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Family Law

Family law in California encompasses a wide range of legal issues related to family relationships, including:

  1. Marriage and domestic partnership: This includes the legal requirements for getting married or registering a domestic partnership, as well as the legal rights and obligations that come with these relationships, such as property rights, spousal support, and child custody.

  2. Divorce and separation: This includes the legal process of ending a marriage or domestic partnership, including property division, spousal support, and child custody and support.

  3. Child custody and visitation: This involves determining the custody arrangements for children after a divorce or separation, including physical custody (where the child will live) and legal custody (who will make important decisions about the child's life).

  4. Child support: This includes determining the financial support that one parent will provide to the other to help pay for the child's needs.

  5. Domestic violence: This includes obtaining restraining orders or other legal protections for victims of domestic violence.

  6. Adoption and guardianship: This involves the legal process of becoming the legal parent or guardian of a child who is not biologically related to you.

  7. Juvenile dependency: This involves legal proceedings related to children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, and who are placed in the custody of the state or a foster family.

These are just some of the areas that fall under the umbrella of family law in California.

To file for divorce in California, you will need to follow these basic steps:

  1. Meet the residency requirements: To file for divorce in California, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing, and a resident of the county where you plan to file for at least three months.

  2. Complete the necessary forms: You will need to complete the necessary divorce forms, including the Petition (Form FL-100) and Summons (Form FL-110). These forms can be obtained from the court clerk's office or downloaded from the California Courts website.

  3. File the forms with the court: Once you have completed the necessary forms, you will need to file them with the court clerk's office in the county where you or your spouse resides. You will also need to pay a filing fee, which varies by county.

  4. Serve the forms on your spouse: After filing the forms, you must serve a copy of the Petition and Summons on your spouse. This can be done through personal service, where a third party delivers the forms to your spouse, or through mail service, where the forms are mailed to your spouse with a Proof of Service form (Form FL-115).

  5. Wait for a response: After your spouse has been served with the divorce papers, they will have 30 days to file a response (Form FL-120). If your spouse does not respond, you can request a default judgment and proceed with the divorce.

  6. Negotiate a settlement or go to court: If you and your spouse are able to reach a settlement on the issues of property division, child custody, and support, you can submit a written agreement to the court for approval. If you are unable to reach a settlement, you will need to go to court and have a judge make decisions on these issues.

  7. Finalize the divorce: Once all of the issues have been resolved, you will need to prepare a Judgment of Dissolution (Form FL-180) and submit it to the court for approval. Once the judge signs the judgment, your divorce will be final.

It's important to note that the divorce process can be complex and emotionally challenging, so it's recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process.

When deciding on child custody in California, the court's main focus is on the best interests of the child. The court will consider a number of factors when making a custody determination, including:

  1. The child's age, health, and welfare.
  2. Each parent's ability to provide for the child's physical, emotional, and developmental needs.
  3. The child's relationship with each parent and any siblings or other family members.
  4. The child's ties to school, community, and other important people or places.
  5. Each parent's ability to provide a stable and safe home environment for the child.
  6. Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent.
  7. The child's wishes, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to express a preference.

Based on these factors, the court may award joint custody or sole custody to one parent, and may also include a parenting plan detailing visitation schedules and decision-making authority. The court may also consider the wishes of the parents, but the ultimate decision will be based on what is in the child's best interests.

It's important to note that the court's decision on child custody is not necessarily final and can be modified if circumstances change. It's also recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the custody process and represent your interests in court.

When deciding on child support in California, the court uses a formula established by state law that takes into account several factors, including:

  1. The parents' income: Both parents' income, including any bonuses or overtime, is considered in determining child support.

  2. The amount of time the child spends with each parent: The amount of time the child spends with each parent affects the calculation of child support.

  3. Childcare expenses: If one or both parents incur childcare expenses related to their work or other child-related activities, these expenses are factored into the child support calculation.

  4. Health insurance costs: The cost of health insurance for the child is considered when determining child support.

  5. Any other special needs of the child: If the child has any special needs, such as medical expenses or educational expenses, these may be taken into account when calculating child support.

Once these factors are considered, the court uses a computer program to calculate the amount of child support that should be paid. The formula takes into account each parent's income, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and any other factors that may affect the child support calculation. The court will then issue an order stating the amount of child support that must be paid.

It's important to note that child support can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or the child's living arrangements. If you have questions or concerns about child support, it's recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney to represent your interests in court.

Our firm also assists people with Prenuptial Agreements.

In California, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). This law sets out the requirements for a prenuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable.

Under the UPAA, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement must be entered into voluntarily and with full disclosure of each party's assets and debts. In addition, the agreement must not be unconscionable, meaning that it cannot be so one-sided as to be fundamentally unfair to one party.

In order to ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable, it's important to follow these guidelines:

  1. Get legal advice: It's recommended that each party to the prenuptial agreement consult with a separate attorney to ensure that their interests are represented and that the agreement is fair.

  2. Make full disclosure: Each party must fully disclose their assets, debts, and income to the other party.

  3. Avoid coercion: The prenuptial agreement must be entered into voluntarily, without any coercion or undue pressure from one party.

  4. Make it fair: The agreement must be fair and not one-sided, with each party giving up some rights in exchange for something of value.

If these guidelines are followed, a prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool for couples to protect their assets and interests in the event of a divorce.


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Los Angeles, CA 90067
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