Divorce proceedings, child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, prenuptial agreements and any conflicts dealing with family law can be stressful and often highly emotional for the individuals involved. These are the types of issues that need to be addressed with a careful and deliberate approach. This is why our firm approaches each and every case with compassion and a carefully tailored legal strategy to ensure that your interests, as well as those of your loved ones, are protected.
JV Law Offices can help resolve a range of family law matters through a negotiated settlement, mediation, or litigation when necessary in the following matters:
Child Custody and Visitation
Under California Law there are two kinds of child custody, legal custody and physical custody and both types can either be held jointly or solely by one parent. While legal custody focuses on who will make the decisions concerning the children’s health, education, and welfare, physical custody focuses on who the children will live with.
When parents no longer live together, not only does physical and legal custody need to be established but a visitation plan regarding how parents will share time with their children also needs to be established. For instance, a parent who has the children less than half of the time often only has visitation with the children and not joint physical custody. Visitation orders are varied, depending on the best interests of the children, the situation of the parents, and other factors.
Modifications for Custody and Visitation
Custody and visitation arrangements decided upon through court proceedings are often not permanent. Over time, situations change requiring modifications of the original court order. California law gives parents the opportunity to modify an existing agreement. If the parents feel that circumstances have changed enough to require reconsideration of an existing custody agreement, either parent or both can file for a modification with the court.
When a child is conceived between a married couple, the husband is legally considered the “presumed father.” However, this is not the case for unmarried couples who have a child, regardless if the father’s name is on the birth certificate. Therefore, it is important to legally establish the rights and responsibilities of the parents, often referred to as a parentage case.
Legal dissolution (“divorce”) is the process required to legally end a marriage or domestic partnership. It is an actual lawsuit and it can be filed by any spouse. Through this process, determinations regarding child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, and division of community property are made. Unlike other types of legal actions, no one needs to have done anything wrong prior to filing for divorce. California is a “no-fault” state, and there is no requirement that fault, or irreconcilable differences be proven to finalize a divorce. Finally, any spouse can decide to file for divorce even if the other spouse opposes.
Legal Separation is a lawsuit brought for a final determination of each party’s marital rights and responsibilities. Like in a divorce, issues of child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, and division of community property are addressed, and the responsibilities and rights of each spouse are determined. However, in this instance, the parties remain married, but in name alone, and both parties must give consent. The primary purpose of obtaining a legal separation instead of a legal dissolution/divorce is for religious reasons or to preserve benefits only available during marriage, such as health insurance.
Spousal and Partner Support
Spousal Support (“alimony”) is a recurrent payment from one spouse to another after a legal dissolution/divorced, intended to prevent one spouse from suffering a decreased standard of living or becoming impoverished or disadvantaged as a result of the divorce. Domestic partnership dissolutions are also entitled to seek this type of payment; however, it is known as partner support. In both instances, the goal is to allow both parties to maintain the same standard of living they had before the dissolution.
Modifications for Spousal Support
Spousal support and/or Partner support are not intended to be permanent arrangements. Their sole purpose is to preserve a similar quality of life for the recipient in the immediate aftermath of a dissolution. Like custody plans, spousal and/or partner support arrangement modifications and terminations can be requested by either party or both.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement (also known as a pre-marital agreement or a “prenup”) is a legally binding agreement drafted and decided upon by two parties before their marriage, which outlines division of property and other financial concerns in the case of a legal dissolution/divorce. Prenuptial agreements become effective once a couple officially marries. A postnuptial agreement is, for all intents and purposes, identical, with the exception that it is created after the pair has already been married.