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2A | THEPRESS.NET JANUARY 14, 2011
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Getting Divorced:When Should You Retain an Attorney?by H.F. Layton
Th e decision to divorce is an important one; whether to retain an attorney to represent you is also very important. Many people who divorce represent themselves to save money. Others use the services of paralegals. As a matter of fact, more people represent themselves than those who are represented by an attorney. But the decision to forego legal representation is not a decision which should be made lightly.
My father raised me to be a do-it-yourselfer. And my passion is gardening. So, I fi gured that I could landscape my own backyard. I set about doing those things that I knew to do, read books about what I did not know, and I learned from my mistakes along the way. It took me longer to complete my yard than it would have taken a landscaper, took more eff ort on my part, but it cost me less. Now it looks like an attorney landscaped my backyard.
During the nineteen years I have practiced law, I have had many potential clients seek my counsel aft er a court hearing or trial that did not go well, or aft er their rights have expired due to the lapse of time. Th ese clients had decided to not take action, or to not seek legal counsel, when they should have. Th e law does not favor those who sleep on their rights. And courts do not like revisiting issues which have been the subject of prior hearings. So, when clients come to me aft er a court hearing, it is usually the case that little can be done or that whatever can be done cannot be done as inexpensively as it might have been done if the client had been represented by counsel in the fi rst place.
Th ere are costs to inaction. Consider this hypothetical situation. Ms. Green has been
separated from her husband for fi ve years. Th ey have two children together, but Ms. Green has never requested an order for child support. Had she requested child support fi ve years earlier, Ms. Green would have been awarded a monthly amount of $750 for child support. Because she did not request support, the total amount of support that Ms. Green has waived is $45,000. Th e person who pays support pursuant to a support order can also be caught in this trap if that person loses his employment and does not fi le a motion to modify his support obligation.
Very oft en a client would have come out ahead fi nancially if the client had retained an attorney to fi le the proper documents with the court at the appropriate times. However, most people do not understand the signifi cance of their actions, or their failure to take action.
As far as my landscaping is concerned, I sit on my patio some evenings and regret not having employed a professional to landscape my yard. Fortunately for me, I did no damage that a landscaper could not fi x today. Your legal rights, on the other hand, have an expiration date. So, if the issues in your particular circumstances are important to you, do not hesitate in retaining counsel to assist you from the earliest stage of your case. Your ignorance of your legal rights could aff ect you for many years aft er your case is fi nished.
Law Offi ce of H.F. Layton 2010, 8660-B Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood 925-240-1040.
JANUARY 14, 2011 COMMUNITY THEPRESS.NET | 3A
1300 Central Blvd. BrentwoodLori Abreu(925) 216-6317Owner/Broker www.DeltaRanches.com
Cerelle Carstairs(925) 382-4307
Real Estate Agent
1 bdrm 1 ba condo, 624 sf in a beautiful maintained complex. Updated kitchen and wood-burning fi replace in living room. Great location for commute. Balcony overlooks water feature. $140,000
255 Refections Dr #28, San Ramon2 bdrm 2 ba, 1245 sf condo on second fl oor with balcony. Granite kitchen counters and ss ap-pliances. Hardwood fl oor in living area with fi replace. Carpet in bdrms. $200,000
408 Caliente Drive, San Leandro
Cute 2 bedroom. 1 1/2 bath, 1,036 sf condo with private patio.Quiet neigh-borhood and great views. Park-like setting.
1562 Ashwood Drive, MartinezCondo 1 bdrm 1 ba, 611 sf. Off ers pool and security gate. Centrally located complex, close to schools and shopping.
2827 Monument Blvd, Unit #22, Concord
This is a 3 bdrm, 2 bath 1265 sf home and lot size 6500 sf. Cute home located on a court with cathedral ceilings, fi replace in family room, new garage door, and walking distance to shopping. $160,000
3308 Streamwood Court, Antioch2 bdrm 1 bath 918 sf home with lots of large trees seeks new owner. Nice curb appeal, large lot, lots of op-portunity. Laminate fl ooring and carpet. $103,400
2514 W Monterey Ave., Stockton
Clean 3 bdrm 2 ba 1150 sf home featuring granite kitchen counters and gas stove. Hard-wood fl oors, some new window, central heat and air. Fenced front yard $202,500
963 Argenta Drive, Pacheco
22 000002 02010
Nice 2 bdrm 2 bath 1280 sf home. Lot size about 7651 sf. Needs a little TLC. Backyard has golf course view.
1671 Bluebell Drive, Livermore
The 2011 Brentwood Relay For Life team captain meetings begin Tuesday, Jan 18 at 7 p.m. in the Delta Valley Athletic Club, 120 Guthrie Lane in Brentwood. Sub-sequent meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of the month. The annual Relay For Life fundraising event will be held June 11 and 12 at Liberty High Schools Ohmst-ede Field.
According to 2011 event chair and can-cer survivor Wanda Zimmerman, Its go-ing to be a year fi lled with hope and more birthdays. Zimmerman and event co-chair Lynn Gursky are taking this years event theme, Hope is a gift, to new heights, striving to garner 137 teams, more than 300 registered survivors and a fundraising goal of $257,000. This will be the seventh year for one of the most successful Relay For Life events in California and will put the Brentwood community at close to $1.5 mil-lion raised to support the American Cancer Societys research, education, advocacy and free services for cancer patients and their families.
For more information, visit www.relay-forlife.org/brentwoodca or call event chair Wanda Zimmerman at 925-513-1361.
Relay captains converge
Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor and the City Council Tuesday said goodbye to a pair of long-serving Park and Recreation commissioners. On the left, Taylor thanks an emotional Ernie Rodriguez, who retired after al-most 50 years of service in Livermore and Brentwood. On the right is Lanny Brown, who steps down after 15 years on the Brentwood and district recreation boards. Both men thanked the city council and staff they had worked with, and said they would begin their retirement together on a safari in Kenya.
Photos by Rick Lemyre
4A | THEPRESS.NET COMMUNITY JANUARY 14, 2011
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Residents rally to Take Back Antioch
When Antioch resident Brittney Gou-geon started a Facebook page on Dec. 23 called Take Back Antioch, she didnt quite know what to expect, but hoped for some discussion about how to make the city safer.
Gougeons initial goal was for 300 peo-ple to join the page in three months. As of Wednesday, nearly 1,000 concerned citizens liked the page and have banded together in an effort to take back the city from crime, which many residents feel has made Antioch a dangerous place in which to live or do business.
According to acting police chief Al-lan Cantando, 15 homicides were reported in Antioch in 2010. Talks are underway to try to avoid layoffs of police offi cers on the already under-staffed department as the city struggles to stay solvent. But while the City is preoccupied with its fi scal woes, Gougeons effort has begun to attract other residents willing to step up and help address quality of life issues rather than wait out the recession and see things get worse.