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Family Law (171)

What You Should Know About Pro Se Divorces

What You Should Know About Pro Se Divorces

When a couple decides that it’s time to end their marriage, the first action both should take is hiring a divorce attorney. Although rare, some people do decide to represent themselves during a proceeding. These divorces are known as “pro se”. A pro se divorce is admissible under United States law but most attorneys advise against it due to inexperience. A few of the responsibilities expected from a person deciding to represent themselves include, but are not limited to:

  • Filing the proper legal forms required to terminate a marriage with the court
  • Establishing a case, which includes the collection of evidence and testimony
  • Anticipating and preparing for the case the spouse’s attorney has established


One major disadvantage to representing oneself in divorce court is inexperience. This inexperience may work against the self-representing party in two ways. First, it may leave him/her unsure of how to argue against their spouse’s experienced attorney. Second, the court will not take any measures to make the proceedings easier for the inexperienced party. In other words, the pro se litigant will be treated the same as the attorney. Also, in terms of legal procedures, the litigant will be expected to know them as well as any licensed attorney would.

Self-inflicting Impulses

Another disadvantage may be the self-representing party’s inability to avoid the use of litigation as punishment. A competent attorney does his/her best to avoid confrontation. The pro se litigator, as inexperienced as he/she may be, may do more harm than good in dealing with sensitive issues brought up in divorce. If the litigator’s spouse committed adultery, the absence of an attorney may result in self-damage if that person decides to personally attack the spouse on the basis of anger. Arguing trivial matters can also do more harm than good and will not persuade a judge or jury to agree in their favor.

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The guidance of a divorce attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can ease the oftentimes serious burden of a difficult divorce. Contact us today at 858.935.6211 to learn more about what we can do to help you.

Parental Rights

Parental Rights

As a parent, it is understandable to want to be involved in your child’s life as much as possible. This can include spending time with your child and having the right to make decisions that will affect his or her life. Unfortunately, a parent’s rights can be challenged in some instances, threatening their right to one or more of the following:

  • Child custody
  • Visitation
  • Consenting to medical treatment for the child
  • Have property inherited by the child and vice versa
  • Approving certain decisions, such as military enlistment

These rights are most often extended to biological parents. Foster parents or legal guardians may also be afforded parental rights in certain circumstances. Obligations can also be included, such as:

  • Financial support
  • Care and/or supervision
  • Legal liabilities for the child’s actions
  • Providing a safe living environment

If your parental rights are being threatened, or if you feel that you are being held responsible for things that should not be your responsibility, there are legal options available to you. Any legal disputes regarding parental rights and obligations should immediately be handled by a skilled litigator.

Helpful Links

The articles below may help in understanding how parental rights are handled in family law.



A couple deciding that their marriage should be terminated faces perhaps the most difficult decision they will ever make. Divorce can occur as the result of a wide variety of reasons. If both partners wish to make their divorce proceedings as quick and amicable as possible, a mediated divorce is often the best option. This form of divorce allows spouses to come to an agreement they both find satisfactory. A mediator will participate in the process to ensure that both sides are treated fairly and justly.

In mediation, the process can be overseen by either one or two attorneys. All parties involved will work diligently to settle any problems that could make the divorce more difficult than it needs to be. Mediated divorces have a number of benefits, such as being less costly and quicker than a contested divorce. The stress that can result from a troubled divorce is also significantly lessened. The shorter time in resolving issues, however, does not mean that the process will be less professionally executed.  Overall, it’s important to know that a family law litigator can help in making the process as easy as possible.

Helpful Links

Read the following to better understand how mediation works.

Separation Agreements

Separation Agreements

There may come a time in a marriage when a couple experiences difficulties in the relationship. For many, marriage counseling is an option. For others whose marriage has become unsalvageable, divorce is the best way forward. However, there is a third option for those seeking time apart. Separation agreements serve as contracts between married spouses allowing the two to remain apart without divorcing. These separations may last months, years, or indefinitely. Factors covered by separation agreements typically include:

If the couple decides to make the separation permanent, their shared property may be divided. As a separation differs from a divorce, the couple is still legally bound through marriage. Also, both spouses are not free to seek new romantic partnerships as the act will constitute infidelity. It also does not grant either party the right to remarry. An attorney specializing in these agreements can be an invaluable asset for either spouse. He/she will advise you on the steps to take when requesting a separation as well as state laws applicable in the process.

Helpful Links

The articles listed below will assist you in understanding what a separation agreement is and how it applies to the field of family law.

Domestic Abuse/Violence

Domestic Abuse / Violence

A small percentage of marriages in the United States end due to domestic violence incidents. Though these incidents are rare, they are often traumatizing for those who experience them. Abuse of this kind can lead to serious injury or death, depending on the circumstances. The abuse may also not always be physical.

Emotionally belittling or threatening a person can have serious psychological effects, as well. Domestic violence can include any of the following:

  • Physical injury
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional/psychological abuse
  • Threats of violence

If an individual has found themselves a victim of violence in their marriage, it’s possible to request a restraining order. These orders are aimed at limiting the contact between instigator and victim. It protects the victim from having to endure further abuse by eliminating the opportunity for the person responsible to inflict further harm. Hiring a family law attorney familiar with domestic violence cases can assist the victim in getting the protection they need and starting a new life without their abuser.

Helpful Links

The following links have been provided to further expand on domestic violence and other related topics.

Paternity Test

Paternity Test

A paternity test is aimed at identifying who the biological father of a child or children is. Paternity can play a pivotal role in separation or divorce proceedings. For this reason, the results of a test can affect the outcome of a family law case. A paternity test can work to the advantage of either party, depending on the circumstances. It’s important to remember that a biological father has legal responsibilities toward his children. That responsibility can either be applied or rejected on the basis of a paternity test’s outcome. Typically, the following can be affected depending on a test’s results:

Whether the possible father is requesting a test or challenging the results, an attorney can assist in their case. If a man asserts that he is a child’s father, he may be entitled to child visitation and/or custody. If, however, he challenges the results and is found to be the biological parent, he may become responsible for financially supporting that child. An attorney familiar with family law should immediately be contacted if fatherhood will play a role in a legal proceeding. 

Helpful Links

The following links will provide information regarding paternity and its application to family law.

Child Support

Child Support

A parent’s responsibility for their child does not end with the termination of a marriage. If one parent has been granted primary custody by a court, the other may be required to provide financial support for the child’s well-being. Child support payments may be used for:

  •   Basic needs (food, clothing)
  •   Medical needs
  •   Living expenses
  •   Education
  •   Childcare

What the payments will cover is determined by California law. How much those payments will be can be based upon:

  •  Parent’s income
  •  Amount of time each parent spends with the child
  •  Childcare expenses
  •  Mortgage payments
  •  Tax filing status

Proper legal guidance will serve as an invaluable asset for the parent needing representation in matters involving support. Each parent is responsible for providing the necessary information about their financial and living situations. Their attorneys can then negotiate certain aspects of the support contract. These negotiations differ based upon the precise details of the custody arrangement.

Helpful Links

Child Custody

Child Custody

It is understood that the divorce process can be difficult and emotionally draining. Dealing with the division of property or assets can overshadow what is most important: your children. Children, especially those of a young age, can be deeply affected by their parents’ separation. For this reason, it is important to ensure that matters of child custody fully take into account the child’s well-being.

Child custody is a common concern in divorce proceedings. Children tend to do best when their daily routines are interrupted as little as possible. Preserving the life they have grown accustomed to is important in allowing for adjustment to their parents’ divorce. Depending on the cause or circumstances surrounding the divorce, either one or both parents can remain in the child’s life. An attorney’s services will play an invaluable role in the process of determining custody, visitation rights, and other custody-related concerns.

Helpful Topics

Property Division

Property Division

One of the more contentious issues that can arise during a divorce is how the spouses will divide property and assets. When it comes to deciding who gets what, difficulties may arise, complicating even the most amicable divorces. Such difficulties can include:

  • Challenging decisions about physical property division
  • Existing debts
  • Entitlements

Though such issues can be resolved with a prenuptial agreement, if one is absent, it’s best to seek the services of a skilled property division lawyer. Choosing an attorney adept in this field may be easy, but deciding if he/she is right for you is entirely different. A highly-skilled litigator from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, has the experience you need with divorce-related issues. Whether the property in question is large or small, hire one of our attorneys to help you in your case.

Helpful Links

Below are helpful topics that may help you understand how property division works.

For any topic or question not answered above, feel free to contact one of our attorneys for information.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are often incorrectly considered to be precursors to divorce. In reality, this arrangement simply serves to keep the best interests of both parties separated in the event that a marriage does end. For this reason, a couple considering drafting a prenuptial agreement should not do so without proper legal guidance. This ensures that all rules are met and no violations that could nullify the document are committed. Each future spouse should be represented by individual attorneys. The attorneys will advise the spouses regarding:

  •  What to include
  • Which steps to go through in forming the contract
  • How to avoid nullifying the contract

In order to form a prenuptial agreement, the couple does not need to be wealthy or own expensive assets. The document aims to serve the needs of both spouses by building a solid foundation for their future. The couple’s rights and obligations will be acknowledged in the contract should their union end in divorce.

Helpful Topics

Below are articles covering prenuptial agreements that you may find useful.



In some divorce cases, the court orders one spouse to provide financial support for the other. This is known as alimony. An effective litigator can lower or increase the amount depending on the circumstances. The amount may vary based on the following factors:

  • Marriage length
  • Spouses’ health and age
  • Spouses’ financial resources
  • Debts (if any)
  • Taxes involved in the support

An attorney experienced with spousal support/alimony disputes from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, will ensure that an accurate record of your marital history will be represented to help determine the rightful amount of spousal support awarded. It’s common practice for spousal support to be contested in the court. This is why having one of our attorneys by your side can make the situation easier. Whether you are the one providing support or are the one who is supported, an attorney’s guidance can make a difference.

Helpful Links

The above articles are aimed at providing information regarding alimony. For any topics or questions not covered, contact one of our attorneys. 

Factors That Can End Or Prevent Alimony Payments

Factors That Can End Or Prevent Alimony Payments

The amount of alimony, or spousal support, a divorce provides for an ex-spouse varies on several factors. The length of the marriage, the ages of the spouses, the reason for the divorce, and the length of separation can all affect how much and how long these payments will be. As with the factors that determine alimony, the following factors can actually prevent it from being granted in some instances.

Signing A Prenuptial Agreement

A prenup stipulates what is to become of a couple’s assets and interests in the event of a divorce. One condition that can be addressed is whether or not one spouse will provide support for the other. If the husband or wife earns significantly more than the other, he/she possibly may have to provide support if the marriage ends. The prenup can prevent this by specifically acknowledging that no alimony will be provided if divorce occurs. In order for the court to respect this decision, both spouses must agree to the stipulation.

Level Of Income

The court may determine an alimony award by taking into account the amount of income each party earns. For example, if a wife is earning a slightly higher salary than her husband, and it is determined that he will most likely not experience difficulty supporting himself after the marriage, the wife may not be required to pay support.

With Regards To Infidelity

In most states, infidelity does not play a role in determining if alimony will be provided. California is one such state. The court may dismiss the need for support if it can be proven that the wronged party is cohabitating with someone else prior to the marriage being nullified, as this could prove that he/she may no longer need financial support according to Section 4343 of the California Family Code.


If the spouse in need of financial support remarries, then alimony payments, by law, will stop. Although there is little the supporting spouse can do in terms of starting or speeding the process of having an ex-spouse remarry, it’s an important fact to keep in mind.

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If you have any questions regarding alimony or other legal matters pertaining to your divorce, contact a divorce attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858.935.6211.

Various Forms of Irreconcilable Differences

Various Forms of Irreconcilable Differences

An irreconcilable difference refers to any situation occurring between two married spouses where neither side is able to agree on a mutual decision to correct an issue. In divorce law, these types of differences can also be classified as:

  • Irretrievable breakdown
  • Irremediable breakdown
  • Incompatibility

An average of 60 percent of marriages are terminated on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. In several states, including California, filing for divorce under this reason is accepted, mostly in cases where the divorce is labeled as “no-fault”. A major misconception regarding these differences is that some assume that this label indicates that a couple is refusing to try and work through any differences that arise in their marriage. Although this does happen at times, in most situations, a couple has tried everything possible to settle their differences, but has been unable to do so.

Common Sources Of Irreconcilable Differences

Differences that can strain a marriage to the point of ending the relationship may include any of the following:

  • Financial problems such as mounting debts, difficulty paying off debts, or excessive spending, i.e. splurging
  • Issues regarding trust, especially following instances of infidelity or a spouse discovering information that had not been disclosed, i.e. a spouse keeping the existence of a child from a previous relationship a secret
  • Emotional conflicts, which can stem from such things as domestic violence
  • Long distances or durations of separation which are usually seen when one spouse is constantly traveling due to work commitments

If two parties are unable to agree to settle differences that have put a strain on their marriage, divorce may be the only option. In some separations, feelings of anger or resentment may result. However, it’s important to remember that divorce is not about revenge or making the situation purposely difficult for the other spouse. Rather, it’s about settling differences and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome.

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Choose a highly-skilled divorce attorney from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, in San Diego to represent you should an irreconcilable difference arise in your marriage. Contact one at 858.935.6211.

Avoid Nullifying Your Prenup, Avoid These Four Mistakes

Avoid Nullifying Your Prenup, Avoid These Four Mistakes

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common in marriages in the U.S. Although some soon-to-be-wed couples see prenups as a sign that the marriage is doomed before it begins, the document serves only as a safeguard for the interests of the couple in the chance that the marriage does indeed end. However, as with any legal document, a prenup can be voided if certain circumstances or inconsistencies arise. If you are looking to make sure that your prenup is upheld in the event that your marriage ends, be sure to avoid the following common mistakes.

A Falsified Agreement

It isn’t uncommon for one of the soon-to-be-spouses to falsify or undermine the value of a certain asset. It is also possible that he/she could fail to disclose the existence of an asset as well. Proving such an allegation can be difficult without the assistance of an attorney with considerable experience in this area of divorce law. If it can be proven that asset value or any other information on the agreement is incorrect, the form may be nullified.

The Agreement Was Not Formed Under Sound Mind

As with any legally binding agreement, a prenup must be formulated with both parties being of sound mind and/or mental capacity. For example, if it can be determined that one of the future spouses was intoxicated when the agreement was formed and was unaware of what said agreement stipulated, the form may be dismissed. The same goes with coercion. Proving that one of the parties was not of sound mind can be difficult, but it is possible.

Legal Representatives Were Absent At The Signing

When entering into any form of legal agreement, it is strongly advised to have your attorney present. In most states, this is required. The attorney representing you will review the agreement. This is done in order to catch any irregularities, illegalities, or to question the other party regarding the value of assets identified in the agreement.

The Agreement Cannot Be Lopsided

A judge overseeing a divorce in which a prenup has become the focal point of the proceeding may find one or several factors listed that can be grounds for nullifying the agreement. One regards child support. If one party has stipulated that child support will not be provided in the event of a divorce, the prenup may be nullified since state laws govern the provision of child support. Spousal support, however, varies according to state. Other stipulations, such as most or all assets being awarded to one party, can also result in a prenup being nullified.

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Ensure that your prenuptial agreement meets all legal guidelines by working with a divorce attorney from the law firm of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, in San Diego. Contact one of our attorneys today at 858.935.6211.

Tips To Make Your Post-Divorce Life Easier

Tips To Make Your Post-Divorce Life Easier

It’s a given fact that divorce is a life-changing experience. Depending on the reason for the divorce, this change can start off as being difficult before becoming better. For example, if a couple comes to the conclusion that their marriage has suffered from irreconcilable differences and there is a mutual decision to divorce, either one or both may feel as if their lives have taken a turn for the worse, especially if the two are extremely close. However, a post-divorce life does not have to be difficult and with proper measures, can actually provide greater happiness and fulfillment.

How To Make Life Easier

It’s important to understand that your life isn’t over just because your marriage is ending. Feelings of helplessness and despair are not uncommon, but many have overcome these feelings through one or more of the following:

  • Requesting the support of family: A supportive network of loved ones can help give you daily support and help you through some of the toughest moments. The knowledge that friends and family are there for you even when things feel like they are at their worst can often ease the difficult emotions that can accompany this process.
  • Seek counseling if bouts of depression don’t subside: Nothing can assist you better than seeking the guidance of a licensed counselor. Having the option of talking to someone who is trained to treat the issues you’re dealing with can help you overcome depression.
  • Set new goals: This may be easier for some than others, but accomplishing tough goals such as re-establishing a social life with friends or developing new living arrangements can help you both practically and emotionally in the long-run.

These are just a few of the things you may want to consider if you are dealing with difficulties after ending your marriage and should in no way be considered comprehensive.

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We understand that divorce can be difficult, but with the assistance of a divorce attorney from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, in San Diego, you won’t be alone. Contact one of our attorneys today at 858.935.6211.

Four Traits of a Good Divorce Attorney

Four Characteristics of a Good Divorce Attorney

In order for a client to have a good chance of securing a favorable divorce agreement, their attorney must exhibit a group of very important characteristics. These factors range from their willingness to negotiate to their ability to strategically execute a plan of action that leaves no room for argument. It doesn’t matter if the case is a highly contested divorce or if you and your spouse are amicably negotiating terms such as child custody/support, asset distribution, or division of property, a highly-skilled attorney who displays the following qualities is the attorney you want by your side.

Case-Building Skills

The fate of each case depends entirely on how the attorney structures a plan of action. For example, specific strategies on how assets should be allocated between his/her client and the other party can be negotiated through mediation, or can be settled through a trial if no agreement can be made. The outline the lawyer develops should always have contingencies in place in case one of his or her strategies should fail.

Genuine Care For Their Client

It’s a fact that many attorneys are more interested in the paycheck that accompanies a successful outcome than they are in their client’s well-being. An honest and hard-working lawyer should not be intimidated by a long divorce battle and encourage you to settle for less than you deserve. The level of care should remain the same before, during, and after a case.

Confidence Is Key

Confidence should not be confused with arrogance. A confident attorney will know when the time is right to be assertive, when to compromise, or when the situation calls for more defensive strategies. The ability to remain unemotional is also an important trait a lawyer should possess. It isn’t uncommon for both attorneys to engage in verbal arguments, and during these times, the representing counsel should not make concessions unless it is in their client’s best interests.

Openness To Negotiation

Negotiation is one of the founding principles of divorce law. A lawyer who is effective with words and can effectively persuade the other party is invaluable. For example, the cost and length of a contested divorce can be significantly reduced with the help of an experienced negotiator and a willingness to compromise, making the entire process much easier and less expensive overall.

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Divorce is not always easy, but the San Diego divorce attorneys from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are committed to making the process as quick and simple as possible. Contact them today at 858.935.6211.

Helpful Tips For A Successful Divorce

Helpful Tips For A Successful Divorce

The decision to pursue a divorce is a significant one, but can often be a very important and beneficial move for a couple to make. However, the way a divorce will progress will depend on both the skills of the attorney representing a party and that party’s preparation before terminating the marriage. The following tips can greatly assist you both before and after your divorce has been finalized.

Be Aware Of Your Financial Standing

When it comes to divorce, ignorance is not bliss. Having full knowledge of your finances as well as your spouse’s can affect either how much you may receive or how much you’ll lose if you had no prenuptial agreement in place. Remember, you and your spouse may be linked through shared bank or credit accounts, and physical property, financial assets, and debts will all need to be divided.

Prepare For The Future

Never forget that divorce is a new phase of your life. That being said, the most important thing you can do is prepare for it financially. You and your spouse will no longer be codependent so it will be extremely important to carefully plan for your financial future, especially if you have children to support.

It’s Not About Revenge

It’s understandable to be angry at your spouse during a marriage termination. However, it’s important to understand that a divorce is not about revenge. No matter what the reason, whether it is infidelity, incompatibility, or irreconcilable differences, divorce should be about ending the marriage on a mutually beneficial outcome. Punishing your spouse by limiting child visitation or cutting off access to funds will not help make the process easier, and it may even reflect poorly on you.

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Choose an experienced attorney that will help you fight for the fair and full divorce agreement you need. Contact one from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858.935.6211.

Common Mistakes People Make During Their Divorce

Common Mistakes People Make During Their Divorce

Most people pursuing a divorce hope to move through the process as quickly and easily as possible. However, it isn’t uncommon for the husband or wife to use tactics that could do more harm than good. Although both sides can use effective strategies to fight for what they seek, such as a possession of certain assets, child custody, or child support, individuals pursuing a divorce must take caution not to use schemes that will undoubtedly harm their chances in receiving what they want or compromise what is in the best interests of all parties involved. The following tips may be able to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes made by individuals during their divorce.

Never Use A Child As Leverage

Your children are likely the most important thing in the world to you. There have been instances where one side will attempt to influence the other to get what they want by utilizing dirty tactics such as threats of limited visitation. It’s understandable to be enraged if placed in such a position. However, don’t lower yourself to that level and attempt to do the same. Your attorney’s assistance and guidance will be invaluable in this instance, so trust them. If you have been a responsible parent, the evidence will speak for itself.

Avoid A Romantic Relationship Until After The Divorce Is Settled

Depending on the couple, a divorce may last months. During this time, it is common that either party may begin to move on and start a new life. A new life is usually signaled with a new romance. If possible, put off any romantic relationship until the divorce has been settled. The reason being that your soon-to-be ex-spouse may use your new relationship as grounds for adultery, making the situation for you and your lawyer much more difficult.

Never Neglect Having Representation

In a divorce, your attorney is your best friend. Always be 100 percent honest with your attorney and never leave any information out as it may arise during proceedings and be used against you. If any incriminating information should exist about you, your attorney will use the best of their ability to redirect focus and concentrate on what is important.

Remain Even-Tempered

Verbal confrontation is no stranger to divorce proceedings. When your credibility as a capable parent or if your chances of receiving certain assets are challenged, then it’s understandable to become upset. Losing your temper, however, won’t help anyone, especially you. Allow your attorney to negotiate terms of child custody or asset distribution, and do your best to stay calm.

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Divorce can be a difficult situation to deal with. However, the guidance of an attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can help significantly. Contact one today at 858.935.6211.

Considerations When Changing Your Last Name Following Divorce

Considerations When Changing Your Last Name Following Divorce

In marriage, it isn’t uncommon for a wife to take her husband’s last name. In fact, in recent years, a growing number of men have decided to adopt their wives’ surnames. No matter which spouse agrees to a last name change (or if either agrees to one at all), many consider it to be a symbol of commitment in a marriage. However, what if the marriage ends in divorce? It is possible to revert to your former surname if you wish; however, there are considerations to explore when doing so.

Possible Considerations

Divorce can be a stressful process for all involved parties. If you are considering reverting to your former surname, it’s important to consider your motivations for doing so and how it may affect you after the fact. Typical considerations include:

  • Will it help me move on? If your marriage was contentious or ended badly, you may  want to think of changing your last name. The pain and anguish of the marriage will take time to recover from and changing your last name may be the first of many steps to recovery.
  • Am I keeping my last name for sentimental reasons? Not all marriages end badly. At times, the decision to divorce is amicable with both spouses still caring for each other despite no longer being husband and wife. If an ex-spouse is still special to you, then keeping the last name is something you may want to consider.
  • What about my children’s last name? Oftentimes, the children will retain the last name of the father as long as the mother allows it, despite her changing her own.
  • Do I want to go through the trouble of changing it back? As with any name changes, legal steps must be taken to do so. For a person reverting to their former surname, it is often an easy process. Depending on the state or jurisdiction, the process varies.

The aforementioned questions only serve as considerations. Deciding whether or not to revert to your former surname following a divorce is entirely up to you.

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Divorce is not always easy, but the San Diego divorce attorneys from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are committed to making the process as quick and simple as possible. Contact one at 858.935.6211.

4 Misconceptions Regarding Paternity Tests

4 Misconceptions Regarding Paternity Tests

Requesting a paternity test can put the parties involved in an awkward situation. However, to help establish responsibility and secure the child’s financial future, it is often important to establish a child’s biological father. However, establishing parentage is not free of misconceptions.

A Paternity Test Can Only Be Performed Following The Birth Of The Child

This is perhaps the most popular misconception regarding these tests. Advancements in medicine and DNA technology have allowed couples to request such tests prior to the birth of the child through prenatal paternity tests. The DNA samples of both parents can be collected through buccal swabs (collection of cells within the mouth). The cells will then be compared with DNA obtained through a process called chorionic villi sampling (CVS) which collects cells from the placenta. This process can only be performed during the tenth and thirteenth weeks of the pregnancy. Amniocentesis is another process of obtaining the child’s DNA; however, it is done through collecting amniotic fluid. This process can be done between the fourteenth and twenty-fourth weeks of pregnancy.

Paternity Tests Can Only Be Conducted With Blood Samples

As mentioned before, DNA tests can be done through the collection of cells located within the mouth. If a prenatal paternity test is being performed, then cells collected through amniotic fluid is also an option. However, depending on how far along into the pregnancy the mother is, some testing methods may or may not be an option.

Paternity Test Results Are Made Public

Paternity tests are bound by national law to remain confidential and the results will only be available to the parties involved. At times, the court may order a man to submit to such a test; however, the results will not be made public unless he wishes them to be.

Paternity Home Tests Are Just As Accurate As Those Performed By A Medical Staff

Although take-home paternity tests tend to be less expensive, they are in no way as accurate as those performed in a lab. Contamination or improper handling of the tools used to determine results may affect the outcome. A test administered by a medical professional is the best option for those looking to secure the most accurate results. Also, take-home tests are not recognized by the court; licensed medical personnel must perform the testing for such evidence to be admissible.

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Make the process of determining paternity easier by contacting a divorce attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Understanding Premarital Agreements

Understanding Premarital Agreements

Premarital agreements, more commonly known as prenuptial agreements, are written contracts between couples allocating what is to become of personal assets and/or support rights if the marriage is to end in divorce. These agreements are extremely important as they solely determine the distribution of a couple’s property. They should be flexible and address the couple’s present and future needs.

The Basics

Premarital agreements work similarly to wills. They clearly stipulate what exactly is to become of a married couple’s property upon divorce without having the court decide. For example, if a couple owns a house prior to a marriage, the agreement will list which spouse will remain owner, or if other arrangements will be made with the home. The agreement must clearly take into account the various factors that may affect determination, such as:

  • If the owner of the property allocates funds to uphold and maintain it, will the community property be eligible for any interest for those efforts?
  • What if the non-owner of the property does the aforementioned instead?
  • If the owner of the property allocates funds to uphold and maintain separate property, will the spouse be eligible for reimbursement of those funds used?
  • If a loan was taken out to maintain separate property, will the community property collect interest?

In order to prevent any confusion regarding these scenarios, it is important to address them in the agreement. Simply acknowledging that the property shall remain the owner’s will not suffice. It must be addressed in a thoroughly detailed manner.

A premarital agreement also considers the following provisions:

  • Premarital debts
  • Living expenses
  • Expenses for children of former marriages
  • Life insurance for one or both spouses
  • Payment of taxes (separate and joint earnings)
  • Determination of either written or oral amendments
  • Determination of property purchased under joint names
  • Determination of state laws applying to the agreement

A premarital agreement can be amended at any time due to the high likelihood the couple wishes to change a stipulation at some point in the marriage. These changes may be a result of the spouses’ changing age, income, family size, etc.

The Regulations

In 2000, California’s Supreme Court upheld In re Marriage of Bonds, which stated that the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act would make premarital agreements much less difficult to enforce. It also stipulates that both parties, by agreeing, should be fully aware of any apparent unfairness the document may present.

In 2002, SB78 was enacted into California law by the state legislature. The law placed procedural requirements and restrictions on premarital agreements. These requirements and restrictions include:

  • Allowing the party to seek legal counsel for the purpose of advisement prior to agreeing to the stipulations within the agreement.
  • Allowing the party to whom the agreement is being presented at least seven calendar days to review and study said agreement before signing. The seven day window allows the party to seek legal counsel.
  • Allowing the party to understand the effects of the agreement which includes any rights or obligations he/she is potentially relinquishing, unless waived.
  • Allowing the agreement to be presented in the language the party is proficient in to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Allowing the party to be fully aware of any and all assets and/or debts through full disclosure. Neglecting to stipulate said assets and/or debts will be at the fault of the party putting forth the agreement.

It is important to remember that premarital agreements are not appropriate for all couples preparing to marry. A large number of young couples with little to no assets and valuable property may find a premarital agreement unnecessary. However, for those entering a second marriage or are of older age may find an agreement convenient as it avoids lengthy litigation determining what will become of assets. It is also suggested to form an agreement to prevent community property claims by the other spouse. These agreements tend to be requested by the party whose wealth and property claims outweigh the other’s. However, the wealthier party may not wish to disclose the value of their assets or property and may avoid an agreement altogether.

The Interest Of Children From A Former Marriage

Regarding the children from a spouse’s previous marriage, a party may formulate an agreement to ensure their children receive his/her assets rather than allowing the court to determine where such assets are to be distributed. On the other hand, if a spouse has outstanding debts or tax liabilities at the time of marriage, an agreement can ensure that if divorce should occur, the other spouse will not incur these debts by protecting their estate and property.

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A family law attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel will assist you to the best of their ability in formulating a premarital agreement. For more information, contact 858-935-6211.

The Four Phases Of Divorce

The Four Phases Of Divorce

A couple coming to the realization that their marriage is not working and considering divorce should be made fully aware of the steps of the divorce process and how it will affect them before, during, and after the fact. There are four stages in a divorce that all couples deciding to end their relationship should become familiar with in order to face their new life head-on.

Accept the Divorce

Coming to the realization that the marriage truly is over may be a shock to some people, but can be a blessing to others. If you are in the former group, helplessness and fear are common emotions experienced at this stage following your divorce. It is also common to experience thoughts of ways you may have been able to save the marriage, such as reconciliation or counseling. However, rather than concentrate on the what-ifs, it is best to instead concentrate on what’s to come.

Consult An Attorney

This is where your divorce attorney will help you. Your legal consultation will include detailed discussions regarding court or hearing procedures, proper court etiquette, reason(s) for the divorce, situations that your spouse’s attorney may use against you, etc. The purpose of the consultation is to establish goals that will assist you in the courtroom. Your attorney will definitely be an invaluable ally when divorce proceedings begin, as he/she will do everything in their power to be an effective advocate for your case.

Amicably Settle Differences With Your Ex-Spouse

The divorce has now been finalized. Assets have been distributed and visitation rights regarding your children, should you have any, have been settled. However, if you do have children, then you and your ex-spouse are forever bound through them. It’s important not to make the situation about the two of you. Instead, settle your differences for the sake of your children. Remember, if you share joint custody, your spouse has the exact same rights to see his/her children as you do.

Moving On

The hardest is over, and now it’s time to start anew. If you are the former wife, it isn’t uncommon to retain your married surname if you wish. However, if you’d like to adopt your maiden name once again as a means of moving on, then it is easier to do so in a divorce. Seeking new residence if you are the spouse who has moved out may be difficult at first, but can help you to start over. Establishing new friendships or maintaining the ones made with your spouse will also help.

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We understand that divorce isn’t easy, but we will do our best to get you through it. Contact a divorce attorney from the law office of San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

The Relationship Between Child Visitation and Child Support

The Relationship Between Child Visitation and Child Support

When reaching a divorce settlement, many aspects of your divorce will influence one another. There is often a relationship between child support payments and child visitation, though this relationship can vary from state-to-state. Because the relationship between child visitation and child support is regulated statutorily, it is important for those seeking a divorce be aware of their own state’s regulations.

If you are concerned about child visitation or child support arrangements, contact the experienced San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211. Our skilled and experienced attorneys can help you to better understand your legal rights in this situation.

California’s Establishment of Child Support Payments

While some states do not factor in a parent’s visitation schedule when calculating child support, California does. California considers what are called “timeshares” when calculating child support payments, which simply means that a non-custodial parent’s time spent with his or her child is factored into his or her payment for child support. California also considers the following when calculating child support payments:

  • Best interests of the child
  • Educational and physical needs of the child
  • Incomes of each parent
  • The number of children involved

As you prepare to go through this complicated legal process, it can be valuable to preliminarily understand that there is a formal, statutorily established relationship between child support payments and child visitation in California.

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For legal counsel and representation in this matter, do not hesitate to contact the experienced San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Legally Fighting Back against Domestic Violence

Legally Fighting Back against Domestic Violence

Divorce can be a difficult issue for anyone to face, but for those being domestically abused, it may be the best way out of a bad situation. Many people have been able to put a stop to domestic violence by enforcing their legal right to physical safety. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that victims of domestic violence can fight back legally. With legal assistance, a victim of domestic abuse will likely be able to escape this traumatic situation.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, contact our compassionate San Diego domestic abuse attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today by calling 858-935-6211. We will work diligently to help you get the safety you deserve.

What Victims Can Do

Victims of domestic violence may feel like they are helpless and that they will never escape their abusive situation. However, if you are the victim of any kind of domestic violence, whether it’s sexual, physical, or verbal abuse, you can take action today to put a stop to this violence. Victims can and should:

  • Immediately contact an experienced domestic abuse attorney
  • Document any forms of abuse that you can
  • Document any expenses you incur due to abuse
  • File for a restraining order, divorce, or other legal measure with an attorney

Dealing with domestic violence on your own can be a daunting experience. Therefore, having legal assistance can often make your situation easier to handle. An attorney who is familiar with both divorce law and domestic violence lawsuits may be able to help you pursue the best route for you and your family.

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There are several ways to put a stop to domestic violence, one of which is legally ending an abusive marriage. If you are involved in a divorce and are suffering from domestic violence, contact our experienced San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today by calling 858-935-6211.

Dividing Joint Property during Divorce

Dividing Joint Property during Divorce

Divorce can be a tough process for anyone, especially when spouses cannot reach an agreement regarding the division of property. Property division isn’t too complicated when spouses each take property that they owned before their marriage, but in the case of joint property—property that was acquired after the marriage took place—many people are unable to agree on how to divide these assets. If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse about the division of joint property, you may need legal intervention.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce and facing issues with dividing joint property, we can help you ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected during the division of assets process. For more information, contact an experienced San Diego divorce attorney of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today by calling 858-935-6211.

What is Joint Property?

Any property that was acquired by a couple after marriage can be considered joint property. Because joint property legally belongs to both spouses, it is much more difficult to divide as compared to property owned prior to marriage. Joint property can include assets like the following:

  • Homes, vehicles, and other properties purchased in both names
  • Bank accounts jointly held by both spouses
  • Debts acquired on joint credit cards or joint loans

The discussion regarding division of joint assets can quickly become contentious, so you may need a lawyer to help you settle the divorce negotiations.

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If you or someone you know has concerns regarding the division of joint property during divorce, you are not alone. Contact a qualified San Diego divorce lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211 to see how we can help you resolve these concerns.

A Legal Separation’s Effects on Children

A Legal Separation’s Effects on Children

A legal separation is different than an actual divorce, and many couples choose to get a separation rather than a legal divorce in order to try and work through their problems. Although every child will react differently in a case of a separation or divorce between their parents, sometimes a legal separation can have a different effect on children than divorce. Since divorce means a full legal split between spouses, it can be more difficult for children to cope with, while a separation often involves more contact between spouses.

If you or someone you know is considering legal separation as an alternative to divorce, contact an experienced San Diego divorce attorney at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today by calling 858-935-6211 to discuss how your legal separation may affect your children.

Separating and Children

A legal separation has to be approved by a court – spouses cannot simply move away from one another and have that be considered a legal separation. Because a marriage is not legally ended in a legal separation, many issues will have to be resolved together, including:

  • childcare costs
  • living situations
  • spousal support
  • property ownership / use
  • dividing debts

Because spouses have to work together to resolve issues in a legal separation, there is often less distance between them than in a regular divorce. This contact may affect a child’s reaction to both legal separation and divorce, though each child’s reaction can rarely be fully anticipated.

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If you have questions about legal separation, particularly how it differs from divorce and how it may affect your children, contact an experienced San Diego divorce attorney of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today by calling 858-935-6211.

Your Questions about Divorce Answered

Your Questions about Divorce Answered

The divorce rate in the United States has averaged around 50 percent in recent years. Nevertheless, most people are still unaware of the basic facts surrounding divorce law. In a divorce consultation, a lawyer will help those considering this legal option to understand likely outcomes regarding child support, child custody, and distribution of assets, among other things. Prior to filing a divorce claim, it is extremely important to consult an attorney in order to have any questions you may have answered and to make the process easier and less troublesome.

How Common Is Divorce?

Divorce in the United States is extremely common, though in recent years the divorce rate has seen a slight decline. People may choose to divorce for a wide number of different reasons, including:

  • Infidelity
  • Financial difficulties
  • Spousal abuse
  • Irreconcilable differences

Of all divorces, nearly 90 percent are uncontested, meaning that the terms are agreed on by both parties.

We Can’t Agree On Anything, Now What?

It isn’t uncommon for a couple seeking a divorce to fail to come to an agreement on how to go forth with the process. An attorney specializing in this field will make that process easier for both. Regardless of the specific circumstances in which you find yourself, a talented divorce attorney can help.

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If you or someone you know is considering pursuing a divorce, we can help explain all of your options to you and guide you through this process. Contact the attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team about your case and learn more about what we can do for you.

Divorce and the Military

Divorce and the Military

Those serving in the United States’ armed forces know first-hand the differences between a military and civilian life. When going through a divorce, those differences are also prevalent. Terminating a marriage while serving in uniform presents a unique challenge. When a member of the Army, Navy, National Guard, or Air Force and his or her spouse decide to end their marriage, certain conditions make this process different than it would be for those not in the military. Active duty can prolong the process of divorce; however, a skilled attorney with experience in this field, coupled with the fact that some states have made it easier for the process to be resolved, can make a military divorce a relatively easy process.

What Makes The Situation Unique?

It’s common knowledge that the armed forces of the United States handle certain matters differently than citizens. This is done for the benefit of the person serving in uniform. For example, the passage of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), itself an extension of the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Civil Relief Act (SSCRA), was intended to provide several wide-ranging protections for those being called into active duty or those who had already been deployed. The legal protection provided by the SCRA for service members does not apply to civilians. One such stipulation is the prohibition against lawsuits being filed against a service member due to divorce proceedings. The delay is active during and up to 60 days following the member’s service time.

Topics Brought Up During The Process

Despite the unique situation a military divorce brings, resolution can be quite similar to that seen in civilian divorces. However, if a service member is stationed overseas or on a base in another state, it may slow or completely halt the process of marriage termination altogether. Nevertheless, the purpose of a military divorce is the same as a civilian one: to bring the problem to a successful resolution for both parties by providing mutually beneficial solutions to the topics and/or issues presented.

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We understand that a military divorce can be difficult. For the help you need if you are facing a divorce, contact an attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211.

Basics of Uncontested Divorce

Basics of Uncontested Divorce

Over 90% of divorces in America are considered to be “uncontested,’ meaning that the divorcing parties can agree on various aspects of their divorce. Uncontested divorces establish the terms for the post-divorce settlement away from the courtroom. If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement regarding various divorce terms, such arrangements can prevent a great deal of legal mediation and emotional headache.

If you and your spouse are thinking about filing for divorce and can agree on divorce terms, uncontested divorce may be the best option for you. Contact the experienced San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today by calling 858-935-6211 to discuss your divorce options with one of our representatives.

Aspects of Divorce Negotiations

There are several factors that need to be considered in the event of a divorce. Some of the subjects that a divorce settlement addresses may include:

  • Post-divorce spousal support / alimony
  • Child support payments
  • Child visitation agreements
  • Division of assets and debts

It’s important to have a plan for all of these aspects of a divorce, to prevent any disagreement or confusion after a divorce is finalized. Fortunately, if you and your spouse can agree on terms, your divorce may be finalized in a timely manner.

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If you or someone you know is thinking of filing for divorce, contact the experienced San Diego uncontested divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211 to discuss how we can help you finalize your divorce.

Issues Often Contested in Divorce

Issues Often Contested in Divorce

Although 90% of divorces in the United States are classified as “uncontested”, meaning that spouses agree on the terms of the divorce, the other 10% of divorces are contested. In contested divorces, divorcing spouses are unable to agree on specific terms of divorce, which makes the intervention of an attorney necessary to find a solution. There are many terms that divorcing spouses find it difficult to agree on, but negotiating these terms with the help of a lawyer can make the negotiation process less stressful.

If you or someone you know is having difficulties negotiating the terms of your divorce, contact the qualified San Diego contested divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to discuss your divorce with an experienced lawyer.

Highly Contested Subjects

Though each marriage is unique, there are a surprising number of issues which become points of conflict in many of them. Some of the most commonly contested aspects of a divorce include:

  • Child visitation rights
  • Child support payments
  • Alimony / spousal support payments
  • Division of property
  • Division of assets

These are aspects of divorce negotiations that are sources of contention in most contested divorces in the United States, though this list is, of course, limited. No matter what the source of contention is in your own divorce negotiations, an attorney may be able to help pursue a resolution so that you can move on with your life.

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We recognize that divorce is stressful enough without the added aggravation of specific disputes. Let us help you to make it through this difficult time. Contact the experienced San Diego contested divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Legal Issues in Late-Life Divorce

Legal Issues in Late-Life Divorce

Divorce can happen at any stage in life. Couples who have been together for decades may realize that they no longer wish to be married, or there can be issues of infidelity, abuse, or financial pressures which lead to divorce. Whatever the reason, older couples face some unique legal issues when it comes to divorce. Because of retirement, Social Security, and the length of the marriage, dividing assets can be a complicated process.

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can help you understand your legal rights and options. You can speak with one of our qualified divorce attorneys today by calling 858-935-6211.

Dividing Assets

Depending on your circumstances, the following are some of the atypical legal concerns which you may have to resolve in your divorce proceedings:

  • Retirement – Division of retirement benefits is a complicated process and may require a separate court order, known as the Qualified Domestic Relations Order
  • Your Home – Assignment of the house is especially important because of the benefits of owning a house late in life, which can include eligibility for property tax exemptions, eligibility for a reverse mortgage at age 62, potential rental space, and more.
  • Social Security – You may be able to collect retirement benefits from your spouse’s Social Security but without it affecting their benefits.

The legal considerations related to late-life divorce can be very complicated and some of the stakes much higher than in shorter-lived marriages. If you are considering divorce, consulting an experienced attorney is very important.

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The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, have years of experience in divorce and family law. If you are considering divorce and need an attorney who will protect your interests, contact our offices today at 858-935-6211 to begin discussing your case.

Legal Custody

Legal Custody

When it comes to child custody, it is not just about determining which parent or guardian the child will live with or the amount of visitation awarded to the other parent. One of the most important things that will be decided in a divorce involving children is whether one, the other, or both spouses will have legal custody of the child. Legal custody is the right and responsibility of the parent to make decisions about the child regarding their upbringing. This includes decisions on what school they attend, what religion they observe, and which hospital they go to in the event that medical treatment is needed.

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce and have minor children, the San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are highly experienced and skilled divorce and family law attorneys who can provide committed and aggressive legal representation. Contact us by calling 858-935-6211 to discuss your case.

Definition of Legal Custody

The different types of custody in family law can be confusing. Some important things to keep in mind about legal custody include:

  1. Legal custody does not determine who the child lives with. Physical custody decides that, and it can be joint custody, sole custody with visiting rights, or sole custody without visitation.
  2. Legal custody gives the parent the right and obligation to make decisions that regard a child’s upbringing; things such as schooling, religion, and medical care.
  3. Most states award joint legal custody, which means each parent has equal influence over the issues and they both must work together to resolve disputes
  4. If one parent attempts to undermine the other parent’s legal custody rights in joint legal custody, they may be found in contempt of court and be forced to go through another custody battle

If you have been awarded joint legal custody, it is best to try to work together with your ex-spouse in order to avoid having to return to court to settle the issues once more.

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If you and your spouse are separating and you have concerns about child custody, contact the San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. We can help you understand your options and provide strong legal representation if necessary. Contact us at 858-935-6211 today.

Changing a Child’s Last Name after Divorce

Changing a Child’s Last Name after Divorce

When minor children are involved in a divorce, there are many different issues such as child custody and child support that must be addressed. One thing that is not often talked about is the issue of the child’s last name. Children in a divorce typically keep their last name, and divorce courts do not grant a name change simply because a divorce has been granted. However, some cases may warrant a change of the child’s last name, and in these cases a parent, usually the mother, can file for a name change for their child.

If you are going through a divorce or considering divorce and have concerns about how it will bear upon your child, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can help. We understand that divorce is a difficult time in a person’s life and are committed to helping our clients get through the process and secure the terms they desire. Contact us at 858-935-6211 today.

Conditions for a Name Change

When it comes to decisions about children in a divorce, the court will always try to consider what is in the best interest of the child first. Therefore, if you wish to change the name of your child after a divorce, it must be for a valid reason. Some of the conditions where it is appropriate for a child to have their last name changed include:

  • If the child has been adopted by a step-parent
  • If the biological parent has no interest in maintaining a relationship with the child
  • If the biological parent has terminated their parental rights
  • If the biological parent was abusive or engages or has engaged in criminal activities

Granting a name change will not affect other decisions made about the other parent’s relationship to the child such as custody or child support.

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If you and your spouse are considering divorce, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can provide experienced and skilled legal representation. Contact our offices at 858-935-6211 to discuss your case with a one of our respected divorce attorneys today.

History of Divorce in America

History of Divorce in America

The first divorce in America was granted on January 5th, 1648, to Anne Clark in what was then the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the grounds of an absent and adulterous husband. This early example of divorce was a rare exception. At that time, obtaining a divorce was very difficult because it would only be granted on the grounds of a clear fault, like abandonment or abuse. Since that time, divorce has undergone many changes in the United States.

Brief Timeline of Divorce in America

From that first divorce in early colonial America, to modern issues relating to same-sex marriage, America has a long and interesting history with divorce.

  • Not until the 1950s did divorce begin to include some cases in which no clear fault was presented other than lack of ability to reconcile the relationship. Previously, it was necessary to have a reason to pursue divorce, such as abuse or adultery.
  • By the 1970s, no-fault divorces were more widely adopted into the legal system of each state, providing many people for the first time with the option to divorce their spouse because of unhappiness with the relationship rather than for more extreme reasons.

The concept of divorce has been controversial throughout its history, but as long as marriage has existed, the idea of separation has had to be addressed by society in some way.

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If you are considering divorce, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Theil, LLP are committed to helping you achieve the best outcome possible. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys will represent you to the best of their abilities and do their utmost to help you achieve the terms you need. Contact us today at 858-935-6211.


What is Verbal Abuse?

What is Verbal Abuse?

When people think of an abusive marriage, physical abuse is usually what comes to mind first. This is likely because, for victims of verbal abuse, it is sometimes difficult to define exactly what is happening. Unlike physical abuse, where the evidence is outward and easy to identify, verbal abuse is internally damaging. The use of harsh words to control and harm another person does constitute abuse and can be very harmful to a person’s self-esteem and outlook on life.

If you have been verbally abused by your spouse and are considering divorce, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can help. Any kind of abuse is unacceptable, and our team of compassionate and experienced attorneys will work hard to make sure your rights and interests are protected. Call our offices today at 858-935-6211 to speak with an attorney.

Types of Verbal Abuse

The signs of verbal abuse are less obvious than physical abuse, but they can be extremely harmful. Here are some examples of what typically constitutes a verbally abusive relationship:

  • Negative name calling – They use names that are mean-spirited and intended to hurt
  • Shaming words – Your spouse constantly criticizes your actions, big or small with sarcasm, mocking, or shame
  • Yelling/screaming – Your spouse blows up at any perceived mistake
  • Threats – made “jokingly” or seriously
  • Dismissing your feelings – They avoid discussing any of your problems or concerns
  • Playing on your emotions – Using emotionally charged words and arguments to control your behavior

If you believe that you are in an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you do not have to remain in that relationship. Contacting a reliable divorce attorney can be the first step to recovering from an abusive marriage.

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The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP believe that no one should have to stay in an abusive relationship. If you have decided to take action and end an abusive marriage, contact us today at 858-935-6211.

The Benefits of Divorce

The Benefits of Divorce

Going through a divorce can be difficult, especially if the separating spouses have been married for some time or have tried their best to salvage the relationship. However, if irreconcilable differences have arisen or if one of the spouses has been unfaithful, then a divorce may be a blessing for both parties. Despite this new direction their lives have taken, and the emotions that can accompany a divorce, for many divorcing couples, separating is the best option and brings with it a host of benefits.

Financial Independence

No longer having to consider your former spouse’s financial needs and instead concentrating on your own can alleviate some or all of the financial burdens you may have dealt with while married. For those whose spouses oversaw financial matters during the marriage and may have enforced strict guidelines, such as spending limits, having financial independence can be an especially significant benefit.

Starting Over

Although not all marriages end in turmoil and sorrow, those that do give both parties the opportunity to start anew. If the marriage was in trouble from the start and brought nothing but trouble for the spouses, then starting over grants both a clean slate. Starting new relationships or friendships can also help in the recovery process if the marriage had been either abusive or lacking in physical or emotional connections.

Personal Freedom

A new life as a bachelor or bachelorette grants freedom and independence. Domestic responsibilities and/or emotional influences will no longer be factors in your new life and you will be free to do as you wish. The independence of living single allows for the personal freedom that one may have felt was lacking when married. However, if children are involved, this new freedom does not free either party from parental duties. Children will forever bind you and your ex-spouse, so do your best to maintain an amicable relationship with him/her.

Personal Growth

Your newfound freedom will allow you to learn more about who you are now that your marriage is over. You will have greater opportunities to explore new hobbies and interests, as well as to invest time in old ones that you might not have had time for while you were married. It also gives you the chance to meet new people and experience new relationships.

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Whatever the reason for your divorce may be, don’t go through one without the guidance of a San Diego divorce attorney from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Contact one today at 858.935.6211.

Changing Your Name After Divorce

Changing Your Name After Divorce

Often, when two people get married, the woman takes the last name of the man. But what happens when the couple decides it is best to go their own separate ways? For many women, it may be desirable to return to their maiden name. Others are unsure they want to make that change. It is up to each individual to make the decision that is best for them.

If you are considering changing your name after a divorce, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel LLP can assist you with this process. There are many different decisions and changes that are required by divorce, and our San Diego divorce attorneys are prepared to provide you with quality legal support. Contact our offices today at 858-935-6211 for more information about our services.

Things to Consider When Contemplating a Name Change

Because divorce can cause high emotions and stress, it may be best to rationally consider what it requires to get your name changed and how a name change will affect you and your family. We suggest that you consider the following when preparing for a name change:

  • Is changing your name important for moving on after a divorce?
  • What is your preference in names?
  • Is keeping your married name important for your professional career?
  • What name will your children be using?
  • Are you willing to go through the process of changing your name?

If you are undecided on whether or not a name change is the right decision, considering these questions may help you figure out what’s best for you.

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Divorce can be a difficult time and you may be facing serious life changes in the future. The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel LLP are here to assist you during this time with reliable legal counsel. If you are looking for professional and experienced representation for your divorce, contact us today at 858-935-6211.

Sole Custody

Sole Custody

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time for any couple. However, some people may not realize that divorce is often more complicated than simply parting ways and moving on. The issue of child custody, for example, can keep people involved in a divorce for a long time, and may lead to bitter disputes. This is especially the case when one parent is attempting to gain sole custody of a child.

If you are going through a divorce and dealing with a struggle over child custody, it is important to have an excellent lawyer on your side to protect you and the best interests of your children. The San Diego child custody lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can help you get the terms of divorce that you need. Contact our offices today at 858-935-6211 to speak to an experienced attorney.

Reasons for Sole Custody

There are a number of different conditions in which sole custody of a child may be deemed necessary by the court. These include situations where a spouse has:

  • Put the child in dangerous situations
  • Demonstrated a history of violence
  • Engaged in destructive behavior
  • Suffered from mental instability/illness
  • Suffered from a drug addiction or alcoholism

These and other extreme conditions may convince a judge that sole custody is necessary to protect the child.

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If you need more information on sole custody or help with your divorce proceedings, look no further than the San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. We are an extremely knowledgeable group of legal professionals that understand the struggles involved in child custody disputes and are dedicated to helping our clients get the best terms possible. To speak with a qualified member of our legal team, contact our offices today at 858-935-6211.

Helping Your Child Through a Divorce

Helping Your Child Through a Divorce

Divorce is a difficult time for all members of the family, but it can be particularly difficult for children and teens. When going through a divorce, the pain and frustration of dealing with the conflict can feel overwhelming, but often parents must also deal with worries of how the divorce and related child custody issues are affecting their children. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help your children throughout this process.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to have the experience and knowledge of a good lawyer on your side. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel LLP can help you get the terms you want. Contact us today at 858-935-6211.

Tips for Helping a Child or Teen Through a Divorce

Although it is impossible to totally protect your child from getting hurt during a divorce, there are some things that you can do which will greatly help your child adjust to this difficult time. These include:

  • Avoiding speaking of your spouse in a negative or hostile way while around your children
  • Trying to keep conflict between you and your spouse from occurring in front of the children
  • Reducing the disruption to your child’s normal routine as much as possible
  • Staying involved in the child’s life
  • Not using your child to communicate information to the other parent
  • Listening to your child and acknowledging their feelings when they express them

These are just a few of the things that you can do to help make the divorce process as painless for your children as possible.

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Divorce is hard for parents and children alike. If you need a skilled and compassionate attorney to help you through this trying time, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211.

Life after Divorce

Life after Divorce

Divorce is a difficult and often life-changing experience that many people must endure on their way to a better situation. Oftentimes when people go through a divorce, they are left feeling as if their life is over, because so many familiar and comfortable aspects are changed. However, it is important to remember that life continues after this change and that there are certain things you can do to help you move on and begin experiencing healthy relationships once again.

If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, it is important to have the proper legal counsel. Whether the divorce is amicable or contested, the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can help you through this difficult time. Contact us today at 858-935-6211.

Tips for Moving on After a Divorce

There are a number of things that you can do to help yourself to avoid the trap of falling into a sense of hopelessness after a divorce. While any divorce is likely to be painful, there are some things that you can do to help yourself make this difficult time easier. These include:

  • Developing a support network
  • Seeking counseling
  • Exploring interests
  • Redefining yourself without your partner
  • Avoiding isolation
  • Making new plans and goals for yourself
  • Reaching out to family and friends

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of the things you can do to help yourself through a divorce, these are some important to bear in mind as you move forward.  For more information about Divorce and issues relating to divorce please click on this link.

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If you are currently going through a separation or are contemplating divorce, the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can provide you with the legal support you need. Contact us by calling 858-935-6211.

Decreasing Child Support

Decreasing Child Support

After a divorce, one of the most important decisions couples make is determining child custody along with child support payments to pay for the child’s care. Many single parents need child support payments to stay financially stable, but there are times when the supporting parent’s lifestyle may change, and he or she can no longer continue paying the agreed upon payment amount. In these cases, he or she may need to petition to lower the amount he or she provides in child support payments.

If you or a loved one needs to learn more about child support payments and how you can decrease them, contact the San Diego child support lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

How to Decrease Child Support Payments

There are a few options for parents who cannot afford to pay child support. The state of California’s child support agency does not change child support orders automatically, but a parent can request for the state to lessen his or her payments based on a review of his or her present situation. Child support payments can be modified for any of the following reasons:

  • Decrease in parent’s earned wages
  • Change in child custody
  • Modification in time spent with each parent

Due to a number of reasons, you may need to decrease your child support payments in order to make ends meet, and in order to do so, you may need experienced legal assistance.

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Contact the San Diego child support lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today and let us help you in your time of need.

Enforcement of Child Support

Enforcement of Child Support

Following a divorce, oftentimes the non-custodial parent (the parent who does not get full custody of the children) is required by law to pay child support to the custodial parent. Unfortunately, many non-custodial parents refuse to pay some or all of the ordered child support for a variety of reasons. Not only does this create hardships for the custodial parents, but more troubling, it works counter to the best interest of the child as determined by the court.

If your former spouse or non-custodial parent has failed to abide by the terms of a child support order, a skilled and experienced attorney can help you to enforce the agreement. Contact the San Diego child custody enforcement lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today to speak directly with a compassionate and dedicated legal advocate about your situation.

Consequences for Failure to Fully Pay Child Support

When a non-custodial parent refuses to fully pay child support, many serious complications can arise. If your ex-spouse has failed to pay child support, he or she may face consequences such as:

  • Wage garnishments
  • The seizure of possessions
  • Penalties associated with being held in contempt of court
  • Suspension of driver’s, occupational, and/or business licenses
  • Withholding of tax refunds

These penalties and the threat of their imposition can help to ensure and enforce payment from a non-custodial parent who fails to uphold his or her obligations.

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If you are prepared to seek assistance in child support payment enforcement, contact the San Diego enforcement of child support attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for a free consultation regarding your case.

Alimony Modification

Alimony Modification

Deciding on spousal support, or alimony, is often one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce. Alimony is a payment made by an individual to his or her ex-spouse in order to help him or her maintain a standard of living that is similar to what he or she enjoyed in the marriage. However, it is important for all individuals to understand that the amount of alimony payments decided upon in a divorce hearing can be changed in some circumstances.

Many people have questions regarding the modification of their alimony payments, and the knowledgeable lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are ready to answer your questions.  Contact our San Diego divorce attorneys today at 858-935-6211 for more information.

Modifying Your Alimony Payments

Alimony payments can be either increased or decreased, and in most states, an individual must prove a significant change in his or her situation to be granted an alimony modification.  Alimony can be modified if either party has been injured or disabled and is unable to work, fired or let go from their job, has to pay expensive medical bills, has an unexpected rise in their cost of living, or suddenly comes into more money.  The San Diego alimony attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can assist you in determining alimony modifications.

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If you need help or have questions regarding alimony payment modifications, our team of lawyers is willing and ready to help.  Contact the San Diego alimony lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Joint vs. Sole Custody

Joint vs. Sole Custody

For parents, one of the most important and emotional aspects of a divorce is deciding child custody and visitation rights. When these matters are determined in a court setting, the court will always hold the children’s best interests in mind and will make its decision accordingly. However, custody issues can be settled outside of court so that a fairer agreement can be reached between the two parents.

If you need help deciding child custody issues, an experienced San Diego child custody lawyer can help you protect your interests and those of your child. To learn more about your legal options, contact Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for a consultation about your case.

Things to Know About Joint and Sole Custody

There are two basic forms of child custody, known as joint custody and sole custody. Ideally, joint custody aims to have the maximum involvement of both of the parents in their children’s lives. In joint custody, both parents continue to share the decision-making authority of various aspects of their children’s lives, such as medical decisions and education. Additionally, in joint custody, the non-custodial parent gets the same amount of parenting time as they would have in sole custody.

In sole custody, one parent, the custodial parent, has all the decision-making rights while the other parent has nothing. Still, sometimes the custodial parent can grant the non-custodial parent visitation rights with the child.

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We understand that divorce is very stressful and emotional for many couples, which is why we are here to help make the process as smooth as possible. Please contact the San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for more information about child custody.

Spousal Rape

Spousal Rape

Many people remain unaware that it is illegal to rape your spouse because they assume that rape does not apply to a married person. However, it is a crime to force a person to perform sexual acts that are not consensual, even if the victim is the spouse of the offender. This is known as spousal rape or marital rape, and it can be both a physically and emotionally traumatizing event. Oftentimes, victims of spousal rape decide to end the marriage through a divorce.

Rape is an inexcusable crime, regardless of who commits the act or the circumstances surrounding the event. If you or a loved one is the victim of spousal rape, we can help you seek protection from your abusive spouse. Please contact the experienced and understanding San Diego spousal rape attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for a confidential consultation.

Forms of Spousal Rape

According to the state of California, if your spouse has performed any of the following acts, that spouse may be guilty of spousal rape:

  • The offender forces the victim to perform non-consensual sexual acts through physical violence or the threat of physical violence
  • The sexual acts are non-consensual because the victim is unconscious or physically restrained
  • The offender drugs or otherwise incapacitates the victim so that he or she cannot resist

Spousal rape is a type of domestic abuse, and it is important that victims separate themselves from their violent and disrespectful spouses in order to protect their health and well-being.

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At Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, we understand how difficult and stressful it can be to cope with spousal rape. That is why we are committed to helping those who have suffered from this terrible act. If you or a loved one is the victim of spousal rape and is searching for a divorce lawyer, please contact the San Diego marital rape lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today.

Divorce and Copyrights

Divorce and Copyrights

A joint interest in certain hobbies is one common way that people meet and get married in the first place. Oftentimes, a couple with a shared hobby will work together on a creative project that eventually leads to a joint copyright. If this couple later decides to pursue a divorce, the division of this copyright must be considered.

If you and your spouse currently co-own a copyright and plan to get a divorce, it is important to discuss the best way to divide the copyright with an experienced lawyer. By working with the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer &Van Thiel, LLP, you can have the peace of mind that your rights will be protected. Call our offices today at 858-935-6211 to learn more about your options.

Handling a Copyright During Divorce

One popular way to divide the benefits of a copyright is to simply split any earnings coming from the item or idea that is protected under the copyright, including:

  • Royalties
  • Fees
  • Advance payments

The fate of a copyright following divorce may be hard to determine as future events cannot be predicted. Therefore it may be difficult to ensure to the division is fair.

Why You Should Hire an Attorney

The rights to you and your spouse’s copyright will be included in a divorce settlement. In order to receive the fairest treatment, you should consult an attorney about your rights. Whether you are looking to retain a copyright or ensure you get your fair share, a San Diego property division lawyer from Fischer &Van Thiel, LLP, can help protect your interests.

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If you have questions regarding your copyright following divorce, the San Diego divorce attorneys at Fischer &Van Thiel, LLP, can help you understand your rights and your options. Contact a lawyer today by calling 858-935-6211.

Mental Illness and Child Custody

Mental Illness and Child Custody

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 26.2% of adults in the United States have at least one clinically diagnosable mental disorder, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. When parents are involved in a child custody dispute, the mental stability and health of the parents can make a sizeable difference in the court’s decision of who becomes the primary caregiver.

If you or someone you know has a mental illness and is currently involved in a child custody dispute, you need a qualified and experienced family lawyer on your side. Contact a San Diego custody attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211.

Mental Illness and Child Custody

When the court becomes involved in a child custody battle, the court will attempt to have the child continue his or her relationship with both parents, if possible. However, if one of the parents has a mental illness, it can complicate matters. Sometimes, parents with a mental illness can retain custody of their child, but oftentimes, this is not the case.

Sadly, the court typically views individuals with mental illnesses as less stable and fit to raise a child. If the mental illness is too severe for a parent to care for their child, they may be granted only visitation rights rather than joint custody of their son or daughter.

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We understand that child custody disputes are emotionally trying, and we want to help you through this unfortunate situation as painlessly as possible. Contact our San Diego custody lawyers today at 858-935-6211 to get a dedicated attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, on your side.

Types of Domestic Violence

Types of Domestic Violence

For those living in troubled relationships, domestic violence may be an unfortunate and frightening reality. Domestic abuse occurs when one person in a relationship uses power or abuse to control or intimidate the other person. Domestic violence takes many forms, but it always results in pain and suffering for at least one individual. If you are in a relationship marked by domestic violence, it is important to escape your abusive partner and contact a skilled domestic violence attorney who can help protect you.

If you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, you may be entitled to a restraining order or other legal methods to protect you from your abusive partner. Please contact the experienced San Diego domestic violence lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for more information regarding your legal options during this difficult time.

 Forms of Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence can leave more than physical scars on the victim; psychological and emotional damage is also common in domestic abuse cases. It is important to recognize the forms domestic abuse can take so you can better understand if you or a loved one is in the midst of a troubled relationship. Examples of domestic abuse include:

  • Physically assaulting a partner by punching, shoving, hitting, etc.
  • Sexual abuse and spousal rape
  • Isolation from their family and friends
  • Insulting, putting down, or calling a partner by degrading names
  • Stalking
  • Withholding finances from a spouse

Those in abusive relationships live in constant danger to their health and well-being. It can be intimidating and frightening to leave the abusive individual, but it is typically your only option to protect yourself.

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If you or someone you care about is a victim of domestic violence, you should know that you are not alone. Please contact the compassionate and understanding San Diego domestic violence attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today to discuss your situation

Reducing Stress Through Divorce Mediation

Reducing Stress Through Divorce Mediation

Divorce is often a lengthy, stressful, and emotional process for many couples who decide to separate. One divorce option that many couples fail to consider is mediated divorce, in which a mediator from a neutral third party can help the couple reach a fair settlement while avoiding time in court. Couples who choose mediated divorce typically find the process to be much smoother and less stressful than other processes.

If you or someone you know is interested in mediated divorce, contact the San Diego divorce mediators of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211. We can help you navigate the divorce process with as little stress as possible.

Benefits of Divorce Mediation

There are many benefits to mediated divorce because it allows couples to have much more control in the divorce process. During a mediated divorce, the divorcing couple and their attorneys will meet several times in order to agree upon a mutual and fair settlement. Some of the benefits of mediated divorce include:

  • Confidentiality
  • More control and power over the process
  • Easy manageability
  • More likely to reach a fair and equal agreement
  • Typically saves time
  • Reduces stress

Couples who are parting amicably tend to be the best candidates for mediated divorce as they are responsible for creating a divorce agreement without the intervention of a court. If you want a divorce, mediation may be a viable option for you and your spouse.

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If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, contact the experienced and trusted San Diego divorce mediator lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for more information regarding divorce mediation.

Divorce and Furniture

Divorce and Furniture

When financially stable couples marry, often one of the first major purchases they make is buying a house where they will build their life together. Typically, moving into a new house and making it a home will involve the additional purchasing of furniture and other décor that couples choose together to inject their own tastes and sensibilities into a property. In the case of divorce, it is natural for each individual to want to keep certain pieces of furniture which they enjoy or regard as particularly special.

It may be impossible for spouses to come to an agreement about the division of furniture or decorative assets, and if this is your situation, it is advisable to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today.

Determining the Assignment of Furniture after a Divorce

Often the most contentious and lengthy portion of divorce proceedings is that which is concerned with the division of joint property. Furniture can be worth thousands of dollars and each spouse may want to take certain pieces with them. A lawyer can help you consider the following:

  • How much the furniture is worth
  • What pieces each spouse is interested in taking
  • The circumstances of the furniture’s initial purchase
  • Each spouse’s future plans for the furniture

This can be a difficult and sensitive topic so contact a divorce attorney today to help you to ensure that your interests are properly represented.

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We recognize that many of the issues pertaining to a divorce can be challenging and emotionally draining. Let us help you to resolve disputes over the division of furniture and other assets so that you can begin moving forward with your new life. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Fathers and Sole Custody

Fathers and Sole Custody

Marriage and parenthood is different today than it was in the past. As women continue to become more involved in the workplace and have more career opportunities, fewer women are choosing to stay home full time with their children. Additionally, divorce is different today than it was in the past, and while mothers used to almost always get custody of their children in child custody battles, it is becoming increasingly common for fathers to be awarded joint custody, or even sole custody, of their children after a divorce.

In modern day child custody disputes, courts rarely take a parent’s gender into consideration when awarding custody, and instead, make decisions based on what would be in the best interests of a child. If a mother is considered unfit to care for her children, custody of the children is often awarded to the father. For example, if a mother has a mental disability that makes it difficult to care for children, or if a mother has certain criminal offenses on her record, a child’s father will often be given custody.

However, fathers can still receive sole custody of their children even if the children’s mother is capable of raising the children as well. For instance, fathers who have provided more for their children or who have acted as primary caretakers may be awarded custody.

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Unfortunately, some prejudices still exist, and in some instances it may be harder for a father to be awarded sole custody, but an experienced child custody lawyer can help. Contact the skilled San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to learn more.


Irreconcilable Differences

Irreconcilable Differences

Divorce statistics suggest that nearly 60 percent of divorces are sought due to irreconcilable differences. In many states, including California, irreconcilable differences are a just and accepted cause for divorce and are primarily used in no-fault divorce cases. Most irreconcilable differences are considered to be any conflict that the couple cannot or does not want to resolve in order to save the marriage.

If you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce because of irreconcilable differences, you need a qualified divorce lawyer to help you to ensure that your interests are protected. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Sources of Irreconcilable Differences

In a case involving irreconcilable differences, neither the husband nor wife acknowledges or accepts responsibility for causing the split. This can lead to increased conflict and tension if each party insists that the other is to be blamed, resulting in a frayed and irreparable relationship. Sources of irreconcilable differences can vary significantly, but some of these include:

  • Financially problems in the form of debt or spending habits.
  • Broken trust due to lies or the learning of previously undisclosed information
  • Emotional conflicts
  • Long distance separation
  • Mutual resentment

The divorce process can be difficult on many levels, and a desirable outcome is unlikely if you do not have the advice, counsel, and representation of a skilled San Diego divorce attorney.

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You need a qualified divorce lawyer to help you get a brand new start on life. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to schedule a free consultation. Life is too short to waste time with irreconcilable differences.

Multiple Divorces

Multiple Divorces

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans make the difficult decision to divorce their spouse. For many people, marriage and divorce is a repeated pattern in their lives, and they may be preparing for their second, third, or even fourth divorce. If you are in the process of divorcing for the second, third, or other time, you probably have many legitimate concerns about whether your previous divorces will affect your current one. Consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer can help you to understand how the separate divorce cases may bear upon each other and to avoid committing crucial errors.

If you or someone you know is contemplating a divorce that is not your first, you know how important having quality legal representation is. Contact the experienced San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for a free and confidential consultation.

Complications from Multiple Divorces

Unfortunately, previous divorces can affect your current one in a number of ways, but having a dedicated lawyer by your side can greatly help. Issues such as child custody, finances, and property disputes may become more complicated with multiple divorces. There are a number of complicated issues with multiple divorces, such as:

  • Multiple alimony payments
  • Vehicle and property ownership disputes
  • Division of assets
  • Child and step-child custody and visitation schedules
  • Ownership of funds

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At Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, we understand how difficult divorce can be, especially if it isn’t your first one. That’s why we are committed to helping you through the entire process. Please contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for compassionate and experienced legal representation.

Divorce While Abroad

Divorce While Abroad

Whether for vacation, school, or for work, millions of Americans live abroad every year. And while many couples think the long-distance will not affect their personal relationships, the fact is that many couples suffer from the daily stress of being apart. In many cases, this can lead to divorce, even if one spouse still lives abroad.

Divorce can be a difficult and confusing time in everyone’s lives but you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today to schedule a free consultation with a qualified divorce attorney.

Filling for Divorce While Out of the Country

In order to make the best decision possible in your divorce case, you need to know everything you can about the qualifications for filing for divorce while one spouse is abroad. You first must prove that one, or even both, of the spouses are living abroad for work or for study. If you or your spouse is simply vacationing abroad, you cannot file for divorce while abroad.

Like normal divorce cases, both parties have to give consent and acknowledge the divorce. In this case you may need an experienced attorney to draft paperwork and contracts deciding the terms of the divorce.

If you are considering filing for divorce while abroad, you should first contact an experienced divorce attorney so he or she can assist you with the laws and contracts. You may have to make decisions regarding child custody and alimony and you need professional legal counsel present.

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If you are in the middle of or considering divorce, you need a qualified divorce attorney to help you every step of the way. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today.


6 Signs You May Be Headed for Divorce

6 Signs You May Be Headed for Divorce

It is unlikely that on one’s wedding day, he or she intends for the marriage to end in divorce, but unfortunately, divorce is very common in our society. In some cases, the decision to divorce is made amiably by both spouses, but other times, only one spouse initiates the divorce. In these cases, attempting to make the marriage work is sometimes the best option. However, not every marriage can be salvaged, so if you are considering divorcing your spouse, you should have a skilled divorce lawyer on your side to help.

If you or someone you know is in need of a San Diego divorce attorney, contact the experienced and skilled firm of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to begin taking the steps necessary to proceed with your San Diego divorce.

Warning Signs of Divorce

The divorce process can be extremely painful for both parties involved, but sometimes it is necessary, as staying in a loveless marriage can be worse. The following warning signs do not indicate that your marriage must end in divorce, but they are signs that divorce may be on the horizon. Six warning signs of divorce include:

  • Either spouse being emotionally disengaged or absent
  • A lack of healthy conflict resolution
  • Unhealthy sex life
  • Disaffection for the other spouse
  • Preparation for single life, such as buying a separate mortgage
  • Increased activity and attention to things outside of the marriage, such as work and friends

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If you or someone you care about is considering a divorce, we are here to offer committed and compassionate legal counsel and representation. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

6 Signs of Domestic Abuse

6 Signs of Domestic Abuse

Unfortunately, domestic abuse is a frequent occurrence affecting many couples. It is a common reason for divorce, but it is also highly underreported in our society, as there continues to be a certain stigma attached to being a victim of domestic abuse. If you are involved in a marriage or other relationship marked by domestic abuse, it is important to leave the abuser right away and contact a skilled domestic abuse attorney who can help you protect yourself.

If you or someone you love is being abused in a relationship, you are not alone during this stressful time. To discuss your situation, please contact a caring and understanding San Diego domestic abuse lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for an evaluation of your case.

Six Common Indicators of Domestic Violence

It is important to recognize some of the most common signs of domestic abuse so you can better identify when it is hurting someone you love. There are several different types of domestic abuse, but six frequent indicators of mistreatment include:

1. Using force and coercion to control the other spouse

2. Showing extreme jealousy about the other spouse’s relationships

3. Frequent and harsh criticism for the other spouse, especially over mundane things

4. Constant threatening from one spouse

5. Private or public humiliation of one spouse by the other

6. Inexplicable bruises or wounds on one spouse

If you are a victim of spousal abuse, there are legal steps that you can take to help protect you from your abuser.

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If you or someone you care about is trapped in an abusive relationship, it is important to seek help. Please contact a qualified San Diego domestic abuse lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 for more information.


Are You Aware of these 5 Common Signs of Child Abuse?

Are You Aware of these 5 Common Signs of Child Abuse?

Across the country, Child Protective Services (CPS) receives roughly 50,000 calls a week about suspected child abuse cases. While some of these calls do not reflect any actual instances of abuse, sadly, child abuse does happen and in some instances, it occurs at the hands of a parent or other family member. In order to help keep your child safe, it is important to be aware of some of the most common signs of child abuse. If you notice any of these in your child, you should take action immediately.

If you suspect that your child is being abused, it is easy to feel confused and scared; unsure of what to do next. To learn more about what you can and should do at this time, contact the understanding and tenacious San Diego child custody lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to discuss your situation with a dedicated attorney.

5 Child Abuse Signs

Child abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. All of these can be devastating to a child’s well-being and future, so it is important to be able to immediately recognize common signs of child abuse so you can protect your child and remove him or her from an abusive situation

You should be aware of the following five common signs of child abuse, and take action if you notice any:

  • Physical signs of abuse such as cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc.
  • A dramatic change in attitude or personality, such as suddenly becoming withdrawn or detached
  • Serious and sudden changes in parent-child interactions
  • Signs that one has been abused sexually, such as genital bleeding
  • Sudden, inexplicable weight loss

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If you suspect that your spouse is abusing your child, you need to take decisive action. Contact a San Diego child custody attorney with Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to learn more about how we can help your family at this difficult time.


Reasons Why You May Need A Divorce Lawyer

Reasons Why You May Need A Divorce Lawyer

The common misconception with divorce cases is that they all involve lengthy courtroom battles along with arguments and screaming matches between the divorcing individuals. And while divorce cases can get heated and emotional, almost all of them are settled outside of court – roughly 95 percent. Even though the majority of cases are uncontested, you still need a qualified legal representative on your side to help ensure that your rights and interests are protected in your proceedings. A common misconception is that divorce lawyers are a waste of money and are unnecessary. However, divorce proceedings can be complicated and emotionally difficult, and you need an impartial party to help you and offer legal guidance.

If you are considering divorce, make sure you have experienced representation at your side. At Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, our San Diego divorce attorneys are dedicated to providing you with the legal support that you need, so contact us today at 858-935-6211.

Why You Need an Attorney

Some people choose to not get a divorce lawyer because they want to save money. However, this decision can actually end up costing you more money in the long run if your case is improperly handled or if you give away more than you should or need to in your proceedings. A divorce attorney may be able to provide you with the following benefits in your case:

  1. Keep your case from going to court, which can be lengthy and expensive, by negotiating with the other party
  2. Help you work through the divorce as quickly as possible to save you time and money
  3. Make sure issues like child custody, support, and property division are handled fairly and legally

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Contact a San Diego divorce attorney with Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211 and learn more about what our experienced attorneys can do to help you at this time.

Social Security Benefits and Divorce

Social Security Benefits and Divorce

A couple deciding to divorce will have various obstacles during the process. Asset division, child custody, and determination of how debts will be settled must be discussed and worked out between both parties. One complicated issue that a couple may have to deal with is Social Security benefits. For example, if both spouses plan to use their social security benefits to assist with living expenses, a divorce may cause them to rethink how their benefits will be handled. In certain instances, benefits may or may not be divided in the same manner as other assets, and some individuals may not be eligible to receive benefits at all.

Provisions And Qualifications

Typically, Social Security checks may be divided upon the establishment of a divorce settlement. However, in order to qualify for your former spouse’s Social Security benefits, the following criteria must be met:

  • The couple must have been married for at least ten years
  • The receiving spouse must be at least 62 years of age
  • The receiving spouse must be single
  • If the receiving spouse has remarried, he/she must have divorced the second spouse or the second spouse must be deceased
  • The benefits the receiving spouse wishes to collect must be greater than the amount he/she would have collected based on his/her own earnings history
  • The former spouse must either be eligible to receive benefits or currently receiving benefits
  • If the receiving individual passes on, his/her ex-spouse is eligible to receive the benefits as long as the aforementioned qualifications are met

An important factor to note is that the benefits one may collect based on their former spouse’s earnings will not reduce the amount the ex-spouse receives.

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We understand that Social Security payment division can be a complicated and confusing process. Avoid these difficulties by choosing a divorce attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858.935.6211.

Infidelity and Divorce

Infidelity and Divorce

In the United States, just over half of all marriages end in divorce. Reasons for divorce can range from infidelity to incompatibility, with the former being the most cited. Infidelity is seen by most societies as the ultimate betrayal in a marriage, and divorce is the most common result of unfaithfulness.

Statistics Among Husbands And Wives

According to one study, as many as 60 percent of husbands and 40 percent of wives are likely to commit adultery at some point in a marriage. Nearly 70 percent of divorce cases cite infidelity as the reason for ending the marriage, with affairs lasting an average of two years.

Effects Of Unfaithfulness On The Spouse

Discovering your spouse’s infidelity can be devastating. This discovery can lead to anger and bouts of depression, and the spouse who has been cheated on may feel that the affair was in some way his/her fault. Many couples seek counseling in an attempt to salvage the marriage. For those who are unable to, divorce is a final option.

Effects Of Unfaithfulness On Divorce Proceedings

As California is a no-fault state, infidelity will have little to no effect on divorce proceedings. It can, however, fall under irreconcilable differences. This means that the couple cannot reconcile or are unable to make the marriage work. When it comes to topics such as child custody, infidelity can play a role. If the cheating spouse can be proven to be a loving and supportive parent despite the affair, the court may not take infidelity into consideration. If the opposite occurs, that parent may lose custody rights.

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Infidelity is a sensitive issue and our attorneys will do what they can to make the process of separating from your spouse easier on your whole family. Contact one of our attorneys from San Diego’s law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858.935.6211 to learn more about what we can do for you.

Marital Property Agreement

Marital Property Agreement

A marital property agreement can be signed before or during a marriage. This document states how marital property is to be divided either in the event of divorce or the death of one spouse. In most cases, a marital property agreement is drafted with the assistance, guidance, and oversight of a skilled and experienced divorce attorney who can ensure that there is nothing abusive or improper about the terms of the agreement.

If you are considering signing a marital property agreement with your future or current spouse, or are seeking help with such an agreement’s enforcement in divorce, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 today.

Considerations in a Marital Property Agreement

Marital property is essentially divided into three main categories. The following three categories of assets and holding are to be addressed in the final signed copy of the marital property agreement:

  • Real Estate
  • Automobiles
  • Financial investments

A less common marital property covered in these arrangements is intellectual property rights. Couples are sometimes co-owners of a legally recognized idea. A marital property agreement is legally binding. Therefore is important to consider all factors and obtain experienced representation before the papers are signed.

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If you are interested in a marital property agreement, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. There is no substitute for having experienced representation on your side. To make sure you are adequately represented as you seek an appropriate division of assets, contact the dedicated San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

How Child Custody is Determined

How Child Custody is Determined

All parents want the best for their child. Unfortunately, divorcing parents rarely agree on the living situation that will best suit the child’s needs. Therefore divorces involving child custody disputes oftentimes end up in the court room. In these situations, a judge will determine the final custody arrangement.

If you are going through this emotionally difficult period, it is important to have a passionately committed legal representative who will vigorously fight for your custodial interest. No one wants to lose precious time with their child. The San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can help you to seek the custodial arrangement you desire. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 to schedule a free consultation.

Factors in Determining Child Custody

In a contentious child custody battle, there are many different factors that a judge will evaluate before issuing a final determination. Some of the issues that will be weighed with regard to the best interest of the child include:

  • Ages of children and parents
  • Desires of parents
  • Relationship between parent and child
  • Health of family members
  • Home environment
  • Living Accommodations
  • School
  • Community
  • Quality of life
  • Presence of abuse
  • Criminal history

Observation is often a key to deciding child custody. A professional may speak to both children and their parents about their relationships. These discussions will influence the court’s decision regarding child custody arrangements. In-home evaluations may also be made to ensure that the children are being brought up in a safe environment.

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For legal assistance in a divorce where child custody concerns are present, contact the San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Pro Se Divorce

Pro Se Divorce

A divorcing individual that does not to hire a divorce attorney is considered to be a “pro se” litigant. While this is permissible under the law, it is likely to leave you vulnerable to an unfavorable settlement. Individuals frequently choose to represent themselves because they want to save money, but the unfortunate reality is that their lack of familiarity with the pertinent laws and procedures is likely to cost them much more in the long run.

In order to pursue a pro se divorce, it is essential that you understand all the disadvantages. If you are considering representing yourself, it is important that you seek the advice of an attorney. With a free consultation, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can explain to you what may be some of the possible advantages and drawbacks of a pro se divorce. Contact us today at 858-935-6211.

Factors to Consider in a Pro Se Divorce

It is essential that you have a firm grasp of all the legal aspects of divorce before you continue as a pro se litigant. Divorces can easily become complicated and a favorable settlement can be deceptively hard to come by. Even if you and your partner are looking to settle your divorce amicably, it is important that you do not needlessly sacrifice too much. If your case does go to court, it may be particularly dangerous to represent yourself. An experienced attorney may be hired by your spouse, leaving you subject to an imbalance of knowledge and experience that may make it difficult to effectively present your side of the case.

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Going through a divorce is difficult enough already without the introduction of additional complications. Hiring an attorney may be the best way to take some of the weight off your shoulders. Contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to discuss your options.

Divorcing in Your Twenties

Divorcing in Your Twenties

Going through divorce can be difficult at any age. The emotional stress involved can take a tremendous toll and the experience can be financially draining in the event of an unfair division of assets or a protracted legal battle. It can be challenging to speak with your parents and friends about your choices, finding what you need out of a settlement, and coping with being alone.

At Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, we have years of experience helping clients through divorce and are prepared to bring our accumulated knowledge of the process to bear on each case. Let us help you to identify and pursue a divorce resolution that does not unduly interfere with your ability to carry on afterward. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 to schedule a free consultation.

Reasons for Divorce

People go through many changes in their twenties once they have left the familiar comforts of home and school and adapted to the demands of the so-called “real world”. Sometimes these changes cause a couple to grow apart. When this begins to cause unhappiness, sometimes the best choice for one or both parties is to go their separate ways. Common causes for divorce include:

  • Abuse
  • Loss of love
  • Differences in goals
  • Choices involving children
  • Financial problems

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The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, understand that on your wedding day, you did not expect things to reach the end that now appears imminent. But we are ready to help you to seek a fresh start. Our compassionate attorneys will work hard to ensure that your individual needs and desires are adequately represented. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 to learn more about dealing with divorce in your twenties.

Top Reasons for Divorce

Top Reasons for Divorce

There are many signs that may indicate that ending your marriage may be the best way for you to become happy again. Your decision to divorce has most likely been very difficult and has been considered for a long period of time. Attending counseling sessions and speaking to family and friends may be a large part of the decision in whether or not a divorce is right for you.

If you are considering divorce as a way to regain your happiness and improve your quality of life, it is important to have a passionately committed legal representative who can help you to understand your rights. The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, may be able to help. Contact us today at 858-935-6211.

The Decision to Divorce

People may run into problems at any point in their marriage. When the relationship is beyond repair, divorce may offer the best opportunity to restore your own happiness. The most common reasons people decide to end their marriage include:

  • Communication issues
  • Financial problems
  • Infidelity
  • Emotional affairs
  • Loss of passion

Less common, but just as destructive to a marriage include addictions and physical and emotional abuse. These root causes can frequently cause a host of other problems and may create a cycle of misery that might feel impossible to escape.

File for Divorce

If you have these serious problems in your relationship, a divorce may be right for you. Divorce proceedings are complicated and in order to get the most out of your settlement, it is important that you understand your legal rights. At Fischer & Van Thiel, we work tirelessly to help our clients emerge from their divorce on two feet.

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No matter the reason for the split, there may be many ways a divorce can help turn your life around. The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are ready to help you through this trying and emotional time. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 for a free consultation.

Divorce Motions

Divorce Motions

Irreconcilable differences can leave a couple in a deadlock, making it necessary to have a judge determine the exact terms of their divorce settlement. During this period, a couple’s lawyers will oftentimes file “motions” seeking for the resolution of a particular point of contention.

If you are preparing for a contested divorce, it is important to speak with a skilled and experienced attorney about how to handle a situation that is pending trial. Passionate legal representation and knowledgeable counsel can help you to more fully understand your rights and to take actions that may assist in obtaining a favorable outcome. Contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211 to schedule a free consultation.

Common Divorce Motions

A motion is a formal written request that is submitted to the court seeking a decision on a specific aspect of a case. The following are some issues that may typically be addressed by motions during divorce proceedings:

  • Child Support
  • Health and Life Insurance
  • Restraining Orders
  • Allowances
  • Continuance

In some instances, a temporary solution obtained through a successful motion will be able to promote the safety and well being of all parties involved. Moreover, they may be instrumental in bringing some important issues to light. For example, motions for evidence may prompt one party or another to submit to drug tests, physical exams, or mental health evaluations.

Some people will not voluntarily participate in these examinations. Therefore, a court order may be needed to obtain the evidence necessary to prove important facts that bear upon your case. The results of the findings may affect both temporary orders as well as the final divorce settlements.

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For assistance with the preparation of your divorce case, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211.

Second Marriage Divorce

Second Marriage Divorce

Many people have found a life-long partner in their second marriage. Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone. If you are considering filing for divorce for the second time, you probably have an idea of the timeline of the process. Reaching a divorce settlement can be extremely difficult and may take a significant amount of time and energy. An experienced attorney can help this process run more smoothly and can help you to ensure that your wishes are adequately represented in divorce proceedings.

The San Diego Divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel LLP, we are prepared to assist our clients without judgment whether it is their first, second, or eighth divorce. We work closely with our clients to understand their individual situation and to work towards a fair settlement. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 for a free consultation.

Divorce Statistics

On average, 3 ½ years pass between divorce and remarriage. Oftentimes people will find their true love during this time period. However, just like first marriages, this love does not always last. Nearly one-in-three second marriages end in divorce. It is important to understand that you are not alone and you should not continue on unhappily in a marriage for fear of being stigmatized as a repeat divorcee.

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One divorce can be difficult enough and the stress and energy that goes into a second can be incredibly draining. The San Diego divorce attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can help you to seek a fresh start again. Contact us today at 858-935-6211.

Child Support in Divorce

Child Support in Divorce

A divorce is a potentially long and difficult process. For those with children, one of the major points of conflict during the split includes whether child support payments are necessary or not. If it is determined that child support payments are necessary, a set amount will be decided. This amount is based on the fact that both courts and parents will want to ensure that a divorce does not take a tremendous financial toll on the children involved.

The San Diego child support lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, provide dedicated help for their clients. As experienced attorneys in child support cases, we can help you understand how a fair child support agreement may be reached. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 for answers to your child support questions.

Helping with Child Support

Even though a child support agreement has been reached, the amount of the payments may be subject to change in the future. The San Diego child support attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can help you with the following issues that may arise after an initial child support agreement is reached:

  • Modifications to Support Agreements
  • Enforcing Support Agreements

Determining child support amounts can be difficult and, unfortunately, can be an ongoing process. It is important that you build a personal relationship with your divorce attorney in order to deal with any continuous issues that may arise involving child support payments.

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Our San Diego child support lawyers can provide you with the dedicated support you need in order to secure a fair child support agreement. Contact Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211 to discuss the laws surrounding child support agreements.

Rebuild a Relationship After a Divorce

Rebuild a Relationship After a Divorce

Divorces frequently result in bitterness between couples. Due to the stressful divorce process, oftentimes couples grow frustrated and direct that anger toward each other during divorce proceedings and after they have been finalized.

If you are struggling to reconcile with your partner after your divorce then you may encounter unnecessary challenges going forward. For legal counsel and assistance, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

The Importance of Reconciliation

It is usually worthwhile to work toward repairing a relationship after divorce proceedings have. Especially if children are involved, a cordial relationship between divorced parents can greatly improve the child’s quality of life. Other relationships may also suffer if fighting between ex-spouses is prolonged or especially harsh. Mutual friends may have a hard time staying friends with either or both parties, potentially heightening the sense of isolation that one might experience after a marriage is dissolved.

Tension Within a Divorcing Couple

For every couple going through divorce, there will be issues that require compromise. Common issues addressed in a divorce include:

  • Child custody
  • Alimony payments
  • Method of divorce
  • Distribution of assets

Each of these issues can be a source of a significant tension for divorcing couples. Although the fights and frustration may seem hopeless at first, there are ways to begin to repair a relationship after divorce. Depending on the individual circumstances, a person may decide to pursue different routes. Taking the following actions may aid you and your partner in coming to terms with the divorce settlement and may help you continue your life without hostility:

  • Individual counseling
  • Self-help books
  • Keeping a journal
  • Having regular discussions with partner
  • Focusing on small steps toward rebuilding the relationship

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The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, work diligently to promote the interests of each and every client. We understand how difficult these matters can be for any family and attempt to make divorce proceedings run smoothly and to fairly settle cases. Contact us today at 858-935-6211.

Which Type Of Divorce Is Best For You?

Which Type Of Divorce Is Best For You?

It can be difficult for a couple to decide to end their marriage. Whatever has caused a couple to consider a divorce, however, it is best for all involved parties to know the various options available to them. Every divorce is different, and the circumstances surrounding a couple’s separation will dictate which method is best. It is important to understand how each of these methods can help either party avoid situations that can make the divorce process more difficult.


As the term suggests, a no-fault divorce is filed when neither party is required to prove that fault exists regarding the other spouse. Irreconcilable differences or incompatibility are often cited as causes for this type of divorce.

(At) Fault

This form is the complete opposite of no-fault. In this scenario, one spouse will state a reason as to why the other spouse is at fault for the termination of the marriage. Such reasons may include, but are not limited to:

  • Adultery
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental instability of one of the spouses
  • Commitment of a criminal act by one of the spouses

Reasons for at-fault filings vary by state.  California is a no fault state and at-fault filing is not an option.


An uncontested divorce occurs when spouses work together to come to an agreement on the following:

  • Spousal support
  • Property division
  • Child custody / support / visitation
  • Conservatorship

A contested divorce results when any of the issues above cannot be worked out by the spouses and outside parties are required to make a decision on these matters.


Collaborative divorce involves both spouses, with the assistance of their attorneys, formulating agreements and mutually agreeing to terms. Collaboration is considered to be the least expensive form of ending a marriage.


This form is rare due to the rules set forth by certain jurisdictions. Electronic divorce is performed through the submission of an electronic form for the dissolution of marriage.


This occurs when spouses decide to go forward without the assistance of attorneys. Rather, a mediator, who may also be an attorney, assists both parties and helps them reach an agreement.

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If you need assistance deciding which type of divorce is best for your circumstances, consult an attorney from the law office of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, first. Contact us at 858-935-6211.

Simplified Divorce

Simplified Divorce

On average, there are more than a million divorce cases handled in the United States each year. A small number of these cases are settled using what is called a “simplified divorce.” The definition of this type of legal split is exactly how it sounds. As compared to the typically adversarial and expensive nature of divorce proceedings, simplified divorces are quicker and less financially draining.

If you are currently considering a divorce and think that a simplified divorce may be desirable, contact the San Diego simplified divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211. Filing for divorce can be a complicated process. The San Diego lawyers can explain to you the steps involved in filing for a simplified divorce.

Qualifications for a Simplified Divorce

Simplified divorce cases may sound like an oxymoron. As you can imagine, in order to qualify there are several requirements that must apply to your case.

  • Both partners consent to the dissolution of the marriage.
  • There must not be any children under the age of 18 who were born of the union because simplified divorce does not address child custody issues.
  • There must be an agreement with regard to the division of property, assets, retirement funds, etc.

Even if you meet all of these qualifications, it is highly advisable to speak with a skilled and experienced San Diego divorce attorney. They can help you to more fully understand your legal rights and options so that you can make an informed decision about terminating your marriage.

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A simplified divorce will save you stress, time, and money. To speak to a divorce attorney that is well-versed in settling simplified divorce cases, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

Understanding Temporary Alimony

Understanding Temporary Alimony

Determining alimony payments are a large part of reaching a divorce settlement. Temporary alimony payments are a tool for the disadvantaged partner to receive compensation while the final amount is being agreed upon. The laws regarding temporary alimony payments aim to provide each partner with the ability to maintain their way of life before and after a divorce is finalized. Financial concerns tend to come to the fore in this regard.

The San Diego alimony lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are well versed in the laws regarding temporary alimony and are prepared to assist you throughout the divorce process. Contact us to 858-935-6211 to speak with a skilled and experienced attorney about your situation and needs.

Determining Temporary Alimony

Payments on bills such as utilities, house payments, and other debts are typically considered when determining temporary alimony. Specific aspects of a couple’s past will also be considered. The following factors are representative of the information that might be weighed in the calculation of temporary alimony:

  • Length of marriage
  • Reasons for divorce
  • Financial assets
  • Living standards
  • Health of couple
  • Reason for need
  • Mortgage and other debts

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Despite the many years a couple spent together that may have been happy and filled with love, divorce proceedings can turn incredibly adversarial in an instant. Money is often a point of particular contention, but it is important that you have the resources necessary to meet living expenses and other necessary costs during a divorce. Contact the San Diego alimony lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, today at 858-935-6211 for legal representation in this matter.

Permanent and Periodic Alimony

Permanent and Periodic Alimony

Permanent alimony is a continued payment after a divorce settlement. Unless an individual remarries, he or she is locked into these payments until death. Permanent alimony is money that is must be paid consistently over time. Conversely, periodic alimony is paid to a former spouse in order to reestablish a life after divorce. It can also be terminated due to remarriage. However, periodic alimony can be changed over time. Amounts and frequencies of payments are adjusted as the financial status of the divorcee varies over time.

To better understand the types of alimony and learn which form might apply in your divorce case, contact the San Diego alimony attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

Determining Factors in Alimony Payments

Alimony payments are based on many different factors. These can include:

  • Salaries
  • Property
  • Physical condition
  • Accumulated debt
  • Marriage length
  • Length of separation

Depending on the individual circumstances of the divorcing couple, some of these factors can hold different weights. Determining alimony payments is a complicated process that involves understanding many different issues in both the marriage and divorce of the couple. Alimony can be paid for long amounts of time and cost a lot of money. It can also be an asset to an individual working through a divorce.

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The experienced San Diego alimony attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP are ready to provide the legal help you need. Please contact us today at 858-935-6211 for a free consultation with a legal professional.

Child Support Agreements Modifications

Child Support Agreements Modifications

After a child support case has come to a settlement it is still possible to adjust the settlement over time. Many people experience tremendous changes in their lives that require a change in child custody.

The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP understand that your life is constantly changing. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 if you are interested in making modifications to your child support agreement.

Applying for Child Support Modifications

There are many different reasons to ask for changes in child support agreements. These may include:

  • Change in income
  • Child’s health
  • Mental health of a parent
  • Physical health of a parent
  • Failure to comply with agreement
  • Child abuse

In the event that one of these circumstances occurs, it is reasonable for you to ask for changes. Coming to an agreement on child support after divorce can be a difficult and long process. Making changes to this agreement can be equally trying. Hiring a child custody lawyer is a first step that can lead to positive changes in the future.

At Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, we know that you have only the best intentions for your child at heart and we know that in your choice to make modifications, something is not working in your current agreement.

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Child custody cases can be drawn out and frustrating. For help in your case and to ease some of your frustration and confusion, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Physical Child Custody

Physical Child Custody

There are many different disputes that may occur during the process of a divorce. When children are involved in divorce proceedings, the arguments between the spouses suddenly involve the future happiness of their loved ones. As a parent going through a divorce, child custody is a large part of reaching an agreeable divorce settlement.

If you have questions regarding the physical custody of your children during a divorce, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 to discuss your situation with a legal professional.

Types of Physical Custody

There are several kinds of physical custody that can be settled upon during a divorce proceeding. Reaching an agreement can be a difficult process, however. Both parties want what is best for the children. Since the happiness of your child is likely the most important thing to you, choosing the right kind of custody arrangement is essential to both you and your former spouse. The types of physical custody may include:

  • Joint
  • Sole
  • Non-parental

Depending on the individual circumstances of the children and parents, typically one of these types of physical custody is granted during a divorce case.

Whether you are going through a divorce or have recently been through a divorce, we would like help with your pursuit of happiness. As a parent seeking a fair and reasonable settlement in the custody of your child, it is important that you have an experienced attorney working to help you. Laws regarding child custody can be complicated, and an experienced divorce attorney can help you reach a fair arrangement.

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Child custody cases can be challenging for everyone involved. For the dedicated legal help you need at this time, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Visitation Modifications

Visitation Modifications

After a couple settles their child custody issues, the non-custodial parent will usually be granted visitation rights by a court. Visitation is based on a set schedule that allows a non-custodial parent to see his or her child during certain times of the week. However, parents sometimes find that they need to modify their visitation schedules, which can happen for a variety of reasons.

If you or someone you love would like to modify your visitation schedule with your child, it is important to understand the legal process. Contact the San Diego child custody lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Basis of Modification

Usually, non-custodial parents cannot apply for a visitation modification with the court without reason. There must be some reason to modify the visitation schedule. Common bases for visitation modification are:

  • Changes in circumstances for either parent or the child
  • Relocation of either parent
  • The child’s preferences

While these conditions are not necessarily guaranteed to make the visitation modification be granted, having at least one of these conditions apply to the situation will usually help justify changing the existing schedule.

Individuals wishing to modify their visitation schedules have to bring their cases before family law courts, so it is important for these individuals to enlist the help of an experienced San Diego child visitation lawyer.

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The San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP may be able to help you if you are trying to modify your visitation schedule. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.

Divorce and Inheritance

Divorce and Inheritance

When two people get married, they usually do not expect their marriage to ever end. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. With this glaring statistic in mind, it is important to consider financial matters, including inheritance.

Though inheritance is usually left to one person, an heir may be married, and the inheritance may become joint property. If you recently received an inheritance and want to learn about safeguarding it from a divorce settlement, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

When Inheritance Becomes Joint Property

In any marriage, there is joint property and separate property. Most couples share a great deal of joint property, including homes, cars, and bank accounts. These pieces of property are fair game for division in a divorce settlement.

While it would seem that inheritance does not fall into the same category as these other pieces of property, this is not always true. Inheritance becomes joint property when:

  • Both spouses invest in increasing the property’s value
  • The inheritance is monetary and is placed in a joint bank account
  • The value of the inheritance increases during marriage

With these conditions in mind, individuals can take steps to ensure that their inheritance will remain solely theirs in the event of a divorce.

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The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP may be able to help individuals protect their inheritance from being shared with their ex-spouses in the event of a divorce. Contact us today at 858-935-6211 for more information.

Property Division for Unmarried Couples

Property Division for Unmarried Couples

Many unmarried couples live together for many years and acquire property together. If one of these couples decides to end their relationship, the partners in the relationship may not know how to properly divide this property among the two of them. Though unmarried couples are not legally recognized, some may have to go through procedures similar to divorce to settle their differences.

If you and your partner are ending your relationship, we can provide legal advice. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 to learn more about whether you may need legal assistance.

Dividing Property

When two unmarried people own property together – be it land, material goods, or finances – they will have to divide it if they decide that they no longer wish to share it. Some couples can divide their property between themselves without a third party’s assistance, but others cannot.

Those who cannot may require legal intervention to help them with the process. Only property that the couple acquired while together will be divided when the couple opts for legal intervention. Pre-relationship property, as well as any gifts or personal possessions, will be exempt from division.

Couples who cannot settle their differences should start by enlisting the help of an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer.

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The San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP understand that unmarried couples sometimes need the same intervention that married couples do when their relationships end. Contact our office today at 858-935-6211 for more information about getting your property legally divided.

Paternity Fraud

Paternity Fraud

An untold number of men find out each year that they have been misled to believe that they have fathered their female partners’ children. In many cases, the men spend great amounts of money and time raising these children because they believe that they are their own.

Men that find out they are not the fathers of the children they have been raising may be the victims of paternity fraud. If you recently found out that the child you have been raising is not yours, contact the San Diego paternity lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Reasons for Fraud

The most substantial reason for paternity fraud is the additional financial support the father can provide. Like all other forms of fraud, paternity fraud may be considered a crime in certain jurisdictions. Additionally, it may be considered a civil injustice. This is important, as men may sue mothers to win back the money that they spent on the children involved.

Accusations of paternity fraud are generally settled with DNA tests. If the test shows that the plaintiff is not the biological father of the children in question, he may be relieved of legal and financial obligations related to the children. It is important to keep in mind that hiring an experienced San Diego paternity lawyer can be important when pursuing legal action.

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Paternal fraud is a serious issue that should not go unpunished. If you have been the victim of paternal fraud, contact the experienced San Diego paternity attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 to learn more about your legal rights.

Regaining Custody

Regaining Custody

When you and your spouse decided to divorce one another and dissolve the marriage, you may have to make determinations about custody. Sometimes, this can be a smooth process where both spouses agree on the arrangement and other times, the judge must make the final decision, leaving one parent in an unfavorable situation. However, it is important to understand that all hope is not lost regarding child custody and you may be able to regain partial or full custody pending certain circumstances.

If you or someone you love is looking to regain or change an existing custody arrangement, it is important to employ an experienced attorney to assist you with your claim. By working with them, you can ensure your case is presented in the best light possible and increase your chances of a positive result. To discuss your case today, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Factors in Custody Decisions

The following circumstances may be considered in a court of law regarding the reassignment of custody:

  • Violation to the custody terms
  • Threats or injury to the child from the custodial spouse
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Illness or disability to the custodial spouse
  • Instability in the custodial parent’s home, such as frequent relocation or changes in employment/economic status
  • Remarriage of one or both parents

Laws regarding marriage and divorce vary from state to state so it is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with your individual situation and how it could affected in your given place of residence. In some circumstances, there is a waiting period of 1-2 years before requesting a change of custody, so it is important to understand those criteria as well.

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If you are looking to regain custody or change a custody arrangement following a divorce, contact the San Diego child custody attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

Benefits of an Annulment

Benefits of an Annulment

Under certain circumstances, you and your spouse may be eligible for an annulment in order to end your marriage. In this case, the marriage is simply seen as though it never happened under the law. Though nullity is difficult to prove and the circumstances are limited (irreconcilable differences is not one of them), some couples may prefer this course of action due to various personal or religious beliefs.

Though annulments may seem simple, there is an extensive amount of work that must go in to obtaining one. This is a process that you should not go through alone. By hiring an experienced attorney to help handle your case, you can be confident that all of the appropriate paperwork and legal exercises are complete. If you would like to seek legal representation today, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Annulment vs. Divorce

The following list outlines some of the benefits of an annulment, versus a legal separation or divorce:

  • Improved religious standing.
  • Limited complications regarding division of assets or child custody.
  • Dissolution of an illegal marriage (where one party was under the age of 18 or the marriage was based on fraud).
  • No right to support or property from the other person.

For some annulment cases, you may need witness or expert testimony to help prove the grounds for your case. In addition, there may be other legal procedures to complete that take experience to do thoroughly and accurately. In either case, the help of an experienced attorney can help you receive the marital status that you desire.

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For more information regarding annulments and divorce law, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

Joint Custody

Joint Custody

When a couple decides to dissolve their marriage through the legal process of divorce, one of the issues that may be addressed is the subject of child custody. Based on California law, the judge who determines the custody of the child must determine an arrangement that “seems necessary or proper”. In doing so, there are several different factors that may come into play about the future wellbeing of the child. Joint custody, which is the preferred arrangement amongst most capable couples, occurs when each spouse has physical and legal custody of the child.

Divorce can be a complicated process that one should not have to go through alone. If you are currently considering a divorce from your spouse and would like the legal counsel of an experienced, compassionate attorney, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

Common Joint Custody Arrangements

The following list outlines various joint custody arrangements that the judge may determine:

  • Pure joint custody: Neither parent has the sole legal or physical custody of the child.
  • Joint legal custody: Both parents have the right to make legal decisions regarding the child’s health, education and welfare.
  • Joint physical custody: Each parent has “significant periods” of custody. This is done to make sure that each parent has “frequent and continuing contact with each parent”.
  • Divided or “split” custody: There is no code for this specific arrangement but it typically means that the child has custody with a certain parent for a finite amount of time, with cross rights of visitation. This could also occur if a couple has more than one child and wants to split custody among the siblings.

The circumstances of each divorce are unique. Because of this, you should consider hiring an experienced attorney to handle the details of your individual case. That way, you can help ensure that your rights are well-represented and a favorable custody arrangement is reached.

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To learn more about family law in California or to speak with an experienced attorney about your individual divorce circumstances, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211 today.

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Drug Addiction and Divorce

Drug Addiction and Divorce

Being in a romantic relationship with a drug addict can be emotionally devastating. Not only do you have to help your spouse battle his or her addiction, you also must take care of the children and other household duties that he or she is unable to complete. Though some spouses work through this difficult time, others feel that it is simply too much to handle and opt to get a divorce.

Deciding whether to stay in an unhealthy and unhappy relationship or leave and begin a life of your own is never an easy choice to make. If you have questions about the divorce process or need guidance about family law, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

The Impact of Addiction

Drug addiction can negatively affect your relationship in the following ways:

  • Emotionally damaging environment for young children
  • Lack of trust between romantic partners
  • Lost wages due to missed work or inability to keep up with household expenses due to expensive addiction
  • Increased conflict or chance of physical or verbal abuse
  • High medical bills associated with hospitalization or medical treatment

If you would like to pursue a divorce from your drug-addicted partner, know that you are not alone in this process. Compassionate attorneys can help to make this process as simple as it can be. In addition to helping you gain a favorable result in the proceedings, lawyers may be able to help your partner get help for his or her problem through court-mandated rehabilitation therapy.

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To learn more about drug addiction, divorce and your legal rights as a spouse, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

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Identifying Domestic Violence

Identifying Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as spousal abuse, can happen to anyone at any time. But the problem is sometimes overlooked when men or women fail to recognize dangerous behavior or simply deny that there is a problem. This is especially true in cases where the abuse is more psychological than physical. That is why it is important to make sure you understand the warning signs of abuse so you can protect yourself from a potentially harmful individual.

Abuse can take many forms: physical, sexual, psychological, financial, or emotional. All of it is done with the intent to gain power and control of a person’s partner. If you have experienced any form of abuse in your relationship and would like to speak with an experienced legal professional regarding divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Signs of Abuse

The following are common warning signs of an abusive relationship:

  • Humiliation
  • Fear
  • Violent temper
  • Excessive jealousy or possessiveness
  • Controlling
  • Forced to have sex
  • Destruction of your belongings
  • Limiting one partner’s access to money, the phone, or the car

The above list outlines some of the underlying behaviors that many abusers share but it is in no way an exhaustive list. Of course, physical and sexual abuse, or any other form of physical harm, should be immediately reported since the situation can escalate to dangerous levels. Though emotional abuse may be harder to identify, it can be equally as painful.

Contact Us

By hiring a compassionate lawyer to help with your divorce, you can make sure you stay safe during the proceedings and get out of this toxic relationship in the best manner possible. For more information regarding your legal rights, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

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Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children

Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, you may have questions about how this may impact the lives of your children, both now and in the future. The good news is that with proper counseling during the divorce itself, some of the negative effects can be minimized in the future. However, if the divorce is especially traumatic or involves abuse in some way, the results could last for the rest of the child’s life.

One way to minimize the trauma that is linked to divorce cases is by hiring an experienced lawyer to help with the court proceedings and negotiations. If you are considering divorce, you need a lawyer on your side. Contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 for more information.

Potential Effects of Divorce on Child Development

Long-term consequences of a divorce that could affect children in their future development include the following:

  • Self-esteem issues, such as feeling that they did something to cause the divorce or make the parents mad
  • Anxiety about the feeling of abandonment
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Future relationship issues, such as trust and honesty
  • Overall social adjustment issues

Early and intense counseling may be beneficial in helping to reduce the risk of these issues. It never hurts to have your child speak to a professional about his or her feelings. In addition, you and your spouse can help make this transition as easy as possible with the help of an experienced attorney. That way, everything can be handled fairly and clearly, reducing the chance for future conflict.

Contact Us

Divorce can be a stressful time for all involved. To employ the help of an experienced lawyer, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

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Common Grounds for Divorce

Common Grounds for Divorce

When one spouse or both spouses decide that they no longer want to remain in their marriage, they may choose to file for a divorce. This can be for any number of reasons, but regardless of the thought behind it, the process itself can be a very long, arduous journey. The laws in each state vary regarding marriage and divorce, so it is important to review your state’s specific guidelines to help you understand fault or no-fault citing.

The important part of determining fault is helping the judge make sure that the appropriate decision is made regarding alimony, asset and property division, child custody and child support. In order to make sure your case is presented fairly, you may want to consider hiring an experienced attorney to represent you. Contact a San Diego divorce lawyer from Fischer & Van Thiel at 760-722-4646 today.

Grounds for Divorce in California

The state of California only recognizes two grounds for divorce: incurable insanity affecting one of the spouses (which is rarely used), and irreconcilable differences between the spouses. However, each individual couple may have their own reasons for filing for divorce, some of which may affect the final settlement. These reasons can include:

  • Adultery or infidelity
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Abandonment for a certain length of time (usually without notice or warning)
  • Inability to consummate the marriage, physically
  • Theft or fraud
  • Marital rape or physical/sexual abuse
  • Emotional or verbal abuse

Divorce can often be a trying process for all involved, including your children. This is an event that you truly should not have to go through alone. The help of a compassionate lawyer can help relieve some of the stress and anxiety you feel regarding your divorce.

Contact Us

Regardless of your reason for divorce, you deserve experienced representation in a court of law. To learn more about your individual rights or schedule a consultation, contact a San Diego divorce attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel at 760-722-4646.

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Health During Divorce

Emotional and Physical Health During Divorce

Divorce can take a toll on one’s physical, mental and emotional state, causing a recently-divorced spouse to be stressed, anxious, angry, and even suicidal. Even though you are currently handling the dissolution of your marriage, you should not let your health dissolve as well. First, know that you are not alone in this process. According to recent reports in 2008, about 40% of marriages have ended in divorce. Because this process is sometimes difficult to endure, it is important to maintain positive emotional and mental health during your recovery process.

One way to handle your emotional health during a divorce is by hiring a compassionate, experienced attorney to help with your case. If you would like to speak with an experienced legal professional about your individual case and learn how to minimize the negative effects of your divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

Tips To Improve Health Following Divorce

In order to improve one’s state during a divorce, consider the following tips:

  • Visit with a therapist who specializes in relationships or divorce issues.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Take vitamins.
  • Do not engage in bad habits to cope, such as drinking or smoking.
  • Make sure to get plenty of sleep each night.
  • Remember to eat nutritious food and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Handle your anger in a productive way. For example, take kickboxing classes or buy a punching bag.
  • Make subtle changes to your scenery. Remove old photos, paint the walls a new color or simply leave the house and take a stroll.
  • Maintain good physical hygiene.

Though divorces can truly alter your life, the above tips should help you maintain a healthy mind and body. In many cases, if you improve one area of your life, you will see positive effects in other areas, as well. Remember to keep your head held high and keep your friends and family close for support.

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If you are pursuing divorce with your spouse or would like legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney regarding your situation, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

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What Is Collaborative Divorce?

What is Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is a rather new form of ending a marriage. Developed in the early 1990s, this type of divorce relies on a resolution not based on litigation, but rather, has the divorcing spouses and their attorneys mutually agree on a divorce agreement that both sides deem to be fair. The final divorce terms are reached by both sides agreeing to the Participation Agreement, according to which the divorcing spouses:

  • Develop settlement options
  • Avoid litigation
  • Ensure all discussions relating to the matters of the divorce remain confidential
  • Disclose all relevant information pertaining to the process
  • Are given full control over proceedings
  • Identify their goals and/or interests regarding the divorce

It is also common for the Agreement to involve discussions regarding finances, parenting, and mental health.

A Cooperative Process

Since a collaborative divorce does not rely on litigation, a divorcing couple’s best interests are truly the basis of a resolution. The attorneys overseeing the process are not motivated by the urge to see their client receive the majority of assets, properties, finances, etc. Rather, they work together to ensure that the family as a whole, if the couple has children, benefits from the resolution. Cooperation is the hallmark of the collaborative divorce process.

Benefits The Family As A Whole

Collaboration is widely regarded as the healthiest and most beneficial form of divorce. As it avoids litigation, which can be contentious, collaboration also avoids potential argumentative components that can be seen in conventional divorce proceedings. The attorneys representing both parties aim to help the couple in the following ways:

  • Provide assistance, both emotionally and financially
  • Allow for limited financial and emotional turmoil during the divorce
  • Offer assistance in addressing the needs of children, should there be any, through mutual agreements by the couple
  • Keep conflict to a minimum to ensure the proceedings remain civil
  • Establish a stable post-divorce relationship between the couple

Foremost, both legal counsels aim to hold a hearing that is productive, positive, and reasonable.

Contact Us

If you are interested in filing for a collaborative divorce, do so with the assistance of an attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Contact one of our attorneys today at 858-935-6211.

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What Is Fault?

What Is Fault?

Although divorce has become a common and accepted part of modern society, this was not always the case. Up until fairly recently, divorces were viewed in a negative light, as were the people who sought them. The paternalist society that created this world view considered that people could only have a few reasons to seek out a divorce, and these were mostly in special cases of abandonment, massive fraud, or, naturally, infidelity.

These reasons are called “grounds for divorce,” and establishing that someone was at fault (that is, had committed grounds for divorce) was, in most cases, mandatory for the divorce to be granted. This meant that for a divorce to go through, someone had to definitively be proven to be at fault, meaning that a trial was inevitable. Today, there are many divorce options which can forgo a trial entirely. Prior to 1975, though, virtually every divorce had to be tried in front of a court.

Because the person at fault would play a dramatic part in determining the terms of the divorce, the trial period could be long and protracted. A woman trying to get favorable alimony conditions would have to prove that she was not the cause of the divorce. A man who had engaged in an affair might try to cover that up so that he could avoid paying alimony.

Today, there are few jurisdictions in the United States which require fault for a divorce to be granted. The exception to this is the state of New York. While fault can still be established in a divorce, doing so can actually slow down the process.

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If you’re going through a divorce and have any questions about the way fault affects your proceedings, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

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Credit Disaster

Divorce – A Potential Credit Disaster

Most people know that divorce proceedings can be very costly in terms of time, money, and tears. Many people have the foresight to plan for the financial strain of divorce through the negotiation of a pre-nuptial agreement. However, what many couples fail to consider, and what may come back to haunt them years later, is the effect that a divorce may have on your credit. While not an immediate financial cost like court fees and distribution of assets, the potential damage to credit can have negative implications on life long after the divorce has faded from memory.

How does this credit disaster take place? The root of the problem is that lenders are not required by law to honor court decrees which place the burden of paying off a joint loan on the shoulders of one party. In other words, even if a court decides that Spouse A is responsible for paying off a loan that Spouse A and B took out together during their marriage, the lending company may still hold both A and B accountable for the debt. If Spouse B mistakenly assumes that he or she is no longer bound to that financial obligation, he or she may be penalized for missed payments which destroy his or her credit score.

Of course, there are ways to minimize the risk that divorce poses to your credit. For example, if a divorce is brewing, you should start preparing your finances by splitting joint bank accounts, refinancing mortgages and car loans, and converting credit card accounts. You should also plan for the possibility that a bitter former spouse may try to take revenge on you by, for example, applying for credit cards in your name and ruining your credit. To prevent this, you can choose to opt out of receiving pre-screened credit card and insurance offers before the divorce actually takes place.

There are many issues to consider and pitfalls to watch out for when going through a divorce. Things can turn ugly very quickly, as anyone who has been through a divorce knows. Don’t try to go through this difficult process alone – call a San Diego divorce attorney from the Fischer and Van Thiel law firm at 858-935-6211 today.

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Causes Of Divorce

Causes of Divorce

No one gets married with the intent to get a divorce. That would be, by default, a waste of time. For those individuals who are fortunate enough to never have to go through such an ordeal, the road isn’t always smooth. These couples still have their challenges, but they work through them with each other.

One good thing to do is to know what challenges you might face before they even happen. Divorce doesn’t happen overnight; it happens because there is a growing divide in a marriage that has developed over the course of many years.

Experts have determined what the leading causes of divorce are and why they take place. The harder you work to prevent such things from happening in your life, the more of a chance that your marriage will succeed.

The number one reason for getting a divorce is money. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case. Usually, couples do not discuss matters of money before moving in together and mixing their finances. Because of this, couple find out much too late if there are differences in financial philosophy.

Poor communication and infidelity come next on the list. There are many instances where poor communication leads to infidelity. One of the hallmarks of a strong relationship is being able to share the most personal of issues with your partner. If they don’t feel comfortable doing this with you, they will find someone that makes them feel comfortable, and this could lead to infidelity.

For more information about divorce, call the San Diego divorce lawyers of the Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP law firm at 858-935-6211.

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Child Custody

Child Custody in Divorce

Divorce is a complicated process involving the splitting of lives, assets, and finances. When children are produced by the marriage, the course of a divorce becomes trickier as innocent lives hang in the balance of the court proceedings. To make matters worse, divorcing spouses sometimes use their children as leverage in the divorce to get an upper hand in an unpleasant situation. To avoid this additional emotional struggle, parents can educate themselves about custody issues and make decisions in the best interest of their child.

With divorce occurring in nearly half of all marriages in the United States, children suffer major changes when their parents part ways. In addition to emotional stressors such as fear, anger, and resentment, children usually experience change in their family’s financial situation as well. In order to lessen this shock, parents should make custody decisions that ease the transition into the new lifestyle. Various custody options exist including full custody, partial custody, and visitation privileges. The custody preference of courts is generally to award both parents jointly, then to either parent, and finally to the person in whose home the child has been living or to any other person deemed by the court suitable to provide adequate and proper care and guidance for the child. Courts typically decide the matter based on factors such as the preference of the child, the ability of each parent to allow an open, loving, and frequent relationship between the child and the other parent, the child’s health, safety, and welfare, any history of child or spouse abuse, and any continued use of alcohol or controlled substances by anyone seeking custody.

With parents as highly influential figures, the parent-child relationship is critical. Judges seek to maintain stability and fluidity as much as possible in the child’s life. The judge considers which parent can meet the emotional and physical needs of the child through the divorce and post divorce. If the child has already become more attached to one parent than another, judges will protect this relationship and not disrupt it.

If you have any questions concerning child custody in your divorce, call a San Diego divorce attorney from the Fischer and Van Thiel law firm at 858-935-6211 today.

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Child Support During Bankruptcy

Child Support During Bankruptcy

Your spouse is behind on his child support – support which you and your children depend on. He then decides to file for bankruptcy. Will you ever receive your owed payments?

If a parent responsible for child support files for bankruptcy, he is still obligated to fulfill his court mandated orders. The relief of bankruptcy does not apply to child support. Under Chapter 7, Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) considers domestic support obligation as a top priority. The liquidated estate is used to pay child support before other expenses.

Under Chapter 13, the child support will be paid according to the repayment plan approved by the court. To have the Chapter 13 confirmed, the payments must be confirmed. In addition, to obtain a discharge in a Chapter 13, all post-petition child payments will have to be met.

If anything, bankruptcy will help the spouse be able to pay the child support in a more timely manner, as his other debts will be reduced or eliminated. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, trustees are required to disclose information to a domestic support creditor such as the address of residence of the debtor at the time of discharge. The situation is complicated, and it is advisable that an attorney assist you in navigating the legal system to obtain payment.

The San Diego child support lawyers at the law firm of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP are experienced in obtaining child support payments. You deserve to be able to provide the best for your child. If you are lacking child support payments, call 858-935-6211 today to talk to a San Diego divorce lawyer who can evaluate your case.

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Domestic Violence The Male Only Myth

Domestic Violence – The Male-Only Myth

Domestic violence is often an uncomfortable subject to discuss. Few people are willing to study the causes, effects, and conditions associated with domestic violence, and even fewer victims are willing or able to speak out about their personal experiences with abuse. As a result, the public’s view of domestic violence is often skewed by unreliable sources, unsubstantiated myths, and unfounded judgment.

It’s easy to see where this myth originated. Statistics do show that men are much more likely than women to be the aggressors in an abusive relationship, for two major reasons. First, men are simply more physically imposing than women. Intimidation is a major factor in most cases of domestic violence.

Second, we live in a culture where men are traditionally dominant and women are traditionally submissive. Although great steps have been taken towards equalizing the male-female relationship in today’s society, a certain misogynist prejudice still exists. This is the “rationale” operating in the minds of many male abusers – the lingering idea that women ought to be subservient and obedient to men.

However, it is important that we realize that the reality of abuse is not gender specific. Though men are more likely to be aggressive, women are just as capable of initiating an abusive relationship. Domestic abuse is more than physical; a pattern of verbal put-downs is present in the vast majority of abusive relationships. Furthermore, statistics have shown an rising trend in abuse in homosexual relationships for both men and women, disproving the idea that abuse must be from husband to wife.

To learn more about the realities of domestic violence, contact San Diego family lawyer from Fischer & Van Thiel today at 858-935-6211.

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Family Law Terms

Family Law Terms to Know

Alimony – also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to another designed to alleviate or mitigate the negative economic impact of divorce on a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse.

Child Custody – a legal guardianship for a child. May be joint custody or sole custody, depending on the situation and the decision of the court.

Dissolution – the formal and legal end of a marriage; the object of divorce proceedings.

No-fault divorce – also called uncontested divorce, a very common form of divorce nowadays. No-fault divorce seeks to dissolve a marriage without assigning fault or responsibility to either spouse for the marriage’s end. Adversarial in nature, but attempts to avoid some of the legal wrangling associated with fault-based divorce.

Fault-based divorce – divorce proceedings where one spouse seeks to prove that the marriage is ending due to the actions of the other spouse. Adultery is one example of possible fault. This form of divorce is rarer nowadays, as people seek to avoid long, drawn-out battles.

Prenuptial agreement – sometimes shorted to “prenup.” Prenups are legal documents drawn up and signed before marriage, setting out virtually any and all conditions that the spouses agree to set for their marriage, including division of property, individual responsibilities, and more.

Mediation- an attempt to resolve marital problems through discussion and open dialogue rather than legal action, with the help of a third-party mediator. Although pursued by many as an alternative to court battles, mediation does not preclude either spouse from taking legal action in the future.

Domestic violence – assault, battery, or other abusive actions or behaviors taken by one spouse, relative, or co-habitant against another member or resident of the same household.

Separation – formal or informal parting of two spouses for an extended period of time. May be outlined with a legal agreement if desired, but not necessary.

For more information on family law issues which concern you, contact a San Diego family law attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211 today.

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Leaving An Abusive Relationship

Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive partner is an extremely difficult experience on many levels. It is emotionally trying, physically difficult and financially risky. If you are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship, here is some advice for making this difficult transition.

Collect Evidence

Physical evidence of any abuse can help you build your case when you seek a divorce or a restraining order against your abuser. If you are gathering evidence, make sure to store it in a place where your abuser can’t find it. If it is possible for you to open a safe deposit box, this may be your best option. Evidence can include photographs of your injuries (preferably dated), police and medical records, broken items and written accounts. Keep a detailed journal of every violent incident you experience.

Look to the Future

Secure a safe place to go to. It can be the home of a friend or family member. If you need shelter, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) may be able to help you find shelters and services in your area.

Plan your escape. It is usually best to leave when your abuser is not present. If possible, try to pick a time when he or she will be at work or otherwise occupied. If you have children, make sure they know the plan. Emphasize that their job is to protect themselves, not you.

Contact Law Enforcement

Contact the police about obtaining a restraining order. California offers Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, which will make it illegal for your abuser to come within a certain distance of you. Other states have different names and regulations, so be sure to research your options.

Seek Legal Assistance

If you want to leave an abusive relationship and need legal guidance, contact San Diego domestic violence attorneys Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211.

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Postnuptial Agreements

Become Familiar With The Benefits of Postnuptial Agreements

Postnuptial agreements, like prenups, are viewed negatively by some, who see them as representing a lack of faith in a marriage. However, these documents provide incredible protection for both parties in a marriage, and can be an invaluable document for couples to take advantage of. Although similar in almost every way to prenups, postnups, as their name indicates, are created after a couple is already married, and specify guidelines to be followed by the spouses regarding things like asset and property division in the event that the marriage ends in divorce.

Individual Representation

Although it is not required under California law, each party in a marriage has the option to be represented by individual counsel when formulating a postnuptial agreement, and must waive their right to counsel if they don’t want it. Due to postnups being much more difficult to enforce than prenups, many attorneys tend to apply the standards of the latter to the former. The benefits of receiving legal counsel when drafting a postnuptial agreement include:

  • Complete and trustworthy legal advice in understanding how the postnup will work, and how it benefits each party
  • Increased guarantee that the document will be enforceable, as its drafting has been overseen by a legal professional

Legal advice will serve both to benefit the client and to decrease the likelihood of the document being challenged.

Granting Fiduciary Duty

Fiduciary duty requires both spouses to exercise caution when it comes to the interests of the other. Once married, both will owe a fiduciary duty to each. Since this duty is owed after marriage, the postnup must reflect it, or risk being overturned at a later date. A husband or wife must be sure to disclose all debts and/or assets to their spouse in order to uphold each other’s fiduciary duty as a sign of good faith.

Get It In Writing

As with any contract, a postnup must be in writing and signed by both spouses. This will avoid any confusion regarding the stipulations. Also, the agreement should be formulated when both parties are of sound mind. This includes avoiding drafting the prenup during times of anger or resentment. The contract should reflect what both parties consider to be fair. Couples should avoid drafting the document without the guidance of an attorney, as well.

Contact Us

A postnuptial agreement should not be formulated without proper legal guidance. Contact an attorney with experience drafting these documents from the law office of San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

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The Benefits Of Prenuptial Agreements

Become Familiar With The Benefits Of Prenuptial Agreements

It’s been estimated that nearly ten percent of all couples planning to marry decide to formulate a prenuptial agreement in order to safeguard their assets should a divorce occur at some point in the future. This type of agreement is looked down upon by some in society who claim it brings a sense of pessimism that a marriage may not work. In reality, prenups encourage both trust and cooperation in a marriage by providing full disclosure of pre-marital assets and financial details.  Almost everything can be listed in this type of agreement with the exception of provisions for children, such as child support and custody.

Remaining In Control

The greatest benefit of this type of agreement is that it allows a couple to stipulate exactly how they would like their assets to be divided in the event of a divorce. California is a community property state, and as such, without a prenuptial agreement in place, any income earned during a marriage will be equally divided between the two parties in the event of a divorce. The length of the marriage or the number of children involved will in no way affect the distribution of assets. If a couple refuses the prenup, they essentially relinquish control of how they would like their assets to be divided.

Fast And Inexpensive

As this document stipulates the distribution of assets and finances upon the dissolution of a marriage, it can prevent lengthy litigation and expensive court costs for the divorcing couple. In essence, the prenup is aimed at preventing the couple from going through a long, contentious divorce.

Not Written In Stone

The largest misconception regarding prenups is that they cannot be modified after their creation. This is untrue, and modifying the document is possible through amendments. For example, if one spouse provides the main source of income at the beginning of a marriage, but becomes the dependent spouse years later, the couple may amend the agreement to reflect this. It is highly suggested to review a prenup every few years to make any modifications required.

Contact Us

Whether you are looking for assistance in formulating a prenuptial agreement or you are looking to file for divorce, contact a divorce attorney from San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, at 858-935-6211.

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Resolving A Divorce

Resolving a Divorce through Mediation

Because the negative aspects of divorce are so dramatized and publicized by the media, many divorcing couples are beginning to look towards more “non-traditional” methods of resolving their cases, hoping to sidestep the potential headaches of a courtroom showdown.

One popular alternative to legal action is mediation. Mediation means working through disagreements and conflicts in a non-confrontational, mutually open fashion, with the help of a neutral third party called, creatively, a mediator. Mediators can be just about anyone, with just about any background. Pastors, psychiatrists, therapists, lawyers – all these people can be mediators, though with vastly different approaches to the mediation process.

Regardless of the specific mediation approach you choose, there are several tempting reasons to consider pursuing mediation rather than conflict during your divorce.

First, the very nature of mediation usually makes it much more pleasant than fighting in the courtroom. The focus of a mediation session will be on compromise and mutual agreement rather than an adversarial contest. This results in calmer tempers, fewer shouting matches, and often a quicker end to the process.

Second, by choosing mediation, a couple retains much more control over the process than if they were to go to court. In a legal setting, timetables and schedules are heavily influenced, if not entirely in the hands of, lawyers and judges. With mediation, however, the proceedings move as quickly or as slowly as the couple wants or is able to handle.

Third, mediation is usually much cheaper than hiring an attorney. It also helps that a couple shares the cost of hiring a mediator, rather than shelling out for separate lawyers. If you are worried about the effect that a divorce will have on your pocketbook, mediation may simply be the most practical option to try.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that, though mediation and legal action are very different, they are not mutually exclusive. A couple who fails to reach a consensus through mediation can still decide to go to court. In other words, there is not much to lose by choosing mediation, and potentially much to gain.

If you would like to learn more about the mediation process, contact the San Diego family lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel by calling 858-935-6211 or visiting today.

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Spousal Support

Spousal Support

When determining spousal support in California, there are two main issues to be considered by the court and all parties. One is the amount of support to be awarded and two is the duration of support.

The family courts of California have a lot of discretion when it comes to determining how long a person will have to pay spousal support. As a general rule of thumb which does not have to be followed by the court, marriages of less than ten years will have to have spousal support paid for half the length of the marriage. For marriages of more than ten years, it’s anyone’s guess as to how long the court will decide spousal support is necessary.

Starting in the late 1990s, though, there was a trend among courts for spousal support’s duration to be linked to a transition period from married life to single life. The courts started not liking lifetime support.

In addition to their wide amount of discretion concerning the duration of spousal support, the courts have a lot of say in how much spousal support needs to be paid each month. In an attempt to lessen the court’s discretion, many counties have adopted guidelines that outline acceptable spousal support payments. These are still only guidelines that set a range, not set rules.

There are a variety of statutes for the courts to consider when determining spousal support. They need to consider:

  • The earning capacity of individuals. This is used to determine whether or not the parties will each be able to maintain the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage.
  • The extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license for the supporting party. As an example, if the husband footed the entire bill for his wife’s medical school education and then stopped working to stay at home with the kids while his wife worked, that needs to be taken into consideration.
  • The ability of the supporting spouse to pay spousal support
  • The needs of each party as established by the standard of living during the marriage
  • The financial obligations and assets of each party
  • Duration of the marriage

If you are considering a divorce or are in the middle of a fight over spousal support, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211.

More In Depth Information

For a more in depth discussion of Spousal Support please review the our discussion of Spousal support at, review our searchable Articles Database as well as our searchable FAQ’s.

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Starting A Private Family Law Firm

Starting a Private Family Law Firm

I was asked by Lionel Halsey to write an article about opening a law firm. I was honored that Lionel asked me to participate by writing an article for the North County lawyer.

The first step in my evolution of opening my own firm was when I left the County of San Diego Department of Child Support Services after working there for six years and joining a large family law firm in Encinitas, California.

Working at the law firm of Edmunds and Claery gave me the opportunity to gain a great deal of experience working on a large caseload and making courtroom appearances throughout San Diego County.

While working at the law firm of Edmunds and Claery not only did I get to chance to appear in front of most of the judicial officers but the caseload also allowed me to form relationships with members of the bar and specifically members of the Family Bar in North County. I found many of members of the family Bar North County extremely cordial and friendly and we’re happy to work together to resolve cases that can often be quite emotional for the participants.

During my tenure at Edmunds and Claery, one of the attorneys who appeared on dissolution matter, representing the other spouse was attorney Michael Fischer. Michael Fischer was a young attorney who had his own practice. We formed a good working relationship while representing our clients and Michael informed me that he had just taken over some of Roger Thomson’s cases as Roger Thomson was retiring. His practice was growing quickly and we worked so well together he was interested in forming a partnership with me. One of the reasons Michael stated he thought we worked well together is because we were not only interested in representing our clients zealously but also interested in helping them navigate through the emotional and legal issues that arise in family law and bring their case to a swift, just but cost effective conclusion so that they could go on with their lives. At the same time Michael and I both recognized we wanted to have the opportunity to spend some time with our individual families to insure we still had personal lives as well.

I was flattered by Michael Fisher’s proposal and gave it a great deal of thought. My wife, Elizabeth is extremely financially conservative and is also a member of the bar, who works as an alternate public defender in the juvenile dependency system. She was less than excited about me starting my own firm, but when I spoke with her about partnering with Michael Fisher, she was much more supportive and excited about the prospect of partnering with a like-minded individual who had experience in making small businesses work After working for two years at Edmunds and Clary I decided to take Michael Fisher up on his offer. To ensure that our initial analysis was correct and that we would have a harmonious relationship as partners, we worked together for four months before formalizing our relationship. During the first four months, we were sharing an office space with other attorneys including Michael Fisher’s brother-in-law Michael McColloch of McColloch and Campitiello. I really enjoyed working at their Carlsbad office especially when the other attorney complained that I was overdressed. It was very refreshing to see attorneys working in a relaxed atmosphere, but still providing quality representation for their clients.

Four months later, not only did Michael and I decide to formalize our relationship as partners, an opportunity presented itself when a real estate business quickly vacated their office in Oceanside, leaving behind some of their office furniture.

Both Michael and I were a little disappointed to leave behind our office mates at McColloch and Campitiello but we vowed to bring the same relaxed but professional atmosphere to new office.

It was a little stressful moving our office on the Thanksgiving weekend. However, all of our clients seemed quite impressed with the new office space. In order to ensure that we could cover larger overhead that our new office brought, we immediately put ourselves on referral lists for the San Diego County Bar Association. This not only included referrals for family law but also from the referral list for modest means clients. It was nice to provide representation for clients who needed help but could not come up with the usual large retainers, that are required when seeking a professional attorney.

Michael and I also spent a great deal time discussing the development of our firm’s website and how to maximize our results in advertising on the Web. We both agreed that based on the feedback we received from potential clients, Web advertising seems to be one of the best ways to get our name out to the general public. We even had Michael’s wife, Catherine, a professional photographer, do a photo shoot to place our photos on the firm’s website. We have placed a great deal of emphasis on web development and search engine development. We decided to place our advertising money in visibility via the internet and sought out a high end web designer and search engine optimization company. We were very lucky in finding the Search Engine Guys out of Austin Texas to do our search engine optimization for us. We found that you get what you pay for; although more expensive on paper than other companies we researched, they have done a great job of developing our site and getting us very good placement on the internet in a relatively minimal amount of time and cost.

Three months into our now formalized partnership, our firm seems to be growing. We seem to have enough work to keep both of our paralegals busy. Also, we were able to further reduce our overhead by moving to a much better space in the same building. We even offered office space to our colleague/mentor Roger Thomson, who decided he was not yet ready for retirement.

One of the most rewarding aspects of starting my own firm with Michael Fischer was the feedback I have received from my fellow North County Family Bar members. You have all wished me well in my endeavors and given nothing but supportive suggestions. Your well wishes confirmed to me that indeed this is a profession that I want to be part of. I have also especially appreciated the kind words and suggestions from Steve Medaris and James Ratzer. I look forward to continue working with all the members of the North County Bar, while the Law Practice of Fischer and Van Thiel continues to grow.

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Stress Management During Divorce

Stress Management During Divorce

Divorce for any family is very stressful. Oftentimes, the individuals involved may feel as though they are riding an emotional rollercoaster, complete with gut wrenching twists and turns that inevitably make you feel sick to your stomach. It is easy for us to get stuck in the negative feelings of betrayal, hatred, and hurt. Ultimately, divorce is much like all other very important things in life: the relationships we share with others and the proper management of these relationships.

A very important part of managing interpersonal relationships is controlling the amount of internal stress that you create for yourself in your own mind. This means keeping a close eye on the kinds of thoughts that you are thinking during such an intense time. Simply thinking positively about the situation is too simplistic an approach to stress management, however; it involves something much deeper.

The first step in monitoring your thoughts is being aware of how your thoughts affect your moods and emotional sentiment. If thinking about what your spouse is doing at any given moment is something that will make you sad or angry, then it is important that you understand this as your reaction to that thought. This principle works for feelings of happiness and joy as well.

Once you have become aware of the relationships between your thoughts and your emotions, you will begin to learn how to direct your focus in an intended direction. Once you can do this, you will be able to effectively and efficiently change the amount of stress you place on yourself during the divorce.

For more ways to navigate the path to divorce, contact the San Diego divorce and family lawyers of the Fischer and Van Thiel firm at 858-935-6211.

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Us Law Regarding Prenuptial Agreements

US Law Regarding Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements, are becoming much more common in the United States due to the fact that they increase the likelihood of a speedy and affordable divorce process. This type of agreement specifically lists the assets that soon-to-be spouses will keep in the event their marriage ends, without having to engage in a potentially lengthy and contentious legal battle. Prenups are currently recognized in all 50 states, but must adhere to the following five guidelines in order to be valid.

They Must Be Written

As with any contract, a prenup must be written. The soon-to-be spouses must both sign the agreement in order to make clear to the court that they understand and agree to the stipulations listed therein. Although oral prenups can be formulated, they are generally not recognized in most American jurisdictions.

They Must Be Formed Voluntarily

Not unlike a will being formulated and signed voluntarily by a testator of sound mind, a prenup must be created in a similar manner. These agreements are very sensitive when it comes to the agreed participation of both parties and can become null if it is proven that one or both parties were forced into said agreement.

They Must Include Full Disclosure By Both Parties

In order for the agreement to be valid, both parties must include all available information regarding the assets listed therein. The same goes for any liabilities or income. Proof of such information must be included in the agreement.

They Cannot Be Unconscionable  

If a prenup has been proven to significantly favor one party over the other, then it may become invalidated. For example, an agreement that states that one spouse will receive no property, alimony, or other assets in the event of a divorce is likely to be found unconscionable.

They Must Be Formulated By The Parties Themselves

A prenup must be formulated by the future spouses themselves, not by any other party. Although it is legal to request the services of an attorney who is knowledgeable in the formulation of such documents, the stipulations themselves must be made by the two parties whose interests the contract reflects. The two must then sign the document before a notary public.

Furthermore, the prenup may include a “sunset provision”. This type of provision will nullify the agreement after a specific date. The same may happen in the event of the birth of a child. However, the couple may renew the document if they so wish.

Contact Us

Ensure that your prenuptial agreement is legally binding by requesting the assistance of an attorney from the law office of San Diego’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Contact one of our attorneys at 858-935-6211.

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What Is Alimony?

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a fairly old concept designed to make divorce settlements more equitable by protecting the standard-of-living of the lower-earning or non-earning spouse. It takes the form of court-ordered payments from the wealthier or wage-earning spouse to the other spouse. The amount of the payments depends on several factors, including income and living expenses, among others.

Though the doctrine of alimony makes no explicit distinction between the sexes, in practice it has largely been awarded from husbands to wives, simply due to the imbalance between the number of working men and working women. However, because of modern trends towards women in the workforce, more and more husbands are claiming alimony from their divorced wives than ever before. This resulted in a controversy over the allegedly gender-biased word “alimony” and gave rise to the terms “spousal support” and “spousal maintenance.” The meaning of these different terms is identical; their adoption is a reflection of efforts to create a gender-neutral way to refer to alimony.

Like child support, alimony often becomes a hotly contested topic in many divorces, for several reasons. First of all, alimony laws in many states tend to be rather vague and leave decisions mostly up to the discretion of the courts. This has led to vastly different judgments in different courtrooms and complaints from many professionals in the legal industry.

Another issue is the perception of alimony as unfair and unjustified. This dispute typically pits women’s rights advocates against men’s advocacy groups – a throwback to the original tendency of husband-to-wife alimony payments. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that so many types of alimony judgments can be awarded, from those given only on a rehabilitative basis (until the receiving spouse is self-sufficient or remarries, for example) to those awarded for basically a lifetime. Opponents of alimony view it as nothing more than a benefit to “gold-diggers” and free riders.

Are you going through a divorce? Do you need experienced legal counsel? If so, call 858-935-6211 today to speak with a San Diego divorce attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel about your case.

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Calculating Alimony

Calculating Alimony

Alimony is one of those issues that no one really likes to talk about, because it is distilling a broken marriage down to the bare bones. Alimony is the payment provided by one spouse for future support of the other spouse.

However, when a judge hears a case in his or her court room, they must listen to all the facts and help make a judgment of “how much” should be assigned in alimony payments. This “how much” is what everyone wants to know, because it greatly effects the lives of everyone involved.

Alimony is usually calculated in three ways:

1. First, the age of each party and the length of marriage is taken into consideration. If a couple has been together for a long time, they have more shared assets and money that needs to be split up. A couple that has not been together for a very long time is less dependent on one another, so they can start anew more easily. Courts also feel that younger people do not need as large alimony settlements, as they can start fresh more easily.

2. Wrongdoing: If one of the ex-partners has actually committed some wrong that led to the end of the marriage, the court will often take sympathy on the victim. It will reward more money for emotional damage, as well as to punish the wrongdoer.

3. The income of each spouse is considered to make sure that following the divorce, both parties will have enough money to support themselves separately.

Talk to a San Diego Divorce Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is involved in a divorce case and believes that they are eligible for a large alimony payment, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211 for legal advice and representation for your case.

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Common Questions About Divorce

Common Questions about Divorce

Divorce is a complicated legal proceeding. If you have questions about divorce this is completely normal. However, figuring out what questions are important and necessary to understand can be tricky.

Here are some common questions about divorce:

What if my spouse is not related to my child?

— If your spouse is not the father or the mother of your child, the court is likely to require DNA testing to verify this for the court record.

What is the first step for filing for divorce?

— You must first submit a petition for “Dissolution of Marriage”. This petition will ask you to give a general outline of all your property and monetary holdings. You must also state any shared children you have with your partner.

Do we have to have separate lawyers?

— You do not have to have different lawyers. If you feel like there is not going to be too much arguing and fighting, then you can have the same lawyer. However, if you feel like there is a lot at stake and that you need your own lawyer to argue your case, separate lawyers are advised.

These are important questions that you should be asking yourself if you are going through a divorce or preparing to go through a divorce.

Talk to a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions about getting divorced or need legal advice contact Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Our San Diego divorce lawyers have years of experience dealing with divorce cases so call us today at 858-935-6211.

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Cost Of Divorce

The Real Cost of Divorce

Divorce is an emotional drain as well as a financially taxing decision to split lives and love. When couples are unable to work out their differences and a decision to divorce is made, it is helpful to be aware of all the costs involved in the separation. Some estimates place the average cost at around $20,000 with many divorces costing far more. Short term costs in a divorce include hiring a lawyer, long term costs include the changing of lifestyles based on different financial circumstances after separation.

If a divorce is completely amiable and no children are involved, some couples can use a divorce kit that costs around $100. This option, however, is a rare way out. For divorces that are contentious about assets or have children involved, a lawyer is usually recommended. Generally, the more complicated and emotional a divorce is, the more expensive it will be. In addition to lawyer fees, court filing fees, process serving, and subpoena costs must be kept in mind. With the average divorce taking about two years to finalize, the fiscal burden can add up quickly.

One of the most drastic changes after a divorce is a lifestyle change. Spouses now have about half of their normal income to cover the same costs, but this time they are generally paying their entire mortgage or rent, utilities, and bills instead of splitting the costs. Other potential ramifications include sudden child support payments and alimony, both in the short and long-term. When going through a divorce, be prepared for disposable income to dwindle suddenly and rapidly.

If you need an experienced divorce lawyer, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211 today.

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Divorce And Religion

Divorce and Religion

Several religious groups look down upon divorce and some even ban it. However, divorce rates in the United States suggest that religion is a negligible factor among divorced couples. Even if divorce is prohibited by your religion, it is important to keep in mind that an unhealthy marriage is not good for you or your spouse, and it may be your only course of action.

If you or someone you know thinking about a divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 to learn more about filing for divorce.

Religious Complications

Many popular religions have rules against getting divorced. Different denominations of Christianity have different rules for divorce. Most tend to accept it, but only as a worst case scenario. Catholicism allows divorce but has rules against remarriage. Judaism and Islam both accept divorce. Dharmic religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, do not have a concept of divorce.

Regardless of your religion’s views on divorce, the United States government as well as every state government recognizes divorce. When you file for a divorce, your state government does not ask for your religious affiliation; any married couple in the US is eligible for a divorce in most cases.

No matter what your religion may be, you should always consult with an experience divorce lawyer before you file for a divorce, as it can be a complicated matter.

Contact Us

Divorce is a complicated subject that may be further complicated by religious beliefs. Let the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP worry about the legal difficulties. Call us at 858-935-6211 for more information.

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Divorce Myths

Divorce Myths

Myths can be dangerous in any legal area, especially that of marriage and divorce. People need to have realistic ideas about what marriage and divorce entail so that they can make the most beneficial decisions for themselves and their families. To have realistic notions, myths have to be dispelled.

One common myth is that men initiate most divorce proceedings. The fact, however, is that women initiate two-thirds of all divorces, significantly because men are more likely to engage in behavior that threatens a marital relationship.

Another myth is that it is better for children to live in stepfamilies than with single parents. The reality is that stepfamilies are not necessarily better than single parents. Stepfamilies have their own problems, and it may be difficult for children to become comfortable in the stepfamily.

A third myth that is more prevalent than the others is that it is good for children when their parents get divorced if their parents are in a bad relationship. The truth is that unless the relationships are very bad, for example one parent is abusive, it is better for children if parents work out their differences and stay together.

Moreover, many couples believe that having a child will strengthen their marriage extensively. The truth is that a child creates additional responsibilities and stress on a marriage and can possibly lead to divorce.

Finally, many people believe that living together before marriage prevents divorces from happening. Researchers have found, however, that couples who live together before marriage in fact have higher rates of divorce.

Is divorce right for you?

This is a question you need to make after much thought. Understanding the myths and realities about divorce can help you make an informed decision.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Attorney

Should you decide to walk down the road of divorce, the services of a lawyer will help make the process easier. Moreover, attorneys can help find legal ways to save a marriage. For help and information, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Impact Of Divorce On Children

The Impact of Divorce of Children

Divorce is a group problem; it is not just an issue between man and wife, but for their children as well. The impact of divorce on children is different for every family, but there are many similarities between most cases.

Most children are afraid of the new situation. Without mom or dad, what will life be? Some children are often afraid of being abandoned themselves. If they feel like one of their parents is getting rid of the other parent, what is keeping them from getting rid of the child? Children need their parents’ love and support, which is why the feeling of the loss of one parent can be devastating.

Even if you are the parent that is keeping the children, you need to include both parents in the transition to the new life. If you want is best for your children, you will work together with your ex to allow your children to heal.

Unfortunately, the logic behind the arguments of adult is often not the same with children. One of the first impulses of children is to try and get their parents back together. This unrealistic goal can backfire and cause the children to become depressed and angry when their plans fail. They might then blame themselves for the failure of the marriage and become withdrawn.

Help your children developed a new life routine to get on the road to a healthy recovery from the painful divorce.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you or a loved one is contemplating a divorce and needs legal advice or representation, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211.

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Importance Of Telling People About Divorce

The Importance of Telling People about a Divorce

Although divorces have lost much of the stigma that they used to have, many people still are embarrassed about their own divorces. They may be reluctant to tell their friends and family of their divorce out of fear of being ostracized or blamed. These feelings, while understandable, are unfounded. It is important to tell people close to you about your divorce for multiple reasons.

Divorces can lead to feelings of isolation and helplessness, and friends and family can offer support. People close to you can make the process of transitioning into normal life without a spouse easier. They can help you take your mind off the divorce by spending time with you, taking you out, and just talking with you.

Aside from offering support, friends and family can offer guidance. They may have been through a divorce before, or they may have helped others who have been through a divorce. Because of these experiences, they can offer advice as to what a divorcee can do to cope with the divorce and move on with their life.

Finally, friends and family can help divorcees help understand why the divorce happened. Many times, spouses may feel that they were at fault for the end of the marriage, and this may lead to depression. Friends and family, however, can help put the divorce into perspective by helping the divorcee more level-headedly explore what went wrong.

It is understandable that people may be reluctant to tell those close to them about a divorce. Being open, however, is a wise step to take because it will help overcome any trauma associated with the divorce.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Attorney

Anyone going through a divorce has a lot to deal with, both personally and legally. Having an attorney’s help can remove much of the legal burden so that divorcees can focus on their personal well-being. For help in dealing with the legal aspects of a divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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More Divorce Myths

Divorce Myths

Fighting divorce myths is absolutely necessary if marriages are going to function correctly or end as smoothly as possible. There are many common myths about divorce, and they need to identified and corrected.

One major myth is that people who marry a second time are less likely to get a divorce because they have learned from their first marriage. The reality is that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages.

Many parents also fool themselves into thinking that divorces do not have serious, long-term effects on children. The truth is that divorces have very serious, long-lasting effects that may become worse as children age.

Studies have asserted that after a divorce the woman’s standard of living falls 73 % while the man’s rises 42%. In reality, the woman’s falls 27% and the man’s rises 10%.

There is also a notion floating around that children whose parents get divorced are less likely to get divorced when they get married. In fact, such children are more likely to get divorced because they use their parents as role models.

Lastly, it is a common misconception that a low-point in a marriage means a divorce is on the horizon. The truth is that marriages fluctuate, and couples who weather a low point can end up happy later.

Reconsider Divorce.

Correcting myths about divorce allows people to reconsider whether divorce is right for them. As the reality of divorce makes clear, its effects can be very serious.

Speak with a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you have decided that divorce is right for you, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211. We will help you deal with the legal requirements of the divorce process.

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Divorce Rate In America

Divorce Rate in America

With an estimated  50% divorce rate in America, people are losing faith in marriage, rather than thinking about that number and what it means. First, one must examine the numbers that only refer to people who are getting married for the first time. Of all first time marriages, 41% of those marriages end in divorce.

The reason for this number can be linked to many things. For one, Americans tend to marry younger than many European or Asians, which may be one reason for the high rate. Ages 24 and younger who get married have a much higher percent chance of getting divorced (about 50%), while people who get married at an older age have a lower chance of getting divorced.

However, when looking at those people who get married for a second or third time, the chance of getting divorced again is higher. For second marriages the divorce rate is 60%, and for third marriages, over 70%. All these numbers are counted in that overall 40-50% American divorce rate. Those who get divorced once are much more likely to get divorced again.

One thing that has been found to keep people from getting a divorce is children. Those couples with children are much less likely to get a divorce, even if they are having marriage problems. These couples are more likely to try and to work things out.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you or a loved one is interested in getting a divorce, and needs legal advice or representation, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211.

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How To Prepare For Divorce

San Diego Divorce Lawyers

How to Prepare for Divorce

Statistics tell us that approximately half of all first marriages will end in a divorce, with even higher percentages for second or third marriages. The odds are likely, therefore, that any married person will need to go through a divorce at one time or another in their lives. If you realize that your marriage is heading for a divorce, or if you plan to be the one who initiates divorce proceedings, remember that there are several proactive steps you can take in order to prepare yourself – financially and emotionally – for your coming divorce.

Look for the Signs of Trouble

The first thing to understand when preparing for divorce is the importance of time. All the steps that you can take to get ready are only effective if done weeks, or even months in advance. For this reason, it is important to stay aware of the status of your relationship. People who feel “blindsided” when their partner files for divorce aren’t telling themselves the whole truth. The signs of relationship troubles are always present – it is up to you to observe and accept them for what they are.

Organize Information

Once you realize that a divorce is inevitable, it is time to start organizing your personal and marital information. Obtain copies of all important documents relating to your financial and social ties to your spouse. Keep clear records of all financial assets and debts you and your spouse have accumulated over the years – including bank accounts, credit cards, stocks, and loans. Find copies of your tax returns for the past few years. Compile any estate-planning documents – such as wills and prenuptial agreements. Also write down important contact information so that you can access it easily later.

Prepare Your Finances

Always remember that divorce has the potential to seriously damage your financial situation. To avoid this, start by taking a look at your credit report. If there are problems, try to fix them before the divorce before an expensive legal battle has drained your financial resources. Keeping a clean credit report will allow you to fend for yourself more effectively after the divorce is over. Now is also a good time to begin separating the assets that you and your spouse hold. If you have joint bank accounts, loans, and credit cards, consider taking the time to create your own separate accounts for use both during and after the divorce.

Prepare Yourself

Start changing your mindset from that of a married person to that of an individual. This does not mean making a rash decision to move out, or taking actions which may make the situation worse by angering or irritating your spouse. What it does mean is that you begin to prepare yourself for a new outlook on life. This may be something as basic as dusting off an old resume and making contact with potential employers, or looking at places where you can live when the divorce is complete. If you feel emotionally troubled, seeking counseling, advice, or support is also a good idea.

Find a Professional

Although you may be inexperienced in the divorce process, there are many professionals who know divorce inside and out. A San Diego divorce lawyer can help you navigate your way through your divorce by offering you experienced legal counsel. Call the Fischer & Van Thiel law firm at 858-935-6211 today.

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Paternity Test Basics

San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Paternity Test Basics – ABO Blood Testing

Paternity testing is a scientific process which can determine if a man is the biological father of a child. Such tests are frequently useful in child custody and child support cases where parentage is important. Whether a man wants to deny paternity or show that he is the biological parent of a child, there are two primary forms of testing used.

The ABO blood test is the simpler of the two main paternity testing methods. It revolves around the fact that a child’s blood type is determined in a fixed manner, and that there only four main blood types: A, B, AB, and O. These blood types are determined by the combination of two alleles, one from each parent. Each allele can be either A, B, or O. The A and B alleles are co-dominant, while the O allele is recessive. This means that a child with an A blood type would have either two A alleles or an A allele and an O allele, while an AB child could only possibly have one A allele and one B allele, and a O-type child could only have two O alleles.

Some combinations are impossible. Two O-type parents, for example, could not possibly give birth to a child with an AB blood type. Therefore, ABO blood testing could be used to rule out the possibility of paternity. That is, if a mother with O-type blood accuses another O-type man of being the father of her child, a test which revealed that the child had a AB blood type would contradict the accusation.

For more information on paternity tests, contact a San Diego divorce lawyer from Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211 today.

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Absolute Divorce Vs Limited Divorce

San Diego Divorce Attorneys

Absolute Divorce vs. Limited Divorce

A divorce is an official, legal dissolution of a marriage. United States laws differentiate between two overarching categories of divorce: absolute divorce, also known as divorce a vinculo matrimonii, and limited divorce, also known as divorce a menso et thoro.

Absolute divorces are the complete dissolution of marriage by judicial termination. After a couple gets absolutely divorced, they are no longer legally considered married; they are now officially single. Traditionally, for couples to get an absolute divorce they had to prove some sort of marital wrongdoing, for example, abuse or adultery.

Limited divorces, on the other hand, involve legal termination only of a couple’s right to live with one another. Officially, a couple is still married and is classified as such. Because of their nature, limited divorces are also known as separation decrees. Some states have laws for conversion divorces, whereby limited divorces become absolute divorces after a certain period of time.

Because nowadays most divorces do not result because of a traditional notion of “marital wrongdoing”, states have instituted “no-fault divorce” laws. To get a no-fault divorce, couples need to show that

  • The marriage cannot last any longer
  • There are “irreconcilable differences” in the marriage that have led to its breakdown
  • The marital problems have not allowed the purpose of marriage to be met
  • The marriage cannot be salvaged

Consult a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Despite the fact that divorces are very common today, they still involve a legal process. As a result, people will benefit immensely from having the help of an attorney. If you are considering divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Abusive Marriage

Abusive Marriage: How to Get Out

Domestic violence is not pretty. Abusive marriages are more prevalent than most people believe. Abuse in a marriage can hide for a very long time and even friends and family can be completely oblivious. Unfortunately, people who are trapped in an abusive relationship often feel that they have no one to turn to for help.

If the abuse has not yet reached a physical level, the person getting abused may question themselves if they are really being abused, which can greatly damage their self esteem and confidence.

However, there is hope. There are several ways to get out of such a damaging relationship and situation. Firstly, confidence needs to be rebuilt. A key part of confidence is independence, and the only way to gain your independence in a psychologically vulnerable state is to have friends. Friends can help you do what’s right for yourself, when you cannot objectively see your situation.

Next you need to realize your situation and be willing to do something about it. You are worth more than such a relationship, and you can have a better one. Getting a divorce can be the best way out of an abusive relationship.

Speak with a San Diego Domestic Abuse Attorney

If you or a loved one is involved in a domestic abuse case, is trying to get out of a marriage, or needs a divorce, contact a San Diego domestic abuse lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Speak to us at 858-935-6211. We can get you the help you need.



Most couples who decide to get divorced use litigation as their method of settling the situation. What some people don’t know, however, is that there are alternative methods available to resolve your domestic issues. These techniques, which on the whole are known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices, include items like mediation and arbitration. ADR takes place outside of the courtroom, and a resolution is reached with the help of an outside and unbiased, third party.

During the arbitration process, the third party decides the (legally-binding) outcome of the divorce. The divorcing couples and the arbitrator sit down and discuss the situation. After hearing both sides of the matter, the arbitrator comes to a solution, by which both disputing parties must abide. As you can see, it is very important for a divorcing couple to select an arbitrator that they trust to make a fair decision. There is also very little chance of appealing the outcome, so again, it is essential to select an arbitrator who will have a sound and just outlook.

Alternative dispute resolution tends to be cheaper and faster than the trial process. It is a great way to speed up the divorce process in situations that have been put off due to a packed court schedule. ADR is also, in general, more casual, and the disputing parties have a bit more control over the outcome. For example, during mediation, they actually come to a resolution together. In the arbitration process, they set the rules and boundaries of the arbitrator.

Contact Us

If you are interested in using arbitration to resolve your domestic argument or settle a divorce, then the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can help. To speak with us about your situation and learn more about your options, contact our offices today at 858-935-6211.

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Calculating Child Support

Calculating Child Support

One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce is making sure your children are adequately cared for despite the turmoil they’ve undergone. Child support is the financial obligation you as a parent may be required to pay in order to ensure the safe and responsible upbringing your children deserve. You may be curious about the different factors the court takes into consideration when determining how to award child support.

The State of California has very specific guidelines its courts use when determining the amount of child support to award. The following are different factors that play a part in calculating this amount:

  • The gross incomes of both parents. The courts need to know how much each parent makes in order to determine how much each parent should be financially obligated to support the child.
  • The amount of time the child will spend with each parent. The parent with less time with the children may be expected to pay more in child support.
  • Any tax deductions each parent can claim.
  • Payroll deductions that each parent is required to make, such as health care or labor union dues.
  • The respective amounts each parent pays in child care costs.

The courts will then apply a series of formulas to this raw data to determine which parent will be obligated to pay child support, and how much money that parent will be expected to pay. These guidelines are used to ensure that child support is both provided when necessary and uniformly levied throughout the state.

Contact Us

If you are going through a divorce and have questions about child support, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

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Child Abuse Statistics

Child Abuse Statistics

Child abuse is one of the biggest problems facing the American family today. While we’re almost all familiar with news stories of kids being beaten and abused, we are often blind to it when it happens closer to home, without the dramatization of the news story. The only people who can prevent child abuse are well-informed and responsible adults. If you suspect that your spouse is abusing your children, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211 today.

The Statistics

Every year, about 3 million reports are filed concerning child abuse and other forms of child neglect. However, these reports can concern multiple children. In 2007 alone, 5.8 million children were involved in 3.2 million reported cases of child abuse. And these numbers do not even tell the whole story, as there are numerous cases of child abuse and neglect that go unreported every year.

Additional, shocking child abuse statistics are as follows:

  • Approximately five children die every day as a result of child abuse.
  • A report of child abuse occurs every ten seconds.
  • About 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their attacker; approximately 68% are related to their attacker.
  • Over 60% of the people in drug rehabilitation facilities were abused as children.
  • About 80% of people in their early 20s who had been abused as children have at least one psychological disorder.
  • Child abuse costs taxpayers over $100 billion every year.
  • Children who have been the victims of sexual abuse are several times more likely to develop alcohol or drug dependency problems.

Contact Us

If your spouse or partner is abusing your children, it is your duty to do something about it. If you’re interested in finding out more about your divorce options in this situation, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Choosing The Right Type Of Custody Arrangement

Choosing the Right Type of Custody Arrangement

One of the most difficult choices to come out of any divorce arrangement is the one which determines who will get custody of the children. The decision is a tough one because the outcome may very well decide the future health and happiness of the children, and it’s understandable that it can be a contentious issue. There are a few different options you can consider, and it can help to discuss your situation with an experienced divorce attorney before you come to any final decision.

If you are going through a divorce and you are concerned about how the outcome will affect your children, the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP may be able to help. Contact us today by calling 858-935-6211 to learn more about what we can do for you.

Custody Arrangement Options

While there are a large variety of different options you can consider in determining custody of your children following your divorce, there are three main types most people consider:

  • Sole physical custody. The most common type of physical custody arrangement, sole custody involves a child living full-time with a single parent. This parent is responsible for making the daily decisions that affect the child.
  • Joint physical custody. An option rapidly gaining in popularity, joint physical custody arrangements allow the child to split time living parts of the year with each parent.
  • Joint legal custody. Many child custody arrangements, including sole physical custody arrangements, allow for joint legal custody. Both parents share the responsibility of making the large decisions affecting the child – decisions regarding religious upbringing, education, and medical treatment.

No matter what arrangement you settle on, your child may benefit from the consideration of several different options.

Contact Us

If you are considering a divorce and wondering how it will affect your custody of your children, the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP may be able to help. Contact us today by calling 858-935-6211 to find out how we can help you.

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Conditions for Simplified Divorce In California

Conditions for Simplified Divorce in California

To help ease the legal burden of divorce for young couples, the state of California has a simplified divorce process for those who have been married for five years of less. A simplified divorce process can be executed through the filing of a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage. Before the Joint Petition can be finalized, however, the following 13 specific conditions must be met.

  • First, both spouses must want a divorce.
  • Second, the marital differences cannot be overcome.
  • Third, the couple has no children, whether through birth or adoption.
  • Fourth, both spouses have to read and understand a brochure on the Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage.
  • Fifth, both spouses have to waive their rights to receive spousal support from one another.
  • Sixth, neither spouse can own any real estate.
  • Seventh, the unpaid debts of the couple cannot exceed $4,000.
  • Eight, the total value of the couples’ property cannot exceed $25,000. That amount does not include cars and loans, but it does include retirement plans and deferred compensation.
  • Ninth, the value of either spouse’s separate property cannot exceed $25,000, excluding cars and loans.
  • Tenth, the spouses must waive their right to appeal the dissolution and their right to a new trial when the divorce is finalized.
  • Eleventh, both spouses have to agree on the division of their assets and have to sign an official form stating that they agree to the terms of the division.
  • Twelfth, at least one spouse must be an official resident of the state of California.
  • Finally, the wife cannot be pregnant.

Contact Us

As the above criteria suggest, the divorce process in California can be confusing, even in the case of so-called simplified divorces. For help, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Conflict Management During A Divorce

Conflict Management During a Divorce

Divorce is a messy business. There are a lot of angry emotions, hot tempers, and hurt feelings. This is why it is really important to take some preventative steps to curb the conflict from getting out of hand. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with conflict in divorce proceedings:

Take Responsibility

Like in most situations, it is important to take responsibility for one’s own actions and problems. In divorce, it is easy to point fingers and place blame where it is easy. However, this is not the right thing to do. It is always important not to burn all your bridges, especially if you ever need to call on your former spouse again. You need to practice civility.

Joint Divorce

Getting a mediator to talk through your divorce is an important step in divorce proceedings. If you can settle a conflict with either a third party or a lawyer, you could reach a settlement in which both parties are content and avoid a confrontation in court.

Parent/Child Counseling

If you are a parent going through divorce you need to be aware of how your children are reacting to the situation. If your children are of a certain age, they may be at risk during this time for psychological stress, like depression and anxiety. The life they had come to know and love is all falling apart. If you think your children are having a rough time adjusting you should consider going to counseling with your children. They will thank you later for it.

Consult a San Diego Divorce Attorney

No one will assert that divorce is easy, but there are better ways to handle the conflict then to be alone. For more information on divorce, contact a San Diego divorce lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Call us at 858-935-6211.

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Credit Accounts And Divorce

Credit Accounts and Divorce

There are two types of credit accounts that people can open: joint accounts and individual accounts. The type of account that married individuals open can have a major effect on who has to pay back the debts in the case that divorce occurs. First, however, it is important to provide basic information on both types of accounts.

When a married couple opens a joint credit account, for example for a credit card, then both of the spouses’ credit history and income/assets are considered when the creditor is deciding whether or not to grant the credit. Should the spouses be granted credit, both spouses are responsible for paying back the debt associated with the account.

When a married individual opens an individual credit account, however, the opposite happens. Only that individual’s, and not his or her spouse’s, credit history and income/assets are considered. As a result, only the spouse opening the individual account is responsible for paying back any debt linked to the account.

When Divorce Comes into the Picture

When people decide to get divorced, the type of credit account affects which spouse has to pay back the debt. If the debt is for an individual account, then the spouse who opened the account has to pay back the debt. For a joint account, however, both spouses are responsible for paying back the debt. Even if the spouses agree that one of them will pay back the debt, the creditor can claim money from the other spouse, as the creditor was never a party to the divorce agreement that the spouses signed. As far as the creditor is concerned, the debt would still be part of a joint account.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you are going to get divorced, debts are only one concern. The legal requirements can be a serious burden. To get the legal assistance that you need, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Custody Adoption And Divorce

Custody, Adoption, and Divorce

Divorce is never a clear procedure. There are so many things involved in dividing two people from the one life they used to live. Whether deciding who the house belongs to or who should pay the debt, things can get ugly and distorted.

One of the most important issues in divorce is the children. Many families that get divorced have children, or adopted children. There is no question how divorce affects children. It usually isn’t good. However, to add more stress to the situation is that the law can sometimes be unclear about adopted children.

In many situations, the adopted child has already gone through some intense emotional strain, and the fact that their new family splitting apart is not going to help. Legally speaking, you and your spouse are responsible for the child and must decide who will be their guardian. While it is encouraged that both parents remain in their co-parenting roles, it often falls to come parent to be the full custody holder.

It is extremely important to help your adopted child readjust to the new situation, and assure them that it is not their fault. Most doctors recommend children be sent to therapists, just to make sure the have someone to talk to during this painful time.

Speak with a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you or a loved on is involved in a divorce case and needs legal representation, Fischer & Van Thiel can help. Contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of at 858-935-6211 today to get legal advice and professional help.

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Dating After Divorce

Dating after Divorce

Trying to find love after divorce can be a daunting task for anyone. The first rung to this process is figuring out whether or not you are ready for a new relationship. Divorce can weigh heavily on a person’s ability to trust and to believe in a relationship, however, with renewed dating efforts and the meeting of new people, this belief can be regained.

The next step is to change your attitude. Your divorce may be on your mind, but you need to start moving on. Put thoughts of your divorce away and think about the future. After you make the initial commitment to start dating use these tips to get on the right foot:

Leave the Baggage at Home

Yes, you may have just been through a painful divorce, but you should not use your date as a therapist and scare them away. Everyone has a past full of relationships, but while you are just getting yourself out there, keep a positive attitude and look to the future. This type of position gives a person an air of confidence that most people are attracted to.

Think about your Date

If you are not ready to talk about yourself as much, try asking your date questions about themselves, and remember how it feels like to get to know someone new. It is good to start dating casually so you can practice for when you are serious about entering into a committed, long term relationship.

Never Pretend

If you act like someone else, you are going to come off as fake. Try to be true to yourself and you will be much more satisfied in dating.

Consult a San Diego Divorce Attorney

Life after divorce can be very difficult, especially trying to move on from divorce. For more information on divorce, contact a San Diego divorce lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Call us at 858-935-6211.

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Dealing With Marital Problems

Dealing with Marital Problems

Divorce is often an extremely painful process. It can be especially painful if you still love your spouse and feel that there might be something worth saving there, something to fight for. At the very least, you may have doubts about whether or not the permanency of divorce is the right answer to your marital problems.

There are a lot of options open to you as you consider your future together. An experienced and caring divorce attorney may be able to help you explore some divorce alternatives while still making sure that you are legally protected and supported if a divorce does eventually take place. Some helpful suggestions that a San Diego divorce attorney may recommend include:

  • Marriage Counseling. In marriage counseling, you hire a qualified third party to help you and your spouse work through the root problems in your marriage that manifest themselves in arguments and anger. Marriage counseling may not provide quick results, but it can help you put your marriage back on the right tracks.
  • Trial Separation. In a trial separation, you and your spouse experience living apart from one another. While a trial separation may lead to a divorce, it can also make you realize what you stand to lose by filing for a divorce.
  • Talking it out. Sometimes the problems stem from a failure to communicate as a couple. While it usually takes more than just a concerted effort to keep a marriage together, sometimes it’s all a couple needs to realize and respond to the problems in their relationship.

Contact Us

While these alternatives can be helpful in some situations, they will not work every time for every couple. If you are considering getting a divorce, you need caring and experienced representation. For the assistance you need, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Divorce And Adultery

Divorce and Adultery

While adultery is widely consider immoral – and in some states is even illegal – it remains a common problem. When a spouse is found to be adulterous, it usually greatly strains the marriage and, in many cases, leads to a divorce. In divorce cases involving adultery, the innocent spouse can sometimes gain a larger portion of the married couple’s assets, as well as custody of children.

If you are going through a divorce and past adultery is a factor, call the San Diego divorce lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 to learn more about your rights and entitlements in the divorce proceedings.

No-Fault Divorces and Adultery

Even though California adopted a no-fault divorce policy in 1969, which only allows married couples to divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” adultery can play a big role in the divorce settlement.

In order to prove adultery, you may be required to produce evidence showing your spouse’s infidelity. This includes eyewitnesses, which may be difficult to come by. More commonly, the case will be built on circumstantial evidence, which may be things such as love letters or travel records that prove the inclination and chance to commit adultery.

When your spouse has been unfaithful, you may receive a larger portion of your assets in the divorce settlement if you did not sign a pre- or post-nuptial agreement. You may also be entitled to a larger alimony if you are entitled to receive alimony. Additionally, you may be more likely to receive child custody.

Contact Us

Adultery is a common cause of divorce. If you are going through a divorce because of an unfaithful spouse, or trying to defend yourself from accusations of adultery, you should contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 for help in building your divorce case.

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Divorce And Alcoholism

Divorce and Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse is the leading drug problem in the United States. In fact, over 13 percent of adults will experience some form of alcohol abuse or alcoholism at some point in their lives. These sobering statistics do not bode well for married couples. If you are considering a divorce from an alcohol abuser, you are not alone. When alcohol problems are involved in a marriage, divorce rates increase by a factor of four as spouses make the difficult decision to end dysfunctional marriages stemming from one member’s alcohol dependency.

Side Effects of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse occurs when a person has a serious problem refraining from the consumption of alcohol, causing them to neglect family, work, or school obligations. Alcohol dependency, or alcoholism, occurs when an alcohol abuser becomes dependent on alcohol to function. Signs of alcoholism include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, including anxiety, sweating, increased pulse, nausea, body tremors, insomnia, vomiting, and seizures
  • Spending the majority of each day consuming alcohol or recovering from excessive alcohol consumption
  • Losing control of the ability to stop or limit the consumption of alcohol
  • Changes in tolerance levels, requiring more alcohol to achieve the same effect
  • Giving up everyday social, family, recreational, and occupational activities
  • Refusing to seek help for the problem or even admit that a problem exists

The decision to divorce a spouse with a severe alcohol problem is a difficult, life-changing decision. Some spouses find that over time, alcohol has caused their loved one to change into a completely different person than who they married. They live unhappily, suffering because of their spouse’s addiction. If you have exhausted all other options, a separation or divorce might be the next step to getting your life back.

Contact Us

If you are considering a divorce from a spouse who abuses or is dependent on alcohol, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. We understand the highly-emotional nature of your situation and will handle your case with the utmost level of professionalism and dedication. Contact our offices today at 858-935-6211.

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Divorce And Children With Special Needs

Divorce and Children with Special Needs

Divorce can be a difficult time in a child’s life, because it can be difficult for them to understand and it signifies a life-altering change in their lives. This is particularly true for children who have special needs, and divorce can be especially difficult for their parents. Couples who have a child with special needs probably spent much of their marriage caring for and worrying about their child, and this concern will continue even after the marriage ends. If you’re the parent of a child with special needs and you’re worried how your divorce will affect him or her, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

Coping with the Change

If you’re considering a divorce and you have a child who requires special care, you’re probably concerned about how he or she will receive that care after you and your spouse split. The following tips can help you make it through the transition and beyond:

  • It’s important that your child get the care he or she needs. While this may be a painful decision to make, you need to decide which parent will be better able to provide that care.
  • Work to create a safety net of friends and family. Odds are that you won’t be able to do it all alone, and the people close to you are your source for help, inspiration, and balance. Don’t be afraid to ask favors.
  • As with almost any divorce, you should make sure that the child continues to have a good relationship with the non-custodial parent. Except in cases of abuse or addiction, it’s better for a child to have both parents.
  • Make sure the child support payments are sufficient to cover the needs of your child. If you are the one paying the support payments, it’s important to realize the responsibility you have to the child.

Contact Us

If you or someone you love is going through a divorce that affects special-needs children, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211 today.

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Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation, is not, like some people believe, an attempt to get the quarreling couple back together for a happily ever after. Divorce mediation is not solving people’s differences or making one person understand their place. Mediation is a process to help both parties understand where the other party is coming from, so that they can better understand their wants and needs.

There are many benefits that can come from using a mediator for the splitting of your marriage. In you are on good terms with your spouse, have children between you, or want to remain friends after the divorce, choosing mediation is a great choice. Mediation relies on both people acting more personally, sitting down at the same table rather than on different sides of a court room, and having a civil, mature discussion. In most cases, going to the courtroom is a measure of last defense when all differences cannot be overcome.

Mediation is also a much more private way of dealing with divorce. It also allows the children to be less harmed as they see their parents fight amongst themselves. Mediation is a much shorter process, because it involves fewer people and is not involved with the court, which is famous for its thick bureaucracy.

Trying mediation first is sure to make your divorce process smoother and less painful.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you or someone you know is involved in a divorce and needs legal advice on mediation for their particular case, contact the San Diego divorce lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211 today.

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Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

The sad fact is that abuse is a constant problem in our society. No matter what inroads we make towards a fairer, more equitable society, abuse is always lurking in the shadows, preying on people too afraid or confused to come forward and admit to being victims. One of the reasons that domestic abuse is so underreported is that many people who are being victimized by their spouses or partners don’t realize that they’re being taken advantage of.

Abuse is actually a very broad term that describes one person being repeatedly harmful in their treatment of another person. This can extend beyond the more traditional bounds of physical abuse and into emotional abuse as well. Just as physical abuse can leave scars and marks on the body, emotional abuse can leave scars on the psyche. People who are the victims of systematic emotional abuse can have long-lasting mental health issues which can take many years to successfully treat.

Recognizing the Signs of Abuse

It’s important that everyone be familiar with the tell-tale signs of abuse in order to know when you or someone close to you has been a victim. Typical signs that your partner is abusing you include:

  • He or she frequently hits you or threatens to hit you.
  • He or she shows signs of jealousy towards the other relationships in your life.
  • He or she criticizes you constantly, often for small things.
  • He or she threatens you.
  • He or she purposely humiliates you in front of other people.
  • He or she does not treat your property with respect.

Contact Us

If you are in a marriage with someone who exhibits these signs of abuse, divorce may be the best option. To find out more, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211 today.

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Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse

Domestic abuse is unfortunately very common in America. Whether the domestic abuse is physical violence, sexual assault, or emotional abuse, they take their toll on people and families. Families can only survive when there is trust between all the members, and in emotional abuse cases, that trust does not exist.

Perpetrators of emotional abuse usually use certain tactics to run down their family member or spouse and make them feel badly about themselves:


Most abusers choose to first isolate their victim so that they have no one to turn to. With no friends and little input from other people, the victim’s view of the world and themselves can be greatly skewed. They may lose confidence in their ability to think objectively about their situation and feel that they are making everything up.


Degrading their victim only gives the abuser more power over that person. Taking away someone’s self confidence and self respect can put them in a vulnerable position and allow them to be easily manipulated.


It is common for abusers to threaten and intimidate their victims so test their power over them. They will also blame the person for any mistakes that are made, making them feel extremely guilty and worn.

Talk to a San Diego Domestic Abuse Attorney

If you or a loved one is involved in a domestic abuse case and need legal help or advice, contact a San Diego domestic abuse lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Speak to us at 858-935-6211.

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Financial Divorce Considerations 1

Financial Divorce Considerations: I

Despite what many people think, divorces are not always simple processes. The financial side of divorces, like division of assets and alimony, can rouse strong passions, since spouses want to make sure that they get what they deserve. To ensure that the financial process of divorces proceeds as effectively as possible, people can take a number of steps.

One thing that people should consider is what impact the financial agreement in the divorce settlement will have on their taxes. Because spouses sometimes receive money from or have to give money to each other, their taxes can be affected. For example, any spouse that receives alimony payments has to pay income tax on the alimony.

People should also be aware of any hidden assets their spouses may have. When couples get divorced, their assets are usually divided in half, with each half going to each spouse. If one spouse has hidden assets, however, then that that spouse will end the divorce process with more than the other spouse because the hidden assets were not split between the two.

Thirdly, spouses should also budget out their expenses for their lives after the divorce because they will likely have less money with which to meet their needs and wants. As married couples, spouses enjoy the benefits of joint incomes, but after divorce they have to support themselves completely. Consequently, they will have less to spend.

Speak with a San Diego Divorce Attorney

Divorces can have many financial ramifications, and people may not be aware of them all. Fortunately, legal professionals can help address problems that may arise. If you are considering divorce and do not know what to expect in terms of financial problems, contact the San Diego Divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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General Information About Alimony

General Information about Alimony

Divorce is a complicated process, involving not only social but also legal ramifications. These include, for example, child support, separation decrees, and possibly even restraining orders. Another thing that divorces often involve is alimony.

Alimony is a simple concept. It is akin to child support, except that it is for spouses. Essentially, alimony payments involve the higher-income spouse paying the lower-income spouse money to help him or her live. Alimony payments are meant to supplement child support payments.

Unlike child support, furthermore, alimony payments are not calculated with a simple formula. To decide how much alimony, if any, one spouse should pay the other, a judge takes many factors into account. For example, he or she will consider the age and health of both spouses; what both spouses are likely to earn in the future; how long a couple has been married; and how both couples have behaved through the divorce process and in the marriage.

Despite the fact that alimony laws vary from state to state, the general theme across the nation is that alimony payments are higher in marriages in which one spouse was financially dependent on the other spouse for a lengthy period of time.

Although it seems that one spouse benefits completely from alimony while the other spouse loses completely, this is not fully accurate. The spouse that pays the alimony payments can deduct those payments from her or his taxes, while the spouse that receives alimony has to pay taxes for alimony received.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Unsurprisingly, alimony is a controversial part of divorce, for no one would want to give her or his hard-earned money to someone with whom they may have a complicated relationship. If you are going through a divorce, having an attorney represent you can help you meet your alimony goals, whether those are receiving alimony payments or not making them. For help, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Getting Over A Divorce

Getting over a Divorce

Choosing to get divorced is not an easy decision. Couples invest time and emotional energy into a relationship, so to see it end can be very difficult. Moreover, moving on after a divorce can be just as, if not more, difficult. People can become depressed, confused, or lost. They can shun all outside contact.

Fortunately, people can do a number of things to recover emotionally from their divorce. One thing they can consider, if possible, is to maintain a friendly relationship with their former spouse. Such a relationship can allow couples to ease their way into not being married.

Another thing that people can do is to join a support group. Many people struggle with divorce. Because they all have a common problem, such people often form groups to support one another and help each deal with life after divorce. Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, such divorce groups involve people who have a common challenge helping one another and surmounting their challenge together.

A third option that people can pursue is taking a change of scenery. People who have been in a marriage have likely been in a set environment, seeing the same people and surrounding with their spouse. If a divorced individual chooses to move, or even take a vacation or break from everything that remind her or him or her or his spouse, then getting over the divorce can be easier.

Consult a San Diego Divorce Attorney

No one will assert that divorce is easy. For more information on divorce, speak with a San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Call us at 858-935-6211.

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Grandparents Rights

Grandparent’s Custody and Visitation Rights

The relationship between a child and his or her grandparents can be very special and important to both parties. Unfortunately, there are many circumstances that can interfere with it. When parents divorce, pass away, or become estranged from their own parents, grandparents may find themselves fighting a legal battle just to spend time with their grandchildren.

If you need assistance protecting your right to spend time with your child or grandchild, the San Diego child custody attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can fight for you. To schedule an initial consultation, call our offices at 858-935-6211.

Grandparents Rights

As a general rule, the courts recognize parents’ right to make choices about who can spend time with their children. However, grandparents can petition for official visitation rights if:

  • The child’s parents are currently undergoing custody hearings
  • One of the child’s parents has passed away
  • A third party has received custody of the child
  • They are the parents of the child’s non-custodial parent

In order to receive visitation rights, grandparents must be able to demonstrate in court that:

  • They have an established relationship with the child
  • Continuing this relationship is in the child’s best interests
  • They will not interfere with the child’s parents’ custody or visitation rights

In some cases, a child’s grandparents can also petition for guardianship or custody of the child. If the courts agree, the grandparents may eventually be allowed to adopt the child and obtain full parental rights with regards to him or her. Grandparents may receive child custody if:

  • The child’s biological or adoptive parents have both passed away
  • The child’s parents are found to be abusive or unfit
  • The child’s parents voluntarily relinquish custody to the grandparents

Unfortunately, cases involving child custody can often become highly complex and frustrating for all parties involved. For the experienced guidance you need during a custody hearing, call our San Diego child custody lawyers today.

Contact Us

Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP are knowledgeable and committed San Diego divorce lawyers. Contact our offices at 858-935-6211 to discuss your case today.

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How Long Will It Take To Have My Divorce Finalized

How Long Will it Take to Have My Divorce Finalized?

One of the questions most commonly asked by people going through a divorce is, “How long will the process take?” Though divorces are often necessary, the process itself is rarely pleasant, and most people look forward to the day when they can put it behind them. It’s understandable that you want to be through with it as soon as possible. If you have any questions about your divorce or how long you can expect the proceedings to take, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211 today.

The truth of the matter is that every divorce is unique, and it’s impossible to gauge exactly how long they will take. Some divorces can be finalized in a matter of weeks, while others may take significantly longer. It all depends on your marriage and your circumstances.

Generally, however, there are a few indicators which determine the general course a divorce will take. The most common include:

  • How combative the divorce is. If you and your spouse have reached a mutual understanding that it’s time to amicably part ways, your divorce will probably go smoother and quicker than the divorce of a couple fighting over every detail.
  • Whether or not you have children. Children are an important factor in any marriage, and you have to be careful when determining their future. If you and your spouse have children, the divorce may take a little longer as you decide issues of child custody and child support payments.
  • Whether or not you have a lot of mutual property. When you get divorced, you need to determine who walks away with what. The more possessions you have, and the more real estate property you own, the longer the divorce will probably take.

It’s important to understand, though, that many people getting divorces have already determined the general division of property and debt, and have already had discussions about the children. If you know what to expect going in, you can greatly reduce the waiting period.

Contact Us

If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is the best option for you, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Job Hunting After A Divorce

Job Hunting after a Divorce

Many women and some men leave the workforce after getting married, often to raise children or care for their homes full time. If people who make this decision get divorced later in life, they will often find themselves in need of employment. Finding a job after a long period of unemployment can be difficult and sometimes frustrating, but it is possible.

If you are considering separation or divorce, it is important to research the full legal and financial implications that your decision may have. To discuss your rights and options with an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer, call the offices of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

Job Search Tips

The idea of looking for your first job in some time can seem intimidating, especially when you are already coping with the aftermath of a divorce. Some tips that could make your search a little easier include:

  • Get your resume in order. Resumes go through trends, just like everything else. If you have not updated your resume in some time, it may not appeal to modern day employers. There are a variety of books and online guides that can help you develop a polished resume.
  • Research all of your job options. You do not necessarily need to go into the field in which you worked before. This may be your opportunity to explore different options; additionally, being open minded can help you find a job more quickly in a slow economy.
  • Be honest. Employers will want to know why you have gaps in your work history. Tell the truth; explain that you are divorced or separated and re-entering the workforce. Of course, there is no need to go into detail or dwell on your recent problems. Instead, focus on describing the skills you developed while managing a household.

If your spouse financially supported you during your marriage, you may qualify for spousal support that will help you make ends meet while job searching. Our San Diego divorce attorneys can provide straightforward advice and representation while you work towards a fair divorce settlement.

Contact Us

A reliable and knowledgeable attorney is a valuable resource during divorce proceedings. To schedule a consultation with the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, contact us today at 858-935-6211.

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Join A Support Group

Join a Support Group

If you are going through a divorce, it is important to keep a positive outlook on life. One of the best ways to keep mentally healthy is to join a divorce support group. Sinking into depression is tempting when your life is thrown up in the air. Getting a divorce can be difficult, but not impossible.

Support groups can vary in size, location, and goal. This is why it is important to understand what support groups can offer and understand what you want from them.

When you finally decide what support group you want to join, your first step is to attend a meeting. This is the most critical meeting, because it will probably be the most uncomfortable and the most emotional. You need to learn to trust the support group and feel comfortable, but the only way this is going to happen is if you put yourself out there.

Some benefits of joining a support group is that you will be surrounded by people who are going through the same thing, gain advice, emotional support, tips to cope with financial burdens and children. If you feel alone and in need of supporting company, join a divorce support group.

Talk to a San Diego Divorce Attorney

Joining a support group can be a great alternative to therapy. If you or a loved one is going through a divorce and needs help, contact a San Diego divorce lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Call us at 858-935-6211.

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Keeping Up With The Kids

Keeping Up with the Kids

One of the hardest parts of a divorce is trying to protect your children during it. Going through a divorce is hard enough when you’re an adult who goes into the proceedings with your eyes open. But when you’re a child, it can feel as though your whole life is coming to a crashing end.

As the parent of a child of divorce, it’s your job to make this scary time of their lives a little less terrifying. It can be hard to deal with the ramifications of a divorce and to have the same relationship with your children when you see so much less of them. But it’s because of this that spending quality time with them becomes even more important.

Share Your Lives

Make sure you make time for you children. Plan activities you can do together based on their interests. If your son is a big baseball fan, you can take him to see a game, or if your daughter is interested in animals, you could take her on a trip to the zoo. Ask them about their lives: what they like in school, who their friends are, and what they do for fun. Tell them about your life. It is important that they feel connected to you.

It is also important not to try to make your children feel like they are in the middle of a conflict between you and your former spouse. The divorce process is hard enough for them without feeling like they are being competed over.

Contact Us

If your former spouse is not honoring your visitation rights, or if you have any other divorce-related questions, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

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Kids And Divorce

Kids: Coping with Divorce

Your children belong to both you and your spouse, no matter how messy a divorce is or becomes. Kids need the support and reassurance from both parents so that they can be less confused about the complicated divorce situation.

With divorce comes a whole new life, a new living situation, and new emotions. A once happy, complete family is now one that is splintered and filled with many new emotions and tensions. You need to sit down with your children and discuss the following things:

What are we going to do now?

Children have insecurities of the future and may be wondering where they will be going to school, will they see their friends, or if they can see their other parents. Why not put those fears to rest. Prepare the answers to any number of practical questions that would children may ask you, and keep your answers consistent.


Children have just as many emotions as adults. They may think that they hate you, that they are depressed, sad, angry, or scared. Whatever the case may be, you need to let your children know that you understand what they are feeling and they can talk to you when they need to.

Keeping a Stable life

Come up with ways to keep your life as stable and consistent as possible. Your children need this to move on from this traumatic situation.

Speak to a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Taking any steps towards a divorce is a difficult thing to do. For information on how to take those first steps, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Call us at 858-935-6211.

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Legal Separation And Divorce

Legal Separation and Divorce

The decision to get married is probably one of the most important decisions that one will make within his or her lifetime. The commitment made between two strangers to be together until “death do you part” is an extremely serious promise to make, which is why when the relationship finds itself on the rocks, divorce might not be the best answer. For those who are unsure, there is the option of legal separation.

Legal separation is a possible step toward divorce; however, it does not completely undo the marriage. In order to be considered legally separated, each couple must successfully petition for and have the court recognize that the couple is no longer living together. Simply moving apart from each other will not give you legally separated status.

Not every couple that legally separates ends up getting a divorce. In fact, many couples reconcile their differences and solve whatever problems that might have been ruining the relationship in the first place. Sometimes, a little time apart is all that it takes to let people know how they really feel about each other.

On the other hand, divorce truly is necessary for the overall health of the family in some cases. Though it is an unfortunate event, families that don’t get along are probably better off finding new relationships that properly fit their needs.

Contact a San Diego Family Law Attorney

The divorce process is stressful. The emotional burden of change is at times very overwhelming. Seeking the help of an experienced family law attorney can do wonders for the family and for your emotional health. If you are thinking about divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyer of the Fischer and Van Thiel law firm by calling 858-935-6211.

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Misconceptions Of Premartial Agreements

Misconceptions of Premarital Agreements

If you are planning on getting married in the near future, remember that you are entering into a legally binding contract. To protect yourself if you ever need to break the contract, by getting divorced, you need a premarital agreement.

A premarital agreement, or sometimes referred to as a prenuptial agreement, is an agreement come to between you and your fiancée that spells out what is each person’s in the event of a divorce. However, while this seems simple and beneficial enough, there are still many myths about prenuptial agreements.

It Must Cover Everything: Many people believe that if a couple does not cover every aspect of a would-be divorce, then the agreement is void. However, these agreements must only deal with the most important issues (house, children, savings, etc). The rest can be dealt with if the occasion for divorce ever arises.

Equal Rights: Prenuptial agreements are there to help protect you from a biased court or mediator. Some think that these agreements are designed to only protect the richer spouse, but this is not the case unless you let that happen.

For Everyone: Speaking of the rich, this is not just for them. If everyone designed their own prenuptial agreements, divorces would not be so messy and damaging to the family. Think of it as taking responsibility for future events.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you or a loved one needs legal help designing the perfect premarital agreement or need legal advice, contact the San Diego divorce lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211 for more information.

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No Fault Divorce

No-Fault Divorce

California pioneered the no-fault divorce in 1970. Under the law, married couples wishing to end their marriage no longer need a reason for divorce beyond “irreconcilable differences.” But what does this mean for the divorce proceedings? How will this affect the divorce settlement? For example, if there are children involved, who will get custody?

To find out the answers to these questions and any other questions you may have related to an upcoming divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

What Does It Mean to Get a No-Fault Divorce?

When you file for a divorce in the state of California, you do not have to prove that your spouse did something wrong to warrant the divorce. In California, couples cannot receive fault-based divorces, or divorces that result from one spouse committing an act that would serve as a basis for the divorce, such as adultery.

Since California only grants no-fault divorces and is a community property state, all property acquired during marriage is divided equitably in the divorce proceedings unless there is a separate agreement regarding such matters, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Fault does not factor into the division of property, so it does not matter if there was a fault that caused the divorce.

Additionally, fault does not factor into determining spousal support, so even if your spouse was at fault for causing the divorce, you may still have to pay spousal support to him or her.

Contact Us

Divorce can be a tough time for many individuals. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, do not go through it alone. The San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP may be able to help you. Contact us at 858-935-6211 for more information.



Palimony as a term is a little less common than it was a decade or so ago, but you’ve probably heard about it on entertainment television or in the gossip columns, and may wonder about what it means. Palimony is a term that’s a combination of “pal” and “alimony,” and it signifies an alimony-like payment agreement in which one former romantic partner pays the other former partner as a result of promises made during the relationship.

If you’re still wondering what it means, imagine this: you’re a man who’s been in a long-term relationship with a woman. You’ve lived together, but you’ve never been married. You have, however, made certain promises to this woman about how you’ll provide for her for the rest of your lives. You may even hold yourselves out to be husband and wife, but never actually get married. If you break up, the woman may be able to sue you because your broke this promise.

Naturally, it’s hard to actually prove this, since there’s usually no real contract in place. While marriage itself serves as a contract, an oral agreement not witnessed by anyone except two unmarried people is probably not going to hold up in court. Many courts treat the situation like a common law marriage, which in California mean that you leave the relationship with legal rights only to what you brought into it.

Contact Us

If you are owed money promised to you during the course of a long-term relationship, you will need an experienced lawyer to represent you. To find out more about your legal rights to communal property, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211 today.

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Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a phenomenon in which a child refuses to maintain a relationship with one of his or her parents. It needs to be distinguished from parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a term that was coined by psychologist Richard A. Gardner in 1985. PAS is defined as one parent’s attempts to deliberately turn a child against the other parent, while parental alienation can have different causes.

While PAS is not recognized as a formal diagnosis and has been widely debated in the psychiatric community, parental alienation is a recognized dynamic in some families. If you are concerned about maintaining your rights as a parent during your divorce hearings, the San Diego child custody lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can help. Call us at 858-935-6211.

Parental Manipulation or Justified Fear?

A child who is experiencing parental alienation will generally fight to avoid spending time with the alienated parent. The child may also insult or criticize that parent, either to others or in the parent’s presence. If the child is old enough to speak at the custody hearing, he or she may request that the preferred parent receive custody.

The main controversy lies in the different potential reasons behind this alienation. It may be deliberately or accidentally provoked by one parent. For example, some parents will insult their ex-spouses, leading their children to share their negative opinions. In extreme cases, parents may try to convince their children that the other parent abused them as a tactic to win custody.

However, some children have good reasons to feel anger or fear towards their parents. A child who is genuinely being abused may understandably do whatever he or she can to avoid his or her abuser. The challenge for family law judges is to distinguish between children who are being manipulated by one parent, and children who are trying to escape real abuse.

Whether you have been accused of alienating your child from his or her other parent, or you are trying to protect your child from abuse, our experienced San Diego child custody attorneys will fight for you.

Contact Us

Child custody hearings can be extremely complex, both legally and personally. For the knowledgeable, effective legal assistance you need, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

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Paternity Testing Dna Options

Paternity Testing: DNA Options

It used to be that the only ways to test the paternity on a child was through blood. Now, however, we have the ability to determine the paternity of a child through the use of DNA. This can be a minimally invasive procedure that requires nothing more than a cheek swab.

There have been a number of DNA tests put into practice by forensic labs and paternity testing sites everywhere. Recently, there have been advances that have sped up the entire process while also increasing the accuracy of the testing being done.

One of the most recent advancements, implemented during the early 1990s, allows for a strand of DNA to be expanded and replicated which gives scientists a better chance of accurately identifying who the father is. The DNA is acceptable through this method even when it is a very small sample that has been damaged being used.

Another DNA option is for use only through males. It allows for analysis of the Y chromosome. By analyzing the Y chromosome (which boys get only from their fathers), researchers are able to determine if two people are related through their father. So while it doesn’t guarantee a match, if a boy and his reported father share Y chromosome features, there’s a very good chance that the reported father is the father.

Mitochondrial DNA does the same but works to identify the mother. The mother passes on mitochondrial DNA to all of her children so by analyzing mitochondrial DNA, it is possible to determine if people are related through the maternal side.

Contact a San Diego Adoption Lawyer

If you were adopted through a closed adoption and would like to learn more about DNA testing to determine who your birth parents are, contact the San Diego adoption lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211.

Pets And Divorce

Pets and Divorce

To many of us, pets are beloved members of the family, important and special to us, and it hurts to think of having to lose our furry friends. But in a divorce, they are property like everything else, and as painful as it is, they have to go somewhere.

It is not uncommon in divorce proceedings for the ownership of pets to be treated similarly to the custody of children. In many cases, arguing spouses attempt to establish that the pet will be better cared for and happier in their respective homes. And you can’t put a price on the value of Fido’s wagging tail and playful fun.

Dividing Fido

Unlike kids, you can’t really divide custody of a dog, so you have to establish definitively who will have ownership of your pet. Here are some suggestions to make the painful task a little bit easier:

  • Who purchased the pet in the first place is important. If your husband came into the relationship with the dog, then he should be allowed to leave the relationship with the dog. Conversely, if your husband gave you the dog as a gift, you have more of a claim on it than he does.
  • Who provided more care for the pet is also important. If your wife was the one who took the cat to the vet, bought it food, and made sure to give it its medication, she may have more right to Mittens than you do.
  • It is also important to consider who will have custody of the children. While it may be painful to lose both the kids and the dog, letting your children keep it may be the more responsible thing to do. A pet can help smooth the strange transition children face when their parents get a divorce.

At the end of the day, though, these points are just suggestions. Every divorce is different, and you will have to come to terms with the issue of who owns the pet yourselves.

Contact Us

If you and your spouse are considering the difficult choice a divorce, or would like to know more about your options, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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Qualifying For An Annulment

Qualifying for an Annulment

While all marriages can be dissolved by divorce, qualifying for an annulment is a more complicated affair. An annulment is a process that nullifies a marriage. This means that the marriage was never valid to begin with and all persons involved in the marriage may return to being single. Some people think that a marriage that has lasted for a short amount of time can automatically qualify for an annulment, but this is not true. The length of time you are married does not qualify you for an annulment.

If you do not qualify for an annulment and would still like to get separated from your spouse, divorce might be a better option for you. If you are considering filing for divorce and need legal advice, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211 for the legal assistance you need.

Requirements for an Annulment

In order to qualify for an annulment, you generally need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Both participants in the marriage are related to one another or have some kind of close blood bond.
  • One of the participants was underage when the marriage occurred.
  • One of the persons was already married at the time they entered into the marriage.
  • The marriage was unable to be consummated due to impotence.
  • One of the people entered into the marriage by force.

If you meet one of these requirements, you may be able to get an annulment.

Contact Us

For more information on annulment and divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211. paper writers for hire.
Re-Establishing Your Credit

Re-establishing your Credit

In a time in which the financial situation of our country is dire, it is important to pay better attention to our finances. Unfortunately, many people are going through divorces and their money situation is in flux. One of the most crucial things to remember when getting divorced, especially if you were the stay at home spouse, or were not responsible for the household expenses/loans/mortgages is the state of your credit. Your credit score follows you where ever you go, so it is important to keep it up.

If you find that your credit score has been greatly divorced during your marriage, there are several options for you to boost your rating:

Stay in One Place

If you move around a lot, creditors may get suspicious and think it has to do with your credit. Renting is a great way to build your credit, as you are constantly moving and paying off money.

Inform Every One of Name Changes

If you change your name after your divorce you need to contact all your banks, credit cards, and lenders of the change. You don’t want to start building credit on a name that no longer has any meaning.

Always Pay On Time

Whether it is a bill, loan payments, or credit card debt, make sure to always pay these on time. Late fees will kill a credit score, so make sure to budget your money out each month to secure the money you need for bills.

Contact a San Diego Adoption Lawyer

If you or a loved one is involved in a divorce and is seeking legal representation or advice about divorce and the after-effects, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211 today.

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Relocation Following A Divorce

Relocation Following a Divorce

When a couple decides that they can no longer honor the commitments they made in marriage, they may turn to divorce to legally separate their lives. While individuals may wish to immediately relocate following a failed marriage, the issue may become complicated if children are involved. In many cases, individuals who wish to relocate after a divorce will have to file a petition with the court to grant the move.

There are many reasons an individual may want to relocate following a divorce, including new job opportunities, a desire to be closer to family and familiar surroundings, or a desire to start over somewhere new. When children are involved, the court may have to decide whether the move is justified and how it will affect the child. The San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP are here to help you with your divorce case. Contact us at 858-935-6211 today.

Relocation Petition Considerations

When considering a relocation petition, the court will usually take into account:

  • The age of the child
  • The desires of the child if he or she is of a mature age
  • The nature and stability of the child’s relationship to each parent, siblings, and other family members
  • The intent of the individual seeking or opposing the relocation
  • Whether or not the individual seeking relocation is doing so to cause difficulty with child visitation
  • The impact the relocation may have on the child’s emotional and physical development

The non-custodial parent may be forced to relocate themselves or see the child only on holidays or summer visits if the court determines that relocation is in the best interest of the child.

Contact Us

The San Diego divorce lawyers of Fisher & Van Thiel, LLP are here to help you if you are considering filing for divorce from your spouse. Contact us at 858-935-6211 to discuss your legal options.

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Restraining Order

Restraining Orders

Every year, millions of Americans are affected by domestic abuse. Fortunately, there are laws in place that can help victims avoid further domestic abuse. One of the most common ways the court can aid victims of domestic abuse is by ordering a restraining order against the abuser.

Restraining orders-also known as orders of protection, among other names-make it illegal for an abuser to continue contact with the abused. This includes physical contact with the abused, but can also extend to communications like phone calls and emails. Often these orders also prohibit contact with the victim’s children and even the children’s schools and doctors.

Other Ramifications of a Restraining Order

In some jurisdictions, people under a restraining order can be ordered to hand over any firearms and ammunition they might have. Restraining orders in some place can make abusers subject to regular drug tests. They might also be required to undergo drug and/or alcohol counseling. Domestic abusers might also be forced to undergo counseling for their behavior.

Sometimes abusers are also required to pay towards medical bills, property damage, or ongoing shared debts like mortgage payments. Sometimes the victim can be awarded sole control of shared property like houses and vehicles.

The penalties for violating a restraining order can be severe. In cases where the order prohibits the abuser from going within a specified distance of the victim, for example, the victim can take legal action against the abuser for getting too near. If the abuser assaults the victim, of course, the restraining order only compounds the offense.

Contact Us

If you are attempting to escape domestic abuse, a compassionate divorce lawyer can help you file for a restraining order. Remember that you do not deserve to be abused and that you are not alone. With the help of an attorney, you can keep your abuser at a distance and end legal ties between you. Call the experienced Oceanside divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211.


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Divorce is a complicated process. Couples never intend to get divorced when they marry, but circumstances do change. Fortunately, there are things that people can do to see whether getting divorced is really the right move for them. They can test the waters to see how divorce feels by separating for a period of time.

There are two avenues that people can take: separation and legal separation. With both types of separation, couples live separately. With legal separation, however, a court and legal representatives of the spouses are involved the process; moreover, the marriage is officially and legally classified as a separation and not a divorce. With regular separation, no courts or attorneys are involved, and the couple is not legally seen as “separated” but is still seen as married.

Whichever path a couple is thinking of taking, you should know that separation has several benefits. First of all, it allows both spouses to cool off, as they live separately. They get the time to reflect on their marriage and get to see how life is without the other spouse. They may realize that they want to stay married.

Another benefit is that the couple will get to keep some, if not all, of the benefits that married couples have, like cheaper health insurance or tax benefits. Also, separation can also have benefit for children; parents can tell them that they are still married but need to live separately for personal reasons.

Speak a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Taking any steps towards a divorce is a difficult thing to do. For information on how to take those first steps, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP. Call us at 858-935-6211.

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Splitting The Home

Splitting the Home

When involved in divorce proceedings, splitting the family dwelling is a concern. This is usually the largest asset that is shared between partners. If children are involved, it becomes more complicated since this is the house in which they have grown up. Also, if the mortgage is not fully paid off, the house is also the largest liability shared between two people involved in a divorce.

If one person in the marriage keeps the home it can be a simple matter. The judge will set a date on which the other spouse is no longer financially obligated toward the house and when he or she will have to vacate the household. One spouse will therefore buy the other portion of the house out. If children are involved, sometimes one spouse will stay in the marital home with the children.

However, some couples set up certain standard that must be met before the home is sold outright. Some of these prerequisites include:

  • When the spouse residing in the marital home remarries
  • When the children are no longer minors and turn eighteen
  • When the spouse is co-habiting with someone else

If the home is sold outright, the situation is even easier. The house will be sold and the equity from the house divided equally among both parties. However, the responsibility of selling the home will usually fall on one spouse. Sometimes the spouse in charge may take longer than necessary to get rid of the home. As such, it is sometimes safer to add prerequisites to selling the home, too. For instance, create a deadline of when things should be done in order to sell the property. And also account for the fact that the home might not sell immediately, and make provisions for that situation.

Contact Us

If you are considering filing for divorce and are having trouble splitting your assets, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211 for the legal assistance you need.

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Sports Kids

Sports and Kids

One problem faced by many recently divorced dads is that they have a hard time connecting with their
kids following a divorce. It can be very hard: going from seeing your children on a daily basis, being
tied in with everything going on in their lives, to seeing them maybe every couple weekends. Some fathers
find it so daunting that they can’t connect with their children when they do see them. Fortunately,
there are some things you can do to reconnect with your children and ensure that you have common ground
to bond over.

One of the best ways to do this is to get involved in sports with your kids. There are lots of programs
all over the country which offer kids a chance to get involved in all sorts of sports, like baseball,
football, soccer, basketball, even less ubiquitous sports like tennis, lacrosse, and water polo. Sports
can be a great way to for kids to be involved in teams and the camaraderie they bring, to learn how
to set goals and accomplish them, to work well with other people, to build trust and self-confidence,
and to be as gracious in victory as they are dignified in defeat.

Best of all, these programs are usually in need of parents to help run them. While not everyone can
be a coach, there are plenty of positions for assistants of all stripes. Even if you’re just helping
drop kids off after the game, or bringing them orange slices, it can be a good way of being involved
in something that’s important to your kids.

Contact Us

If you’re going through a divorce and are worried about the time you’ll be able to spend with your kids,
contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211

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Steps To Help Children Through The Divorce Process

Steps to Help Children through the Divorce Process

Many studies have shown that divorce can have a far-reaching impact on affected children, and the overall effects of divorce can stay with children for a long time. However, parents can take steps to ensure that the divorce experience is not too difficult for their children. Fortunately, children are very flexible and can adjust to new situations relatively easily, especially if there is parental guidance.

The first thing that parents should do is talk to their children openly and directly. Communication is extremely valuable, as it allows children to understand what is going on around them. As their parents’ marriage falls apart, children can become lost and confused. If parents take the time to talk with their children, however, then they can make them understand what is going on and why. Moreover, talking with children allows the children to voice their own fears and concerns. By simply talking to their parents, the children will feel more comfortable. When their children open up, parents will also be able to address their children’s apprehensions better.

Another step that parents should take is to make life go on as normally as possible. If parents make the divorce seem like a traumatic event, then children will react accordingly. If, on the other hand, parents treat the divorce as only a small hurdle, then children will be less affected. To do this, parents should make sure that children play with peers, go to school, and live a normal life.

Speak with a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

To make divorce easier for children, parents can do a third thing: ensure that the legal process of divorce is not long and drawn out. For help in making the divorce process as speedy and trouble-free as possible, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

Summary Divorce

Summary Divorce

There’s a good chance that even if you’re filing for a divorce, you’ve never heard of a summary divorce. It’s a very particular type of divorce available in certain jurisdictions that provides for a much simpler, less painful procedure. Naturally, because of the nature of a summary divorce, there are quite a few requirements you have to meet before you can file for it. However, if you do qualify, it can save you a lot of time and money over a more traditional divorce. If you are interested in knowing more about this type of divorce and how to file for it in California, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

The Basics of Summary Divorce

Summary divorce is a divorce option offered in some jurisdictions, including California, that provides a simple divorce route for couples with no children and few assets. Because these are usually the big arguing points in a divorce, summary divorces forgo a lot of the most difficult parts of a standard divorce. The usual qualifications for a summary divorce are:

  • The marriage must have lasted for less than five years.
  • The marriage did not produce any children.
  • There is little or no real property; that is, real estate.
  • Combined assets are less than a certain threshold, usually around $35,000.
  • Individual assets are less than a certain threshold, usually the same as the combined assets.

If you qualify for a summary divorce, you will face a lot less of a hassle than traditional divorce procedures afford. Usually, the proceedings will be much shorter and require only a few court appearances. If you meet the qualifications, you may want to seriously consider this form of divorce, since it is much less expensive and frustrating.

Contact Us

If you think you might qualify for a summary divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211 today for the detailed information you need.

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Talking To Your Kids About Divorce

Talking To Your Kids about Divorce

If you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, you might already know what a profound and devastating effect this can have on your children. Because kids have a difficult time understanding adult relationships, they may be confused as to why this is happening and if the event is because of something they did. Though this conversation is never an easy one to have with your child, it is imperative to communicate with them effectively in order to prevent rebellion or resentment down the road.

Divorce can be a tricky, complicated procedure that takes a lot of time and money to complete. It is especially hard trying to navigate this road alone in such a fragile emotional state. If you would like to seek legal representation with a compassionate, experienced attorney, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

Important Conversation Tips

Even though this conversation might be daunting, there are a few tips a parent can employ in using the right language to speak openly and honestly with their children.

  • Ask them about how the divorce makes them feel and truly listen. Use emotion words that they are used to and ask them to explain how this process is affecting them.
  • Don’t get upset if the child is angry with you. This is a natural response and it does not reflect on your abilities as a parent.
  • Reassure them that this is not their fault and that both parents still love them. Tell them that they did nothing wrong. This is one of the first concerns a child normally has.
  • Try to establish routine in their lives, despite the irregular circumstances.

These tips should help the entire family get through this troubling time. Understand that children do not understand the complexities of love or marriage and may need counseling to help deal with these sudden changes in their family life. Embrace the help of professionals as they are well-equipped in handling these issues.

Contact Us

If you are looking to pursue a divorce and would like the help of an experienced lawyer, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211 today.

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Tallying The Cost Of Divorce

Tallying the Cost of Divorce

When you consider getting a divorce, one of the biggest questions in your mind is: how much is this going to cost? You hear horror stories about incredibly costly divorces, punctuated by endless litigation and painful custody battles. Suddenly, everything in your life has a price tag on it. So before you enter into costly divorce proceedings, you may want to know what the bill is likely to be.

The Bill

There are a lot of expenses that pop up when you get a divorce. Here’s a laundry list of the costs that may arise during your divorce:

  • If your divorce is acrimonious, it will be more expensive. The less the two of you are able to agree, the more it’s going to cost in terms of legal fees and mediators.
  • Legal fees. Hiring representation costs money.
  • Custody battles. If there is an argument over who will be the better caregiver for any children, the divorce proceedings will be prolonged.
  • Property. The more things you have, the more things have to get divvied up. Again, this will extend the duration of the divorce proceedings.
  • Debt. Dividing up debt can sometimes require the help of a specialized professional called a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
  • Alimony and child support. If you are required to pay alimony and/or child support, these are expenses that will continue for years to come.

Contact Us

If you are considering getting divorced, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211 for the legal advice and assistance you need.

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Taxing Alimony

Taxing Alimony

According to US law, alimony is taxable. Payments must be included in the recipient’s gross income, although they can be excluded from the payer’s gross income. The IRS allows the payer to write off any alimony paid as a tax deduction.

To learn more about alimony, call the experienced San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211.Let us put our years of family law experience to work for you.

What Defines Alimony?

According to the IRS, alimony is defined by the following six criteria:

  • The payment is in cash
  • You and your spouse file separate tax returns
  • The divorce papers fail to specifically define the payments as not being alimony
  • You and your spouse do not share a residence
  • There is no obligation to continue payments after your spouse’s death
  • The payment is not considered child support

Child support is not deductable. Noncash settlements (such as property) are not considered alimony, nor are payments which are not required by the terms of the divorce settlement. It is not required to itemize deductions in the case of alimony payments.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about alimony or its tax status, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

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Teenagers And Divorce

Teenagers and Divorce

In teenagers, the line between adult and child is blurred. In some scenarios, a parent may treat a teen more like an adult, and in other situations, more like a child. During a parent’s divorce, teenagers will react differently to the coming household changes than will a younger child. When revealing and dealing with your divorce, it is important to understand the different actions and emotions that your teen may display.

It is recommended that parents take the following steps to ensure that their teenagers deal with divorce in a healthy way:

  • Do not use your teenager as your own source of emotional support. Of course it is important to talk about emotions and feelings, but it is advisable to seek outside emotional support from friends, other family members, or a counselor rather than load your own problems onto your teenager.
  • Seek emotional support for your teenager. Your teenager may not want to speak with either you or your ex-spouse about feelings and emotions during this time, and may display a wide range of emotions, from anger to depression to ignoring the whole situation. It is important for you to encourage and allow for your teen to maintain existing relationships with friends and family and other trusted adults with whom they can talk about and deal with their problems.
  • Speak with your ex-spouse about maintaining similar disciplinary rules in each of your new households for the benefit of your teenager’s emotional well-being. A sudden transfer from a well-disciplined, two-parent household to a split between one parent’s strict environment and the other’s rules-free zone can be harmful to your teen.

Contact Us

Our San Diego divorce lawyers are committed to helping your divorce move along as smoothly as possible so that you and your loved ones can move on with your new lives. For help with your divorce, contact the offices of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.

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Telling Your Parents About Your Divorce

Telling Your Parents About Your Divorce

Your relationship with your parents stretches back your entire life. They’ve been there for just about every major event in your life, including your wedding. And chances are they have had a relationship with your spouse over the years. So telling them that you are getting a divorce can be a difficult, awkward experience. After all, it is news that will affect them personally and may disappoint them as much as it disappoints you.

Breaking the News

If you and your spouse are ending the relationship amicably, it can be best to break the news of the divorce together. Telling your parents together can help smooth tensions, and help answer any questions they might have. That being said, if your marriage is ending acrimoniously, it’s probably a good idea to visit your parents alone and avoid the possibility of another argument breaking out.

Remember that your parents will probably have their own feelings about the end of your marriage and that, while they will want to help you through your troubled times, you don’t want to overburden them with problems.


If you have children, the visitation rights of the grandparents are something to keep in mind. In order to be granted specific visitation rights, the grandparents must prove that it is necessary for the children’s well-being. Otherwise, it is important for the parents to make sure the grandparents remain a part of their children’s lives.

Contact Us

If you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211. best cell phone spyware.
The Benefits Of A Legal Separation

The Benefits of a Legal Separation

Any way you look at it, divorce rates are higher now than they have ever been in the past. And with higher divorce rates comes more stress over alimony payments, custody of children, division of property, and all the other myriad annoyances and irritations that go along with a divorce.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to a messy, unhappy divorce. While it can’t cure all marriages, sometimes a legal separation can be enormously beneficial to a couple considering divorce. Separation allows you to experience what living apart again would be like, in order to help you better make the very difficult decisions that go along with filing for divorce.

The Two Faces of Separation

There are two main types of separation: informal separation and legal separation. A separation is when two married people have stopped cohabiting, while in a legal separation, lawyers and courts are involved in having the marriage legally declared a separation after the couple has already been separated in practice. So if you and your spouse are already living in different residences, you can file for a legal separation. Even while legally separated, you and your spouse are still legally married.

Why Separation?

Separation can give you and your spouse a taste of what a divorce would be like, without the finality of the divorce proceedings. Becoming legally separated does not mean you have to get a divorce; if you reconcile, you do not have to file any petitions to remain married.

Contact Us

If you or someone you love is considering a divorce and would like experienced legal counsel, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

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The Benefits Of A Mediated Divorce

The Benefits of a Mediated Divorce

Because of the changing perception of divorce in this country, many couples find as they go through the process that they are less interested in hurting the other party or “winning” than they are about parting ways amicably and getting on with their lives as quickly as possible. With this in mind, mediated divorce has become a popular alternative to the traditional, litigious style of divorce.

If you or someone you love is considering filing for divorce, contact the San Diego divorce attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

Understanding the Divorce Mediation Process

In a mediated divorce, the couple hires a mediator to serve as a neutral third party who can help guide the process and provide legal background without offering legal advice to either party. Other attorneys can be hired to represent the spouses, if warranted. The goal is to reach an amicable compromise on all the important issues of divorce, such as alimony and child support payments, division of property, and child custody.

Because there is no long, drawn-out court battle, legal fees tend to be lower in mediated divorces than in traditional divorces. And because the mediator works with the spouses to come up with a custom-made divorce agreement, both parties tend to be much happier with the compromise than they would be with court-ordered terms. As a result, they’re more likely to honor the terms of the divorce.

Contact Us

If you think that a mediated divorce might be right for you, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211 today.

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The Benefits Of Collaborative Divorce

The Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

If you’re facing a divorce, you may find yourself worrying about the future. Specifically, the months and months of frustration ahead of you as you fight your way through the courts, battling over child custody, property division, alimony payments, and all of the other little arguments that take place in divorce proceedings. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. In a lot of modern divorces, the spouses are just looking to reclaim their lives and move on. If you’re one of these people, you may want to consider a collaborative divorce.

The collaborative divorce has a lot of inherent advantages over traditional litigious divorces. , which is a series of compromises As you probably know, a collaborative divorce is one in which both partners work together to create a fair, equitable, and personal divorce agreement, worked out by the spouses and their attorneys. Naturally, such a divorce has many upsides, including:

  • Duration. The collaborative divorce eschews the long, drawn-out court battles of traditional divorce proceedings, allowing you and your former spouse to move on much quicker.
  • Expense. Because there are fewer court fees, fewer legal fees (because the process is so much quicker), and fewer expert fees (since experts are hired jointly), you can end up saving a lot of money over other kinds of divorce.
  • Fairness. Because the terms of the divorce are tailor-made by and for the people actually getting a divorce, there’s a lot more built-in equity to the process. Studies show that couples who had collaborative divorces are much more likely to stick to the terms of the divorce than are couples who had a court make all the decisions for them.

Contact Us

If you and your spouse are looking to move on with your lives without the vicious courtroom antics of the usual divorce proceedings, a collaborative divorce may be the perfect thing. For more information about how to obtain one, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP by calling 858-935-6211.

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The Increase In Child Support Adjustment

The Increase in Child Support Adjustment

As the economy continues to show little sign of quick readjustment, many hard-working Americans across the country are losing their jobs and finding once-certain income dry up. This is especially worrisome for the millions of individuals across the country who pay child support payments, and are worried about their ability to continue providing for their children.

If you’re worried about being able to make your monthly support payments, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211 today

Economic Woes and Child Support

While the whole country is suffering from the sluggish economy, men are actually facing a bleaker economic outlook than are women. The unemployment rate for men is at 9.8%, while women have a 7.5% unemployment rate. Additionally, the new jobs being created are in fields which have traditionally favored women. According to the New York Times, it would not be surprising for women to surpass men in the work force within the next few years. As more and more men are losing their jobs and finding new ones hard to come by, child and alimony support payments are becoming harder to make.

According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 39% of their members across the US are reporting an increase in the number of people requesting modifications to their child support agreements. Additionally, the same survey found that 42% of the members polled said there was an increase in alimony agreements being restructured.

Contact Us

When you’re having a hard time making ends meet, it can seem impossible to make your child support payments. If you’re interested in changing the structure of your child support agreement, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

The Process Of Divorce

The Process of Divorce

Divorce can be a long process and you may have a lot of questions concerning what exactly happens when you file for divorce. Here is a step by step explanation to guide you through this difficult time.

Petition for Divorce

Usually, you will have to first file for a petition in order to begin the divorce process. This document will identify you and your spouse and also any children that you may share. There must always be a reason for the divorce. Most cases of divorce state that they either have “irreconcilable differences” or that you are “incompatible” with your spouse. There are a number of ways to serve your divorce papers. A sheriff may serve them to your spouse or they may be served by a professional who specializes in serving divorce petitions.

Divorce Orders

Divorce orders will outline what must be finalized in order to complete the divorce process. These orders can range anywhere from child support expectations, child custody, and spousal support.

Divorce Discovery

Divorce Discovery varies from state to state and will usually take up the bulk of your divorce process. This part of the divorce is used to gather information from both parties. Information could include bank statements or statements of income. This stage of the divorce can often be the most lengthy since one party may be hesitant to give up so much personal information for such a situation.

Divorce Court

Your case will go to divorce court if not successfully mediated. Your unresolved case will go before a judge. This is the stage where you can argue your case before a judge. The judge will then settle the divorce based on the evidence and documents from the divorce discovery.

Finalizing the Divorce

After going to divorce court, you will sign a decree of divorce. The final decree of divorce will state important issues like: child custody arrangements, alimony, and child support.

Appealing a Court Order

If the final decree of divorce leaves you unsatisfied then you may file for a motion for appeal. You will file for the appeal with the same judge you dealt with in divorce court. Keep in mind, the more assets you have and the presence of children will drag the divorce on longer.

Contact Us

If you are considering filing for divorce, utilizing a reliable and knowledgeable attorney is a valuable resource during divorce proceedings. To schedule a consultation with the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, contact us today at 858-935-6211.

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The Rules Of Visitation

The Rules of Visitation

If you didn’t get main custody of your kids in the divorce, then you can look forward to years of visitation rights and custody bickering. However, although the horizon may seem bleak, there are many things you can do to help the time you do have with your children be the best it can be.

The first thing that usually comes out is something negative about your ex. This is not the way you want to start out your visit. Think positively so that you and your kids can have fun, no pressure, and always want more time together.

Secondly, if you have found yourself in a less prosperous position than your ex, you should spell it out to your children. Explain that, although it may not be what they are used to, it can still be fun. Take them on adventures, and make the memories that they will never forget.

Lastly, you need to talk to them and let them talk to you. Sometimes it is not all fun and games. Divorce is extremely difficult on children. Sometimes they do not have anyone to talk to at home, so seeing the signs of depression can let you help your children in a way your ex cannot.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you or someone you know is involved in a divorce and needs legal advice on child custody and visitation, contact the San Diego child custody lawyer of Fischer & Van Thiel at 858-935-6211.

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Understanding Division Of Property

Understanding Division of Property

When a married couple becomes divorced, they must divide their property if they did not have a prenuptial agreement that stated what divisions would be made in the event of a divorce. Division of property can be a tricky part of divorce, as it includes everything from bank accounts to houses, and even collectibles such as artwork or antiques.

If you are going through a divorce and need legal advice on division of property, or if you have any other concerns, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211. We can help make sure that the division of property in your divorce remains fair and equitable.

Ways to Divide Property

In California, only community property is divided. In other words, property owned jointly by both spouses has to be divided at the time of the divorce. Assets considered the property of just one spouse do not get divided.

Community property typically refers to:

  • All earnings during marriage
  • The assets acquired using those earnings

Separate property typically refers to:

  • Earnings and assets acquired before the marriage
  • Gifts

When getting a divorce, the parties may agree upon how they will divide property among themselves or allow a judge to rule who gets what if the couple cannot reach an agreement.

Contact Us

If you are going through or considering a divorce, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP today at 858-935-6211 for more information about division of property and your legal rights.

What Do You Need In A Divorce Lawyer?

What Do You Need in a Divorce Lawyer?

A good divorce lawyer can be hard to find. You need someone who is invested in the outcome you want and can fight to get it for you. When shopping around for a legal expert you can ask friends and family for advice, you can research online, or you can look in the yellow pages. However, once you have found a lawyer you think you like, what are the traits you should be looking for in a good divorce lawyer?

You need all of the following:

  • Good problem solver: You need someone who is not only intelligent, but also has a good mind for thinking outside of the box. Divorce can be complicated so you need someone to come up with lots of options.
  • Proactive and assertive: You do not want a timid lawyer. Instead, find someone with confidence, who is not afraid to interrupt and make a point.
  • Able to Negotiate: Negotiation is a true skill which takes lots of practice and experience to perfect. Divorce cases are all about negotiating and coming to an agreement between the two parties.

A good lawyer will ask you to decide what is important for you in the divorce and go from there. They will do the best they can to represent you interests and get you a favorable decision.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you need a good divorce lawyer with years of experience and a professional manner contact Fischer & Van Thiel, San Diego divorce lawyers at 858-935-6211 today for legal advice and representation.

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What Is Annulment?

What is Annulment?

A lot of people are familiar with the terms “divorce” and “annulment,” but may be unaware what the nuts-and-bolts differences are between the two. In many ways, they are similar and related terms, but the differences between the two are what make them legally distinct. Understanding these differences is important to knowing how to file for the end of your marriage.

Annulment vs. Divorce

An annulment, like a divorce, is a legal procedure for ending a marriage. However, an annulment is a retroactive legal procedure, meaning that once an annulment is granted, the marriage legally never existed. A divorce, on the other hand, merely terminates the marriage. The terms of divorce reflect the legality of the marriage. It is important to keep in mind, though, that any children produced form an annulled marriage are considered legitimate.

Annulments apply only to marriages that are legal and therefore voidable. That is, a marriage cannot be annulled if it is already voided by law. For example, if the marriage were actually illegal, the marriage could not be annulled. For these marriages, a legal declaration of nullity must be obtained to dissolve the marriage.

Reasons for Annulment

Common reasons people file for annulment include:

  • Discovering that you are related to the person by blood
  • Mental health issues not disclosed prior to the marriage
  • Deception has been employed by one spouse to obtain consent
  • Adultery or other forms of marital deception

Contact Us

If you or someone you love is seeking an annulment, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 858-935-6211.

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