Skip to main content
Donald Frederick Conviser

Donald Conviser’s Answers

2,960 total


  • I was awarded half of community property(boat). I recently found the boat has been sold without my permission. What do I do?

    The boat I was awarded as community property has been sold to one of my exs family members extremely cheap. Without my permission or knowledge. I found out afterwards. What step to I take now to get the true value of the boat and my half?

    Donald’s Answer

    Retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to file a Request for Order (Motion) against your ex for violation of fiduciary duty and sanctions, including attorney's fees and costs. You will need to hire a well qualified boat appraiser to provde expert testimony at the hearing (and in your RFO's moving papers) regarding the value of the boat. If you were awarded a half interest in the boat, it may be possible, based on the holding in Marriage of ROSSI, for you to be awarded the entire value of the boat, not just your half. Filing Contempt first would prevent this RFO to be heard pending the hearing on the Contempt, so this RFO should be filed and heard first. However, the Statute of Limitations on Contempt is one year from the date of the violation, so file your Contempt before the statute runs. Good luck.

    See question 
  • Can I legally give a paralegal a retainer to help me fill out and file my divorce papers? I don't have time to go to court

    or fill out all the paperwork myself so I have asked for help from a paralegal that I met through a friend. They already helped me with my response and filed the paperwork for me so I didn't have to go the court house.

    Donald’s Answer

    You can legally do that, but you will be assuming the risks that the other responding attorneys warned you about. It could be the blind leading the blind. The degree of risk depends upon what particular documents the "paralegal" prepares for you. Also, the paralegal likely doesn't have malpractice insurance.

    See question 
  • What return address do you put on the envelope when doing service by mail?

    The court has said I can have amended papers served to my ex by mail. What return address do I put on the envelope that will be mailed out? Is it the court's address or my address? Thank you in advance.

    Donald’s Answer

    Your own address - but the service by mail must be made by somebody else over the age of 18 years, who is to complete and sign the Proof of Service to be filed with the Court. You haven't indicated what kind of amended "papers" you intend to have served, and that might make a difference - i.e., if an Amended Petition and Summons on Amended Petition, they need to be personally served if your spouse hasn't responded to the original Petition. If your "ex" has appeared in the action, papers can be served on him by mail if done properly. If a post-Judgment RFO, you must first verify your spouse's address, and there is a special form required for that.

    See question 
  • Should I get an attorney?

    I'm going through a separation at the moment soon a divorce I have a son and I have no job I'm a student and I didn't want to get an attorney however I would like to see if I can get spousal support since I'm in this situation or how to go about t...

    Donald’s Answer

    Go to your local court's self-help center and ask the volunteer lawyer whether you would qualify for spousal support and child support (and other relief as well) - or set an appointment with an experienced Family Law Attorney to address those questions and determine whether you would also qualify for an order requiring your spouse to pay all or some of your attorney's fees.

    See question 
  • Production of Docs, if I can't make the date to meet with opposing Council for him to make copies will I be in trouble?

    Reason is i'm not ready with ALL the paper work, like my 2014 tax returns, and have work obligations, opposing Council threaten to sanction me if I don't show him all the receipts and my bank statements through 2014, in the near date, but h...

    Donald’s Answer

    A Demand for Production requires a formal response to be served by mail on the other side (by somebody other than you). Take a look at Code of Civil Procedure Section 2031.010 and the following sections for the requirements. Your formal response should be served within 35 days after the other mailed the Demand to you, and 1) where you have the documents, your response should be that you will comply (perhaps albeit late - give a date), or 2) that you don't have the documents (and give the reasons as specified in the code) - and that you made a diligent search and reasonable inquiry in an effort to obtain the documents - and provide the name, address and telephone number of an alternate source from which the other side can subpoena the documents, or 3) an objection - giving legal grounds for objecting. You would best consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney regarding how to respond and produce.

    See question 
  • Divorce: Temporary Attorney Fees no longer needed

    Spouse and I came to a negotiation. Last hearing I was granted temp. attorney fees to help prep for the next the hearing..what happens to the attorney fees..

    Donald’s Answer

    You are still entitled to the attorney's fees per the order. Your "negotiated agreement" may or may not fly - you would best consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney (for whom you would need fees) to determine whether the negotiated agreement is fair and appropriate, and somebody would still need to draft a proper proposed Stipulated Order for the Court to sign, and you would need fees for that. Don't be in a rush to decide whether or not you need attorney's fees - you'll find out soon enough.

    See question 
  • Divorce: 2nd hearing coming up however we came to a negotiation.

    My spouse and I came to a negotiation. We've already had one hearing and another coming up...do we still need to see a judge or can we cancel the hearing and just sign the divorce paperwork and give it to the clerk?

    Donald’s Answer

    It depends on what the hearing is for, and the agreement that you and your spouse negotiated. If you have an agreement on all issues scheduled for the hearing, the safest and fastest way to get an order is for you and your spouse to go to the hearing and recite your stipulated order into the record. That way, you can avoid mistakes and delays. However, you would best first consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney to make sure that the agreement is fair and appropriate. You could bring a stipulated order to the hearing and likely get the Judge to sign it, and you can get copies of it.

    See question 
  • Cant locate ex to sign over deed to home. How can i get this accomplished?

    It was a default divorce . Legal description in judgement.

    Donald’s Answer

    File an RFO requesting that the Court appoint the Court Clerk sign and acknowledge the Interspousal Transfer Deed on behalf of your ex.

    See question 
  • What happens if the other side doesn’t respond or show up at the hearing on my motion?

    My ex-husband didn’t file responsive papers to my motion for attorney’s fees and costs which I owe and need for future representation and he just might not even show up at the hearing on the motion. He has been very defiant and apparently has take...

    Donald’s Answer

    You would need to prove his ability to pay, i.e., his income and assets. If you put an estimated figure for his income in your Income and Expense Declaration, with reasonable justification re how you know his income, the Judge might use your figure as a basis for an order requiring your husband to pay your attorney's fees and costs. The Court should not allow your ex-husband to testify at the hearing if he didn't file a Responsive Declaration and an Income and Expense Declaration.

    See question 
  • Can the opposition question my social security disability?

    I'm disabled for 5 years and have been separated for 8 months . New health issues have come about secondary to my original disability. I'm going to trial on permanent spousal support . The opposing attorney is questioning my disability and wants m...

    Donald’s Answer

    Code of Civil Procedure Section 2032 authorizes a physical examination of a "plaintiff seeking recovery for personal injuries." You aren't a plaintiff seeking recovery for personal injuries, so I would think that the opposing side would need to file an RFO (Motion) seeking a court order to require you to submit to a physical examination. Merely because you were determined eligible for disability is no basis for a court to deny your examination. If the Court orders you to submit to a physical examination, you can hire a "defense medical observer" who is medically trained to accompany you to the examination and take notes on what occurred there, to assist you and your attorney in opposing whatever the other side's doctor claims is or is not wrong with your physical condition.

    See question