Santa Cruz Family Law Attorney

Family law issues range from divorce to adoption. I can give you the legal guidance you need to understand your rights. My legal services range from mediation and collaborative law to representation through trial. As your attorney help you with a wide range of family law issues including:

  • Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Spousal and Child Support
  • Property Division
  • Modification of an existing plan
  • Adoption
  • Pre-Marital Agreements
  • Domestic Partnerships
  • Restraining Orders
  • Paternity
  • Mediation

Divorce

Few decisions in life will be as difficult or important as divorce. Not only will you be forced to deal with ending your marriage, but you may be forced to deal with child custody, child and spousal support and dividing your property. As your attorney I will make sure you are aware of your legal rights and help you find the right approach to handle your divorce.

Child Custody

Child custody may be one of the most challenging family law issues to resolve. As a parent you have the right to spend time with your child and make decisions regarding how your child is raised. As your attorney I will help you understand your custody rights and help protect the best interests of your child.

Child Support

Child support is mandatory and the amount is set by an equation used by the court. There may be special circumstances like financial hardship which may modify the amount, but generally the amount of child support owed is non-negotiable.

Spousal Support

Unlike child support, spousal support is not mandatory. Factors including the length of the marriage and earning potential of each person will determine if spousal support is proper and what amount should be paid. As your attorney I will help you understand you rights regarding spousal support. As the supported party you should not be deprived the same opportunities because the financial disparity that can happen after a divorce. As the supporting party you have a right to expect the other party to become financially independent within a reasonable time.

Property Division

Division of property is another issue to be resolved during a divorce. California is a community property state and as your attorney I can help you determine what assets you have an ownership interest in. Assets like retirement accounts, life insurance and stock options may be community property and you may be entitled to a portion of each.

Modification of an Existing Agreement

There may be reasons you want to modify an existing custody or support agreement. If circumstances have changed or the first agreement did not adequately protect your rights it may be possible to seek a modification. As your attorney I can help you determine if a modification can be reached by a private agreement or by involving the courts.

Adoption

Adoption can provide a means of creating and protecting the rights of your loved ones. Whether you are a stepparent seeking to make sure you share a legal relationship with a stepchild or a couple seeking to adopt a child we can help ensure your child receives all the rights you wish to grant to them.

Pre-Marital Agreements

A pre-marital agreement or pre-nuptial agreement is a private agreement entered into by a couple prior to marriage. You may choose to modify the character of property and set the amount of spousal support in the case of divorce. As your attorney I can help you draft a pre-marital agreement that complies with the formal requirements.

Mediation

We offer mediation to your family law matters. If you and the other party agree a private agreement best suits your needs then I can act as a mediator to help facilitate discussion and compromise.

Mediation can be very effective, but if emotions are too raw or a history of abuse exists then the face to face discussions of mediation may be more detrimental than helpful. However if the parties are willing to work out their problems we can provide a safe and controlled setting.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law requires both parties to agree not to involve the courts. Each party will be represented by an attorney who negotiates a settlement on their behalf. It may provide a productive way to resolve issues if mediation does not appear likely to succeed but both parties want to avoid the courts.