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Family Law

Family law encompasses a broad area of the law and some of the most personal moments in your life.  Most individuals do not consider obtaining a family law attorney until they are considering a divorce, but a family law attorney can be helpful at many different moments in one’s life.  A family law attorney can provide you with legal advice when you are planning a wedding (prenup), having children, in addition to the conclusion of a marriage.  As your family law attorney, our role is a very important one and we always educate our clients as to what options are available to them to solve their legal problems.  We also can provide resources and referrals that can assist our clients through the many changes that are ahead of them thus doing everything possible to strengthen their family in the process. .

Our Orange County family law firm offers our clients legal representation in all areas of family law, including:

 
 
 

Our goal in family law practice is to obtain positive results for our clients, so they can build a new future for themselves and their families. To help ease the stress of choosing the attorney best for you, we offer a free brief telephone consultation on new matters and a low-cost initial office consultation.

DIVORCE

Orange County Divorce Lawyer

 

Legally speaking, divorce refers to the dissolution of marriage.  When you and your spouse make the decision to end your marriage, it’s important to obtain legal representation separate from that of your spouse.  For any divorce case there are a number of issues that must be addressed and resolved before the divorce is finalized, such as matters involving child custody, child support, spousal support, marital property division, and more.  Hiring your own attorney is the best way to ensure your rights will be protected, and that you’ll have an experienced legal professional advocating for your needs, wants, and best interest in court or mediation. 

California Divorce Law

 

California is a “no fault” state, which means couples do not need to meet any legal grounds in order to be granted a divorce. In California, couples wishing to divorce can file on grounds of “irreconcilable differences.”

 

Although a couple doesn’t need to have legal grounds, there are residency requirements that must be met.   Before a couple will be granted a divorce, they must prove they have lived in the state of California for at least six months prior to filing the divorce paperwork.  A couple must also have lived in the county in which they are filing for divorce for at least three months.  Lastly, once the divorce papers have been filed with the court, there is a six-month waiting period before the divorce is legally finalized.

CHILD SUPPORT

Orange County Child Support Lawyer

 

In the wake of a divorce or legal separation, it’s important to keep things as stable as possible for your children.   This includes making sure they maintain the same standard of living they had when you and your spouse or partner were living together.   It’s important to understand that just because your marriage or partnership is ending, does not mean your relationship and responsibilities to your children is also ending.  As a parent, you have a legal and ethical obligation to make sure your children have the financial security to live a happy and healthy life. 

California Child Support Law

 

It’s not uncommon for two parents to disagree over the amount of child support that is to be paid.   If you and your spouse are unable to reach a mutual decision in regards to child support, the courts will intervene.  The courts use a complex formula to determine which parent will pay child support, and how much one or both parents are required to pay.  In simple terms, the formula calculates each parent’s income and the number of children who require support.  Other factors that play a role in determining child support include:

 

·         The child custody arrangement

·         If one or both parents are currently paying support for children from a different relationship

·         If one or both parents are paying for the children’s medical insurance or expenses

·         Which parent claims the children on his/her taxes

·         If any of the children have any special needs that require additional support

·         All other costs associated with raising and caring for the children.

 

SPOUSAL SUPPORT

Orange County Spousal Support Attorney

 

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, is monetary payments by one spouse to the other after a divorce or legal separation.  Unlike child support, there is no required legal formula for determining spousal support.  When deciding upon a spousal support arrangement, the courts just want to make sure that both spouses have the financial resources they need to maintain the same standard living they had when they were married.  If you are going through the divorce process, it’s wise to hire an attorney who can look out for your best interest and make sure you are being treated fairly.

How is Spousal Support Determined?

 

Spousal support is left up entirely to the parties involved.  If you and your spouse can agree on a spousal support arrangement that works for your lifestyle, the courts will honor and uphold your arrangement.  However, if you and your spouse cannot mutually agree upon a spouse support arrangement, the courts will intervene. There are multiple factors the judge will take into consideration when determining spousal support, such as:

 

·         Each spouse’s income

·         Each spouse’s ability to earn an income

·         Whether or not one spouse stayed home to raise children during the marriage

·         The duration of the marriage

·         How marital property and assets were divided

·         The standard of living the spouses shared during the marriage

·         Each spouse’s age and health

 

Spousal Support Modifications

 

Once a spousal support order has been filed with the court, both parties must adhere to the guidelines set forth in the order.  However, sometimes certain circumstances make it difficult to keep up with the current spousal support order.  When either spouse needs an increase or decrease in the amount of support that is paid, they can file for a modification of the spousal support order.  Normally a modification is requested when the spouse paying support is suddenly unable to continue making the same level of payment due to an unexpected job loss, medical condition, illness, family emergency, etc.  

 

 

CHILD CUSTODY

Orange County Child Custody Lawyer

 

One of the most important aspects to address during the divorce process is child custody.  Unfortunately, child custody is also one of the most hotly contested issues during a divorce as well.  During a divorce or separation, it’s important to keep your child’s best interest in mind when deciding on a child custody arrangement.  As important as it is for you to maintain a strong relationship with your children, it’s even more important for your children to maintain some sense of stability after a divorce or legal separation.  

Child Custody in California

 

Although a divorce or separation is never easy, especially for the child, it’s much easier on everyone when you and your spouse are able to mutually agree on a child custody arrangement.  In the event that you and your spouse or partner cannot agree on child custody arrangement, the courts will intervene.  When a family law judge is brought in to determine a child custody arrangement, his or her main concern will be protecting the child’s best interest. 

Types of Custody Arrangements

 

There are four main types of custody arrangements:

 

Joint Physical Custody: the child resides with both parents, although the amount of time the child spends at each parent’s home may or may not be equal.

 

Sole Physical Custody: the child resides with only one parent.  In most cases, the parent without physical custody is awarded visitation rights.

 

Joint Legal Custody:  both parents have the authority to make legal decisions on behalf of the child.

 

Sole Legal Custody: only one parent has right to make legal decisions for the child.

 

 

PREMARITAL AGREEMENT

Orange County Premarital Agreement Lawyer

Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Serving Orange County, CA

 

 

 

Before you head into a marriage, it’s a good idea to consider obtaining a premarital agreement.  A premarital agreement (also known as a prenuptial agreement or prenup) is a legal contract that outlines how marital assets will be divided in the event a marriage ends in divorce or death.  A premarital agreement can also assist a couple with opening up communication as to each person’s expectations and desires within the marriage. 

 

Why Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

 

Many soon-to-be-married couples feel a sense of aversion to discussing a prenuptial agreement.  Divorce is the last thing any happy couple wants to think about.  However, with a valid premarital agreement, you can rest assured that you will be protected if your marriage does come to an end.  When you sit down to draft your agreement, you will provide Attorney Winterbotham with a list of your assets and liabilities.  Ms. Winterbotham will then state in the document how you wish for your assets and property to be divided in the wake of a divorce.  Prenuptial agreements are legally binding and cannot be amended or changed without consent from both parties.  A valid premarital agreement can protect your pre-marital and marital property while potentially reducing costs associated with a litigated divorce or probate. 

 

Prenuptial agreements can also dictate how other marital issues are to be handled in the event of a divorce or death, such as child custody and spousal support.

Contact Orange County Divorce Attorney Bree Celeste Winterbotham

 

Divorce is a very serious legal matter that needs to be handled responsibly.   The terms of your divorce will have an effect on your life for many years to come.  It’s important to have a clear objective of what you wish to achieve in your divorce, and then make sure those objectives are followed through.  An experienced Orange County divorce attorney can help you through the divorce process while protecting your rights and helping you make informed decisions that best serve your unique needs and interests.  Ms. Winterbotham is focused solely on helping you resolve the terms of your divorce in a way that satisfies the needs of you and your family, and allows you to move forward after this often difficult process. 

 

 
           
 

 

 

 

 

 

Tel: (949) 200-7336

   

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Copyright © 2005-2014 by The Law Offices of Bree Celeste Winterbotham.  All Rights Reserved.  The information on this site is not, nor intended to create legal advice.  Moreover, please be advised that no attorney-client relationship is created herein.  Every legal situation is unique and requires individualized legal advice.  You should not act upon or rely on any information in this website without consulting an attorney for individual advice regarding your specific situation.