With an office centrally located in San Diego, the family law attorneys at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP, provide clients with the highest level of service and legal representation.
Our commitment to excellence transcends all areas of our practice, which includes providing our clients with outstanding value and service in family law. California family law is extremely complex and can have a major effect on your family if not handled by a knowledgeable attorney.
We pride ourselves on making the resolution of your legal issue as smooth and painless as possible. We provide free parking and a free confidential consultation so you can discover how our experience can benefit you.
When faced with divorce, legal separation, paternity, child support, custody, modification of a judgment, or a nullity case, it is extremely important that your attorney is skilled in the family law issue that is presented in your case. Our firm’s partners are Certified Family Law Specialists, experts in divorce, paternity and other family law matters. All of our attorneys have years of experience and are dedicated and knowledgeable about the family law issue you are facing today.
If you have family law issues that you need help with call or email our office today to schedule your free, private meeting with our attorneys. We can help you.
Family law encompasses a variety of issues that are governed by the California Family Code, and include:
Divorce, Legal Separation and Annulments – Family Law Essentials
The cases that comprise divorce, legal separation and annulment matters in San Diego are often the most complex cases because a myriad of issues may be litigated in these types of cases, including whether the marriage itself is valid, child custody and visitation issues, child and spousal support, and the division of assets and debts (to name a few.) These cases usually take the longest to complete as well, because the “procedural track” to completion takes the longest.
Domestic Violence Family Law Cases
Domestic violence is violence that occurs between family members or people that have close relationships with one another (i.e. parents of a child or boyfriend/girlfriend). Domestic violence, or DV for short, can be an extremely important aspect of family law. If a permanent restraining order is granted, it could have resounding effects on the restrained person’s life, including the presumption created that the restrained person should not have legal or physical custody of a child.
Validity of a Marriage in Family Law
The question of whether a marriage is valid often arises in family law cases, whether it stems from a nullity claim (i.e. that a marriage is void because of bigamy or voidable due to fraud, for example), situations where parties may not have followed the proper procedures to get married like obtaining a marriage certificate, or where parties were married in another country.
Family Law Matters Involving Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and visitation issues are always present in “paternity” cases and cases involving modification of a prior custody order. Custody and visitation may also be an important issue in a divorce or legal separation case. In San Diego County, the Family Court requires parents who wish for the court to hear their custody case to attend mandatory mediation, which if an agreement is not reached, the counselor makes a recommendation to the court. Understanding the process and how the court will determine which parent, or both, will receive custody of children is part of our expertise.
Family Law and Child Support
Child support can be an extremely complex facet of family law practice in San Diego County. While the state of California has prepared a mandatory “guideline” formula for child support, the practical application can be extremely arduous and difficult. That is because family law cases often present facts and circumstances that present difficulties into how child support is calculated, such as when a parent is self-employed and receives certain employment benefits and tax write offs and deductions, or when a parent has many assets that may or may not produce income.
Spousal Support Cases in Family Law
Spousal support, also called alimony, occurs when the court orders one spouse to provide monetary “maintenance” to the other party to assist them in covering their needs. There are two kinds of spousal support: temporary and permanent. Temporary support is based on the supported spouse’s needs and the supporting party’s ability to pay. The two kinds of spousal support are treated much differently in court. Temporary spousal support can be calculated by a computer program that divides the net spendable income between the parties after consideration of deductions and tax filing statuses. Permanent spousal support is determined after the court analyzes and weighs the various factors contained in Family Code 4320 and other similar code sections.
Premarital Agreements – Family Law Basics
Premarital agreements are contracts between two people that intend to marry or register their domestic partnership. These agreements can be extremely important and can vary the rights and obligations a person may otherwise have in their marriage. The procedure for creating a valid and hopefully enforceable premarital agreement can also be extremely complex and rigid. If not done correctly, a premarital agreement will likely be struck down. It is also imperative to include as many safeguards as possible in a prenup to ensure that the court will not declare a prenup “unconscionable” at the time it is being enforced.
Paternity Family Law Matters
Paternity cases involve parents that were not married to each other at the time a child is born. Either a mother or father may petition the court to establish that a particular man is a child’s father. Paternity cases often involve child custody and visitation issues, child support, payment of pregnancy and childbirth expenses, and determination of parentage based on DNA testing.
The registration of a domestic partnership in California creates a legal union between same sex partners, which can only be properly dissolved by the family court. The same issues and procedures that are involved in a divorce case often apply in dissolution of domestic partnership cases.
Other Family Law Issues and Information
Family law is a unique and interesting area of law. A good San Diego family law attorney understands that there are a wide variety of other areas of law that are certainly applicable to divorce and other family law cases and they must be understood completely. For example, in divorce and legal separation cases, both parties must complete financial disclosures. That requirement is found within the Family Code. However, what if those disclosures are incomplete or inaccurate? Other California statutory and case law may provide the answer. In this example, the use of civil “discovery” rules may help the party obtain additional information. While discovery rules are not contained in the Family Code; rather they are included in the California Code of Civil Procedure, these rules and methods are critical to success in many cases. Similarly, property, tax, contract, bankruptcy and other areas of law may all have significant importance in a family law case.
If you have a family law issue, be it divorce, child custody, support orders, then contact one of our partners at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP. We will explain the issues and present your options so you can best achieve your goals.