5 More Tips for Success in Your California Divorce Deposition

Are you prepared for your divorce deposition? This article will help get you ready. It is part 2 of a two-part list.

This article will suggest general best practices for witnesses in a divorce deposition with ideas that were originally published here: https://natlawreview.com/article/help-how-do-i-prepare-divorce-deposition. See also https://www.americanbar.org/groups/government_public/publications/public-lawyer/2022-winter/effective-witness-preparation/

Never volunteer information.

  • It is the opposing counsel’s job to ask the questions and your job to answer them. Do not help the other side by volunteering information.

Do not guess when responding to a question.

  • Witnesses often feel pressured to know the answer to everything, but you can only answer to the things you actually know.
  • Make sure you understand the question itself and ask for more clarification if needed.
  • If you do not remember, then just say that you do not remember.
  • If you do not know the answer, then just say that you do not know.

Ask to see the document.

  • If the attorney is asking you about an email, text, or document (such as a report or a statement), ask to see the document. You are not expected to remember everything, and it will benefit you to have the document in front of you.
  • Even if the attorney has not referenced a document, you can preemptively strike by asking if there are any documents that they are aware of that relate to their question to refresh your recollection.
  • If the attorney insists that the document states a certain fact, you can ask him or her to point to you the section they are referencing. Many witnesses may feel pressured just to agree without holding the opposing counsel accountable to identify where in the document they are referencing.

Ignore the opposing counsel’s nonverbal manipulations.

  • Sometimes attorneys use ploys to try to get you to second guess your answer or to feel uncomfortable. This could be in the form of silence, a tilted head, raised eyebrows, a stare of disbelief or a look of shock. Ignore these cues and wait for the next question. Do not fill the silence with words.

Stick to your answer.

  • The opposing attorney may ask you the same question ten different ways to try to get you to change your answer. Watch out for the attorney saying, “I can’t remember if I asked you this, but…” They are either trying to get a different answer from you or trying to emphasize something they think is important to their case. If your original answer was accurate, stick to it.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law. We will be by your side in all phases of your divorce process, including preparing for your deposition. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

5 Tips for Success in Your Deposition in a California Divorce Case

If you are anticipating a deposition in your divorce, you may be a little nervous about how to do your best in answering the questions. This article is part 1 of a two-part list.

This article will suggest strategies for success in your divorce deposition with ideas that were originally published here: https://natlawreview.com/article/help-how-do-i-prepare-divorce-deposition. See also https://www.americanbar.org/groups/government_public/publications/public-lawyer/2022-winter/effective-witness-preparation/

Prepare by reviewing documents prior to the deposition.

  • Prior to your deposition, you may want to review any documents that have already been filed to jog your memory about the details of events.

Plan to tell the truth.

  • Talk with your attorney before the deposition about how to handle bad facts. Some witnesses feel tempted to lie to cover up facts that are potentially harmful to the case, but your attorney likely has a plan already on how to handle those facts.
  • An article from Family Lawyer Magazine shared some helpful insight on what the author dubbed the “lying continuum”:
    • On the one hand, neither you nor your spouse is likely to go to jail for lying in a family law case.
    • On the other hand, lying in one area reduces your credibility in the case as a whole. The other side will be looking for evidence to show your lie, and you may get caught. Furthermore, the person that is lying often has a hard time keeping the story straight for the duration of the deposition or the case as a whole.
    • See https://familylawyermagazine.com/articles/preparing-for-deposition-what-client-needs-to-know/

Listen to the question.

  • Listen to the question that was asked and answer only that question. You do not have to volunteer information.
    • For example, if the attorney were to ask, “Do you have a watch?” and you answered, “Yes, it’s 10 am,” this would be an example of where you did not answer the question. The answer would be yes or no only.
  • You have many options on how to answer:
    • Yes, no, I don’t know, Can you explain the question, Can you explain this term? Etc.

Pause and think before answering.

  • Taking time to ponder your answer can be very useful during a deposition. It allows a second for your attorney to object to the question if that is appropriate. A common reaction to the stress of questioning is to try to answer quickly, but taking time to think through is usually a much better approach.

Don’t expect to win the other side over.

  • A common misconception with depositions is that this is your chance to win the other side over, so a witness may try to convince the opposing attorney of their position. This is typically a mistake. The opposing attorney’s job is to be a zealous advocate against you, so you can expect him or her to be incredulous of anything you say. Also, beware if the opposing counsel seems particularly nice, as they are not your friend and may want to trick you into talking more than you need to.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law. We will be by your side in all phases of your divorce process, including preparing for your deposition. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

What is a Deposition in a California Divorce Case?

In a divorce case, both parties have the right to find out information through a process called discovery. Discovery can be in the form of written questions, requests for documents, or depositions. A deposition allows opposing counsel prior to trial to question a witness who is sworn to tell the truth. This article will explain basic information relating to deposition with information originally published here: https://natlawreview.com/article/help-how-do-i-prepare-divorce-deposition

How long is a deposition?

Who is present?

  • Your attorney and the opposing counsel will be present. Your spouse may also be there. Any other attorneys, such as a Guardian Ad Litem, will also be at the deposition, and a court reporter.

What is the purpose of the deposition?

  • The opposing counsel has several objectives 1) to discover what you will say at trial 2) to commit you to statements under oath to prevent you from changing your story, 3) to gauge your likeability and credibility.

When will my attorney object to questions at a deposition?

  • Your attorney may raise many objections during the course of the deposition, and here are some examples derived from this article: https://www.clio.com/blog/deposition-objections-cheat-sheet/
    • Form of the question, such as vague, compound question, unclear or confusing
    • Relevance of the question, with the purpose to weed out questions that are unnecessarily harmful or time wasting.
    • There are certain relationships, such as attorney-client, where the communications are protected.
    • Asked and answered. This is an objection that is used when the attorney is defending the client from badgering from an attorney who keeps asking the same question over and over.
    • Legal conclusion. If the question calls for a legal conclusion, as opposed to facts, then this objection applies.
    • Mischaracterization of testimony. In the deposition, the attorney may misrepresent an earlier answer in a subsequent question.
  • It is your attorney’s job to make the objections and to tell you whether to answer the question, but it can be helpful to be aware that objections may be made.

What if I need to delay a scheduled deposition?

 Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law. We will be by your side in all phases of your divorce process, including preparing for your deposition. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

How Do I Get My Coparent to Stop Alienating?

One of the most common concerns during or after a divorce is a coparent alienating a child against the other parent. Alienation is where one parent intentionally uses tactics to manipulate the child to fear or dislike the other parent. In California, parental alienation is not a crime, but it can be a factor in determining custody and visitation. This article will give examples of illustration, discuss legal strategies for documenting evidence to support a claim of alienation in litigation, and discuss non-legal practices for helping your children resist the harmful effects of alienation with ideas originally published here: https://www.consciouscoparentinginstitute.com/how-do-i-get-my-co-parent-to-stop-alienating/

What are examples alienation tactics?

  • Telling a child lies about the other parent.
  • Keeping important information about the child from the other parent.
  • Ignoring custody orders.
  • Undermining the other parent’s authority.
  • Preventing contact or communication between the child and the other parent.
  • Attempts to ruin the other parent’s visitation or custody time.

What legal strategies can be used to combat parental alienation?

  • Allegations of parental alienation are usually only effective if they are supported by evidence, so the first step of a legal strategy is documentation of the tactics.
  • Parenting time – keep detailed notes of parenting time to document when the other parent tries to manipulate your child against you.
  • Witnesses – any third party observer of the other parent’s manipulations can be helpful to bolster your case.
  • Documents and pictures – text messages, emails, pictures, social media posts, or any other written or photographic evidence can be helpful in proving your case.

What techniques can I use to help my children resist the harmful effect of alienation?

  • Mirror strength – how you react will be a model for your children. If you respond to their rejection with calmness and love, this will show them that your love is unconditional and help them see through the lies that the other parent is telling.
  • Take back your power – recognize that you cannot change another person, but you are in complete control of yourself. Rather than focusing on the negative narrative that the ex is spinning, create a positive story for your children by always taking the high road. Treat your ex and the children with respect, and over time, your children will grow to understand what is really going on.
  • Take proactive action – communicate consciously, plan ahead, use email and text so that you don’t end up in verbal altercations with the other parent. Contact a family law attorney, and take the recommended steps to fight the alienation to the extent that you can through the court system. Most importantly, put in the work to be there for your children in every way. Believe and live with the mantra that “Love always wins.”

Contact an Experienced California Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about parental alienation or any other aspect of California family law, contact us today. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, and can help you with divorce, modification, prenuptial agreements, or any other family law issue. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

Frozen Embryos and Divorce: New Legal Developments

Because of advances in technology, millions of people have become parents through in vitro fertilization (IVF). For various reasons both scientific and practical, most IVF cycles result in additional frozen embryos, which become the subject of dispute upon divorce. This area of the law is developing in many states, and this article will summarize a famous California case, the recent developments in federal law that may impact embryo cases, and the latest battle over embryos in Texas. Information about statistics from the following:  https://www.asrm.org/globalassets/_asrm/advocacy-and-policy/advocacy-activities/2024/asrm-antoun-v-antoun-amicus-brief.pdf

Vergara v. Loeb, California case

  • This case involved embryos created by the actress Sofia Vergara and her ex fiancée.
  • After the relationship ended, Vergara wanted to block him from using the embryo.
  • The court sided with Vergara, granting her a request for a permanent injunction preventing Loeb from using the embryos.
  • Takeaways: the written contract governing the use of the embryos was enforced by the court
  • Link to the case can be found here: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10461940742055588929&q=+vergara+v.+loeb&hl=en&as_sdt=6,45

Supreme Court case, Dobbs, may impact embryo law in the future

  • In 2022, the United States Supreme Court changed the legal landscape for abortion.
  • Previously as per Roe v. Wade, abortion was a Constitutional right.
  • With Dobbs, the Supreme Court reviewed the common law and historical support for abortion, and finding it lacking, held that there is no Constitutional right to abortion.
  • This decision leaves the power in the hands of individual states to determine whether abortion is legal in each state under state law.
  • This case may have an impact on embryo law, as some may argue that there is no Constitutional right not to parent (which has been the reasoning behind some states awarding embryos to the party who does not want to be a parent).
  • The link to Dobbs can be found here: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10996775398954026979&q=Dobbs&hl=en&as_sdt=6,45

New Developments in a Texas Embryo Case

  • ABC News recently reported that the Supreme Court in Texas has requested briefing on an embryo case. See https://abcnews.go.com/US/texas-divorce-case-impact-ivf-care-state/story?id=110224216
  • The briefing request does not mean that the Supreme Court will consider the case, but it is a step in getting review from the state’s highest court.
  • The wife in the case is arguing that the Supreme Court Dobbs decision changed the legal landscape and that her embryos are children.
  • The husband is arguing that the contract the couple executed controls the court’s decision over embryos, which should be defined as property.
  • The link to the case can be found here:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=858795811714986055&q=antoun&hl=en&as_sdt=6,45

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about embryos or any other aspect of family law, contact us today. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, and can help you with divorce, modification, prenuptial agreements, or any other family law issue. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

Living Life to the Fullest After Divorce

The recent popularity of Amazon’s “The Idea of You” perhaps highlights the connection many viewers are feeling for the main character, Solene (played by Anne Hathaway), who finds love after a difficult divorce. According to this Vanity Fair article, the movie had over 50 million views in its first two weeks on Amazon, making it the number one rom com debut. https://variety.com/2024/film/news/the-idea-of-you-ratings-50-million-viewers-1236002566/

This article is for fans of the movie, who may also be facing or recovering from a divorce, and will highlight ideas inspired by the film on how to live your best life in your new situation.

If you are considering divorce, in the middle of the legal process, or if you need help post-divorce on issues such as modification, the importance of finding the right experienced family law attorney cannot be overstated. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law and can help you complete your own estate plan or assist you with properly administering the estate of a loved one who has passed. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

Open Yourself Up to New Experiences

  • In “The Idea of You,” the movie starts with the main character trying something new, camping, and evolves into her opening her mind to dating a man almost twenty years younger than her.
  • One of the themes of the movie is allowing yourself to discover new things, break free of stereotypes, and find your passions.
  • For many people, the journey to self-discovery during and after a divorce will involve expanding your hope, your interests, and your perspective to be open to new experiences.

Coparent with Grace

  • In the movie, Solene was not appreciated as a wife by her ex, who cheated on her and choose the other woman. In spite of her ex’s shortcomings as a human, she was willing to sub in for him and take her daughter to the August Moon concert.
  • Solene’s good deed to sub in for her husband led to the romance that changed her life.
  • Similarly, many people are put in a position to have to choose the high road after divorce, where the ex is disappointing, unreliable, or even hostile. The takeaway lesson from the movie is that beauty can rise from ashes, and even though an ex may not deserve your kindness, a commitment to coparenting and to your child can lead to a happier life post-divorce.

Maintain Boundaries

  • Solene’s ex’s wife in the movie wants to befriend Solene, and she refuses to get too close.
  • Another best practice for living life to the fullest during or after a divorce is to hold firm on the boundaries that you feel comfortable with.
  • Being a good person and choosing the high road in coparenting does not mean an abdication of your boundaries. Rather, setting your limits kindly, firmly and clearly will help you succeed in challenging situations.

Considering the Best Interest of Your Children

  • In the movie, the fame and publicity of the romance between Solene and her young pop star boyfriend, Hayes, leads her to make the decision that she must break off the relationship for her teenage daughter.
  • For others in a similar situation, the right decision might be different. The takeaway lesson is not that you can’t find love after divorce, but just that in doing so, you want to carefully consider all the ramifications for your children and their specific needs.

Time Can Be Heal Wounds

  • In the movie, Solene and Hayes reconnect in five year when the circumstances are more conducive for their relationship to flourish.
  • There is actually research to support the concept that time heals all wounds. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17554013/
  • Patience can be your ally in creating a full and rich life after divorce because circumstances can change and people can adapt.
  • If you feel frustrated with how things are in the present, there is hope that with time and effort, many problems can be addressed and many circumstances improved.

For More Ideas on Creating Your Best Life After Divorce

“The Idea of You” is a fun fictional foray about recovering and thriving after a divorce, and perhaps it has resonated with so many because of its message of finding happiness after hurt. We hope that fans of this rom com have enjoyed examining the lessons that can be learned from this dive into the themes of the flick. For legal help with a divorce, call the Law Office of David Knecht, (707) 451-4502.  For information on ideas for creating your best life after divorce, see this healthline article:  https://www.healthline.com/health/life-after-divorce.

Final Chapter in Kevin Costner California Divorce?

In previous articles, we have following the legal divorce battle between Hollywood legend, Kevin Costner, and his wife of nearly 19 years, Christine Baumgartner. Now the couples has reportedly reached an amicable settlement,  and this article summarizes what appears to be the final chapter of the divorce saga as reported by USA Today.

 

The terms of the divorce settlement were not disclosed. 

  • The terms of the divorce settlement were not publicly disclosed, but it likely included terms relating to child support and legal fees. 

 

 The settlement resolved a contentious court battle. 

  • Baumgartner reportedly requested $175,057 in child support payments during a two-day Santa Barbara court hearing in August, according to People Magazine

 

  • The couple shares two sons, age 14 and 16, and a 13 year-old daughter. 

 

  • In the end, per People (see above), Kevin was ordered to pay $63,209 in monthly payments. 

 

 What is next for Christine?

  • During the child support hearing, Christine testified that she was going to have to find a job outside the home to support herself and her children. 

 

  • Although at the hearing, she did not specify the job that she planned, there are reports that she is considering a role on the Real Housewives

 

 Divorce lessons from Kevin and Christine.

  • Even with a prenuptial agreement in place, a divorce is not necessarily simple or inexpensive. 
  • As reported by Insider, Kevin was ordered to advance his wife $200,000 for attorney fees and $100,000 for expert costs. 

 

 

 

  • Some experts speculated that the money and the publicity were reasons why Kevin and Christing may have settled. The take-home lesson is that the cost and other downsides of litigation may be important factors in any divorce. 

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Whether your divorce is a high-profile, contentious litigation or a simple, more amicable split, we can help you here at the Law Office of David Knecht. We have extensive experience with family law, so we have can help you regardless of the issues that you face in your California divorce. Contact us today at 707-451-4502. 



The Importance of Full Disclosure in California Divorce Cases

A June 2023 unpublished opinion from Los Angeles County reaffirms the importance of full disclosure in divorce cases. This article will summarize the case and highlight the takeaways for divorce law in California.

What were the basic facts of Frausto v. Frausto?

  • Although this was an unpublished case, it provides an interesting case study on the issue of undisclosed assets in a divorce. 
  • Over 20 years after the court entered a final judgment, the ex-wife filed a petition to adjudicate the ex-husband’s pension, which had not been disclosed. 
  • As per the California Family Code, there is no time limit on the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate assets that were not disclosed.
  • The court affirmed the order granting the ex-wife an interest in the pension. 

What are the takeaways from this case for a California divorce? 

  • Failure to fully disclose assets in a California divorce will not prevent an ex-spouse from later winning a claim against the undisclosed assets. 
  • The court will not impose a time limit on a former spouse’s claim to undisclosed assets. 
  • The family court has continuing jurisdiction of undisclosed assets, and that continuing jurisdiction can last a long time (20 years in the Frausto case!).  

What are my options if I think that my spouse his assets, but my divorce is final?

  • This case shows that one option if you think an ex-spouse has hidden assets is to petition the court for a share of the asset.
  • An important consideration is to bring your claim as soon as possible. As this case shows, a delay in pursing a claim against an undisclosed assets is not fatal to your claim (the court held that it was not compelled to consider the defense of laches in the Frausto case). However, you can anticipate that your ex-spouse may raise equity as a defense if there is an unreasonable delay in pursing your claim against the undisclosed asset.  

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Whether you are just beginning your divorce, in the middle, or have post-judgment issues to resolve, at the Law Office of David Knecht, we are here to help you! We have extensive experience with family law which includes all matters concerning divorce in California.  Contact us at 707-451-4502. 



Divorce Mediation Success Rate

According to a recent article published by mediate.com, divorce mediation has an 80% success rate for resolving divorces amicably. Many California couples find that they can use divorce mediation to end the marriage more amicably and faster than battling through the litigation process. This article explores the purpose and benefits of mediation as well as the factors influencing the success of mediation with information sourced from mediate.com.  

The purpose of mediation. 

  • Mediation is voluntary. 
  • Mediation encourages open communication and compromise.
  • The mediator is a neutral third party whose goal is to facilitate a resolution that is acceptable to both parties. 
  • The mediator can give parties unbiased opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of their legal arguments. 
  • The mediator is typically very experienced and can suggest various options to questions involving custody and/or property division.

 Factors influencing success of mediation. 

  • The presence of a neutral mediator balances power and facilitates productive discussions. 
  • The voluntary nature of mediation encourages commitment to finding solutions that work for both parties.
  • The flexibility of mediation allows couples to address concerns and options that are unique to their family and circumstances, which would be more customized than the solutions a court would generally impose. 

 

 Benefits of mediation. 

  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Speed.
  • A healthier, more constructive transition to post-divorce life.
  • Promotes amicable resolutions, which can help reduce the stress and anxiety of children caught in the divorce process. 
  • Creativity in solution finding is much easier through mediation.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

The statistics show that mediation can be an effective tool for divorcing couples, and having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney by your side during the mediation process can further facilitate the success of the process.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with divorce all other family law matters. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 



Divorce and Healing

In a recent New York Times piece, the author describes how close friends became a parachute for her emotionally when she was left untethered and metaphorically free-falling alone after her divorce

If you are in the middle of a California divorce or rebuilding your life after finalizing your divorce, you may wonder how to find yourself again. Healing is possible, with healthy coping skills and time. This article will summarize suggestions from physchologytoday.com for healing during and after a divorce.

What are some key takeaways about divorce and healing?

Remember that you CAN heal from divorce with time and effort. 

  • Divorce involves stages of recovery and it takes time
  • Recovery requires a commitment to positive coping skills
  • Healing can take an average of one to two years

What are the do’s and don’ts in the acute phase of divorce trauma?

The acute phase is when you are in the initial shock of the changes in your life.

  • Do understand that this is a triage time and not the rest of your life. Keeping a perspective will help you cope with the trauma in this initial stage. 
  • Do focus on sleep, good health habits, friends and family. 
  • Don’t fall into bad habits with drugs and alcohol.

What is the acceptance phase of divorce healing?

The acceptance phase of divorce healing is a time of strong and extreme emotions. You may swing from anger to grief to guilt, shame or relief.

  • Remember that all feelings are ok
  • Listen to yourself and allow yourself to experience the emotions fully.
  • Find a close family member, friend or therapist to confide you feelings. Expressing them aloud can help you work through them.

 What is the adjustment phase of divorce healing?

The adjustment phase is when you adapt to your new life. 

  • Begin to create a plan for your new financial situation and parenting
  • Consider joining a support group
  • During this time you’ll notice that you are starting to think more clearly and feel more positive about the future. 

Contact an Experienced Divorce Firm

One way to facilitate the healing process in or after a divorce is to choose experienced legal counsel. A family law attorney who knows the system and is willing to take the time to get to know you and your case will help prevent the trauma that can come from becoming a victim to the legal system. Having excellent representation will take some of the stress of the divorce off your shoulders. For help with any issue relating to divorce or family law, contact the Law Office of David Knecht.  We have extensive experience with family law and can help you feel confident, understood and supported. Contact us at 707-451-4502.