Family Law

Family law is the branch of civil law including legal relationships between family members such as husbands, wives, parents, children and domestic partners. A family law attorney focuses on these relationships including the manner in which they are handled. A family law attorney typically deals with issues incident to divorce or legal separation, including but not limited to, property rights between spouses or domestic partners, spousal support, child support, child custody, visitation rights, and domestic violence. Family law attorneys can also help facilitate adoptions or help with paternity actions.

Our firm has experience in all of these areas, and has years of expertise in all family law proceedings, including complex litigation in the following areas:

Dissolution or Divorce

A decision to end a marital relationship is not taken lightly. We understand that clients inquiring about a divorce have unique and personal challenges they may face throughout the divorce process. Our office strives to maintain a professional relationship while also making sure your voice is heard, strategies are employed to help reach attainable goals, and that our firm helps guide you through the litigation process with as much ease and comfort as possible. Our firm has over thirty-five years of experience with the unique challenges that divorce may pose for clients. We have the knowledge and expertise to advocate strongly on your behalf while also employing strategies to divide the community estate and protect your interests throughout the process. Each case managed according to the client's specific needs and goals and we strive to maintain a high degree of decorum and efficiency on each case.

Legal Separation

Parties may decide that they no longer want to reside as husband and wife but do not wish to end the marital relationship. Perhaps this is to protect one party's health plan coverage, or perhaps to have a trial separation to see whether there may be a chance to reconcile. Should legal separation be an avenue you wish to explore and determine whether it is correct for you, we are able to guide you through that process.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

California is a community property state and therefore upon divorce the property rights fall under the state's default guidelines. The only manner in which they will not fall under the community default is if the parties choose to opt out by creating a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are a contract between two parties who intend to enter into the marital relationship. Should the parties ever divorce, the specific items covered in the premarital agreement may help aid the Court in determining property rights. A premarital agreement may be an avenue you wish to explore prior to entering into a marital relationship.

Property Division

California is a community property state meaning there is a presumption that all earnings and assets acquired during the marriage are community property. However, this presumption may be overcome by meeting the burden of proof that an asset is separate property, i.e. property owned prior to the marriage, inherited, or gifted. Our firm has experience in complex family law divorce proceedings wherein the property is characterized and divided according to the statutes mandated by our state legislature.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is the payment of support from one spouse to the other during the proceeding and/or after the divorce is finalized. There are several factors the Court considers in determining a spousal support order, not the least of which is the earning capacity of each party.

Child Support

Child support is the payment of support from one party to the other for the support of their minor children after a separation or divorce. Child support may be for a paternity action, legal separation, or divorce case. Child support payments are determined in California pursuant to uniform child support guidelines set out in the Family Code. Guideline factors include each party's incomes and the custody agreement regarding the minor children.

Child Custody and Visitation

Most parents want to see their child as frequently and as often as they can. Upon separation the family dynamic changes and custody and visitation rights need to be established for both parents. Sometimes parents are able to work this out successfully through Santa Clara County's mediation in family court, and other times an agreement is not made through mediation and more court time is necessary to reach a custody agreement. The Court will look to the best interest of the child in determining a custody agreement, and what is in the best interest of the child varies based on factors unique to each family dynamic.

Enforcement Proceedings

Sometimes during the pendency of the proceedings one party fails to follow the Court's directive, for example failure to sign a deed in a timely fashion. Our office is adept at filing the right paperwork and obtaining a court hearing in order to bring these issues to the courtroom and have a hearing on the merits.