Legal Writes – Profile of Brian Steinberg in Las Vegas Woman Magazine

Las Vegas Woman Magazine, Summer 2012

 

Steinberg Law Group:  Helping families maintain their dignity

Family law can be an emotional land mine or protection of an individual’s rights within a family or securing the legality of a couple. For the past 15 years, Steinberg Law Group’s primary focus of family law includes divorce, divorce mediation, child custody, paternity, spousal support and child support actions, actions for arrears in child and/or spousal support, termination of parental rights, adoptions, guardianships, and other family-law related matters.

Steinberg Law Group’s past and current caseload includes matters of relocation (including Haig Convention issues), domestic violence and protective orders. The law group also handles prenuptial agreements, annulments, legal separations and actions between unmarried partners, including same-sex partners.

With the divorce rate at an all-time high, the scenario is all too common. Two people who were once deeply in love are now on opposite sides separating assets with children, who are often included in the emotional turmoil.

Las Vegas native Brian Steinberg, founder of Steinberg Law Group, advocates and practices divorce mediation as a viable alternative to a litigated divorce.

“I chose divorce mediation because I strongly believe that parties with children should be making their own decisions for their children and finances with the help of an experienced attorney/mediator,” Steinberg said. “Divorce litigation is an adversarial process which does not lend itself well for the parties having a continued relationship with each other as parents. Mediation allows the parties to maintain a parental relationship and resolve all issues in their divorce including custody and financial issues.”

Even though it is generally less expensive than a contested divorce action, there are other reasons mediation can be a preferable way to handle any type of divorce, particularly high net worth divorces, and can cover all of the complexities. If both parties can sit and discuss the terms with a mediation attorney, the law group can generally work out a plan for child custody, child and spousal support, and division of assets and debts. The plan is completely customized. Mediated plans have many benefits that are more favorable and less confrontational than a typical court plan than when a judge decides, particularly when children are involved. Mediated divorces are also confidential and sealed, which helps to ensure privacy for both parties.

According to Steinberg, there is always a degree of uncertainty as to how the judge will rule.

“By (choosing mediation), the parties are empowered to justifiably believe that they can resolve any future custody problems without going to court since they have already resolved a much larger number of divorce issues, including custody, without going to court,” Steinberg said. “Often, the parties in mediation also agree to a mediation clause to ensure that mediation is attempted first before either party files a future motion with the court.”

In other words, the mediation process leads the parties down a road where an out-of-court resolution is more likely and acceptable than the alternative of going to court. This serves both the best interest of the child or children and the parties themselves, especially since the savings are considerable with better overall results.

Steinberg was inspired to be a family law attorney because he is a strong child advocate. “Children need to be protected and their best interests need to be strongly considered in reaching a resolution in order for them to have a good childhood that leads to them being productive adults and good citizens,” Steinberg said.

If there is a need to hire an attorney who specialized in family law, Steinberg advises people to look for the following in a family law attorney: experience, honesty, the ability to act in the client’s best interest above their own and the ability of the client to maintain a good attorney-client relationship with their selected attorney.

Another area of concern is domestic violence and the obstacles both the attorney and client must overcome.

Steinberg advices, “First off, it is best to avoid a domestic violence situation. Frequently, one party will provoke the other party into a domestic violence situation in order to gain an advantage in a custody and/or divorce situation. It should be known that a conviction of domestic violence entails that there is a legal presumption that the convicted party should not have custody of the child or children. While it is possible to rebut the presumption, it is best to avoid this situation in the first place.

“As for the person who is the victim of domestic violence, they frequently do not contact the authorities such as police and doctors. Also, they often do not document injuries by taking pictures or going to the doctor who will place this information in the party’s record. Furthermore, the victims of domestic violence often fail to pursue a criminal action against the perpetrator and sometimes refuse to testify because of influence or threats by the perpetrator. Those who commit domestic violence are often very manipulative people. It should be remembered that in a divorce or custody situation that ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’ This often means that the victim of domestic violence, who thinks they are doing a good thing for the perpetrator, will live to regret it when the perpetrator is awarded joint or primary physical custody of the minor child or children,” Steinberg said.

Steinberg urges anyone who has been in situation when domestic violence to take steps to leave the situation and contact an attorney to protect their rights.

While a legal marriage or civil union is not yet offered in the state of Nevada for same-sex couples, Steinberg Law Group offers services for writing a domestic partnership agreement to protect both individuals.

“With same-sex partners, having an agreement indicating how property will be divided after a separation could make the difference between going to court and having an easy resolution,” Steinberg said.

In Nevada, there is a domestic partnership and the presumption is that community property laws will apply, which is similar to a marriage situation. As such, the domestic partnership agreement would serve much the same function for same-sex partners as a prenuptial agreement would for opposite-sex partners who later become married or enter a domestic partnership.

In Nevada, prenuptial agreements are enforceable. However, the formalities of the agreement are just as important as the agreement itself. Some of the formalities are that each side should have his or her own attorney, the agreement should be reviewed by both counsel with their respective clients well before the marriage, there must be full disclosure, it must be a reasonable agreement for both sides and both parties need to operate in good faith and clean hands with regard to the purpose of the agreement, no duress, and both parties should freely enter the agreement with the thought that he or she is making an informed and intelligent decision.

Navigating the tumultuous waters of love and separation can be daunting. But with the help of a good lawyer, one can come out ahead and get ready to start a new chapter in life while leaving the past intact without deep wounds or live with decisions one soon regrets.