Thursday, July 19, 2012

AND vs. OR on a Vehicle Title

Does a little conjunction really make that much of a difference? Yes! 
When buying a car with someone else, whether or not you are married, the dealer will ask you how the title should read.  It is important to:

1) Get your name on the title if you are going to be paying on the car loan or using your money to buy it. 
2) Use the word AND on the title. Examples : John Smith and Marie Smith ; Juan Lopez and Maria Lopez 
as the owners on the vehicle's title. 

Surprisingly it is not because of proving assets in court.  Although it will help when they try to claim the car as entirely theirs, it is also to stop the other person from selling the car without your permission. For some reason the person you are with who was kind and trustworthy turns into someone completely different during a divorce or breakup. The person who never would have thought about taking anything away from you now many be hiding money so that they have to pay you less, or taking things simply to hurt you. No matter the reason you do not want to give them ample ability to sell the car without your permission after a fight/breakup and before a court order on property possession and control. 

If the word OR is used (John Smith or Marie Smith) then either party can transfer the property.
If the word AND is used (Juan Lopez and Maria Lopez) then both parties must sign over the property. 

Protect yourself from the very beginning. When buying the car always have the title use the word AND. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Money Saving Tips

There are very few divorces that are pleasant. Part of this is because both sides find themselves having less money than before. So when people come into me and ask - "What am I going to do? I won't have enough money. " I answer with these money saving tips. Now to be honest, clients look at me like I am CRAZY when I tell them these things - and not all of them will work for everyone, but if you find yourself a stay at home mom with no job and getting spousal support and child support that equates to 1/3 the amount you were using to pay for things when your husband was living with you, you are going to have to resort to some major cost saving measures. Plus pretty much all of these double dip as environmentally friendly.

1) Become a paperless household - no paper towels, no paper napkins, no disposable diapers - no paper other than toilet paper, and there are some people that even use cloth for that.

  • Cloth Diaper - it isn't what it used to be. I use gdiapers 100% cloth option, which basically work like disposables in terms of how you put them on the baby - put have an outside cloth, an inside cloth, and a snap liner to hold the inside cloth in place. Even my husband loves them. We paid about $400 originally for everything and we have never had to pay anything else since. Honestly that originally money was mostly gifts/gift cards so not much of that came out of our pocket.
  •  Cloth wipes - You can also do cloth baby wipes. I understand why many don't do this - and quite honestly I dont either (hubby won't let me). Instead I buy seventh generation wipes on Amazon in bulk and spend about $5 a month on wipes (1 box lasts us about 2 months). Amazon has a great Amazon Mom program that will give you discounts on diapers (if you do paper), wipes, and lots of other baby products. 
  •  Cloth Pads - Yep, I said it - cloth pantiliners and pads (I like the brand Gladrags). I think that is all I need to say about the matter. 
  • Cloth Napkins - Reuse! Buy or make cloth napkins and use those instead of paper towels or paper napkins
  • Dish towels - Instead of using papertowels, I clean my house with dish towels. I even clean my floors with them instead of having a mop (I clip them into a swiffer and use that instead). 
2) Cleaning Products- You don't need all of these fancy cleaners! Back in the good old days people cleaned their entire house with just baking soda and vinegar. (If you dont like the smell you can add water and lemon). Vinegar and lemon are natural anti-bacterials. Clean your glass (wont leave smear marks!), your floors and counters (I let the baking soda foam when I do these and then do a second and third rinse with just vinegar and then just water again to make sure there is no residue), clean all your furniture -even wood with vinegar. Use baking soda on your tile, toilets, and shower/tub. It is that simple. 

3) You can always be extreme and make your own laundry detergent. There are a ton of different recipes; just google "make your own laundry detergent"

4) Go Vegetarian - if not for all of your meals - a lot of them. Beans, lentils, brown rice, soy, quinoa, leafy greens, corn, squash, and dairy are all low cost sources of calcium and protein with lots of other good vitamins and minerals mixed in there. 

5) Buy in bulk -, Costco, and Sams all have great bulk options that cost a little more right this second (ie you cant spread out the cost over a number of weeks) but cost you way less per ounce.

6) In a pinch - do you really need a landline and a cell phone? In most cases you can drop the landline and save about $30 a month. 

7) If you cant afford it - cut the cable. If you still have internet you can do netflix watch now or Hulu and get many shows and movies that way for much lower cost than cable. 

8) You may be able to cut internet as well - this will mean likely you have no tv, but you can get access to internet at many coffee shops, bookstores, etc as well as the library (yes bookstores and libraries do still exist) 

9) In some areas you  need heaters and air conditioners. In California you can probably sweat/chill it out just a little bit. During the winter, set the thermostat to keep the house warmer than 62; in the summer set it to keep the house cooler than 85 and use fans. Unplug anything that you are not using and turn off the lights if you dont need them. Use natural light whenever possible. This will save you money on electricity. Now don't give me a look on this one. I lived in Texas for 6 years - where it is humid as hell, we had over 100 degree temps for 45 days straight during the summer, and during the winter it got down to the teens. My thermostat was set to not get hotter than 90 in the house during the summer and not colder than 50 in the house during the winter. Once we had the baby we made it no colder than 60 and no hotter than 85 - so if we can do it, so can you. 

10) Buy things that arent in packaging. You can get some good bulk deals even at places like Wholefoods and Safeway when you bring in your own containers and fill up from the dry goods sections (beans, lentils, rice, popcorn, snacks, granola, etc) 

11) Don't eat out - cook for yourself. Seems pretty self explanatory, but you would be surprised how much money most people spend eating out. We are all busy. I cook our lunches for the week on Sunday and put them in the fridge or freezer for us to grab and take to work. I used to do lunches and dinners on Sunday, so do as many meals as you need to and then you wont have an excuse later and eat out because you are busy. 

12) Make a budget and track your spending - you will be surprised how much over budget you are on some items or how much you are spending on one thing. At one point we were spending  $80 a month on frozen yogurt. It was coming from our eating out and entertainment section on the budget. We werent going over budget, but when I started tracking we definitely slowed down on the fro-yo. 

13) If needed apply for assistance- WIC, Food stamps, and Section 8/public housing are all out there. 

Visit us at 510-999-7732

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Help Escaping Domestic Violence

Visit our website 
Always use a computer that your abuser does not have access to - your abuser can track your computer activity. 

Help Escaping Domestic Violence: 

It is important that you have a detailed safety plan for you and your children before filing paperwork for divorce or custody.  You need to have a plan for where you will live, contact an attorney for a restraining order, and make sure to get copies the following to bring with you. 

  • Financial Documents- bank statements, IRA/401k documents, tax returns
  • Insurance - Health and car insurance information 
  • Personal Documents- Birth Certificate, Marriage License, Social Security Card, Driver's License, and Passport or other citizenship documents (originals if at all possible) 
  • Asset documents- if possible bring the title to the car and other items with you 
  • Child documents- immunization records, school records, and other medical records
  • Any legal documents - previous custody or divorce papers, premarital agreements, important contracts, etc. 
  • Valued belongings- photos, jewelry, and other possessions. If you have a plan in place you can take more with you.

Other things to do:

  • Change your password on your email, bank account, credit cards, and any other important accounts that your abuser may have access to. 
  • Get a new cell phone or prepaid cell phone so that you can use that phone to call your friends, attorney, domestic violence hotlines, etc without your abuser being able to track it. You can also ask the phone company to block the abuser's known phone numbers. 
  • Have a bag of clothes packed for you and the kids so you can grab and go when needed. 
  • Consider renting a post office box to get items mailed to when you start looking into government aid, etc. or have things sent to your work or a friend. 
  • Make a budget of your expenses - make sure not to live beyond your means. You can live without cable, internet, smartphones, etc at least temporarily. Make your money last as long as possible. 
  • If you do not work - start looking into jobs and government assistance right away. 
  • Make a general list of property assets 
  • Have your name, address, and phone number unlisted. 
When you leave:
  • Get the restraining order right away so that the abuser cannot come near you and your children. Note that if you get a restraining order, the address information will be on the restraining order as well as any police reports that you file. 
  • Be careful who you give your new contact information to 
  • Alert your child's school, daycare, and doctor's offices about the situation. Consider changing schools,  daycares, doctors, churches, etc if possible. This includes going to different grocery stores, gyms, post offices, etc than you used to visit so that you are less likely to run into your abuser. 
  • Reschedule any appointments that the abuser might know about 
  • Alert neighbors and co-workers and ask them to call the police if they feel you may be in danger. 
  • Install security alarms, motion sensors, etc 
  • Provide schools/daycares with a copy of the restraining order so that they know the abuser cannot pick up your kids 

This may seem incredibly overwhelming, but it is better for you and for your children to get out of an abusive situation.

If you need help getting a restraining order or filing for divorce/custody please visit our website for an application for our services. We charge on a sliding scale based on income and family size, starting at $10/ hr.

You can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1800-799-SAFE (7233) or if you are in the Bay Area you can also contact 650-312-8515 or 800-300-1080 for assistance. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Restraining Orders

Visit our website

Topic today: Domestic Violence. 

Unfortunately 1/3 romantic relationships involve some form of abuse.  Although that statistic involves verbal, mental, physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, the state of California defines abuse in terms of getting a restraining order as:

1. Intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury 
2. Sexual Assault
3. Placing a person in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or another. 
4. Engaging in the following behaviors: molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting,  
    battering, or harassing 

In order to qualify for a restraining order, the above must be caused by someone that you have a close relationship with, typically a present or past romantic involvement. If someone else is causing the abuse you would file for a Civil Harassment Order instead, which has the same legal protections as a Restraining order.  

If you need help filing a restraining order, please call 510-999-7732 or email today. We will also need you to fill out an application from our website

Please use a SAFE computer or phone when contacting us. Your abuser may use computer software to track your history even if you clear your web browser. Use a work, friend's, or public computer or phone when looking for help to get out of an abusive relationship. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Please visit our website for an application for our services. 

Our focus is filling in the gap that exists in this country for those that “make too much money” for traditional legal aid to help them, but not enough money to pay $250-450 per hour for a traditional attorney.
That is why we charge on a sliding scale based on income and family size. Our formula typically results in charges of $10-$100 per hour.


We handle specifically landlord-tenant disputes, divorce/custody, estate, probate and restraining orders. If you have a different kind of case you can still contact us to discuss if we are interested in taking on your case.

We are located on Castro Valley Blvd in the offices above Lucca's Deli. Our address is:

All for the Family Legal Clinic, Inc.
3137 Castro Valley Blvd, Suite 210
Castro Valley, CA 94546

No - you must fill out an application and mail or email it to us for review. We will then contact you for an appointment to discuss your case in further details. The consultation is free. Filling out the application does not create an attorney-client relationship. Although we will not share any information that you provide us on your application nor that you tell us in the consultation, you will not be represented by our firm until a fee agreement is signed.