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Anastasia Ganatsios

Anastasia Ganatsios’s Answers

5 total

  • Children have been with me since the day we separeted now he want to take custody of them because i put him in child support..

    can father take our children away from me even though i have been a great mother to our kids???the only worry is that he has an attorney and i cant afford one..i already tried everything legal aid and other programs but no luck..i am not working...

    Anastasia’s Answer

    It sounds as if the father of your children has filed an Order to Show Cause requesting a court hearing to either establish custodial/visitation orders or to modify existing orders.

    You state that the father wants to "...take custody of them because I put him in child support..." Retaliation in response to one parent's seeking a child support order is not a valid, legal basis to divest the other parent of his/her custodial rights.

    In your case, the father would need to assert, and provide evidence in support of, legally appropriate grounds when requesting that the court change custody or grant initial custody orders solely in his favor. You need to review the papers you were served with and pay careful attention to what orders he is seeking and to the allegations (if any) contained in the declaration portion of the papers. Once you have determined the legal basis for his request to obtain or change custody, you must begin to build your case opposing his claims.

    If you have not yet filed a timely response, I suggest you do so at your earliest opportunity and certainly before the filing deadline. You will need to compile evidence and present it in an organized fashion; tell the court your "side of the story" as it were. It would be best to consult with an attorney or pro bono organization when preparing your papers to make sure your response is thorough and on-point.

    I understand that your current financial circumstances prevent you from obtaining ‘full representation’ legal services. Many attorneys now offer unbundled legal services, and may be willing to represent you in a ‘limited scope’ capacity at the court hearing only. If you can open a credit card account, borrow money from friends/relatives, or find some means of generating an income (even temporarily), it might be well worth your efforts to have a legally trained professional present at your hearing to ensure protection of your rights and the best interests of your children.

    On another note, you mention that you are separated. If this separation is in the traditional context of a dissolution (rather than separation from a partner if this is a Uniform Parentage Act case), then consider speaking to an attorney about seeking and obtaining an order for temporary spousal support and an attorney fee order. There are many legal bases for making an attorney fee request and your attorney can tailor an argument(s) to fit your particular circumstances. Broadly speaking, the parties to an action should have 'equal access to legal representation' and be able to litigate on a 'level playing field.' Further, if the father is engaging in harassment and/or abusing the legal process in bad faith, there are remedies available to you in various code sections and relevant case law.

    At the very least, I suggest you contact the organizations listed below and seek assistance in preparing and filing your opposition papers.

    I wish you well…

    1. Legal Aid
    http://www.lafla.org/contact.php

    2. Harriett Buhai
    http://www.hbcfl.org/

    3. Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center
    www.levitt-quinn.org.

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  • Is it possible that the court will consider how the child feels and wants at the age of 9 almost 10 in California?

    Will the courts in California take into consideration what said child wants before turning age 11?

    Anastasia’s Answer

    Your question does not specify what issue the child would want to address. I will answer your question as if you were asking about whether a child would be permitted to state his/her wishes regarding which parent to live with in a disputed child custody/visitation matter. If that is indeed the case, then yes - it is possible that the court will consider the child's wishes. See FC 3042 below. The Family Code declines to state a minimum age at which a child's preference will be considered, choosing instead to set forth a standard the court can employ in evaluating the individual circumstances of a case. This is done by looking to the child's wishes if the child is of "sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody." What does this mean? I can only give the all too familiar, and not particularly well-liked response that attorneys rely on so heavily - it depends. If one were to generalize, it would be fair to say that the liklihood of meeting the standard increases as the child approaches the teen years. However, there is case law affirming that children as young as 7 or 8 may meet the 3042 standard. This does not mean that you should be confident that your child will be afforded an opportunity to state his/her preference to the court. Be mindful of the flip side of the coin, as there is case law stating that a child at the age of 14 did not meet the 3042 standard and was therefore properly denied the opportunity to state his wishes to the court.

    Sidenote: If you are seeking to modify a currently existing custody/visitation order, and the child satisfies the "age" and "capacity" test, the child's wishes will be given greater weight than in an initial hearing because the court will consider the child's past experience in living under the existing custody arrangement.

    California Family Code Section 3042 reads in part:

    (a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so
    as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation,
    the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the
    child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation.
    (b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section
    765 of the Evidence Code, the court shall control the examination of
    a child witness so as to protect the best interests of the child.
    (c) If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address
    the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be
    permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not
    in the child's best interests. In that case, the court shall state
    its reasons for that finding on the record.
    (d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent a
    child who is less than 14 years of age from addressing the court
    regarding custody or visitation, if the court determines that is
    appropriate pursuant to the child's best interests.
    (e) If the court precludes the calling of any child as a witness,
    the court shall provide alternative means of obtaining input from the
    child and other information regarding the child's preferences.
    (f) To assist the court in determining whether the child wishes to
    express his or her preference or to provide other input regarding
    custody or visitation to the court, a minor's counsel, an evaluator,
    an investigator, or a mediator who provides recommendations to the
    judge pursuant to Section 3183 shall indicate to the judge that the
    child wishes to address the court, or the judge may make that inquiry
    in the absence of that request. A party or a party's attorney may
    also indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court
    or judge.

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  • Divorce, alimony, splitting of company finances?

    My husband and I have been married 5 years, I have not worked at all during this time, except working for him. Three years ago we started an LLC, he is a physician. I do the finances, website, recruiting, etc for the LLC. I receive a paycheck from...

    Anastasia’s Answer

    Should you decide to proceed with the divorce, I strongly suggest you hire counsel to assist you. You have property interests that need to be protected. An attorney will educate you as to the principles of community property that govern property rights of married persons and division thereon upon dissolution of marriage.

    Regarding the business, it appears that you two started this business together and built it from the ground up during the marriage, making it a community asset. You mention that your ownership interest is apportioned at 30% to his 70%. Make sure to discuss in detail with your attorney, any agreements you and your husband made regarding this business. Whether the agreement(s) were made orally or in writing CAN make a big difference here. If you have a written agreement, make sure to bring it to your attorney for review and evaluation. You ask how to split the company finances? Without much more detail I cannot provide you with a specific answer but bear in mind the following. Your attorney may want to employ the services of a financial professional such as a forensic accountant or certified divorce financial analyst to assist in determining the extent and value of your interest in the business. You mention that there is "just income" to divide but that may not necessarily be the case. A business appraisal may reveal a value to your business you did not know existed. He/she can assign a value to the goodwill of a business. There may be assets such as medical and other technological equipment with a value. How about receivables? Just because earned income has not been collected yet, does not mean you do not have a community interest in it. As you can see, there's much more to "splitting of company finances" than meets the eye. I reiterate, seek the advice of counsel.

    As to your home, again it appears that the purchase occurred during the marriage and presumably with community funds, making it a community asset. You may sell the home and split the proceeds equally if there is any equity. Or, one of you may elect to keep the home and buy the other party out of his/her interest. You are each entitled to one half the interest in the value of the community residence. Beware, however, if there is a mortgage and/or a home equity line of credit as against the home, and both of your names are on the paperwork, you will both continue to be liable on the loan(s) regardless of whose name is on title. The lender is not obligated to release you from liability on the loan just because the property has been transferred to the other spouse. An attorney can help you navigate through these potential minefields.

    As for the child from a previous relationship, you did not mention that your current husband formally adopted him/her, but just that your husband currently provides support. Have you ever contacted your local DCSS (Department of Child Support Services) office in order to collect support from the biological father? I recommend you do so.

    On a final note, you ask about "alimony" which is called spousal support in California. You mention that you believe you would not get it. That may or may not be true. Once you divorce your husband, will you still be working for him and collecting a paycheck from the business? Probably not. If you are unemployed or employed with a much lower salary, you may be eligible to receive some spousal support for a limited time. There are many factors which go into making a determination as to whether, for how long and how much spousal support you could receive. California Family Code Section 4320 sets forth these factors - you may want to look them up and read through them to get a flavor for what the analysis entails. As you'll see, nothing in the code prohibits you from being eligible for support, though nothing assures you that you will certainly be entitled to get it either. My approach is to try your best and see what happens. Best of luck to you.

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  • My wife and I have been married for 4 years although only lived together for 1.We want to file a Summary dissolution of marrage

    before our five years is here and it's too late. She is currently 15 weeks pregnant but the child is undisputedly NOT MINE. Can we still get a summary dissolution of marriage?

    Anastasia’s Answer

    Go to http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/documents/fl810.pdf and read through the SUMMARY DISSOLUTION INFORMATION packet. The information contained in the FL-810 should provide you with answers to all of your questions. If you have further questions, contact an attorney.

    Summary Dissolution Requirements - California:

    - You or your spouse must have lived in CA for the last 6 months and in the county for the last 3 months;
    - Marriage of less than 5 years as of the date you file your Joint Petition;
    - No children together that were adopted or born before or during marriage and the wife cannot be pregnant;
    - No ownership interest in real property;
    - Cannot owe more than $6,000 in debts acquired since date of marriage (excluding auto loans);
    - Have less than $38,000 worth of property acquired during marriage (excluding cars);
    - Neither party can have separate property worth more than $38,000 (excluding money owed on property and auto loans);
    - Mutual permanent spousal support waivers; and
    - Sign an agreement dividing property and debts.

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  • How do I go about obtaining supervised visitation via child custody?

    My ex husband and I are having a child custody dispute. I am the primary parent with 65 percent of custody, and him 35 percent. I just found out that he has two charges of domestic violence charges against him from his gf, and an elder woman for...

    Anastasia’s Answer

    Since the safety and welfare of your child may be at stake, I suggest you contact an attorney or make an appointment with the Family Law Facilitator to discuss filing an 'Order To Show Cause' for modification of your currently existing child custody/visitation orders. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to proceed on an ex parte basis and seek to obtain temporary orders pending a full hearing if you feel the matter is urgent and there may be, among other possible requirements, an imminent threat of harm to your child. Your attorney will need to evaluate: your current custody and visitation orders; if current orders are "final," whether a 'substantial change in circumstances' exists to modify those orders (otherwise a 'child's best interests' test may be employed to determine eligibility for modification); the existence, credibility and legal status of the domestic violence charges you "found out" about; and your likelihood (without guarantees of course) of success in pursuing and obtaining your goals.

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