Family Law Attorneys in Ventura County
Offering Compassionate Legal Guidance & Services to Our Clients
Our family law attorneys provide experienced, aggressive representation in a wide range of family law matters. We do this by assigning attorneys to focus exclusively on this specific area of law. Our lawyers not only possess an in-depth understanding of current laws but work to stay abreast of any changes or updates in the law that may affect your case. We practice in the same local courtrooms on a regular basis, giving us a familiarity with the tendencies of particular judges, court staff, mediators, opposing counsel, Department of Child and Family Services staff, and the District Attorney’s Child Abduction staff and Domestic Violence staff.
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California is a community property state, so all property and assets acquired, and income earned during the marriage is considered the property of both spouses. The same rule of an equal division applies for debts. For more information about divorce in California, please see our divorce page.
Our attorneys regularly assist clients with divorce proceedings and are experienced with handling all related issues.
Divorce issues commonly include:
- child custody & child visitation
- child move-away
- child support
- spousal support
- domestic violence restraining orders & kick out residence orders
- sale, deferred sale, or buy out home
- division of assets, including retirement plans, stocks bonds, etc
- division of debt
Child Custody & Visitation
When children are involved in a divorce proceeding, the issue of legal and physical custody must be resolved. This can be by agreement of the parents, or if the parents cannot agree, the Judge will intervene and decide. Common issues include:
- Who will make important decisions regarding health, safety and welfare on their children’s behalf
- regular and Holiday Visitation Schedules, basically when the child(ren) will see each parent
- and more
Child custody and visitation issues may also arise in cases where a couple is not married at the time a child is born and they need to establish paternity. A legal parent has the right to custody and/or visitation as well as a legal obligation to provide child support. For more information about child custody, visitation issues, and establishing paternity, please see our child custody/support page.
When one parent wants to “move-away” and take the child with them and the distance is far enough that it will interfere with the other parents ability to readily have their visitations with the child, they must first file a Request for Orders and obtain the court's permission and a court order.
There will be a new mediation and subsequent court hearing. (As described in the Child Visitation portion).
Due to potential negative consequences to the child, the Judge will consider many factors before approving or denying a move-away request. Factors such as, but not limited to, the current status quo for the child and frequnecy and duration that the other parents currently visits with the child/cheildren, the overall effect the move will have on the child/children, considering school issues, any doctor/therapist and health concerns, the financial impact and stability to name a few. The Judge is focused on the best interest of the child/children.
Child Support is based on several factors. But, the most significant factors are: 1) the diffence in amount of income of one parent versus the other and 2) the percentage of time each parents has custody of the child. To learn more about child support issues, please see our child custody/support page.
In a divorce/legal separation case, the court will have the power to make spousal support (formerly called alimony) orders.
One significant factor in determining the amount one spouse may have to pay to the other is the difference in there incomes. For example, if the 1st spouse earns $3000 a month and the 2nd spouse earns $7000 a month, the 2nd spouse will be paying the 1st spouse. Other factors will have an effect on the amount of support.
How long one spouse has to pay depends largely upon the length of the marriage.
A marriage less than 10 years, usually means payments are for 1/2 the length of the marriage. For example, if the parties were married for 8 years, support may be required for 4 years. A marriage of over 10 years typically does not follow this 1/2 the length of the marriage rule. Instead it is a case by case basis looking at several factors such as the years of marriage, age of the parties, past employment, to name a few.
One of the parties will need to initiate the action by filing a Request for Orders for spousal support along with an Income and Expense Declaration, setting forth their monthly gross income and expenses with copies of their pay stubs attached. Upon filing, the clerk will set a court hearing date usually about 6 weeks in the future. These documents must then be served on the other party at least 16 court days prior to the hearing date. The service must be done by a person who is 18 years old or older and not a party to the action. A proof of Service must subsequently be filed with the court. The other party will need to file a Responsive Declaration to the Request for Orders and their Income and Expense Declaration with copies of their pay stubs attached.
Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders
Domestic violence, also sometimes referred to as spousal abuse or battery, involves abuse between people who have an intimate or familial relationship. Domestic violence arrests and convictions can carry significant criminal penalties, as well as have serious implications for the outcome of family law matters such as a divorce, child custody, visitation, and support proceedings. Since Domestic Violence cases may involve both family law courts and criminal law courts, Morgan Law Firm has experienced attorneys in both family law and criminal defense and can assist clients with all aspects of a domestic violence case. For more information about domestic violence and related restraining orders, please see our domestic violence page.To learn more about child support issues, please see our Domestic Violence/Restraining Order page.
Sale or Buy Out of a Home
If you own a home that was bought during the marriage (community proprty), the 3 most common ways it is resolved in family law court is:
1. The home is sold and the parties divide the proceeds.
2. One party "buys out" the other party.
3. Deferred sale, which is the idea to sell the home at a futrure date, usually to keep the kids in the home until they are 18 years old. The parties will need to reach agreements on all aspects such as, who lives in the home with the kids, who pays the mortgage, property taxes, maintenance, etc.
If the home was bought before the marriage by one party or one party used separate property funds for a down payment, but the mortgage was being paid during the marriage, there could be issues, such as rights to reimbursements, credits, etc.
Division of Assets & Debts
California is a community property state, which means all property and debt acquired during the marriage, except by gift or inheritence, is community property and subject to an equal divsion. This includes, real estate, land, retirement plans, 401(k), stocks, bonds, to name a few.
All property and debt acquired before the marriage or after the date of separation, or by gift or inheritence, is separate property of that spouse and is not subject to an equal division.
There are several types of adoption in California, including stepparent adoption, where the spouse of a child’s parent legally adopts a child, grandparent adoption, as well as independent, agency, and international adoptions. Where legal adoption is unsuccessful, other related issues may arise, such as grandparent visitation rights and guardianships. For more information, please see our adoptions page.
In a Legal Separation, the court can and will decide on all the issues of child custody, child visitation, child move away, child support, spousal support (allimony), domestic violence restraining orders, kick out of residence orders, and sale, deferred sale, or buy out of a home, division of assets and retirement plans, stocks, bonds, etc., division of debts, and more, just like in a Divorce.
All the issues in a Legal Separation will be resolved either by agreement of the parties or the Judge will decide and sign court orders. This process may require the filing of motions with the court, mandatory settlement conferences with the parties and judge, and/or a court trial. Most cases, even the most contenious ones, are resolved without the need for trial.
Ultimately, you will end up with a Judgment for Legal Separation.
You do not have to prove any reason or basis for the divorce/legal separation. In fact, California is a "No Fault" state, which means the reason the relationship ended or who was at fault is legally irrelevant. You do not have to justify or defend your desire to end the relationship.
Emergencies (Ex Parte)
An Ex Parte is a way to get an immediate court date (usually 24-72 hours) for court orders if you can show an emergency set of circumstances. An emergency meaning there is an imminent risk of harm, usually related to domestic violence, child abuse, child custody and visitation. Generally speaking, the courts do not consider anything money related (like child support or spousal support) an emergency for purposes of an Ex Parte.
Skilled Ventura County Family Law Lawyers
Morgan Law Firm is made up of a team of skilled and dedicated attorneys. We treat each case we take with equal importance and will always keep you up to date on any significant changes to the law that could affect your case.
Contact our office by calling or texting (805) 644-8888 or filling out our online form. Your first consultation is complimentary.