The Hidden Criminal Side of “Family Law”…

Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 3:29 am

A Pasadena-based law firm that specializes in family law, divorce and criminal litigation is advising potential clients to take criminal misdemeanor or felony cases seriously, because they may come back in the future and “haunt” them when they go into divorce or custody cases.

Grace Jo, one of H Bui Law’s lawyers who is a criminal law practitioner, says even past DUI convictions could be used against a party in a divorce case and play a significant role in the divorce court’s decision.

“Somebody gets convicted of a DUI, and then maybe that could be indicative of a drinking problem or not, and then a few years down the road a divorce occurs, and then a spouse says, ‘You know, he had a DUI and I don’t want the children with him,’ or, ‘She had a DUI and I want her to take a regular alcohol test, or breathalyzer test, before the kids can be with her.’ Something like that could come back and could haunt somebody,” Jo said.

Jo said many potential clients are surprised that cases that may have happened long ago could still have consequences especially when divorce cases are filed later. Her firm boasts of a capability to advise clients of these consequences and handle them expertly during a divorce.

“What happens is there might be clients that want to get these criminal cases resolved quickly and once they plead guilty, they just move on,” Jo said. “But then they don’t realize that it will affect a pending divorce, or if a year later a spouse says, ‘I am going to divorce this person,’ then that conviction from a year to five years before could come into play.”

Domestic violence accusations, especially when they evolve into charges being filed against one spouse, could also complicate divorce and custody cases, Jo said.

The other cases that could factor well during divorce litigations would be fraud and tax evasion cases, which potential H Bui Law clients shouldn’t take lightly, says Jo.

“Somewhere in the beginning of divorce cases, if you don’t reveal all of your assets, if it turns out later that you intended to hide those assets and didn’t disclose them, then there’s a possibility that 100 percent of those assets goes to the other spouse,” Jo said.

Grace Jo started college as a cadet at West Point and finished with a bachelors and masters in economics at USC. She started law school at 26 and specialized in criminal law on a full scholarship at Loyola Law School.

Jo served as Managing Editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, and was an intern for a federal magistrate judge. She also had the rare opportunity to begin her criminal law career while in law school, as an intern in the Los Angeles office of the Federal Public Defender and as part of a year-long program, representing children with criminal cases in the Los Angeles County juvenile system.

“For us specifically here at H Bui Law Firm, instead of referring out some of our criminal law cases – and that’s why I was brought on board last year – we could take a holistic approach,” she says.

H Bui’s other lawyers include Bichhanh (Hannah) Bui, Elina Avagimova and Ani Megerdichian. For more information about the law firm, visit







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