Archive for

Guardianship of Minors Issues in Oakland and Bay Area; Divorce and Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Guardianship of a minor is a court-ordered transfer of care, custody, and control of a child to a nonparent. It is a usually a temporary order granting custody to a grandparent or other relative for a set amount of time or until the child turns 18. A guardian may be appointed if the legal parents cannot properly provide for the child, but can also be appointed by agreement between the parents and a caregiver. For example, a single parent who is in the military may appoint her mother or aunt as a guardian while she is overseas. 

During a guardianship, the parents retain their status as legal parents, but the appointed guardian is responsible for caring for and making decisions in the best interest of the child. This includes determining where the minor lives, making sure the minor is properly fed, clothed, and sheltered, supervising the minor’s conduct, making sure the minor is enrolled in and attending school, and making sure the minor has proper medical care.

Depending on the situation, guardianship of a minor may be initiated by the court or by a relative of the child. Generally, the court will order a temporary guardianship while it conducts an investigation and then make a more permanent order. The legal parents of the child can request that the court terminate the guardianship at any time.

If you have questions about a guardianship, contact Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083.


Artificial Insemination, Surrogacy and Gestational Carrier Agreements May Be Complicated and Require Family Law Attorney in Oakland, Fremont, San Jose Area

There are many technologies today that allow for an LGBT couple, a single person or a couple with reproductive difficulties to conceive and raise a child. With the availability of these technologies, it is extremely important for all of the parties involved to protect themselves. If you have a potential assisted reproductive technology issue, you should contact the Bay Area lawyers of Howard & Fei, LLP to get a consultation on your case at 510.464.8083.

Having an agreement in place can prevent future hassles involving potential visitation, custody or other issues. An agreement would not only protect the parents by limiting the interaction between their child and the donor, or gestational carrier to the level that they are comfortable with (or any at all), but it would protect the donors from being liable for support in the future. For example, a sperm donor may be liable for child support payments in the future if the artificial insemination is not handled properly in the beginning.

To get an assessment and consultation of your particular situation, please call the lawyers of Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083 or visit our website.

Divorce Requirements in Alameda County and California; Ask a Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore Family Law Attorney

It is a common misconception that you have to file for divorce in the place that you were married. In fact, there are some states that do not even have a residency requirement. Other states, like California, have certain requirements for the filing of divorce. In California, and counties like Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara, you or your spouse must be a resident of the state for six months and a resident of the county in which you wish to file for divorce for three months.

If you and your spouse live in different counties and both meet the 3 month residency requirement, then you may file for divorce in either county. This may get tricky if there are children involved– the court case may have to be filed, or may be moved to the county in which the child(ren) live.

Call the attorneys of Howard & Fei, LLP for a free phone consultation on your family law case at 510.464.8083. You can also visit our website at

Child Support Guidelines and Calculation in California; Pleasanton, CA Divorce Lawyers

If you live in the Pleasanton or Alameda County area, and want to find out more about family law issues, particularly about child support, there are many places online that can help you.

Child support guidelines and even a calculator can be found on the website for the California Department of Child Support Services. Many attorneys and courts use a specific program to calculate child support, and those factors include a person’s income, expenses, number of children and certain deductions. By doing your own calculations first, you can have a rough idea of how much child support you will be required to pay out, or expecting to receive.

The website also gives you great information on how to process child support payments and the like.

If you still have more questions about child support, you can call the East Bay attorneys of Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083, or email us at or visit our website.

The 411 on Community Property in California; Alameda County Divorce Attorneys

As a Fremont, Alameda County, and Bay Area family law attorney, I get a lot of questions about how property is divided in California during a divorce. California is a community property state. This means that any income or property acquired during the marriage belongs to the “community,” which is made up of the two people in the marriage. When there is community property, there is also separate property, which consists of income or property that the two people already had before getting married, or if the property/income was acquired during the marriage but falls under certain categories of separate property. Separate property can also be used to acquire community property and vice versa. The tough part is when there is a divorce and the different kinds of property have to be sorted out.

Community Property

Community property stays community property even if a spouse opens a separate bank account, or uses that money to invest in a property only in his/her name. For example, just because a husband uses community property to buy a house in his name alone does not make it his separate property. If there is a divorce, income and property can be backtracked to their source, which ultimately determines whether it is community or separate property.

Separate Property

There are some main categories of separate property and they include property that was acquired before the marriage, inheritances and gifts. There can be many other separate property distinctions, but it depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Separate property can be used to fund a community property item, but it can be determined upon divorce how much that spouse would get back. Inheritances and gifts to an individual would likely remain separate property.

There are many intricacies involved in divorce proceedings and the splitting of the assets and debts. To consult with an Oakland, Alameda or Contra Costa County family law divorce attorney, call Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083 or go to our website.

Why Divorce May be a Good Thing

There is a major cultural stigma against divorce in the United States, and in most other countries. This can be contributed to history, media or just the general horror stories that many people may have to live through. Although it’s rare that a couple will enter into a marriage anticipating or prepared for a divorce, it is not the evil animal that it is cast out to be.

I have seen divorces at both ends of the spectrum– some have been completely amicable where the parties have walked away friends, but others have been knock-down, drag-out fights. Obviously, some of those vicious fights have merit to them; there are times when a custody battle is completely valid, especially if there is an abusive parent. However, more often than not, a vicious divorce is the product of each spouse’s hurt and desire to get revenge on the other. But at the end, it can do more harm than good.

An amicable divorce can be healthy for the entire family, especially children who have been watching their parents fight. Children may actually be happier when there are two stable and peaceful households instead of a single tumultuous one. When the parents are no longer fighting with each other and can be at peace with the divorce, and the events leading up to it, then they become more attentive and involved with their children. A divorce can also start to heal many raw emotions that have been stirring for years and can bring closure to two people. Let’s face it, marriage isn’t forever for everyone, but it doesn’t mean that it has to end badly for some.

If you live in the Bay Area and need to consult with a family law attorney, the lawyers of Howard & Fei, LLP are here to help you. You can visit our website or you can call us at 510.464.8083 for a consultation on your case.


How to Keep Your Children’s Lives Normal During Divorce

Getting a divorce is one of the toughest things to go through in a person’s life, but even tougher is seeing the impact that it has on your children. Here are some things you can do to lessen the harmful effects.

Communicate with your children and your soon to be ex-spouse. Let your children know exactly what will happen during the divorce but do not give graphic or negative details. Tell them openly that the divorce is between you and the other parent, and it has nothing to do with them. Openly communicate with your soon-to-be-ex about the children’s schedules and activities. This will be important as it will keep him/her in the loop about what is going on and may cause less animosity in the long run.

Don’t Talk Negatively About the Other Parent

It’s basic human nature to talk negatively or bad-mouth someone who has hurt us, but it really is in the best interest of your children to not talk about the other parent negatively in front of them. Children often blame themselves for divorce and the more that you draw attention to it, the worse it will get. Remember that your ex-spouse is still the children’s other parent and will be there for the rest of their lives.

Be Good to Yourself

The first step is to keep negative remarks away from your children, but many people are not aware that even without words, children can sense the tension and anger in their parents. If you need to, seek out a family therapist, where everyone can speak openly. Furthermore, it is important that you let go of some of the anger and animosity against your ex-spouse. Once you can do that, it will help the children a great deal.

Be Active in Your Children’s Lives

Even if the children do not live with you more than 50% of the time, or only visit on the weekends, you can still be a part of your children’s everyday lives. You can volunteer at their schools, or come to an agreement with your ex-spouse to be the after-school care provider instead of the local babysitter. Even little things like picking them up from piano lessons or taking them on a class field trip will make a world of difference. Just remember that these things need to be agreed upon by both parents, and as soon as the parents can take that first step, the rest of the divorce may get better as time progresses.

Obviously, many of these things are easier said than done, and you may need all the help you can get. To speak to an experienced attorney in the Bay Area about your divorce or child custody and support issues, contact the lawyers of Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083 for a consultation today.

Supermodel Evangelista Requests $46,000 Monthly Child Support Payments From Child’s Father


Supermodel Linda Evangelista has a son with business man Francois-Henri Pinault, who is currently married to Salma Hayek. Last month, it was published that Pinault is indeed the father of the four year old boy and now, Evangelista has appeared before the New York family court to request monthly child support payments of $46,000.

That amount of money may seem unfathomable to some people, as it is the average annual income in many states. However, even though Evangelista has requested it does not mean that she will automatically receive it. She claims that the money will go to cover the around-the-clock nanny care and drivers who are retired police detectives. Obviously, the circumstances of celebrity divorces are significantly different than those of the average person.

When parties go to court to request child support, they must submit forms disclosing their financial status. They must include their expenses and different forms of income. Then, the court would take into consideration the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, each parent’s income and expenses and if the child has any special needs. Courts may also take into consideration the fact that a child is accustomed to a certain lifestyle.

If you have a child support or custody issue that you would like to discuss with an attorney, call Howard & Fei, LLP at 51.464.8083 for a consultation.

How Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can help you

Contrary to popular belief (partly attributed to movies and television shows), only a small percentage of cases actually make it to trial. The rest of the cases are either dropped by one of the parties, or ultimately settled.

The parties going through a family law case (divorce, domestic partnership dissolution, child custody & support) can opt to go into mediation, arbitration or even private judging.


Mediation is becoming increasingly popular because the two parties can decide the outcome of their case. However, this requires a great deal of cooperation, and compromise. Mediation can be much cheaper than litigation because it can be done with a mediator and the parties (without the involvement of individual attorneys), but if the parties are spending a lot of time at mediation with no movement, then it may be a fruitless experience. Mediation can be particularly rewarding when there are children involved and the couple can agree to co-parent through a much more cooperative way. If something significant changes in the future, the party may be able to return to the mediator to change the previous agreement with limited expenses.


Two people can agree to resolve their case by submitting it to an arbitrator, who would make the ultimate and binding decision. The benefit to this process is that the parties still retain some control over their case while at the same time eliminating some unnecessary costs. However, because the decision is binding, it may not work for many people.

Private Judging

Private judging could be beneficial to a high profile couple or case because the information is kept out of the public forum. Unlike a judge in the superior court, the parties would have to pay for their private judge, who may charge upwards of $500 an hour. This is in addition to their representation and other costs involved. Private judging is becoming more and more popular in certain counties (such as Santa Clara County), but still remains less popular in others.

If you’d like to discuss the options in your divorce or child custody dispute, you should call the attorneys of Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083 to see how we can help you.