How Can A California Family Law Attorneys Help You?

Updated: Sep 22

Find An Affordable Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles

In a family law issue, the consequences will last forever or for a lifetime. That is why you need skilled legal counsel. Our California Family Lawyers can assist you in avoiding mistakes and achieving better outcomes. They will assist you in navigating technically challenging legal issues, negotiating a better settlement, and providing experienced legal advocacy and court representation.

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If you're going through a divorce or legal separation, you're probably worried about the future and how your divorce will affect your family relationships. Divorce and legal separation will lead to disputes about property division, child custody, and the amount of spousal or child support that will be needed. During the emotionally charged period of divorce, these topics can be particularly difficult to handle. It will never be more necessary to have the support, advocacy, and advice of a trusted legal professional than during this delicate and personal legal matter.

How do I get a divorce in Los Angeles?

You must confirm that you and your spouse meet the following conditions before filing for divorce in California:

  • Prior to the divorce, you or your partner must have lived in California for at least six months.

  • For at least three months, you or your partner must have resided in the county where you want to file for divorce.

  • Fill out all of the necessary paperwork.

  • You must then file the requisite paperwork (a Form FL-100, Petition for Dissolution, and a Form FL-110, Summons) with the court in your jurisdiction until you are satisfied that you meet the state's divorce requirements. If you and your partner have children, you will need to fill out additional paperwork.

  • Following the filing of the paperwork, you or another adult (aged 18 or older) must deliver the divorce papers to your spouse. Within 30 days, your spouse must act. The court will issue a default judgment if your spouse does not respond.

  • Wait at least six months.

  • A six-month waiting period is required in California to enable spouses to settle their differences and reconcile.

  • The court decides.

  • The court will issue a judgment after the six-month waiting period, outlining the asset separation, custody, and other words.

You and your spouse will have to determine how to split marital property, properties, and debts in any divorce. If you and your partner have a minor child, you'll have to deal with child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support problems as well. Some of these problems may be governed by the terms of your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. You will use the uncontested divorce process if you and your partner can agree on all of the issues surrounding your divorce.

Contested Divorces

Couples in contested divorces are unable to compromise on the legal issues at hand and must find a mutually acceptable solution; otherwise, a judge would be forced to interfere and make the decision for you. If you and your partner cannot agree on the terms of your divorce in California, you will be forced to go to mediation.

Legal Separation

Some clients prefer marital breakup to divorce for a variety of reasons. In California, a married couple may enter into a separation agreement that spells out each party's rights and obligations during the separation period. A Los Angeles Family Lawyer will help you create legal separation agreements that will protect your interests while also saving you time and money.

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Los Angeles?

Due to the state's divorce provisions and mandatory six-month waiting period, the divorce process in California will take at least six months, even if both parties agree to end the marriage immediately.

Reason for Divorce

You must select a "grounds" (legal reason) for ending the marriage when filing for divorce. California, among other nations, accepts no-fault divorce based on the irreversible dissolution of the marriage. In the state, the only other divorce option is based on incurable insanity. For qualifying cases, California also allows for summary separation, which is a simplified divorce procedure.

The following are the requirements for summary dissolution:

  • Marriages that last no more than five years are considered short

  • There are no minor children

  • There is no real estate available

  • Refusing to pay spousal maintenance

  • Property and debts are subject to specific financial constraints

In a divorce case, who can be subpoenaed?

Subpoenas are used to pressure people who don't want to participate in a legal conflict to do so. In California family law, there are three forms of subpoenas: court appearance, record processing (such as bank accounts and tax returns), and a combination of both. Subpoenas may be served on the other partner or a third party who may have facts or evidence related to the divorce case by either the complainant or defendant in any family law proceeding.

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Child Custody

Child custody and visitation are some of the most stressful and challenging problems in any divorce or post-divorce case. As a parent, you might be worried about losing control of the bond you've developed with your child, how this would affect the structure of your child's life, and how to ensure that his or her life is not disrupted by custody, visitation, and living arrangements. These worries can trigger a lot of anxiety, which can lead to long court fights that are traumatic and emotional for the whole family.

How is child custody decided in California?

When deciding on child custody and visitation, family law courts will consider a variety of factors. The overarching philosophy for California courts is to make decisions in the best interests of the kid.

Child custody in California is divided into two categories:

  • Legal custody

  • A parent is given the authority and responsibility to make important life decisions for their children, such as medical care, schooling, religious upbringing, protection, and other important aspects of their child's well-being; this authority and responsibility may be given jointly or solely to one parent.

  • Physical custody

  • This allows a parent the right to make the child live with him or her; it may be awarded jointly, in which case parental time is roughly equal, or exclusively, in which case the child lives with one parent and the other has a more limited visiting schedule.

In California, what is considered an unfit parent?

California's family law policies encourage children to maintain regular contact with both parents. Only in very particular situations where a parent is deemed unfit or incompetent can the court rule against such interactions. Usually, these cases may include domestic violence, child neglect and/or abuse, or alcohol or drug abuse.

What does the judge look for?

By the end of the hearing, the family court judges determine the verdict at their discretion. Their decision, however, must heavily consider a number of factors outlined in California law.

Here are other considerations when making a custody decision include:

  • Which parent has been the child's primary caregiver

  • The child's age and developmental needs

  • Changes in a child's home, school, and proximity to friends can have an effect on him or her

  • A parent's desire and probability of helping their child to maintain a positive relationship with the other parent

  • Both parents' parenting abilities

  • Both parents' work schedules and other obligations

  • The child's interests, whether he or she is old enough to make such a decision

Custody & Substance Abuse

Child custody and parenting time can be severely impacted by issues of neglect, addiction, and mental well-being. Parents should have legitimate concerns about their children's safety. To gain an advantage in divorce and custody proceedings, one parent can shamelessly portray the other as unfit.

How Drug Abuse Affects Custody Cases

In California, sole physical custody and sole legal custody are rarely granted. According to the California family courts, children are better served when both parents are actively involved in their children's lives.

The only exception is when the child's well-being is jeopardized or threatened by a parent or the home environment as a result of:

  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs

  • Abuse of a child, either physically or psychologically

  • In-home domestic abuse

  • Problems in mental health

  • Neglect

An L.A. Family Lawyer will normally file a motion for sole custody or a reversal of primary custody in response to these claims. Restraining orders can be issued against the accused parent, with only supervised visitation—if any—permitted. Children are dragged into the middle, subjected to psychiatric tests, and possibly forced to testify about a parent's intoxication, substance use, psychotic episodes, or abusive conduct.

If a settlement cannot be reached, you will need professional and aggressive legal representation in court if your child's welfare is at risk or joint custody is at stake. If a child's safety is really in jeopardy, a Los Angeles Family Lawyer will take steps to protect him or her from more violence or trauma and assist their client in documenting the negative actions. If the charges are made up as a ruse to gain custody, a prosecutor will work to prove that the child has never been abused or that there is no credible proof that the child is in danger.