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Santee Family Law Attorney

Santee Family Law Attorney

There are a number of different reasons why people in California may come to believe they require assistance with a family law issue. Issues related to children, parentage, marriage, and divorce all fall under the purview of family law. People often have difficulties dealing with family law issues, not only because they cover sensitive personal topics that can cause high levels of stress, but also because the legal system surrounding family law issues, found in California’s Family Code, is typically difficult to comprehend for people without a law degree. However, just because family law issues often feel personal, does not mean you should go through this process alone. In fact, because the family law issue you are currently encountering is probably deeply important to you, and not something you at all take lightly, you want to make sure that you receive the proper support in order to navigate this challenging time in your life.

While the support of your friends is certainly helpful when going through a legal predicament, it is most important that you engage the support of someone with legal expertise in family law issues, ideally an attorney who specializes in family law. To talk with a lawyer in your local Santee area, call 619-610-7425 to have a discourse with a family law attorney who can answer any questions you have about the process and even represent you in any family law proceedings you may be facing in your near future.

While family law covers a wide breadth of different legal issues, touching on all aspects of familial relationships, there are a few family law issues most commonly encountered by people in California. Below are summaries of a few of these legal issues:


Adoption is defined as the process of legally establishing a relationship between an adult and child, through which the adult is granted all of the legal rights and responsibilities parents have over their children in California. Adoption is used in scenarios when the prospective parent is not the child’s biological birth parent, but is interested in taking on the legal duties associated with being the child’s parent.

There are a few different categories of adoption that are legally permitted in the state of California. The most common form of adoption is referred to as stepparent adoption, which is when the domestic partner or spouse of the birth parent decides he/she wants to become a legally-verified parent of his/her domestic partner’s/spouse’s child. To complete this kind of adoption, the prospective parent must prove he/she is legally married to or engaged in a registered domestic partnership with the child’s birth parent. This type of adoption is the most straightforward from a legal perspective, as it requires the least amount of paperwork and is generally approved by the courts barring special circumstances. The other main forms of adoption involve the adoption of a child that is either done through an adoption agency, involves a child from another country, or is done completely independently. For these types of adoptions, the adopting adult must be at least 10 years older than the child in question. Also, for all types of adoptions, the consent of the child is required if the child is 12 years or older.

A San Diego adoption attorney can be useful for many reasons when an adoption is being considered. A lawyer can help you determine the form of adoption that works best for you, help you fill out the proper forms to ensure you receive custody of the child, and otherwise provide general legal support to make sure the adoption is approved by the courts.

Marriage Law

Marriage is an agreement between two people that is legally confirmed by an official marriage license and certificate. In California, a marriage license must be obtained from a county clerk before the marriage, which is then valid for a period of 90 days. After the marriage actually takes place, and the license is signed by the appropriate parties, which include the people getting married, the officiant, and at least one witness, it must be brought back to the county clerk within 10 days of the marriage ceremony. The clerk will then issue a marriage certificate if the marriage license is filled out correctly.

In order for a marriage to be considered valid in California, certain conditions must be met. Both parties must not be married to another person when the marriage takes places, otherwise California’s laws against bigamy will have been violated. A marriage also cannot be considered valid in California if the two spouses are close blood relatives. The marriage must have been entered by the two people willfully and with their full consent, no coercion may have taken place to force one of the parties into the marriage. Also, both of the people involved in the marriage must not have been of unsound mind when the marriage took place. There isn’t a residency requirement for getting a marriage certificate in California, the only requirement is that the marriage took place somewhere in California. Lastly, since 2013 and the overturning of Proposition 8, same-sex couples are fully permitted to get married in California.

To ensure your marriage is completed correctly and fully valid, it may be a good idea to consult with a San Diego marriage law attorney prior to getting married in California.

Divorce Law

When one or both of the participants in a marriage decide that the union is no longer functioning, a divorce, which legally terminates the marriage, is often pursued. California law does not require wrongdoing in order for a divorce to be permitted by the courts, as California is a no-fault divorce state. One of the spouses only needs to argue that the continuance of the marriage is being made impossible by what are legally referred to as “irreconcilable differences,” which in common terms means major disagreements. 

There exist two main kinds of divorce in California. The first and simpler method of divorce is named uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is when the two parties both agree that a divorce is desirable, and just as important, agree on the terms of the divorce. A contested divorce is when the divorcing parties either don’t agree that a divorce is a desirable option, or don’t agree on the terms of the divorce, or both. If a spouse does not support the divorce, there is little to nothing that person can do to stop the divorce. If the spouses do not agree on the terms of the divorce, they can either enter mediation, arbitration, or have a judge determine the divorce settlement in court.

Issues that usually come up in divorce settlements include the separation of property, custody of children, alimony payments, and others. To make sure you receive a fair divorce settlement, don’t hesitate to reach out to a San Diego divorce lawyer who can ensure you receive what you deserve.

Child Custody

As mentioned in the paragraph above, child custody is usually one of the central issues in a divorce settlement, when the marriage involved children. Child custody is generally defined as the control parents have over their children that is granted to them by California law. If two parents cannot mutually make a decision on how to share custody of their child/children on their own or through mediation, then a decision will have to made for them by a California court. The court will take many factors into account, to determine what is optimal for the welfare of child/children.

There are two main forms of child custody to be considered by the parents and by the court if need be. Legal custody governs control over key life decisions for the child/children, which include choices regarding education, doctor or healthcare provider, participation in religious institutions, travel, and other decisions that will have a major effect on the child’s life. Legal custody is either joint or sole, with joint legal custody meaning the parents share these decisions, and sole legal custody meaning one of the parents makes these decisions alone. Physical custody governs which parent will provide a home for the child/children. This also may be joint or sole, meaning the child spends significant time with both parents or just one parent. In cases of sole custody, the non-caretaking parent may see their child through what is called visitation

While child custody is certainly often a key issue in divorce settlements, child custody can also be an issue for parents who never got married. In these cases, the unwed mother is automatically granted total control over both forms of custody, unless the father is able to gain paternity rights through the court system. It is important to call an experienced San Diego child custody attorney to understand your rights.

Spousal Support

Another legal issue that is often at the center of divorce proceedings is spousal support, otherwise commonly referred to as alimony. Spousal support is a form of financial aid paid from one ex-spouse to the other, to help that person preserve his/her standard of living post-divorce. Spousal support is by no means included in every divorce settlement, if the divorcing parties maintain similar levels of disposable income after separating, then neither party will generally be required to pay spousal support.

There are two classes of spousal support: temporary support and permanent support. Temporary support is generally paid before the finalization of the divorce, and is usually determined by a set formula. Permanent support, on the other hand, refers to alimony payments made after the conclusion of a divorce. This amount is either agreed on by the two parties outside of a courtroom or chosen by a judge, using factors such as the earning capability of each spouse and the length of the marriage. There is no set way permanent spousal support is adjudicated, the judge must take into account the context of each case before making a decision. For instance, a judge may determine that a person is entitled to spousal support because he/she lost out on viable career opportunities in order to take care of the couple’s children, or not entitled to spousal support because he/she only chose not to pursue career opportunities out of laziness. Permanent support is usually not actually permanent, instead it typically lasts less than half the length of the marriage.

Restraining Order

Restraining orders are legal instruments used to protect individuals from harassment, abuse, or assault from another person, oftentimes a member of that individual’s family. There are different kinds of restraining orders, a few of which can be applied under California family law. If you feel endangered by a family member, please call 619-610-7425 to speak with a Santee family law attorney, who can quickly get you the proper restraining order and make sure you are protected.

The most common form of restraining order applied in family situations is what is called a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. This type of order is issued to protect an individual from harm, threats of harm, or other activity that makes the individual feel reasonably threatened and/or harassed. Only certain people qualify for this kind of restraining order, which according to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act includes spouses, cohabitants, dating persons, engaged persons, parents, children, or blood relatives. This order is typically first issued on a temporary basis, usually lasting 15-21 days, followed by another court date. If your attorney can provide evidence of serious harm and/or threats of harm at this subsequent court date, then the judge will most likely extend the Domestic Violence Restraining Order, for a period lasting a maximum of 5 years. A restraining order can include a number of different requirements, such as eviction from a shared residence, an order to stay a certain distance away from the victim’s home or place of work, the termination of child custody/visitation rights, and other specific rulings.

Find a Santee Family Law Attorney Near Me

Do you have remaining questions about family law after reading this piece? Are you perhaps hoping to hire an attorney to represent you in a family law case? Call 619-610-7425 to speak with a skilled lawyer based in Santee who is a member of the stellar legal team at San Diego Family Law Attorney. This lawyer can answer any queries you might have about family law, evaluate your family law case, or even represent you in court.

Contact us today by calling 619-610-7425

We will give you a free, no-obligation consultation and can give immediate attention to your family law legal needs.

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