Experienced Family Law Lawyers in Mountain View, CA
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we understand family law matters can quickly escalate to overwhelming emotional battles. We can help you take action to ensure your current and future interests are protected. You deserve the guidance and counsel of family law professionals to keep you informed and educated throughout your case. Allow a skilled, dedicated, and hardworking Mountain View family law attorney to maximize your case outcome through negotiation, mediation, or litigation. Contact us to discuss any family law matters including, but not limited to, the following:
- Property division
- Child custody
- Child support
- Child support modifications
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., our Mountain View family lawyers strive to meet your individual goals and expectations. Clients choose us for many reasons, such as our client commitment, extensive experience in family law matters, Certified Family Law Specialists, and effective advocacy in and out of court. We understand the nuances of California family law and our lead attorney has spent more than 35 years in this practice area.
Divorce in Mountain View, California
California is a “no-fault” divorce state. Spouses filing for divorce in Mountain View do so because of “irreconcilable differences,” or the inability to get along. In California, the court does not punish or lay blame on either party for any type of wrongdoing in the marriage.
There is a six month waiting period before the court will grant a divorce. Until the court issues a final divorce, neither party may remarry or file taxes separately.
To obtain a divorce in California, one spouse must live in California for the last six months, and file for the divorce in the county where they lived for the previous three months. However, if both spouses live in California for at least six months, but in different counties for at least three months, filing is allowed in either county.
There is also an exception for same-sex couples. Those who married in California but live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage can file a divorce in the California county where they married.
California is one of only a few community property states in the country. This divorce law views a married couple as their own community, with all assets, property and debt acquired during the marriage equally shared by both parties within the community. When a divorce case goes to trial in Mountain View, state law mandates that all marital assets and debts be divided down the middle – an even 50/50 split.
Regardless of which spouse earned more money or accumulated more debt during the marriage, California law will give 50 percent of the community property to one spouse and 50 percent to the other. It does not matter whether this is equitable (fair) for either party. This is why it is important to work with an attorney to achieve a property division settlement with your spouse during your divorce case.
Creating your own property division agreement for a judge to sign can help you protect your interests. Your ex may be willing to trade assets that you want for other assets that you are not interested in, for example, or take on a larger percentage of the community debt to keep the family home. A lawyer can walk you through mediation and alternative dispute resolutions to help you reach a property division settlement.
Mediation is a non-binding legal process where the goal is to facilitate a compromise between two parties that are involved in a dispute. Divorce mediation attempts to work out the terms of a divorce settlement so that a couple can avoid an expensive legal battle. Mediation uses an unbiased third party known as a mediator to supervise, resolve conflicts and guide the couple toward an agreement.
Mediation can be as formal or informal as the parties want. The mediator will start the meeting with introductions, then allow both parties (or their lawyers) to present opening statements that summarize each side’s view of the case. After this, the parties are separated into different rooms. Then, the mediator speaks to each party privately to try to work out a satisfactory resolution. If mediation does not end in a settlement, the parties can try again or go to trial.
Paternity in California
While children born in a marriage are presumed to be the biological children of the marriage, unmarried fathers are not assumed to be the fathers of their children even if they are on the birth certificate. Therefore, unmarried fathers or mothers need to establish parentage or paternity of their children.
To establish parentage, either a parent voluntarily signs a declaration stating they are the biological parent of a child or the court determines part of a parentage case. After doing so, that parent assumes all rights and responsibilities to their child(ren), including custody, visitation, and financial support.
The court must make a parentage finding to order and enforce child support payments. A court order permits an unmarried father to pursue the legal right to custody and visitation.
California Child Custody
Courts base child custody decisions on the best interests of the child and the custodial parent’s ability to care for the child. Along with the best interests and the custodial parent’s ability to care for the child, the court considers the following factors:
- The age of the child;
- The health of the child;
- The emotional ties between either parent and the child;
- The ability of the parents to care for the child;
- Any history of any family violence or substance abuse; and
- The child’s ties to the school, home, and community.
There are two types of child custody, physical custody, and legal custody. Legal custody issues pertain to the child’s healthcare, schooling, and religious upbringing. Physical custody is the child’s actual domicile. Hiring a Mountain View Family Law Attorney can help distinguish between these types.
California courts do not favor either parent’s sex when awarding child custody. Custody is not awarded based on marital status, physical disability, lifestyle, sexual orientation, or religion.
Child Support in Mountain View, California
Parents are under an obligation to support their children until they reach the age of 18, become emancipated, or are otherwise self-supporting.
The purpose of child support is to keep a child’s lifestyle from changing too much due to the divorce. Child support is for the child’s needs, including, but not limited to:
- Medical expenses;
- School expenses; and
- Extracurricular activities.
Child support payments are monthly by wage assignment unless otherwise agreed by the parents. Wage assignments may be through the state for ease of administration and tracking. State involvement eliminates any need for parental contact.
Child Support Modification
Typically, a child support court order in California is permanent once it is given or signed off on by a judge. It will continue until the child turns 18 or the order is otherwise terminated. However, there are some circumstances when the courts will approve a modification, or change, in the child support amount after it has been decreed. The courts require evidence of a substantial change in the parent’s circumstances, however, before a child support order can be modified.
Some of the reasons why a child support judgment might need to change include:
- Job termination or demotion
- A new job with higher pay
- New health care or childcare needs
- The birth of a new child
- A significant change in how much time one parent spends with the child
- One parent getting incarcerated
- Other changes that affect how child support is calculated
A parent cannot stop paying child support or pay a different amount without approval from the courts. Refusing to pay child support can lead to a parent being held in contempt of court. Coming to a private agreement without court approval is dangerous since, by law, the paying party will still owe the recipient the full amount. Technically, the recipient could take the paying parent to court and demand back pay for missed or reduced payments, plus interest and penalties.
Schedule Your Consultation with a Mountain View Family Law Attorney
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., our legal team is composed of experienced, committed, and dedicated attorneys. We are determined to help you achieve a favorable result in any family law issue. Our Firm has a professional Mountain View Family Law Attorney who understands the difficulties and confusion that the majority of family law cases present.
We will strive to provide you with the knowledge, communication, attention, and dedication you expect and deserve. We will aggressively fight to win successful results for you.
Call or contact us online to schedule your confidential consultation with one of our attorneys today.