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Los Gatos CACI defense attorneyThe California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) requires teachers, doctors, and others who work with children to report any “reasonable suspicion” of child neglect or abuse. Reports can also come from other sources. For example, allegations of child abuse or neglect are sometimes made maliciously in the course of a bitter divorce or child custody battle. Accusations may also be made out of an excess of caution, or due to a misinterpretation of something a child says or does. Whether true or not, the mere accusation can be hurtful and affect your access to your children. 

Child abuse reports are investigated by a child protective services agency in the county where the child lives. In Santa Clara County, that would be the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). These investigations must be taken seriously, because they could result in your name being put on the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). This will show up on a pre-employment background check for any job that involves working with children.

A child abuse investigation will conclude with a finding of unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. If a finding of “substantiated” is entered against you with the California Department of Justice, your name will be added to the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), where it will remain for your lifetime.

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Santa Clara County grandparents' rights attorneyAfter a divorce, grandparents can provide an important point of stability in a child’s life. Grandparents can also provide emotional and even financial support to their grandchildren that divorced parents often cannot, due to the stress of divorce, the juggling of child care and custody, and the costs of maintaining two separate households. 

However, it can be difficult to maintain strong lines of communication between grandparents and grandchildren in the wake of a divorce. Fortunately, the California Family Code (sections 3100-3105) directly addresses the issue of grandparents’ rights to see their grandchildren.

When Grandparents May Request Visitation With Grandchildren

California law presumes that parents have the sole right to determine whether and when their children have contact with any grandparents. However, grandparents may ask a California court to award them visitation rights in certain circumstances:

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Santa Clara County prenup attorneyMost couples view marriage as a partnership of equals. They believe, for example, that major decisions should be made jointly and that there should be an equitable division of household responsibilities. It can be hard to achieve that sense of equal partnership, however, when a marriage begins with a major imbalance in terms of assets, debts, and/or family responsibilities. A prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement or prenup) can help put new spouses on a more equal footing. 

There are a number of things to consider when developing a prenuptial agreement, including California legal requirements and the personal needs of the spouses-to-be.

Your Prenup Must Meet Legal Requirements for Enforceability

The California Family Code includes a chapter titled the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). This law sets forth the requirements for a prenup to be legally enforceable:

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Los Gatos cohabitation agreement attorneyMany people choose to live with a romantic partner on a long-term basis without becoming legally married. They may look and act like a married couple. They may share bank accounts, co-own property, and even have children together. However, when cohabiting couples in California separate—whether due to a breakup, death, or disability—they can run into serious difficulties, because California law does not grant cohabiting couples the same rights and responsibilities that are afforded to legally married couples. Unmarried couples can, however, sign a contract called a cohabitation agreement (also known as a “no-nup”), which is similar to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement signed by couples who do marry.

When Should I Consider a California Cohabitation Agreement?

If you and your partner both work and contribute fairly toward your household expenses but otherwise keep your finances separate, you may not see the need for a cohabitation agreement. However, over time, your circumstances might change, and your finances may become more intermingled. There are several situations in which a cohabitation agreement can be of significant benefit to you, such as:

  • You are the primary home-manager while your partner is the primary income-earner. In this situation, you could be sacrificing the opportunity to build your own career and income potential. If your relationship ends suddenly, you could find yourself in dire financial straits until you can find a job and rebuild your career. A cohabitation agreement can be written to provide protection in this scenario. For example, your partner could agree to pay you the equivalent of spousal support for some period of time after a break-up or provide you with a lump sum payment or inheritance in the case of their death.
  • You are the primary income-earner while your partner is working to obtain an advanced degree. Suppose that you agree to work and support your partner financially while he or she completes law school or medical school, with the expectation that you will both benefit financially in the future. In a cohabitation agreement, your partner could agree to reimburse you for that support if your relationship ends within a certain timeframe.
  • You and your partner buy a home together. A cohabitation agreement can document how much each partner shall contribute to the down payment, mortgage payments, and other costs. It can also define a process for managing or selling the property in the event that your relationship ends for any reason. 
  • You have significant assets that you want to protect. A cohabitation agreement can spell out ownership of assets acquired before and during the relationship. This can prevent disputes in the event of a hostile breakup. The agreement can also specify what you want your partner to inherit in the event of your death.

Contact an Experienced Los Gatos Family Law Attorney

You can enter into a cohabitation agreement at any time, even if you have already been living together for years. To make sure the terms of your agreement are clearly understood and legally enforceable, work with an experienced Los Gatos, CA cohabitation agreements lawyer. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we will help you understand the legal issues that your agreement should address and make sure that your unique needs are met. Contact us at 408-395-8822 for a free initial consultation.

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California family lawyerChild abuse is a serious offense in the state of California. Reports of suspected abuse will trigger an investigation that can result in an alleged abuser being placed on the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). Inclusion in the CACI can affect a person’s employability in certain industries, their ability to volunteer for certain organizations, and their eligibility to adopt a child or act as a foster parent. When facing accusations of child abuse, it is important to understand what exactly constitutes abuse or neglect under California law.

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) (California Penal Code Article 2.5) defines the following acts as child abuse or neglect:

  • Injury - Physical harm or death inflicted non-accidentally upon a child.
  • Sexual abuse - Acts consisting of (1) sexual assault, including rape, statutory rape, incest, lewd or lascivious acts upon a child, or sexual contact with a child, or (2) sexual exploitation, including the depiction of children engaging in obscene acts, compensating children for performing sexual acts, accessing or distributing child pornography, or sexual trafficking.
  • Neglect - Negligent treatment or mistreatment of a child by a person responsible for their care, resulting in a threat to the child’s health or welfare. Neglect falls into two categories: (1) severe neglect, which consists of failing to protect a child from severe malnutrition or wilfully causing or permitting a child’s health or person to be in danger, and (2) general neglect, which consists of the failure to provide a child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, or medical care, even if a child is not physically injured as a result.
  • Child endangerment - Wilfully endangering a child’s health or safety, including inflicting or allowing unjustified physical or mental pain or permitting a child to be placed in a situation in which they are in danger of harm.
  • Unlawful corporal punishment - Willfully inflicting cruel or inhuman punishment or causing an injury which results in a traumatic condition. The law makes exceptions for the use of reasonable force to deal with a threat of physical injury or property damage at a public school, including acts of self-defense and actions taken to remove weapons or dangerous objects from a pupil’s possession.

California law defines a child as someone under the age of 18. Harm suffered in a conflict between minors is not considered child abuse and reasonable force used by a police officer who is carrying out their duties does not constitute child abuse or neglect.

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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