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Paul Dennis Staley

Paul Staley’s Answers

24 total

  • My husband's lawyer drafted a post-nuptial agreement. Can my husband contest it in a divorce?

    My husband and I are separated and he had his lawyer draft up a post-nuptial agreement. I was to file for divorce my husband does not. Can he contest the post-nuptial agreement? What are his options besides signing the papers?

    Paul’s Answer

    Since this is a Pennsylvania dispute, I can't offer legal advice about it. I'm licensed in California. If neither of you has signed the documents, it seems a fair guess that it's not worth the paper it's printed on. Here in CA, if the agreement was valid when signed by both parties, it's difficult (though not utterly impossible) to later invalidate it. You'll want to get sound advice from an experience attorney in your area. This is NOT a matter I'd recommend any litigant try to approach without representation or, at the very least, advice of competent counsel.
    Paul Staley practices Family Law and Bankruptcy in San Diego, California. He can be found at http://www.sandiegofamilylawyer.com

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  • Spousal/Child support payments of bonus whilst awaiting hearing

    Do I need to pay my ex-spouse a large chunk of my bonus if we have a hearing scheduled to modify both custody and support amounts? My understanding is that any decision would be made retroactively to the filing date, which was before the bonus wa...

    Paul’s Answer

    It's okay to wait because the order itself hasn't yet changed, but you're going to want to plan for how much you will / might have to pay. Remember, your bonus isn't going to be divided as community property. This is a post-judgment proceeding (reading your question literally) so all the property / debt division work is done. A judge could take one of several different approaches to allocating the payment. The harshest is probably a one-time whopping payment, as if your income increased that month by the amount of the bonus. Another approach would be for the judge to annualize the amount (divide it up over twelve months) and order ongoing support based on the monthly income that results. This latter result would translate into your needing to come back into court in a year if the bonus is either nonrecurring or is less next year.Good luck!

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  • I'm trying to gain custody of my girls. Their mom is in ICU for attempted suicide. How does this affect my case?

    Mother left girls in my custody for 11 months - refused to sign any change in parenting plan. she returned and demanded time with girls. Her mental stability was questionable. I secured temporary orders forbidding her contact with me or the gir...

    Paul’s Answer

    I can only identify how such an event would be treated in California. You'll want to consult with not only an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Washington, but also follow his / her direction in consulting with a mental health professional (psychologist licensed to practice in Washington) in determining how the mother's mental state factors into your request for a modification. If this were a local case here, I would characterize it as a high conflict case requiring immediate legal representation. Also, here in California, the safety of the child is paramount, sometimes justifying either separating a troubled parent from the child, or calling for supervised visitation. Check with a qualified, licensed Washington family law practitioner before you decide what to do next. Good luck to you.

    Paul Staley practices family law in San Diego, California, and is not licensed to practice in the State of Washington. The information provided in this answer is intended for general informational purposes, does not constitute legal advice and created no attorney client relationship with the questioner.

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  • What can i do if my sons father is asking me to have sexual intercourse with him in order for me to see my son again?

    can he get in trouble in court for that?

    Paul’s Answer

    The father is making a completely inappropriate and, yes, bizarre request. Document the demand if it has come to you via email, text message or social media, and preserve the documentation for possible use in family court proceedings. "Trouble" as in criminal? Unlikely. "Trouble" as in being perceived by the judge as behaving very inappropriately, yes. The Court, like you, has a duty to look after the best interests of the child above all else. If you've been unable to reach any agreement or establish court orders regarding what visitation is best for the child, I agree with my colleagues who have suggested you get a good family law attorney to help you establish them.

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  • Family Law - - Can witnesses be called to a hearing or only a trial? Can evidence be filed for a hearing or only a trial?

    We are going to have a trial regarding custody. Prior to the trial, the Father’s attorney told me he’s going to file a Modification/RFO and we are going to have a HEARING to change custody which I am NOT in favor of. Can witnesses give testimo...

    Paul’s Answer

    Non-party witnesses (i.e. people other than those who are the Petitioner or Respondent) MAY testify in HEARINGS. This is courtesy of recently amended California Family Code Section 217. However, in a circumstance like yours, the judge would be likely to entertain a request to consolidate all issues to be heard at trial in the interest of "judicial economy."

    Paul Staley practices family law in San Diego and can be located at: http://www.sandiegofamilylawyer.com

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  • Foreclosure auction...what does back to beneficiary mean with a sold amount eventhough there is a Chapter 7 BK filed prior?

    Notice of sale was today, Ch. 7 BK was filed. Trustee service was notified of BK. I found the status of the property stated "Back to Beneficiary", with minimum bid and sold amount the same. Can they do this?

    Paul’s Answer

    Timing is everything. If a foreclosure sale is at, say, 10:00 a.m. and the Chapter 7 was filed at 10:05, the homeowner is typically out of luck. If this is your first bankruptcy and it was filed before the sale, even if the lender's trustee hadn't known about the bankruptcy, the sale is voidable.

    It's doubtful that the lender's trustee is up for a stare-down with your attorney, or een with the Chapter 7 trustee assigned to your case. So, it's likely that a phone call from you, or if you represented by counsel, then from your attorney, would get the ball rolling toward unwinding the sale.

    Sadly, that's not the end of the story. Chapter 7 throws up a roadblock, but the lender can get around it by formally asking the bankruptcy court judge for permission to proceed with the foreclosure. That would be by means of a "motion for relief from stay." These motions are routinely granted, but you may have a basis for opposing one.

    It sounds like your story is far from over. If you are represented by an attorney, he or she is the person you need most urgently to talk to about this.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: NOTHING in this response is legal advice from the writer to the reader or to anyone else, for that matter. No attorney-client relationship is created here.

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  • Do we have to live in Oregon to receive child support?

    My husband abandoned my daughter (6y/o) and I overseas. I found out he is living in Oregon, so I contacted the Oregon Child Support info and received an email saying that they do not have jurisdiction over this case because we do not live in Orego...

    Paul’s Answer

    In your situation, your common sense happily coincides with the law. Conveniently (since I practice in California), it is FEDERAL, not state law which governs on this issue (where the support should be litigated.) Okay, you already know this isn't really legal advice because, well, because I say so. But as a "general informational response" I'd suggest you remind the local child support agency they can file a petition under the UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT, and because the dad is in Oregon, it's a no-brainer that the Courts of Oregon can exercise "personal jurisdiction" to make and enforce the order.

    If the child support agency balks still, it shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg to get a private practitioner to do the job. Just make sure the private practitioner knows what he or she is doing. I've gotten push back from family court clerks who think these things MUST be filed by a child support agency, but the federal statute that authorizes these proceedings in the first place specifically authorizes private practitioner lawyers to bring them. Sometimes, the attorney will have to educate the clerk and / or the judge on the issue.

    I hope you are able to pursue this to a successful conclusion, and quickly.

    DRUM ROLL PLEASE AND...NOTE! Nothing in this answer should be construed as legal advice from the writer to the reader, or to anyone else for that matter. No attorney-client relationship is created here.

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  • I make over $120,000. can I still file chapter 7 bankruptcy?

    I make over $120,000. I pay a substantial amount, ($2,500) in child support. I must pay my ex wifes attorney fees. I am in debt of about $35,000 in credit cards, about $20,000 in my own attorney fees. My house is worth about $300,000 and I owe $19...

    Paul’s Answer

    Those darned "someones." They always seem so sure of themselves when they say these things. Coworkers, friends, classmates, etc. want to be helpful, but let's face it: you won't know the answer for sure until you talk to a someone who actually knows this subject, and that's going to be an experienced bankruptcy attorney licensed to practice in your state.

    Between tax obligations, "court ordered payments" and your mortgage, together with your other allowable expenses, it's entirely possible you'll fit quite comfortably into a Chapter 7. Bite the bullet. Make the call and spend some quality time with a knowledgeable, experience bankruptcy attorney.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: Nothing in this answer should be construed as legal advice from the writer to the reader or to anyone else. No attorney-client relationship is created here.

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  • Ch 7 bankruptcy (10+ yrs ago) Now creditor say I have to pay what was discharged. (more to this story!)

    orig post short version "husband & I recently approved to refinance mortgage @ credit union. loan papers of how $ we're financing & who's being paid off, CU included themselves be repaid for debt, discharged CH 7, 10+ yrs ago. My bankruptcy occurr...

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I think you're absolutely right to be angry, but your remedy might be more expensive than repaying the debt. However, I suspect their insistence on of discharged debt constitutes a violation of the discharge. Consult with a consumer bankruptcy attorney in your area to find out if you may be able to not only get them to back down from this position, but also pay sanction for a violation of the discharge. It's worth a conversation.

    A completely separate issue is that of the title. I don't know how they do things in MA, but here in CA, signing off on a quitclaim or interspousal deed can amount to what we affectionately refer to as a "transmutation", converting the property from community to separate. This may be a really big deal, or it may be that under MA law, it isn't so important. YOU SHOULD ASK a competent family law attorney about this, because this impending transaction could have significant long term consequences.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: NOTHING in the answer should be construed as legal advice from the writer to the reader, or to anyone else for that matter. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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  • Can a non- biological father get custody of a child, Hes on birth certificate & child has his last name?

    First of, This is how it happened... I got pregnant by this guy that i was with (whos a complete loser & druggy &just got out of prison) When i found out i was pregnant i left him & meet someone else who was there the whole pregnancy an signed the...

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    This is a very state-specific question, so I'm just going to spill how it would happen in California. Keep in mind, you are absolutely going to have to get legal advice from a Texas attorney, since that's where you and the child are, and where the litigation, if any, is going to happen.

    Paternity carries with it a duty of support, and a right to appropriate custody and visitation orders. Here, the whole legal issue of whether the husband can claim paternity depends on whether he takes some action to DISCLAIM paternity before the child turns two years old. I have no idea whether Texas has such a law or, if it does, what the age of the child is where the husband becomes the "presumed" father of the child.

    One conclusion is likely to be uniform among the states: if the man isn't the "legal" father, he has neither an obligation to pay support nor the right to have any custody or visitation orders regarding the child.

    The absence of a biological relationship between a man and a child does not mean, under California law at least, that there is no LEGAL relationship. You've got an important homework assignment to do, I think, and that involves talking to a good Texas family law lawyer.

    NOTE: Nothing in this answer is, or is intended to be, legal advice to the reader, or to anyone else. No attorney-client relationship is created here.

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