Archive for November, 2012

DIVORCE: MAKE YOUR EX PAY (for attorneys fees, that is)

November 21, 2012

By Sara B. Morgan, Esq.

While helping people with their divorces, I frequently hear them say that they had put off moving forward with their split because of the cost involved. What many fail to realize is that California law may provide for a way to pay for their attorney’s fees and costs.

In Family Law matters such as divorce, legal separation, and nullity actions, the Court has the ability to order the other party to pay your attorney’s fees. According to the Family Code, the Court may “render any judgment and make orders that are appropriate concerning … [t]he award of attorney’s fees and costs.” Family Code, Section 2010(f).

There are different types of attorney’s fees and costs awards. One type is about equality, and requires the Court to ensure that each party has access to legal representation to preserve each party’s rights. Family Code, Section 2030(a)(1). The Court considers the income, needs, and ability to pay of both parties.

Another is type of award is a sanction, to punish or avoid improper behavior which frustrates the policy of the law to promote settlement of litigation, and to encourage cooperation between the parties in order to reduce the cost of litigation by encouraging cooperation between the parties and attorneys. Family Code, Section 271(a).

These types of awards can be requested upon the filing of the initial petition, or any time thereafter, including for postjudgment appellate, modification or enforcement proceedings. Family Code, Section 2030; Marriage of Green (1992) 6 Cal. App. 4th 584, 593; Bidna v. Rosen (1993) 19 Cal. App. 4th 27, 38.

So, whether you are currently involved in or considering a divorce, legal separation, or nullification, you should contact a qualified, knowledgeable attorney immediately to discuss your options. At the law firm of Heiting & Irwin, we offer free consultations to prospective clients, so there is no cost to find out if we can help you. Please call our office at (951) 682-6400.

MEDIATION ON THE RISE

November 15, 2012

MEDIATION ON THE RISE

Heiting & Irwin

By: Dennis R. Stout

 

The budget crises in the State of California continues to affect the court system, particularly the courts’ ability to dispose of cases in an efficient manner. Litigants should expect to see a back log of court cases due to the lack of funding, lack of jurists, and lack of support staff. As cases continue to be filed, continue to sit, and trial dates continue to be scheduled further and further in the future, the ability of plaintiffs to settle cases without the pressure of a trial date will also increase.

The role of private mediation is ever expanding, and will more likely dominate the settlement process as the court system continues to deteriorate. Litigants can now find mediators specialized to specific cases and available for mediation at all phases of the litigation process, earlier, as opposed to later. Early mediation by litigants can avoid unnecessary costs and lengthy delays within the court system.

As with any effective settlement or litigation strategy, preparation is the key. Early preparation of cases for mediation will assist clients with an effective disposition of their cases. We are also beginning to see mediation with insurance companies directly, and with their in-house counsel, even prior to the filing of a lawsuit, in an effort to avoid the anticipated delays and costs forced upon litigants by the court system in the State of California.

Early retention of counsel, proper preparation, and the selection of an effective mediator are all keys to a successful resolution of a case. The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin have litigated, whether by trial or mediation, hundreds if not thousands of cases. We are prepared to proceed with the evolving mediation process to assist all of our clients to get the best results available in their particular case. The key again is early contact and early and thorough preparation of cases for resolution.

 

 

 

SEVEN MISTAKES YOU CAN AVOID WHEN INJURED ON THE JOB – PART 2

November 6, 2012

by Richard H. Irwin, Esq.,
Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist

3.  SDIDo not delay File for State Disability Benefits through Employment Development Department as early on as possible in your case – even if you are receiving monetary benefits for Workers’ Compensation from your employer or their insurance carrier. Filing for such benefits, even if denied initially, will usually help to establish a “claim date” that will allow you to pursue such benefits at a later date when, for example, your Worker’s Compensation benefits cease.

It is not unlawful to file for such benefits at the same time you are receiving your Workers’ Compensation benefits, although you cannot receive full SDI benefits in addition to your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

4.  DO NOT REPRESENT YOURSELF – At least not without first speaking with an attorney experienced in handling Workers’ Compensation matters. Would you do your own heart surgery? Representing yourself in a system mired with complex litigation issues may not be a life and death matter, but your decisions, if in error, could cost you thousands of dollars, delayed or denied medical care, and/or substantial delays.

We’ve represented clients who came to us after having represented themselves for months, even years. In certain cases, they failed to file documents or pursue benefits in a timely manner, costing them thousands of dollars in benefits. Don’t let this be you.

(TO BE CONTINUED ON OUR NEXT BLOG)