• Working with your Lawyer

    Understanding the relationship between yourself and your lawyer is important.  Obviously, you do not want to waste your attorney's time with silly questions which will cost you unnecessary legal fees but more importantly you should be aware of what you control and what you do not in an the attorney-client relationship. The reason why you hire an attorney is to provide you with legal advice and counsel.  Lawyers are trained in the law and as a result can utilize their knowledge in preparing your case.  Lawyers are able to determine what is relevant to the legal issues before the court and ...

  • Fighting Child Protective Services

    Child Protective Services or CPS are the local social services agency designed to look at for the welfare of children.  When they believe that a child is abused/and or neglected or are at risk of abuse and neglect they can file a petition with the Juvenile Court to intervene.  The Juvenile Court acts as parent for the child if they assume jurisdiction under California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 300.  The Court can then make decisions about where the child will stay and under what circumstances the parent or guardian can see the child.  Therefore, the parent or guardian should ...

  • Request for Order — Child Custody

    A party may file a Request for Order or RFO for a change of child custody/visitation, at any time during the minority of the child.  A final Child custody and visitation order are modifiable throughout the child’s minority whenever the court finds a modification is “necessary or proper” in the child’s best interest.  Family Code §3022.   The moving party in a modification of child custody case must also show a significant change in circumstances once a final child custody judgment has been entered.  (Burchard v. Garay (1986) 42 Cal. 3d 531). The noncustodial parent has a substantial burden to show that some ...

  • What is a Preliminary Hearing

    A preliminary hearing in California is a hearing to determine if there is probable cause to hold a defendant over to answer for felony charges.  A defendant is not entitled to a preliminary hearing in misdemeanor charges only.  This hearing is held before a judge.  The prosecution is represented by the District Attorney's Office and the defendant is represented by Defense Counsel.  The burden of proof at a preliminary hearing is on the prosecutor.  The prosecutor must show that there is sufficient probable cause to hold the defendant over to answer for the felony charges.  Probable cause is defined as ...

  • What is an Arraignment?

    An Arraignment hearing is generally the first criminal court hearing.  At the arraignment, the People are represented by the District Attorney's Office.  They are responsible for filing a complaint or sometimes referred to as the information listing the charges against the defendant.  They will list the charges or counts on the complaint and the defendant will be provided a copy of the complaint.  The defendant can retain counsel for the arraignment or if the defendant cannot afford a lawyer, the defendant can request that the court appoint a lawyer for him/her.  The defendant can also enter a plea at the ...

  • Preparing for an Initial Consultation with a Lawyer

    This guide should provide you a few basic tips when meeting a lawyer for an initial consultation and what you should expect in the initial consultation. 1 What is the cost of the Initial Consultation Many attorneys offer free consultations. They usually limit these free consultations to 30 minutes to an hour. However, some attorneys charge for their initial consultation. They range generally from $100 to $500 depending on the area of law and experience of the attorney. 2 Be Prepared for the Consultation Remember this is your opportunity to tell this new attorney your situation or side of the story. You will have to tell ...

  • Where can I find information about my court case?

    If you are looking to gain information about your court case and you do not have an attorney, a good starting point is to go down to the county courthouse where your case is taking place.  Some courthouses have walk-up centers and self help resources which you can utilize.  Additionally, you can review the county court's website.  You will find that there may be a great deal of information about your pending hearing online.  For example, many court websites post court calendars online, information on how to file documents, and court locations and hours. Please be aware that this information is ...

  • What Information Should you Share with Your Attorney

      Sharing information with your attorney is important and requires preparation and thought. Be Truthful Sharing information with your attorney is important and being truthful with your attorney is the most important thing for you to remember. Your attorney may be hindered in their representation of you in you fail to be truthful. Its much more difficult for the attorney to defend you if he or she learns from a third party that you are not being truthful. Remember attorneys are trained to advocate for their clients and just because you tell your attorney something that may be harmful to your case, the ...

  • Considerations Prior to Your First Court Hearing

    Many people are intimidated when they have to appear in court.  There are many reasons why court can be a scary place if you have never been there before or if you are not adequately prepared.  Court can be scary because the outcome of a court proceeding can result in loss of money, loss of freedom and other devastating restrictions.  One of the most fundamental decisions you should make before going to court is whether you should hire a lawyer.  A lawyer is trained in the law and understands the procedures associated with court.  Therefore, you should always give great ...

  • MDRM — What is an Attorney-Client Fee Agreement

    An Attorney-Client Fee Agreement, or Fee Agreement, is more than just the document that controls the legal fees between an attorney and client.  A Fee Agreement is essentially the contract between the attorney and client.  A well written Fee Agreement will detail the scope of representation, legal fees, any conditions of the representation, the parties responsibilities, payment plan terms, incidental costs, discharge or withdrawl of the representation and the commencement date of the relationship.  It is important to remember that many of the terms contained in the Fee Agreement can be negotiated with the attorney.  Some of the terms of the ...

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None of the infor­ma­tion on this site con­sti­tutes legal advice. It is an ad for attor­ney ser­vices. The attor­neys at DeDecker & Meltzer are licensed attor­neys in the state of Cal­i­for­nia. The infor­ma­tion is intended to be gen­eral in nature as there are many laws and reg­u­la­tions not men­tioned on this site that may apply to your sit­u­a­tion.