Category Archives:Riverside County Court


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Halloween DUI Checkpoints - Inland Empire

The Riverside Police Department has announced a county-wide DUI enforcement campaign. “Avoid the 30″ is a joint program between the CHP, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and over two dozen police departments in the Inland Empire.

Yesterday, Riverside county announced the award of a $439,388.00 grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety to the RPD.

Please be safe tonight and have a designated driver!

Click here for more information on “Avoid the 30.”

A criminal conviction is costly. It is possible that you may serve time in prison, disrupting your career and family life. Also, its possible that you will have to pay heavy restitution fines, resulting in financial woes. Your record may be stained by such convictions, and your reputation may suffer. Our goal at Don Ho Law is to provide an aggressive and comprehensive defense for those accused of a crime throughout Southern California. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact Don Ho Law today.

Published by Don Ho LawDon Ho is an experienced criminal defense attorney who serves Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties. 

How to File for Divorce

  
There are three main ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in California: divorce, legal separation, and annulment. It is not necessary for both spouses or domestic partners to agree to end the marriage.  Either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage, and the other spouse/partner, even if he or she does not want to get a divorce, cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case.
After you decide how you want to end your marriage or domestic partnership, you need to plan your case ahead of time.  Think about how you are going to handle your case.  Planning before you start and talking to a lawyer can save you time and money as you go through the court process.
The following chronology will give you a general idea of how the average divorce process works.  Your divorce may be a little different because of specific legal issues which may arise between you and your spouse.

How to File for Divorce:

  • To begin a divorce in California, one spouse must file a divorce petition in his/her local courthouse.  The local family law courthouse in the Orange County area is the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange, California.  The person who files the divorce petition is called the “Petitioner.”
  • After the summons and divorce petition are filed with the court, the divorce petition must be personally served.  The person who is served with the petition is called the “Respondent.”
  • After the lawsuit is served, the Respondent has thirty (30) days to file a response to the petition with the court.  The Response tells the court that the Respondent intends to participate in the divorce proceedings and wants to be notified of any upcoming court divorce hearings.
  • If the Respondent fails to file a response to the divorce within 30 days, the case proceeds without the Respondent’s participation.  This is called proceeding by “default.”
  • If the case proceeds by way of default judgment, the Petitioner prepares a divorce judgment and submits it to the court and the case is concluded.  The parties become single after the statutory waiting period has expired.
  • If the Respondent files a response to the divorce, the parties exchange documents and other information about their property and incomes.  This is called “discovery.” By examining important documentation beforehand, sometimes the parties are able to settle their dispute without ever having to go to trial.
  • Sometimes one or both of the parties will need the court to make orders before the divorce case is concluded.  Either spouse may file an Order to Show Cause at any time before the trial.  An Order to Show Cause is a request for the court to make temporary orders. Usually these temporary orders concern child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, or attorney fees.  These orders are only good until the trial.
  • Sometimes the parties never have to go to trial because they agree on the terms of the divorce beforehand. If a divorce settlement is reached, the spouses will have a Marital Settlement Agreement prepared. This becomes the divorce judgment and the case is concluded. The divorce is granted after the six month waiting period has elapsed.
  • If the parties are not able to reach an agreement, the divorce will go to trial.  Even if the parties cannot agree on everything, sometimes will be able to agree on some issues.  If this happens, the parties can prepare a Partial Judgment.  This becomes part of the final judgment after the parties have a hearing on the remaining issues in the case.
  • At trial, each side presents evidence and arguments. The judge decides all remaining matters, including child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, attorney fees and property division.  The divorce judgment is prepared.
  • Once the judge signs the divorce judgment and the six month waiting period has elapsed, the divorce becomes final, and the parties are single and free to remarry.
  • Even after the divorce judgment is entered if the parties’ circumstances change, either party can later return to court and ask the judge to change certain orders in the divorce judgment.  However, the court’s power to change the orders in a divorce judgment are limited to child custody, child visitation, child support, and spousal support.
Legal updates brought to you by the Orange County and Riverside Law firm of Don Ho, LLP. 
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    Divorce Help: Don't Let Your Divorce Be More "Taxing" Than Necessary

    Tax
    Tax (Photo credit: 401K)

    With the federal income tax filing deadline a little under a month away, many California residents are feeling the pressure of preparing and filing their taxes on time.  Filing your taxes can be confusing regardless of your financial situation.  However, they become even more complicated when you have undergone a major life change in the last year, such as a divorce, legal separation or other family law issue.

    A divorce is stressful enough and despite your circumstances, the government will still expect you to file your taxes promptly and correctly. If you are really confused about your taxes, the best thing to do is to seek assistance from a tax professional.  Nevertheless, there are a few standard guidelines for filing taxes after a divorce.

    What is my tax filing status?
    Most importantly, you must decide the correct filing status to use.  In general, your federal income tax filing status is determined by your marital status as of the last day of the tax year.  Thus, if you were married on December 31, 2011, you will be considered married for the entire year.  If you were divorced on December 31, you are considered divorced for the year.  In general, a person who is legally separated is not considered as married.  This can vary based on state law, however, so may be a good idea to double-check with a California family law attorney.  Even if you were still married on December 31, you can choose whether to file jointly or separately.

    Can I Qualify as a “Head of Household”
    If your divorce was final on or before December 31, 2011, you can either file as single or as head of household.  Filing as “head of household” may result in a lower tax bill than if you were to file as single, but this designation has strict requirements. To qualify as head of household you must:

    • maintain the primary home of household for a qualifying child, or someone you claim as a dependent for more than half the year
    • be unmarried at the end of the year or living apart from your spouse for more than six months
    • provide more than half the cost of maintaining the household
    • be a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire tax year

    Note: It may not be clear who had custody for more than half the year and is able to file as a head of household when parents have joint physical custody of their child.  The parents should agree between themselves how to handle this issue. A daily log of exactly where the child lives during the year should be kept, as well as a record of household expenses and who paid them.

    Can I claim an exemption for my children?
    In general, a child’s custodial parent will claim the child as an exemption in their taxes.  Although, in some cases, it may make sense financially to trade the exemption to the other parent.  A financial planner may be able to help you determine the best use of the exemption. 

    Are child support payments considered taxable income?
    In almost every situation, child support is tax neutral.  Child support payments are not taxable income for the parent receiving the support, nor is it tax deductible for the parent paying the support.

    Are alimony payments considered taxable income?

    Spousal support, on the other hand, is considered income for tax purposes.  Such payments are almost always taxable income for the recipient –and they are tax deductible for the payor.  There are some guidelines and qualifications in regards to spousal support.  Alimony must be included in an official court order or court-approved settlement in order to qualify for tax deduction.  In addition, any alimony payments made while the spouses lived together may not be deducted.

    Are assets transferred as part of my divorce settlement agreement taxable?
    In general, when assets are transferred as part of a divorce settlement agreement, the person that receives the transfer does not need to pay taxes based on the transfer alone.  However, if the recipient decided to sell the asset at some future date, they would likely have to pay capital gains on the appreciation of the asset both before and after the transfer.

    It cannot be denied that there are many details to consider when preparing your federal income tax return.  If your situation is especially complicated, it may be a good idea to enlist the services of a California tax or family law professional to guide you through the process.

    Sources and Related articles

    Legal updates brought to you by the Riverside and OC attorneys at Don Ho, LLP.
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    Terrell Owens: Child Support Troubles Again

    English: Terrell Owens (T.O.) autographing for...
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    In California, there are many ways of enforcing child support orders.  Wages can be garnished and driver’s licenses or passports can be suspended or denied.  In fact, parents who do not pay child support they owe could even end up in jail.
    A well-known professional athlete is currently facing such repercussions after allegedly owing more than $20,000 in child support.  Six-time Pro Bowl receiver Terrell Owens is believed to be facing a slew of money problems, including owing back child support.
    According to reports, Melanie Paige Smith, the mother of one of Owens’ four children claims that child support for her daughter were not paid between December 2011 and February 2012.  She recently filed a petition in court asking that the football player be fined or jailed if he doesn’t start helping to support his daughter.  
    In the midst of the NFL lockout last summer, Owens reportedly tried to have the $5,000 monthly child support payments be lowered to $2,500, but the request was rejected.
    Owens has never been married, but has four kids with four different women, and each of them has taken him to court at one point.  A January article from GQ revealed that Owens owes close to $45,000 each month in child support for the children he has fathered.  He is also believed to have two Dallas homes in foreclosure.
    Since Owens’ contract with the Cincinnati Bengals was not renewed for the 2011 season and no other NFL teams have picked him up, Owens is playing in the Indoor Football League.  Owens can reportedly make up to $500,000 per year in this league, which would not be enough to cover child support alone.
    In California, child support obligation are determined on the current obligor’s ability to pay.  Although child support orders are viewed as permanent, when there is a change in circumstances, either the paying or non-paying parent can request a child support modification.
    Legal updates brought to you by Orange County law firm of  Don Ho, LLP.
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