Jenn Yan Wen Fei

Jenn Yan Wen Fei has written 20 posts for Bay Area Divorce and Family Law Attorneys

How to Make the Holiday Visitation Schedule Work for You and Your Children Part 2; Berkeley, Fremont, Santa Clara Divorce Attorneys

As experienced divorce and child custody attorneys in the Bay Area, we see how holiday visitation schedules can become incredibly complicated and often a source of conflict. But we believe that with some effort from both parents, and these helpful tips, the holidays can be much more relaxed and enjoyable.

  • Be Flexible

This goes hand in hand with compromise. If you know you travel to visit the grandparents every other year, plan to have the kids with you during those years. And, if your ex wants to take the kids skiing for a week during Christmas, try to be flexible so that next year you can do something special with them. If you get along with each other, try spending Thanksgiving day together with the kids. This can help show your children that you are working together to do what’s best for them.

  • Your Children Come First

In the end, the holidays are about spending time with family and enjoying your kids. If you don’t get along with your ex, try to discuss visitation schedules outside of the presence of your children, and don’t involve the children in decision making about the holidays. This will help keep everything in perspective so that you can both concentrate on your kids.

If you would like assistance creating a holiday visitation schedule or with your child custody arrangement or a divorce, please contact Howard & Fei, LLP at 510-464-8083.

Part I


Child Custody in Divorce Issues in Oakland, San Jose and Pleasanton, California

A break up or a divorce is hard enough; when there are children involved it can be even more difficult. Parents must make decisions about where the child will live, with whom, and when the child will see the other parent. The question of child support is usually also a concern.

In California, if you have a child, you are legally obligated to financially support your child until he or she graduates from high school or turns 19. When parents separate, one parent will likely have to pay child support. This is generally the non-custodial parent, but it depends on the income of both parents and also how much time the child spends with each parent. The family court or the Department of Child Support Services will use a statewide formula to calculate child support, and that amount must be paid to the other parent each month. If you do not pay, your wages could be garnished or your driver’s license could be suspended.

Please contact our office for a consultation to discuss your rights and obligations regarding child support at 510.464.8083.

Marvin Actions May Impact the Outcome of Your Divorce or Separation in San Jose, Santa Clara, Oakland and Other Surrounding Cities (Part 2 of 2)

Normally when a relationship ends and two people split up, there is not much the courts can do for them. If they were not married or were not registered domestic partners, there is no spousal support. If the two parties both financially contributed to a property or an investment, then they would have to bring their claim into civil court, much like two complete strangers would bring a claim against each other.

However, there is a way that an unmarried couple who decide to separate may be able to bring their case to court. A Marvin action occurs when there is a contractual agreement between the two parties. This agreement may be that one party has promised to take care of the other after separation or to split the profits from a business sale or real estate deal. Generally, unmarried partners are not legally entitled to each other’s property but this may change under a Marvin action.

These types of cases take place in the civil court and not family court but family law attorneys may still be able to represent you. Additionally, just because the two parties get married does not mean that their agreement prior to marriage becomes null and void.

In order to get a better evaluation of your case, call the attorneys of Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083. If you would like to read Part 1 of this article then click here.

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.