Areas of Practice
If you believe that you and your spouse/partner can reach an agreement, but need assistance in navigating the family law process and reducing your terms to a writing, our firm can facilitate the mediation process.
Mediation is a collaborative option in family law matters for parties who are interested in achieving a compromised settlement without the expense, delay, or acrimony that can be associated with litigation. Mediation requires the "buy in" of both spouses or parties willing to facilitate settlement. The mediator provides impartial assistance and guides the parties to a compromise. The concept of winning versus losing is not the mindset of two people participating in mediation.
If no agreement is reaching after a good-faith attempt at mediation, the discussions during mediation are confidential and privileged, including but not limited to protections provided under California Evidence Code section 1152. This allows both parties to "put all their cards on the table" without the hesitation that it will be used against them in potential future litigation.
If agreements cannot be reached, for whatever reason, our firm is prepared to litigate thoroughly and aggressively. A strategy of approaching a matter to be ready for litigation is often the most effective.
When parents are involved in a custody dispute, the child's voice and best interests can sometimes get overlooked. A minor's counsel acts as a dedicated legal representative for the child, ensuring that their rights and welfare are taken into consideration. The attorney can advocate for the child's needs, preferences, and concerns, making sure the child is heard throughout the legal process.
CHILD-CENTERED: CUSTODY AND PARENTING TIME/VISITATION
Child custody matters are of critical importance. What sets our firm apart from others is finding a resolution that is child-centered. No matter what circumstances brought you and the other parent to this cross-road, the focus must be children at the forefront. Our firm can explain your parental rights, listen to your priorities, and find a resolution. Our firm is committed to helping parents and children.
Paternity actions are for spouses or partners who share a child outside of a martial relationship. After parentage is established, parents can agree to or the family law court can make orders relating to child support, health insurance, child custody, visitation, name change, reimbursement of pregnancy and birth expenses, and attorneys' fees.
Child Support in California is based on a statewide uniform guideline. The major factors in calculating child support are each parent's income and timeshare with their children. The computer calculation becomes complicated when we consider what is defined as income? What deductions increase or decrease child support? How does child care expenses play a part in child support? Our office can help you understand the intricacies in the law and provide you a reasonable expectation of the high and low ranges of possible child support orders.
SAME SEX MARRIAGES, COUPLES, AND LGBTQ FAMILY LAW
California Family Code as it relates to child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support and property division generally apply no differently to same sex marriages and/or paternity matters. The intricacies in this area relate to the legal rights of non-biological parents.
Temporary spousal support is generally based on California statewide uniform guideline. Permanent spousal support is based on multiple factors pursuant to Family Code § 2640. Our firm has experience in mediation and litigation of this important issue.
Dissolution of Marriage
Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the legal process of terminating a marriage. The initial step requires one spouse to file a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and serve the other spouse. Under California law, there are only two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences and Incurable insanity. After filing for divorce, there is a mandatory six month waiting period before the divorce may become final.
Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders
Domestic Violence is a serious issue that should not be minimized. This is an area where your attorney can act as an advocate and be a voice to victims, both spouses/partners and/or children and/or other family members. A finding of domestic violence has a far reaching impact on other aspects of a family law matter, including child custody and visitation, support, and attorneys' fees.
Complex Financial Issues: Business Valuations, Cash Flow, Tracing
What is a forensic accountant and when do I need one? In the initial phase of your matter, we will assess the necessity of a forensic accountant to value your and/or your spouse's assets and liabilities, including business interests and their value, cash flow (or income available for support) and unreported income, and tracing.
Through the process of discovery, directed by a jointly retained or individually retained accountant, your community and/or separate property's true financial picture will be disclosed. This is critical in ensuring that the ultimate division of property is equitable.
POST-JUDGMENT: MODIFICATION OF ORDERS
The family law Superior Courts have jurisdiction to modify child support orders, child custody/visitation orders (including request to "move away") and most spousal support maters. Most final orders are modifiable based upon a substantial change of circumstances.
APPEALS & WRITS
Our firm offers knowledge and experience of the family law appellate process. We will help you understand how the family law appeals process works and the strict timelines and procedures.
Step-parent adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child's biological or birth parent. That means that once the adoption is final, the adoptive parent has all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent-child relationship. This person seeking to adopt their step-daughter or step-son must be the spouse or registered domestic partner of the child’s parent.
Pet Care and Ownership
California's new Family Law statute (Family Code section 2605) became effective January 1, 2019. Though pets are still classified as personal property, California’s new law aligns with the way most people view their animal companions — as family members — and acknowledges that animals are fundamentally distinct from other forms of property and gives consideration to the "care of the pet animal."
A premarital agreement is a contract executed by a couple prior to marriage which becomes effective upon marriage. Prenuptial agreements can offer predictability and protection for each spouse and allows a couple to talk about their financial circumstances and set expectations at the forefront of their marriage. Such agreements can be utilized to outline rights and obligations to property (community property vs. separate property) and future spousal support. For a premarital agreement to be valid and upheld by a later court, there are numerous requirements that must be met in the drafting and signing of a premarital agreement.