“Top Divorce Lawyers” Near Me?"

  You are facing a divorce or other family law matter, and you want the best of the best to represent you. Makes sense, right? If you take nothing else away from this post, you should know that a high hourly rate and a fancy office do not necessarily equal quality. The age of your attorney is not necessarily a good thing; in fact, it is usually a bad thing in my experience. Frankly, there are better lawyers and firms than mine, but I would like to think they are few and far between. Recently, I performed an experiment expecting one result, but finding something entirely different. I did a Google search for “top divorce lawyer Los Angeles.” Having been in the family law business for 7 years, I know the most elite family law practices in Los Angeles; however, when I performed the search, I found none of them. In fact, Google returned a bunch of lawyers and firms I have never heard of. I suppose the lesson here is that things aren’t always as they appear. So, who are these elite firms?

 Do I need a prenup (“prenuptial agreement” or “premarital agreement”) in California?

     It really depends. If you earn or anticipate earning way more money than your partner, then it would likely benefit you to have one. If you are a business owner and you earn or anticipate earning money from the business, then it would likely benefit you to have one. To be frank, if you are the financially dominant partner, you likely are better off having a premarital agreement. Many people are misinformed about community property law in California. Basically , any income earned or assets acquired during marriage are considered community property or quasi-community property and are subject to a 50/50 division. Any assets owned before marriage are generally separate property. Any gifts or inheritances received during the marriage are generally separate property. Believe me, the community property issue is not simple. As an example, if you own a house free and clear going into the marriage, the house is your separate property. If you own a house subject to a mortgage going into th

What are “divorce papers” in California? How will I get them?

  When people refer to “divorce papers,” they are generally referring to the legal documents that start a divorce case ( e.g., “damn, she served me with divorce papers!”). In this post, I will refer to the initial documents in a California divorce case as “divorce papers.” At a minimum, you will receive 3, or 4 (if you have minor children), California Judicial Council forms. Sometimes the petitioner will serve more forms, but I’m trying to keep it simple. Let’s expand: Petition — Marriage/Domestic Partnership (FL-100) "This form starts a divorce, legal separation, or annulment case if you are married, registered domestic partners, or both. You must identify all the issues you want to include in your final divorce." - California Courts Self-Help Guide Ryan’s notes: This form is boring and routine for the most part. Most of the information called for in the form fields are uncontroversial facts such as your date of marriage. Nonetheless, you should read the form carefully. T

How much child support will the court order in California?

  Surprisingly, this question is relatively simple to answer for most cases. Please note that there are cases where this question is very complicated, and I will not address these cases here because I want this post to be simple and accessible to most parents. As always, nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice! Broadly speaking, the amount of child support is a function of: 1) the number of children receiving support; 2) the percentage of time the children spend with each parent; and 3) the incomes of each parent. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense because: 1) 2 children are more expensive than 1; 2) A large percentage of custodial time cost more than a small percentage; and 3) the more income a parent has, the more they can afford to pay towards supporting their children. As a corollary, the less income a parent has, the more they will need. Now, lets get down to specifics. The judge in your case will use special calculator software to determine the amo
  How Much Spousal Support Will the Court Order in California? Updated: 4 hours ago This is a two-part question: The first part is relatively simple, but the second part is somewhat complex—so much so that I believe no two judges would likely arrive at the same dollar amount. The first part of the question is: How much spousal support will the court order before a judgement is entered in your case? The second part of the question is: How much spousal support will the court order in the judgement of dissolution of marriage (or domestic partnership)? I will refer to the judgment of dissolution as the “final judgment,” although it rarely is final. Part 1 From the time spousal support is requested and an order is made until the time a final judgment is entered, the judge, assuming any spousal support is ordered, will make what is called a pendente lite order. Generally, this order, often called a “temporary” spousal support order, will be for an amount resulting from a mathematical fo
  How to choose a family law attorney This guide will help you select an attorney to represent you in your family law matter. Below, you will find a list of questions you should ask yourself and your potential counsel. It is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start. I hope you find it helpful. Does the attorney have relevant experience? Family law is a highly specialized area. It is imperative that you select an attorney who either practices family law exclusively or who devotes the majority of his or her time to practicing family law. While it is possible that a criminal defense attorney, a civil litigator or a personal injury attorney would do a fantastic job representing you in your family law matter, it simply isn't worth the risk. Will the attorney personally handle your case? This is a huge issue that inexperienced clients fail to consider. Often, a "seasoned" attorney will impress a client in an initial consultation, the client will retain the attorn