The Bledsoe Firm JustFamilyLaw.com | 949.363.5551 August | 2019
O ne of the M ost I mportant L essons I’ ve L earned in the C ourtroom F or the first time in my career, I recently had the opportunity to argue at the California Courts of Appeal. Even though I’m an experienced attorney and have taken on
for years now), had a lot of work to do. Since 2017, the opposition has filed to appeal twice. This was our first appeal. This case, like many others, is a reminder that the wheels of justice can turn slow. It can be complicated and require a significant amount of work. This case, in particular, has been so contested and so challenging that, win or lose, there is a good chance this will be a major published case.
many cases, this was something out of the scope of what I normally do. It’s out of the scope for most attorneys. Arguing at the Courts of Appeal is a rarity. I rarely get worked up or overly concerned when I’m about to step inside a courtroom. I’ve done it so many times that it’s second nature. I walk in as prepared as possible and go to work for my client. When it comes to the Courts of Appeal, you're entering a different kind of space. It has a unique format as opposed to the courtrooms I see on a daily basis. In the Courts of Appeal, each side gets 30 minutes to present their case to the three judges. In my case, I’m arguing on behalf
What do I mean by that? Some attorneys will list their published cases on their resume, though it’s not a common thing. In our case, we’re dealing with several complex legal issues, so I think it may be worth listing. We’re really fleshing out the law with this case and building a framework for potential future cases.
of a client who was defrauded and had a significant sum of money stolen from them. They were a successful businessperson who had their life derailed by someone else — the person we were up against, along with their team of lawyers. At this point in the case, as we stood in the Courts of Appeal, the other side had nothing else to do but argue the appeal. I, along with my
Anyway, let’s get back to the case: There was something specific that happened that caught me completely off guard. I went into the courtroom keyed up. I prepped as well as I thought I could. I knew the details, and I knew what I wanted to say. However, that all changed when one of the judges said something I wasn’t expecting. In the Courts of Appeal, you argue before a panel of three judges. These are the judges who are generally renowned in the legal community, if not the community at large. They’re further into their careers and have a lot of experience under their belts. Well, about a minute and a half into my 30-minute argument, one of the presiding judges threw out a point that no one had considered up until that moment. It was a point that could derail my case. I thought, “ Oh no — I can’t believe this is happening.”
"... even if you’re thinking you’re experiencing the 'worst-case scenario,' it may
actually be a good thing."
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associate attorneys who had been a part of the case from the very beginning (as this has been going on
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Storing Summer Attire Consider purchasing plastic storage tubs or boxes to put your clothes in. If you’re storing dresses, skirts, or any fancy clothing, plastic or nylon garment bags will help prevent them from getting dirty and wrinkly. Before you start piling your clothes in, be sure to wash and completely dry them. This helps prevent mold or mildew and keeps your clothes looking new when it's time to take them out again. Also, it can be a good idea to place cedar sachets in with your clothes and around the neck of your hangers; the wood will keep away pesky insects without leaving bad smells behind. Storing Your Summer Gadgets Outdoor items are more likely to get damaged as they endure the elements. When you’re storing rakes, shovels, or any other garden tools, make sure they’re washed, dried, and sharpened before putting them into your shed or garage. Patios should be cleaned off and given a fresh coat of wax, and outdoor furniture should be dusted, cleaned, and covered to keep the frost, snow, and rain off.
Although winter seems like a distant prospect, it will be here before you know it. While many people are sad to see their summer clothes and gadgets get stored away until next season, it's a good idea to start planning now. Taking the time to properly pack away summer gear is beneficial and can save you from unneeded worry next year. Why It’s Important to Store Summer Gear Properly organizing and storing your summer clothes will help them last longer and prevent you from aimlessly rummaging when searching for that perfect fall sweater or blouse. Likewise, when you cover your patio furniture and tuck your bicycle and tools away, they are less likely to be damaged by animals or any harsh winter weather.
3 Reasons You Need a Prenup
A prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic thing you’ve ever contemplated, but having one could be the key to protecting both yourself and your future spouse in the event of a divorce. Here are things to consider before tying the knot. Y ou have a lot of assets . This is the common reason people get prenups. High net-worth divorces are some of the most difficult and contentious to deal with. With a prenup in place, there’s no question of what’s going to happen to the property you have each designated as separate. It’s already settled, and you can move on to figuring out what’s going to happen with the children, if there are any. I t ’ s your second marriage . Blending a family creates some inheritance issues. If one of you passes, you might want to make sure your children get the amount of your estate that you want them to receive. At the same time, you will want to make sure your spouse is provided for and that all the assets don’t flow directly to your children. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to have it in writing before the marriage, creating a safer and more secure future for you and your family. O ne or both of you plan to take out student loans for yourself or for your children . Student loan debt is arguably the biggest and most burdensome debt most people take out, second only to a mortgage. These days, parents often co-sign on the student loans of their children. Do not fall into the trap of co-signing on a loan for a child or your new spouse. If that occurs and then you and your new spouse divorce, you could end up on the hook to pay student loan debt for one or more of your former stepchildren. It is best to contract out of that prior to the marriage and have an understanding that neither of you will be responsible for any educational costs of the children of the other spouse.
this, especially if one spouse works while the other goes to school. It can also end up divided if any amount of the loan money goes towards living expenses. If you want to make sure
each of you walks away with his or her own student debt, no more and no less, a prenup is the way to do it. And if you want some other arrangement, it’s a good idea to figure it out while you’re both still on good terms. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, do not delay it. It is best to deal with difficult or touchy financial issues while your wedding date is still far into the future. It often never ceases to amaze me how little engaged couples have discussed the hard financial issues that are part of any marriage, such as allocating discretionary income between balancing the competing needs of their children from previous relationships. One person who came to me explained that he thought he was going to have a wonderful marriage with a person he believed was his soul mate. However, after they were married, she began to spend their community earnings on her adult children and her grandchildren. At the same time, she resented him for spending money on his children and grandchildren. Even though second- marriage spouses may not be raising their own children together, there are real financial issues to deal with. It is best to anticipate and deal with potential conflicts well before the wedding. Having realistic expectations is a big part of a successful marriage. If there are financial issues that may cause you to think about a prenuptial, give our office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll answer all your prenup questions and set you in the right direction as you commit to one another.
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Generally, spouses are responsible for their own student debt and are assigned that debt without offset. However, there can be exceptions to
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The Importance of Putting Kids First During Divorce It’s critical for parents to remember to put their children first. During times of separation or divorce, there’s a tendency to lose that focus. After all, going through a divorce can be stressful, and sometimes our perspective changes. This month, many kids are heading back to school, and it’s important for parents to be there for their kids. This is especially important for kids just starting school or starting a new school. Every separation and divorce situation is going to be different, but there are compromises divorced or divorcing parents can make to ensure their kids don’t get lost in the commotion of the start of the school season. If both parents want to be a part of their child’s education, that is absolutely an option and is encouraged. There are different ways this can play out. One parent may help with certain subjects while the other focuses on the rest. Parents can also plan to attend the various events that may come up, from sporting events to extracurricular outings. This is when a shared calendar of events (such as a Google Calendar shared between the child and both parents) can be a huge benefit. Parents need to remember that their child is also dealing with their parent’s separation. Making a child “yo-yo” between parents too many times a week may take a serious emotional toll on the child, not to mention be disruptive to routines and school schedules. If parents can’t come to a mutual agreement on a parenting schedule, that’s when they need to seek intervention of the court. Then, the court will decide on a schedule that’s in the best interest of the children. Finding the right balance can be tough. We have to balance work, family, and even time for just ourselves. But again, don’t forget about the kids. They need you.
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In my mind, the point wasn’t fully relevant to the case, but nevertheless, I had to address it.
Court etiquette requires you to directly answer the judge. “Yes,” “no,” and “I don’t know” are all acceptable answers. You never want to ignore a judge or try to get around it. So, I addressed the judge and answered the question, knowing it could derail the case. I said I would be happy to offer a supplemental brief on the point that had been brought up. That way the judges would be fully informed on the matter. At this point, I was shaky. I felt panicked — I was worried about the rest of the case. I felt like everything had been derailed and that so much of what we had worked hard for was in serious trouble. But I pushed on, and my entire focus was on getting back to my strongest question. I went on for 22 minutes, feeling shaky and uncertain the whole time. I couldn’t stop thinking about what the judge had brought up. As it happened, I got a notice from the court that they did want to see a supplementary brief. I would need to put that together. This was the second time we had been asked for a brief, which wasn’t unusual, being that it was such a big case. A few days later, I had the chance to watch my argument on video (everything was videotaped). I was a bit apprehensive about watching it. I didn’t want to see myself all shaky and nervous. But I sat down with my wife and watched it. The interesting thing is that it’s easy to get wrapped up inside your own head. You may feel shaky and nervous on the inside, but on the outside, it’s a different story. After we watched the video, one of the first things my wife said was, “I thought you did great!” She picked up on a lot of things that were said by both sides and pointed out different inflections and mannerisms — but my shaky nervousness wasn’t one of them. It had gone very well! My apprehension was for nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I learned an important lesson watching the video and thinking back to my experience in the Courts of Appeal. I knew the law, and I knew the subject matter, and even though I thought I was shaky and nervous, no one else noticed. The lesson I learned is that, even if you’re thinking you’re experiencing the “worst-case scenario,” it may actually be a good thing. It might not seem like it in the moment, but that’s the great thing about reflection. In the end, the supplemental briefing addressed the point and actually proved that our side was right, making the other side look weaker. As hard as it can be, you have to push forward through those tough moments and through to the end. You never know what you might discover about yourself. —John Bledsoe
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Confronting Challenges and Being Better for It
Preparing Your Gear for Winter
Does It Make Sense to Get a Prenup?
Don’t Forget to Put Kids First
Not Your Average Vacation Lodgings
America’s Weirdest Airbnbs
T his A in ’ t M otel 6!
When Airbnb was founded a little over a decade ago, the developers hoped to provide an alternative to traditional travel accommodations. Today, with annual
unique living space surrounded by pristine nature and not far from the historic Taos Pueblo.
ManCave Apartment/Airplane Hangar Geneva, Florida
Airbnb super hosts Dan and Deborah have no shortage of quirky properties for rent — including yurts and treehouses — but their apartment fashioned out of an airplane hangar surely takes the cake. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a theme restaurant featuring eclectic aviation. Memorabilia lines the walls with a bar front and center, and the bed is in a loft high above the ground.
revenue in the billions, the service is an industry unto itself. While most people use Airbnb to “live like a local” while traveling, you can find some truly wacky lodging options if you spend some time searching the platform. Here are just a few of the many contenders for the title of “Weirdest Airbnb in the U.S.” For ease of searching, the listings here have the same titles as they do on Airbnb.
Dog Bark Park Inn B&B Cottonwood, Idaho
Brand New Studio Earthship Taos, New Mexico
As you approach the Dog Bark Park Inn, you won’t have to guess if you’re in the right place. After all, how many buildings are shaped like beagles? When describing the space on Airbnb, the hosts make no bones about who this rental is aimed for. “Stay in a giant dog!” they say. In addition to being inside a massive wooden dog, you’ll find canine-themed games, books, and more. Talk about ruffing it.
Earthships, houses run by clean energy and featuring reused materials, are a fixture of the Taos area. This one, which looks almost like a crashing wave with a living space in its undertow, combines the rustic charm of truly getting away from it all with modern amenities like Wi-Fi and in-home laundry. It’s a truly
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