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Learn How to Prepare Yourself for the Divorce Process

Learn How to Prepare Yourself for the Divorce Process

It is rare to find a divorced person who would describe the process as easy. The truth is that terminating a marriage can be difficult financially, legally, and emotionally. The good news is that an experienced divorce attorney can help make the process as smooth as possible. Read on to learn some of the steps you can take to prepare yourself for the process of divorce and then contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 to speak to a divorce attorney.

There is nothing as important as choosing the right divorce lawyer

There are many steps to take during the divorce process and none are likely to have the impact that choosing the right attorney will have. You need a family law attorney who can handle all aspects of your divorce, including spousal and child support and child custody, if applicable. You need an attorney you feel comfortable talking to, who will listen to you, and who is responsive to your needs.

Making financial preparations

It often comes down to one spouse simply packing a bag and leaving. While this may be a natural response to an emotional situation, it is not often the right choice unless there is abuse to get away from.

Remember that it takes six months – at a minimum – for a California divorce to finalize. Some of the financial steps you can take to get yourself ready to file for a divorce include:

  • Get copies of financial data including bank accounts, five years of tax returns, 401Ks, credit card statements, insurance policies, and appraisals of any valuable property.
  • Take pictures of valuable items you may leave behind.
  • Get all your important documents, including your social security card, passport, and birth certificate.
  • Make a list of all other assets such as retirement accounts, investments, intellectual property, frequent flyer miles, season tickets, and others.

Making emotional preparations

There are steps that can make the emotional impact bearable. First, write down what your goals are and what your priorities are in the divorce. This makes it easier to stay proactive and to react less. You will want to consider things like physical and legal custody of children / or pets, who gets the home, whether you can afford to stay in the home, what assets do you want the most, and what are the most sentimental assets?

It is also essential to have a good support system in place. This can include family and friends as well as a therapist. If you do not believe that anyone really understands what you are going through, consider going to a group meeting that supports people going through the process of divorce.

No matter the specifics of your situation, a divorce is possible. In fact, your spouse does not even need to agree to divorce you in the state of California – you can be granted a Dissolution of Marriage even if your spouse refuses to respond to the request. To get the process started, contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908.

Patents vs Trade Secret: Which is Right for Your Company?

Patents vs Trade Secret: Which is Right for Your Company?

Most businesses will need to take steps to protect their intellectual property. That said, deciding what type of protection is best can be tricky. The decision you make could have a huge impact on the future of your company and what you can do with the intellectual property you want to protect.

Two of the main ways a company can protect their property are trade secrets and patents. They can both be used to protect things like recipes and processes, but there is a big difference in the type of protection they offer and what they mean when it comes to ownership in the long run. Keep reading to find out more about the options. Then contact a business law attorney for a free case evaluation.

What is a patent?

Most people think of patents that cover inventions but they can actually cover a lot more than just physical objects. For example, a recipe for a dish, a formula to create a substance, or even a unique process to complete a specific task can be patented. Patents generally give you exclusive rights to make money form and control the patented property for as long as 20 years. This gives you two decades to choose who can use your property and gives you total control in that time to decide how much they will have to pay.

There is one big drawback that many businesses are weary of: To be granted a patent, you must disclose your invention to the patent office. Anyone who wants to can read it and study it, though they are not allowed to use it without your permission. When the patent expires, you lose all claims to use it exclusively.

Companies may choose a patent if they expect that what they are patenting will become outdated within 20 years. For example, a cell phone manufacturer likely does not have to worry that the technology they patent today will still be a hot commodity in 20 years.

What is a trade secret?

A trade secret is entirely different. There is no registry office and there is no control over your trade secrets. The entire value of them is that they are secret and only you and whomever you choose to clue in knows the secret. If the information were to become public, then the value will likely be gone overnight – as well as any profits you may have seen.

The main reason to choose keeping information a trade secret instead of patenting it is to ensure that it stays a secret. Take Coca Cola for example. They do not have a patent on their product because they keep the formula very well hidden. Since they have been selling their product for more than 100 years, it is likely that if they had patented their formula, as soon as the 20 year patent expired, it would have been duplicated – and there would go their profits.

If you are not sure what your best options are for protecting your intellectual property then your best bet is to contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a free case evaluation.

Understanding the Requirements for Date of Legal Separation

Understanding the Requirements for Date of Legal Separation

As a family law firm, we are often asked about the difference between a general date of separation and a legal date of separation. The truth is that these terms are widely misunderstood. If you want to know what your best options are, and what each one means, then we highly recommend talking directly to a family law attorney. You can reach Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908.

Filing for legal separation may not do what you think it does

One of the biggest misconceptions of the divorce process is that filing for legal separation automatically establishes a date of separation. This is not necessarily true, as the date of separation and a Judgment of Legal Separation are two entirely different concepts.

The definition of the date of separation

According to California’s Family Code, “date of separation” refers to the date that there was a “complete and final break” in the marital relationship. This date is very important because it is the date at which community property stops accruing. Several actions can indicate the date of separation, from one of the parties filing for divorce or one of the parties moving out of the house.

The definition of a legal separation

On the other hand, if you ask for a legal separation then you are asking that your marital status stays the same but that property be divided. If applicable, spousal support would also be established. The most common reasons for a couple to decide to file for legal separation are due to religious reasons that prevent divorce, or if one spouse wants to remain on the other spouses’ health insurance.

Sometimes a Request for Legal Separation is used if the spouse who wants to file does not meet the California residence requirements, which require that they have lived in the state for six months and in the county in which they are filing for three months. That situation often involves the legal separation converting to a Request for Dissolution once the residence requirements are met.

Both parties must agree to the legal separation

In the state of California, a person can get a divorce even if their spouse does not want one and does not agree to the dissolution of the marriage. This is not the case with a legal separation because both parties must agree to it.

It’s most often the case that spouse would rather have a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage in which they have a date of separation, rather than filing a Legal Separation. However, keep in mind that the six-month waiting period before your marital status is officially terminated and you are officially single means you should make sure that your Petition is clear about what type of relief you are seeking.

Do you have other questions about divorce? Are you ready to file? Do you want to talk to an experienced family law attorney? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then we welcome your call to Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908.

Call a Family Law Attorney in Claremont CA to Help with Your Divorce

Call a Family Law Attorney in Claremont CA to Help with Your Divorce

It is true that California is what’s known as a “no fault” state. This means that divorce proceedings should be more amicable than in other states because neither side has to prove that the other side is at fault. However, this is not always the case. There are always important, complicated issues to deal with, from alimony to custody to property division. This is why you need a family law attorney in Claremont CA who has experience with it all.

To find out more about what the most important things are regarding your divorce, read on. Please then call Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a free legal consultation. We are here to help you move forward and get the help you need in the process. We will advocate for your rights at every step of the process.

We can help with all aspects of a divorce

There are many aspects of your divorce, all of which must be handled by an experienced family law attorney in Claremont CA. For example, we can help with property division, alimony, business property division, child custody, child visitation, and child custody. Note that these are some of the most common issues that those going through a divorce need help with. If there are other issues involved in your divorce, you can count on us to help.

Yes, you need to hire a family law attorney in Claremont CA

Are you required by law to hire a family law attorney in Claremont CA? No. However, it is always best to have your interests looked after by an experienced attorney. Even if you are not going the litigation route and instead are going through mediation, you still need an attorney to look over your settlement. Even if you do not have kids, even if you have few assets, even if the divorce was short, it is always worth it to talk to an attorney.

Remember that your attorney has many roles to fill. They will take care of essential legal tasks and they will ensure that your divorce filing is done correctly. They will service papers to your spouse if needed. We will provide the essential information you need about your rights and options so that you always know your rights are being protected.

If you decide not to hire a family law attorney in Claremont CA, you may risk agreeing to a divorce settlement that is not fair. You may end up paying more in alimony than you should, you could end up with an unfair property allotment, or you could end up without the custody you are entitled to. The best way to prevent this unfortunate situation is to contact an attorney today. You can reach Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 now for a free legal consultation.

Can a Family Law Attorney in Pomona CA Help You Modify Your Custody, Child Support, or Alimony?

Can a Family Law Attorney in Pomona CA Help You Modify Your Custody, Child Support, or Alimony?

Ideally, any child support, child custody, or alimony agreements you’ve signed or been assigned are fair. However, they may not be. If that is the case, then a family law attorney in Pomona CA may be able to help. Even if they were fair at the time they were issued, that does not mean they are fair now. If you need to modify your family law documents then there is good news: Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell is here to help.

Are modifications applicable to your alimony situation?

Not everyone is eligible for modifications to custody or support agreements. However, if spouse who is supporting the other has a decrease in income, or the spouse who is being support has an increase in income, then alimony modification may be applicable. For example, if the paying spouse loses their job or the support spouse gets a new job or a raise, or if the supported house gets remarried or moves in with a romantic partner, then alimony modification may be appropriate.

There are a few situations in which there need not have been a major financial change in order to be granted a modification to alimony. This is generally the case if the supported spouse is making no effort to become employed and / or to support themselves. In this case, the right family law attorney in Pomona CA could convince a judge to terminate or modify the support agreement.

Should you call a family law attorney in Pomona CA for help with a child support modification?

We can also help you if you are in need of changes to your child support agreement. This can be due to a number of situations. If you are the paying parent then it may be the result of changes to your income or health that prevent you from paying as you once did, it may result from a change in custody, or because the child has been emancipated.

If you are the parent receiving child support then you may want it modified due to your child requiring additional support for a medical or educational reason, or your child may have reached 18 and still need support due to a disability.

Call us now if you need help with child custody modifications

The first goal of any child custody agreement is to ensure that the best interests of the child are being met. There are many reasons that a custody agreement should be modified, including protecting a child from an unsafe environment, relocation of either parent, or if one parent was previously unfit but has taken steps to improve and has demonstrated that they are now ready to have contact with the child.

If you believe that you are in need of any type of family law modification, whether for your child custody agreement, your child support amount, or your alimony agreement, please contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a case evaluation.

Work with a Family Law Attorney in Rancho Cucamonga CA Who Can Help with All Family Law Matters

Work with a Family Law Attorney in Rancho Cucamonga CA Who Can Help with All Family Law Matters

When you are dealing with any type of family law dispute, it is likely that there are emotions running high on all sides. This can be a difficult situation in which to focus solely on the legal aspects. At Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell we know that you need an experienced family law attorney in Rancho Cucamonga CA who can help with all your family law needs. Read on to learn how we can help and then contact us at (909) 920-0908 to set up a consultation.

We can help with alimony needs

Whether you need temporary alimony to get through your separation, or you need permanent alimony to be incorporated into your final divorce settlement, we can help you. If you are being asked to pay alimony then we can help with that too. No matter what side you are on, we are here to help.

Turn to a family law attorney in Rancho Cucamonga CA for help with child custody and support

Any child custody battle has the potential to be challenging. You want to protect the best interests of your child but your own interests must be protected too. This can be difficult to handle on your own but Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell can help. Whether you’re a parent, stepparent, grandparent, or another person with a strong bond with the child, a family law attorney in Rancho Cucamonga CA is here for you.

If you are not the custodial parent of a child then you are likely to be asked to pay child support. The state of California has guidelines established to offer baseline amounts for that support, but this is a general guideline. It may not be right for your unique case. Attorney Howell can help with negotiations, mediations, litigation, and other services related to child custody.

You need the best attorney to handle your divorce

You have found a family law attorney in Rancho Cucamonga CA who can help with all types of divorce proceedings. Whether it is a simple case in which you just need a legal opinion, or a complicated one in which you need an aggressive negotiator, we are here to help. which you need an aggressive negotiator, we are here to help. Take advantage of Attorney Howell’s honest opinions and tireless commitment to help clients with whatever family law needs they have.

Do you need help with divorce or custody modifications?

Just because you signed on the dotted line one day does not mean that what has been decided will work for you a year later. This is why modifications exist. We can help you with modifications related to child custody, child support, alimony, and other divorce issues. The next step is to contact a family law attorney in Rancho Cucamonga CA who can help with your case. Call Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell today at (909) 920-0908 to set up your consultation.

Ask a Business Law Attorney: What Are the Main Differences Between Federal and State Courts?

Ask a Business Law Attorney: What Are the Main Differences Between Federal and State Courts?

Being involved in business litigation is never something a company looks forward to. However, whether it is heard in the state court system or the federal court system can have a huge impact on how complex the case is. Read on to find out how these two court systems are different. Then reach out to a business law attorney who can help you with your business litigation.

There is a big difference between federal and state judges

A California judge is elected by the people of the state. On the other hand, a federal judge is appointed. This gives the judges differences in authority. In most cases, a federal judge is more likely to have a deep understanding of and better credential compared to state judges. Of course, state judges are also highly experienced but they do not always possess the same level of credentials as federal judges.

Federal courts tend to be more formal

Federal courts are more formal than state courts in just about any way you can think of. It is common for a federal judge to have held a high position with a prestigious law firm. It is common for them to have run a successfully private practice or to have served as a well-respected federal prosecutor. As a result, they are more rigid.

In fact, even at the clerk level, the federal court system is more rigid. The rules are strict and the judges go by the letter of the law when it comes to processes and documents. You can expect a federal judge to be entirely unwilling to bend in the way they apply Federal Rules of Evidence. On the other hand, California judges are bound to the California Evidence Code, which is not as strict. Additionally, depending on the specific law in front of the judges, it is common for state judges to have more leeway regarding their rulings.

Federal courts are generally more expensive

The fact that federal courts are so rigid is one of the reasons that federal lawsuits are much more expensive to litigate compared to state lawsuits. It is true that there is no such thing as a cheap lawsuit, but it is common for a company who is facing federal litigation issues to instead choose the more affordable arbitration or mediation option.

Both courts require an experienced attorney

No matter what court your business law issue is being handled in, you need an attorney who can help you through the process from A to Z. Reach out to Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell to speak to an experienced attorney who is ready to help you. Call (909) 920-0908 or send your info to info@torrencelhowelllaw.com to get the process started.

Dropped, Dismissed, and Acquitted: Learn About Different Potential Outcomes for Domestic Violence Charges

Dropped, Dismissed, and Acquitted: Learn About Different Potential Outcomes for Domestic Violence Charges

When a person faces criminal charges, they may hear the terms “dropped” and “dismissed” used interchangeably. However, in legalese they mean two different things and the outcome of a case is very different depending on whether it is dropped or dismissed. Read on to learn about the distinction. Then contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 if you need legal assistance with a domestic violence charge.

What it means when charges are dropped

If a case is dropped by the prosecution, that means that the prosecution has made a decision to withdraw the charges against you. When they do so, the charges are stricken. The prosecutor may drop all charges related to a domestic violence case, or they may drop just one type of abuse charge and move forward with other charges.

The most common reason that prosecutors will drop charges against a defendant is because they no longer believe that they have enough evidence to win their case. This may be because they have uncovered additional information and believe the defendant to be innocent, or it may be that the facts they have just do not add up to enough to convince a jury or judge.

In domestic violence cases, this can happen if the prosecution is presented with evidence that the case was related to self-defense. In other instances, the prosecutor could agree to drop charges as part of an agreement with the defendant to engage in diversion or to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for their more serious charges being dropped.

What it means when charges are dismissed

If a case is dismissed then a judge has found reason to stop the charges against the defendant. This may be because the judge found that there were legal errors or because they believe that there is insufficient evidence that the defendant committed the crime. Another example would be if the judge believed that the defendant did commit the acts they were accused of but did not find that the acts fit the legal definition of the crime they were accused of.

What it means when a defendant is acquitted

If the case is taken to trail and the jury finds the defendant not guilty, then this is known as an acquittal. Essentially, it means that the defendant has beat the charges. It may not mean that the jury believes the defendant is innocent, but it does mean that they believe the prosecution did not prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Domestic violence is a serious charge. California laws should be appropriately administered to hold the guilty accountable without sacrificing the freedom and good name of those who are not guilty. If you are involved in a domestic violence case, no matter which side you are on, then we recommend contacting Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a legal consultation right away.

Has Your Copyright Been Infringed? The Answer May Not Be as Simple as You Think

Has Your Copyright Been Infringed? The Answer May Not Be as Simple as You Think

When a person creates a work from their own ideas and uses their own vision to complete it, they want to protect it from being used by or attributed to someone else. This is not difficult to understand and it is why copyright exists. Many people think of copyright law involving just musicians, artists, and writers, but in fact many companies of all sizes and types are covered by copyright laws.

That said, at Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell we find that many companies do not have a thorough understanding of these laws, how they impact their own intellectual property, and what can be done if their copyright is infringed. Read on to get answers to these tough questions. Then contact us at (909) 920-0908 to get answers to your business law questions.

The types of work covered by copyright laws

According to U.S. copyright laws, literary, theatrical, musical, choreographic, motion picture, and audio-visual works are protected. Title 17 of the U.S. Code, which governs most of the copyright issues in the United States, also includes architectural works, software code, and engineering designs. In order for any of these described things to be covered, they must be fixed, which means that they must be fixed in a way that is capable of being reproduced.

The types of work not covered by copyright laws

On the other hand, specific types of work cannot be copyrighted. This includes common property (for example, a chart or calendar), typography, symbols, contents lists, procedures, works in the public domain, and processes. Certain things that a person may think should be covered by copyright are actually covered by trademark law, such as names and slogans.

Registered vs. not registered

You may have heard that a work is copyrighted automatically when it is published and that it is not necessary formally file a copyright. This is partially true. Common law copyright does take effect as soon as something is published. However, it does not have the same level of protection as a federally registered copyright does. For example, if your copyright is infringed and you want to file a lawsuit for statutory damages, the work must have a federal registration on file.

Infringement can be up to interpretation

If a person or company blatantly copies your work then it may be obvious. However, this is not the most common way in which copyright is infringed. Instead, there are often instances in which large parts of a work are reproduced. Think, for example, of a song melody that is used within the structure of a different song. It is the job of the judge to determine if the works are similar enough in whole to involve an issue with copyright infringement.

Contact us today if you have questions about copyright law

If you have reason to believe that your copyright has been infringed on, or if you want to ensure that you have legal recourse if it ever is infringed on, then you should contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 as soon as possible.

The Most Important Factors to Consider When Making Custody Agreements

The Most Important Factors to Consider When Making Custody Agreements

As a parent, there is nothing as important to you as the welfare of your child. As you consider the best way to move forward with a custody agreement, make sure that you are considering both the long-term and short-term consequences of anything you come up with. Keep reading to get some advice on the factors that should be considered. Then reach out to Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 to speak to an experienced family law attorney.

You have three main parenting options

First, it is important to understand what your parenting options are. There are three choices, beginning with sole decision making by one parent. Another option is joint decision making between both parents but primary custody with one parent. Finally, the third option is for the child(ren) to live in both homes and for both parents to make decisions about their lives and welfare.

Make sure to consider all visitation and access issues

If you are not thinking of the long-term situation then you may only think of visitation and custody today but the truth is that there are many other things to think about. Yes, you should start by determining who will have the kids on the weekdays and weekends but what happens during holidays and long weekends? What about school breaks and summer vacation?

Do you want birthdays taken into consideration? For example, who gets the kids on their birthday, and do you have a provision to have your child on your own birthday? What about other special occasions? What is the process in place for a notice of change? If there are expenses incurred in missed time with the kids, who pays them? These are just some of the things that should be considered and ironed out within the custody agreement.

Consider potential geographic restrictions

If you and your co-parent both live in the same state and city today then you will likely have an easier time coming up with a custody agreement compared to co-parents who live out of state. That said, do not assume that you will always live in the same state. You should have rules in place for what to do if one parent needs to move out of the city, state, or even country. There should also be provisions for potential foreign travel.

Spell out who has access to records

If one parent is going to be the primary caregiver and the other will only have occasional visitation, then it is possible that the caregiving parent will not want the other parent to have access to records. This may include school records, medical records, and similar. Your custody agreement can spell out what they have access to. If you do decide to prevent them from having access then make sure you let the doctor, school, etc. know that the child’s other parent does not have a legal right to these documents.


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My ex-wife hired an attorney which prompted me to do so for our divorce. Torrence Howell was highly recommended from a friend of mine who used Torrence’s services for a divorce just like mine. The results came out much better than he ever thought it would. With all things being equal I felt Torrence would

-Anonymous May 23, 2018

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