LEGAL AREAS OF PRACTICE
Divorce/DissolutionThere are 3 main ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in California: divorce, legal separation, and annulment. It is not necessary for both spouses or domestic partners to agree to end the marriage. Either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage, and the other spouse/partner, even if he or she does not want to get a divorce, cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case. If a spouse or domestic partner does not participate in the divorce case, the other spouse/partner will still be able to get a “default” judgment and the divorce will go through.
After you decide how you want to end your marriage or domestic partnership, you need to plan your case ahead of time. Think about how you are going to handle your case. Planning before you start and talking to a lawyer can save you time and money as you go through the court process.
If you want to end a registered domestic partnership, domestic partners must also file for dissolution (divorce), legal separation, or annulment to end their relationship. There is a limited exception where domestic partners can end their relationship in a summary process through the Secretary of State if they have been registered for less than five years and they have no children, no real property, very few assets or debts, and a written agreement on dividing their property, in addition to other restrictions.
Step Parent adoptionAdoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child's biological or birth parent. That means that once the adoption is final, the adoptive parents have all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent-child relationship. That new parent-child relationship is permanent and is exactly the same as that of a birth family. An adoptive parent can be a stepparent or domestic partner of one of the birth parents, a relative of the child who has been caring for the child, or someone not related to the child by blood.
Stepparent/domestic partner adoption:The spouse or domestic partner of the child’s parent adopts that child. The couple must be legally married or registered as domestic partners. It is the most common type of adoption. It is a little simpler than other types because 1 of the child’s birth parents still remains the child’s parent.
Child and Spousal Support
Property and Debt Division
Prenuptial means before marriage. But you can come up with an agreement in the divorce documents about how you want assets divided.
Divorce mediation is about you and your soon to be ex-spouse deciding your own divorce and what is best for the both of you and most importantly, your children.
In parentage cases, also called "paternity cases," the court makes orders that say who the child's legal parents are.If parents are married when a child is born, there is usually no question about parentage. The law assumes that the husband is the father and the wife is the mother, so paternity is automatically established in most cases.
But for unmarried parents, parentage of their children needs to be established legally.