Affordable Family Law Attorney Chico

Affordable Family Law Attorney Chico

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Use Marijuana, Lose Visitation or Custody???

Parents, Marijuana Use and Custody in California

Could you lose custody of your children due to smoking marijuana?

In California, as of today's date, September 2016, marijuana is not a legal recreational drug, but can be used medically with appropriate adherence to the law.  Even so, most mediators have standard provisions that parents should adhere from smoking in presence of children, or sometimes even when the kids are under the control of that specific parent.  The "smoking" will generally cover most forms of tobacco (cigar, cigarette, vape, medical MJ, etc...)  And many times, smoking by third parties in the home may not be a good idea due to secondhand smoke.

In Butte County, a jury has previously returned a guilty verdict over an issue of whether medical marijuana is a defense (to child endangerment charges)--- the long contested case of  Daisy Bram, where allegedly, the lesser count of misdemeanor child endangerment was found (as opposed to child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm)... Judge Glusman ruled that no valid evidence was presented as to the certified use of medicinal marijuana and thus it was not available as a defense. Ms. Bram was not represented by counsel, which obviously hindered her defense.

Another related question would be if one instead ingested edible forms of medicinal MJ, would that mean if there was no second hand smoke then the issue would be resolved?  although that issue has likely not been published in an appeals case, it is a known fact that edibles are not exactly the same; the content can vary widely.

California’s marijuana edibles remain in food safety limbo

California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act has been in effect for a month now, but the state’s Department of Public Health hasn’t yet published or implemented food safety standards for so-called edibles. 

However, the Act didn’t give the department a deadline. It simply states “the state department of public health shall develop standards for the production and labeling of all edible medical cannabis products.”

Ironically, those who most need the medicinal properties of edible medical marijuana products are also among those most likely to fall victim to food-borne pathogens. 

People with prescriptions for medical marijuana edibles, such as cancer patients, often have weakened immune systems and may be at increased risk of developing infections from exposure to food-borne pathogens.

The edibles, which range from chewing gum to brownies, are not considered food or drugs under California’s existing Health and Safety Code. They are in legal limbo in terms of food safety jurisdiction.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) amended the California Business and Professions Code, establishing what sponsors said, was a comprehensive state licensing system for the commercial marijuana industry. An early version of the Act specified food safety procedures and sanitation requirements equivalent to the state’s Retail Food Code.

The food safety requirements included in the earlier version of the legislation were to be enforced by the state’s Public Health Department. Until the department develops and implements food safety standards for edible medical marijuana products, patients with prescriptions for such products will have to rely on the MMRSA’s minimal requirements for testing for peace of mind.

The Act’s requirements include testing edibles for foreign matter such as hair and insects and some “impurities” such as mold and aureus bacteria, aka Staphylococcus.

Common food-borne pathogens of Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes are not addressed in the Act.

Child Endangerment in California...

What is Child Endangerment in California?

Penal Code section 273a broadly defines the crime of child endangerment. Under this law, you could face prosecution whenever a child is under your care or custody and you:
  • Willfully permit the child to suffer;
  • Inflict unjustifiable physical or mental pain upon any child; or
  • Willfully endanger the health of a child.
If the prosecuting agency in your county believes that you are “endangering the health of your child” by smoking marijuana or growing it in a home where your children reside, you may face criminal charges. These charges may be filed as a misdemeanor or as a felony.
If convicted of felony child endangerment, you could be sentenced to up to six years in prison and ordered to pay a maximum $10,000 fine. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.
Additionally, allegations of child abuse or a child endangerment conviction could lead to you being listed on California’s Child Abuse Central Index which is the Department of Justice’s record of known child abusers.

What Does This Mean For You?

Parents and users of legally-prescribed medical marijuana in California need to be aware of the potential legal consequences and health-related risks of smoking and growing pot in a home where children reside.

Family Law Litigation Chico---- Affordable Legal Help 530.359.8810

Thursday, June 18, 2020

When Visitation or Parenting Hits a Snag?


According to the law:

The public policy of the state of California is to protect the best interest of children whose parents have a custody or visitation matter in family court. Sometimes, based on issues of protection and safety, a judge will order that a child only have contact with a parent when a neutral third person is present during the visitation. This type of third-person visitation arrangement is often called “supervised visitation.”

How does a parent get out of supervised visits and back to normal visitation?

For most parents, it is a process that will take time, patience and desire.  It does not go quickly but if the parent is doing it correctly, the agency supervisor will make good notations on how well you did and you may gain more time as the reports are good, credible and supportive.  If they are not good, then you will have an issue and should work on it ASAP. 

Also, be very aware that attorney has seen cases which end up being swept under the rug because the court is very busy and just assigns messy cases (quite often) to add attorneys to help both sides, but what actually can happen is that failure to READ the entire file with a fine tooth comb can mean the attorneys don't even see or FIND out that one party did have a TRO or DV order which was wrongly dropped, OR they don't realize that fake proof of service was used over and over???

These facts are key because lack of ACTUAL personal service is FRAUD if it was done purposely??  And attorney herein has seen such things done.  It takes awhile to see how it happened, but a fake proof of service can be proven by the person who never got served. It's not the easiest thing to do, but it can be done.

When your kids get taken because you didn't appear at a hearing, and you didn't have notice, you better run to an attorney who has some criminal law background/family law, it's faster in attorney's opinion. (Attorney of this blog has both family/criminal/civil experience in the law...)  
[Previously published in 2016 by attorney herein]

Monday, June 15, 2020


Attorney specifically works on more challenging, unusual or difficult cases, especially if there has been a past loss in the case due to no fault of your own...many cases that attorney has prevailed on, definitely started as a losing case, but not because the case itself was bad....

Some attorneys that do not regularly practice "family law" simply have little understanding of how DV TRO cases work. DV TRO cases are really a specifically bred type of case, which was formulated on purpose to try and combat the wrongful behavior that would end up causing far too much harm to parties, including, but not limited to, needless violence and emotional harm.  Not surprisingly, much of this harm was done to women and children.

Working remotely for years means attorney has a lot of time and experience over the phone and internet, and when Covid happened, attorney was already situated for remote work.

In that area, attorney has a lot of experience since attorney has worked in many different jurisdictions throughout California, and has been inside at least 29 different courthouses or venues, including CA Federal courts (Northern District, Southern District, Eastern District, Denver federal District, and Eastern/Southern Bankruptcy courts...) San Diego [all counties] Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and more.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Does Family Law Involve "Winning" or is that Just Nonsense?

Seriously, don't believe for a minute that there is no winning or losing. Clients don't hire attorneys to lose their cases.

Sometimes clients want to spend money to make their spouse or the other party or participants lives a living hell, and money is not an object?  Or some may just want to get back at another, but at same time, try to get their own rights straightened out?

A good attorney will always ask clients what their goal is, what are they trying to get, what is motivating them, and can they afford to do more, less or inbetween; is there a possibility the other party will have to help pay fees?  Is there something the other party did that deserves the scrutiny of the Court?  Or have things just gone bad due to some turn of events?  Did one person commit a series of lies?  Are the kids being coached to lie about you? Is the difficulty of the cased based upon money, or people who are working to de-rail your efforts? Is one party guilty of severe actions that were set up purposely to ruin all the finances?  Was a secret source of income hidden? Or more than several sources?  Did a family member target you purposely to be difficult?

IN both family law, criminal and even regular civil cases, there are nearly ALWAYS participants that lie.  Nearly always.


Actually, many attorneys are not court litigators. Some are, but many are there only to avoid Court. Surprised?  Don't be.

Most criminal attorneys are used to actual litigation. Even high stakes civil litigation involves a lot of motion practice, and tentative rulings.

If a family law attorney has not done trials, then don't pick one that has not done trials. It is only by doing the trials that one can become good at it. Arguing an issue for five minutes is not trial work. Law and motion is not a trial.

A truly  honest attorney that can read people well, communicate, and yet understand a client who has not simply spelled out everything, is to be desired.  The ability to talk to clients on a personal level but with professional skill is highly desirable.  Most attorneys are very businesslike because they believe clients seek out that quality.

 Clients in a business may want that-- but in Family Law, most clients are not running businesses. Even if they are, they usually have financial people (accountant, tax person, financial planner,etc.) An attorney needs to listen very closely to clients so that he/she can steer the case properly.  If you find that your attorney is more interested in watching the time clock, or talking about non issues, you should probably get a different attorney. Just saying.

[Previously posted in 2017 on same site by atty]

Sunday, June 7, 2020

How Attorneys Fees are Set and Why this Attorney is Affordable

Most people, including attorneys, never tell clients how their fees are set.  That is, the "hourly" fee for all the legal work.

Attorney here will explain it to some degree. For sole practitioners, it's basically an accounting method for the most part. In order to meet living expenses, AND run an office, most attorneys need to take the basic office expenses plus what it takes to live.  So, if an office costs $1.25/ft plus triple net, plus shared security guard expense, let's pretend the office was 1,000'ft. So maybe $1,400/month just on having the physical office, not including any employees or other expenses. Before going further, I will say that in the mid 1990's, we had a very large shared office and our portion alone was over $1,500/month. You could drive a car through my office window, it was pretty big. Plus it was a corner office on Point West, across from the Arden Fair mall.

Then attorney would have to determine all of the employee expenses, including comp and any insurance; this can be very, very expensive. The office supplies, phone services, answering exchange, postage meter,cleaning costs, and whatever else needs to be obtained to run the office (expensive copier,utilities, internet, computers, expensive legal software, software updates, library updates, new legal code books, supplies,etc) Some legal software is exceptionally high in cost, and can run like $4,000-$7,000 per month/up. It depends what type of law you work on, and what caliber of software you are subscribing to, as software designed for will/trusts for example, is expensive to update.

Also, added cost for advertising, specialized optimizing tweaking, subscriptions to other legal information, website maintenance (that alone could be $1,000/month...)  Also, the cost of insurance is sometimes factored in. That can run $3,500/yr and up, usually far more if in practice over 10 years.

That doesn't include liability insurance for the office. Let's pretend the expenses using data above was used; without adding living expenses, we are looking at perhaps $4700-6700 with one employee who is a clerk. Then if we add in the attorney's living expenses, let's pretend it's $5,000 and assume there is no high "mortgage." is  As we can see, it ends up to about $10,500 in this example. In order to get the $10k, (that's breaking somewhat even--not profit)-- attorney has to figure out how many hours can be generated and billed. Plus taxes have to be accounted for, by estimating in advance, and sometimes paying quarterly.

If attorney worked 50hr per week, then attorney divides $10.5k by 50hr, and it's $210/hr but if only 40hr, then it's $262.  And that would be considered low by most California standards.

 Unless you are an attorney, you may have wondered how attorney fees are set. Years of experience usually make the hourly fee somewhat higher, as does specialization.

Obviously, the only way to earn a living is to have more clients, less expenses where possible, and not live beyond your means. This is not rocket science. Many attorneys don't pay $1,200 for rent on an office, and they don't all have hired help with 4 employees. For those that do, they probably can afford it. Sometimes personal injury attorneys can settle a very expensive case and if in the millions, will be set for some time.  For everyone else, any attorney not settling cases for millions, has to work to get clients, and if attorney is new to the area, it's even more work.

Even when one understands how attorney fees are set up, most litigants cannot afford the prevailing fees that attorneys charge. In knowing this, attorney (of this site) specifically has chosen to make fees lower for clients, and has often set up fees based upon the income of the client. This doesn't mean it is free, but it's certainly much, much less than the ordinary attorney. One of the only ways to operate like this, is to have one's living expenses be very low, and one's overhead to be much lower than the average attorney.

After much time spent paying for expensive offices, and overhead, attorney decided that to serve the general population, one must make sacrifices; therefore, attorney is able to work at an affordable rate while not compromising zealous representation. It is a lifestyle change, and very few attorneys will do it. But attorney has done it for years now, with no regrets.