Petaluma Family Law Attorney

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petaluma family law attorneys

Compassionate Family Law Attorneys Serving Petaluma, CA

Most Californians will need a family law attorney or advice regarding a family law matter at some point in their lives.  If you find yourself facing a family law issue, the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can help –  no matter the complexity. Our team of Petaluma family law attorneys handles every aspect of family law, from prenuptial agreements and divorce to adoption and parentage.  Call or contact our office online today to speak with attorneys who are:

  • Practical and knowledgeable advisors;
  • Compassionate and empathetic listeners; and
  • Strategic negotiators and experienced courtroom litigators.

How Our Petaluma Family Law Attorneys Can Help You

The family law attorneys at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. stand beside you throughout any family-related legal matter from start to finish.  We strive to meet your family law goals and expectations while doing the following and more on your behalf:

  • Preparing and drafting any legal documents, whether they are stand-alone or court-related;
  • Acting as negotiators to settle disputes outside of court when possible;
  • Working with you to create manageable child custody arrangements;
  • Correctly calculating state child support payments; and
  • Representing you in courtroom disputes, including trials, when needed.

Reach out to the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. for help resolving your family law disputes.  We will use our more than thirty years of legal experience to navigate you through the family law process.

What Is Family Law?

Family law is the area of state civil law governing divorce, marriage, child custody, adoption, paternity, domestic violence, and other topics relating to the family unit.  Navigating the complexities of California’s family law system regularly requires the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Marriage Laws in Petaluma

To marry in Petaluma, both parties must enter into the marriage of their own free will and have a clear understanding of the nature of their marriage.  Both parties must also be eighteen years or older, have parental consent, and be of sound mind.

Couples must obtain a marriage license within ninety days of marriage and return a signed marriage certificate within ten days of their marriage ceremony.

Prenuptial Agreements in Petaluma

A prenuptial agreement is a contract spouses enter into before marriage.  It defines property rights and duties during the marriage and in the event of a divorce or death.  California prenuptial agreements must meet specific requirements to be upheld in court if challenged.

All California prenuptial agreements must be:

  • In writing;
  • Signed by both parties;
  • Entered into voluntarily with complete knowledge and understanding of the terms of the agreement;
  • Any terms cannot be unfair or too one-sided; and
  • In some instances, a mandatory period of reflection may also apply.

Divorce in Petaluma

To file for a divorce in Petaluma, California, one spouse must be a resident of California for six months and live in the county where the divorce is filed for three months.  There is a six-month waiting period to obtain a divorce in California without exception.

California is a community property state.  This means all property and debts acquired during the marriage are subject to equal division by the court.

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Debra and team were so helpful and supportive through the most difficult time in my life.  Grateful to the team for their advice – would highly recommend their services to anyone needing a divorce attorney.

J. J. San Francisco

Child And Spousal Support Matters

Child and spousal support are financial payments from one person to another to help them support their shared children or a spouse with a lower income, respectively. Child and spousal support are determined differently. There is a specific formula in California to determine the appropriate amount of child support. This formula determines a presumptive amount of child support according to the following information:

  • The number of children to be supported
  • The amount of the parents’ combined total income
  • The percentage of parenting time that the higher earning spouse has physical responsibility

There is no set formula for determining spousal support. California courts must consider various factors to determine whether to award spousal support, what kind, and for how long. Some of the factors the courts consider include the earning capacity, health, and age of each spouse, the length of the marriage and the ability for a spouse to become self-supporting with additional education or training.

There are times when the court can consider future income or potential income when making support orders. For example, a judge may “impute” income if a party has attempted to minimize their income to avoid or reduce financial support payments. This allows the court to attribute income to a party even when they are not earning that amount.

Courts cannot generally force a person to leave their current line of work to make a more lucrative living, even if their earning capacity may be greater than their current income. They also do not usually penalize parties for accepting lower-earning positions for viable reasons, such as greater flexibility to parent their children, better benefits, or healthier work environments. However, courts can impute income in certain circumstances, such as when the person has the ability and opportunity to earn more and refuses to do so.

Often, this may come down to discerning whether a person is involuntarily or voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. Involuntary unemployment occurs when a person legitimately loses a job they wanted to keep and is unable to find a substitute position. For example, they may have been laid off instead of fired for misconduct at work. In contrast, a person may be voluntarily unemployed if they quit work or deliberately lowered their income. In such cases, the court may ignore the change in income and continue to maintain the amount of support as originally ordered.

In other cases, the court may impute a certain amount of income after determining the person’s earning capacity. A person’s earning capacity may be determined by reviewing factors such as their:

  • Education
  • Ability to work
  • Opportunities to work, based on job opportunities in the local area
  • Willingness to work
  • Industry
  • Position
  • History of promotions
  • Employment history
  • Job skills
  • Market conditions of the person’s industry and position

If a party believes the other spouse is artificially deflating their income, they can take steps to try to argue this to the court to get the court to impute income to that spouse. For example, they can demand evidence showing the other party has made legitimate efforts to obtain employment. Expert witnesses can prepare a report and provide testimony about potential available jobs and their accompanying salaries. A party can also request a certified vocational examination, which is provided by a qualified vocational counselor after reviewing relevant factors about the party in question. A lawyer can help you with obtaining the necessary evidence to establish your case.

Contact an Experienced Petaluma Family Law Attorney

To discuss your family law matter with an experienced Petaluma family law attorney, contact the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C.  We will meet with you at your convenience to answer your questions and advise you of your next legal steps.

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

More About Honors & Awards
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10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
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