Law Offices of Makupson & Howard

Law Offices of Makupson & Howard Pasadena Divorce Lawyer Dealing with divorce can be extremely difficult and painful. It is important to find an attorney with the capabilities to fight for the needs of you and your family, as well as walk you through the entire divorce process.

The Law Offices of Makupson & Howard is home to divorce lawyers in Pasadena who understand the family law court system and the many complexities of divorce law. With over three decades of combined experience, it is no wonder the legal team at this firm is capable of handling virtually any case. Whether you need help deciding what type of divorce is best for you, you are looking for assistance with child custody, or are dealing with any other conflict having to do with your divorce, this firm can work to satisfy your specific needs. The Law Offices of Makupson & Howard is committed to providing exceptional care for each client. If you are looking for an attorney who can provide you with aggressive representation while taking your feelings and emotions into consideration, this firm is right for you. Contact the legal team at The Law Offices of Makupson & Howard today.

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Military Divorce vs. California Divorce Laws

Find out more about our family law practice and military divorce law in our blog.

Military divorce laws serve to protect members of the military, however they also make the divorce process more complicated. See our blog to find out how these two laws affect one another.

We are proud to announce that our legal team is recognized as 2016 Top Attorneys in Pasadena Magazine. Read more in our ...
The Law Offices of Makupson & Howard Named Top Attorneys in Pasadena Magazine

We are proud to announce that our legal team is recognized as 2016 Top Attorneys in Pasadena Magazine. Read more in our latest blog:

The Law Offices of Makupson & Howard will be featured in this month's edition of Pasadena Magazine as Top Attorneys of 2016. This latest accomplishment is a testament to the dedication the firm has to their clients and the unparalleled legal services they provide.


Now that you've got your court appearance date and you've learned what to wear (and what NOT to wear) for the appearance, next up is how to behave when you are actually in the courtroom.
Before your hearing or trial starts:
• Allow plenty of time to arrive at the courthouse before your hearing/trial begins. This will allow you to find a parking spot (if needed), go through the security procedures, and give you an opportunity to settle your nerves, if you need to.
• Find out where your courtroom is. Most court buildings have more than one actual courtroom, and finding your actual room may be daunting for someone who has never been in the building before.
• With your left-over-buffer time, review your records, notes, etc,, discuss your case with your attorney (if you have one), and wait for your case to be called
During your hearing or trial:
• If you have an attorney, follow his/her instructions!
• Remember to cliché, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." You're dressed appropriately (see the two previous blogs), now look like the person you dressed to be.
• Don't chew gum or have any food in the courtroom.
• Don't jingle things in your pocket. In fact, remove "jingly" things such as coins, keys, etc., to prevent them from jingling at all!
• Have a pad of paper and a pen with you to take notes and communicate with your attorney, but DON'T doodle!
• Don't slouch. Sit with good posture. Show that your appearance reflects your body language!
• Be polite and show respect to all courtroom personnel: the judge, the bailiff, the court clerk, the stenographer, etc.
• At a minimum, be civil to the opposing party. Now is NOT the time to make faces or hand gestures, roll your eyeballs or use any other negative body language.
• When called on to speak, explain your side of the controversy as clearly as you can.
• Address the judge as "Your Honor."
• Address other court personnel by their titles or Mr./Ms and their last names.
• Listen to the questions by the judge and/or attorneys completely before responding, and if you don't understand their questions, inform them, so they can clarify.
• Do not use foul language, swear words, and/or demeaning words (such as racist or sexist terms).
• Remember, this is your case and your life in this courtroom! Show how involved you are with your case! Don't laugh, talk out of turn, look bored, or use any other disruptive behavior.


Last week, we talked about what NOT to wear to court, so this week is about what you SHOULD wear to court.
Let's begin with basic hygiene...
Two weeks before your court date:
• Get a haircut or trim if needed so your hair looks its best for your court appearance
• Prepare the clothes you're going to wear to court. (See clothing suggestions below.) Try them on to ensure they're appropriate for court. Did you lose/gain weight making them too tight/loose? Are there tears/holes needing mending? Are there stains/wrinkles needing cleaning/ironing?

On the date of your appearance, be sure to:

• Brush your teeth and use mouthwash
• Bathe/shower with soap and water
• Use deodorant (you'll probably be nervous for your court appearance)
• Make sure your fingernails are clean (Men should keep them short and without colored nail polish and Women should keep them a conservative length - no daggers! - with a neutral color polish
• Women should wear makeup - but conservatively!
• Men shave and/or trim your mustache/beard
• Groom hair neatly and in a conservative style and color

Next up: Dress conservatively, such as something you would wear to church. Be sure your clothes fit; nothing too tight or too baggy.
Women should wear:
• Business suit, nice dress or skirt and blouse, or a pants suit (again, keep it conservative and not tight and DEFINITELY NOT low-cut or too short!)
• Shoes: closed-toe and conservative (no stilettos, extremely high heels, athletic shoes, etc.)
• Keep jewelry to a minimum, such as a watch, one matching pair of stud earrings (no dangling earrings!), small broach or pendant. Remove all other visible piercing jewelry
Men should wear:
• A dress shirt (preferably long-sleeved)
• Conservative suit/sports coat (preferably navy, black, or gray in color)
• Belt or suspenders to hold up your pants
• Shoes should be conservative, closed-toe, unscuffed and polished
• Keep jewelry to a minimum, a wrist watch and, if necessary, one set of VERY small pair or matching stud earrings
Other Tips:
• Cover your tattoos
• Remember, if you're claiming you have no money, but you're wearing expensive jewelry, you're appearance says the opposite of what you're claiming!


Although most of family law procedures are handled outside of the courtroom, there are times when court appearances may become necessary. When they are, dressing appropriately can make a big difference in how you are perceived. A good appearance, is your first goal in presenting a good case.
If you want appear confident, prepared and ready for court, do NOT follow the below listed suggestions. In fact, do the opposite of the below listed directions.
However, if your case is not important to you, go ahead and do the following. (REMEMBER, THESE SUGGESTIONS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED IF YOUR CASE IS IMPORTANT TO YOU!)
Personal Hygiene:
• Unwashed or unshaven (unkempt/dirty beards)
• Too much cologne or perfume, or your own body odor
• Tattoos (don't hide them)
• Lots and lots of makeup
• Long, long fingernails, especially bizarre colors/designs
• The scents of alcohol, bad breath, marijuana/cigarette smoke
• Cut-offs/shorts
• Exercise/athletic apparel
• Sexy-type clothes
• T-shirts, crop-tops, anything sleeveless
• Jeans
• Anything dirty or stained, too tight or too loose
Hats: Any kind, especially baseball caps with logos, pictures or sayings!
Sunglasses (non-medically prescribed): The bigger and the darker, the better!
Jewelry: Lots, and lots, especially the stuff that makes noise when you move, or expensive stuff that shows just how really, really rich you are!
• Thong/flip-flop type (especially the kind that make a lot of noise when you walk!
• Open-toed and/or spiky-type high heels
• Sandals, especially beachy-type
• Sneakers/athletic shoes (high tops, YAY!)
• Dirty, greasy, wet, stringy, messy...
• Strange (unusual or weird) hairstyle or cut
• Unnatural colors (green or purple hair, Yay!)

Remember, these are the things you do when you do NOT care about your case. If you do care about your case, next week's blog will provide suggestions for appropriate court dressing for both men and women.


California has a no-fault divorce system with many laws and procedures to make divorce a fair process for both spouses ending their marriage. The system can become very complicated, however, when there are many issues to be solved to break up the marriage. The divorce becomes complicated when there are children involved from the marriage, and/or assets and/or debts from the marriage. These complications can also extend the time it takes to end the marriage, from the minimum time of six months.
However, many couples wishing to end their marriage do not have children from their marriage, their marriage was for a relatively short-term and/or they do not have any major assets and/or debts. For these spouses, California allows a "quickie" type of divorce known as summary dissolution.
To be eligible for a summary dissolution, spouses must meet the following requirements:
• The date of the marriage until the date of separation must be less than five years of duration.
• There must be no children from the marriage (including adoptions during the marriage), nor current pregnancies.
• Neither spouse can own property (land or buildings). (Note, if either spouse owns his/her own separate property, then the spouses are not eligible for a summary judgment.)
• The spouses do not rent any property (except where they currently live, and that property does not have a one-year or lease/option to buy).
• The spouses have $6,000.00 or less in community debts (not including motor vehicle loans).
• The spouses have less than $41,000.00 of community assets (things - not land/buildings - acquired during the marriage), not including motor vehicles.
• Either or both spouses have less than $41,000.00 of separate property (usually assets acquired before marriage or after separation or received by gift or will) not including motor vehicles.
• Both spouses agree to refuse spousal support from the other spouse.
• Both spouses have signed an agreement to divide the assets and debts (including motor vehicles and/or motor vehicle loans) between the two of them.
All of these conditions must be met, or the spouses do not qualify for a summary dissolution, and must obtain a regular California dissolution of marriage.
For more information, or to determine whether you qualify for a summary dissolution, contact a family law facilitator or a family law attorney, and/or the California Courts website at:


On July 14, 2016, United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation in the United States Senate to further ensure the rights of victims of domestic violence.
The new legislation would ensure that these individuals (usually women and their children) would not be evicted from their homes due to the actions of their abusers.
In a scenario envisioned by The Huffington Post:
"...Imagine you're a woman trying to extricate yourself from an abusive relationship, and your ex won't leave you alone. The cops have been called to your apartment on more than one occasion. One night, he breaks into your apartment, smashing a window and causing some property damage. Another night, an ambulance screams up your street to fetch you after neighbors find you bloodied in the hallway. Then you find out you're being evicted for causing too much trouble..."
These people can be evicted by what are known as nuisance laws. Local communities create laws holding property owners responsible for criminal activity occurring on the owners' properties. When law enforcement officials respond to crimes at the properties after a certain number of times, the properties are called nuisances. By deeming a property a nuisance due to criminal behavior, these nuisance laws allow anyone living on the property to be evicted.
According to Senator Shaheen,
"Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors have so many obstacles to overcome - it's unconscionable that [they] are removed from their homes and face repeated discrimination simply because of the heinous crimes committed against them. We need to continue working to change the culture surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, and a big part of that effort is recognizing that [these individuals] suffering from physical or sexual abuse are victims of crime and deserve our support. The Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act of 2016 would ensure that we are no longer punishing victims for the crimes committed against them, and would go a long way toward helping survivors recover and rebuild."
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, the third leading cause of homelessness of families nationwide, is domestic violence. And according to the National Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Shaheen's bill could help domestic violence maintain their homes or gain access to homes if they've been denied access in the past because of nuisance laws.
Maria Foscarinis, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty's executive director stated, "There is this critical link between domestic violence, housing instability and homelessness. "It's really important to break that link, and this bill is an important step in that direction."


In California, under Family Code Section 3030(b), no person shall be granted custody of or visitation of a child, if that person has been convicted of r**e and the child was conceived as a result of that violation.
The purpose of the law is to prevent the child and the victim of the crime being forced into an ongoing relationship with the ra**st/parent in raising the child. Otherwise, the victim and the child would be subjected to continuous re-victimization.
Hawaii, however, has expanded this type of law and will cause some persons to lose their parental rights if they are accused of sexual assault and that alleged sexual assault resulted in the conception and subsequent birth of the child.
Signed into law by Governor David Ige on July 6, 2016, a person can lose his/her parental rights if there is clear and convincing evidence of sexual assault.
To be convicted of a criminal act, the law states a person must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard to prove; in fact, the highest standard to prove. The standard of clear and convincing evidence, although still difficult to prove, is lower than the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
Evidence showing a person committed a sexual assault by clear and convincing evidence would NOT be found guilty of a criminal act, but now, in Hawaii, that standard would be enough to terminate a person's parental rights.
According to the Associated Press in quoting the National Conference on State Legislatures, "...there are between 17,000 and 32,000 r**e-related pregnancies in the U.S. every year. The group says nearly two dozen states allow for termination of parental rights if a parent was convicted of sexual assault which resulted in the birth of a child."
According to Governor Ige, "We all know that sexual assault by itself is a horrible event, but clearly having to bear the child of the ra**st is even worse."
Perhaps California will follow Hawaii's example and change its termination of parental rights after a sexual assault as well.


Many people take their spouse's last name when they marry, and no longer want that name after they divorce.
In California, if at the time of the divorce filing the spouse requests to have his/her former name restored, when the divorce is final, the court will grant that request. Meaning, from that point on, the former name is restored, and no further action is needed to use the former name.
However, if no request is made at the time of the divorce filing, the former-spouse can still return to his/her former name by filing a petition (a legal request) with the court.
First, fill out the required forms (Change of Name form NC-100, Attachment to Petition for Change of Name form NC-110, and Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form NC-120, and Civil Case Cover Sheet form CM-010).
Next, have your forms reviewed by a court family law facilitator or a court's family law center.
Third, make at least two copies of your forms. The court system will keep the original form, one copy will be used for publication in a newspaper (if necessary), and you keep a copy for your own records.
Fourth, file the forms (both originals and copies) with the court clerk. The court clerk will keep the original forms and return the copies to you with the date filed on them as well as a court date for you to appear in court to have your request to change your name heard by a judge. There will also be a filing fee, but if you cannot afford it, you can request a fee waiver.
Fifth, publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form in the newspaper for the next four weeks if necessary.
Sixth, go to your court hearing (on the date given to you by the court clerk when you filed your forms), and show that you've published your Order to Show Cause for Name Change form four times in the newspaper. Also, take a filled-out form NC-130 Decree Changing Name with you for the judge to sign.
Lastly, after the judge signs your Decree Changing Name form (NC-130), have court-certified copies made from the court clerk. (There is a charge for certification.) Use this certified copy to change all your legal documentation, such as your social security card, your credit cards, etc.
For more complete information, access the California court website at


301 E Colorado Blvd Suite 610
Pasadena, CA

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