San Mateo County Family Lawyer

Request a Consultation

Experienced Family Attorneys in San Mateo, CA

Any disputes concerning family law can be some of the most stressful experiences of your life. Coming to an agreement regarding divorce and custody can be an incredibly difficult process, with numerous factors to take into consideration – along with an exorbitant amount of paperwork to process and submit. Most family law matters are generally an emotionally burdensome ordeal that may take years to fully resolve.

Retaining an experienced, compassionate legal professional can not only significantly improve your outcomes, but also give you the peace of mind you truly deserve. The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. has the knowledge, insight, and experience necessary to assist you in all of your family law needs.


For more than 35 years, the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., has helped clients with all family law proceedings. Our lawyers have the experience and education to help you through all matters of family law, including:

We are legal professionals who sympathize with the stressful, highly sensitive situation you are in, and we work with you to ensure your needs and concerns are properly addressed. At the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we understand the highly personal nature of your case, and strive to give you peace of mind throughout the process.

san mateo family lawyers

Mediation & How it Affects Family Law in San Mateo

Most divorce and other family law cases do not go to trial. Instead, couples work through issues during mediation to create parenting plans and property division agreements on their own. Mediation is faster and less expensive than going to trial. It also allows you and your ex-spouse to remain in control over the results of your divorce case, rather than handing the matter over to a judge for the final decision. Hiring a lawyer can improve your chances of resolving your case without needing to proceed to trial.

With assistance from the experienced attorneys at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., you may be able to resolve your case during pre-trial settlement negotiations. If your case does have to go to trial in San Mateo County, however, feel confident in the capabilities of your lawyer by retaining someone from our law firm. You should trust your attorney to fight for the results you want using established and tailored legal strategies. The knowledge your lawyer has of California’s family laws and its court systems can help you during a challenging case.


Divorce in San Mateo can be an incredibly intimate process which can quickly turn more complicated than is necessary. The San Mateo County divorce attorneys at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can take on your emotional burdens, and help you assess your options and needs throughout the divorce process. We have experience in all issues that may arise, including:

We take all of your concerns into consideration during the process, ensuring that all of your needs are addressed. Our family law attorneys believe in providing personalized services to meet each client’s individual goals. You will benefit from one-on-one client care from your lawyer at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. from start to finish.

Stars Image Helpful and supportive

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

We Help With Domestic Partnerships

A domestic partnership is a registered relationship between two people who cohabitate but who are not married. In California, officially registering a domestic partnership comes with important benefits. Domestic partners can receive all the same benefits, legal rights and protections as married couples. This includes health care and insurance benefits. They also have the same responsibilities and obligations as married spouses. Registering a domestic partnership in California takes first ensuring your eligibility, then filling out and submitting the correct legal paperwork to the civil courts in your county.

California recently updated its domestic partnership laws. Effective January 1, 2020, anyone who is eligible to marry may register as domestic partners. Age and sexual orientation no longer matter when it comes to registering domestic partnerships in California. The new law resulted in new domestic partnership registration forms, which you must mail to the California Secretary of State or deliver in person to an office location if you wish to register your domestic partnership. Our San Mateo Family lawyers at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can help you with the paperwork needed to register in California.

Our attorneys can also assist you with the legal process of terminating your domestic partnership in California, if necessary. If you and your spouse do not have any properties or debts to distribute, as well as no children between you, you may qualify for a summary dissolution. This is an easier process than a traditional dissolution. If you do not qualify, however, you will have to go through the traditional divorce process. This includes filing a notice of termination, working out an agreement with your spouse and/or going to trial. Our family law attorneys at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. have years of experience helping couples register and terminate domestic partnerships throughout California.


Custody and visitation rights can be perhaps the most sensitive matter to resolve in family law, with emotionally charged circumstances that can have a profound impact on you and your children. The experienced lawyers at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. appreciate the gravity of custody disputes, and have the knowledge and compassion to take on all matters of custody, including:

  • Custody evaluations
  • Paternity rights, including DNA testing
  • Child support
  • Supervised visitations
  • Discerning “physical” and “legal” custody

We work with our clients to determine their custody needs. We understand how the courts in California work and how they decide important matters such as child custody and child support. Our lawyers can help your family work through these matters in or out of a courtroom. Ultimately, we prioritize the safety and health of the children involved, and ensure they receive the care and support they deserve.

Deciding On Child Custody and Support in San Mateo

Matters related to your child’s future and wellbeing are often the most difficult to sort out during a divorce case. In all states, you and your spouse will have the initial option of working out a child custody and support agreement together, on your own. If you and your spouse can collaborate (with or without help from lawyers and mediators), you can stay in control of child custody, child support, property division and other elements of your divorce case or dissolution. A judge in San Mateo County will typically sign off on any agreement you and your spouse create as long as it complies with applicable laws.

Creating a suitable and legal parenting plan (custody and time-share agreement) may take assistance from an attorney. The lawyers at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can work closely with you to represent your rights and best interests during pre-trial settlement negotiations with your ex-spouse. We can help you create and write up a parenting plan that maps out legal and physical custody, holidays, special occasions, health care and education decisions, and other important matters. We can help facilitate a productive discussion between you and your ex-spouse for better chances of avoiding court.

If mediation fails, your case may need to proceed to trial in San Mateo County. A family law trial will give the ultimate decision on important matters to a judge. This can make the outcome of your case unpredictable. You and your spouse will no longer have control over matters such as child custody or support. Instead, the courts will use factors such as both of your incomes and your relationship with your child to make these important decisions for you. The courts look at many factors when determining child custody and support, described in more detail later. Hiring our lawyers could help you achieve the results you desire from a divorce trial or property dispute in California.


On paper, dividing assets in a divorce or separation should be straightforward, with an equal division of assets involved. However, reality can be considerably more complicated, even in amicable separation cases. Dividing estates and property can be a difficult process involving unconventional solutions. This includes issues such as:

  • Complex property distribution
  • Retirement portfolios
  • Loans and other debts
  • Alimony payments
  • Valuations of businesses or professional practices
  • Property division among unmarried clients, such as those in domestic partnerships

The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., has the knowledge and experience to navigate through the most intricate matters of property and wealth division. We prioritize your needs to ensure that you are in the most ideal financial status after the separation process. This could also include submitting a temporary or long-term spousal maintenance request.

What Do Community Property Laws Mean For San Mateo Family Law Claims?

California is one of only a few community property states. In these states, judges do not look at fault or circumstances in deciding property division. Instead, the courts will split the couple’s community property evenly down the middle. You and your ex-spouse will divide your assets and debts 50/50 after a divorce trial in California, regardless of who made more money. Even if one spouse made more money during the marriage, he or she will have to divide all acquired money and property in half if the divorce goes to trial.

  • Real estate
  • Investments
  • 401(k) and retirement accounts
  • Life insurance
  • Jointly owned businesses
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Bank accounts
  • Cash
  • Furniture
  • Vehicles
  • Jewelry
  • Credit card debts
  • Pets

The only property the courts will have jurisdiction to assign, however, is community property. The courts will not have jurisdiction over separate property. You will get to keep all assets (and debts) you separately brought into the marriage, such as bank accounts you kept separate, gifts given to only you or inheritance in your name. Any commingled property or property you both acquired together after marriage is community property that will become part of the 50/50 division during a divorce trial in San Mateo County.

What CA Courts Consider in San Mateo Family Law Cases

One of the many benefits of hiring our San Mateo family law attorneys is gaining inside knowledge about what factors the state and county courts consider in family law cases. A comprehensive look into the trial determination process could prepare you for what is to come. A lawyer can assess your unique case, build a personalized legal strategy and help you fight for the results you desire using proven legal tactics. At the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we know what factors the courts consider during family law cases in California.

  • The child’s best interest
  • The income and earning potential of each spouse
  • The contributions each spouse made to the marriage
  • The sacrifices one spouse made to raise a family, if applicable
  • California’s property division laws
  • The mental health and status of each parent
  • Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Criminal convictions
  • The relationship between the child and parent
  • The age and health of the child
  • The child’s wishes, if old and mature enough
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child
  • The child’s connections to school and the community

What the courts look at during your case will depend on the type of decision being made and the issues unique to your situation. Our lawyers can help you understand what the courts might consider based on the facts of your specific case. The California courts will not consider fault during family law cases. All divorces in California are no-fault dissolutions, meaning neither spouse must prove the other did something wrong. The courts will not take fault into account when determining custody, support or property division matters. If the issue pertains to domestic violence, abuse or other crimes, however, the courts may consider it if it is relevant to the case.


The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. has been serving clients for more than 35 years in all legal proceedings regarding divorce and other matters of family law. Our legal professionals advocate for clients with compassion, sympathy, and transparency. We are clear and thorough in discussing your legal options, and prioritize you (and your children’s) best interests to finalize a fair outcome.

Although we always attempt to settle things out of court, we do not hesitate to go to trial if it is necessary to protect your best interests. If you have any questions or concerns about your legal options regarding divorce, custody, property division, or any other matters of family law, please call us at (650) 761-9523 or contact us online.

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
Arrow Image
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
Arrow Image