Experienced and Compassionate San Diego Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Divorce and other family law matters hit close to home, and sometimes actions taken based on emotions are not the best decisions for you or your family in the long-run. At Banker’s Hill Law Firm in San Diego, we understand what you are going through. Our lawyers take the time to listen to your concerns and craft a strategy that meets your immediate needs and long-term goals. Our experienced family law attorneys will explain your options to you and be with you throughout the process to the resolution of your divorce, child custody dispute, or other family law matter.
EXPERIENCED AND COMPASSIONATE SAN DIEGO FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS
California Divorce Law
California recognizes the concept of no-fault divorce (and was the first state in the country to do so). This means that you do not have to prove that one party was at fault in causing the breakup of the marriage; you only need to show that the marriage has broken down and that the spouses cannot reconcile their differences. For the most part, fault does not play a role in the divorce proceedings. However, there are many critical issues which must be decided in a California divorce, and every decision that is made can impact you and your children for years to come. If you cannot come to an agreement with your spouse about how these matters are to be handled, then a judge will decide the matter after a hearing in court.
The attorneys at Banker’s Hill Law Firm include experienced family law litigators who will work to negotiate a fair settlement or resolution with the other spouse, and if an agreement cannot be worked out, you will find us to be strong, effective advocates for your cause in the courtroom. If your immigration status may be affected by a divorce, the experienced family-based immigration attorneys in our firm will be able to advise you on how to proceed. Below are some of the main issues to be decided in a California divorce, and how an attorney from Banker’s Hill Law Firm can help.
If the parents cannot agree, the judge will decide on who gets custody of the kids. Although some form of joint custody is generally preferred, the judge does have the authority to grant sole custody to one parent only. The judge will also decide how to divide up the visitation schedule and determine how much time each parent spends with the children.
In addition to deciding on who gets physical custody of the children, the judge will also determine how legal custody is shared. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding a child’s upbringing in areas such as religion, schooling, medical care, extracurricular activities, etc. As with physical custody, legal custody may be granted solely to one parent or shared jointly by both.
In all custody decisions, the main focus of the judge is the best interests of the children. In arguing custody matters, you must be able to show that your position is in the children’s best interests, or that an alternative would be detrimental or not in their best interests. When child custody is disputed, you will need the assistance of experienced litigators to persuasively deliver your side of the case to the court.
Financially supporting the children is the legal obligation of both parents. After a split, the court typically requires the noncustodial parent to pay a monthly support amount to the parent with primary custody. Child support payments typically continue until a child is 18 or 19 or out of high school, but they may be ordered indefinitely in certain circumstances. The amount of child support is determined according to a complicated statutory formula which looks at factors such as each parent’s income and earning capacity, the amount of time they spend with the children, and a variety of different expenses and sources of income. Whether you are the parent who will be paying or receiving support, you will want to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney who will make sure the formula is applied correctly to get a fair result for you and your children.
Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, can be ordered for either spouse in a divorce. Spousal support is not automatic and is only granted if requested by a spouse who can demonstrate that it is needed for a period of time in order to become self-supporting, or for another legitimate reason. In deciding whether to order support, for how much and for how long, the judge will look at a variety of factors. Not only must the receiving spouse prove the need for support, but the paying spouse can challenge this request in court, so the issue may need to be heavily litigated before a decision is made.
For the most part, all assets (and debts) acquired by either spouse during the marriage become the couple’s community property, and in a divorce, each spouse is entitled to an equal share in that property. It is important to know in addition that one spouse’s separate property can become community property and vice versa, depending upon how it is treated by the couple during marriage. The division of community property in California is a complicated matter. Key factors to a correct property settlement are ensuring that every piece of property is properly characterized as marital or separate property, and that it is valued appropriately. The valuation of property can be incredibly complex, especially when one spouse owns an interest in a business, is self-employed, or has complicated assets like stock options and investment accounts. The attorneys at Banker’s Hill Law Firm assist in locating and identifying assets, and are well-versed in the complicated legal procedures required for property accounting under California law.
Get Help from Compassionate and Dedicated San Diego Family Law Attorneys
For advice and representation in a divorce or post-divorce modification or enforcement of court orders, or for help in other California family law matters such as paternity, prenuptial agreements, domestic violence, dependency, or stepparent adoption and termination of parental rights, call on Banker’s Hill Law Firm in San Diego for skilled and compassionate attorneys dedicated to your cause.