Family Law is the general term for the civil law that affects marriages, families, children, and their income and property. This area of law includes premarital agreements, divorces, child custody, post-marital agreements, and post-judgment modifications. It does not relate to estate planning, and it does not relate to criminal law.
Occasionally a couple contemplating marriage wants to determine whether their incomes and assets will be characterized as separate or community property after they enter into marriage. Such agreements can be helpful in a variaty of situations, including where one or both spouses were previously married or have substantial disparity in assets, potential income, or wealth generally.
At Martin Family Law Firm we can assist one or both parties in a variety of ways. One way to assist a couple contemplating marriage is for us to mediate the terms. In this process we will meet with both parties in order to determine their individual goals for such an agreement, and help them identify what terms they would both like ot have in their premarital agreement. We can also assist by way of Collaborative Process.
Divorce is what most people think of when they think of Family Law. The first, or threshold, question that a divorcing couple faces is what process to use: litigation, mediation, or collaboration. Mediation and Collaborative Practice are discussed elsewhere on our website.
Litigation is the process whereby each person retains an attorney and they litigate the legal issue by and through their attorneys. While the popular image of litigated divorces implies that all cases go before a judge, the fact is that more than 95% of the cases end in a settlement. There might be one or two court hearings to determine interim support or to resolve other issues, but most cases are resolved without trial.
Public policy in California encourages settlement. Resolving your case respectfully and without a court battle is not a sign of weakness. Our firm will do all that is possible to find that resolution that is economically reasonable and is durable, and will draft a Marital Settlement Agreement to accurately and completely capture the terms of that agreement.
Occasionally a married couple wishes to transmute community property but not separate property, or just the reverse. In order to accomplish this, the Family Code of California sets forth some specific steps that must be followed. At Martin Family Law Firm, we can help you avoid the pitfalls of an ineffective transfer by assisting you with a Post-marital Agreement.
After a divorce is over, there can by a material change in circumstances from those that one or both parties anticipated. These changes might be an unforeseen inability to earn, or an unexpected increase in living expenses. These changes might involve the children, such as one of the former spouses needing to move away from the area for employment reasons, or due to remarriage.
Also after a divorce, there can be enforcement issues, for example where one spouse is paying support late or not at all.
At Martin Family Law Firm we do not charge for calls inquiring about mediation or collaboration.