Family Law Issues

Learn more about the process and what we do:


Deciding to end a marriage is difficult, and if you or your partner have decided to do that, I cannot promise you that the process will be painless. Nobody marries hoping it will end, but circumstances arise that cause one or both partners to seek ending the union. It's important to protect your legal rights through that process and after the divorce is finalized, and that is what I am here to do for you.

In general, there are 3 ways to get your dissolution issues resolved:

First is to ask the court to resolve all issues. This is the most costly and generally least efficient method of resolution, as it may require many appearances, and generally results in outcomes that neither party is happy to receive. I love to argue in court, but many times, that is the least cost effective remedy. Sometimes it cannot be avoided, and I am a bulldog when I am asking a court to rule in your favor. I protect my client.

The second method is for the parties to settle all issues outside of court, in either a mediated process, by coming to agreements yourselves, or a combination of those two. My job in that process is to tell you the legal ramifications of any of those agreements. Are you giving away too much? Are you getting too little? I will help answer those questions, and many others.

Lastly, the most common method is a mix of court actions and agreed upon settlement terms. In that process I am both your advocate, and your counsel. I work to craft the best outcomes for all of the issues you face, and keep you informed and educated about the process and what your rights are and the ramifications of any decisions you make. I'll work with you to get the outcome you deserve.

I'm here to help you.

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Child Custody and Visitation

If you have children, they are the most important people in your life. There are many challenging and difficult issues to face if you need to devise a plan for their custody and visitation with the other parent. Let's demystify California's terms. Custody is divided into two legal ideas:

Legal Custody, which is a determination of who gets to make the decisions regarding the health, safety and education of your children. 

Joint Legal Custody Under California law, "joint legal custody" means that both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child. (Cal. Fam. Code § 3003.) Joint legal custody is very common in California. The fact that parents share joint legal custody, however, does not necessarily mean they will share joint physical custody. (Cal. Fam. Code § 3085.) Parents typically share joint legal custody, unless one of the following is true: the parents are entirely unable to make decisions together the court deems one parent unfit one parent is incapable of making decisions regarding the upbringing and general welfare of the child, or it would be in the child's best interests for one parent to have sole legal custody.

Sole Legal Custody "Sole legal custody" means that only one parent has the right to make all major decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child, and may make such decisions without getting the other parent's input. (Cal. Fam. Code § 3006.) The fact that a parent has sole legal custody does not mean that the parent will also have sole physical custody.

Physical Custody, refers to where a child will live after a divorce or separation. Physical custody is quite different from legal custody. The parent with physical custody has the right to have the child physically present in the home. If a child lives exclusively or primarily with one parent, that parent is usually referred to as the "custodial" or "residential" parent. The other parent is considered the "noncustodial" or "nonresidential" parent and typically has visitation rights. When deciding how to divide custody and whether parents will have visitation rights, courts will first need to determine the child's best interests. For example, if a parent has a history of domestic violence or abuse, courts may order supervised visits between the child and the non-custodial parent.

Joint Physical Custody "Joint physical custody" means that both parents have significant periods of physical custody. (Cal. Fam. Code § 3004.) If a child's time is divided equally between the parents, or close to equally, the parents share joint physical custody.

Sole Physical Custody "Sole physical custody" means that a child resides with one parent, subject to the court's authority to order visitation time with the other parent. (Cal. Fam. Code § 3007.)

I'm here to help you.

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Move-Away Cases

Moving with a child to another county, region of California, or another state, can be a daunting process. Having an attorney who has experience in these cases if vital for success. I have tried and won these cases and would be happy to talk with you about your specific circumstances.

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Child Support

If you have minor children, child support is an issue you will have to address. I work with my clients to ensure that a fair amount of support is determined. Whether you are paying or being paid, I have the experience to address the issues you will face.

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Spousal Support

One of the most contentious issues couples who are divorcing, face, is the issue of spousal support. There are a myriad of factors that determine what if any amount will be paid in support, and it is vital that you have an attorney who is experienced. I have that experience, and will work to ensure that you get a fair settlement of your spousal support issue.

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Unmarried couples division of assets

If you aren't married, but need to divide property or even ask for support (typically called palimony), the process is not as defined as it is with married couples. I have experience helping unmarried couples address the issues they have in dividing their property, and possibly paying or receiving support. Having an attorney is vital in this process, and I'm here to help.

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A probate guardianship of the person is set up because a child is living with an adult who is not the child’s parent, and the adult needs a court order to make decisions on behalf of the child. Generally, probate guardianships are for children under 18. In the case of immigrant youth who are seeking special immigrant juvenile status, the law allows a guardianship of the person to be requested (or extended) for a young person who is already 18 but still under 21. Call me to set up an appointment to discuss how to navigate this process.

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Many issues can arise when you seek to adopt a child. Adult adoption as a method of devising property after death is also possible in California. Sometimes issues arise in that process that can be more easily solved with the help of an attorney. Please give me a call to discuss your case.

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Physical Address

224 Main St., Ste 1
Nevada City, CA 95959

Mailing Address

PO Box 2216
Nevada City, CA 95959