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Family Law 

Divorce in California can be a confusing mess of procedures, rules, forms, and legalese. It’s easy to get lost in the twists and turns of this seemingly endless process. Knowing where you are going can give you peace of mind and a greater ability to make smart decisions that are best for you and your children.

While your situation is unique, there are certain steps everyone must take in order to move through the divorce process successfully. This guide is intended to be a roadmap that will give you a preview of expectations and mistakes to avoid.

Family Law
Business Law
Students and Teacher

Business law encompasses the law governing contracts, sales, commercial paper, agency and employment law, business organizations, property, and bailments. Other popular areas include insurance, wills, and estate planning, and consumer and creditor protection. Business law may include issues such as starting, selling, or buying a small business, managing a business, dealing with employees, or dealing with contracts, among others.

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which governs sales and commercial paper, has been adopted in some form by almost all states. There are agencies at the state and federal level which administer the law in such issues such as employment affairs and consumer and credit protection. The laws aim to protect fair business practices and due process rights for aggrieved workers and others.

Civil Law
Lawyer Pleading Case



Civil Law a type of legal field that typically addresses nonviolent circumstances and events that are perceived as presumable wrongs suffered. In contrast to peripheral legal fields, Civil Law maintains firm jurisdiction within the judicial review of occurrences, grievances, and complaints whose rectification is considered to be unlikely outside of a judicial setting.


Civil law, in the most basic of contexts, is applied to non-criminal matters to legally resolve an underlying issue. As a result of the designated area of legal issues, civil law will cover a wide range of areas, including issues relating to divorce cases, child support proceedings, personal injury suits or child custody matters. In addition, civil law is applied to business disagreements, such as disputes over contracts. Civil law will also include lawsuits brought by a party to recover damages relating to property ownership.


Court Opinions 

Entertainmen Law

Pre, Principle, Post; Above and Below The Line contracts Financing and Distribution  Guild and Union administration

Film cameras on set
Hand signing a contract

Entertainment law encompasses legal areas such as copyright, USTP trademark, contract, multimedia contracts, intellectual property,  music publisher, and book publishing. Related areas of law include first amendment law, telecommunications law, sports law, and all areas of intellectual property law. The personal service agreement is a primary legal instrument in the entertainment industry. This agreement is negotiated between an artist and a company that manufactures, promotes, and distributes the artist's goods or services. The agreement often binds the artist to produce for one company for a certain period of time. Personal service agreements are often governed by statutes and are often the subject of litigation because they restrict the rights of artists to perform or create for any entity except the company with whom they have contracted. 

U.S. copyright law contains provisions specifically directed at the entertainment industry. For example, the songwriter—or the copyright holder, if the songwriter has transferred the song's copyright or created the song as a work for hire—decides who can first record a song for publication. However, once the song has been recorded and published, the copyright holder may no longer limit who may record the song. If a song's copyright owner has previously granted permission to someone to record a song or if the songwriter has recorded and commercially released a recording of the song, the copyright holder is required by copyright law to grant a license to anyone else who wants to record that song. This is called a compulsory license. A licensee who records a song under a compulsory license is required to follow strict statutory guidelines for notification of its use and reporting sales and royalties to the copyright holder. The fee for a compulsory license is set by Congress at a few cents per recording manufactured, and is adjusted for inflation every few years. 

The advance of technology and digital publishing has expanded traditional entertainment legal issues. For example, the value of digital downloading rights, and how this will become an increasingly important point in recording contracts.

Paralegals standing together
Woman Looking through a spy glass

Under California law (which is much more generous to employees than federal law), if you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to meal and rest breaks: a 30-minute meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a workday, and 10 minutes break for every 4 hours you work. There are other requirements, though. If your boss doesn’t comply with break requirements, they are required to pay you one extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a break violation occurred.

For the nitty gritty's, see below:

Rest Breaks

  1. If you work at least 3.5 hours a day, you are entitled to a rest break.

  2. Your boss must give you a rest break of at least 10 consecutive minutes for every 4 hours worked.

  3. Rest breaks must to the extent possible be in the middle of each work period.

  4. Rest breaks must be paid.

  5. Your boss may require you to remain on work premises during your rest break.

  6. You cannot be required to work during any required rest break. [Cal. Lab. C. 226.7]. BUT, you are free to skip your rest break provided your boss isn’t encouraging or forcing you to.



Labor Law

Click pics

Gavel on Probate Document


   Most people know that they should have a will, but many don’t know what a will is and how it works.

A will sometimes called a “last will and testament,” is a document that states your final wishes.  It is read by a county court after your death, and the court makes sure that your final wishes are carried out.

What a Will Does

   Most people use a will to leave instructions about what should happen to their property after they die.  However, you can also use a will to

  • Name an executor.

  • Name guardians for children and their property.

  • Decide how debts and taxes will be paid.

  • Provide for pets.

  • Serve as a backup to a living trust.

You shouldn’t try to use a will to:

  • Put conditions on your gifts. (I give my house to Susan if she finishes college.)

  • Leave instructions for final arrangements.

  • Leave property for your pet.

  • Make arrangements for money or property that will be left another way. (Property in a trust or property for which you’ve named a pay-on-death beneficiary.)

Probate, Trust, and Wills
Warch and scroll



Steps for Filing Probate in California


   When a person dies with or without a will, there is a legal process known as probate that facilitates the transfer of property to the person’s beneficiaries and heirs and pays any debts owed by the deceased. In some cases, depending on the size and worth of the deceased’s estate, full probate is not necessary, and simplified probate procedures may be used. If the deceased has no property  to transfer, there is no need for probate. The steps for filing a full probate in California can create an often lengthy process: California Probate law requires the estate’s personal representative to finish probate within a year or sometimes 18 months. If a will is contested, or if other complications arise, full probate can take years.  There is a helpful diagram of the probate process that provides a visual overview of the steps for filing probate in California and gives an idea of the length of time involved. Probate Division Rules. 

Spousal Rights in California 

Unfortunately, there are a multitude of steps for filing probate in California and the process can take between 5 to 7 months. First, if there is a will, it must be filed with the court within 30 days of the deceased’s death. The probate petition is usually started by the estate’s personal representative named in the will or, if one is not named, by a court-appointed representative. If named in the will, a court must still confirm the personal representative and issue Letters authorizing him or her to act as a personal representative. If the personal representative determines that the deceased’s property must pass through full probate (e.g., if it is over $150,000 in value and not community property) the first step is to file a petition for probate. This is a form provided by California courts and filed in the county where the deceased died or, if the deceased was a non-resident of California, in the county where the deceased owned real property. Additional forms are required depending on the particular situation.  Probate eFiling Document Types and Fees.

   After the fees are paid and the petition is filed,  the court clerk will set a hearing for the case. Notice of the hearing is then sent to all possible beneficiaries of the estate. This notice can be sent by any adult not party to the case.

   After obtaining Letters the personal representative must then gather all assets and file an inventory and appraisal form. Since the personal representative must pay out the estate’s debts, he or she must notify the creditors by sending them the Notice of Administration to Creditors form before paying those outstanding debts.

   The probate court then determines who receives the remaining property, and the representative distributes the property. If any real estate is sold, the personal representative must file A Report of Sale and Petition for Order Confirming Sale of Real Property with the court to confirm any sales. With the help of a probate referee, the personal representative must prepare and file an estate tax return if the estate earned any income, and must also prepare a final income tax return for the deceased; after all, this is taken care of, the personal representative must file a final plan and accounting with the court to show how he handled everything as representative. If the court is satisfied that everything was handled correctly, the personal representative is released from his obligations.

   Attorney’s fees in a probate proceeding can be very high and are tied to a percentage of the estate and the steps for filing probate in California are complicated. To determine the statutory probate attorney fees in a particular estate, also use our online probate tax calculator.  If the will is not contested and no other complications arise, however, a personal representative can probably go ahead with filing for probate on his or her own with a little professional help. How to probate with pleadings.

Video Tutorials
Video Tutorials

“Equality is leaving the door open for anyone who has the means to approach it; equity is ensuring there is a pathway to that door for those who need it.”


California Landlord Tenant Law

Legal Definitions of a Slum Lord

A slumlord is an unscrupulous landlord who milks a property without concern for tenants, neighborhoods or their own long term interests. Slumlords overcharge for property in poor neighborhoods that is kept in poor repair and allowed to deteriorate. Some indicators of property run by a slumlord include a number of police calls and city and county code violations on the properties.

The following is an example of a state statute defining slumlord property:

" 3. "Slumlord property" means residential rental property that has deteriorated or is in a state of disrepair and that manifests one or more of the following conditions that are a danger to the health or safety of the public:

  1. Structurally unsound exterior surfaces, roof, walls, doors, floors, stairwells, porches or railings.

  2. Lack of potable water, adequate sanitation facilities, adequate water or waste pipe connections.

  3. Hazardous electrical systems or gas connections.

  4. Lack of safe, rapid egress.

  5. Accumulation of human or animal waste, medical or biological waste, gaseous or combustible materials, dangerous or corrosive liquids, flammable or explosive materials or drug paraphernalia."

In another example, one city defines slum property as having structurally unsound exterior surfaces, roof, walls, doors, floors, stairwells, porches or railings; lack of potable water, adequate sanitation facilities, adequate water or waste pipe connections; hazardous electrical systems or gas connections; lack of safe rapid egress; or accumulation of human or animal waste, medical or biological waste, gaseous or combustible materials, dangerous or corrosive liquids, flammable or explosive materials or drug paraphernalia.


The authority to designate a slum property rests with the city's building inspector.Slum property is subject to immediate inspection and to annual inspections for three years, with the inspection costs assessed to the property's owner. The city's law says that a slum property constitutes a public nuisance, and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal. If the property owner fails to comply with the notice and order and does not appeal the notice, the inspector will file a certificate of designation as a slum property with the County Recorder's office. In the event the property is repaired, demolished, or otherwise abated, the building inspector will file a new certificate stating it is no longer a slum property.

Patent Drawings

Trade Marks and Patents

The patent laws require that a patent applicant to furnish at least one patent drawing (sometimes referred to as a patent illustration) of the invention whenever the invention is capable of illustration by way of a drawing. Said another way, whenever a drawing would assist in the understanding of an invention you need at least one patent drawing. Based on my experience I can say that patent drawings are almost always required, and the easiest best way to create a better, strong application is to include many patent drawings.

The only time patent drawings are not required is when the invention relates to a chemical compound or composition is being claimed, or if there is just a method or process being claimed. Still, virtually every method or process can be depicted in one way, shape or form by illustration. That being the case it would be wise for applicants to provide illustrations even when a method is being claimed. Thus, there is a disconnect between what is “required” by law and what should be provided. The key is to understand that anything included at the time you file a patent application makes up the totality of the disclosure, and the reality is that patent drawings are worth at least 1,000 words — likely much more!

It is important, in fact critical, for specific, but not describing the specific is an enormous mistake. I hear all the time that inventors don’t want to describe things specifically because they don’t want to be locked in and want very broad protection. That is wonderful, but if you only describe the very broad, general aspects of your invention the chance of getting a patent rapidly declines to asymptotically approach zero percent. The more broad and general the more likely what you describe will be within the prior art. Without layers of nuance and specifics you wind up having nothing to add to distinguish over the prior art and as a result wind up with no patent, or a patent with claims that are clearly invalid on their face.inventors and those new to drafting patent application described be understand that it is essential that the invention with as much detail and specificity as possible. You do not only want to describe the

Trade Marks and Patents

Is a trademark application right for you?

Trademarks, patents, copyrights, domain names, and business name registrations all differ, so it is important to learn whether a trademark is appropriate for you.

A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A patent protects an invention. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. For example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. You would apply to register a trademark to protect the brand name of the vacuum cleaner. And you might register a copyright for the TV commercial that you use to market the product.

A domain name is part of a web address that links to the internet protocol address (IP address) of a particular website. For example, in the web address "," the domain name is "" You register your domain name with an accredited domain name registrar, not through the USPTO. A domain name and a trademark differ. A trademark identifies goods or services as being from a particular source. Use of a domain name only as part of a web address does not qualify as source-indicating trademark use, though other prominent use apart from the web address may qualify as trademark use. Registration of a domain name with a domain name registrar does not give you any trademark rights. For example, even if you register a certain domain name with a domain name registrar, you could later be required to surrender if it infringes someone else's trademark rights.

Similarly, use of a business name does not necessarily qualify as trademark use, though other use of a business name as the source of goods or services might qualify it as both a business name and a trademark. Many states and local jurisdictions register business names, either as part of obtaining a certificate to do business or as an assumed name filing. For example, in a state where you will be doing business, you might file documents (typically with a state corporation or state division of corporations) to form a business entity, such as a corporation or limited liability company.

For more information about whether a trademark is right for you, please watch the animated video titled “Basic Facts: Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights,” part of the Basic Facts About Trademarks video series.

Sources of California Law

The GovernorCalifornia State Legislature and the Supreme Court of California lead the three branches of government in the State of California.

The main source of state law is the California Constitution and the state codes, as interpreted by state and federal courts, including the California Supreme CourtCalifornia Courts of AppealU.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Regulations from administrative agencies are published in the California Regulatory Notice Register and are codified in the California Code of Regulations. The California Building Standards Code is available from the California Building Standards Commission.

Sources of Califrnia Law
Small Claims Court

Small claims in California

This guide can help you:

Small claims court allows you to sue a person, business, or government agency that you think owes you money. Generally, you can only sue for up to $10,000 in small claims court (or up to $5,000 if you’re a business). You can ask a lawyer for advice before you go to court, but you can't have one with you in court.

Special rules for COVID-19 rental debt cases in small claims

Starting November 1, 2021, you can sue or be sued for COVID-19 rental debt in small claims. If you are suing a tenant for COVID-19 rental debt, you can sue for more than $10,000. 

Get more information about COVID-19 rental debt cases in small claims. Learn more

Small claims are a cheaper and faster process

The costs. The filing fee for a small claims case is between $30-$100. If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the court for a fee waiver.

How long to go to court? 

Once you file papers to start a case, you typically have a court date (trial) in about 1-2 months.

There are some limits on small claims
  • You can’t have a lawyer represent you.

  • You have to collect the money if you win your case. The court does not do it for you. 

  • If you started the case, you can't appeal if you lose your case. The judge’s decision is final. You can appeal if you are sued, or the other side sues you back, and you lose.

If small claims court limits don’t work for you, you may want to think about opening a case in civil court. That process is much more challenging and expensive, though, especially if you decide to file on your own without an attorney. 



If you’re looking for a way out of your financial situation, bankruptcy might be the solution. Knowing which type of bankruptcy is available to you and how to navigate the legal process can be overwhelming. Our legal team is here to help. We’ll take you through the different types of bankruptcy and their uses, helping you make the most informed decision possible.

Bankruptcy protection is a legal status given to individuals or businesses that cannot pay their debts in full. The process can be initiated by the debtor or a court. 

Bankruptcy protection offers the debtor time and protection to create a restructuring plan and seek approval from creditors.  It also protects the debtor's assets until the bankruptcy is over. 

Bankruptcy protection includes an automatic stay, which protects the debtor from:

Collections, Lawsuits, Garnishments, Foreclosures, Repossessions, Judgments, Legal proceedings. 

Bankruptcy protection also protects the debtor from creditors harassing them with phone calls. 

Bankruptcy offers a chance for the debtor to start fresh by forgiving debts they cannot pay. Creditors may receive some repayment based on the debtor's assets that are available for liquidation. 


Key Takeaways:

  • Bankruptcy is a legal process for getting relief from debts that you cannot repay.

  • If you file for personal bankruptcy, you generally have two options: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

  • A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will sell off many of your assets to pay your creditors.

  • In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you keep the assets but must repay your debts over a specified period.

  • Bankruptcy can do severe damage to your credit score and should be considered a last resort.

  • As an alternative, you may be able to negotiate with your creditors and work out a payment plan or other solution.

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