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Family Attorney Glossary

Arrears:
Refers to child support or spousal support payments that have been missed by the obligor parent and/or spouse. Child support and spousal support arrears accrue 10% simple interest per year.
Child Custody
Child custody refers to the issue of custody of children in the context of California Family Court. There are two types of child custody, legal custody and physical custody.
Child Support
Child support is financial support paid from one parent to another. It’s purpose is to ensure the financial stability of the children of the relationship. Child support in California is calculated using a statewide mandated child support guideline.
Commissioner
A judicial officer that is not a judge. Many family Law cases in San Diego County are assigned to Commissioners.
DCSS
Department of Child Support Services. A California State Agency purposed to establish, maintain and enforce child support orders in California.
Dissomaster
A computer program used by California divorce lawyers to calculate and estimate proper child support and spousal support amounts.
DVRO
Domestic Violence Restraining Order. An order of protection that serves to restrain an abusing party from any contact at all with the abused. DVRO’s can be granted from anywhere from 1 to 5 years.
Epstein Credit
A credit afforded to one party for his or her separate property contribution to a community obligation (mortgage payment on a house post separation). Epstein Credits are considered in the final division of community property.
Equalization Payment
A payment ordered to be made from one spouse to another in order to equalize the division of community property. Equalization payments cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
Family Support
Combination of child support and spousal support. Family Support is 100% tax deductible to the payor and must be claimed as income to the payee.
FCS
Family Court Services Mediation. Court sponsored mediation regarding child custody disputes. Unless the parties stipulate to using a private mediator, anytime the issue of child custody or visitation comes before the family court, the parties are required to attempt settlement through mediation prior to coming to court. FCS mediators write recommendations to the court in the event that the parties do not reach an agreement.
FOAH
Findings and Order After Hearing. A formal order prepared by one of the attorneys that reflects the order made by the family law judge at a hearing.
FRC
Family Resolution Conference.
Legal Custody
As opposed to “Physical Custody” refers to either parent’s right to participate in the medical, educational and general welfare decisions effecting a child’s life. Most parents share joint legal custody.
MSC
Mandatory Settlement Conference. This is the last step of the divorce process before trial. The MSC is a settlement conference at which the attendance of both parties is required. A temprary judge is assigned to help the parties settle the case without the need for trial.
PDOD
Preliminary Declaration Of Disclosure. This form is required to be served by both parties on the other before the case may proceed. By signing the PDOD, both parties attest under penalty of perjury that full financial disclosure has been made.
Physical Custody
As opposed to “Legal Custody” refers to the physical presence of the children during parental custodial time. Unless the parents share equal physical custody, one parent will be considered the primary custodial parent and the other will have the right of visittion.
Spousal Support
Financial support paid from one spouse (or ex-spouse) to another. The purpose of spousal support is to assist the supported party in maintaining to standard of living established during the marriage.
Status Conference
Much like an FRC, a status conference is set by the court in cases where both parties are self represented. The purpose of the conference is for the court to determine the state of the case and to help the parties along the process if needed.
TRO
Temporary Restraining Order. A restraining order granted in conjunction with a request for a permanent Domestic Violence Restraining Order. The TRO expires automatically on the day of the hearing on the request for the DVRO.
Voc. Eval
Vocational Evaluation. An evaluation as to the job placement potential for a party to a divorce. These are often requested and ordered in cases wherein one party has not worked for a significant period of time.
Watts Charge
A monetary charge against one party’s share of community property for periods during which that party enjoyed the use of a marital asset (usually a house) without compensating the community for that use.
3048 Findings
Referring to Family Code Section 3048, standard Jurisdictional findings required to be made by a family law judge in conjunction with any orders made effecting custody and/or visitation of minor children.
4320 Factors
Referring to Family Code Section 4320, these are factors that the Court must consider when making a permanent order for spousal support.
50/50 Custody
True equally shared custody of children wherein the children spend half of their time in the custody of one parent and the other half with the other parent.
730 Evaluation
Referring to Evidence Code Section 730, this is a custody evaluation performed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist trained specifically to provide a clinical evaluation to the court as to what custody and visitation orders would be most appropriate in a particular case.
Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

858-345-1720
john@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.

858-345-1720
catie@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.

858-345-1720
amy@gylfamilylaw.com

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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
2 Complaint is Served Varies, but usually shortly after the complaint is filed
3 Answer to Complaint Due 30 days from the date of service
4 Mediation Anytime, but usually after initial discovery
5 Temporary Hearing Usually early in the process
6 Late Case Evaluation / Judicial Hosted Settlement Conference Usually near the end of the case
7 Trial (If Needed) The goal is to settle, but if your case goes to trial, it could take months after the start of litigation.
We deliver results
I am beyond grateful for the entire staff at Griffith, Young, and Lass. I don't even call myself a client anymore, they are my friends that protected my family and fought with me, side by side.-Erik H., San Diego