Author Archives: Cathleen E. Norton

YOU DO NOT HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO COLLECT CHILD SUPPORT FROM THE OTHER PARENT WITHOUT A COURT ORDER.

YOU DO NOT HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO COLLECT CHILD SUPPORT FROM THE OTHER PARENT WITHOUT A COURT ORDER.

If you want child support or want to change an existing child support order, You do not have legal rights to collect child support by Law offices of Cathleen E. Norton you must file an Request for Order with the Court. The forms you will need to complete are: Request for Order (FL-300) along with a Declaration, and an Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150). You must provide 2 months’ pay stubs with your papers.

**PLEASE NOTE THAT AS OF 7/1/12, THE “REQUEST FOR ORDER” FORM HAS REPLACED THE ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE FORM**

If you want to know how much child support you are entitled to, call the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton at (310) 300-4021 for an analysis.

The amount of child support you are entitled to is based on many factors, the most important of which is the relative income of the parties and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Child support and child custody are directly related to each other, and you would be well advised to educate yourself on the law. It is always better to have an experienced family law attorney represent you, especially under the following circumstances:

  • When you suspect the other party earns more than reported on the Income and Expense Declaration,
  • has not been truthful about his/her financial information,
  • recently received a job promotion or bonus,
  • purposely depresses his/her income,
  • voluntarily quits his/her job,
  • hides self-employment income,
  • hides assets,
  • received a large inheritance,
  • has rental properties,
  • has a significant amount of separate property stocks, bonds, investments, etc.

After you file your child support papers, a hearing date will be set and you must serve the other parent with the paperwork.

If you receive child support:

If you want to modify your child support order because, for example, you discovered that the other parent earns more money now than before, you should file your child support papers immediately. If you do nothing, you may waive your right to any increased amount of child support prior to the date you filed your Order to Show Cause. You do not have the right to modify your child support retroactively.

If you pay child support:

If you pay child support and have been laid off, for example, you should file your child support papers immediately. If you do not, the prior child support order (at the higher amount) will continue to accrue until the Court modifies the existing child support order. You do not have a right to modify your child support retroactively.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is a top family law firm dedicated to protecting your legal rights. Our goal is to empower you. Our job is to protect you. Cathleen E. Norton, Esq. is an experienced family law attorney who obtained both her B.A. and J.D. credentials from UCLA. You won’t find a better qualified attorney to represent you! We have offices in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Westlake Village and service family law cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Call us today for a free consultation at (310) 300-4021. For more information about the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton, please visit our website at www.nortonfamilylaw.com/.

Child Support:  Reimbursement Procedures For Health Care Costs

What does California law say about child support medical reimbursements?

Law Offices Of Cathleen E. Norton

If you have a child support order that includes a provision for reimbursement of health care costs, California law states that you must first give the other parent a statement itemizing the Child Support:  Reimbursement Procedures For Health Care Costs by Law Offices Of Cathleen E. Norton charges within a reasonable period of time.  How long do you have to do this?  30 days.  If you have already paid for the entire cost, simply provide the other parent with proof of payment and ask for reimbursement.  Medical reimbursements are considered an add-on to your monthly child support amount.  If you have already paid your share of the medical costs, request the other parent to send payment directly to the appropriate health-care provider and give the necessary information needed for direct payment.

How much time do I have to make payment?

If you are the parent who receives a request for reimbursement of medical costs, you must make payment within 30 days, or according to your child support order.  Payment may be later than 30 days if arrangements have been made directly with the child’s health care provider or according to a schedule as agreed upon by both parents.

What are my legal remedies if the other parent doesn’t pay?

If the other parent has failed to pay their share of a child’s uninsured costs after you have asked for reimbursement and provided proof of your share, you can file a Motion in Court with the help of an experienced family law attorney.  If the Court finds in your favor, you may be awarded attorney’s fees and costs from the other parent for having to resolve the dispute in Court.

What if I dispute a charge for my child’s medical procedure?

If you dispute a charge and need Court intervention to collect this additional child support, you may file a Motion only after you have paid your share.

Do I have to use the health care coverage that is currently provided?

If health care insurance is part of your child support order, you must use this insurance at all times to the extent it is available to cover medical costs.  If one parent claims the health insurance is inadequate in meeting medical needs, that parent has the burden of proof in Court.  If one parent chooses to a doctor not covered by insurance, that parent will be responsible for whatever out-of-pocket costs are incurred.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is a top family law firm dedicated to protecting your legal rights.  Our goal is to empower you.  Our job is to protect you.  Cathleen E. Norton, Esq. is an experienced family law attorney who obtained both her B.A. and J.D. credentials from UCLA.  You won’t find a better qualified attorney to represent you!  We have offices in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Westlake Village and service family law cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Call us today for a free consultation at (310) 300-4021. For more information about the Firm as well as common questions and answers about family law, please visit our website at http://www.nortonfamilylaw.com.

Getting a Divorce? Child Custody and Visitation Tips From Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer, Cathleen E. Norton, Esq.

GETTING A DIVORCE?  THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT CUSTODY AND VISITATION

Many people believe that once they file for divorce, the Court will set a hearing date to determine custody and visitation of the minor children.  Not true.  In order to get child custody orders, one of the parties needs to file what Los Angeles Child Custody Lawyers Family Law Attorneys by Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is called an Request for Order asking the Court for child custody and visitation orders.  Without child custody and visitation orders, neither party knows when he or she is supposed to exercise custodial time with the children.  Either parent may pick the children up from school, schedule activities without checking with the other parent, or worse, withhold the children from, say, dad, depriving the children of a relationship with their father.

When one party files an Request for Order for child custody and visitation, that party is requesting that the judge make a determination about what is in the best interests of the children.  If, for example, mom has been the primary caretaker, then she may ask the court for sole legal and physical custody of the children.  What does all this legal jargon mean?

Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the children.  Legal custody rights encompass the right to choose the children’s school, make decisions about doctors, etc.  Physical custody, simply put, is where the children will live.  If the children live with mom, for example, then in most cases, dad should be entitled to visitation.  The question for the Court is what child custody and visitation order is in the best interest of the children?

Joint legal custody is the obligation to share information regarding decision-making.  Joint physical custody means that the children live with both parents, on a particular schedule.  For example, mom may have child custody during the school week, and dad may have custody on the weekends because he works and can’t really exercise custody during the week.

A qualified family law attorney can help you define your child custody and visitation goals, determine what is reasonable in light of the facts of your particular case.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is a top family law firm dedicated to protecting your legal rights.  Our goal is to empower you.  Our job is to protect you.  Cathleen E. Norton, Esq. is an experienced family law attorney who obtained both her B.A. and J.D. credentials from UCLA.  You won’t find a better qualified attorney to represent you!  We have offices in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Westlake Village and service family law cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Call us today for a free consultation at (310) 300-4021.  For more information about the Firm as well as common questions and answers about family law, please visit our website at www.nortonfamilylaw.com.

How Is Guideline Child Support Calculated? Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer, Cathleen E. Norton, Esq.

Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer, Cathleen E. Norton, Esq.

CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATIONS – HOW MUCH AM I ENTITLED TO?

Child support in California is calculated based on 2 factors, primarily:  Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton  1) the income of both parents and 2) how much time each parent spends with the children.

What is considered “income” for the purposes of calculating child support, you ask?

The court may consider “income” from whatever source derived.  As you can see, California law defines “income” very broadly.  Income includes salary, commissions, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, social security benefits, and spousal support paid by someone other than the other parent.

If you are self-employed and have a business, then “income” will include gross receipts minus legitimate operating expenses.  If your business pays your cell phone or car payment, for example, then the court has discretion to consider these benefits and add this amount back into your business profit–these employee “benefits” are called perquisites.  If you are self-employed, you would be well advised to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you figure out how much child support you will have to pay.  It is a good idea to have tax returns from the last 2 years during your consultation with a family law attorney.

If you are an employee of a company, guideline child support in California will be based on your gross income, not your take-home pay.  The DissoMaster child support calculator will take into account the taxes you pay.  Make sure you tell your family law attorney how you file your taxes–single, head of household, married file jointly, or married filed separately, as well as how many exemptions you claim on your tax return.

Also, make sure you tell your family law attorney if you have necessary job-related expenses, union dues, health insurance premiums deducted from your pay check, or mandatory retirement contributions.  This can make a difference in how much child support you pay.

If you own a home, make sure you provide a copy of your mortgage statement to your family law attorney.  Since child support takes into consideration the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage, your attorney will need to know this information.  If you have a copy of your property tax bill, provide it to your family law attorney.

If you are wondering if the court takes into consideration what your monthly expenses are, the answer is “no.”  In most cases, the court does not ask whether you can afford to pay guideline child support.  In California, child support is based on a mathematical formula which takes into consideration such things as your tax filing status, mortgage interest deduction, property taxes, etc.  But generally speaking, your child support obligation does not take into consideration how much your car payment is, how much your credit card bills are, etc.  The good news is that an experienced family law attorney will make sure that you get all of the deductions you are legally entitled to.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is a top family law firm dedicated to protecting your legal rights.  Our goal is to empower you.  Our job is to protect you.  Cathleen E. Norton, Esq. is an experienced family law attorney who obtained both her B.A. and J.D. credentials from UCLA.  You won’t find a better qualified attorney to represent you!  We have offices in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Westlake Village and service family law cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Call us today for a free consultation at (310) 300-4021.  For more information about the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton, please visit our website at www.noronfamilylaw.com

Hire An experienced Los Angeles Divorce and Family Law Attorneys

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is committed to providing you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about your life. We counsel and educate our clients about their legal Hire An experienced Los Angeles Divorce and Family Law Attorneysrights because we want them to understand the process. Our goal is to empower you. Our job is to protect you.

When you retain the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton to represent you, we become your advocate. Working together, we are able to provide individualized legal advice that is not cost-prohibitive.

It does not make sense to hire an attorney at the outset of litigation and later run out of money before final resolution of your case. This would leave you in a very vulnerable position. It does not make sense to hire an attorney at the outset of litigation.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is committed to providing you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about your life. We counsel and educate our clients about their legal rights because we want them to understand the process. Our goal is to empower you. Our job is to protect you.

When you retain the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton to represent you, we become your advocate. Working together, we are able to provide individualized legal advice that is not cost-prohibitive.

It does not make sense to hire an attorney at the outset of litigation and later run out of money before final resolution of your case. This would leave you in a very vulnerable position. It does not make sense to hire an attorney at the outset of litigation.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is committed to providing you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about your life. We counsel and educate our clients about their legal rights because we want them to understand the process. Our goal is to empower you. Our job is to protect you.

When you retain the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton to represent you, we become your advocate. Working together, we are able to provide individualized legal advice that is not cost-prohibitive.

It does not make sense to hire an attorney at the outset of litigation and later run out of money before final resolution of your case. This would leave you in a very vulnerable position. It does not make sense to hire an attorney at the outset of litigation.

In Need of Family Law Assistance?

In Need of Family Law Assistance? Our Law Firm Can Help!

Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton

If you are in search of a Los Angeles family law office with a compassionate approach to your domestic issues, search no further. Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers Family Law Attorneys The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton are designed around the notion that, in all circumstances, the client’s wishes are paramount – and we will work diligently to offer you the best representation during these difficult family times. As an experienced and dedicated Los Angeles family law office, we offer services ranging from divorce to adoption – and everything in between. For more information, contact us right away at (310) 300-4021.

Los Angeles Family Law Firm Offering Broad Array of Legal Services

We understand that each family law case is unique with its own facts, dynamics and timeline. When you meet with us, we will closely listen to your story, offer you sound legal counsel and guide you toward the best course of action for your particular case. At the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton, we can assist you with any of the following:

If you are enduring any of the above issues, your emotions will run much too high to try and represent yourself. In the alternative, allow a knowledgeable and considerate Los Angeles family law firm to handle the combative tactics employed by the opposing party and give yourself a much-needed break from the stress of family law litigation.

Contact a Reputable Los Angeles Family Law Firm Today  

As you begin your journey in your family law case, we encourage you to meet with a reputable attorney from the beginning, thereby allowing your representative the opportunity to stay involved in your case from the outset. We proudly serve California clients and offer two convenient locations in Beverly Hills and Woodland Hills. For competent and thorough representation during these difficult emotional times, please contact the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton today by calling (310) 300-4021.

My child wishes to live with me. Can I get primary physical custody?

Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton

The good news is that the law changed as of January 1, 2012 to allow the child’s voice to be heard in family court.  This law applies both to divorce and paternity cases. Los Angeles Child Custody Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys Essentially, the law requires the family law judge to allow a child who is 14 years or older to “address the court” unless the judge states on the record why it is not in the child’s best interest to allow it.

A child’s wishes about where he or she would like to live (“physical custody“) is based on whether the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference.  If so, then the judge should give “due weight” to where the child wants to live.

So, how do you get the family law judge to change physical custody orders?  You file what is called a Request for Orders.  Please see the article entitled “Request for Orders” for more information on how to file a modification of child custody: legal custody or physical custody.

Generally speaking, the court should give greater weight to where the child wishes to live in modification of custody proceedings.  So, for example, if you share joint legal custody and joint physical custody, you may want to seek a modification to request primary physical custody of your child because he or she wishes to now live with you.  Custody laws can be complex, and you would be well-advised to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney to assist you.

Questions the judge may ask:

1.  Would it benefit the court to question the child?

2. Would it benefit the child to be questioned?

3.  Drawbacks?

4.  Will the questioning take place in open court?  In the judge’s chambers?

5.  Is there another way to obtain the information?  Perhaps through a Minor’s Interview or Minor’s Counsel?

6. What is the degree of child suggestibility?

7.  Is a Child Custody Evaluation appropriate?

The new statute is quoted below for your reference.

3042. (a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation.

(b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 765 of the Evidence Code, the court shall control the examination of a child witness so as to protect the best interests of the child.

(c) If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child’s best interests. In that case, the court shall state its reasons for that finding on the record.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent a child who is less than 14 years of age from addressing the court regarding custody or visitation, if the court determines that is appropriate pursuant to the child’s best interests.

(e) If the court precludes the calling of any child as a witness, the court shall provide alternative means of obtaining input from the child and other information regarding the child’s preferences.

(f) To assist the court in determining whether the child wishes to express his or her preference or to provide other input regarding custody or visitation to the court, a minor’s counsel, an evaluator, an investigator, or a mediator who provides recommendations to the judge pursuant to Section 3183 shall indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court, or the judge may make that inquiry in the absence of that request. A party or a party’s attorney may also indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court or judge.

If you would like assistance in filing a Request for Orders regarding custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, attorney’s fees, etc., please contact the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton at (310) 300-4021.  We are here to help you with all of your family law needs, including but not limited to, child custody.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is a top family law firm dedicated to protecting your legal rights.  Our goal is to empower you.  Our job is to protect you.  Cathleen E. Norton, Esq. is an experienced family law attorney who obtained both her B.A. and J.D. credentials from UCLA.  You won’t find a better qualified attorney to represent you!  We have offices in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Westlake Village and service family law cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Call us today for a free consultation at (310) 300-4021.  For more information about the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton, please visit our website at www.nortonfamilylaw.com

Child Custody

Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton

Los Angeles Child Custody and Family Law Attorneys

Child Custody is often the most contentious part of any family law case. Los Angeles Family Law Attorneys The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton understands that there is nothing more important than your children and their well-being. We are of the opinion that in order to have a meaningful discussion on custody, visitation, parenting plans, etc., parents must understand some legal basics.

Child Custody is divided into two types: legal custody and physical custody.

WHAT IS LEGAL CUSTODY?

Legal custody refers to the right a parent has to make decisions relating to a child’s health, safety, and welfare. A parent can have “sole legal custody” or “joint legal custody

SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY

California Family Code Section 3006 explains what “sole legal custody” means in the legal context:
One parent shall have the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.

JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY

California Family Code Section 3003 explains what “joint legal custody” means in the legal context:
Both parents shall share the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child
WHAT IS PHYSICAL CUSTODY?

Just like legal custody, physical custody is divided into two categories: sole physical custody and joint physical custody.

SOLE PHYSICAL CUSTODY

California Family Code Section 3007 explains what “sole physical custody” means in the legal context:
A child shall reside with and be under the supervision of one parent, subject to the power of the court to order visitation.

JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY

California Family Code Section 3004 explains what “joint physical custody” means in the legal context:
Each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way so as to assure a child of frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

If you have any questions, contact Los Angeles Child Custody Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys at The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton (310) 300-4021.

Post-judgment Modifications

Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton

Los Angeles Divorce and Family Law Attorneys

After your Judgment is final, you may still have the right to modify certain portions of your final divorce decree. Los Angeles Post Judgement Modification attorneysOne of the most common post-judgment modification may be a Request for Orders to change the amount of child support you pay, or receive based on a changed circumstances. The other most common post-judgment modification is a Request to Modify Custody and/or Visitation.

MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT

Since child support is primarily based on the relative income of the parties and the amount of time each parent spends with the child or children, whenever there is a change in circumstances regarding any of these factors, the amount of guideline child support will necessarily change.

If you have experienced a decrease in income since your child support order was made, you must file a Request for Order to change the amount of child support you pay.  If you do not, you are legally obligated to continue paying the same amount of child support.  If you do not pay the court-ordered amount of child support, you will incur interest on any unpaid amounts.  Further, child support arrears will continue to accrue and is not dischargeable in Bankruptcy.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD MODIFY MY CHILD SUPPORT ORDER?

  • Change in income of either party: Has your income changed since the last court order was made? Has the other parent’s income changed since the last court order was made?
  • Change in timeshare: Are you spending more time with your children since the last court order was made? Is the other parent spending less time with the children since the last court order was made?
  • Child Care Costs: Does your Order provide for the other parent to pay for one-half of the child care expenses?
  • Extracurricular Activities/Summer Camp: Does your Order provide for the other parent to pay for one-half of the extracurricular activities and summer camp?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably need to modify your child support order.

A Court Order for child support will remain the same unless one parent files a Request for Order to change it.  An order for child support can only be modified by filing the proper paperwork with the Court and serving it on the other party.  A court hearing will be set, and both parties will be able to present evidence of the changed circumstances warranting a modification of the child support order.

MODIFICATION OF CHILD CUSTODY ORDERS

As your child grows, it may be appropriate to modify the custody and visitation orders contained in your Final Judgment. You have a legal right to ask the Court to increase your timeshare. You may have already worked out a parenting plan with the other parent which provides you with more time. If that is the case, then you need to formalize your agreement with the Court. It is not enough that you and the other parent have an informal understanding about custody and visitation–you must modify the Court Orders. This can be done in one of two ways:  you can hire a family law attorney to draft a Stipulation and Proposed Order setting forth the agreement you already informally have with the other parent.  In such cases, no additional court appearance is necessary.  However, if either party will not agree to put the “new” custodial plan in writing, then you must file a Request for Order to Modify Child Custody and set forth the facts necessary to ask the Court to change the prior custody and visitation orders.

For more information or to speak with a Los Angeles attorney today, call the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton at (310) 300-4021.

Domestic Violence

Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton

Los Angeles Domestic Violence Restraining Order Lawyers

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are unfortunately common-place in family law cases.Los Angeles Dosmetic Violence Attorneys divorce Lawyers Sometimes they are legitimate, and other times, TROs are filed simple to gain an advantage in the underlying custody case. Regardless, both the alleged victim as well as the alleged perpetrator are entitled to due process of law–that means that each is entitled to tell his or her story to the judge at the time of the restraining order trial.

I have written extensively about the topic of TROs and restraining orders, and encourage you to take a look at the my web site for information about obtaining a restraining order if you are a victim of domestic violence as well as defending yourself if accused of domestic violence.

For help with your restraining order, don’t leave your situation to chance – contact an attorney right away. For an immediate appointment, call the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton at (310) 300-4021.