek a knowledgeable child support modification lawyer who can help you inform the appropriate family court as soon as possible, to have your child support modified. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to meet your child support obligation, do not refuse to pay. The consequences of failing to pay child support are severe.

Changes to child support payments are not retroactive; rather, only future child support payments are subject to the modified child support order. Therefore, if possible, it is best to promptly begin the process of modifying child support prior to issues of meeting those payments arise.

How to Modify Your Child Support

One way to modify your child support payments is to sign an agreement with the other parent regarding the amount of the change, and then bring it to the court where the order can be formalized. If the other parent is not cooperative, then the court will need to hear the request for modification.

Your child support modification lawyer can help you file a motion to modify your child support order. Information you may need to provide to the judge include the following:

  • Parent’s income and expenses
  • Child care expenses
  • Disability information, if applicable
  • Jail or prison status, if applicable
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Retirement income
  • Custody and visitation arrangements

If the modification order is granted after review of all material information, the change will be effective immediately, unless otherwise stated in the order.

Consequences of Non-Payment

Your child support modification lawyer will likely strongly advise against refusing to pay child support. California provides severe consequences of non-payment, such as the following, to name a few:

  • Warrant for your arrest
  • Incarceration
  • Wage garnishment
  • Frozen bank accounts
  • Denied tax refund
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Suspension of professional license

Other ramifications include negative report affecting your credit score, as well as denial of employment opportunities.

Speak to a Seasoned Child Support Modification Lawyer 

If you believe you have a significant change in circumstances necessitating a change in child support, contact a skilled child support modification lawyer at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 for assistance.

A Divorce Alimony Attorney Can Help Modify or Terminate Your Spousal Support Order

divorce alimony attorneyWhen the court awards spousal support, or alimony, to one spouse from the other, the court is balancing the incomes of the spouses similar to their lifestyle during their marriage. However, there are circumstances that call for the modification or termination of the spousal support order.  A divorce alimony attorney can review your circumstances and help you request a modification or termination of your spousal support order.

Who May Request for a Modification?

Either or both spouses or domestic partners may request for a modification of the alimony order. The court can modify or terminate the order if one party shows there has been a “change in circumstances” since the date the support order was entered.

Basis for Modification or Termination

A knowledgeable divorce alimony attorney understands that although the court has jurisdiction to modify or terminate a spousal support order if you can show that you have a change in circumstances, it does not mean the court will grant such modification or termination just because you have a change. Rather, you must show that you have a significant, material change of circumstances that occurred outside the your control.

The court has discretion when determining whether the change in circumstances warrants a modification. If, for example, you have a drop in income and are now seeking a reduction of alimony payment, the court will look to see whether the income drop was in your control. The court will likely deny your request for reduction of alimony payments if you intentionally acted in such a way to be fired or given less work hours so you could seek lower support payments.

Likewise, if the supported spouse does not make a good faith effort to become self-sufficient, you may request to terminate the support order. You may also request for the termination of the support order if the supported spouse remarries, enters into a domestic partnership, or cohabitates with another person. There must be a showing that the relationship is one of homemaker-companion, romantic relationship, and not merely a roommate.

When determining whether to modify or terminate a spousal support order, the court will look at the same factors utilized to calculate the support order, outlined in Family Code 4320.

If you have a significant change in circumstances or believe you can no longer meet your alimony payments, a skilled divorce alimony attorney can review your case history and circumstances to help create a support modification or termination strategy.

Ways to Modify or Terminate Spousal Support

The easiest way to modify the spousal support is if the former spouses or domestic partners reach an agreement to a new amount of support and execute either an agreement or a stipulation as to that fact. You then give the executed agreement/stipulation to the judge for signature to become a new court order.

However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, then the party wishing for a modification, or termination, must file a motion with the court requesting for the change in the order. A skilled divorce alimony attorney can help you negotiate with the other party to reach an agreement. Or he can help you file a motion requesting for the change in support order.

Contact a Divorce Alimony Attorney Today

If you have a significant, material change in circumstances, such as decrease in income due to loss of job, working fewer hours, or retirement, immediately request for a modification or termination of spousal support. The court cannot change the support order retroactively if you decide to wait. The court can only change the support order from the date you filed your papers requesting for the change. Call divorce alimony attorney Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 for assistance.