Getting a divorce or legal separation is a hard decision to make, and it alters a family and how they live their day-to-day lives. It’s important that these cases are handled by a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney who can safeguard your and your family’s interests.
Family law covers several types of cases, including division of property, child custody, and order modification. These cases may be related to or a part of a divorce or separation case, or they may be separate. Family law cases are frequently emotional situations, and they can be difficult to handle without legal experience.
An effective attorney can help guide you through a divorce, support case, or other family law issue in a way that is tailored to you and your needs. If you are facing a family law case in Rancho Cucamonga, you need an attorney with years of experience with family law cases and who understands the importance of a personalized approach to these emotionally stressful cases.
The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires: Your Rancho Cucamonga Family Law Attorney
Family law cases are stressful for everyone involved and can be straining for families emotionally and financially. These situations are complex and can take time and significant knowledge of the legal process. When you work with an attorney, you are lessening the stress you’re dealing with and expediting the conclusion of the case.
At the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires, we believe in tailoring our legal counsel based on your family’s unique situation and needs. No family law case is the same, and we take the necessary care to support you through each part of the process while fighting for your interests. For more than 20 years, our firm has provided honest and knowledgeable representation to individuals and families in cases involving child custody, paternity, and contempt of court. Our team wants you to feel confident and informed about the legal path you take. Our firm can provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions that are right for the future.
Types of Family Law Cases We Handle
Our team handles every family law case with sensitivity, and we work to find the ideal solution to help you and your family. If your divorce case is complex and includes several facets of family law cases, we have the knowledge and experience to help you through it. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the family law court, we want to help.
The types of family law cases we handle include:
- Divorce and Dissolution
The decision to get a divorce is difficult for spouses, and it is not the last hard decision they will need to make. Divorce, or the dissolution of marriage, can take anywhere from months to years, depending on the case’s complexity. Spouses may have significantly high-value assets, have difficulty negotiating a parenting plan, or may have to go through litigation to settle their divorce. A knowledgeable attorney helps the process go more quickly while avoiding potential issues during the filing process. If spouses have a contentious relationship, an attorney can help protect their rights and interests.
- Legal Separation
A legal separation is similar to a divorce because it involves division of property, support determinations, and child custody. However, in a legal separation, the couple remains legally married. Legal separation may be used by couples who are unsure if divorce is the right option for them. It is also useful for couples who don’t meet the residency requirements in California and want to separate until they can get a divorce.
Mediation is one way of resolving an uncontested divorce or separation. If spouses can agree on the aspects of their separation agreement, or are capable of negotiating the terms, divorce mediation may be the answer. Rather than taking a divorce to court, a third-party mediator, such as a mediation attorney, can help spouses negotiate their separation. Divorce mediation is faster, less stressful, and less expensive than going through litigation. If spouses have children, mediation is more private and less contentious, making it easier on kids.
- Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is settled outside of court through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, collaborative divorce, negotiation, or other cooperative methods. Resolving a divorce in this way lessens conflict and gives both spouses more control over the outcome of important decisions, such as the division of marital property and parenting plans. Contested divorces leave those decisions up to the court and often take much longer to resolve.
- Division of PropertyDuring a divorce or separation, all marital assets are split between the spouses. Marital assets are any assets acquired during a couple’s marriage, with some exceptions, like an inheritance that was given to a spouse. It can often be complicated to determine if assets are marital or separate.If a couple is resolving their divorce through mediation or other methods, the division of property is up to them. A separation agreement, which includes property division, must be submitted to the court for approval. As long as the division and other aspects of the agreement do not unfairly disadvantage one party, the court will enter it as a court order.However, if the couple cannot agree on property division, it will be up to the court. California operates under community property laws. When a divorce is contested, the court divides property according to these laws. Community property laws state that all marital property is split 50-50 between spouses.
- Spousal Support
Spousal support is not the automatic right of either spouse. The court may grant support to spouses based on financial need. Temporary spousal support is provided while the divorce or separation case is ongoing and is based on the income and financial needs of each spouse. Permanent or long-term spousal support is provided after a divorce case is finalized, although it isn’t actually permanent. Spousal support is more likely awarded when one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other and the spouses were married for a longer period of time.
- Child Custody and Visitation
When divorcing spouses have children, the process becomes more complex, leading to a child custody case. Custody cases can also occur without a divorce case. There are two types of custody in California: legal custody and physical custody. The parent(s) with physical custody can have the child or children live with or at least spend time with them. The parent(s) with legal custody will have the parental right and responsibility to make important decisions for their child or children, including educational and healthcare choices. Both legal and physical custody can be joint or sole. In family law cases involving children, the court makes all its decisions based on the child’s interests.
- Child Support
In family law cases involving children, both parents have a legal responsibility to financially provide for their children. Child support payments can’t be waived. Parents can agree on a set amount for child support payments, and the court will determine if that amount is in the child’s interests before making it a court order. If parents can’t agree, the court will use the child support formula to determine a fair amount. Support payments depend on each parent’s income, the financial requirements of the children, how many children need care, and which parent has more physical custody and time with the children.
- Modification of Court Orders
After a divorce or related family law case, the court issues its orders. Parties are required to follow those orders. However, there are reasons that allow these orders to be modified. A family’s circumstances can change, and the order can be modified to fit those changes. If one party’s income changes significantly, this may allow for a modification of child support or spousal support. Child custody could be modified if a parent is relocating. A change in circumstances is not always enough for a modification. Even if it is, the court has to approve any modifications that the parties agree to.
When parents are unmarried, the state doesn’t assume paternity as it does with married parents. Unless paternity is established, the parent who gave birth to a child is the only parent with legal parental rights and responsibilities to the child. An attorney can help parents establish the paternity of the other parent.
- Grandparent’s Rights
Grandparents have the right to request reasonable visitation with their grandchildren. This is often part of a divorce or separation case, but it isn’t always so. The court will balance parental rights with the child’s interests.
- Contempt of Court
After a family law case, the court issues orders to the involved parties. If these orders aren’t followed, such as failing to pay spousal support or ignoring a parenting plan, a party can petition the court to enforce them. If the other party is discovered to be willingly and knowingly disobeying a court order, they can be charged with contempt of court.
- Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is an incredibly serious situation that impacts several aspects of a family law case. Both victims and those accused of domestic violence need to understand their legal rights.
Contact the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires
Family law cases can change a family’s entire lives. If you are beginning a family law case, like divorce or custody, you want to fight for the ideal outcome. The team at the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires wants to provide you with excellent and caring legal support throughout your case. Contact our firm today.