What Can a Good Family Law Firm Do for You?
Most people think of a family law firm playing a role whenever there’s a crisis, such as divorce. But a trusted family lawyer can do so much more than that – from helping mediate difficult issues before they escalate, to planning your family’s future for generations to come.
The field of family law covers everything related to domestic, familial, and custodial issues.
That includes marriage and divorce but also domestic partnerships living together without marriage. A family attorney can help with prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, custody and parenting schedules. A good family lawyer can help with conflict, establish guardianship, and guide you through difficult domestic violence proceedings.
But most importantly, a good family lawyer is your confidante, coach, and champion when you need it the most. Someone who is on your side at every turn, anticipating the needs of you and your family and solving legal problems before they even arise.
Your family life is deeply personal and precious. You want to take a proactive approach towards any legal issues to protect them. Counsel from a skilled and trusted family lawyer could save you and your loved ones from future headache and heartache.
What’s the Role of a Good Family Attorney?
No matter what your issue is, a family lawyer should help you establish a better-defined relationship with your family. That could mean:
- Negotiating or updating the terms of a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement in writing
- Establishing the legal terms and boundaries of your domestic partnership
- Mediating or litigating legally binding custody arrangements between parents
- Drafting property and asset division agreements between family members
- Clarifying the terms of any restraining orders between family members
Yes, family lawyers can help when a relationship between two people falls apart. But talking to a family lawyer doesn’t have to involve conflict or crisis. In fact, working through the legal realities of your family life could be a beneficial gift for the ones you love.
Divorce and Domestic Partnership Dissolution
Divorce cases can get complicated quickly, especially those involving high-income earners with significant assets. Bay Area divorces often end up dividing complicated types of assets, such as stock options and startup business interests. Same-sex domestic partnerships can face different types of challenges compared to divorce between heterosexual couples.
While the end of a marriage or domestic partnership is seldom easy for anyone involved, a good family lawyer can help you navigate your situation to your best possible advantage.
Property and Debt Division
Depending on the value of your assets, the economic stakes between couples, inheriting children, and other family members could be extremely high. Property division is often one of the most hotly contested parts of a divorce or domestic partnership dissolution.
In California, assets and debts are classified either as “community property” to be split in half by the couple or “separate property” that belongs to a single individual. A family lawyer with the right expertise can help you get your fair of the assets from your divorce.
Spousal Support and Child Support
Alimony is usually heavily negotiated between spouses. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you calculate which spouse should pay alimony to the other, how much they should pay, and for how long. If your spouse refuses to provide reasonable spousal support, your lawyer can fight for your right to alimony in court.
In California, children have the right to live at the same standard as the wealthier parent. California state and county courts take into account several factors when determining which parent must pay child support and how much. In this case, our family lawyers at Moradi Saslaw review the financial information of both parents to present the best option to the court.
Child Custody and Visitation
Parents are often concerned about what will happen to their relationships with their children in the event of a divorce. If your family has lived together up until this point, it can be difficult to imagine living apart from your children for any period of time. But California courts determine custody matters based on the best interests of the child. To make matters more complicated, there’s a difference between legal custody and physical custody.
Your family lawyer can help by negotiating a custody arrangement with your co-parent. If you’re unable to agree, your custody case may go to trial. At this point, your legal team would put together your best case for custody or visitation rights and present that to the court.
Move-Away and Relocation Custody Disputes Between Parents
If you share custody with a co-parent, moving even a short distance away could cause conflict with your custody or visitation schedule. One parent may feel threatened by the other if they wish to take their children with them when they move. Meanwhile, the other parent may be moving out of necessity – to accept a better job opportunity, for example.
These disputes could be emotionally charged and complicated, with court-appointed psychologists or mental health professionals carrying out the proposed changes in custody. You absolutely need a good family lawyer in your corner to represent your interests.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
Domestic violence is a serious charge with severe legal consequences for abusers. Victims of domestic abuse suffer intense trauma that can affect their legal family proceedings. Perpetrators of domestic violence could lose custody of their children and access to the family home. Your family lawyer can help you understand where you stand and fight for your rights.
What Makes a Good Family Lawyer?
Dedication, experience, knowledge, expertise, and passion are just some of the attributes that make a good attorney. The best family lawyers will help you through every step of the legal process, whether that involves submitting court filings or negotiating a settlement agreement.
Most of all, the best family attorneys are the ones you know you can trust based on their track record of fighting for satisfying resolutions for their clients.
Divorce is just one type of case under family law. A divorce lawyer focuses on only divorce cases, while a family lawyer handles divorce cases and other family issues.
Even if you’re facing a divorce, it helps to find a lawyer who handles multiple aspects of family law. This is because divorce is rarely simple and straightforward. You want to hire a legal expert who can help not just with property division in your divorce or domestic partnership dissolution but also with child support, custody and visitation arrangements, move-away disputes, spousal support or alimony, or any pre-marital or post-marital agreements. Family lawyers can also help in situations involving domestic violence or abuse.
These additional family law issues can pop up years before or after a divorce. Working with a family lawyer you trust familiarizes them with your unique family and priorities. As a result, your family law attorney can handle all of your issues with a consistent approach.
Divorce is a part of family law and is handled by family lawyers, also known as family law attorneys. When finding a divorce lawyer, you should look for a family law attorney who can help you based on your needs – whether your case would benefit the most from mediation, collaborative divorce, a negotiated settlement, or litigation in court.
The best approach for your divorce depends on your family’s unique circumstances and needs. The best way to navigate a successful resolution of your divorce is to talk to a family lawyer who has the experience and expertise to guide you through the legal realities of your situation.
Yes. Divorce falls under the legal area of family law. Divorce and domestic partnership dissolution are just part of the services that a family law attorney can provide. Your family lawyer can also negotiate your child custody and visitation arrangements, child support payments, spousal support or alimony agreement, relocations with joint custody, or pre-marital or post-marital agreements. They can also help in situations with domestic abuse.
The term “family lawyer” is often interchangeable with family law attorney, divorce lawyer, family practice lawyer, or family law specialist.
Your family lawyer has your back in family and divorce matters. A family law attorney can help:
- Handle your divorce or domestic partnership dissolution
- Determine how to divide your California community property, assets, and debts
- Negotiate child support, custody, and visitation arrangements between co-parents
- File or dispute move-away requests by parents who share joint custody
- Negotiate or determine the terms of pre-marital or post-marital agreements
- Argue for or against one spouse paying support or alimony to the other
- Handle restraining orders in domestic abuse situations
Yes, absolutely. If you’re facing a divorce, your family law attorney is the single person who is in your corner throughout the entire process. Your divorce lawyer can be an invaluable resource to help protect your custody rights and keep the assets you deserve after a divorce. California family law is built upon decades of nuance and complexity – taking action without sound legal advice can cause unexpected roadblocks to your goals later on. Getting a family lawyer to help is one of the best decisions you can make in your divorce.
When finding a family lawyer for your divorce, you must make sure that they have experience handling your type of case. Your divorce may have unique complications like high-net-worth assets, hidden assets, or stock options. You may need collaboration with other experts to get the best possible outcome in terms of child custody or visitation arrangements. Different family law cases present different types of challenges. You’ll get the best advantage by hiring a family lawyer who can handle the unique challenges you’re facing.
Generally, a lawyer cannot represent two opposing parties in the same legal action. If you have a contested divorce, it would not be ethical for your lawyer to represent both of you because your interests are in conflict with each other. Your lawyer has a legal duty to fight for your best interests. This isn’t possible when one client’s best interests directly hurt the best interests of another client, as would be the case in a contested divorce.
However, a single lawyer can represent both spouses to a divorce in the role of a neutral, third-party mediator. A mediator has a legal duty to act in the mutual interests of both parties rather than siding with one spouse over another.
Under California law, Family Code section 2030 ensures both spouses equal access to legal representation in a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. The law wants to make sure that spouses come to a divorce on equal footing, rather than favoring whoever is better off financially. To that end, typically, courts will first turn the spouses’ community, or joint funds, to pay for attorney fees. Additionally, California Family Code section 2032 gives the spouse with inferior finances the right to have their attorney’s fees paid by the other. As part of the process, both you and your spouse will file statements declaring your income with the court and documentation such as tax returns, W-2s, K-1s, or 1099s.
The answer depends on your financial situation. In cases where you and your spouse have enough “community” or shared funds, attorney’s fees may come out of your joint assets. According to California Family Code section 2032, if you are better off financially than your spouse, you may be required to pay their divorce lawyer’s attorney’s fees. This law acts as an “equalizer” between spouses who may otherwise be on uneven financial footing.
California family courts deal with legal disputes and issues between family members, spouses, domestic partners, and even romantic relationships. Your case will be handled by California family courts if it involves divorce, domestic partnership dissolution, asset and debt division between spouses or domestic partners, child custody or visitation agreements, child support, spousal support or alimony, or pre-marital or post-marital agreements.
California family proceedings can have three different standards of proof, which vary depending on the type of facts you’re trying to prove. A “standard of proof” describes the level of evidence and certainty required to prove your case.
The default standard of proof and the easiest to meet is a “preponderance of the evidence,” which comes out to more than a 50% chance of being true, or more probable than not. This is the standard you can expect to face most of the time in family court cases.
The second-most difficult standard is by “clear and convincing evidence,” which requires a “finding of high probability” where the proof is “so clear as to leave no substantial doubt.” This standard comes into play whenever a decision could terminate someone’s parental rights. As a result, you will encounter this standard more often in custody cases.
The most strict standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt and only comes into play in family law proceedings when filing a request to declare another party in contempt of court.
California has a minimum waiting period of 6 months and one day between the time you file your divorce petition until the date your divorce gets finalized. Even if you and your spouse are on the same page and everything in your divorce process goes smoothly, you must still wait the mandatory six months and one day before changing your marital status from “married” to “single.”
However, during this time you can work on negotiating, mediating, and finalizing your entire divorce. This way, you can come to a binding, enforceable agreement about your issues even before the waiting period ends. Your family lawyer can help expedite this process to the greatest possible extent so that you can move forward with your life without waiting any longer than necessary.
When hiring a family lawyer for your divorce, you get what you pay for. Most family lawyers charge by the hour, while some charge by the service.
A cheap lawyer isn’t going to give you the level of attention and detail you need for success if you want personalized attention and dedication to your case, if you have any complicating factors like children or complex assets, or if you’re facing a high-net-worth divorce.
Experienced divorce attorneys with proven track records are high in demand and charge accordingly. The more you have at stake, the more important it is for you to be able to trust your attorney to take care of any and all loose ends related to your case. Any issues you fail to address now could pose problems later on. Your family lawyer’s job is to anticipate and handle those issues before they become problems for you. The attorney’s fees you pay are a worthwhile investment into you and your family’s future.