Twenty-six-year old singer Chris Brown recently introduced his eleven-month old daughter “Royalty” to Instagram followers amidst reports that the singer allegedly stopped paying child support to the child’s mother in March. “Royalty” is the singer’s daughter with model Nia Guzman.

Brown and Guzman earlier agreed to set the amount of child support at $2,500 monthly but earlier this year, Guzman reportedly requested that the payments be increased to $15,000 per month, more three times the current monthly amount. Brown responded by calling the request ‘ridiculous’ and stopped paying child support altogether.

Child Support in California

In California, parents are often allowed to enter into voluntary agreements on child support. If the parents can’t agree, the family court judge will decide the amount based on several factors such as:

  • Income of each parent
  • Number of common children
  • Time spent by each parent with the child
  • Cost of sharing day care
  • Uninsured health-care costs
  • Tax filing status of each parent

Effect of Failure to Pay Child Support on Time

If a parent falls behind child support payments based on a court order, they may be ordered to pay not only the unpaid amount but also interest on the balance due. It is important to comply with a court order on child support. If the court determines that the person obliged to pay support willfully refuses to pay it even with sufficient means to do so, the court may order him to pay support in contempt of court which can lead to jail time.

Changing the Amount of Support

Either parent may ask the court to change the amount of monthly support when there is a change in the circumstances of either or both parents. In deciding whether to increase or decrease child support payments, the court will primarily look into the income of and time spent by each parent with the child.

When changes in your circumstances substantially affect your income and ability to meet child support payments, you may be entitled to a change in support order. Your child support attorney can help you prepare documents in support of your request for change and ask the court to modify the amount of child support.

In Carlsbad, California, the law firm of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP has a wealth of experience in divorce and child support issues and can help you calculate the legal value of child support appropriate in your situation.

We invite you to call us today at (760) 722-7669 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.

Andrea Catsimatidis recently filed for divorce from Christopher Nixon Cox, a grandson of Richard Nixon. The two married three years ago and are childless. The two first met at a mock presidential debate in the high school where Andrea was studying and Cox was campaigning for former presidential candidate John McCain. She was 20 and he was 31 at the time they tied the knot.

Andrea is the daughter of John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery chain and former New York City Republican mayoral candidate. John Catsimatidis reportedly ranked 616th in Forbes World’s Richest People List.

Chris Cox is a lawyer and the only son of Tricia Nixon and Ed Cox. The couple’s uncontested divorce is expected to be resolved quickly. Their divorce proceeding is reportedly sealed and both parties have refrained from issuing public statements on their divorce.

Uncontested Divorce in California

In the state of California, a divorce is considered uncontested when:

  • The other spouse (known as the respondent) files a response to the summons and petition for divorce
  • When both spouses have a written agreement on the property distribution, debt, custody, visitation and support matters

A divorce may still be uncontested if the other spouse has responded but both don’t have and are willing to enter into an agreement about property, custody and related matters.

Lawyer’s Assistance in Uncontested Divorce

Each party to a divorce is required to submit certain documents or fill out specific forms for a divorce to proceed. A family lawyer can provide advice or guide you in filling out the forms required for your situation. An attorney is also important in creating agreements for uncontested divorce. The agreement will ordinarily cover terms that define:

  • How you and your spouse will divide properties and debt
  • Whether one of you will pay the other spousal support
  • Any amount of child support or visitation orders needed if you have children together

Your family law attorney can ensure that the terms of the agreement promotes your best interest.

If you are contemplating divorce, the Carlsbad divorce lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can provide you with possible legal options appropriate to your situation. Depending on your circumstances, we may advise whether your interests are best protected in an uncontested divorce and other related issues.

We welcome your call today at (760) 722-7669 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys.

An appeals court panel ruling from early April 2015 has shocked Californian parents of unruly children and teenagers. The findings determined that county officials had the right to remove a “dangerously incorrigible child” from the family home even though the parent had responded to the child in a proper and appropriate way.

The 17 year old girl involved in the case frequently ran away from home, leaving her mother scouring the streets and calling the Los Angeles police for help every time it occurred. The girl has now given birth to two children. These actions are what prompted the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to step in and remove the child from her mother’s care.

Grounds for Removing Children from Parental Care

In the state of California, a child is only removed from the custody of his or her parents when the child’s welfare or safety is at risk. As for the case above, the 2nd District Court of Appeal all agreed that the child should be removed as she faced a “substantial risk of serious physical harm” and that the parent was unable to “supervise or protect” the child.

A Disturbing Ruling for Many

While some may welcome ‘big government’ involvement in such issues, many have serious concerns. Some individuals are fearful of how this ruling has now expanded the department’s ability to intervene in a parent-child relationship. Others state that the government is not ready to “be a parent” and that more support and help should be made available for parents of troubled or problematic children.

Protecting Your Custodial Rights

The majority of Californians experiencing child custody issues aren’t fighting the government. Most are trying to figure out a custodial arrangement with with an ex-spouse or a grandparent of a child. Handling such cases not only requires an in-depth and extensive knowledge of family law, but it also requires an individual to be acutely aware of what outcome is in the best interest of the child.

The respected team of family law attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP have helped families in the San Diego area come to amicable custody arrangements that best serve both the child and the parent. If you are currently in the midst of divorce and have questions about child custody, or are seeking to change a current arrangement, we can help. Give us a call today at (760) 722-7669 to speak to one of our qualified attorneys to learn more about your rights.


A father’s rights to his children are being upheld and supported more than ever before. A story from over 5 years ago created a cascade of father alienation cases, with many of them resulting in the mother facing stiff penalties, including losing custody of her children.

The court case that made international headlines was that of a Canadian mother who, for well over a decade, chose to alienate her three young daughters from their father. It began with the father only being allowed to call to say “good night” three times a week and having sporadic overnight visits with his children.

Over time, the mother cut off all points of contact with the father, and would regularly tell her daughters that their father was a bad person. The Superior Court of Justice, Justice Fay McWatt, who oversaw the case described the mother’s brainwashing campaign as “consistent and overwhelming”.

Parental Alienation Is Nothing Short of Emotional Abuse

Ex-spouses and lovers may be left feeling bitter and resentful towards one another. However, alienating a child from the other parent conveys a damaging three-part message:

  1. That only one of a child’s two parents loves them
  1. That the alienated parent is unavailable and/or dangerous
  1. That pursuing a relationship with the alienated parent will jeopardize the child’s relationship with the alienating parent

What a child is often believed to hear when he or she is alienated from a parent is that he or she is worthless, unloved, and is only valued if he or she meets the needs of other individuals.

Fighting Against Parental Alienation

In the story above, the courts believed that the mother’s relentless ‘bad mouthing’ of the father and unwillingness to allow the father into his daughters’ lives could only be solved with a change in custody.

The three girls also attended a special intensive therapy program designed for children who have suffered what is referred to as “parental alienation syndrome.” The mother was financially responsible for covering their treatment.

In California, parental alienation is typically defined as being mild, moderate or severe. Mild to moderate cases include therapy and will not likely result in change of custody. Severe cases, however, may result in the alienated parent winning custody of the children.

If you are an alienated parent, you have to act quickly as it is not uncommon for such cases to take many months to resolve. At the law office of Fischer and Van Thiel LLP, we have handled a number of such cases and have facilitated fair outcomes that include child and parent therapy and reunification.

If you have been kept away from your children, or are being accused of keeping your children away from their other parent, we invite you to contact us today to discuss your particular situation at (760) 722-7669.

If your child breaks the law, he or she may become involved in a juvenile delinquency case. This can have serious consequences for your child as well as for you as a parent. Juvenile delinquency can result in the removal of children from their home, a change in parental rights, and other actions based on how serious the delinquency is.

What Happens in a Juvenile Delinquency Case

When a child breaks the law, the court can consider many different factors when determining the best course of action in dealing with the problem.

The court can consider:

  • How old the child is
  • How serious the crime is
  • The child’s previous, existing criminal record

After looking at these factors, the court can make a determination as to the best course of action for your child. This can include a number of different things, including putting the child on probation and requiring the child to live at a probation ranch, or allowing the child to remain under your care but being supervised by the court.

Other options include:

  • Putting the child in foster care
  • Having the child live with a relative
  • Sending the child to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Juvenile Justice

A child can also be charged and tried as an adult, depending on the severity of the crime. If this is the case, the court can send the child to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Adult Operations.

Obtaining an Attorney for Your Child’s Juvenile Delinquency Case

One of the most important things you can do for your child if he or she is arrested is to secure an attorney experienced in handling juvenile delinquency cases. Your child has the right to a lawyer, and if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint one for him or her.

Engaging an attorney for your child will ensure that his or her rights are upheld in court and that his or her juvenile delinquency case is handled correctly. Your child will get the best deal possible, even if it does not seem like it at the time.

The attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel are experienced in handling juvenile delinquency cases. We know that this is a difficult, trying time for you and your family. We handle each case we receive with compassion and care, and always try our best to ensure that the best possible outcome is reached.

For an initial consultation, we welcome your call to our office at (760) 722-7669.

When celebrities get married, one of the most talked about parts of the marriage is the prenup, or pre-nuptial agreement. Typically, this lays out the rights to property and finances that each spouse will have if the marriage does not work out. Most individuals believe that prenups are necessary only when future couple happens to have a lot of assets; however, you do not have to be rich and famous to obtain a prenup before you get married.

Approaching the Prenup

If you feel that having a pre-nuptial agreement is the right step for you and your future spouse, you should speak up sooner rather than later. An agreement such as this is something that should be carefully planned out and discussed between you and your significant other.

You should not rush into it, and you should take the time to ensure that all of your assets are covered. The last thing you want to do is rush the drafting and signing of this document only to find that you missed something very important in the unfortunate event that you and your partner divorce in the future.

Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement

Although it would be possible for you and your future spouse to draft your own agreement, it is more advisable to seek the counsel of a family law attorney who is skilled in drafting prenups. Additionally, you and your partner should each seek the counsel of different attorneys.

Having your own attorney means that you don’t have to wonder whether your rights and best interests are being looked out for during the drafting and execution of the prenuptial.

Why You Should Hire a Family Law Attorney

An experienced family law attorney will know what can and cannot be included in a prenup. He or she will be able to advise you on the best way to draft the agreement so that you and your spouse are protected in the event that your relationship does not work. Additionally, your attorney will take care of any legal technicalities and be well versed in the law surrounding prenups in California.

The family law attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel have been handling prenuptial agreements for many years, and we have the best interests of our clients in mind every time we draft a prenup. We want to ensure that you and your future spouse go into your marriage worry-free. This is a happy time in your life, and it should not be ruined by worries surrounding your separate assets and property.

For an initial consultation, we welcome your call to our office at (760) 722-7669.