Many people don’t actually realize what a serious offense domestic violence really is. Long ago, domestic violence was primarily seen as a scandalous thing to be spoken about in whispers behind somebody’s back, but not something most folks were the least bit inclined to intervene in, as it was a matter for the family to sort out for themselves. Times certainly have changed.

Nowadays, you definitely don’t have to worry that nobody wants to help in a domestic violence situation. In fact you’ll probably have the opposite problem-that they’re too keen, which can lead to other problems if the timing is off. One thing that hasn’t changed is that a huge number of people don’t realize how dangerous a domestic violence situation can become. In particular, if somebody feels they have nothing left to lose, they’re potentially an incredible danger to anyone in their immediate vicinity.

Being clever and strategic about withdrawing from a domestic violence situation is crucial. You need to take into account the level of threat that you are facing from your attacker, and your response to the situation should be calculated based on that. The worst thing you can do in most domestic violence situations is to use any kind of threat indicating that you’ll leave or that you’re calling the police. You definitely should call the police if you can, but informing the attacker that you’re doing so is not a smart move.

Ideally you should try to remove yourself from the violent situation if it is possible. Escaping to a public place will normally be enough. From there you can call the police, and under no circumstances should you return to the scene. If you can’t get out of the house, you should try to call from a relatively safe location inside the house and barricade yourself until help arrives.

When the police arrive at your home, you can obtain a temporary restraining order which imposes a legal order for the attacker to not approach anywhere near you. Because people in an agitated state don’t always give much regard to legal orders, it’s usually unwise to rely on the temporary restraining order alone to protect you. Again, you’ll need to use your judgment and assess the threat level before making a decision, but in a lot of cases the smart move is to not stay in a place where they know you’re at unless you have others around you who can provide protection.

A temporary restraining order is just that: temporary. In order to keep somebody permanently away from you, you’ll need a final restraining order. To get this, it’s best to have the services of a lawyer, in particular an experienced lawyer with a history of success in obtaining restraining orders, such as Oceanside domestic violence attorneys Fischer & Van Thiel.

Violating a final restraining order is a serious offense. Unlike the situation with a temporary restraining order, by the time you are granted a final restraining order, tempers will usually have cooled and a more rational mindset should prevail. Most of the time, you’ll be safe in your own home in these conditions, but of course you should take all necessary precautions. At the first sign that the restraining order is about to be violated, you should call the police and have the perpetrator arrested.

Attorney Michael Fischer

Attorney Michael Fischer

One of the most frequently asked questions people going through divorces have is how alimony is determined.  There are several major detrminers for alimony, namely:

  • The length of the marriage.  The longer the marriage, the higher alimony is likely to be.  A marriage which lasted over 10 years is likely to involve permanent alimony.
  • The relative income of the people getting the divorce.  The person making more money is more likely to be required to pay spousal support.
  • The future financial fortunes of the spouses.  A spouse who is capable of obtaining a large income is expected to pay greater alimony payments than one who is not.
  • The fault in the disolution of the marriage.  If fault is established, it can affect alimony payments, depending on which spouse is making the payments.

If you’re going through a divorce and are concerned about how much alimony will be paid, contact the Oceanside divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 760-722-7646 today.

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Mediation is a way for two parties who are involved in some kind of legal dispute-a divorce, for example-to reach an agreement without having to dispute the matter in court. Settling matters in court can be a lengthy and expensive process, and because the courts are so busy, there can be significant delays that would prevent you from otherwise moving on with your life. Mediation can help you speed things up and save money.

Even with all the potential benefits of mediation, it is not always a substitute for going to court. If there’s any serious concern that the other party wouldn’t keep to the terms of an agreement reached through negotiation, court can sometimes be the better option. This is because an order made by a judge is more powerful than any contract you might be a party to. If somebody defaults on a contract condition, at most that is breach of contract. If somebody fails to comply with a court order, that is more serious and there are a range of penalties that could be applied, including the possibility of imprisonment.

Oceanside mediation attorneys Fischer & Van Thiel are very experienced in negotiating successful mediation outcomes for clients. Their suggestion is that mediation is nearly always worth a try in the first instance, not just because of the potential cost savings but also because mediation will normally be a less stressful process than then more formal court room setting. Should the other party fail to meet the terms of a mediated agreement, your attorney can follow up with enforcement action to secure an actual court order for you, and from then on the risk of incurring the penalties described earlier would usually serve as sufficient motivation for the other party to meet their contractual obligations.

Mediation works very differently to court. The meeting is presided over by a mediator, who is a neutral party, taking no sides in the dispute and not passing any judgment. Their role is purely to facilitate an agreement being made, but they will not require either party to agree to anything. The idea is to work out a solution that both sides are comfortable with. Mediators also don’t advise the parties on how they should act or try in any way to influence the agreement being reached.

So what happens is that the attorneys of the two parties will usually give advice to their clients to help them understand the legal consequences of anything they intend to agree upon, so that the decision made will be an informed one. If an agreement is reached, then the attorneys will draw it up as a formal document for both parties to sign. From then on, it is a legally binding contract, fully enforceable under Californian contract law.

One important step of the mediation process is that you can abandon it at any time before you actually sign any contract agreement. This means that the mediation process has failed, and you can either schedule a new mediation at a later date or pursue the matter through the courts as with any other legal dispute. Plus of course your opponent can also do the same.

Getting married is a huge step for any couple, and not something that should be entered into lightly. That much is simply common sense, but then in the mad rush of love, common sense is often not the highest priority. It shouldn’t be that way, for quite a few reasons.

Love is one of the most complex emotions. In fact it’s so complex, some scientists aren’t even sure if it really exists at all (but that’s scientists for you). It seems fairly certain that love does exist after all, but the truly deep, enduring kind of love is actually quite rare, which is what makes it so special and so sought after. Of course you and your intended may believe that you’re among the lucky few, but statistically the odds are against that being the case. It’s fantastic if your love story can last a lifetime, but it’s only sensible to take appropriate precautions “just in case”.

One of the reasons why most people have concerns about bringing up the idea of prenuptial agreement is that it seems cold, unromantic, and distrustful. Yet in fact it can be a positive thing if it is approached in the right way and with the right spirit. Why prenuptial agreements have gotten bad press in the past is usually because some people approach them in a very mean-spirited way, using them as a blunt instrument to force the other person not to put the marriage in jeopardy.

Oceanside prenuptial agreement experts Fischer & Van Thiel caution against rushing into creating the kind of hardline agreement that sets very heavy and unrealistic conditions. Many lawyers will happily draw up such a contract for you because they’ll get paid for it anyway, but the value of that contract may be seriously decreased if it is inherently unfair.

A good lawyer will always advise you to frame a prenuptial agreement in a way that reflects the correct state of mind for a couple who are about to be married, and this of course is one of mutual concern and respect for each other. Draconian prenuptial agreements are wide open to challenge in the event of a divorce, and there are numerous grounds upon which an appeal can be founded.

Without the help of a knowledgeable, competent, and ethical lawyer, you may well be wasting your money and time. Prenuptial agreements can be overturned, and they do get overturned. Factors that can influence this include the amount of time before the wedding that the agreement was made, the state of mind of each person who entered into the agreement, whether there was any form of duress involved, or if either of the parties withheld any information that should have been disclosed.

The importance of a prenup is that it provides a framework for what would happen if your marriage didn’t go the distance. It’s not a death sentence for the marriage, it’s more of an insurance policy, and the aim should be to avoid any unfairness to either side. Consulting a lawyer who can properly advise you on the technicalities of prenuptial agreements is a sound investment in the future harmony of your household.

When people agree to settle a legal dispute, or when a court makes a ruling against somebody that you’ve been in a legal dispute with, there are always binding obligations that follow. However, there are some people who don’t keep to whatever has been agreed or whatever they have been ordered by the court to do. When that happens, you may need to consult a lawyer to get the other person to do what they are supposed to. This is called an “enforcement action” and for these kinds of procedures it’s best to get an experienced enforcement action attorney.

Oceanside enforcement action lawyers Fischer & Van Thiel are a great recommendation due to their impressive record of success. No matter which attorney you choose, however, the important thing is to take action quickly. The longer you wait before seeking legal recourse, the more difficulty it will create for you.

Judges may be less impressed by a contract which you have neglected to enforce if the situation has been allowed to continue for a long time, and where there has been no effort made to rectify it. That’s not the case if the other party has been evading contact or anything like that, but if there has been a history of ignoring the compliance failure on both sides, it opens the way to many different interpretations of the arrangements that may not necessarily be favorable to you.

It’s particularly important to seek enforcement action quickly in the case of things like child custody agreements, because there are all kinds of complications that can arise if you don’t. For example, if you have an agreement that you will have custody of the child for two nights per week but you don’t actually take custody, and this happens for months or even years and then suddenly you decide to change things, a judge would possibly see this as potentially disruptive to the child’s life, a lack of concern on the behalf of the parent, and so on. Of course there’s some weight that is placed on the fact that the other party is in breach of contract, but it’s usually a lesser concern than what might be perceived to be in the best interests of the child.

This is where a good lawyer is of great help, because they will know the best way to handle a situation like this to keep the focus where it really should be. You deserve to get whatever you are entitled to under agreement or by order of a court.

So in summary the important steps are firstly to not allow a pattern of continuous non-compliance to emerge (this can be defined as “condonement”), to consult with an enforcement action attorney as early as possible, and to be absolutely consistent and clear as to the outcome you expect to receive.

If you repeatedly condone breaches of the conditions, you are effectively indicating that you don’t care about your right of claim. Nothing harms your chances of success more than this, so do make sure to be firm in asserting your rights, and consult a lawyer if you don’t get a satisfactory response.

There are two different kinds of issues that people may need help with in regard to paternity and the law, which are:

  • Securing paternal rights including parental access to their own children
  • Countering paternity fraud situations

In both cases, seeking the help of a qualified and experienced attorney is a vital first step. Oceanside paternity lawyers Fischer & Van Thiel have an outstanding record in both areas and are a highly recommended choice.

All fathers who have done no wrong should have access to their children, and should also be eligible to apply for joint custody. Unfortunately, the law has been created in a way that makes it very easy for women to falsely accuse male partners of wrong-doing, such as domestic violence, and the consequences can be very serious.

There are also situations where women remarry, or where they’ve had affairs while married and become pregnant. For the extra-marital partner, what legal recourse do they have for access to their biological children? Or on the other side of it, will the marital partner be required to financially support the biological child of another man, where the child is conceived due to an adulterous affair, and where the couple has divorced? You’d probably be really surprised by the answers to both questions, and in either case you’ll need the services of a very good lawyer to help you.

Paternity fraud is a serious and growing concern in the United States. Californian law, as it stands today, makes paternity fraud more easy to perpetrate and potentially more lucrative, and that’s a problem that has created financial hardship for many thousands of men in our state over the last few decades.

While it’s true that there is a large number of men who try to shirk their parental and financial obligation to their bona fide offspring, and these strict laws were designed to make that more difficult and costly, it’s equally true that far too many innocent men are victims of these laws.

A typical paternity scam works like this: an unmarried female has a child, and rather than citing the child’s true biological father on the birth certificate, she cites the name of a substantially more wealthy individual. If the resident of the household is away for some extended period of time, he will not have the opportunity to respond to the notification he will receive concerning his alleged paternity.

If he doesn’t respond within the mandated time frame of 30 days, a default judgment will be awarded against him, and he’ll be required to pay child support until that child is 18 years old, even if he has never met the person alleging him to be the father of her child. How easy is it for a stranger to discover that you’re away in Ireland for a month? Way too easy, thanks to resources like Facebook and other social media.

If you think this is an isolated and rare occurrence, it is frighteningly more common than you would expect. In fact a 2003 study found that, at that time, approximately 71% of child support payments were secured as the result of a default judgment. It can be anticipated that many of those cases involved falsely attributed paternity.

Divorce and Alimony

Getting a divorce is a really big step in your life, at least as big as getting married in the first place, and in some ways it will have a lot more impact on your life and the lives of the people you know. It’s certainly not something you should do on a whim, or while in the grip of a moment of anger. Divorce should be something you prepare for and plan, except in those cases where there’s imminent danger if you were to remain married to the person you are divorcing.

Divorce is never instant, even when both parties agree that they want to divorce. There is a process that must be gone through, and it takes time. Until the divorce is final, neither party is able to remarry, and there may be certain legal rights and privileges that can be assumed by either of them unless specific legal safeguards have already been established with the help on an attorney.

There are two sides to every divorce story, and both sides will normally get to have their say. What can often make the difference between winning and losing is what actually gets said. Oceanside divorce and alimony lawyers Fischer & Van Thiel indicated that the best way to handle any divorce situation is to turn over full authority to your attorney and let them handle everything on your behalf. The more you say or do on your own behalf, the greater the chance that you could harm your position in the divorce process.

In Oceanside, divorces are not uncommon, in part due to the proximity to nearby military bases such as Camp Pendleton, and in part due to the higher-than-average income earned by the majority of residents. While studies have shown that serving male military personnel are less likely than civilians to seek divorce while serving (due to military incentives to remain married), they also show that they are more likely to seek divorce upon exiting service. The studies also show that women serving in the military are actually more likely than civilians to seek divorce while still in service.

As it is the case that most living in the Oceanside area have higher incomes than the average Californian household, it also means there’s potentially more at stake when it comes to divorce. With high value assets and high land values, high earnings, and so on, alimony and the division of assets are going to be serious concerns. It’s important to have a lawyer working on your side to ensure that your share of any assets is protected and that the amount of alimony that is awarded will be a fair amount.

To this end, it will help if you provide as much detail to your lawyer as you can about the full financial position of yourself and your former spouse. If you can afford it, hiring somebody to investigate the finances of the person you are divorcing can sometimes prove to be a sound investment. Above all, it’s important not to do or say anything that might make you appear in a negative light. Put trust in your attorney and you’ll have the best chance of a good outcome.

Disputes over child custody can be ugly, bitter, and extremely unpleasant. Parents sometimes forget that the best interests of the child should be at the forefront of their thinking, and instead use the issue of child custody as just a strategic ploy in the overall divorce scenario. That’s not how things should be, but if you find yourself contesting this kind of battle, it’s essential to make sure you have a good lawyer working with you.

Of the many child custody lawyers in the Oceanside area, Fischer & Van Thiel is one of the most often recommended. Their record of achieving the most favorable outcome for their clients is exemplary, and they definitely stand out as a good choice.

Once you have chosen an attorney to work with, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t do anything that may harm your chances of winning the dispute. Many people caught up in the emotional fallout of a recent or on-going divorce don’t always behave rationally or exercise good self control.

Your lawyer can advise you on the kinds of things you should avoid doing, the things you should be doing, and what things your former spouse may do that you should report (and to whom) that may have an impact on your child custody proceedings.

One of the biggest decisions you may face is whether or not you should be the one to move out of the family home, if anybody is to do so. In general, except when your safety or your children’s safety depends on it, moving out is not a good strategy. The parent who remains in the family home may have an advantage over the other parent, especially if they own the home rather than renting.

Some other factors that can have a bearing include prenuptial agreements, whose name appears on the title of major assets, which parent earns the most income, and if either parent has had any convictions recorded against them, serious medical conditions, or addictions. All of these things can influence the way a judge interprets the case. Lawyers also look into these things, and they’ll be able to advise you on how to eliminate the negatives and accentuate the positives. The important thing is to be completely honest with your lawyer and tell them everything that could possibly be of relevance to your case.

If the matter can’t be resolved without a judge needing to make a decision on it, the case will have to go to court. When you go to court for a child custody hearing, it is not the same as a criminal law trial, so you should not feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the fact that you’re appearing in court. Judges, especially in family court, want to make the right decisions. They want their rulings to be fair and just, and when it comes to the safety and security of children, it’s an especially important duty to ensure that the ruling is in the best interests of the child. Trust your lawyer to give the judge the right information to help them make the right decision.


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Psychological Effects of Divorce

For most couples, divorce is a very stressful ordeal. From deciding how to divide your finances and
property to settling custody issues, the mental stresses are many. All of this can take
a toll on the psychological health and wellbeing of either or both spouses.

The psychological effects of a divorce often include depression and/or anxiety and can extend to children
in addition to their parents. A difficult case can mean a stressful home environment, which can lead
to worse grades and more emotional issues in children. A smooth, more amicable, case can lessen the effects on children, and counseling can help the entire family get through.

Depression is perhaps the most common mental illness, affecting a large portion of the population. Major
life changes, like a difficult divorce, can put huge strains on the psyche, leading to depression and
anxiety. Uncertainty over the process can be a major cause of depression and anxiety for people
going through divorces. By working with an experienced divorce lawyer, however, you can make your case
go as smoothly as possible.

Contact Us

The help of a divorce lawyer means a quicker, smoother resolution to your divorce. Settling all of the
issues a divorce raises is much easier with the help of an expert, lessening the psychological burden
for both spouses. If you are considering a divorce, the Oceanside divorce lawyers of
Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can help you. Contact us today at 760-722-7646.

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Attorney Michael Fischer A Guide to Divorce for Military Personnel

Divorce for military families is quite a different experience in comparison to what happens with civilian families, and that is something that most people in the military about to participate in a divorce often discover much too late.

For a start, it’s going to make a very big difference if your job is directly related to combat or combat support, particularly if you are currently deployed in a war zone or if you were recently deployed. For those on deployment, you may have to undergo a Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) assessment. When you apply for leave due to a family emergency of any kind, including divorce, the COSC assessment is normally a mandatory requirement before leave will be granted.

The exception might be personnel who are stationed far from a combat area and who do not participate directly in combat or combat related duties. Even then, some types of work such as medical personnel who regularly provide medical treatment to grievously wounded combatants, or air traffic controllers who communicate with combat air crews, possibly would not be exempted and may require COSC screening prior to being granted leave.

There’s a lot of technical stuff that is attached to the COSC process, but what it essentially all boils down to is that the military services want to be certain that you’re not crazy enough as a result of combat stress to do harm to yourself or to others. If they believe that you are at risk of experiencing a Combat Stress Reaction (CSR), you can be denied leave indefinitely.

That is just one example of the many factors military families will face when contemplating or engaging in divorce. Things like this can create complications which civilians families don’t have to deal with.

California has a large population of military families, particularly in the areas of San Diego, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. Finding a divorce lawyer, of course, should be a top priority. This is certainly not a task you’ll want to trust just any lawyer with. They need to have demonstrable track record in resolving military divorces.

Local law firm Fischer & Van Thiel is one of the most highly recommended, due to their extensive experience in the field of military divorce. They have helped many families work through the complexity of the military divorce process.

Unlike a civilian divorce, a military divorce requires more careful planning, especially if timing is going to be a critical factor. For example, if you are on mid-tour leave or if you are between active deployments, you will most likely have a limited amount of time available for dealing with your divorce matters.

This is why it’s always best to work with attorneys who really understand the needs of those who are serving in the military, and who can provide you with the best experience and advice based on their knowledge of military, state and federal law. That’s the kind of assurance you need.