News You Can Use! Mom Fashion

Ever wonder… “What jewelry should I wear with this outfit?!?” And then not wear any because you can’t decide? That’s me. In fact, every year for Christmas, I kid you not, my assistant buys me jewelry to encourage me to wear accessories! But check out this guide from ultra-hip Xpecting, a Lifestyle Boutique for moms.

Jewelry made simple…  um, yes please!  Where have you been all my life?  Next time, just follow this helpful guide to avoid the dilemma! And visit the store at 369 E 17th Street, #20  in Costa Mesa  https://www.xpectingmaternity.com/ for some of the coolest mom fashions.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Darlynn Morgan is an estate planning lawyer at Morgan Law Group, a unique law firm that she created to truly make a difference in the lives of her clients.

She’s really good at making it easy for your family to talk about and plan for tough subjects like money, death and taxes.  For more, you can Follow her on Twitter , Friend her on Facebook or check out her Blog.  If that’s not enough, you can also find her on Linked In or Avvo.

Get Your Will Done and Name Guardians for Your Kids…. This Saturday at We Play Loud

It’s hard to believe that summer is over and we are all in the midst of the back-to-school craziness! If you’re like most parents, the “To-Do” list may be a little challenging right now, with Back to School Night, soccer practice and games, and getting into the Fall routine. Not to mention that we are already considering Halloween costume options at our house!

Even still, I take great satisfaction in getting important tasks checked off my to-do list. I bet that getting your will done and naming guardians for your kids has been on your to do list for a long time…. and since it’s not a “fun” task and you really don’t know where to turn, it falls to the bottom of the list.

I’m here to make this easy for you. I’m a mom and a lawyer and there is nothing more important to me than taking care of my kids.  That is why we are hosting our Fall workshops, the first one is this Saturday at We Play Loud and it’s designed especially for families with young kids.  The kids play and you learn, what could be easier?  www.KidsProtectionWorkshop.com

If you have children under the age of 18 you must name a guardian or guardians to ensure that they will never be left in the hands of strangers or people you wouldn’t want raising them. You can name short-term guardians in case of emergency, and then plan for long-term guardianship. We recommend a full Kids Protection Plan to ensure there is no gap in your kids’ care, ever and no matter what.  We also talk about what would happen to your home, your life insurance, and how to make sure your kids money would be handled properly…. if something unexpected happened to you.

Sometimes all it takes is getting a little education on the subject.  The information is useful and engaging; then you are empowered with the knowledge to make good decisions for your family and know your options for taking the next step. We have three seminars coming up this month: an evening at the Pacific Club (Thursday evening 9/25), a breakfast at The Fairmont Hotel (Saturday morning 9/27) and especially for those with small children, kid caretakers at We Play Loud (THIS Saturday 9/20).

More details and to register:  www.OCPlanningSeminar.com and www.KidsProtectionWorkshop.com.  Registration is a MUST and space is limited.

Come on out, have some fun and learn something important that will give you great peace of mind.

 

 

 

Darlynn Morgan is an estate planning lawyer at Morgan Law Group, a unique law firm that she created to truly make a difference in the lives of her clients.

She’s really good at making it easy for your family to talk about and plan for tough subjects like money, death and taxes.  For more, you can Follow her on Twitter , Friend her on Facebook or check out her Blog.  If that’s not enough, you can also find her on Linked In or Avvo.

 

 

A Working Moms Delight! Dinner Made Easy, Read On….

As a working mom I am always looking for ideas to get a healthy dinner on the table for my family. When I get home from work I want to be with my kids (not slave over a hot stove in the kitchen) so the easier the better. Recently I was introduced to Winder Farms an online grocery store in California that offers convenient online grocery shopping and fresh grocery delivery right to your doorstep.

Why Winder Farms? Well, they have lots of convenient meal options!
Receiving a big package on our doorstep early in the morning (before I left for work!) was a big hit. My son and my husband both got excited as we peeked in the bag and started unloading our goodies. I had an extra spring in my step all day knowing that when I got home from work dinner was covered! We tried the salmon dinner and it was amazing (my 4 year old gobbled it down) and we also enjoyed the turkey pot pie.

How It Works.  So easy. Here’s a graphic.  But really, just pick and click.  I can’t wait to place my next order.

Darlynn Morgan is an estate planning lawyer at Morgan Law Group, a unique law firm that she created to truly make a difference in the lives of her clients.

She’s really good at making it easy for your family to talk about and plan for tough subjects like money, death and taxes.  For more, you can Follow her on Twitter , Friend her on Facebook or check out her Blog.  If that’s not enough, you can also find her on Linked In or Avvo.  Attend our next estate planning workshop at We Play Loud on September 20th. Registration is a must: www.kidsprotectionworkshop.com.

 

Prenups: An Important Financial Planning Tool

By Daniel R. Gold, Certified Family Law Specialist, Managing Partner, Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle LLP

An engagement is an exciting time in every couple’s life. This time includes wedding planning, life planning and financial planning. Wait…financial planning!? Although this may not be the most blissful part of a couple’s premarital planning, it is nonetheless important to consider finances when creating a long lasting union. This is most applicable to couples where one or both have acquired assets through work, business, gift or inheritance prior to marriage.

Most engaged couples who hear the term “prenuptial agreement” either cringe or nod with recognition of thoughts unsaid. Although it may not be the right decision for every couple, it is always a good idea to broach the topic – to encourage open lines of communication – prior to a walk down the aisle.

Planning for the future is something to be done with honest and open expectations between a couple, and should include a plan for all scenarios. The inclusion of a legally effective premarital agreement will provide an accurate picture of your spouse’s financial standings and expectations for marriage.

While bringing home flowers can be a wonderful surprise, things may not be quite so wonderful when a spouse brings home debt. Many couples either withhold, or are unaware of, their true financial situation. Going through the process of drafting and finalizing a marriage document such as a prenup, will encourage honest sharing of each other’s financial past and future expectations. It also provides couples with a blueprint of important provisions that need to be made in the event of the loss of a spouse, and limit unpleasant future financial discoveries.

Protecting Premarital Assets

There is no way around it. While marriage itself is an equal partnership, there is not always an equal distribution of wealth upon entering it. Whether the discrepancy results from a trust or successful professional ventures, it is important to define and protect your individual prior assets.

Although many couples share everything once married, having a legal document that outlines the property of each person will help with budgeting and distribution during the course of a marriage. Oftentimes, it may also help open the opportunity for a budgeting discussion.

Perhaps more critically, a prenup serves as a valuable blueprint to ensure that both parties have a certain expectations should the marriage end in divorce or legal separation.

Community v. Separate v. Mixed

Although the thought of sharing assets and a “what’s mine is yours” policy in your marriage is enticing, all couples should know there are different types of assets, which can be weighted differently if they ever need to be dissolved.

The three different types of property, or assets, to be considered are: community property, separate property and mixed assets.
• Community property is earnings and accumulation of assets that a couple acquires during the length of a marriage.
• Separate property includes:   1. All property owned by the person before marriage  2. All property acquired by the person during marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent
• Mixed assets may include some of each type of property – community and separate. Typically this happens where couples commingle or mix cash from different sources into one account or use separate funds to purchase a residence during the marriage.

A prenup can help determine how each of these assets will be treated during the marriage.

Insight into Personalities of Intended Spouse
Many people have heard the old adage “the first year of marriage is the hardest.” Working together to define assets and marital expectations before walking down the aisle will limit surprises and arguments often experienced during the first year of marriage.

The way prenup negotiations and definitions are dealt with will give a clear picture of how future compromises might be handled. This insight at the start of the marriage can help couples communicate more effectively and also be aware of what the other will value within the marriage.

Under certain financial and lifestyle situations a prenup also can provide protection, peace of mind, and can open important lines of communication. If you are considering a prenup in your marriage, here are three important tips:
1. Don’t do it yourself. Hire competent, experienced counsel.
2. Don’t wait until the last minute. Agreements prepared in a short amount of time are sloppy, rushed, stressful, and subject to more challenges when one spouse wants to enforce them.
3. Don’t try to force a one-sided agreement. Be generous even if it is solely for the purpose of ensuring there is less reason for the other spouse to challenge it should the marriage end in divorce.

About the author:
Daniel R. Gold, CFLS is managing partner at Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle LLP (TLD), a longstanding Southern California law firm. With more than 20 years of experience, Gold practices family law exclusively and has participated in more than one hundred contested hearings and trials. Gold is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a family law specialist and is a member of the Los Angeles and Orange County Bar Association Family Law Sections and the American Bar Association. For more information, call 877-923-0971 or visit www.tldlaw.com.

Our favorite lifestyle boutique for moms just got even better!

I have always loved Xpecting, and got many lovely maternity items there when I was pregnant.  I’ve even rented my fabulous hospital-grade pump from them these last 8 months.  But now there’s even better news: Xpecting is expanding their offerings.  Xpecting announces the launch of UnXpected, their exclusive non-maternity collection for busy moms. They invite you to celebrate this new venture on August 28th. Enjoy 20% to 30% off of everything in the store all day.

In the mood to party? Shop from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and enjoy sweet treats, champagne, mingle with gossip blogger Kate Casey of Love and Knuckles and receive a fabulous gift with purchase.

 

Three Easy Steps To Filling Out the School “Emergency Card”

If you have kids who are getting ready to go back to school this Fall, then you will likely be sent home with an “official emergency card” to fill out either this month or next, depending on their start date.

I realize how chaotic that first week school can be…there’s already a ton of paperwork to fill out and homework to start. It can be tempting to just scribble down the names of nearby relatives or neighbors without giving that “official” card too much thought.

But doing so can be VERY dangerous for your kids if a real emergency happens. It could even cause them to wind up in the care of social services if something happens to you or your spouse during school hours (yes, really!).

Think about it, maybe hubby is out of town on a business trip and you are on your own taking care of the kids. Something unexpected happens, even a minor fender bender that lands you in the hospital temporarily. What happens next to your kids, legally?

Please understand that the emergency card only gives named contacts permission to pick your child up if they are sick, not take short-term legal custody of them if one or both parents are killed or incapacitated in an accident. The authorities are going to want to know Who has legal authority to have custody of a minor child? If they aren’t sure, they will call in CPS.

For this reason, I recommend creating an emergency plan before your kids go back to school, so there is no confusion or legal headaches should tragedy strike. This plan can be created in 3 easy steps:

1. Legally name short-term guardians for your kids. Short-term guardians have legal permission to care for your child until the surviving parent or long-term guardian can arrive. This should ultimately be someone who lives close by, and who will comfort your children in an emergency. This document must be properly authenticated to be legally binding.

2. Make sure your short-term legal guardians match those named on the school emergency card. In addition to listing friends and neighbors who can pick your child up from school if he or she gets sick, it’s equally important to list the full contact information of your short-term guardians for true emergencies. Without this information, the school could place your children in the custody of social services until the surviving parent or legal guardian can arrive.

3. Make sure the babysitter knows what to do if you don’t return home. It’s extremely important that parents give their babysitters detailed instructions on what to do and who to call if they don’t return home. In most cases, a babysitter will panic and turn to the police for help, again opening the door for social services to temporarily take custody of your kids until a long-term care provider can arrive.

Creating a back-to-school family emergency plan is so easy – and something that will greatly pay off if a parent is injured or killed during school hours.

Remember, the first few hours after an emergency are the most painful for a child, so it’s important for parents to make sure their kids spend that time with people they love and trust, rather than scared and confused in the arms of a state agency.

If you don’t have a comprehensive plan in place or need to name short-term guardians for your child, you’ll want to get that taken care of.  I can assure you that it feels GREAT knowing that you’ve got it taken care of!  And it’s easier and more affordable than you might think.  It’s something that every parent should have in place prior to the start of a new school year.

Darlynn Morgan is an estate planning lawyer at Morgan Law Group, a unique law firm that she created to truly make a difference in the lives of her clients.  Register here: http://www.KidsProtectionWorkshop.com for our next Kids Protection Workshop is on September 27th at 10:00 am at We Play Loud in Lake Forest. 

She’s really good at making it easy for your family to talk about and plan for tough subjects like money, death and taxes.  For more, you can Follow her on Twitter , Friend her on Facebook or check out her Blog.  If that’s not enough, you can also find her on Linked In or Avvo.

Get Your Spring Fest On!

 

 

 

Spring Family Fest is the ultimate event for parents, expectant parents and families with young children in Southern California!

June 7, 2014: 11am-4pm, Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa Huntington Beach

 

Join Club MomMe for an entire afternoon filled with popular speakers and amazing panels designed just for you and your family. Featuring Dr. Harvey Karp, and panels on Natural Parenting, Daddy Panel, Healthy Child Healthy World workshop or Understanding Label, Hot Baby & Toddler Products, and more!

Spring Fest will feature amazing giveaways, gift bags, family-friendly activities, activities for the kids, a style lounge, a pamper area, a daddy lounge and more.

What a great event! All kinds of swag and goodies…. hope to see you there!  Find out more here: http://clubmommeevents.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darlynn Morgan is an estate planning lawyer at Morgan Law Group, a unique law firm that she created to truly make a difference in the lives of her clients.

She’s really good at making it easy for your family to talk about and plan for tough subjects like money, death and taxes.  For more, you can Follow her on Twitter , Friend her on Facebook or check out her Blog.  If that’s not enough, you can also find her on Linked In or Avvo.

Shared Custody: Why It’s Not Always Best

By: Daniel R. Gold, Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle LLP

“Children are resilient – they’ll bounce back.” If you’re a parent, you’ve likely heard these words and hope the saying is true as your child faces life challenges.

Navigating a child custody case during a divorce is never easy, and for children, divorce can be stressful, sad and confusing. Children in families going through a divorce are typically the only ones who do not have a choice where they fit – or where they’ll end up – throughout the process.

As parents, it’s important to give your child the right support they need through your divorce or separation. Successfully navigating this unsettling time can help your child heal and find hope – feeling loved, confident and strong.

Determining Custody

Several factors are considered when determining a child’s physical and/or legal custody in California. Oftentimes, parents may become attracted to the idea of a “50/50” shared custody arrangement where the child splits time equally between parents. This type of schedule is the byproduct of settlements designed to make one demanding parent happy and thereby sidestep an emotional courtroom battle. While avoiding litigation is always a noteworthy goal, an arrangement that is unstable and unnecessarily challenging for a child already in turmoil is not the best solution. In my experience, I’ve witnessed parents battling over “percentages” measured in hours, rather than determining what schedule is truly best for the child because they look at their interests, rather than the child’s. Studies have found that “50/50” custody agreements can bring on even more conflict – detrimentally affecting a child’s behaviors and academic achievement.

Generally, the court will also weigh in on a parent’s proposed arrangement and whether it’s in the child’s best interest. Questions such as: “Are the parents stable?” “Do they have drug or alcohol issues?” “Is there domestic violence in either household? “Does the child have behavioral issues or other special needs?” are factors considered in a custody dispute.

Living in two places also may bring on added financial and emotional stress, which significantly impacts a child. No matter the age, there is no clear line for when a child can express a preference for either parent. Under California law, it depends on whether the child is of “sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference to custody or visitation.” Special considerations are also taken into account for children under the age of three, such as maternal nursing and paternal bonding.

If the custody matter is not resolved in mandatory mediation, the court may conduct a hearing where they consider testimony from the child’s parents, relatives, and, if necessary and appropriate, the child. The court is given some liberty in taking the evidence presented, and may, in some cases, appoint a mental health professional to observe the situation and help provide information necessary to make a decision (i.e. a custody evaluation).

In my experience, custody evaluations, while less stressful and taxing than courtroom litigation, can be just as unpredictable and devastating, since the parent is allowing a third party “expert” to essentially critique his or her parenting skills. In the end, a good evaluation can help the parents get to the bottom of the dispute, and assist the parents and court in crafting an appropriate solution to their family dynamic.

When “50/50” Custody Plans May Work

In many cases, psychologists find that children need stability to avoid the feeling of moving from place to place like “nomads” without a space to call their own. I have in some cases witnessed successful shared custody plans. In my years of practice, I’ve noted two main characteristics of successful shared custody plans: (1) close proximity between parental residences and (2) two high functioning parents who are willing to put aside personal differences to be on the same page as parents for their child. The parents must act as if the child (or children) live in one household, separated by two locations.

Ultimately, a parent in a custody battle should realize what is worth fighting for – the child’s wellbeing. Ask yourself this: “how would you feel if you had to change where you slept every other night?” It’s important to understand that the courts have one goal: to ensure that the post-divorce custody agreement is in the best interest of the child. When confronted with a child’s health, safety and welfare, along with having frequent access between parents, judges are careful to side with the child’s health, safety and welfare. Whenever possible, the best thing for a child is to have both parents continue to be involved in his or her life after a divorce.

About the Author:  Daniel R. Gold, CFLS is the managing partner at Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle LLP (TLD), a longstanding Southern California law firm. With more than 20 years of experience, Gold practices family law exclusively and has participated in more than one hundred contested hearings and trials. Gold is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a family law specialist and is a member of the Los Angeles and Orange County Bar Association Family Law Sections, and the American Bar Association. For more information, call 877-923-0971 or visit www.tldlaw.com.

Do I Need to File For Bankruptcy?

Many years ago when I first got out of law school I worked as a law clerk to a federal bankruptcy judge here in Orange County. One thing I learned as a young attorney is that things are not always what they appear to be!  On the outside things may look glamorous and shiny, but oftentimes families are struggling, trying to “keep up” financially.  There are so many different reasons why a family may end up in the position of needing to file bankruptcy.  Although this may be a last resort, it is important to know what the options are.  “Daddy Esquire” Daniel Gamez shares his expertise on this topic and provides a legal perspective on debt relief options.

By Attorney Daniel Gamez

Do I need to file for Bankruptcy?  I hear this question all the time. Credit card debt is one of the leading causes for bankruptcy filings. Personal finances aren’t easy to deal with. Many would rather bury their head in the sand and hope the problem goes away, but that’s just wishful thinking. So what do you do if you find yourself buried in debt? The most important thing to know is that you do have options to deal with your debts. Educating yourself on these options is key.

Many people fall into is what I refer to as the debt cycle, relying on credit as supplemental income. It is easy to slip into the habit of carrying a balance on credit cards. Credit card debt is a lot like weight gain. You accept the first 5 pounds as a temporary problem. That 5 pounds quickly turns into 10. Before you know it, you’re 20 pounds heavier and have no idea how it happened. Now turn those pounds into thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

Now you’re trying to figure out how to shed this debt. When you fall into the debt cycle, paying the minimum amount due becomes an easy fix. This method will lead to years of payments with the balance only going down minimally each month. Most of your payment will go towards the interest.

Creditors love you when you fall into this trap. They know they have you hooked on a pattern that is hard to escape. Creditors are now required to tell you how long it will take you to pay off your debts using this method and how much you will end up paying. Depending on your interest rate, the total payoff could be double what you actually charge and it may take you years to pay off your debt. Some won’t live long enough to pay off the debts at this pace. If you find yourself in this trap, you need to explore your options.

For some, filing bankruptcy might be a good option. If you qualify for a Chapter 7, all of your debts will be eliminated in the end. Income is a huge determining factor to qualify for a Chapter 7. If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another option. This is a repayment plan in which your secured debts (think mortgage debt) will be paid at 100% and your unsecured debts (credit cards) will be paid back at a percentage, largely based on your income. But beware, Chapter 13’s have a failure rate of approximately 70%. The main reason being that most Chapter 13 plans are 3-5 years in length. Think about the last 3-5 years of your life and the ups and downs you have endured. Life happens and your financial landscape can change too. This makes a Chapter 13 an unattractive option for many. If you are considering a potential Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debt settlement may be a better option.

In a debt settlement, you debts are negotiated down to a reduced balance that is paid either in a lump sum or over a term. Depending on a number of factors, debts can usually be settled for around 40% of what you owe. Debt settlement often gets a bad rap since there used to be a lot of debt settlement companies out there that basically stole their clients’ money and never performed any services. Most of those bad apples have been put out of business by FTC regulation. There are also attorneys that practice in this area of law. The advantage of using an attorney is that they can prevent embarrassing collection calls to your home, work and relatives. An attorney can also represent you in court if a creditor decides they want to sue you for non-payment of your debt. Most debt settlement attorneys work the same. You put money aside in a savings account to accumulate the funds necessary to settle your debt and pay your attorney’s fees over a period of time. The length of time depends on your budget.

The bottom line is that you have options. If you have significant debts, you should consider each of them to determine what fits you best. And if anyone tries to tell you their option is the only option available, walk away. For most people, there are a number of available options. You just need to figure out which one suits you best.

If you are struggling with credit card debt or any other type of unsecured debt, you owe it to yourself to explore your debt relief options.  Please reach out to an attorney to schedule a consultation.  Attorney Daniel Gamez is available at (858) 217-5051 or www.gamezlawfirm.com.

Milk Matters

This article comes at a great time because I just had my second child two months ago!  The other day I was actually wondering what the law is and my fellow Mommy Esquire came through with an informative post to help me out.

By Attorney Kasumi Takahashi, Esq.

If you are a new mother, you have a lot on your plate, including ensuring proper and adequate nourishment for your baby. And, if you are in a position to be able to breastfeed your baby, then you should know your rights to make you feel more confident about your decision to breastfeed. Here are some of your rights under California law with respect to breastfeeding and lactation:

Right to Breastfeed in Public

Yes, you have a legal right to breastfeed in public. California Civil Code section 43.3 provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present, except in the private home or residence of another. So, the next time you decide to breastfeed while running errands, at a restaurant or other public establishment, you should feel comfortable knowing that you have a legal right to do so.

Deferred Jury Service for Breastfeeding

If you have been summoned for jury duty and you are a breastfeeding mother, you may request that jury service be deferred for up to one year. Your request may be renewed as long as you are breastfeeding. If you make the request in writing, the jury commissioner must grant it without requiring you to appear at court.

Lactation in the Workplace

California employers are urged by the state legislature to strongly support and encourage the practice of breastfeeding by striving to accommodate the needs of employees, and by ensuring that employees are provided with adequate facilities for breastfeeding and otherwise expressing milk for their children.

Lactation Accommodations at the Workplace

All California employers must provide their employees a reasonable amount of break time during work hours for expressing breast milk for the employee’s infant child. Employers must provide a room or other private location in close proximity to the employee’s work area for expressing milk, which cannot be a toilet stall. An employer which fails to provide a lactation accommodation may be liable for a civil penalty of $100 per violation.

No Discrimination for Breastfeeding

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or job applicants because of breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding.

So, as you can see, California law and the legislature support women who choose to breastfeed and those breastfeeding working moms who require lactation accommodations in the workplace.

Kasumi Takahashi, Esq. is an employment and business lawyer at Jones Bell LLP. www.jonesbell.com. To inquire further about the information above or other issues pertaining to labor and employment law, please contact Kasumi Takahashi at ktakahashi@jonesbell.com or call (213) 485-1555.