Family Law issues are a lot more difficult than you realize. Emotions run high, and it is easy to make mistakes if you’re not careful. If you go about your situation without knowing all the legal consequences, it will likely lead to unintended results. Make sure you know what’s important and why first.
Family Court covers issues involving Divorce, Dissolution of Domestic Partnership, Parentage Actions and much more. A lot of times these things happen unexpectedly and are unwelcome.
Laurie Peters & Associates has an experienced team of California Family Law Attorneys who are here to assist you with what can be a very difficult time in your life. They will do so with compassion and understanding.
Don’t try to do it alone. Some issues seem fairly simple, but once a bad decision is made, it is difficult to turn it around, if it can be done. You want to get things going in the right direction immediately. The laws are constantly changing and Family Law Judges have wide discretion in making decisions. Once a case starts down the wrong tract, it may have long-term consequences.
Whether you are filing for legal separation, divorce, dissolution of domestic partnership, or nullity, you want to make sure you file appropriately. This is the first communication to the Court regarding your case. Issues such as the date of separation and choice of what to file can make a difference.
Community property issues involve property acquired during the marriage. However, sometimes property acquired by gift or inheritance, or with separate property assets, are still separate property. The way property is titled is not controlling. Even if property was owned prior to marriage, the community may still have an interest.
Separate property sometimes requires tracing to the original separate property used to acquire the property now in existence. That is: going back to the original source to prove something you own is separate property.
Sometimes property can be a combination of both.
Sometimes there are reimbursement issues for down payments or improvements. There are certain presumptions involving transfers between spouses.
Child custody issues are also complex and there are presumptions that could affect custody depending on the facts of your case. The worst thing you can do is just assume it is simple. You can even have more than 2 parents now.
Move away cases, even if you win, are stayed for a certain period and they take a long time to be heard. But there are ways to avoid the back log through private judges or mediators.
Grandparent and stepparent rights. Under certain situations grandparents and stepparents have rights to visitation that are in the best interest of the child/ren.
Guardianships. This is another avenue for obtaining custody of child/ren if it is necessary and appropriate.
Support issues are also something you want to consider approaching carefully, they involve more than you might think. Child support is based on certain factors plugged into a program. If you don’t plug in the correct factors, or exclude things for consideration, it may substantially raise or lower your support. For Spousal support there are several factors the court needs to consider. Knowing the facts makes all the difference.
Division of assets. Finding hidden assets is important and knowing how to value and divide them could be the difference between a fair and reasonable result, and not getting your fair share. Also, if assets are hidden and later discovered, the consequences for not disclosing them could result in loss of the hidden asset, and/or significant attorney fees.
Sometimes you have to join other parties for the court to deal with an asset. By way of example, when property is owned or held by others with the parties.
Sometimes we need experts to determine values of things, such as businesses or other property. Even if you believe the property has no value, the court may see it differently.
Post judgment: modifications and/or enforcement. Unlike other civil cases, a judgment is not necessarily the end of the story. Once you have a judgement, there may be issues of enforcement, or omitted assets or debts. If a judgment is poorly written, it may be difficult, but necessary to have the court interpret it for enforcement purposes. This takes an attorney who can assist with getting the intended results. This is also why it is important to have someone who will assure it is very clear initially.
There are also issues of modification of support or custody issues, and the proper pleading of this to ensure the correct result.
Adoptions. These include, but are not limited to, stepparent adoptions and terminating parental rights.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. There may be situations where you need contractual agreements relating to how you would like to handle things in case of a divorce.
Advice and/or document preparation. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer to handle your case completely, you can have someone assist you with drafting documents and advise you on the process as you represent yourself. You should at least allow the staff at Laurie Peters & Associates to guide you through the process.
The Attorneys at Laurie Peters & Associates are ready to provide you with zealous and compassionate legal representation that is specific to your needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the legal services we offer.