Divorce / Dissolution
In California divorces are now called dissolutions. My office provides representation in both non-contested and contested/litigated dissolutions. I generally work with my clients to settle rather than litigate as this almost invariably produces a better outcome for the client. However, when a case cannot be mediated and settled, you need a strong, experienced litigator to represent you. I have that experience - to aggressively and assertively fight for your rights.
California is a community property state. That means, everything acquired during the marriage by the couple is a part of the community. Each is entitled to half. An objective of the divorce process is to divide the real and personal property you have acquired.
There are exceptions to the community property laws. Any property that was a gift or inheritance, or was acquired before your marriage, is not part of the community. Documentation and records are essential in establishing proof of separate property.
Certain exceptions to the equal division of property exist in California. For instance, an award for personal injury may not be a community asset. Likewise, educational loans may not be a community debt. Social Security is a matter of federal law, and are not part of a property division.
Because people often do not agree about the value of certain assets, property division can become more complicated. There can also be issues concerning what date should be applied to the valuation.
Marcia Brewer can assist with all these issues and the complexities of property division. If you would like additional information about property division, please call the office to schedule an appointment.
In California child support is determined by a pre set guideline formula. The basic inputs into the calculation are the amount of time each parent spends with the children, and how much each parent earns. The child support calculation is done through a computer program - The Dissomaster. Courts are required by law to order the child support calculated by the Dissomaster guideline. Of course, there are some exceptions, but they are few and difficult to get a Court to apply. And, the parties can agree on a different amount of child support, as long as the needs of the children are satisfied. Ms. Brewer can advise you of the amount of child support the court would order in your case based on running the Dissomaster program for you.
Spousal support is a gender neutral concept - whoever has more income will be the one paying spousal support. Temporary spousal support is ordered to keep the parties in the status quo of the marriage. Permanent spousal support is based on 13 different factors. The amount and length of time spousal support will be paid is determined by the lifestyle during the marriage, and the length of the marriage. The parties can agree to any amount of support. The court has discretion to order any amount of support that will maintain the spouse seeking support in the marital lifestyle.
Child Custody & Visitation
Custody and visitation issues are often some of the most emotional and important aspect of family law. There are two aspects to child custody - legal and physical. Legal custody is the management of the child's life and the decisions made for the child. These could include religion, what school to attend, medical care and other decisions. Physical custody is what times the child will be with each parent physically. Sometimes one parent must move away for a job. Often, the parties cannot agree on who will be the custodial parent or how decisions will be made. If the parents cannot agree, the courts will make the decisions as to who will have legal custody and what visitation rights will be afforded the other parent. Legal assistance is necessary in the event the parties cannot reach a mutually workable agreement to discuss and agree to major decisions regarding the children.
If you have a child, but are not married to the other parent, you need to file a paternity action to establish your parental rights. The courts must determine whether you are the legal parent. Before a court will order visitation, custody or child support for a child whose parents were unmarried at the time of his birth, legal parentage must be established.
Issues involved with paternity are many: legal, financial, ethical and emotional. They can be very overwhelming for both parties involved. If both parties want to be involved with the children, all these issues need to be resolved.
Step parent and independent proceedings.
Post Judgment Matters
Representation regarding any issues that may come up after the Judgment of Dissolution is entered.
County Support Cases
Representation in matters were the County of Los Angeles is involved in collecting child or spousal support.
Restraining Orders/Domestic Violence
Representation in seeking restraining and other restricting orders from the court, or defending against them, including defense in criminal domestic violence cases.
Pre and Post Martial Agreements
These agreements define rights and obligations that can exclude the application of the California community property laws to the parties.