Skip to main content
Debra A Opri

Debra Opri’s Answers

11 total


  • Should I agree to discontinue pursing a domestic violence charge against my husband in exchange for him to waive custody rights?

    Police were called for a domestic violence incident. My husband is offering to not pursue child custody rights for our unborn child if I do not pursue the domestic violence charge against my husband. Is it possible to sign a contract for this ag...

    Debra’s Answer

    Hello San Jose...This is an 'agreement' I never endorse. First, unless the father / husband surrenders parental rights to the child in a legal proceeding/filing, he can always come forward at a later time to seek custody/visitation and of course support. Have you filed yet for a divorce? If not, I would wait until you move to Wisconsin and establish your residency there, and then the child's home state option, if Wisconsin has adopted this Act along with many other states. I believe it has, but please check thru a family law atty in Wisconsin. The 'waiver' of domestic violence as a bargain for child custody has never sat well with me, and i don't encourage it here. Once the statutory time has passed, this matter is basically 'under the rug' and if there is another domestic violence event with him, this one will not help you as a 'record.' good luck.

    See question 
  • Should i get an attorney ? My son's father is bringing my son around people who i believe are dangerous , any way to prevent ?

    Me and my sons father have been apart for a year now , I've never denied him visitation even though he does not pay child support . . . until recently i found out hes been bringing my son around his friends who are always drinking and involved...

    Debra’s Answer

    I'm glad you asked this question. It's a serious matter when a minor child [in this instance an infant] is exposed to these elements: drugs, alcohol, and people who may pose a threat to the child's best interests. I would strongly recommend that this matter be brought before a judge in an emergency filing [restraining order] and then an osc re custody/visitation. while you do not state whether the child's father drinks or does drugs in front of his child, this is an impt piece of information. and the court should know. if you are unable, for whatever reason, to do an emergency filing, then the Dept of Child Family Services [or a similar department in your jurisdiction] if also available. Good luck. This is a situation that MUST be resolved quickly.

    See question 
  • What should a judge be looking at when deciding if a restraining order should be given to someone over e-mail communication

    it is domestic violence case where we both have not seen each other for 1 year and 3 months so our communication has been limited to emails only. What is the time frame (if there is one) for restraining orders and what type of a content should be ...

    Debra’s Answer

    Hello. I take it someone lost their cool and wrote something without thinking first. Bad practice. It should stop immediately. The content of an email, like any other act, customarily, would be an 'immediate threat of harm...' ie., I would interpret a threat of domestic violence to be something like: "I'm coming over right now and I'm going to harm you," or words to that effect which would make someone believe reasonably they are in danger. In your instance of a one-time 9 mo old email which contents has not been disclosed in your question, then arguably the court can hold that it was a remote, distant act that cannot constitute domestic violence as is. It would also be helpful if we know what actions, if any, are being threatened re this email and why.

    See question 
  • Looking for pro bono attorney for child custody case, child needs both his parents not just the one who can afford an attorney

    There is no abuse by either parent , Father though has had an attorney play games to slowly get more custody over past year . I always had been able to keep 50 / 50 over the 9 years we have been divorced because I always could afford an attorne...

    Debra’s Answer

    My name is Debra Opri. Call me. I am a family law atty in Beverly Hills, but would more than happily speak with you about your case, and to give you guidance in your matter. Feel free to contact my office via my website. Look forward to hearing from you. If I don't hear from you I would strongly recommend you working on a detailed decln of the most recent events of the past 6 months, with a 'History' section providing a 'summary' to the court of the custody history and key facts. Good luck.

    See question 
  • My wife is having an affair. Can I legally take my children and leave the house.

    Want to take my children and leave.

    Debra’s Answer

    First, I'm sorry for your situation. Matters of this kind are always painful, but the first thing you must know is that you must not and cannot use your children as a 'weapon' to get even with your wife. This is a no fault state. That means it does not matter anymore under today's laws in California [and in many many other states as well] whether a spouse is having an affair. Until and unless you file for legal separation or divorce, you have no court orders to take the children away from their mother [or she taking them away from you for that matter]. Once a legal action is filed, you will be subject to the court's jurisdiction as to who can have them, and where they can be taken to. While you may not want to hear my 'voice of reason' know that I see this in my practice everyday as a divorce atty. Seek counsel thru a marriage counselor first to determine what YOU want to do at this time. And do not rush your actions. Make them well thought out. What may be an act of weakness or stupidity by your wife, or an act that manifests itself such to break up your marriage, is for the two of you to decide. But put the interests of the children in the decision. You will not be sorry. Good luck to you.

    See question 
  • My Husbands ex girlfriend is denying " visitations " or any contact with their kid , what can he do ?

    My husband left me a few weeks after marriage and had an affair resulting in pregnancy . He was there for every prenatal appointment and when she gave birth she didn't tell him . He was able to visit her for about three months once every weekend...

    Debra’s Answer

    Hello August, ME. I am not an atty in ME., so my response is general info only and i would advise that you seek a family law atty who handles paternity cases. there are statutory deadlines and the father must know about these to assert any rights. Since I do not know when the child was born, or if your husband is now legally divorced from you or that you two have reconciled and that there was no divorce, I would generally state that the father of a child has a right to have a parental relationship with that child, and that a paternity test must be requested immediately to give the father standing. The fact that the father's name is on the birth certificate is certainly helpful, but addl responsibilities for the father may include paying child support. Your husband [father of the child] should see an atty immediately . good luck.

    See question 
  • Are court hearings in paternity cases closed to the public in California family law courts?

    I understand that paternity case records are confidential. But what about the hearings? Can anyone including the media attend a hearing on a paternity case in a family law court?

    Debra’s Answer

    Generally, paternity hearings 'upon request' of one of the parties and/or stipulation of the parties usually will be ordered 'closed hearing' by the judge. this is usually due to the issues arising out of the minor child's best interests. In most instances, it is one of the first things the parties should discuss before argument. A closed hearing is when the Court will order the courtroom to be emptied of all non related parties, attorneys to the case. Most times, in such cases, especially high profile paternity cases, even the name of the case will not be posted. Hope this helps.

    See question 
  • Documentation - I was married for 7 months from cot 2010 to early June 2011 and provided 3 years tax records + bank statements

    several I & E's as the case keeps getting delayed ( Selig to div Jan 2012 ) He is delaying at every turn . Latest He now had his attorney file with the court 33 sub sections with each having multiple things he wants regarding docs 90s post...

    Debra’s Answer

    You are on a courtroom 'merry-go-round' and it's up to you to decide whether to keep going round or to get off. First, you DID have a short term marriage. Period. If you were more financially stable than your ex [did you seek a status only divorce yet ? legally divorced with reservation of all remaining issues til trial] is it the 'money game' that's being played with you? do you have an atty? [because if he does and you don't its a problem] is this a divorce with no assets? is there a support order in place? any children by this marriage? if the answer re children is no, then you are only dealing with a financial settlement. i would start filing alot of objections to the requests and you will, in my opinion, need to get an atty, because discovery motions are tedious and not for the 'unrepresented.' To get to the point, i would challenge the requests at every turn and start filing for 'protective orders' which in layman's terms means 'you are not entitled to it.' unless you ask the court for the right relief, the court can't help you. sorry.

    See question 
  • In not a lawyer , but I spent 25 yrs in Family Court . This is on an Ex - Pate

    Tomorrow we appear for an EMERGENCY EX - PARTE HEARING so he can see his son asap and I NEED THE BEST MEN'S RIGHTS ATTORNEY IN SACRAMENTO . SOMEONE AT CHURCH TOLD ME CAREY PETERSEN , but I don't know his record . Although young , his soon to ...

    Debra’s Answer

    Hello Sacramento...based upon the facts/information provided, I must make certain assumptions. first, there is no domestic violence or abuse issues such that a court would need to be made aware; second, I do not have information as to whether there are prior court orders re visitation. When minor children are involved [you have not indicated the age of this son (very young vs. teenager can make a difference)] the court looks to a shared parenting arrangement. We do not know if the parties live in the same town or near or far from each other. all of these issues and information is important in knowing what the court needs to know to make a ruling. good luck. i

    See question 
  • What is the cutoff for child support ? my daughter and her mom live in GA for the last 6 years and she is turning 19 ,

    My daughter is turning 19 and has a yrs old son . my daughter has not been in school for the last 2 years . when would I he able to stop child support . I have been married for midyears and have 3 children ?

    Debra’s Answer

    Hello to Georgia! While I am not a Georgia family law atty, I can provide general information for you as to child support cutoff ages. In most cases, child support ends when a child reaches the age of majority [check you state, but most often 18 yrs] or has been emancipated [ie., has graduated from college]. If your daughter is turning 19, is not in school or college, i would recommend speaking to an atty where you live, as this may in fact be a cutoff date for further support payments for your 19 yr old daughter. good luck.

    See question