Family Law

If you live in Contra Costa or Alameda Counties and you are at the point in your life where you are thinking about hiring a family law attorney for your divorce, child custody, child support, or spousal support dispute, it is important that you find an experienced advocate who can properly guide you. The many moving parts in a custody dispute or divorce can be overwhelming. The consequences of family court proceedings can be long-lasting. Thus, it is natural that anxiety and stress run high in.

In family law disputes, as with many experiences we have in life, planning is critical to the outcome. That is why it is vital to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney how can help with these family law related issues and to advocate for your best interests.

Marital Dissolution
Divorce is one of the primary categories handled by family law attorneys. Although there is no such thing as a “typical divorce”, many divorces involve asset disputes, support payments and custody. As to the first category, divorcing couples must be able to distribute their assets and, in many cases, come up with a plan to address their debt, in a fair manner. An experienced California divorce attorney must be able to handle this split professionally while representing the best interests of the client. A reputable family law attorney should be able to separate the emotional aspects of the divorce in a professional way, while understanding the importance of handling the personal, business and financial interests that will have a lasting effect on the client’s wellbeing for years to come.

When handled correctly, an experienced family law attorney will work to reduce both the emotional turbulence and the costs that often define the divorces handled by the less experienced attorney. This is especially true when there are children involved. An experienced family law attorney is able to help the client set realistic goals, provide all the necessary information that accompanies the divorce process, and allow the client to maintain some control over the sometimes overwhelming dissolution process. There are often prolonged emotional and economic ties following a divorce, especially when there are children involved or alimony and child support payments. An experienced family law attorney can provide strategies and resources to bring some relief to these challenges.

Child Custody
When it comes to child custody cases, most family law attorneys will agree that it is the most emotional issue their clients face. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney who has handled both straight-forward as well as complicated custody disputes. Ideally, child custody and visitation would be resolved amicably by the parents and be based on the best interest of the children. However, often even well-intended parents may not be able to agree as to what is in fact in their children’s best interest.

Sometimes the reasons for the different viewpoints are based simply upon good faith disagreements, such as when one of the parents need to move from the area due to work reassignment and wants to make that relocation with a child. Other times the disagreement involves serious issues of safety, such as when one party has a history of domestic violence, emotional abuse, or substance addiction. When faced with such challenges it is ever so important to team with an attorney experienced with such cases and who can work the system to your advantage.

Child Support
Seeking an initial child support order can be very emotional for both the payer and the recipient of support. On the one hand, a custodial parent needs the child support to care for the child properly and it is only fair that both parents share in that financial responsible. On the other hand, it is often tough as a payer of child support to make ends meet while at the same time making those payments. Although a child support order is modifiable when circumstances change, it important to get the right amount of support ordered at the outset. No matter what side of the child support issue you are on, it is important that you have an experienced family law attorney who can help you determine and secure the proper support order.

If you already are a party to a child support order, it is important that it be appropriately modified to reflect any relevant changes that take place subsequent to the order. Changes that may justify a modification of a child support order include changes in the income or job of one or both parents or changes in the child custody arrangement. While these situations are the most common events justifying a modification to the support order, the Court can look at many other potential changes in the parents’ lives to justify a modification. If you are faced with a modification of a child support order, you should contact an experienced family law attorney who knows how to properly calculate guideline child support and has the knowhow to advance the client’s best interest when the issue is presented to the other party and to the Court.

Spousal Support
In California, spouses have a duty to support each other both during and after separation and divorce. The law further places a duty on the spouses to make efforts at becoming self-sufficient within a reasonable amount of time following separation. With those two factors in mind, there are two types of spousal support, which are temporary (sometimes referred to a pendente lite support) and long term support. The amount and duration of the support obligation depends on numerous factors set forth in the California Family Code. If the marriage is less than 10 years, the law considers it a short-term marriage and thus support generally will last about half the length of the marriage. Thus, if the marriage was for 9 years, the support obligations will generally last about four-and-half years. When the marriage is 10 years or longer, numerous factors are considered that can impact both the amount and duration of the support. Moreover, because Courts have much more flexibility in deviating from the guideline spousal support amounts than with child support, it is important to have proper guidance from an experienced family law attorney who can aggressively and carefully calculate and advocate for a spousal support order that best comports to the client’s needs.