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Family Law

Family Law Mediation

Mediation is a process whereby the parties to a divorce meet with a neutral certified family law specialist in an attempt to resolve their disputes. These disputes may include child custody, child support, spousal support and division of property and debts.

Sometimes this involves a few meetings and sometimes many, depending on the complexity of the issues. The process is confidential, voluntary, and the information protected from use in contested litigation in Court.

In mediation the parties have the power to participate in decisions which will affect their lives and the lives of their children. They are not leaving those decisions to a Judge who may or may not be familiar with them or their issues. For many mediation can save time, money and the stress involved in a traditional divorce.

Attorney Katie Anderson, CLS-F offers mediation services. For a Mediation consultation call (760) 722-1234.


Child Support

In California, both parents have a legal duty to provide financial support for their children. The Court may order either or both parents to make regular payments to cover a child’s living and medical expenses.

The amount of child support is determined by a number of factors, including the incomes of each parent, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and some qualifying expenses of the parents and child. As may be expected, each of these factors has nuances and challenges in determination. The Family Law Lawyers at Greenman, Lacy, Klein, Hinds, Weiser can help ensure that the property amount of child support is determined based on your circumstances.


Child custody and visitation

Child custody and visitation issues are often the most emotional and important issues involved in the breakdown of a relationship. The decisions made relating to children impact all parties for years to come. When making an initial determination of custody and visitation, the court uses a best interest standard. Parties are required to participate in mediation through the court sponsored Family Court Services. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through the mediation process, the mediator will make a recommendation to the court.

The court will make both legal custody orders and physical custody orders. A party with legal custody has the ability to make decisions relating to a child’s health, safety, education, and welfare. Often, parents share joint legal custody. Physical custody orders relate to the day to day child sharing arrangements. The court promotes frequent and continuous contact with both parents provided such contact is in the best interest of the minor children.

Child Custody and Visitation orders previously made can be modified if a modification is in the best interest of the minor children and in some cases if there has been a change in circumstances since the prior order.

A common custody issue that arises are “move away” requests by one parent. If one parent is requesting an order allowing them to relocate with the minor children, the court must determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to relocate with the moving parent or remain with the non moving parent. In determining whether the best interest of the child in relation to a move away request the court will consider numerous factors included but not limited to:

1) the children’s interest in stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement;

2) the distance of the move;

3) the age of the children;

4) the children’s relationship with both parents;

5) the relationship between the parents including, but not limited to, their ability to communicate and cooperate effectively and their willingness to put the interests of the children above their individual interests;

6) the wishes of the children if they are mature enough for such an inquiry to be appropriate;

7) the reasons for the proposed move; and

8) the extent to which the parents currently are sharing custody.

The Family Law attorneys at Greenman, Lacy, Klein, Hinds, Weiser will provide you guidance to help navigate the complex world of custody and visitation when dealing with your most valuable asset . . . . your children.


Property Division

In a Dissolution of Marriage in the State of California, all community property must be equally divided, absent an agreement to the contrary. Therefore, a fundamental determination must be made as to the character of all property. It is presumed that if an asset is acquired during the marriage that it is community property. The burden of proving that an asset is separate property is on the party claiming the separate property interest.

Was the property owned by a property prior to marriage and therefore ones separate property? Was an asset gifted to a party thereby distinguishing the property as one’s separate property? Determining the characterization of property is not always a straight forward issue. Often assets are commingled and require the individual claiming the separate property characterization of the asset to provide a tracing of the separate property.

In order to divide a community property assets equally, the value of an asset must be determined. Often this involves obtaining documentation through discovery, an appraisal or business valuation.

The Family Law attorneys at Greenman, Lacy, Klein, Hinds, Weiser can assist you with ensuring an equitable property division. Contact us at (760) 722-1234 for assistance.


Spousal Support

The goal of spousal support is to reduce the economic divide and impact of divorcing spouses. Spousal support is within the discretion of the court. It is the goal that the supported party become self supporting within a “reasonable period of time.” In marriages that are less than 10 years in duration, a “reasonable period of time” is generally defined to be ½ of the length of the marriage. In marriages in excess of 10 years in duration there is not a specific guideline to define a “reasonable period of time.” The facts of each case will dictate the duration of spousal support. In all cases, absent an agreement, spousal support terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the supported spouse.

Unlike, child support, there is not a formula that is used to calculate spousal support. In determining spousal support, the court must consider a variety of factors outlined in Family Code Section 4320 which include but are not limited to:

(1) the earning capacity of each party;

(2) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party;

(3) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support;

(4) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage;

(5) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.

(6) The duration of the marriage.

(7) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment;

(8) The age and health of the parties.

(9) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence;

(10) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

Previously issued spousal support orders are potentially subject to modification based upon a showing of a change of circumstances.

The Family Law attorneys at Greenman, Lacy, Klein, Hinds, Weiser can provide you assistance and advice relating to your spousal support issue.


Family Law Attorneys