Thursday, April 17, 2014

Levine Law Group is hiring an office coordinator for our boutique family law firm!

We (Levine Family Law Group) are excited to announce a new employment opportunity  at our Emeryville office. If you or someone you know is interested and qualified, please email your resume and cover letter to Erin

Job Description: 

About Us:
Levine Family Law Group (LFLG) is a premier, bay area, boutique law firm specializing in family law offering a fresh and innovative approach to the practice of law. We measure our success on the outcome we achieve for our clients. We listen to what they need – their priorities, intentions, goals and concerns. We then use our expertise, passion, and problem solving skills to craft a legal strategy that is tailored to each client. We offer a wide range of services ranging from divorce and domestic partnership dissolution, to adoptions, paternity actions, and pre + post nuptial agreements.

We promote from within and are committed to a work-life balance.

About You:
You are a team player. You understand the importance of your role as the ‘face’ of our Firm and that your presence is key to the office work flow and process. You care about the human story and want to see our clients succeed. You value a work-life balance but thrive in a fast paced, multi-tasked environment. You want to be a part of a firm that excels among its competition and values diversity.

You are personable, energetic, self-motivated, tech savvy, smart, confident and a good listener. You thrive with good systems skills and have a keen attention to detail. You are committed to client confidentiality. You have law firm and/or office experience and are proficient in Microsoft Office.

Summary of Duties:
·    Greeting clients and vendors;
·    Answering phones: inquiries, checking for conflict of interest, scheduling client meetings and consultations, summarizing services and coordinating attorney calendars/ check for conflicts;
·    Check voice mails every hour, record and distribute messages;
·    Check email regularly and promptly respond;
·    Confirm appointments and court dates;
·    Fax and scan documents;
·    Add postage and updates to machine and print addresses;
·    Open mail and distribute;
·    Keep track of bills and pay them;
·    Send out billing and call clients with overdue balances;
·    Order supplies after reviewing best prices;
·    Office maintenance: Keep office tidy, change water bottle and organized;
·    Deposit checks and record payments, track payment plans;
·    Data entry;
·    Open files (paper and electronic file)
·    Assisting paralegal with filing and closing files when necessary;
·    Assist management with: obtaining HR forms for new hires, insurance applications;
·    Reviewing vendor bills for discrepancies, over charges and following up;
·    Organizing Billing, tax and other financial  (vendor) files in a practical and efficient
·    system; and
·    Coordinate office lunches/meetings and run errands.

Thanks for reviewing and happy hunting!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Our Manifesto -- A work in progress

We are currently in a wonderful state of transition -- a combination of rebranding identity and rediscovering our strengths and passions. Developing a manifesto is exciting in its own right -- a reminder that we've allowed ourselves the space to grow into the legal professionals and people that we are and also want to become. Most importantly, in focusing our goals and philosophy, we get to hone our approach to each case -- and do our damnedest to meet the economic and emotional needs of each client.  

Round 1 - Our Manifesto

1. We define family in broad and inclusive terms.
2. We aim to change the way you think about lawyers.
3. We are humbled by your story.
4. We measure our success by your outcome.
5. We are passionate about efficiency.
6. We are team players.
7. We recognize your matter is a personal investment - with results that can have serious and long lasting implications. 

     We are welcoming feedback and constructive criticism. We are excited to roll out our 'new look' in the coming months and are grateful for the continued support from our family, friends, legal community and clientele. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What is a Certified Family Law Specialist?

Erin Levine has passed the Certified Specialist Exam,
met all other requirements and is awaiting certification
Ashley Schuh, Certified Family Law Specialist
Family Law Attorneys may only identify themselves as 'certified specialists' if they have been certified by the State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization, an organization whose certification program has been accredited by the State Bar. Attorneys can only apply for specialist certification if they have been in practice for at least five years and have dedicated at least 25% of their practice to family law. To become a Certified Family Law Specialist, lawyers must demonstrate a high level of experience in their field. The applicant must pass a full day 'mini-bar' examination and have conducted a specific amount of trials, hearings, settlements, stipulations and mediations. Certified Family Law Specialists must complete over 45 hours of continuing legal education over a three year period covering specific areas of family law and must be favorably evaluation by other attorneys and/or judges familiar with their work. The process provides potential clients assurance that they have hired an expert who is experienced and educated in all areas of family law. By selecting a CFLS, consumers are assured their attorney is well qualified and trained.
To schedule a one-hour Divorce or Family Law strategy session with a Certified Family Law Specialist, complete the contact form at this link, and a client services representative will be in contact with you within 24 hours. We pride ourselves on being passionate about finding solutions that meet the needs of our clientele!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Should I stay or should I go? 5 issues to consider before you move out of the marital residence.

While each divorce is different, and every case requires legal advise tailored to the client's individual situation, there are certain issues that everyone can consider before taking the leap to move out. (even if you can no longer deal with your spouse). Of course, if there is domestic violence or another abusive situation, the goal is to get out - now. Or better yet, get the abuser out. 

1. Financial Stress: 

While it's no fun to live in a house with someone you dislike, sometimes the stress that moving out causes to your pocket book can feel even more overwhelming. One or two incomes to support one household can often times be a whole lot less stressful than two households. If you are considering moving out, create a budget, consider whether or not you will receive (or pay) support, make a budget, and/or discuss with a financial advisor.

2. Legal Stress:

Moving out can cause an array of legal issues that can be expensive and time consuming to deal with -- not to mention, emotionally draining. Who will pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance? Will one of you be entitled to credits for over or under payment of the expenses associated with the house? 

3. Parenting Agreement: 

Has a custody agreement been reached? Might you be jeopardizing your ability to co-parent / obtain custody if you move out? Do you have the legal authority to move out and take the children with you? Probably not. The last thing you want is your kids in the middle of a terrible fight over where they will live and have them shuffle back and forth without stability or consistency. If you are considering moving out, perhaps co-parenting counseling, mediation and/or a legal motion is in order. Preparing for parenting apart is a very important step.

4. Assessing Finances:

An important part of a divorce in California is dividing debts and assets accurately. While CA law requires full disclosure, sometimes spouses make every effort to conceal information or hide assets. While you are still living in the home, get a copy of all asset, debt and income information from your personal computer and files. Get records that may be helpful to your various legal claims. It's much easier to take matters into your own hands than ask for it later while your in litigation. Because personal property has a tendency to 'disappear' or get lost in the shuffle, consider taking a photo or video inventory of all furniture, furnishings and possessions you leave in the home. 

5. Forwarding Address: 

With all the emotional turmoil you are experiencing, sometimes little things get lost in the shuffle. If you do not want your spouse to know where you are moving (perhaps domestic violence is an issue?) – get a post office box. Complete a change of address with the post office as soon as possible.

Moving out of the home is a big deal. Do not make significant financial decisions like signing a lease on a new home or buying a new car before you know if you can afford it. If your divorce has already been filed, you will need to ensure that you are not violating any standard restraining orders. It's of course, not a bad idea, to schedule a consultation with a trusted and experienced Divorce attorney. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

8 Things You Didn't Know About the Ladies of Levine Law (Part 2)

We got such a great response from Part 1 of this blog, we thought we'd share a bit about our newest associate, Sophia Wood Henderson. While Sophia's our newest addition to the team at Levine Law Group, she is no stranger to Family Law, having several years of experience in the field. Her primary focus has been litigating child custody matters and serving clientele with complex mental health issues. 

She's not your 'typical' lawyer, and we couldn't be more pleased. We think you will be too. 

From Sophia:
  • I love eating weird food. I have eaten birds’ nest soup (the saliva of birds is steamed off their nests and served with raw egg) and fried locusts.
  • I have been diving with sharks in open water.
  • I learned how to spell by spelling words backwards.
  • I dislike planes, but enjoy skydiving.
  • There was a time as a child when every night at the dinner table my parents made all the children (our friends included) stand up and conjugate verbs on a giant chalkboard.
  • I am a classically trained violinist.
  • I wish I had been born a Marx Brother. I own all of their movies (on VHS and DVD), and fancy myself an amateur Groucho Marx impersonator.  
  • I have appeared as an extra in an HBO television series and several independent films

Monday, February 3, 2014

Will child support change when I get remarried?

Charlie Sheen pays over $100,000 per month in child support to his ex's.
'Is my new spouse's income taken into account for purposes of calculating child support?'

While we find that many of California's family laws are common sensical, this issue is not. Unfortunately, the legal answer often ends up causing one parent serious frustration and a feeling of injustice.

For purposes of calculating guideline child support, a new spouse's income may not be considered by a court when establishing or modifying a child support order. An 'extraordinary case' is often times very difficult to prove and exists only 'where excluding that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to any child subject to the child support award.'

Now, the income of the step-parent is considered for the limited purpose of determining the tax liability of the payee parent. Since the new spouse's income may push the payor parent to a higher tax bracket, the payor spouse actually takes home less money from their own earnings. Since guideline child support takes into account net income, this may result in a decrease in the amount of child support owed to the payee.

Say what?

Here's another example. You are the payor parent. Your ex remarries a wealthy spouse. Your ex seeks to modify support. You may actually have to pay more support to the custodial parent since s/he is now in a higher tax bracket (by virtue of her high earning spouse) and therefore theoretically has less 'net' (after tax) income of her own. In other words, the payee parent gets to have her/his cake and eat it too. A tough pill to swallow for may non custodial parents. 

Depending on the facts of your case, there may be other laws that apply to your circumstances, allowing you to modify your support obligation. Contact Levine Law Group for a child support strategizing session. 

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