Skip to main content
Sheryl Susan Graf

Sheryl Graf’s Answers

36 total

  • My wife is constantly emotionally and verbally abusive, and sometimes physically. She breaks my stuff to intimidate me.

    My wife has about two angry outbursts per day. I am done, but anytime I try to break up she literally starts swinging. She is careful to be abusive in a way that doesn't leave marks (although I do have pictures of scratched and bleeding arms and n...

    Sheryl’s Answer

    If you have been the victim of recent physical violence (visible marks are not necessary--offensive touching of any kind qualifies), you should immediately apply for a domestic violence restraining order. You can request exclusive temporary use of the residence and its contents (which would protect your work laptop), and the car that you drive. If you need help filling out the documents necessary to obtain a domestic violence restraining order, there is a clinic at the Family Court building in Downtown San Diego where you can get help.

    See question 
  • I need a lawyer to pursue modification of child support. I have been divorced for 5 years and ex recently got permanent job.

    He refuses to show paycheck and says he is not receiving bonuses, only base pay. He has payed 300-600$ for 2 kids which I have 80%

    Sheryl’s Answer

    After you file your Request for Order requesting an increase in child support based on the other parent's substantial increase In pay, the other parent must file an Income and Expense Declaration with current paystubs. You are also entitled to use formal discovery methods to obtain the other parent's compensation information.

    To achieve the highest possible support, you should hire an attorney who understands how the child support formula works -- it is typically money well spent. If formal discovery is necessary, there are many pitfalls that even trap seasoned attorneys on occasion -- you cannot effectively go it alone.

    See question 
  • Is there a difference if a child support lien is filed with a local CA County or the CA Secretary of State?

    Fam Code 17523 (b) states: The lien for child support shall be perfected by filing a notice of child support lien with the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 697.510 of the Code of Civil Procedure. - My local CSA has filed a lien in ...

    Sheryl’s Answer

    The lien filed with the San Diego County Recorder by the Dept. of Child Support Services attaches to any real estate in that person's name in San Diego County. If the obligor-parent sells his house, then the net proceeds would be used to satisfy the support arrears. Liens for child support do not have any impact on the ability to buy or sell a car.

    See question 
  • Ex controlling my daughter's cell phone.

    I discussed getting a cell phone for my daughter with her mom. She thought it was a good idea. A month later, she has implemented a rule that after my daughter and I talk for the day (which I have to request on a daily basis as her mom will not a...

    Sheryl’s Answer

    Without knowing all of the specific facts and circumstances of your case, it is difficult for me to predict what a particular family court judge would do. As a parent, your ex has the right to place reasonable restrictions on cell phone use in her home. If those restrictions are unreasonably interfering with your ability to have regular contact with your daughter, or your daughter's ability to have regular contact with you, then you may want to return to court to seek specific orders. In San Diego County, where I practice, orders allowing the parent to call on specific days and times (usually 3 times per week) and for the CHILD TO CALL THE PARENT WHENEVER THE CHILD WANTS are common. I have just posted a blog about long distance parenting with some suggestions for staying in touch with your child that you may wish to view.

    See question 
  • How are assets divided in California. Wife has pension from other state. Do I get half. What about alimony. What happens to IRAs

    In process of divorce. How are pensions divided? Can she prevent me from getting half? We own house that I would like to keep. There is 350K of equity. We have investment account, would she get first 350K and then we split the rest? Should I chang...

    Sheryl’s Answer

    Unless you and your spouse agree otherwise, pensions are divided on a pro-rata basis in California, meaning you get one-half of the community property percentage of her pension plan. The community property percentage is the total number of years and days accrued during the marriage, divided by the total length of service. For example, if your wife accrued 10 years of service during the marriage, and had 20 years total service, then the community property percentage is 10 divided by 20 (50%). In my example, you would get 1/2 of that -- 25%. You are entitled to it -- she cannot prevent you from being awarded your share. However, if you don't take the proper steps to secure your interest, you could lose your entitlement. A separate document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is required to divide pension benefits. These orders are so complicated that many divorce attorneys will not do them.

    If you want to offset equity in the house for a smaller portion of the investment account, you may do that, but remember: If the house were sold, you will lose about 8% closing costs and commissions (which reduces the equity), and there may be tax consequences to consider also.

    There are many variations and complexities surrounding division of property in a manner that will protect you and not come back to bite you in the future, particularly with real estate, pensions, investment accounts, and debts.

    You have substantial assets to protect and cannot afford to go it alone. You need to hire a competent family law attorney to help you.

    See question 
  • What does a domestic violence restraining order mean for my future? my job? and other possible job employers? background check?

    i have domestic violence restraining order

    Sheryl’s Answer

    The issuance of a restraining order can have far-reaching adverse consequences on the restrained person. Aside from the obvious need to stay away from and have no contact with the protected party, a restraining order can negatively impact:

    1. Employment. Many employers will not hire and may fire anyone who currently has or in the past had a restraining order issued against them. You may lose your state professional license as well.
    2. Housing. You can be ordered to leave, taking only your toothbrush, medications, wallet, cell phone, and an overnight bag with you.
    3. Child custody. In California, there is a presumption against the parents sharing joint legal custody if there is a finding of domestic violence. You may have to seek a separate child custody order and your child exchange arrangements will be severely impacted by a restraining order.
    3. Spousal support. A finding of domestic violence can be used to increase the amount of spousal support (alimony) someone must pay.
    4. Gun ownership. Under California law, a broad restraining order prohibiting possession of a firearm automatically takes effect upon the issuance of a restraining order. The court must order the restrained person to immediately relinquish any firearms.
    5. Reputation in the community. A restraining order will show up on a background check and the underlying allegations supporting the request are public record – free for your neighbors, family, friends, and co-workers to see.
    6. Criminal proceedings. The factual allegations and statements made in the restraining order proceeding could be the basis for criminal charges being filed. Once the restraining order issues, even non-threatening contact (a “technical” violation) can result in criminal charges against you.

    These are just some of the collateral effects of a restraining order.

    If your domestic violence restraining order is TEMPORARY pending the hearing, you need a qualified lawyer to aggressively defend against the temporary order becoming permanent and to protect your interests. You only get one bite at the apple, so it is important that you take appropriate action.

    See question 
  • I am looking for a family law attorney

    I just got served and I'd like to meet with an attorney. I work on the weekdays. Are there any attorneys in San Diego or North County available for a consultation for the weekend. If so, please message me and I'll contact you. Thank you

    Sheryl’s Answer

    Many attorneys (including me), do not have office hours on the weekends, but will make evening and weekend appointments as a courtesy to our clients. just call for an appointment.

    See question 
  • CAN I PERSONALLY SUBPOENA MY EX'S ARREST RECORDS AS WELL AS HIS CURRENT LIVE IN GIRLFRIENDS?

    I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF A HUGE CUSTODY BATTLE WITH MY EX. BOTH HIM AND HIS LIVE IN GIRLFRIEND HAVE BEEN ARRESTED SEVERAL TIMES IN THE PAST YEAR. MY EX HAS BEEN ARRESTED IN FRONT OF OUR DAUGHTER TWICE. DO I NEED A LAWYER TO SUBPOENA BOTH OF THEIR REC...

    Sheryl’s Answer

    Records of criminal convictions are public. You do not need a subpoena. If you are looking for records in San Diego County, just go to the nearest courthouse with the name and date of birth for the individual. The clerk at the criminal window can provide you with a list of all cases and convictions.

    See question 
  • Will unpaid fines for DUI that went to collections "fall off" my husband's credit report and not have to be paid in 7 years?

    My husband paid a lawyer to take care of his DUI in 2009. Years later we discover the lawyer was corrupt, stole people's money and didn't pay the fines to the court. Now, his fines have been sent to collections and are being garnished from our ta...

    Sheryl’s Answer

    If your husband's criminal fines were not paid to the court, the debt never goes away. Not only may a $300 civil assessment be added to the past due amount, but failure to pay criminal fines may also result in your husband being arrested for violating the terms of his probation (paying the fines as ordered). You should consult with a criminal defense attorney right away, especially if immediate action is necessary to recall an outstanding arrest warrant.. Prompt action is necessary. Do not wait.

    Sheryl S. Graf
    Attorney at Law
    (619) 440-5716

    See question