Posts Tagged ‘california’

If you have a family you might want to pay attention to some of the new laws in California beginning in 2012.

California Gay Bullying Law (Seth’s Law)

Combats bullying of gay and lesbian students in public schools by requiring school districts to have a uniform process for dealing with gay bullying complaints. Mandates that school personnel intervene if they witness gay bullying.  Law effective July 1, 2012.

LGBT Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education Law   

State universities and colleges must create and enforce campus policies protecting LGBTs from harassment and appoint employee contact persons to address on-campus LGBT matters. The law includes community colleges statewide.  Law effective 2012.

Domestic Partnership Equality Law

Corrects inequalities between domestic partnerships and heterosexual marriages, including domestic partner health benefits sharing.  Law effective 2012.

Protection of Parent-Child Relationships Law

Allows courts to consider the relationship between a child and a non-biological parent when considering child rights cases involving birth parents, adoptive parents, and gay or lesbian guardians.  Law effective 2012.

LGBT Equal Benefits Law

Requires an employer with a state contract worth more than $100,000 to have non-discrimination policies in place for LGBT workers and their partners.  Law effective 2012.

Gay Divorce Law

Provides that if a gay couple got married in California but lives in a state that won’t grant them a divorce, the California court will have jurisdiction to grant them a legal divorce. The case will be filed in the county where the gay couple got married.  Law effective January 1, 2012.

California Gay History Law

Governor Jerry Brown signed the Gay History Law, which mandates that school textbooks and social studies include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender accomplishments.  Law effective January 1, 2012. 

The following law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.  Many children are not going to be happy with this one!  Get ready parents to the whining and crying of those boys and girls who finally thought they were old enough to sit in the seat of the car like everyone else!  This one will cost a bit too, $475 for each child not secured and a point on your record.  Ouch!

Children *MUST* be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint (safety seat or booster seat) IN THE BACK SEAT OF A VEHICLE until they are at least 8 YEARS OLD or 4′ 9″ in height.

These are just a few of the new laws you should all be aware of.  Happy New Year to all of you!  May it be a happy, healthy and prosperous one for each of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As stated in Capital Weekly on August 17, 2011, the Marin-based Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE) has announced it will file a complaint with the State Bar of California demanding the disbarment of Sacramento attorney Nabil Samaan. The group says Samaan’s license should be taken away because of comments Samaan made to a reporter that, according to CJE, appear to support his brother’s decision to allegedly murder his own two-year-old daughter.

This is a sad case of a father taking his life and the life of his child in an alleged custody dispute with the mother.  The complete article is below.

Capitol Weekly: Complaint filed with State Bar against lawyer in AMBER Alert case.

I have not commented on the former governor’s announcement about his son with the former housekeeper because I felt there was enough out there about it already.  However, this week I read an article in the CEB blog written by Julie Brook, Esq., that I would like to share a bit of with you.

Ms. Brook reminds us that California law has a “conclusive” presumption of paternity for children born to a married woman.   There are four elements that must all exist at the time of a child’s birth to trigger application of this presumption under Family Code Section 7540.  They are:

  • The mother is in a valid marriage;
  • The mother is living with her husband;
  • Her husband is not sterile; and
  • Her husband is not impotent.
If all of these elements are in place when the child is born, the child is presumed to be that of the mother’s husband. Any rebuttal of the presumption through a motion for blood tests must be made within two years of the child’s birth per Family Code Section 7541.
It appears that the mother and her husband were living together at the time of the child’s birth and no paternity action was filed within the two year’s after the child’s birth.  Assuming that the husband was not sterile or impotent at the time of the birth, the child is the legal child of this marriage and the mother’s former husband is the legal father of the child pursuant to California law.
This happens in California more than people realize.  Children are born into a marriage and the husband may not be the biological father but he is the legal father unless an action is filed within the two year time period from the child’s birth.  This is in my opinion an antiquated law and I have seen this law destroy families and children’s lives leaving the children with a legal father who has absolutely no relationship with the child and the biological father who has no obligation to support, nurture or acknowledge their child.
High wind on the coast  --  Mendocino coast #1

Image by ah zut via Flickr

It’s not often that you hear about the internet services down for hundreds of people because of a divorce, but that is exactly what is happening on the Mendocino Coast when Esplanade internet service dropped from the airwaves last month, its 300 microwave-based wireless customers between Elk and Gualala were left scrambling to find a connection.

Seems Esplanade is run by founders Marshall Sayegh and Teri Saya — who changed her name following their split and each blame the other.  Sayegh says Saya made the system inaccessible while Saya says Sayegh blocked access to web sites.  In either case, the system can no longer be accessed by customers.  Each has accused the other of various criminal acts, from burglary to domain theft, and have obtained restraining orders.

I am sure that the former customers of Espanade could care less who took the internet down, as they are hard pressed to find another service along the coastline.  There is hope though, as a new company is moving into the area and setting up new equipment, but it looks like it might take awhile to get service as they are booked through mid-April for new customers.

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This young couple started out their married lives with the funniest wedding day(s) imaginable.  They picked a beach wedding in October and it turned out to be the storm of the year on their special day.  From there, it just kept getting more exciting.  Check out their wedding video that has gone viral.

If your wedding can start like this and you can keep on laughing through it, I think you are off to a good start.

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As a grandmother, I have witnessed some of the games mentioned in this article and agree that some of them are violent. Do I want to be the grandma run down in the street by the wild teenager in the car? Of course I don’t. (You know what I am talking about if you have ever seen or played Grand Theft Auto). Do I want the government telling me what my grandchild can or can’t rent or buy? No, I don’t. I think as adults it is our duty to teach our children and grandchildren the difference between real life and video games. My grandson loves Grand Theft Auto, or at least he used to. He got bored with it pretty quickly. I also watched him play it and we talked about him running grandma over in the game and what would happen if he did that in real life. Grandma doesn’t get back up and wait for the next car to come and run her over in real life, lol. I don’t worry that my grandson will grow up to be a violent man because he played these games. I worry more about the gangs in his school and the violence he witnesses in real life more. How about you?

Amplify’d from www.nytimes.com
If the Supreme Court renders justice in a case it heard this month, Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, it will strike down a California law barring the sale or rental of violent video games to anyone under 18. That would end a violation of free expression — but not prevent the states from finding other ways to support parents who do not want their children to play violent games.
Restricting the content of games, however, would mean adding to the short list of expression excluded from the First Amendment’s protection. Just last April, the court said the Constitution does not permit the government to impose a restriction “simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.”
But in an opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturning the California law, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said that the 1968 ruling dealt with “a sub-category of obscenity — obscenity as to minors.” It “did not create an entirely new category of expression excepted from First Amendment protection.”

“We do not have a tradition in this country of telling children they should watch people actively hitting schoolgirls over the head with a shovel so they’ll beg for mercy,” he said. He concluded sternly, “We protect children from that.”

He is right, society can protect children from that. Narrowing the First Amendment is not the way.

Read more at www.nytimes.com

 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Image by heraldpost via Flickr

As October Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, I wanted to share with you a YouTube trailer that I came across which tells the story of a young woman’s tragic death at the hand’s of her husband.  Amy Homan McGee was a young mother who suffered years of abuse and control by her husband and was tragically shot and killed by him when she finally took control of her life.

Amy’s co-workers were aware that she was being abused and helplessly stood by not knowing what to do to help her.  Her story can be seen on PBS, or you can order the DVD. While I have not seen the special, nor am I being compensated in any way by PBS or Verizon, who funded this special, from watching the trailer I think that we can learn how to help our co-workers if we suspect they are the victims of domestic violence by watching this story.

In California, employees are protected from losing their job under the California Labor Code 230-230.1 as amended by 2000 Cal. Stat. 487 where victims of domestic violence are protected against discharge or discrimination for taking time off to seek protection orders or other judicial relief to help secure their own or their children’s safety or welfare.  Firms with 25 or more employees must also allow workers job-guaranteed leave to seek medical attention for domestic violence-related injuries; obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center; receive psychological counseling; or participate in safety planning.  The employee must give reasonable notice, if feasible.  The employer may require certification of domestic violence: a police report, protection order, documentation from court or from a medical professional, domestic violence advocate or counselor.  To the extent the law allows, the employer must maintain the employee’s confidentiality.  An employee whose rights under this provision are violated can file a complaint with Dept. of Labor Standards Enforcement. They are also entitled to unemployment benefits.  Workers who must leave their jobs to protect themselves or their children from domestic violence – “good cause” under the law – are eligible for unemployment benefits.  The employer’s reserve will not be changed if the employer informs EDD of the circumstances within ten days of being notified of a claim. California Unemployment Insurance Code 1030, 1032, 1256.  For more information about breaking the silence on domestic violence, click here.

If you are the victim of domestic violence or you are the co-worker of a victim of domestic violence, I hope that the above information is helpful to you and that you are aware of the help that is available.  A great place to start is at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new law late Thursday night that California’s kindergartners of 2014 must turn five before Sept. 1 of that year to enroll in Kindergarten.

The provision in existing law that allows parents to enroll younger students on a case-by-case basis will remain in place.

The new law will be phased in. The cutoff date will be rolled back one month per year beginning in 2012 until all students in kindergarten will have turned five by Sept. 1.  The law, authored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, also establishes a transitional kindergarten program on existing elementary school campuses for those students born between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

The plan is intended to create savings by keeping more than 100,000 so-called “young fives” out of traditional kindergarten and establishing a transitional kindergarten for them on existing elementary campuses. The program would be limited to just those children born between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

However, the non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office estimates that the law could cost California between $700 million and $900 million annually when the original smaller kindergarten class graduates from high school. At that point, the state will have committed to extending public education from 13 years to 14.

More information will be given to parents of young children as the school districts figure out how to phase this new law into the educational system.

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While this blog is not really about Family Law, it is about family and recognizing when our children make you proud, no matter what age they are.

Misty and her Father's beloved Harley

My son Dale and his other half, Misty, recently went on a Poker Run in Plumas County.  If you are not familiar with a Poker Run, participants meet at a pre-arranged point, and pick up details of their route and the stops they need to make. Each participant is given a score card which will be filled in as they progress along the route. At each designated stop, the participants draw a card at random (or are dealt a card, depending on the event rules). The card drawn or dealt is recorded on each participant’s score card, and the winner of the event is the participant who makes the best five card poker hand at the end of the event. Events usually end with some entertainment at the designated “last stop” of the route, along with the awarding of the prizes. The organizers raise their funds by charging a set amount to participate.  In this case, the run was all about Hospice, which was near and dear to both Dale and Misty.

Misty lost her father to cancer on Father’s day two years ago and shortly after that her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away within that same year.  When her mother was diagnosed, Dale and Misty moved their family from the town they lived in, leaving behind friends and family to move in and care for Misty’s mother through her illness.

Both of Misty’s parents were cremated and their wish was to travel on the bike that Misty’s father owned, even after their death.  Dale and Misty inherited her father’s bike and they have been on many runs with her parents since their death.  You might wonder how this is possible? Well, a little bit of her parents ashes are carried in a small flask inside the saddle bag on the bike and no matter where they go, Misty’s parents are always with them.

Mom and Dad riding on their Harley

I am proud of Dale and Misty for giving up all they gave up to make sure that Misty’s mother was taken care of and when it came time for Hospice, both of them were able to work with them and they have honored Misty’s parents last wishes and have made sure they keep riding their beloved Harley to this day.

Dale and Misty on the Poker Run

Dale and Misty, in case I haven’t told you before, I am proud of both of you.  I know it has been a struggle for them and during the toughest of times when Misty’s mother was hospitalized at the end of her life, Dale lost his job and the economic slump hit and they have been struggling to keep things afloat ever since.

When Dale contacted me yesterday to tell me that their story was written in Thunder Roads Norcal Magazine, I had to check it out and let the world know as well.  I also had to let everyone know how proud I am of them too.  For more information on this story and many others in the magazine, see the link above.

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A jury on Thursday rejected a claim by billionaire real estate mogul Donald Bren‘s two adult children for $134 million in retroactive child support.

The unusual case was a high-stakes contest between one of the nation’s richest men and the children he fathered during a 13-year affair with Jennifer McKay Gold, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of her children when they were minors.

Christie Bren, 22, and her brother, David Bren, 18, pursued the case when they became adults.

Jurors deliberated two hours before siding with the 78-year-old Irvine Co. chairman, whose attorney argued that no family court would have given the children more than the millions he already paid.

The suit sought $400,000 a month for each of the children in retroactive support from 1988 to 2002. Their mother testified she received a total of about $3 million for them during that period.

“My children are going to stand up for what they believe in,” she said. “We will definitely appeal.”

Lawyer Hillel Chodos, who represents the children, said he would specify in his appeal brief what was kept from the jury.

Donald Bren, who has a penchant for privacy, stepped into the court’s public spotlight to testify that he never loved Gold and never planned to be a parent to the two children. He said he provided enough for them to live a privileged life and agreed to pay for their education.

“I felt an education at the university level, at the graduate level is perhaps the best gift a parent can give a child,” he testified.

His lawyers have claimed he paid $10 million in support over the years, including the educations.

“They are not here because they didn’t have enough to live on,” he told the jury in closing arguments. “They are here because they were deprived by Donald Bren of their birthright. … They had the right to share in his standard of living.”

That standard, Chodos said, included two California homes, a Sun Valley ranch, New York apartment, private planes and yacht. Attorney John Quinn, who represented Donald Bren, said the estimate of the real estate mogul’s liquid assets was exaggerated.

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