Beginning in 2020 Domestic Partnerships in California are now available as an alternative to marriage to opposite sex couples. Previously, this was only available to same sex couples and only available to opposite sex couples over the age of sixty-two
Under certain circumstances, California Family Code 6340 allows a protected party to serve the restrained party by alternate means (mail, publication etc.). This occurs when the court finds that there has been diligent efforts to serve the restrained party with the temporary restraining order and also when there is reason to believe that the restrained party is attempting to evade service. If the court finds the above exists it should continue the hearing to a date when the restrained party can be given notice by the alternate means.
Read more about types of Restraining order and do’s and don’ts here
All courthouses in Los Angeles County, (maybe not Avalon), now have public access terminals that allow viewing and printing of family law cases (except Paternity cases cannot be accessed without a password that is only issued to a party or their attorney)
- You can view and print records from any courthouse in Los Angeles County from whatever courthouse is convenient to you. You can even get certified copies at these courthouses. (Normal charges apply)
- You can avoid the .50 cent per page copying fee by photographing the computer screen (you may need to adjust settings to get the screen to display the entire page)
- Paper copies of scanned files are destroyed. If there is an error in scanning, the records could be lost forever.
- You must use the computer to view a scanned family law file. This comes into play in Long Beach and probably some other branch courts, where if you stand in line to get copies of documents of the file and you do not already know which document(s) that you want; you will be sent to the Civil Clerks office to view on their computer.
- In Long Beach at least, the copies of the printed documents are normally retrieved by the busiest civil clerk in the entire office and this is the only clerk authorized to retrieve copies from the printer. There can be a long wait. In addition, once the documents are retrieved, they must be paid for at the Family Law Clerks office, which can involve another long wait.
If you live in Los Angeles County and want to change your name, you will appreciate this improvement to the process. The court is now publishing its tentative decision on the court website under the Civil section of the page, as a tentative ruling. The procedure has recently be change to only publishing a tentative decision, if the tentative decision is to deny the change. This is published one to two days before the the hearing date. By typing in your case number you can see if your name change was not approved. If the name change is approved, then neither you or your attorney need appear. If the name change does not show as approved, then you or your attorney must appear at the name change hearing or the case will probably be dismissed. It is important that you verify for yourself that this procedure is still in effect as the court can and will change the procedure without notice. For more information about the name change procedure in Los Angeles and Orange Counties visit the name change page.
Current law on Spousal Support
Currently the payor of spousal support may deduct his or her spousal support payments from his or her gross income. The spousal support is taxable as income to the recipient.
New law on Spousal Support
Starting in 2019 NEW orders for spousal support will not be deductible by the payor and not reportable as income by the recipient. It has yet to be decided whether new orders will include modification to previous orders. However, I am hearing from family law accountants that modifications will probably be considered as new orders.
Why this change to spousal support deductions is important
The current tax law gives a break to both the payor and payee of spousal support. This is because the payor is normally at a higher tax bracket than the payee, so more of the income is taxed. If the payor is taxed at 20% and the payee at 0%, an annual spousal support payment of $12000 is not taxed, but would have been taxed $2400 under the new law. This will affect the payee also as the court has to take into consideration the tax consequences to the parties when awarding spousal support. Consequently, less spousal support is likely to be awarded given these tax consequences.
Real ID Driver’s License Requirements
Beginning in 2020 Californians will not be able to use their normal driver’s licenses to pass through TSA check points unless the license meets the REAL ID requirements. (This has already begun for holders of Class “A” licenses). To pass through a TSA check point , you will need a federal compliant card such as a passport, military ID, or a REAL ID California Driver’s license, to board a domestic flight or access some federal facilities beginning October 1, 2020. The DMV will start offering REAL ID driver’s licenses and ID cards on January 22, 2018. A DMV office visit is required to apply for a REAL ID. Documents that you may need include to obtain the Real ID driver’s license:
If you wish to continue using a name that is different than what is on your birth certificate (or last legal name change) – you need to legally change your name from your current legal name to the name you are using.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Today the process can take 7 to 26 weeks depending on the court. When there is a backlog, I expect this wait time to increase substantially. For more information on the name change process,follow the link to my name change web page