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Heather A. Lewis

Heather Lewis’s Answers

9 total

  • Hello I am green card Holder living in US can I adopt my brother?

    Heather’s Answer

    This is a difficult question to answer without more facts, and you should consult with an experienced family law attorney - But, in California, an adult cannot adopt another adult unless the adopting party is at least ten years older than the other party. If your brother is a minor, different laws apply.

    Also consider speaking with an immigration attorney about the impact of the adoption on your brother's ability to move to the United States.

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  • Can I ask judge to not grant permanent restraining order against my child’s father?

    Heather’s Answer

    If you truly want to dismiss the restraining order because you do not feel you are at risk of harm, and you are not being coerced or pressured to dismiss it - you can appear at the hearing and let the Court know you do not intend to prosecute the DVRO at this time and that you want the matter dismissed WITHOUT prejudice. This means that if his abusive conduct resumes, you can file another DVRO request on the same prior incidents of abuse as well as the new conduct.

    Be sure to carefully consider whether it is appropriate to dismiss the DVRO, and consider consulting with an experienced family law attorney before making the decision.

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  • Ex wants to take our child (8) to Cancun in August without my permission. Can I stop this travel bc of Covid?

    Heather’s Answer

    Based on the plain language of the order, you must provide written permission for the travel and so the opposing party should not travel internationally with your child. As it appears he is not respecting that order, you can seek a Court order expressly prohibiting this trip because of current travel risks and concerns. The Court may indicate the order already exists and remind opposing party he cannot take your child without your written permission. Alternatively, if the opposing party asks for it - the Court may make an order that your child can in fact go on the trip; it depends on the facts, circumstances, and Judicial Officer, as there are no statutory or legal precedents in effect as to how COVID is to be treated at this time.

    You may also seek an order that the Court retain or remove the passport from the other parties' possession for a period of time long enough to deter the international travel. It would be up to the discretion of the Court as to if and how long they would hold the passport.

    Lastly, if your child does not have a current passport, you can enroll in the Children's Passport Issuance alert program to find out if and when a passport is issued for your child. If a passport has already been issued and is current, this is not helpful to you. Helpful information regarding state courts and passports as they relate to minor children can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/legal-matters/family-law.html

    You should schedule a consultation with a Family Law Specialist to discuss your concerns.

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  • What if stay at home mom refuses to work post divorce finalization as she receives child support and spousal support?

    Heather’s Answer

    Mr. Montgomery makes a good suggestion, you should contemplate whether a Vocational Evaluation is appropriate as it provides you with information you can use to argue that she has an ability to earn - and more specifically, what the range of her earning ability is. Often the cost of this evaluation is worth it if it stands to reduce support each month and there are not any findings of disability or very young/disabled children which prevent the party from obtaining gainful employment that does not interfere with the best interests of the children.

    The fact that your matter is post-judgment impacts the standard of proof, and even a child support order requires a showing of change of circumstances - passage of time alone may be insufficient. Further, it's important to know whether the other party was given a Gavron warning, i.e. clear language in the judgment that she must make reasonable efforts to become self-supporting. Although the Court often considers this, the lack of the language may impact whether the Court will impute income in the near future, or whether she will be given an additional grace period to become self supporting. Family Code 4320 factors must be considered in any post-judgment spousal support modification.

    You should consult with an attorney with experience in these matters, if you have not already done so. .

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  • What are my rights?

    Heather’s Answer

    You should consult with an attorney as there are many different aspects that must be considered when addressing your rights and responsibilities as it relates to your children. Ms. Routledge is correct, the Court is prohibited from making orders restricting your time with the children based on a disability, but they must also consider things which impact the best interests of the children - like if there is an increased risk to the children during activities like driving that may warrant specific orders. Best if you talk to an attorney, as a message board doesn't allow for a comprehensive overview of your case.

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  • How do I change my last name?

    Heather’s Answer

    The Sacramento County Public Law Library has a helpful page that guides you through the steps you should take to change your name. Here is the link: https://saclaw.org/law-101/name-change/

    If that feels overwhelming, then an experienced family law attorney can help you with the process.

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  • How do I file for bigamy in California ?

    Heather’s Answer

    If you married your "wife" believing she was divorced, and she is still married to her first husband - then you would file a Petition for Annulment and state Bigamy is the grounds on which you are seeking an annulment. In California its a form FL-100. I agree with Mr. Kane, you should speak to an attorney as there are many issues that must be considered in your case.

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  • Can I refuse to let my daughter go with her grandparents if my ex isn't able to have our daughter at her house anymore?

    Heather’s Answer

    Without the language of your order, it is difficult to say. But if the question is whether your daughter must attend the visits WITH the grandparents and mother will not be there? Then you would need to review if your orders say that maternal grandparents can exercise the visits. If mom is merely moving her time from her house to the grandparent's house that probably wouldn't be a violation unless it says she CAN'T do that, and that their house is off limits for some reason. Probably best if you schedule a consultation with an attorney.

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  • I am looking into getting an annulment and need to know how to go about it because my situation may be unusual?

    Heather’s Answer

    The unique circumstances of your case require a good look at several different facets:

    [Note: As I am licensed as a Family Law Specialist in Californiaa alone, I will address the matter generally as it may be handled here]

    Edna is correct in that the jurisdiction for an action to divide your property rights, obligations and rights regarding support, and child custody, visitation, and support issues are likely in a place other than California.

    California, however, allows for the bifurcation of issues - such as marital status. Unlike a dissolution action, there is no requirement that a person reside in California for any specific amount of time to file for an annulment. Further, in California, a bigamous marriage is VOID on its face. So the fact that a child exists in your marriage is irrelevant to whether the Court has the authority to "annul" your marriage. What this means, is that under limited circumstances, California may elect to exercise jurisdiction over the "status" of your marriage (i.e. single, divorced, or married).

    Because a VOID marriage is illusory, it never legally occurred, and it doesn't factually exist. Any resulting proceedings treat property issues under the principles of quasi community property, and obligations of support to the other spouse may be due under theories of a "putative spouse" (good faith belief the marriage was legitimate, including following procedural requirements like obtaining a marriage license). These are principles of equity, not legal fact, and as such are left to the wide discretion of the Court. In sum, its a legal limbo, and orders on all issues should be obtained to prevent issues, confusion, and unknown problems that may arise in the future (such as an untimely death and resulting estate plans).

    As to a child of the "marriage": Generally, the UCCJEA provides that the jurisdiction over custody issues belongs to the state where the child has resided (for a guideline period of time of six months). So, California would likely not have jurisdiction over the CC/CV issues.

    And last, but not least, there must also be personal jurisdiction over your "ex" such that she would anticipate being brought into Court in California, and that she has acted in a way in California that it would not be unfair for her to be called into a legal proceeding there.

    Many difficult and complicated legal issues exist in your case, I suggest you contact a Family Law Specialist for a full consultation to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. You should do this where you reside, and ALSO where your ex resides. Not sure if a California attorney is your best bet, but the more information you have, the better. Good luck.

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