When you need assistance, we provide experienced legal guidance in many areas of family law. From Divorce to Custody to Restraining Orders- we handle it all and always seek to provide our clients with the BEST results possible.
Divorce & Legal Separation
Dissolution in California, commonly known as divorce, is the process of terminating a marriage that has broken down due to irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity. One party files a petition for dissolution and serves it on the other party. The other party has 30 days to file a response or risks losing their say in the divorce process. There are many stages to a dissolution proceeding, including division of the community assets and debts, child custody and visitation orders, spousal support and the right of one party to have the other party pay his or her attorney's fees. The laws pertaining to the dissolution of marriage are almost identical when dissolving domestic partnerships.
Child Custody & Support
Child custody and support can arise for any parties that share minor children together, whether married, unmarried or in a domestic partnership. Custody orders can be made as part of a parentage case, as part of a dissolution, and/or as part of a domestic violence restraining order request. Physical custody relates to the party who has the child in his or her actual, physical care. Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of a child. Parties can have joint or sole custody of a minor child. Child support is the mandatory right of the minor child to be provided for by his or her parents. Child support is usually calculated based on the timeshare that each parent has with the child and each parent's income.
California is a community property state. This means that most property acquired during a marriage by a person in that marriage is presumed to be community property unless it can be proven to be one of the party's separate property. Community assets are divided equally between the parties upon dissolution in California. Separate property is one party's property acquired by gift or inheritance or the rents and profits from separate property that is accumulated during the marriage. There are burdens of proof and presumptions that are frequently applied in an evidentiary hearing on the division of community and/or separate property.
The Domestic Violence Prevention Act was passed by the legislature in 1993. It defines certain conduct between people in an intimate relationship as "abuse". The law in California is aimed at protecting victims of this type of abuse and their children. A party can seek a restraining order against a person that they have been in an "intimate" relationship with without paying a filing fee. These restraining orders can carry significant consequences as to custody, property control, and spousal support.
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Under the California Family Code, one party to a marriage may be required to pay the other party spousal support upon the termination of the marriage. Many factors are looked at in determining permanent spousal support, including but not limited to sufficiency of earning capacity to maintain the marital standard of living, the parties needs, the parties obligations and assets, the length of the marriage, the history, if any, of domestic violence, tax consequences, relative hardship, and the age and health of each party.