Perhaps the most emotionally charged issues in life are those connected with marriage and children. At Vanegas Law Group, we approach your family law matter compassionately. Our experienced family law attorneys provide mediation and litigation services in all areas of family law, including legal separation, divorce, child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, property, asset division, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Our team is ready to assist you in any type of complex, often confusing, family law matter, fighting every step of the way for the best possible outcome you’re looking for. We believe most people want candid, transparent, courageous legal representation – which we strive to provide. We will use creative, efficient, cost-effective tactics, coupled with experienced strategies. We pride ourselves in our innovative approaches and our excellent results.
Family law issues can create chaos in your life and your loved ones’ lives. Our goal is to guide you through that chaos and minimize the emotional and financial impact of your legal proceeding. Contact our family law attorneys at Vanegas Law Group today to discuss your questions.
Where Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help
At Vanegas Law Group, we fully understand the emotional aspect of virtually every family law issue – and we approach every case with the emotional intelligence it deserves. We promise to answer any questions you may have regarding your family law issue, comprehensively, yet in an easy-to-understand manner. If you are looking for seasoned guidance, compassionate representation, resources, and professional negotiation skills that can turn the most contentious situation into a beneficial outcome for all, Vanegas Law Group is the family law firm for you. The family law attorneys at Vanegas Law Group understand the stress and chaos of a disruption in your marriage or family unit, and we offer our clients compassion and problem-solving solutions for a wide range of issues, including:
- Mediation/Collaborative Divorce
- Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage
- Legal Separation
- Custody/Parenting Time
- Child Support
- Domestic Violence
- Asset Division
- Spousal Support
- Step-Parent Adoptions
- Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreements
You have a choice in how you carry out your divorce. Our goal is always to guide you so your divorce is respectful and amicable, where you cooperate with each other to ensure what happens to the family and the finances of the family are in everyone’s best interest. Mediation and collaborative divorce proceedings are out-of-court solutions that allow you to never leave an outcome to chance.
In mediation, the clients work with an impartial and trained mediator to resolve a dispute. The goal of mediation is to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. The clients do not have an attorney present in the room during the mediation process, but can work with an attorney to prepare for mediation and review any agreement that is reached.
In collaborative divorce proceedings, the clients work with a team of professionals to create an agreement on how issues such as custody, support, and division of assets will be resolved. From the beginning, the clients and their attorneys agree that all communications made during the collaborative process will remain confidential. Clients work with their attorneys and support professionals, such as accountants, child specialists, communication coaches, and other professionals as needed to resolve all issues. Decisions are made by the clients without going to court or involving a judge. If any issue cannot be settled in the collaborative process then the attorneys and other professionals must withdraw but any issue that was resolved can be reduced to a written agreement to limit the questions to be decided by a judge.
Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage
The breakdown of a marriage is often complex and time-consuming. In listening to your story, we provide advice on the best way forward in this process. Legal separation, where you remain legally married but there are orders for child custody and parenting time, child and/or spousal support, and separation of finances, might be in your best interest. A dissolution of marriage, wherein the end you are divorced with orders for child custody and parenting time, support, and division of property, might be in your best interest, as well.
Filing for divorce in the state of California requires at least one spouse is a resident of California for at least six months and one day. Then, once the divorce is filed (and the paperwork delivered to your spouse) the divorce cannot be finalized for at least six months after that. During that time, you, your spouse, and your attorneys will negotiate incredibly important topics like asset division, spousal support, if children are involved, child custody, parenting time, and child support. Since every one of these issues has a direct bearing on your future—and the future of your family—it is essential that you have someone in your corner who fights for your goals. It can be tempting—especially given the multitude of disagreements that can arise during divorce—to simply let your spouse have whatever he or she wants so you can move on with your life. We’re here to help you not give in to this very understandable desire – and instead, give you the guidance, support, and experience you need to obtain the results you’re looking for. You have a responsibility to yourself to ensure your financial future is as secure as you can make it. For our team, this means securing the asset division and financial support you want. We’re here to work hard on your behalf, with compassion and transparency, to help you through this difficult time.
If your marriage is not working out as you hoped, but you have reasons why a divorce might not be the best thing to do at this precise time, you might consider a legal separation. Perhaps you and your spouse have not yet met the legal residency requirements to file for a California divorce, or perhaps one of you needs health insurance or other benefits provided by the other. Parents may want to see how co-parenting might look once a divorce is final. Some spouses may hope for a reconciliation, so believe a legal separation will give them the time apart they need. For others it may come down to property, as legal separation ends the community estate. Whatever your reasons for a legal separation, it is imperative you do so with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.
Often the most emotionally charged decisions that must be made in a family law matter are custody and parenting time. Our team recognizes a drawn-out divorce can be devastating for the children and the parents. Our decades of experience in the child welfare system allows us to offer compassionate legal services to guide you through these extremely important decisions.
Additionally, custody and parenting time needs can change. Children get older, extracurricular activities can alter everything, or a parent may need to move away for a job or education opportunity. Modifying a custody or parenting time order can feel like you are starting all over from the beginning. You need an experienced attorney to guide you through your options as there are things that can be done months in advance of asking for a modification.
Child support is determined with a formula that accounts for the income of both parents, the expenses of each parent, and how much time each parent spends with the child. It is also expected that the parents’ duty to support their child continues until the child turns 18 and has graduated from high school. If the parents have a disabled adult child who is unable to support himself or herself, both parents can be ordered to continue supporting the child.
There is no typical domestic violence situation. Being accused of domestic violence can automatically limit your parenting time. Being a victim of domestic violence can cause the Child Protective Services to become involved in your family. A domestic violence conviction can result in jail time, mandatory participation in domestic violence classes, payment of fines and/or victim restitution, a protective order (restraining order), loss of custody rights, loss of California gun rights, a permanent criminal record, and immigration consequences for non-citizens. Our team’s experience in dependency law and criminal defense makes us uniquely prepared to handle any issue involving domestic violence and provide you with the advice meant to optimize your parenting time.
California is a community property state, meaning marital assets must be split equally. Many other states are known as equitable distribution states, meaning the marital assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. While community property laws can be comforting to the lesser-earning or non-earning spouse, the higher-earning spouse may feel as though the asset distribution is extremely unfair—this is community property law at its finest! Assets owned prior to the marriage are not considered marital assets so long as there was no commingling of those assets with the marital assets. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, then that will supersede community property laws. Your Vanegas Law Group attorney will ensure the asset split is as fair as possible to you both.
Like child support, spousal support can be a contentious issue. Few spouses want to pay spousal support, yet many spouses are deserving of this type of support. The judge will take many different things into consideration when determining a spousal support award, like the need of the requesting spouse as well as the other spouse’s ability to pay. The judge will determine whether the spouse seeking support needs that support for education, training, or a career after he or she contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, career, or license during the marriage. Any separate property of each spouse will be considered, the age and health of each spouse, tax consequences for both spouses, the obligations, and assets of each spouse, and whether hardship will result to the requesting spouse if the support is not awarded, or to the paying spouse if support is awarded. The length of the marriage is an important issue that will determine the length of time spousal support will be awarded.
Establishing biological fatherhood is always the first step, but it is not always as easy as it sounds. Once you have established biological fatherhood then issues of child support, custody, and parenting time must be dealt with. Establishing paternity can be a major factor in a child’s life, both financially and psychologically. Even though a child born to a married couple is considered legitimate in the eyes of the law, proof of paternity does not exist simply by virtue of a person’s name on a birth certificate. Fathers should be held accountable for their share of support and responsibility, although, in many instances, it is the father who wishes to establish that he is the biological parent. For mothers, paternity determinations can secure financial support as well as custody and visitation rights. An experienced paternity attorney from the Vanegas Law Group can help you determine your child’s paternity, as well as help with what comes afterward.
If you are the only biological parent involved in the care and upbringing of your child and you remarry, the new spouse may be interested in becoming the legal parent of your child. This could be a win-win situation for your child, as this adoption could provide more financial, legal, and emotional support to your child. The refusal of the other parent to agree to a step-parent adoption is not the end of the case. We can be instrumental in showing the court the other parent failed to pay support or has not maintained a relationship with your child. We can also assist in a case where paternity has not been established.
We can also vigorously help you contest an adoption. If you are the parent who does not consent to step-parent adoption, we will assist you in contesting the petition to terminate your parental rights by proving that you should remain your child’s legal parent. Contact our experienced family law attorneys today.
As a community property state, a prenuptial (pre-marital) agreement may be a smart choice. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people about to marry that detail how assets will be distributed to children, extended family members, or friends and amongst the spouses in the event of divorce or death. A prenuptial agreement can help you protect the assets you are bringing into the marriage and plan for the unexpected. Prenuptial agreements are often considered by individuals who own businesses, or other valuable property, who are giving up a career to support the marriage or children or are getting married for a second time.
Much like a prenuptial, a postnuptial agreement is created to protect assets in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial is a contract drafted after a couple is married. In some cases, a postnuptial agreement is drafted when spouses are going through marital problems but would be willing to work it out if they felt their assets were protected. It is also common to enter into a postnuptial agreement when one party to the marriage is starting a business and wishes to protect all the hard work, time, and effort that goes into starting a new company.
The most common question about a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is “but doesn’t drafting this agreement mean I think our marriage will fail?” These documents are not meant to ensure a divorce, these documents are meant to be the peace of mind that things like life insurance, supplemental health insurance, or umbrella insurance offer. In a perfect world, you will never need to use your supplemental health insurance, but if you do find yourself needing it, then you have peace of mind knowing you are protected. It is the same with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. If you gave up your career, or the pursuit of a career, to support the marriage or to raise children, then a prenuptial agreement is that peace of mind that you are protected in the future if necessary.
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement must be drafted with very close attention to the goals, needs, and circumstances of our client. It is crucial to consult with an attorney experienced in drafting and defending prenuptial and postnuptial agreements to explore your options.
Contact Our Family Law Attorneys
At the Vanegas Law Group, our highly experienced family law attorneys never shy away from a difficult family law issue. We fight your battles with a keen sense of justice; while we are highly-skilled negotiators, we are never afraid to step into a courtroom on your behalf. We have the professional negotiation skills that can turn the most contentious situation into an outcome you can be satisfied with. We’re here to stand by your side and help you reach your goals for your family law case. Contact us today.