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Los Angeles Area Law Blog

New law helps protect sexual harassment reporters from lawsuits

The new year has brought more than one new California law that was helped along by the momentum of the #MeToo movement. The movement received notoriety largely because of well-known actresses who shared their stories of harassment and abuse. However, activists have focused on sexual assault, abuse and misconduct in all industries.

One of the new laws protects people who bring good faith accusations of inappropriate behavior from being sued for defamation. It also offers protections for employers who tell prospective employers checking someone's references that the person was accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. Specifically, it allows the disclosure "without malice [of] whether the employer would rehire an employee and whether or not a decision to not rehire is based on the employer's determination that the former employee engaged in sexual harassment."

New law expands ignition interlock device requirements statewide

Among the new state laws taking effect on New Year's Day is one that could impact many Californians whose New Year's Eve festivities include a couple (or more) glasses of champagne.

Beginning on Jan. 1, anyone convicted of a second or subsequent DUI will be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicles. Drivers convicted of their first DUI will have to install one if that DUI resulted in an injury.

Use a property division checklist to help with asset division

When you tie the knot, it typically leads to the commingling of assets. From homes to cars, from furniture to electronics, you make a variety of purchases as a couple.

While there's nothing wrong with this, all of these assets will come into play if you decide to divorce.

California man arrested for DUI had car on 'Autopilot'

Cars that you can place in "Autopilot" mode to essentially drive themselves are now a reality. While they aren't common on California freeways just yet, you may have shared the road with one without realizing it. Tesla is one car manufacturer that makes vehicles with this feature.

Having a car that you can program to drive itself, however, does not make driving under the influence legal. Late last month, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers arrested a man in Palo Alto (interesting, the city where Tesla is headquartered) for DUI. When the driver didn't stop for officers as he traveled south on Highway 101 at about 3:30 a.m., they followed him.

10 factors that affect custody and parenting plans

You and your significant other never got married, but you did have two children together. Now that you've decided to end your relationship, you want to make sure that you still get to see the kids. You don't want to lose that access.

This could lead to the creation of a legal custody and parenting plan, which you both need to follow after it gets authorized by the court. The plan explains both your rights and your obligations. It sets apart time for each of you to spend with the children. It determines where they live. In essence, it sets up your roles as parents even when you are no longer together.

Making smart financial decisions if you have an unfaithful spouse

Learning that your spouse has been unfaithful can be devastating. Whether it ultimately means the end of your marriage is something you and your spouse will need to determine. However, in the meantime, it's important to take stock of where you stand financially and how you will protect your financial future should you divorce. This requires some clear thinking at a time when you may be consumed by a range of emotions.

One family law attorney advises spouses to determine the value of their marital estate. Here in California, which is a community property state, all property owned by a couple together is divided in half in a divorce. If you have a prenuptial agreement that stipulates a different arrangement, this is a good time to review it.

How to make it easier for children during transitions

One of the most difficult experiences for a child is being raised in two different homes after their parents separate or go through a divorce. There will be constant shuffling between the two homes, two sets of clothes, two sets of furniture, two bedrooms and sharing holidays with both parents. On top of all of this, the child will need to adjust to not seeing both parents every day. Here are some tips for making it easier for children during transitions.

When a child is still adjusting to life in a new home with one of their parents, you can make things very easy on them by helping them understand their schedule. Print out the parenting schedule on a piece of paper and hang it in a common place, such as the refrigerator or on the corkboard above their desk in their bedroom. This allows them to prepare days in advance for going to the other home.

What if your ex-spouse doesn’t obey your custody order?

As a part of any divorce including children, the court hands down a custody order, or approves a custody plan that parents agree on together. Unfortunately, many parents have difficulty sticking to the custody plan and deprive other parents of time with their child. While it is normal for parents to take time to adjust to a new structure of parenting, it is never wise to contradict a custody order.

Courts take the terms of custody orders seriously, and expect parents to respect them as well. If you and your child's other parent face difficulty parenting according to the order, you may want to consider modifying the order to something more manageable.

Making the prenuptial agreement drafting process a positive one

You believe that you and your spouse-to-be should have a solid prenuptial agreement in place before you tie the knot. You know that prenups are becoming increasingly common among couples whether they have a lot of money going into the marriage or not.

However, you're not sure how your partner will react when you suggest it. Therefore, you've been procrastinating about broaching the subject. You know, though, that it's not something that should be put off until the last minute. A good prenup takes time and discussion, and no one should feel pressured to sign something they're not comfortable signing.

Even the wealthy can see money issues lead to divorce

You have probably heard that money issues sit at the root of a lot of divorce cases. However, maybe you think the issue is always a lack of money and financial assets. A man with an addiction problem leaves his family with nothing. A woman who is a sole breadwinner and loses her job finds her family breaking up under the stress. A couple that can't make ends meet has to end their marriage.

These things do happen, and you can find plenty of people who have been through it, but does that mean that wealth insulates you from divorce? No, not at all. Even wealthy couples can get divorced because of issues that ultimately revolve around money. Here are a few ways it can happen.

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Mohajer Law Firm, APC

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