Very few legal areas can get more emotionally impactful than family law. Not only are you having issues with a person with whom you share a type of relationship, but you must also navigate the legal system while experiencing those emotions. Correctly learning and following court procedures often requires time and dedication, which is part of what makes family law cases so concerning. It is almost impossible to devote your full capabilities to building your family law case defense when you are being bombarded with feelings like sadness, anger, hurt, or betrayal.
Seeking the assistance of a skilled Santa Ana family attorney can provide you with time to process your emotions while a professional handles the legal aspects of your case. Choosing a family law firm that has experience with your particular issue is a vital part of succeeding in your case. Newport Family Law & Mediation Group has a long history of supporting Orange Country and surrounding area residents with their family law matters, making us stand out among other law firms for cases like yours. We offer the unique experience of having the personal service of a boutique practice as well as the experience of a large family law firm. Easily handling even the most complicated of cases, our team is dedicated to helping you feel more confident and secure while your case progresses.
Family law is a broad legal umbrella that encompasses all legal issues that arise between people with a familial relationship, including blood, marital, and adoptive relationships. Whether your legal situation is related to a marriage, divorce, child custody and support, or guardianship, your case will be handled in family court. The personal nature of these cases makes them highly variable and expansive, necessitating a family law attorney that understands all aspects of family law. Family law services offered by Newport Family Law & Mediation Group include:
A prenuptial agreement specifies terms that will dictate how a divorce will proceed if the marriage ends. A postnuptial agreement will share many aspects with a prenuptial agreement, but it will be written after the marriage date.
The legal termination of a marriage is a divorce. Since California is a no-fault state, a spouse’s wrongdoing does not need to be proven to request a divorce. However, the negative behavior of a spouse can factor into decisions like spousal support and removal from the family home.
When a marriage ends in divorce or separation in a community property state like California, all marital assets and debts must be divided equally between the spouses. Anything acquired in the marriage is considered marital property and subject to division.
When parents are no longer in a relationship, they need to create a child custody and visitation agreement. This agreement should consider the child’s health, safety, and welfare above all else. The court will decide on these matters if the parents are unable to.
California has implemented statewide guidelines that courts must use when determining child support. These guidelines are in place to ensure that the child is financially taken care of, and the court should only deviate from the guidelines in special circumstances.
Parents have a responsibility to create a guardianship plan for their children if they are unable to care for them, such as in situations of death, incapacity, abandonment, or military obligations. During guardianship, the parent’s rights are suspended, not terminated.
California judges can implement an emergency protection order based on the requestor’s testimony. Although this method works well for keeping people safe from an aggressor, it can be misused.
Regardless of the family law issue you are facing, Newport Family Law & Mediation Group is ready to represent you competently and compassionately throughout your case.
Family law matters are complex, even at their most basic. They are made much more perplexing when you are unable to follow along with your case because language you do not recognize is being used. The following list of terms or phrases can help you better understand your case and more effectively communicate with your attorney.
A date of separation is defined as a final and complete breakdown of the marital relationship. It is used to determine the marital community estate for division and issues of spousal support. The court will consider two factors when determining the date of separation: a spouse expressing to the other their intent to end the marriage and their following conduct being consistent with that intent.
As a community property state, California considers all property, assets, and debt acquired during the marriage to be community property. This type of property is subject to division during a divorce. Even some property or assets that were brought into the marriage by a spouse can become partially or completely community property during the marriage.
Per California Family Code § 95, the income and expense declaration refers to the form submitted by both parties that includes an itemized listing of their earnings, assets, rent, living expenses, debts, and other costs (such as attorney fees). This form’s intent is to show the court a detailed picture of each party’s financial situation to help the court determine things like child support orders, spousal support orders, and the award of attorney’s fees.
An ATRO is a restraining order used to halt a spouse from financially harming the other party in the divorce. It prevents actions like selling real property or offloading stocks without the express permission of their spouse. They also cannot hide assets, withdraw from retirement, or otherwise affect the total marital assets to be divided.
Ex parte motions are filed due to emergency reasons. Examples of emergencies that may require ex parte motions include concerns of child abuse or imminent loss of property. Depending on the type of motion, the other party may or may not need notification of the motion. Some motions must be shared to allow the opposing party an opportunity to respond before the court reviews them.
This type of custody refers to which parent has the right and responsibility to make any decisions relating to the child’s health, welfare, religion, and education. Legal custody can be joint, where both parents share these rights, or sole, where a single parent holds these rights.
This form of custody refers to where the child will spend their time. If the parents have joint custody, the child will spend roughly equal time with each parent. If a parent is awarded sole custody, the other parent is generally entitled to a visitation schedule.
The most well-known legal resolution for family law matters is litigation, or resolving the case in court. This route is often expensive and time-consuming, as you will generally need to retain a lawyer throughout the process, which can be lengthy, while you are waiting for court dates and decisions. You may also be unhappy with the outcome, as the presiding judge will examine the evidence and make a ruling. There are, however, alternative routes for resolving a family law dispute:
During mediation, the disputing parties attempt to find a solution with the assistance of a neutral third party who is trained in problem-solving methods and conflict-resolution practices. Both parties often also bring attorneys to help ensure that their rights are still protected in the resolution.
A combination of mediation and negotiation, collaborative law involves meeting the other party to find a solution and agreeing to avoid litigation. An attorney should be present for both parties, but that attorney cannot represent you should your case progress to litigation. Professionals like financial advisors and psychologists can be brought into the meeting to assist with creating the agreement.
During arbitration, a private arbitrator is sought to resolve family law issues. If binding arbitration was sought, the arbitrator’s decision will be final and cannot be challenged. An arbitrator will be able to spend days in a row working with the parties, significantly reducing the duration and cost of problem resolution.
These alternative methods promote a collaborative environment rather than the hostile environment frequently found in a courtroom, helping the parties maintain a positive relationship once the dispute has been resolved. They will also offer each party more control over the solutions created for the issues and generally lower the cost required to reach those solutions.
Although working with an attorney is important for a successful outcome in your family law dispute, the attorney you choose is also a critical decision. Newport Family Law & Mediation Group has a wealth of resources and a skilled staff, both vital factors in an effective family law firm. As we focus our practice on the family law field, we recognize the positive outcomes that come from avoiding litigation and work diligently to build strong cases that result in fruitful settlement negotiations. If you are searching for an experienced family law firm that values its clients, contact Newport Family Law & Mediation Group today.