Compassionate Family Law Attorney in Redding
Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)
California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that either spouse may petition for divorce at any time. Divorce proceedings, also called dissolution proceedings, involve resolving all issues related to the termination of the marriage, including custody of any children, financial support needed for children or a former spouse, and division of property (assets and liabilities). A divorce is final after all the issues have been resolved, or, with permission of the court, after six months have passed since the petition for dissolution was served.
Premarital Agreements and Post-Marital Agreements
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements can ease the process of dissolving a marriage. These contracts allow future or former spouses to work out an agreement with respect to property division and other matters in advance of a formal dissolution proceeding. Premarital and post-marital agreements may also allow couples to opt out of some aspects of California community property law.
Even after all the issues of divorce have been resolved, if one party’s circumstances change, a party can file a motion for a post-judgment modification. For example, a post-judgment custody modification may be appropriate if one parent wishes to change the child custody/visitation orders, move out of state with the child, or modify support.
Paternity suits are actions brought with the goal of establishing a legal parental relationship, and usually arise in cases where no marriage ever existed in order to establish parental rights, custody and visitation orders, or support obligations. Paternity actions may be filed by the mother, the alleged father, or the Department of Child Support Services.
Domestic violence occurs when one spouse causes his/her significant other to fear for his or her safety through physical or emotional intimidation. Domestic violence includes hitting, striking, molesting, stalking, or harassing.
Domestic violence is sometimes subtle, without an actual physical assault. California law holds that, under certain circumstances, domestic violence includes:
- Making unwanted and multiple telephone calls or emails
- Repeatedly showing up without permission at the other’s home or place of business
- Throwing or breaking objects in the other’s presence
- Physically preventing one person from leaving the room
- Following one person without their knowledge or permission
A victim of domestic violence can be a husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend, and is no longer limited to physical abuse.
In domestic violence situations, the court has various methods to protect the abused party. Usually it issues emergency restraining orders (CLETS orders), which order the abusive spouse to stay away from the abused spouse and any other family members, including the abusive spouse’s own children. If the court finds that one spouse committed domestic violence on another person within five years, it is presumed that person is unfit to have legal custody of his/her children. Restraining orders can be for good for up to five years. Police departments throughout California have access to these orders. If a person violates a protective order, he or she may be arrested and prosecuted.
Having a restraining order (CLETS order) issued against someone can profoundly change their life. He or she cannot own a gun or work at certain jobs. If the court believes drugs were a component of the violence, he or she may be required to submit to random drug testing and attend mandatory therapy. A restraining order may also limit that person's ability to have visitation with his or her own children.