Solving Difficult Matters with Integrity and Compassion
In California, a divorce proceeding begins with a “Petition for Dissolution” of the marriage, and the marriage is ended by way of trial or by agreement of the parties. There are a number of ways to reach that conclusion, including settlement/ non-litigation, mediation, and litigation.
California separates property into two classes, community and separate, and California law requires a determination of whether a given asset qualifies as community or separate property. The distinction is crucial, and the parties do not always agree on an asset or debt’s classification.
California bases custody determinations on “the best interest of the child.” This generally means the court looks to safeguard the child’s health and welfare, while preferring custody and visitation arrangements that provide for frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
A premarital agreement is a contract that must meet certain threshold requirements in order to be valid. In California, a premarital agreement will not be enforced if there was inadequate disclosure by either party, if the agreement was not entered into voluntarily or if its terms were unconscionable or in violation of public policy.
Once married, a couple can still enter into a postnuptial or marital agreement that covers much of the same ground as its premarital counterpart. A couple does not have to be in a legal marriage to want to spell out certain rights and responsibilities. A cohabitation agreement can settle some issues in advance.
Spousal and child support share common features but also have important distinctions. As in spousal support, parents can agree on child support, but, in the absence of an agreement, the court makes the decision. The two forms of support diverge when it comes time for the court to determine appropriate levels of support.
H. Yvonne Seeley has been practicing family law in California for over 35 years. One of the few attorneys certified as a Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California, Ms. Seeley has been highly successful in trials, court hearings, settlements and mediation.
We help our clients stay focused on their children and work priorities. Our goal is not just to bring the case to a conclusion but to help transition our clients to a better place.
We use a team approach, delegating work when appropriate to associate attorneys or paralegals, which ensures that your case will be handled economically. And, we will work closely with you, keeping you apprised of the developments in your case and giving you cost-savings options whenever possible.
The most successful settlements come from intense trial preparation. For those cases that are headed for trial, we prepare them thoroughly. H. Yvonne Seeley is an experienced civil litigator and all of our attorneys are trained in trial work practice.