Glendale Family Law Attorneys
Family Law covers the dissolution of marriage and all of the issues related to a divorce, such as child custody, child support, spousal support and the division of community property. Family law also includes a host of other matters, including prenuptial agreements, same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships, adoption, paternity, domestic violence, guardianships and grandparents’ rights. Some family law practitioners concentrate mostly on divorce, while others maintain a more comprehensive practice. Also, some family lawyers are more practiced in the litigation of contentious matters such as complex high net worth divorces or child custody disputes, while others have expertise in the resolution of family law matters through mediation or collaborative law. Our Lawyer Referral Service can help connect you with the right attorney to meet your specific needs.
California law recognizes the irreconcilable differences of the spouses as an acceptable “no-fault” ground for divorce. Obtaining a dissolution of marriage is therefore usually not a difficult matter in and of itself, but there are a number of issues which must be carefully considered and dealt with. Divorce decrees are final and can impact the divorcing spouses and their children for years to come, so it is essential to be well-advised and well-represented throughout the California divorce process. Below are some of the major issues most frequently addressed during a divorce.
Child Custody and Visitation – Shared or joint custody is generally preferred, although the arrangement is not always equal. The court may grant primary custody to one parent for stability, such as to keep the children in the family home or attending the same school of residence. Legal representation is important for the initial custody determination as well as the development of a visitation plan covering pick-ups and drop-offs, vacations and holidays, and the resolution of custody disputes or the handling of emergencies which may arise.
Child Support – Since both parents have a legal obligation to support their children, the court usually requires a noncustodial parent to pay a monthly support amount to the parent with primary custody. The amount is derived from a statutory model based on both parents’ incomes and other factors, but the court has authority to deviate from the formula if convinced it is in the child’s best interests. Your attorney can prepare and present a persuasive case for or against a proposed deviation from the statutory guidelines.
Spousal Support – Many factors go into the court’s decision whether to make an award of spousal support (also known as alimony or maintenance), and if so, for how much and for how long. Your lawyer can make sure these factors are being accurately reported and can argue for a fair amount or challenge a request for an unreasonable support award.
Community Property – In general, all assets and debts acquired by either party during the marriage are considered community property and therefore owned equally by both spouses, but California community property law is complex. Some property may be considered separate property, such as gifts or inheritances directed specifically just to one spouse, but even this property may become community property depending on how it is handled. The characterization and accurate valuation of each asset and debt is essential to a fair property settlement. California has adopted various complex methods for the valuation of business property; an experienced divorce lawyer can help unravel these complexities, as well as locate any hidden assets.