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Child Custody & Visitation

Custody determines who has rights to make major legal, educational, and non-emergency medical decisions for the children. Visitation is the schedule agreed upon, or imposed by the court, by which the parties coordinate their parenting time with their children. The parties will need to learn how to share the children in a new post-separation environment.

Paternity

If children are born outside of a marriage, the law must determine parentage prior to ordering any custody, visitation, or support obligations to either parent.

Grandparent's Right

Under California law, grandparents can rights to visitation and involvement in the children’s lives under certain circumstances, even over the objection of a parent.

Child Support

Child support is largely based upon the incomes of both parties, and how much time each has with the child or children. Once the information is collected, a computer program, used by both attorneys and judges, calculates support. Child support may be changed when either party's financial circumstances change or there is a change in the visitation schedule

Spousal Support/ Alimony

Temporary spousal support is determined by a calculation using each county's support guidelines. The amount and duration of long-term or post-judgment spousal support is determined by consideration of the standard of living during the marriage and a variety of other factors such as the income of parties, the length of marriage, and the assets and obligations of each.

Collections & Enforcement

If, after trying to resolve the problem amicably, your former spouse still fails to pay you the court-ordered amount, you can take a number of legal steps.

Assets & Debts

At the time of a divorce, each party is entitled to an equal division of the property and debts acquired during the marriage. The division of property may take many shapes and arrangements. However, the ultimate goal is for an equal division of all of the community assets and obligations of the parties.

House(s)

Called “real property,” houses, land, and deeded timeshares require a different approach to division depending on the level of equity in the property, if any. Appraisals, refinancing into one person’s name, or a sale of the property is often required.

Retirement(s)

401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, and other retirement savings and deferred compensation have a community property nature to the extent they were acquired during marriage. To access these assets require a different procedure and determination of the community versus separate interests.

Guardianship

A probate guardianship (non-CPS related) is set up because a child is living with an adult who is not the child’s parent, and the adult needs a court order to make decisions on behalf of the child. A guardianship is not the same as an adoption. In a guardianship: parents still have parental rights and can ask for reasonable contact with the child; the court can end a guardianship if the parents become able to take care of the child; and Guardians can be supervised by the court.

Step-Parent Adoption

Adoption is a process that creates a legal parent-child status between parties who do not have a biological relationship. Once finalized, the adoptive parents and children have the same rights and obligations as legal or biological parents and children. In a stepparent adoption, one biological parent (the adopting parent's spouse) retains parental rights, but the parent-child relationship is severed with the other parent. This adoption is not terminated if the stepparent and biological parent later divorce.