Family Law Overview
Personal Service | Individual Attention
Vista Divorce Lawyer
Deciding to get a divorce can be an extremely difficult decision. In addition to the emotional stress of leaving the person you built a life with, there are also legal and financial questions that concern people. How long will my divorce take? Will you be able to make it on one income? If you were not working, how will you find a job and get back into the workforce? How will any retirement benefits or military benefits be divided? What are my rights? What am I entitled to?
Those are just a few of the potential hundreds of questions you might have when you first approach the idea of divorce. It can be incredibly daunting to think of finding answers for all the questions you’re likely to have and attempting to navigate your case successfully. Hiring an experienced and compassionate San Diego family law lawyer can be one of the best decisions you make concerning your divorce.
Finding A Solution That Works
Even if you think your divorce is very straightforward, it is still wise to hire legal representation as you make your way through your divorce proceedings. If there is any disagreement about the ownership rights to your marital property between you and your spouse, you must clarify these issues through either divorce mediation or by litigating your case in trial. It’s likely that ending your marital contract will involve many other issues besides just the division of property. You should assume that your spouse will have legal representation during whatever proceedings are to follow, and you should protect your interests and arrange the same.
When clients contact me, I know they are going through a difficult time. I talk with clients, taking the time to understand what is most important to them. Because mediation can offer a less contentious resolution to divorce matters, I encourage my clients to consider resolving their issues outside of the courtroom. No one understands your situation better than you do, and reaching a decision in mediation may be more beneficial than a parenting plan or Oceanside property division that is handed down from a judge.
However, I know there are situations where working with the other party is no longer possible. If we are not able to reach a settlement that protects your needs and rights, I am eager to take your case to court. I have been a family law attorney for over 20 years, and I am committed to helping my clients resolve all legal aspects of the divorce, including:
- Child custody. The family courts of California have a duty to always rule in favor of protecting the interests of children involved in divorce cases. No matter what has transpired between a divorcing couple, their issues as partners are completely separate from their responsibilities as parents. The court must determine a child custody arrangement based on many factors, primarily the parenting capacity of each parent. Some of the variables that will come into play include parental income, criminal history, records of substance abuse, and anything else that could potentially harm or benefit the children in the case.
- Child support. When one parent assumes the majority of physical and legal custody over their kids in a divorce, they become the custodial parent and may receive child support payments from the noncustodial parent. Some parents may not have grounds to argue for physical custody if they have a history of domestic violence or other criminal behavior, and they will likely be compelled to pay child support to the custodial parent. The court determines a reasonable amount and payment schedule, and California upholds strict penalties for failure to abide by the terms of a child support agreement.
- Spousal support (also called alimony). California family courts uphold community property statutes, and these statutes aim to ensure completely equitable divorces. When one spouse will not have the same income or quality of life as they did while married, the other spouse may need to pay alimony or spousal support on a temporary or indefinite basis. Some divorced spouses may have long gaps in their employment records from the time they were married and need financial support to finish schooling and/or professional certification. Other divorced spouses may have disabilities that prevent them from financially supporting themselves.
- Division of property (assets & debts). California’s community property laws mean that most, if not all, of the property and assets you obtained while married will be subject to division between you and your spouse during your divorce proceedings. Debts acquired during the marriage are divided the same way. The court will use several criteria to determine which assets are community property and which are the separate property of each spouse. During divorce mediation, it’s possible for a divorcing couple to negotiate most aspects of their property division. In a trial, the decision is in the hands of the court.
- Division of retirement accounts. If you contributed to a retirement account while you were married, you should expect these and other long-term investment accounts to qualify as community property. A family law attorney can coordinate with financial experts and accountants to clarify any disputes of ownership of your investment accounts.
- Division of Military benefits. If you or your spouse served in the United States military, you both may be entitled to long-term benefits even after divorcing. Your legal team will thoroughly review all of the paperwork related to the military benefits in your case so we can help to ensure an equitable division of these benefits.
These are only a few of the divorce-related issues an experienced San Diego family law attorney can assist within your divorce case. The office of Attorney Paula D. Kleinman and her legal team, understand how complicated and stressful divorce cases can be, and we take the time to get to know every client we represent so we are fully aware of all the factors in play that might influence their divorce proceedings. We believe in providing robust, extensively prepared, comprehensive divorce representation and have a solid record of successful cases behind us.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Legal costs can be costly. It’s not uncommon for individuals planning to divorce to wonder whether they can simply represent their own interests through their divorce proceedings. This is not a good idea for several reasons. First, a Vista, CA family law attorney will know how to navigate the family court system on your behalf and ensure you do not encounter any administrative or procedural errors that jeopardize your position in your divorce case. I can also help you develop a more robust property division proposal and gather the evidence you might need to prove your ownership rights over your separate property. My team and I can answer questions you might have during the whole process and basically take your legal concerns off of your plate so you can focus more on your personal life.
Attempting to navigate your divorce proceedings without legal counsel could result in your spouse obtaining more than they legally should from your marital property, an imbalanced child custody arrangement, or other undesirable provisions attached to your divorce order. Hiring a family law lawyer for representation means a fairer outcome in your divorce, and you will also have a valuable resource if you ever need to return to court about your divorce order. I can develop and file a post-judgment motion to adjust aspects of your divorce after the decree is finalized to account for recent life events, such as adjusting a child support order after one of the parents loses their job.
Ultimately, hiring a skilled family law attorney for your divorce case is an investment in peace of mind. I can help you prepare for your divorce case if you’re headed to mediation or litigation. In most cases, divorce mediation provides a low-pressure environment in which you and your spouse can coolly decide the terms of your divorce outside of court. Having your attorney present during these sessions can help you keep things on track. You will have an experienced legal advocate beside you who is ready to clarify any legal questions you might have during the process.
Call Or Email To Schedule A Consultation
Whether you plan to mediate your divorce or are prepared to litigate when negotiation is not an option, having the right San Diego family law attorney on your side can influence the outcome of your case in significant and surprising ways. I work with my clients to resolve their legal matters and help them move on with their life. Schedule your free initial 1/2 hour consultation with an experienced Vista divorce lawyer by contacting me online or by calling 760-542-6072.