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Divorce Information Checklist

By | Resources

The following documents and other information will help your divorce attorney, mediator or divorce financial analyst advise you regarding your divorce. Getting these documents together early in the divorce process will help you navigate your divorce in the most cost-effective manner.

  • Contact information
  • Personal information for you and your spouse (names, dates of birth, date of marriage, date of separation, names and ages of children from this marriage and from other relationships)
  • Individual income tax returns for past three years (federal and state)
  • Business income tax returns for past three years (federal and state)
  • Information regarding your current income (W-2 forms, 1099 forms, K-1s, recent pay-stubs)
  • Information regarding your spouse’s current income (W-2 forms, 1099 forms, K-1s, recent pay-stubs)
  • Prenuptial or post-marital agreements, if any
  • List of assets you own, including most recent statements for anything on the list (e.g, bank account statements, brokerage statements, etc)
  • List of debts you owe, including most recent statements for anything on the list (e.g, mortgage statements, credit card statements, auto loans, etc)
  • Documentation regarding retirement plans for you and your spouse (401(k) statements, pension plan documents, IRA statements, etc.)
  • Documentation regarding stock options and restricted stock, including vesting schedules
  • Real property valuation documents (appraisal, market analysis, etc)
  • List of contents of safe deposit boxes or safes
  • List of automobiles you own and valuation information from Kelley Blue Book (
  • Business financial statements (profit and loss statements, balance sheets) for past three years
  • Loan application forms for loans taken out within the past three years
  • List of separate assets claimed for each spouse

Make Your Child’s School Your Ally During Divorce

By | Blog

School is a second home for children. And when the true home is in turmoil because of divorce, that second home can become a refuge, or an outlet for negative feelings.

That’s why it’s important to let your children’s school know if you and your spouse go through a divorce. Forming a cooperative relationship with the school will open doors to resources that will help your child get through the process in the healthiest way possible.

Teachers – Make sure your child’s teachers know about this major change. Children are less able than adults to separate their emotions about an event. (And many of us adults aren’t great at it!) They may be feeling fear, insecurity, guilt, or any other emotion on a daily basis. This may impact their focus at school, self-esteem, friendships, and academic performance. Many children feel safe with their teachers. Teachers in the know can watch for any signs of distress, alert parents to performance changes, and offer a shoulder to the student.

Guidance Counselors – Counselors are trained to help during challenging times. Let them know so they can offer support.

Support Groups – Some schools offer special support groups for children coping with divorce. If your school does not, consider enrolling your child in a group just for children.

Be sure to talk to your child before he or she returns to school after hearing the news of your divorce. Make sure he or she is aware of any changes in routine. Let them know to whom they can speak at school if they have questions or are feeling sad.

Community Resources

By | Resources

YMCA Domestic Violence Hotline     

YMCA San Gabriel Valley

Domestic Violence Classes      

Divorce Center of Los Angeles  


California Collaborative Family Law    

United Way of Los Angeles   

The National Domestic Violence Hotline   

Julie Yanez Lock Smith  

L.A. Co. Department of Children & Family Services 

Superior Court Opens Self-Help Legal Center in Pasadena Courthouse

By | Resources

Superior Court Opens Self-Help Legal Center in Pasadena Courthouse

 By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer

[Published Thursday, March 12, 2009]

The Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday celebrated the grand opening of its 12th self-help legal access center, located at the Pasadena Courthouse.

Northeast District Supervising Judge Candace J. Beason hailed the event as “a fabulous, fabulous occasion.”

Beason said she had been looking forward to the opening of the clinic—housed in what had been the courthouse’s law library, which was moved across the street to the public library—because, as a member of the bench, she had seen a “significant number of people with questions and misconceptions of the legal system.”

Neal S. Dudovitz, the executive director of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los

Angeles opined that “it’s been quite a journey” since the first self-help center opened at the Van Nuys courthouse in 2000.

Over the years, Dudovitz said the self-help centers have helped over 500,000 people, and assisted over 91,000 in the last year alone.

These clinics “are about core values of out democracy,” he insisted. “Everybody has to be able to walk through the doors of the courthouse, everybody has to be able to be heard…or our justice system will not survive.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Civil Supervising Judge Elihu M. Berle echoed Dudovitz’s concern and opined the Pasadena clinic “could not have come at a better time.”

Noting the “devastating effect of the economy on our community,” Berle suggested a growing number of people with legal problems do not qualify for legal aid, cannot afford an attorney, but still require assistance navigating the court system.

With the Pasadena location, Berle said self-help centers are now available at each of the largest civil courthouses in each geographic area of the county, providing a  “quantum leap in service” for self-represented litigants.

The Pasadena facility was funded by the court, the Judicial Council of California, the Administrative Office of the Courts and through grants from the State Bar to Neighborhood Legal Services and to Bet Tzedek Legal Services.

It will be staffed by court employees, legal aid partners and Justice Corps student interns, court officials said. Services will also be available in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese.

Janice Shurlow, a family law attorney based at the Pasadena center, said that the new facility is one of the largest centers available, and boasts two rooms for hosting workshops and clinics. The largest self-help center is at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

She said that the Pasadena location will be offering workshops and clinics on divorce, paternity, domestic violence, unlawful detainer and elder law.

The resource center is located on the third floor of the courthouse, in room 300. It is open  from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays.

Other courthouse-based, self-help legal access centers are located in Antelope Valley-Lancaster, Compton, Inglewood, Long Beach, Pomona, San Fernando, Santa Monica, Torrance and Van Nuys.


Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company

Find a Lawyer

By | Resources


Office/Service Description Contact Info: LawHelpCalifornia provides online information to help low and moderate income people find legal aid referrals & self-help resources.

LawHelpCalifornia DOES NOT provide direct legal services. (Los Angeles County Bar Association) The Los Angeles County Bar Association offers a Lawyer Referral and Information Service on Phone: 213-243-1525
Los Angeles County Bar Association The Los Angeles County Bar Association provides a lawyer referral service and information on common legal issues in both English and Spanish. Address:
1055 West Seventh Street Suite 2700
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2577
Phone: 213.627.2727
Los Angeles County Local Bar Association Lawyer Referral Services If you need help, a certified lawyer referral service can put you in touch with a lawyer who can help you with your problem.
The State Bar of California The California State Bar Association offers listings of certified county programs that provide lawyer referrals.


Domestic Violence Assistance

By | Resources


Office/Service Information Hours Location Phone
Los Angeles Superior Court Domestic Violence Filing Locations & Clinics Los Angeles Superior Courts locations where restraining orders can be filed. Some locations offer help with filling out the forms.
Información Sobre La Violencia Doméstica Provides referrals to agencies by geographical area for individuals seeking counselors and other social services. 24 hours a day 7 days a week Phone:211
National Domestic Violence Hotline Hotline advocates are available to help domestic violence victims and anyone calling on their behalf. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services. 24 hours a day 7 days a week Phone: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) TTY: 1-800-787-3224


The agencies listed below may provide help or information if criminal charges have been filed.


Office/Service Information Hours Location Phone
Los Angeles City Attorney Victim Assistance Program to insure that services and support are made available to victims and witnesses. Phone: 213.978.2097 Fax: 1.213.978.2179
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Family Violence Division Division of the District Attorney’s office that handles cases of spousal abuse, physical child abuse, and other domestic violence crimes. Phone: 213.974.3785
Victims of Crime Resource Center Provides a countywide listing of resource and referral information for victims and their families. Phone: 1.800.VICTIMS (842.8467) TTY: 1.800.3712.9279


Court Resources for Child Support

By | Resources
Office/Service Description
Family Law Facilitator The office of the Family Law Facilitator assists self-represented parties with child support, spousal support and health insurance issues. The staff provides legal information and education to help parties complete their paperwork and represent themselves in their cases. The staff does not give legal advice nor does it represent a party in a case or at a hearing. There is no confidentiality or attorney-client relationship created between the office and a party.
Private Counselors & Evaluators Directory You can search for professionals that provide counseling services for families experiencing conflict surrounding the custody and/or visitation of their children and/or perform child custody evaluations.
Our Children First Program (English & Spanish version) You can complete the Court’s orientation to mediation on-line. All you need is your case number to access the program.
Our Children First – In Person Parents are required to complete a mediation orientation program on-line called Our Children First (OCF) prior to the hearing and preferably, prior to mediation. If parents are unable to complete the on-line program they may attend the Our Children First – In Person offered on the first Thursday of each month at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. You will need to bring your case number and a pen.
Family Court Services Department, formerly known as Conciliation Court. Mediation gives parents the opportunity to discuss with a neutral mental health professional the best plan for their children. If the parents reach an agreement, the mediator drafts the custody and visitation plan.
Parent Education Referral List for High Conflict Parents Provides a list of individuals and organizations that offer assistance to high conflict parents.

No-Fight Ways To Divide Property During Divorce

By | Blog

Every divorce is different, but for some, divorce is an ugly tear, and leads to disagreements about who should get what. Divorce is emotional, but when dividing property and assets, it’s best to leave emotion aside and focus on a fair split. After all, the more you can work out together, the less you spend on lawyers.

Here are several options for how to divide property during divorce:

Sale — For some, it’s easiest to sell everything, divide the money and start over.

Choose — Make a list of all marital property. Flip a coin to see who goes first, and each person takes turns choosing items.

Make a Deal — One spouse gets the car and furniture in exchange for giving up the house, for example. Work out a way to barter for things in exchange for others.

Appraisal and Choose — Have one spouse place a value on each item. The other gets to choose the items up to an agreed upon amount of the total value. For example, if you have decided to split everything 50-50, the spouse would choose what he/she wants up to half of the items.

Appraisal and Choose II — You might have a third party decide the value of items for you, and then you can take turns choosing items until you reach your set limit.

Auction/Bid — Either openly or in secret, each spouse can bid on items. Whoever bids the highest gets the item. If one person ends up with items valued at higher than his/her share of the total, he/she can pay the spouse to even things out.

Mediation — After trying one or two of the above methods without success, you might turn to a mediator to help guide you through the process. An outside party can bring the non-emotional perspective you need to fairly separate your stuff.

Arbitration — No luck with mediation? You might try arbitration. You and your spouse will present your arguments and let the arbiter decide. Beware: It’s a legally binding decision.

Want to learn more about dividing property, assets, and retirement plans during divorce? Check out our divorce workshops where an attorney, a therapist, and a financial adviser give you the straight talk on what to expect during divorce