Super Lawyers Reception, Four Seasons San Francisco

Congrats to Managing Attorney, Valerie Fenchel and her mother and Of-Counsel, Karen Fenchel who were featured in San Francisco Magazine as some of the Bay Area’s best and brightest lawyers. Both mother and daughter were caught clinking champagne glasses at the Ritz Carlton Super Lawyers reception in March 2019 as they celebrated their nominations by the Super Lawyers award-winning editorial team.

3 Ways You Can Support a Loved One Going Through a Custody Battle

When a friend or family member is going through a custody battle, you want to be supportive. You want to be there for him or her, but how? What can you do to help during this difficult time? Here are three ways you can support a loved one going through a custody battle.

1. Listen.

One of the best ways you can support a loved one is by letting him or her talk. Work on becoming a great listener. Make sure you don’t interrupt, interject, or insert yourself. Just listen.

This will give your loved one a much-needed way to articulate his or her emotions, which is extremely therapeutic for some individuals. To encourage your friend to keep talking, you can try to ask thought-provoking questions. Or, if you don’t want to push the subject, you can just smile and say, “I’m sorry.”

2. Don’t fuel the fire.

One thing your friend does not need is for you to fuel the fire. This means you should not trash-talk the former spouse. You don’t need to add any negativity to an already-toxic situation, so just keep your opinions to yourself for a while.

It can be tempting to ignore this tip. For some reason, we like to show people we care by saying mean things about the people who are mistreating our loved one. The truth is, that tactic very rarely helps and often intensifies the unhappiness of the person you care about. So, for the sake of your friend’s happiness, keep any negative thoughts to yourself while your friend is going through the custody battle.

3. Be more thoughtful to show you care.

You can’t control the nasty custody battle that your friend is going through. However, you can step up your game as a friend to make sure you are as thoughtful as possible. There are tons of things you can do to show you care. Here are just a few:

  • Call every couple of days to ask how things are going.
  • Send texts or emails during the day to let your loved one know you’re thinking of him or her.
  • Ask your friend to go to dinner or a movie with you.
  • Surprise your loved one with a during-the-day visit.
  • Send flowers.
  • Ask your loved one’s opinion about something happening in your life.

Basically, you’re trying to do your best to show your loved one how truly loved he or she is. Although you want to show as much love as possible, don’t overdo it or else it will look like you really want to start dating your loved one! Pick and choose what you do to show you care.

Fenchel Family Law Cares

At Fenchel Family Law, we never want to see any families go through nasty custody battles. No one wants that, and no one benefits from it. If you are looking for a divorce lawyer for your California divorce, please give us a call. Our experts are happy to discuss what we can do to try to keep your divorce cordial. Give us a call today at (415) 805-9069 or contact us online.

4 Tips to Make Any Post-Divorce Holiday Special


Although you knew your divorce would impact the major holidays Thanksgiving or Christmas where families traditionally come together, you may not have considered smaller holidays like Valentine’s Day. You might be uncertain about how you’re going to enjoy this day, especially with all sorts of commercials and store displays about love and romance all around you. But you don’t need to feel left out or let the rest of the world try to dictate how you should celebrate Valentine’s Day. In this blog, we provide a few tips on how you can still celebrate Valentine’s Day (or any other holiday) following a divorce.

  1. Make it all about you!

It’s okay to be a little selfish every now and then, and holidays are a great time to take advantage. Shower yourself with love and kindness, or give yourself a little gift. Do whatever you need to do in order to have the perfect day. Maybe you bring treats into the office or schedule a lunch or dinner with some of your other single friends.

Finally, do whatever makes you happy after dinner. No matter what you like to do, now is the perfect time to treat yourself, even if it’s something small like a bubble bath or getting Postmates to deliver dessert to your house.

  1. Make custody arrangements.

If it is important for you to have your children with you, make arrangements with your ex. Make sure that you are clear about what you would like to do. Above all else, ask kindly and offer a fair trade.

Keep in mind that it may not be possible for you to have your children today. Perhaps they had other plans in advance. If that happens, plan other ways to celebrate with your children. Maybe you can surprise them with a treat at school or perhaps you plan an outing the next time you are together.

  1. Create new traditions.

After your divorce, the key to a happy holiday is creating new traditions that bring you joy. Don’t waste time and happiness celebrating the way you think you should. Instead, celebrate however makes you happiest.

  1. Ask for help.

If the upcoming holiday leaves you filled with dread or depression, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Confide in friends and ask them specifically to spend time with you. Or, if you don’t feel like you can talk to your friends about your issues, seek help from a professional. You could confide in a counselor or join a support group. This offers the opportunity to meet other people who might be in a similar situation.

If you have questions or need advice on any California family law issues, Fenchel Family Law can help. Whether you are filing for a divorce or need to modify your child custody arrangement, our skilled attorneys are here for you. Give us a call today at (415) 805-9069 or contact us online.

4 Paternity Questions for California Dads

What if my former spouse and I were married when we had our child? Do I need to establish paternity?

If you and your former spouse were married when your child arrived, the state of California believes both parents are the legal parents of the child. This means that if biologically the child is not yours, you are still presumed the legal father.

I had an affair and impregnated a married woman. Now, she and her husband have my baby. Is it possible for me to have parental rights to my child?

It may take a little bit of work, but you can file to have parental rights to your child. In order to get parental rights, you need to file a request for a paternity test through the court. Paternity is based off there being a parent and child relationship. This means that it is done on a case by case basis. Please feel free to talk to us about the specifics of your case and we will be glad to help you determine your rights.

My wife got pregnant from an affair. We decided to work through our issues, stay together, and raise the baby. Now, we’re getting a divorce. Although I’m sure my daughter isn’t genetically mine, I still feel like her dad and want to be part of her life. Is that possible? Do I have any rights?

Yes, it is absolutely possible for you to keep your relationship with your daughter. In the eyes of the California court, this daughter is legally yours. Paternity is based on there being a parent and child relationship. Biological relationship is not necessary for being a parent under California. This means that it is a case by case basis, but if you have been involved in your daughter’s life, you most likely have rights to be her father despite not being genetically related. Please keep in mind that there are separate rules for adoption and surrogacy.

Do you have more California paternity questions?

At Fenchel Family Law, we are happy to answer any of your questions about California paternity issues. Whether you’re still trying to figure out what you should do or if you already know you need to file a petition, we can help. Give us a call today at (415) 805-9069 or contact us online.

Physical vs. Legal Custody: Understanding the Differences

As a parent going through a divorce, one of your top concerns will be establishing the best custody arrangement for your child. In order to do this, you need to understand the differences between physical and legal custody. It’s also important to understand the pros and cons of sole and joint custody. By understanding the differences of the custody choices, you can decide what you think would be best for your child.

Physical Custody

When you are awarded physical custody, it means that your child will get to reside with you part of the time and doesn’t necessarily mean that the time spent between both parents is 50/50. Although there are some cases where the parents share even amounts of physical custody, it’s also a possibility that one parent could be awarded a few days or several weekends a month, while the other parent has custody of the child for the rest of the time.

Legal Custody

A parent with legal custody is able to make legal decisions on behalf of his or her child. One prime example of this is if your child has a health issue and requires treatment. Any adult who does not have legal custody of the child would not legally be able to sign consent forms for treatment.

School permission slips are another instance where it might be helpful for both parents to have legal custody. It could be more convenient to share the legal responsibilities with your former spouse than to try to do it all yourself.

Sole Custody

A parent can have sole physical custody or sole legal custody of their child. If you believe the other parent might harm or flee with your child, sole custody is best. However, if your child is going to have a continued relationship with the other parent, you will want to give serious thought to your situation before asking for sole custody. In instances where both parents are going to be an active part of their child’s life, it is best to have joint custody.

Joint Custody

Joint custody means that both you and your former spouse have rights with your child. For example, joint physical custody means that your child will reside with both of you for a prearranged amount of time. Joint legal custody means that both parents can make legal decisions in the best interest of the child.

Need Help?

If you still can’t decide which form of custody is best for you and your child, let us help. At Fenchel Family Law, we are committed to helping you and your child get the best possible custody ruling. Our knowledgeable attorneys are available to answer your questions. Give us a call today at (415) 805-9069 or contact us online to learn how we can help you.

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