Family law is the area of the law that encompasses legal issues related to family and domestic relationships. While all areas of the law come with their own unique challenges, family law is often described as the most problematic area of the law to handle, as family law cases often involve deeply sensitive issues and fractured relationships between family members. The majority of legal proceedings in family law courts are associated with the dissolution of marriages or child custody problems, which are always difficult situations to cope with. Due to the fact that family law issues are oftentimes emotionally charged and stress-inducing, people are prone to make mistakes when attempting to deal with family law issues without legal counsel.
For this reason, it is typically encouraged that you seek the support of an accomplished family law attorney, who possesses substantial experience dealing with family law cases in your vicinity. Call 619-610-7425 in order to have a conversation with a local Solana Beach attorney, who can serve as your legal representation or just answer any initial questions you might have about your case.
Just as no two families are alike, no two family law legal cases are the same. However, there are specific subjects that repeatedly arise in family court situations. Here are a few of those commonly encountered family law subjects:
Violence, or the threat of violence, committed against someone with whom a person has an intimate relationship is defined as domestic violence under California law. This person can be a current or former cohabitant, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancée, or person with whom you have a child. There are three main forms of domestic violence, which differ according to the severity of the injury caused by the act of violence. Simple domestic battery under Section 243(e)(1) is the least serious of the three and carries the lightest punishment, whereas domestic battery involving a traumatic condition under Section 273.5 is the most serious and carries the harshest penalties.
To prove domestic violence occurred, proof is required in two main areas. First, it must be proven that the perpetrator and the victim currently maintain or in the past had an intimate relationship together. Secondly, it must be proven that the violence or threat of violence was committed willfully. If one of the intimate partners only caused harm to the other intimate partner through an accident, then domestic violence cannot be charged. Also, if the case is charged under Section 273.5, it must be proven that the harm caused a traumatic condition, which is usually done by providing medical records from the emergency room.
If you would like to press charges against someone with whom you have/had an intimate relationship, or believe you are being falsely accused of domestic violence, call 619-610-7425 now to speak with a domestic violence attorney who has extensive experience dealing with cases of domestic battery in California’s court system.
In California, child emancipation is a method by which minors (persons under the age of 18) can gain many of the legal rights normally reserved only for adults. After a child has become emancipated, he/she is granted most of the privileges typically only afforded to people after their 18th birthday, and that child’s parents lose all of the rights typically afforded to parents of children under the age of 18. Emancipated children are able to choose their own medical care, elect where to reside, work in jobs typically restricted to people over 18, and more. However, emancipated children are still treated as minors in some respects. Emancipated children must attend school until they are legally permitted to drop out or complete a GED, still cannot marry without parental permission, and will be sent to juvenile court if they break the law.
There are a few main ways children may become emancipated. Minors who get married with the permission of their parents, or join the armed forces, can become emancipated. Separately, a minor may receive a declaration of emancipation from a judge if the minor can prove to the courts that he/she is 14 years of age or older, can provide for himself/herself, can prove the decision is mutual between the child and the parent, and that the child would benefit from emancipation. There are a few situations when a judge will typically believe it would be to the child’s advantage to become emancipated. These include an abusive and/or dangerous household, as well as parents who may unfairly steal money from a wealthy person under the age of 18, such as a child star.
Stalking and Family Law
Stalking is defined in California law as the recurrent harassment of a person that generates a credible threat of harm, and was specifically intended to make the victim feel reasonable fear for his/her wellbeing, or the wellbeing of his/her immediate family. While not all stalking cases involve families or a married/divorced couple, as stalking laws were actually introduced to protect celebrities from obsessive fans, the overwhelming majority of stalking cases in California today involve spouses or estranged romantic partners. Cases involving intimate partners are often addressed through California’s domestic violence laws and carry harsher punishments.
To qualify as stalking under California law, the harassment must be willful, must seriously bother or terrorize the victim, serve no reasonable purpose, and be recurrent. To be considered recurrent, the stalking must involve at least two separate events that demonstrate a continued intent. The stalking also must be malicious in order to qualify, meaning the perpetrator of the alleged stalking must have intended to make the victim feel disturbed or terrorized as a result of the stalking. Also, to qualify as stalking, the harassment must have caused the victim to feel a credible threat of harm. Unfortunately, there is no exact legal definition for what qualifies as an action that can cause a stalking victim to feel a credible threat of harm. Repeatedly following someone, walking by their residence, sending unwelcome gifts, or calling him/her on the phone can all qualify as stalking, as long as they place the victim in a state of fear stemming from a threat of harm.
If you feel you are being stalked by an ex-spouse, ex-boyfriend, or other family member, please immediately for your safety contact a Solana Beach attorney at 619-610-7425. This lawyer can help you quickly obtain a restraining order and eventually bring stalking charges against the person harassing you.
Partition of Property/Assets/Debts
In the case of a divorce or other form of separation, property must be split between the two divorcing parties. Ideally, this partition is agreed upon outside of a family law court, with the two separating spouses and their attorneys coming to an agreement and then submitting that agreement to superior court for final approval by a judge. However, since the partition of assets, debts, and other property can oftentimes be contentious, these issues can also be resolved in court or arbitration.
California is a state that operates under a communal property system, meaning property (including all assets and debts) that was obtained during the marriage belongs equally to both of the separating parties, and must be divided 50-50 between the two of them. This is even true when the partition of property/assets/debts is determined external to a trial setting, as the judge will reject the agreement if he/she feels communal property has not been divided equitably. Also, communal property law does not mean that each individual piece of property must be divided 50-50, instead it implies that the total monetary worth of the property received by each side must be equal, as it would be impossible to divide certain kinds of property 50-50. All property, assets, or debts acquired by either of the separating properties before the union or after the union is considered separate property, and belongs 100% to the person who acquired it.
For the courts to approve a property partition, a Schedule of Debts and Assets must be completed by each of the separating parties. This form includes all the separate and communal property involved in the marriage, and the value of that property. The level of similarity between each separating spouse’s form will often determine whether the property partition will be settled outside or inside of a family law courtroom.
A domestic partnership is a different form of legally confirmed relationship that is distinct from a normal marriage. While domestic partnerships were typically pursued by same-sex couples who were not able to get married due to past laws, this is no longer the case, as gay marriage is now fully legalized in California. Some same-sex couples still do pursue domestic partnerships if they do not feel as if marriage is the correct choice for them, as well as opposite-sex couples where one of the partners is at least 62 years old. Under A.B. 205, domestic partnership provides couples with the same protections, rights, and benefits that are afforded to married couples, as well as the same obligations, duties, and responsibilities. These include benefits related to family leave, rights to hospital visitation, inheritance rights, healthcare options only available to legally-verified couples, and much more.
A domestic partnership can be granted by the Secretary of State if the two parties meet all the criteria outlined in Family Code Section 297 (couple is either same-sex or one member of the couple is 62 or older, neither is married to someone else, they aren’t blood relatives, etc.) and the Declaration of Domestic Partnership is filled out correctly.
There are two ways in which a domestic partnership can be ended. The more typical method is through a termination process that mirrors the divorce process. This means the two separating parties may resolve separation issues (child custody, property partition, alimony, etc.) outside of a courtroom as long as the agreement is approved by a judge, or through the court system if an agreement cannot be reached. The alternative method is named a summary dissolution, and is only applicable to short domestic partnerships that don’t involve separating partners with large amounts of property/assets/debts.
Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial Agreements are documents signed before marriages that lay out how certain issues will be settled if the marrying couple ever decides to get divorced. For a prenuptial to be considered valid, and not in violation of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, certain conditions have to be met. The prenuptial agreement must have been approved by both marrying parties with their full consent, both must have been given 7 days to have the document reviewed by a lawyer, and both must have had an opportunity to review each other’s financial records. A prenuptial agreement can contain changes to rights of inheritance, plans for how alimony will be determined, and plans for how financial matters will be handled during the marriage. It cannot contain provisions that eliminate child support, make determinations regarding child custody, or penalize either spouse for adulterous behavior.
Prenuptial agreements are highly similar to postnuptial agreements, but are agreed to during the marriage instead of beforehand. Postnuptial agreements are generally drafted when some significant change happens in the marriage, and a spouse wants to take measures to protect themselves. This change can be that one of the parties in the marriage experiences a significant increase in income, or that one of the parties in the marriage starts impulsively spending exorbitant amounts of money. For a postnuptial agreement to be seen as valid in the eyes of the legal system, it must meet all of the conditions required for prenuptials listed in the paragraph above.
Locate a Solana Beach Family Law Lawyer Near Me
After reading through this webpage, do you feel as if you want to talk to an expert, in order to get specific information on your individual family law case? Call 619-610-7425 to have a conversation with a Solana Beach attorney, who works for the top-rated San Diego Family Law Lawyer firm. This lawyer, who specializes in family law, can evaluate your case and give you a consultation for free, or even act as your legal representative in superior court.