Gigliotti Law Blog

Gigliotti Law Blog

Welcome to the Gigliotti California Family Law Blog. The Gigliotti Law Group is an experienced Civil & Family Law Practice located in Encino, California. Los Angeles Lawyer Robert Gigliotti Represents Southern California Clients in all aspects of Family Law, including, Divorce, Separation, Domestic Relationships, Paternity, Custody and Visitation, Move-Away Disputes, Child Support, Spousal Support, Property Rights, Modification of Custody and Support Orders, Prenuptial Agreements, Domestic Violence, Restraining Orders, and Family Law Mediation Services since 1991.

State of California Premarital Agreement - What Happened In Barry Bonds' Case?

02/13/2016

The case involved the marriage of San Francisco Giants All-Star baseball player Barry Bonds. Bonds was earning $106,000 annually when he married his ex-wife (Sun) in 1988. Prior to getting married, Bonds asked Sun to sign a prenuptial agreement that waived any interest in his earnings and acquisitions during the marriage. Sun signed the agreement despite not having a lawyer present, while Bonds was represented by an attorney.

The parties were divorced six years and two children later at a time when Bonds’ salary was much higher than when the prenuptial agreement was signed.

Sun sued to have the prenuptial agreement ruled invalid. Sun argued that because she did not have a lawyer present at the time she signed the agreement, it was unenforceable, and demanded more money for both spousal and child support.

The case first went to the California Court of Appeal, who determined the prenuptial agreement was invalid. This ruling was appealed all the way up to the California Supreme Court, who found the prenuptial agreement to be valid, deciding in favor of Barry Bonds. The court concluded that the prenuptial agreement was entered into voluntarily, and it was fair to enforce it.

What Was California Law Regarding Prenuptial Agreements Prior To Bonds Case?

Prior to this case, prenuptial agreements signed by two spouses were generally considered valid even if both spouses were not represented by independent legal representation (i.e. their own lawyer).

What Effect Does This Case Have On Spouses Wishing To Create Prenuptial Agreements Prior To Getting Married In California?

If you live in California and want to enter into a prenuptial agreement, it is highly recommended that both parties be represented by legal counsel. If you sign such an agreement without a lawyer and you later feel the terms are unfair, you may be able to argue that not having a lawyer present makes the agreement invalid. Thus, retaining an experienced family law attorney is essential if you need assistance in understanding the terms of a prenuptial agreement before signing it.

 

California Move Away Cases

02/13/2016
The most difficult type of case for a family court judge is to decide are move-away child custody cases, occurring when one party seeks to relocate with a minor child(ren) to another geographic area, out of state, or out of the country. The requested destination could be a 30-mile move or a 3,000-plus-mile move. If a Court grants the move, the non-custodial parent will no longer be able to participate in the day-to-day life of her or his child(ren).  Participation is school events, helping with homework and extra-curricular activities, are impossible. Conversely, if the Court denies the custodial parent’s move-away request and the custodial parent has no choice but to move away from his or her current geographic location, then the child will be separated from the parent with whom the child may have the closest bond. In either situation, the child loses.
California in particular is a transient state with a large percentage of the population coming from another state or even another country resulting in a higher number of move-away cases. Our increasingly mobile society and the economy have contributed to a rise in the number of move-away cases. Many times a divorced/separated parent wants or needs to return to her or his home state or country to be able to take advantage of a family support system. Often a parent is going to where a job or remarriage necessitates the move. Rarely parents can agree on one parent moving and the resulting changes in timeshare, which usually consists of the non-moving party having the child during the majority of holidays and vacation. This is problematic when very young child of “tender years” are involved and they cannot spend significant time away from the other or either parent. These situations often become emotional powder kegs and the parties can’t agree on anything, let alone what is in the child’s best interest. In these cases it is up to the Court to play King Solomon and decide whether to allow the relocation with the children. In California and other states with permissive move-away laws, the burden of proof  has been placed on the non-custodial parent (usually those parents who spend less than 35 percent of the time with the children) to prove that the move will be detrimental to the minor child(ren).
Here are major factors that the Court will consider in move-away decisions:
  • Maintaining stability and continuity in the child’s life: The Court will look at the timeshare percentage in the current custody order, evaluate how much time the child actually spends with each parent, how long the custody order has been in place, the child’s connections to the custodial and non-custodial parents, as well as to the community (including ties to school activities and friends).
  • Distance of the move: Shorter moves (i.e., a couple hours’ drive) may not be seen by the Court as disruptive to the child’s life and relationship with the non-custodial parent. However, a move across the country or overseas will come under greater scrutiny. In international cases, the Court will consider factors such as cultural differences including language, potential or actual dangers in the country, risk of abduction and whether the Court’s orders will be enforced in the country in which the child will reside with the custodial parent.
  • The reason for the move: In California the parent does not have to justify the move. However, if there is evidence that the purpose of the move is in bad faith, i.e., to interfere with the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent, the Court will factor this into its decision and may not permit the move. In particular, the Court will look for a pattern of “restrictive gatekeeping” in which the custodial parent interferes with the child’s relationship with the other parent, speaks negatively about the other parent or “forgets” to share important information about the child’s school, health or social life.
  • Child’s age: A move-away may be seen as more detrimental to very young children who have a strong attachment to one parent versus the other and who do not have a conceptual understanding of time, i.e., they do not know or understand measurements of time and how they relate to when they will see the other parent.
  • Ability to effectively co-parent: The Court will assess how well the parents communicate with each other; whether they’re able to put the child’s interests before their own; and how the moving parent will foster contact between the child and the other parent.
  • Where the child wants to live: In some cases, the child may be able to testify about her or his wishes for custody. In fact, in California the law requires that children 14 and older must be allowed to testify, unless the Court finds it will be harmful to the child to do so. Children under 14 may also give their preference if the Court finds it appropriate. Children can also express their wishes to a Court-appointed evaluator.
  • The child’s relationship with each parent. As discussed in some of the other sections above, the Court will examine the child’s relationship with each parent, i.e., in very young children, is there a primary attachment to one parent and in older children, is a child estranged from a parent; is there conflict between a parent and child; or is a child too enmeshed with a parent. In many cases the Court will appoint a child custody evaluator to assist the Court in making a decision to allow the move or not.

If you are seeking a move-away order or are looking to prevent one, your first step should be to consult with a family attorney.  Los Angeles family law attorney Robert Gigliotti has the particular expertise in this area and will be able to advise you on the factors in your case that may influence the Court, what you can do to support your position and strategies for effectively presenting your case.

 

Aliso Canyon Gas Well Leak Litigation.

02/12/2016

Gigliotti Law Group is representing families and business affected by the Aliso Canyon Gas Well Leak.  The Gigliotti Law Group is bringing a mass tort litigation in which it will file a complaint on behalf of each individual against the defendants.

Who are the defendants?
The defendants against whom we are filing suit are Southern California Gas, which is chiefly responsible for the gas leak, and its parent company, Sempra Energy.

What are the attorneys’ fees Gigliotti Law Group charges?
The firm’s fees are limited to twenty-five percent (25.0%) of any gross recovery.

What are the most commonly reported health symptoms as a result of the Aliso Canyon gas leak?
The gas emanating from Aliso Canyon is natural gas, primarily consisting of methane. Because natural gas itself is odorless, the Gas Company adds an odorant called Scentinel T-50, which comprises tetrahydrothiophene (“THT”) and t-butyl mercaptan. These chemicals give natural gas the rotten egg smell that informs us of a gas leak. Inhalation of mercaptans can induce short-term health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing and nasal congestion, shortness of breath, nausea, stomach discomfort, dizziness, and headaches. Inhalation of natural gas can induce these same effects and more, including nose bleeds, flu-like symptoms, dehydration, fatigue, and skin irritation. For individuals with preexisting conditions, exposure to the gas may aggravate or exacerbate other health conditions.

What are the long-term health consequences of gas exposure? What are my options in litigation?
Many members of the Porter Ranch, Chatsworth, Northridge and Granada Hills communities have expressed concerns about future health problems as a result of their exposure. In the lawsuit, Gigliotti Law Group is requesting that the court establish a court-supervised fund for future medical monitoring for all plaintiffs who are exposed to the natural gas emanating from the Aliso Canyon storage facility. Although SoCalGas disclosed the existence of a gas leak at its Aliso Canyon facility on October 23, 2015, we do not know whether or for how long natural gas has been emanating from this source prior to the company’s announcement. It is likely that we will not know the answer to this question until we obtain discovery from SoCalGas in litigation. Your preexisting symptoms may well be connected to a potentially ongoing gas leak.

Call us today for a complimentary consultation.  Gigliotti Law Group (818) 996-9776.

 

Shared Parenting Following Divorce

06/01/2014

Many people are under the mistaken impression that shared parenting is ordered in most family law courts.  Unfortunately, the reality is that family courts only order shared parenting in approximately 15 percent of cases. In a majority of cases, fathers are awarded child “visitation”, a term I believe should be banished from our family law vocabulary.  One visits others in the hospital, in jail, but shouldn’t feel as though they are visiting their own child.

 

Prenuptial, Post-nuptial and Cohabitation Agreements

06/26/2013

Prenuptial, Post-nuptial and Cohabitation agreements have a significant emotional component as two people who are in love with each other are forced to address difficult financial issues. Yet having an agreement in place can eliminate the need for costly litigation, as well as the emotional and financial strain should the marriage/relationship end in divorce/separation.

 

Grandparent Visitation Rights in California

06/26/2013

Under certain circumstances, grandparents may seek visitation rights by commencing an independent action under California Family Code, Sec. 3104.

 

California Custody Law & Move-Away Cases

06/26/2013

In California, when parents separate or divorce, a court will issue orders for custody and visitation arrangements based on what is in the best interest of the minor child. In general, the goal of a custody order is for both parents to maintain frequent and continuing contact with their child(ren).

 

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Experience

Los Angeles Lawyer Robert Gigliotti has developed a unique civil and family law practice located in Encino, California representing Southern California Clients in Family Law and Divorce, Civil Litigation, Personal Injury Law, and Estate Planning since 1991.

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We solve difficult legal issues by thinking creatively, identifying the broadest array of potential solutions, translating client interests into positions, assessing both conventional and novel options, and building consensus around our clients interests.

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As a skillful trial attorney, Los Angeles lawyer Robert Gigliotti is also committed to achieving favorable outcomes for clients through effective negotiation, mediation, and/or litigation.​