We offer legal guidance regarding the following issues:
Child Custody and Visitation - Child custody involves two issues: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is an articulation of the timeshare between the parents, as well as an assignment of the primary residence for the child in some cases. Legal custody grants the parent or parents the right to make decisions about the child’s health, safety, education, and welfare. Visitation, oftentimes called, “timeshare,” or “parenting time,” is the actual time the child spends with each parent, and the manner in which that time is spent. Visitation can be supervised, unsupervised, severely limited, or open-ended, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Child Support - Child support is the money paid from one parent to the other towards the support of their children. Court’s use judicially approved software called, “DissoMaster,” to calculate a child support figure. The software considers many factors, including but not limited to, gross monthly income, the percentage of time the child spends with each parent, mandatory retirement contributions, health insurance premiums, interest paid within mortgage payments, property taxes, child care expenses, and mandatory school expenses. Although DissoMaster is a computer program, the varying factors to be included in each calculation can be very complex, and even the smallest of inaccuracy can lead to a large discrepancy in the child support figure.
Divorce - California is a no-fault divorce state. This means that any married person can ask for a divorce without providing a reason. In order for the court to grant a divorce, the parties must reach agreements or obtain court orders resolving asset and debt division, spousal support, and if the couple has children together, custody, visitation, and child support. California law mandates that every couple seeking a divorce must wait six months and one day from the date the responding party is served with filed copies of the divorce papers until the court will terminate marital status. This requirement is often termed the “cooling off period,” because it is intended to allow every couple sufficient time to determine if divorce is really what they want. This does not mean that your case cannot be concluded in less than six months; in fact, the work on your case can end as soon as the parties reach agreements or obtain court orders on all outstanding issues, but your marital status cannot be terminated sooner than the prescribed waiting period has elapsed.
Domestic Violence - Domestic Violence can be physical violence, a verbal threat of physical violence, emotional abuse or a pattern of harassing behavior. Often, abuse takes many forms, and abusers use a combination of tactics to control and have power over the person being abused. The victim and the abuser must have a close relationship (married, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, live together or used to live together as a couple), or be related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-laws). Domestic Violence Restraining Orders can order the restrained person to not contact you or go near you, your children, or other relatives, stay away from your home, work, and children’s schools, move out of your home, follow custody and visitation orders, and adhere to property restraints.
Premarital and Postmarital Agreements - California law recognizes both Premarital Agreements (often referred to as Prenuptial Agreements) and Postmarital Agreements. As the language suggests, Premarital Agreements are entered into before the parties are married and Postmarital Agreements are entered into after the parties are married. Both types of Agreements can address issues such as asset and debt division and spousal support. The terms of both types of Agreements only come into effect should the parties dissolve their marriage or legally separate. There are complex laws governing both types of Agreements, which require specific drafting criteria in order to withstand any later challenges by one party. Both types of Agreements can clarify separate property versus community property, inheritances, property division, personal business ventures and limitations on spousal support.
Spousal Support - Spousal support, formerly called, “alimony,” is payable from one spouse to the other in order to attempt to ensure that both spouses walk away from the marriage with the same, or as similar as possible, standard of living as they enjoyed during the marriage. Spousal support can be ordered when one spouse worked during the marriage while the other did not, or when there is a substantial disparity in income between the spouses. In determining an appropriate figure and duration for spousal support, courts must review many factors and cannot rely solely on any computer program. A spouse may also elect to waive support owed to them, or agree with the other spouse on a figure that is less than what a court would order, or a fixed figure for a fixed duration.