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Steven Gary Hittelman
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Steven Hittelman’s Answers

73 total


  • How do I get my son back if I have legal custody but his father refuses to let me see him?

    My ex boyfriend and I had a child with 2 major heart problems Shortly after my sons birth my ex started using methamphetamine and he proceeded to cut me off from all my friends and family and eventually he cut me off from my own son. He than manip...

    Steven’s Answer

    From your question it appears that you don't have a physical custody schedule established.
    Legal custody is the right to make decisions regarding a child, not to have them with you, so you want to get those rights established.
    Since you were not married to the father, you'll have to start an action to establish parentage and custody/visitation rights.
    I suggest you search AVVO for a family law attorney to help you, or contact the Orange County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service to find a family law specialist.

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  • Continuing Custody Trial?

    Custodial parent refuses to let NCP see child... CP continued custody hearing twice and refused to attend mediation twice- causing two reschedules. I do not think they plan on attending the next hearing or mediation (as history continues to repeat...

    Steven’s Answer

    If you have a custody hearing on the court's calendar then you've likely filed a response (or the moving papers themselves) asking the court to make orders.
    I suggest you supplement your request to ask for a change of custody; that way if the custodial parent does not show to the hearing then you can ask the court to proceed by "default" and ask for the change of custody.
    I also suggest you search AVVO for a child custody attorney in your area, or contact the L.A. County Bar Association for a referrral to a family law specialist.

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  • Ex wrote email that she is refusing to bring our child to me several weeks from now for my court ordered visitation

    Ex moved out of state. My court ordered visitation is coming up in a few weeks, and ex wrote email that she will not let child come here for various reasons. I'm already filing an OSC RE Contempt for past failures to bring child here. Since this w...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You may want to consider asking the court to preemptively order her not to interfere with your custodial rights.
    The contempt proceeding merely seeks punishment for non-compliance; you'd rather actually spend the time with the children.
    Since the email is her "notice" to you of her refusal ask the court to make specific orders for the transportation of the children here to California, with date/time etc. That way, if she refuses to obey that order you have a stronger case for the contempt. The ultimate "punishment" for the failure to obey the court's orders, and interfering with your custody rights, may be to change custody, but you have to get that request to the court.
    I suggest you search AVVO for a local family law attorney, or contact the L.A. County Bar Association for a referral to a family law specialist.

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  • What forms do I need to fill out to file for an Ex Parte for emergency custody of my kids?

    My kids are being neglected by my abusive husband and I wanted to file the Ex Parte tomorrow morning, but I am too late in serving him and dont know what papers to file for emergency custody. I already downloaded the summons for the Ex Parte, but...

    Steven’s Answer

    Any time you are requesting orders from the court you must file the following Family Law (FL series) forms.
    FL-300: Order to Show Cause
    FL-305: Temporary Orders
    FL-310: Application
    There are other forms that specify what specific orders you are requesting in the FL-340s, such as specific rights to custody and visitation.
    Your local court may have additinal forms that you would need to file as well, such as the form letting the clerk know you gave proper notice to your ex.
    I suggest you search AVVO for a local family law attorney, or contact your county bar association for a referral to a family law specialist.

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  • During my week of visitation our child's custodial parent was hospitalized. May I petition for temp custody?

    My ex, who is a custodial parent has been hospitalized during my week of visitation. They haven't appointed anyone with power of attorney to care for her. May I petition the judge for temporary custody until my ex is able to physically care for ou...

    Steven’s Answer

    Since you're the other custodial parent you must petition the court to maintain custody of your child until the other parent is released from the hospital, and then is able to care for the child upon release. The process for seeking these temporary orders is called an "ex parte application" and the practice is somewhat different county-to-county.
    You would be responsible for making sure that the child continues enrollment and participation at school and other activities that they had previously during your ex's custodial time. If you live out of state then that would be a major factor for the court to consider, since the child shouldn't have to move back-and-forth and enroll-disenroll from school.
    I suggest searching AVVO for local attorneys, or contacting your county bar association and get a referral to a family law specialist to assist you in seeking your temporary orders.

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  • Will the courts(Family Law in CA) accept a LATE amended Response to a motion filed by ex (Respondent)?

    I am the Petitioner and my divorce was granted last year. One year later here she comes with a motion for some DISHES and 'rental interest' on family van, etc. I filed a quick response (pro per, I'm BROKE) and now want to amend it, however I have ...

    Steven’s Answer

    The court rules here in Orange County may be a little different than those where you are, but generally you should go directly to the courtroom and file it there, make sure your ex gets a copy ASAP.
    It will actually be up to your ex whether or not the court should consider anything in the Amended Responsive Declaration. She may ask that it be "stricken" or that the matter be continued so she has time to address whatever new information you have in your amendment.

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  • Can I modify divorce papers that already been filed to ask for alimony?

    When my husband and I split up we had a verbal agreement that he would help me financially with the car until I could find a job. He did not do this. Instead he payed for 3 mths then just quit paying. We separated in April, 2010 I found a job i...

    Steven’s Answer

    You can amend your Petition (assuming your the one who filed) seeking spousal support without having to file a motion to allow that to happen. If your soon-to-be-ex has already filed a Response then you will have to file a motion to ask for spousal support.
    However, you're marriage was not "long" under California law (less than 10 years) so the obligation may only be for one-half the length of the marriage (18 months roughly). Understanding that every little bit helps, though, you should see if there's a Self Help Center or Family Law Facilitator to assist you in preparing the paperwork to get spousal support.

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  • How is the amount of time I spend with the child added up for child support purposes?

    I spent a large amount of time with my child. How do I add it up to plug into the child support calculator. None of the options give me a good idea. Do I just add up the days out of 365? Do vacations, weekends and summers count more or less?

    Steven’s Answer

    In California, the court is required to figure out only the "approximate" amount of time each parent is responsible for the child who is going to get support.
    One way to look at is on a 2-week schedule; how much time does the child spend with each parent?
    What that means is that some judges look to whether or not the child spends overnight time with the other parent. Others look to the "puke test" - if the child gets sick at school then which home does the child go to.
    Another way is as you suggest; out of 365 days, how many days does each parent have responsibility for the child? If you are the "higher time" parent then have the 365 days and deduct the number of days the child is with the other parent. No one day counts more than the other regardless of vacations, etc., but the courts tend to put greater emphasis on overnights rather than just the part-day (dinner) visits.

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  • Does my x have to have left a higher paying job for the court to impute income to her?

    My x has always been underemployed. Her ability to get a higher paying job is obvious. To impute income to her, does she have to have been previously employeed for that amount? Also, will they be likely to impute minimum to her? Or her actual...

    Steven’s Answer

    The issue of imputation of income has been refined by recent case law decisions, and you appear to already know most of the basics. With the economy in California being a bit mixed, from Newport Beach to Oakland, there are still jobs out there if someone is qualified.
    If you want the court to impute an income to your ex, then the burden is on you to show what she could be earning - obviously more than what she's currently making. You don't have to show that she's refused higher-paying jobs, or even that she would get hired. But you do have to bring "competent evidence" (note the legal term, you've got some hurdles to overcome if you want to do this the right way) of her ability/skills/experience and the rate of pay she could be earning.
    Also, keep in mind that there is a California statute that the court may look to that says that the parent with the majority of time with the children shouldn't have an ability to earn put on them, unless it's in the best interests of the children. While rarely applied by the court, it is out there and can impact the court's decisions.

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  • How do I establish that my house is the child's primary residency in a joint custody case?

    I have my child 3-4 days a week. How do I establish that my house is the primary household if we file for joint custody?

    Steven’s Answer

    In California there is no such thing a "primary residency" for child custody decisions. If you have "joint custody", that presumes both joint "legal" and joint "physical" custody. By having joint custody both you and the other parent have equal decision-making ability regarding your child's health, education and welfare. Joint physical means you both have the right to have the child with you (as opposed to one parent having visitation).
    If the issue is school enrollment then keep a log of the time that your child is in your home - yes, weekdays (school days) may have more of an impact on a court's decision. School enrollment is a legal custody decision, so you have to give notice to the other parent if you want to register your child in your neighborhood's school. If there is no agreement then the court will have to make the decision for you. You should research your school's statewide ranking (its API score) as well as programs available for before school & after school care. You should also see how far the school is from your & the other parent's home. Ultimately, you'll first have to "make your case" to the other parent before you ask the court to step in for you.

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