Atty. Carina Castaneda

LAW AND ORDER: THE LEGAL SYSTEM

Child Custody & Visitation Basics

A client who did not have an attorney during her divorce last year focused her intent in getting sole legal and physical custody of their very young child. In essence, she waived her rights to a much higher child and spousal support along with community asset division and in exchange she would have sole custody. Moreover, in the Judgment which was prepared by her husband’s attorney, it set forth that custody can not be modified unless there are two conditions: domestic violence or imminent danger/risk to the child.

However, she was not advised that notwithstanding the narrow conditions custody can be modified, she did not know that the court always retains jurisdiction of custody matters so long as the child is a minor. I am now representing her since the father now wants to modify the custody/visitation issues even though the two conditions do not exist. She wants to live abroad in Europe but father disagrees to this request.

In making a child custody order between parents, the court must also grant the other (noncustodial parent) “reasonable visitation rights” unless it is shown that visitation would be “detrimental to the best interest of the child” [CA. Family Code (FC) § 3100(a)]

Because of the importance placed on “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents, an order withholding a parent’s visitation privileges can only be issued upon a finding that any form of visitation would be detrimental to the child.
The court has broad discretion in defining a parent’s “reasonable visitation” rights and establishing a visitation schedule. Subject to a few statutory limitations, the basic tenet is the child’s best interest.

In all cases, the clear policy is to assure the child’s health, safety and welfare and to the extent possible for “frequent and continuing contact with both parents.” The continuing contact can be restrained by looking at factors cited in CA. FC 3011. Aside from this, the court considers the practical facts of the case, child’s age, maturity, special needs, the parent’s proximity to the each other and if appropriate, the child’s preference.

Visitation is not tied to payment of child support. Parent visitation rights must be tried independently of other issues before the court. A visitation order may not be tied to or conditioned upon the payment of child support and has no bearing on whether parental contact would be detrimental to the child.

A parent’s absence or relocation from the family residence cannot be considered in determining visitation (or custody) provided it was in short duration and during that time, the parent showed interest in maintaining custody or visitation. Additionally, the court will review whether the parent made reasonable efforts to have regular contact with the child and demonstrated no intent to abandon the child.

Visitation rights cannot be restricted solely on the basis of a parent’s “unconventional lifestyle,” the parties’ “opposing moral positions” or “outright condemnation of one parent’s beliefs by the other parent’s religion unless there is evidence these factors are detrimental to the child.

The right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing is with the parent who is granted legal custody. The decision-making powers do not shift between parents during visitation periods unless they have “joint” legal custody. [FC §3006 for sole and FC§3003 for joint legal custody]

Implementing a visitation order depends upon the custodial parent’s ability to make the child available for visitation. During a child’s younger years, the custodial parent has sufficient control to compel the child to visit the other parent pursuant to the court order. The parent’s failure to do so could be punishable by contempt.
But the rule is different with teenagers. Technically, teenage children remain under their parent’s control. However, if a teenage child refuses to visit with the noncustodial parent, that parent is left without a remedy. In Coursey v. Superior Court (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 147 – court erred in holding mother in contempt for violation of visitation regarding a 14 year old child because there was no showing that mother had the ability to compel child to visit.

Custody and visitation are very emotional issues and presenting a clear and concise argument for the court is critical. If you have any questions, feel free to call my office at 310-601-7144 or email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To receive updates on legal matters, please like our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/attycarinacastaneda/ or follow us on Twitter: @AttyCastaneda and Instagram: @atty.castaneda. You may also visit our website at attycastaneda.com.

Article originally published in: http://attycastaneda.com/child-custody-visitation-basics/

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Modifying Your Child Support

I have a client that resides in Illinois while mom and children (only 1 remaining minor) presently all live in Israel. Mother requested the Los Angeles County Department of Child Support (DCSS) to enforce a private divorce order. The issues are a request for a modification of child support and determination of arrearages brought forth by the mother.

I will narrow down the issue of modifying child support as to childcare expenses only in this article and will follow-up up concealment of minors and its impact on arrears, if any at a subsequent article.

In re Marriage of Tavares, the father appeals the trial court’s order determining his child support arrears for his son, C., who was 16. The father contends that the trial court should have modified his arrears to account for period that the mother allegedly concealed the boy and/or incurred no childcare expenses. The appeals court held that his arguments failed as a matter of law.

The Court held that the alleged concealment, even if true, is not an obstacle to collection of arrears because the overdue child support payments will still benefit the child during his minority. Thus, entitling him to his father’s support. The Court further found that there are ample authority that establishes a parent who has failed to modify a support order may not undermine accrued arrears by later contesting expenses.

My case is similar in that there were periods of “concealment” by the mother of the two children. The Tavares case is also on point as to the factual similarity that my client failed to modify the childcare add-on support. Thus, DCSS continues to calculate child support arrears with the childcare expenses and both are accruing at the legal interest rate of 10%.

The Legislature has established a bright-line rule that accrued child support vests and may not be adjusted up or down. If a parent feels the amount ordered is too high or too low, he/she must seek prospective modification immediately. While the family court is a court of equity and it might seem unfair that a parent continues to be responsible for childcare expenses is no longer incurring childcare expenses.
The remedy as the Tavares case and statutes clearly point out--do not “sleep on your rights.”

The appropriate remedy is to immediately file a modification of the current child support order and seek the assistance of the court to ascertain if the childcare expenses should still be add-on child support. Failure to do so could be very costly and the only remedy left would be to hire an experienced attorney and negotiate with the custodial parent for a waiver of non-welfare arrears.

Moreover, any discrepancy in payments should be litigated. But without proper documentation (i.e. cancelled checks) it becomes a he said/she said scenario and the law is clear, the obligor has the burden of proof to show payments.

If you have outstanding arrears and want to talk to me about what you can do about this debt, call my office at 310-601-7144 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To receive updates on legal matters, please like our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/attycarinacastaneda/ or follow us on Twitter: @AttyCastaneda and Instagram: @atty.castaneda. You may also visit our website at attycastaneda.com.

Original Article Published at: http://attycastaneda.com/modifying-child-support/

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Attorney’s Fees in Family Law

All too often in family law parties “stonewall” one another. They make frivolous request. They inundate the other side with faxes, emails, messages, letters, useless interrogatories, and more. They refuse to accept a reasonable settlement offer.

What can a spouse do? California Family Code, Section 271 basically states that if “the other side doesn’t play ball or play nice,” the court can make them pay the other side’s attorney’s fees. It applies even to a pro per spouse.

The text of Section 271 (a): Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, the court may base an award of attorney’s fees and costs on the extent to which the conduct of each party or attorney furthers or frustrates the policy of the law to promote settlement of litigation and, where possible, to reduce the cost of litigation by encouraging cooperation between the parties and attorneys.

As I already indicated in my prior article about attorney’s fees in family law, the court seeks to ensure that each party has equal access to legal representation to each party’s rights. Family Code 2030 is the conduit for such an award.

A party may be entitled to attorney’s fees in an action to enforce an award of child and/or spousal support. This means that a party who fails to pay a court ordered child or spousal support may be ordered to pay the attorney’s fees for the other party in an enforcement action.

A party may be entitled to attorney’s fees where the opposing party misuses or abuses the discovery process. For example, a misuse of the discovery process can occur where a party fails to confer with the opposing party to resolve a discovery dispute, makes an evasive response to a discovery request or uses a discovery method to harass, annoy or burden the opposing party.

Discovery laws in relation to awarding of attorney’s fees in discovery misconduct can be complicated. The assistance of an experienced family law litigation attorney is often helpful to ensure that you comply with discovery laws as well as to protect your rights throughout the discovery process.

In my office, I understand that legal representation can be costly and are prepared to help you to protect your rights to legal fees as well as defend you against an unlawful claim to attorney’s fees from the opposing party.

Can that sanction be for 100% of the innocent spouse’s fees? That usually depends on the violating spouse’s ability to pay and whether the sanctions amount would cause an undue hardship. This statute still intends to be fair to both sides by inflicting a punishment but not to the extent that it would cripple one party.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7 allows a spouse to seek attorney’s fees against the other spouses’ lawyer when that lawyer files a motion or other document with the Court that is completely frivolous and without merit. Section 128.7 has specific provisions that limit its effect to most egregious of cases and should not be used on every case where there is a disagreement. However, this can act as a powerful deterrent. Using sanctions to stop frivolous acts by an opposing party must be used carefully and an experienced attorney should be able to determine if it is necessary. Feel free to call my office at 310-601-7144 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To receive updates on legal matters, please like our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/attycarinacastaneda/ or follow us on Twitter: @AttyCastaneda and Instagram: @atty.castaneda. You may also visit our website at attycastaneda.com.

http://attycastaneda.com/attorneys-fees-family-law-2/

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tty. Castañeda Concluded a Three-Week Trial and Successfully Argued for Her Client, Among Other Things, Attorney Fees and Sanctions

Atty. Castañeda concluded a three-week trial and successfully argued for her client, among other things, attorney fees and sanctions. Due to the international aspects of the divorce (i.e. business transactions in the Middle East, Asia and California), tracing financial information was a challenge.

Atty. Castañeda strategically and comprehensively proved to the Court that the litigation conduct of the other party prolonged and delayed resolution. Moreover, the bad faith conduct of the other party necessitated extensive and expensive forensic experts fees and costs for her client.

The Court unequivocally found that Atty. Castañeda and her client acted in good faith in proposing multiple global settlement offers that would have prevented several court hearings and the trial itself.

The Court specifically cited the case of Feldman and underscored inherent and broad authority of the trial court to order sanctions and the payment of attorney fees for breach of a party’s fiduciary duty of disclosure and for conduct that frustrates the policy of promoting settlement.

Asked how she felt about the current “win,” Atty. Castañeda simply states, “I am exhausted and now I need to focus on my other cases and prepare for another trial –this one involving child custody. Asked how she will celebrate, “I will go for a walk with my dogs and go to a yoga class.”

http://attycastaneda.com/press-release-atty-castaneda-concluded-three-week-trial-successfully-argued-client-among-things-attorney-fees-sanctions/

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Firearms Prohibition And Right To Hearing For 5150 Individuals

As a result of having been taken into custody, assessed and admitted pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) sections 5150, 5151 and 5152 as a danger to self or others, you are prohibited from owning, possessing, controlling, receiving, or purchasing a firearm for a period of five years from the date of discharge.

A previous client had called me about a friend’s daughter who was 5150 admitted earlier this year and is now in the process of pursuing a job with a law enforcement agency. Due to the firearms prohibition, she was very distraught because besides this one incident, she has a stellar educational background and would be a viable candidate to be a peace officer.

Just this morning, I had an attorney representing an individual who would like to pursue a career that involves possessing firearms. The preparation of the instant motion and the subsequent hearing is complex and in order to insure that the court grant the client’s request, it is critical to hire an effective attorney with experience in this matter.

If you were held involuntarily in the facility for more than three days, then federal law may prohibit you from owning or possessing firearms for a longer period of time. Relinquishment could mean selling or transferring your firearms to a non-prohibited third party using a licensed firearms dealer (Penal Code section 28050) or you may utilize the Power of Attorney for Firearms Relinquishment Sale of Disposal (Penal Code section 29810).

WIC section 8103, subdivisions (f) and (g), allow you to request a hearing by the Superior Court to provide relief from the firearms prohibition. Upon discharge from this facility, you will be provided with a Request for Hearing for Relief from Firearms Prohibition. If you request a hearing at the time of discharge, the completed form will be forwarded by the mental health facility to the Superior Court in your county of residence unless you elect to submit the form yourself.

If you do not request a hearing at the time of discharge from the mental facility, a single request may be made to the Superior Court in your county of residence at any time during the five-year prohibition. The form is a form from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and entitled Bureau of Firearms, Request for Hearing for Relief from Firearms Prohibition.

Upon completion of the form and filing it at the appropriate Superior Court, the court shall set a hearing date within 30 days of receipt of the request. You can either request a confidential private hearing for restoration of your rights to own or possess firearms. You have the right to request this pursuant to WIC section 8103, subdivision (f)(5). If you want a confidential hearing, the hearing is closed to the public unless the court finds that the public interest would be better served by conducting the hearing in public.

The Bureau of Firearms in the DOJ collects the information requested on the form and all the personal information requested in the form must be provided. In order to establish patient request for hearing relief, DOJ may need to share the information with any peace officer or other person designated by the Attorney General upon request.

Firearms prohibition due to 5150 assessment/custody/admission is a period of five years and for many who want their constitutional rights to not be infringed upon, this is a matter of serious gravity. For this client, it means her future career and livelihood so it is critical to file the appropriate forms and be able to present a cohesive and comprehensive presentation as to why the court should grant your request.

I am a firm believer in being prepared and because of this, the more information and documentary evidence you provide to the court and DOJ, the higher your success rate will be.

Any questions, feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my website at attycastaneda.com

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What are My Fiduciary Duties if I Am Involved Romantically with Someone?

It is important to understand that when people live together, whether or not they are married, a ìconfidential relationshipî arises between them. For married persons this relationship arises from a legally recognized nature of matrimony. For unmarried persons, certain important legal obligations are present but may be of lesser value. Nonetheless, due to the trust and confidential nature of the relationship, duty of loyalty, care and disclosure in transactions will be imposed.

Spousal duties have evolved over the years but management and control of assets and disclosure of such assets are well established. Family Code 721 is the starting point. Subsection (b) states, ìThis confidential relationship is a fiduciary relationship subject to the same rights and duties as non-marital business partnersÖî as set forth in the Corporations Code. It imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other.î

Section 721 (b)(1) further entitles each spouse access to information about all things affecting any transaction which concerns the community property estate.î This duty arises by operation of law and no requests needs to be made of that status of property or assets. FC 2100 (c) makes this obligation clear that ìeach party has a continuing duty to immediately, fully, and accurately update and augment that disclosure to the extent there have been any material changes so that at the time the parties enter into an agreement for the resolution of any of these issues, or at the time of trial on these issues, each party will have a full and complete knowledge of the relevant underlying facts.î

An interesting and on point case is Marriage of Rossi. Ms. Rossi won $1,336,000 in a lottery pool and shortly thereafter filed for divorce. She never told her husband about her lottery winnings and failed to disclose the funds in any of her required disclosures. She even consulted with lottery officials how to conceal her winnings from her husband learning about the price. A judgment was entered in the divorce case without Mr. Rossi knowing about the winnings. Two years later, he inadvertently received a letter regarding the winnings. He filed a motion to set aside the divorce judgment and the court held that Ms. Rossiís failure to disclose constituted fraud, oppression and malice and award him 100% of the winnings.

Another seminal case is Marriage of Feldman. This case focuses on the duty of disclosure during dissolution proceedings and confirms the consequences of breaching those duties. The trial court found that the husband established a ìpatternî of financial non-disclosures and issued sanctions against him. The sanctions were set in an amount the court deemed sufficient to deter future noncompliance with the disclosure requirements.

Notably, unlike FC 271 which requires the court to consider the partiesí incomes, assets, and liabilities. FC 2107 addresses sanctions and attorney fees for violations for nondisclosure only require sanctions in an amount sufficient to deter bad behavior.

Transparency and honesty is required in divorce proceedings as to asset disclosures, ìhiding the ball,î means severe penalties as these two seminal cases exemplify. Preliminary and final declaration of disclosures are exchanged prior to judgment and for some cases, discovery work will be required to get all critical information about the assets obtained during marriage and their valuation thereof.
A qualified and experienced family attorney will be needed to navigate the complexities of these issues.

Any questions, call my office at 310-601-7144 or email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and always visit my website for more articles, attycastaneda.com.

To receive updates on legal matters, please like our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/attycarinacastaneda/ or follow us on Twitter: @AttyCastaneda and Instagram: @atty.castaneda.

http://attycastaneda.com/fiduciary-duties-involved-romantically-someone/

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What are My Fiduciary Duties if I Am Involved Romantically with Someone?

It is important to understand that when people live together, whether or not they are married, a “confidential relationship” arises between them. For married persons this relationship arises from a legally recognized nature of matrimony. For unmarried persons, certain important legal obligations are present but may be of lesser value. Nonetheless, due to the trust and confidential nature of the relationship, duty of loyalty, care and disclosure in transactions will be imposed.

Spousal duties have evolved over the years but management and control of assets and disclosure of such assets are well established. Family Code 721 is the starting point. Subsection (b) states, “This confidential relationship is a fiduciary relationship subject to the same rights and duties as non-marital business partners…” as set forth in the Corporations Code. It imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other.”

Section 721 (b)(1) further entitles each spouse access to information about all things affecting any transaction which concerns the community property estate.” This duty arises by operation of law and no requests needs to be made of that status of property or assets. FC 2100 (c) makes this obligation clear that “each party has a continuing duty to immediately, fully, and accurately update and augment that disclosure to the extent there have been any material changes so that at the time the parties enter into an agreement for the resolution of any of these issues, or at the time of trial on these issues, each party will have a full and complete knowledge of the relevant underlying facts.”

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Attacking Premarital Agreements

There are several ways a prenuptial agreement can be attacked and found invalid. A premarital agreement is unenforceable if a party against whom enforcement is sought proves either of the following: (1) consent was involuntary; (2) the agreement was unconscionable.

I have a client that was not represented by an attorney at the time she signed the agreement and needed an Italian translator. She is conversational in English but due to the legal terms used in the agreement should have had a translator provided. In fact, she did request that the documents be provided to her in Italian too—but was never provided to her.

The court will strongly scrutinize the facts on a case-by-case basis factors that the judge will review are if a party is not provided a fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party. That the party did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations and could not have reasonably obtained adequate knowledge of that information.

The issue of whether an agreement is unconscionable is a decided as a matter of law by the court. The court must find on the record and or in writing all of the following: (1) party was represented by an independent legal counsel at the time of signing the agreement or after being advised to seek an attorney, expressly waived, in writing, representation. (2) party had less than 7 calendar days between the time that the party was first presented with the agreement and advised to seek representation and the time it was signed (3) if unrepresented, the party was fully informed of the terms of the agreement (4) agreement not executed under duress, fraud, or undue influence, and the parties did not lack capacity to enter into an agreement (5) and any other factors the court deems relevant.

Independent legal counsel are recommended by the court in drafting a prenuptial agreement since the parties’ interests are often adverse. Due to the nature of the relations, there may be certain situations in which it is critical. For example, when one of the future spouses is considerably wealthier than the other, or when only spouse waives his or her rights to an elective share.

An agreement is unenforceable if not voluntary or the result of duress (Uniform Premarital And Marital Agreements Act, Section (9)(a)(1). Evidence of lack of capacity, duress, fraud, and undue influence as demonstrated by a number of factors are probative in proving involuntariness (In re Marriage of Bonds, 24 Cal.4th 1 (2000) Adequate legal representation will often be the best evidence that a spouse signed a premarital agreement knowledgeably and voluntarily.

A court may refuse to enforce a term of a premarital agreement if in the context of the agreement taken as a whole (1) a term was unconscionable at the time of signing; (2) enforcement of the term would result in substantial hardship for a party because of a material change in circumstances arising after the agreement was signed (Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, Section 9 (f))

The hearing requesting invaliding a prenuptial agreement is a complex matter and highly contested. Be prepared, this hearing will require a great deal of legal work. Any comments, feel free to call my office at 310-601-7144 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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THE INTERSECTION OF FAMILY AND CRIMINAL LAW

Although family law and criminal law are two very distinct areas of the law, they frequently overlap creating challenges for lawyers who specialize in just one area. When a family law case involves elements of criminal law such as domestic violence, child abuse, restraining orders, alcohol (DUI) or drug offenses, the case becomes exponentially more complicated for the family law practitioner.

Since I have been a District Attorney in Los Angeles County for ten years with extensive experience in family violence and DUI/Drug criminal cases along with prosecution of child support cases, I have now twenty-one years experience in both the family and criminal law arena.

Often the multitude of orders in the family courts and criminal courts need to be consistent since conflicting orders will detrimentally affect your client and parties involved (including the children). Cases may proceed simultaneously in different courts and through different attorneys exposing the challenges of which orders take precedence. Note as well the different burden of proof since family law is in the civil arena while criminal law poses the paramount burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have written about the importance of how criminal charges such as child abuse, domestic violence, drug related arrests by a defendant involved a divorce case must be litigated to its full extent in order to prevent negative consequences to his/her divorce case. A conviction of a violation of a restraining order, drug possession and use, or child abuse/neglect for example, would be considered by the family court judges in determining custody, visitation and spousal support.

All states, including the District of Columbia (“DC”) have statutes that require the courts to consider domestic violence committed by one parent against the other in resolving custody or visitation disputes between parties. Additionally, in all states and DC, individuals who have experienced domestic violence have civil and criminal remedies to protect themselves from further orders.

In many states, when the police encounter a domestic violence situation, one of the two parties involved in the dispute is required or requested to leave the home. In about one-third of the states, police officers are also authorized or required to remove guns when they arrive at the scene of a domestic violence incident without further investigation or court intervention.

In some states, the police can give the victim an emergency protective order (EPO). An EPO is a short-term protection order typically given to a victim by the police or a judge. This permits the victim to file the necessary paperwork in family court for a permanent restraining/protective order.

Any drug or alcohol related arrests and conviction impacts the court’s ruling as to which parent should have legal and physical custody of the child. In determining what is the best interest of the child, the judge will review a parent’s history of drug and alcohol use/abuse and impose certain conditions for visitation or even impose no visitation.

As for any reports of child abuse and/or neglect, the Department of Children Services will also become involved and depending on the police findings and agency recommendation, a criminal case will be filed. The family law judge will then make a finding of whether a parent (defendant in the criminal case) has any visitation or custody rights.

I have represented many clients in both arena and have even taken the criminal cases to trial since I know the dire consequences to my client’s divorce/family law case if a conviction results. A false allegation of domestic violence, child abuse, drug use is not uncommon while a divorce is ongoing so it is critical that a client who faces both a criminal charge and an ongoing divorce is represented adequately in both arenas.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my website attycastaneda.com.

http://attycastaneda.com/intersection-family-criminal-law/

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FIREWORKS: ARE THEY LEGAL?

It is approaching July 4th and as many of us know many people enjoy “blowing” things up. It maybe a “homage” to the rockets’ red glare that Americans love fireworks and prior to 1950, few states regulated them. But due to concern over injuries, enactment of laws were implemented.

Even sparklers burns at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and so it will severely burn and scar skin. In fact sparklers are the number one cause of reported injuries due to fireworks. The federal government regulates fireworks under the Hazardous Transportation Act and Hazardous Substances Act. But the federal government allows the states to enact their own more stringent statutes.

In California, the State Fireworks Law was enacted in 1974 (Health & Safety Code Section 12500 and following). Under this, the state classifies the items that qualify as “fireworks”, who may possess or sell them, and dictates when and where they may be set off.

Fireworks are defined as being any device containing chemical elements that do not require oxygen to burn and that produces audible, visual, mechanical or heat pyrotechnic effects for entertainment. Private citizens who are not licensed by the state to discharge explosives are strictly prohibited from possessing and/or discharging certain fireworks that state law lists as “dangerous.”

Unlike some states, California explicitly defines what are “safe and sane” fireworks. These are the fireworks that may be sold, purchased, and used by the general public, but only within very strict parameters. Only licensed retailers can sell them and they can only do so from June 28 to July 6 each year.

It is illegal to sell or give dangerous fireworks to anyone under 18 and illegal to sell or give safe and sane fireworks to anyone under 16. Most violations are misdemeanors with penalties of up to 1-year county jail and/or fine of up to $1000, excluding penalties and assessment charges. However, if you possess large quantities of dangerous fireworks and not licensed to do so, you can be charged with a felony with up to 3-years of state prison and up to $50,000 of fines, excluding restitution (i.e. fire department, victims).

Unlike people, pets do not associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of the fireworks with celebration. Pets, as many of you know, are terrified of fireworks. In fact, July 6 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters so keep your pet indoors. The loud noise creates panic for them and will make them break free and jump a fence to attempt to find safety. If your pet does manage to become lost, it is critical that proper identification is on them (microchip, ID tags) should be placed on them at all times.

Enjoy a safe and stress-free July 4th everyone! Any questions or inquiries, do not hesitate to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call my office at 310-601-7144.

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