Commonly Used Terms In Divorce Proceedings

Posted December 18, 2009 in Family Law by Michael Lonich.


December 18, 2009
Commonly Used Terms In Divorce Proceedings
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Divorce - A common name for a marriage that is legally ended.

Mediation – When a neutral person (called a mediator) helps people who cannot agree to communicate so they can reach a settlement they both accept. A mediator does NOT give legal advice.

Mediator – Mediators are lawyers or professionals trained to solve disputes. They are neutral and help people settle on their own. The mediator does not decide the case.

Collaborative Law – A way to solve conflicts without going to court. Both sides have a lawyer, but they agree not to go to court unless it is impossible to settle.

Mandatory Settlement Conference – This is the last chance for people in a lawsuit to try to settle before trial. A judge or lawyer listens to both sides of the case and tries to find a solution that everyone agrees with. It is less formal than a full Settlement Conference.

Pro Tempore – Same as a pro tem, or temporary judge. A referee, commissioner, or lawyer who temporarily replaces a judge. Comes from the Latin for for the time being or temporarily.

Default – When a defendant doesn’t file an answer in time or go to court when s/he is supposed to. If the defendant was properly notified, the judge can decide the case without him or her.

Proceedings – Usually, the process of conducting judicial business in front of a court or other judicial officer. A proceeding is any of the separate steps in that process, like, a motion or hearing.

Order to show cause – A court order that makes someone go to court to explain to the judge why s/he did not follow the rules. If someone doesn’t follow the rules, the judge can fine or punish that person in other ways.

Petitioner – A person who presents a petition to the court.

Respondent – The person who answers the original Petition.

With help from the Superior Court of California, County  of Santa Clara website.

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Text Messaging During a Divorce

Posted December 11, 2009 in Family Law by Julia Lemon.

As a recent article points out, text messages, along with other types of electronic media, are frequently coming into play and presenting new concerns for those in the midst of a divorce proceeding.  Text messages sent to a spouse, friend, or new partner during a divorce proceeding often “reveal intentions, intimate details and negotiation strategies” and may be subpoenaed and recovered during the proceeding, even if deleted from your phone after sending.  Accordingly, take care when text messaging, emailing, or using other social networking sites during a divorce proceeding to avoid unintended consequences.

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What is involved in estate planning?

Posted December 4, 2009 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

There are many issues to consider in creating an estate plan. To begin with you should, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my assets and what is their approximate value?
  • Whom do I want to receive those assets and when?
  • Who should manage those assets if I cannot, either during my lifetime or after my death?
  • Who should be responsible for taking care of my minor children if I become unable to care for them myself?
  • Who should make decisions on my behalf concerning my care and welfare if I become unable to care for myself?
  • What do I want done with my remains after I die and where would I want them buried, scattered or otherwise laid to rest?

Once you have some answers to these questions, you are ready to seek the advice and services of a qualified lawyer. The attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri can help you create an estate plan, and advise you on such issues as title to assets and the management of your estate.

Courtesy of the State Bar of California

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Happy Holidays!

Posted December 1, 2009 in Firm News by Michael Lonich.

Happy Holidays from everyone here at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri, LLP!

We hope all is well and wanted to invite you in for a free 30 minute consultation! Just reference our blog when you call (408) 553-0801.

Also let us know what you think about our blog or what you would like to see on it by e-mailing Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri, LLP at

Thank you and have a good holiday!

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