Coffee & CounselSM FAMILY LAW CLINIC: Divorce, Nullity and Legal Separation; Domestic Partnerships; Paternity; Child Custody and Visitation; Child & Spousal Support; Prenuptial and Marriage settlement Agreements; Property Division, Restraining orders & Mediation with Attorney Todd Smilovitz. Please call Todd at 310-597-0864 or email to schedule an appointment. For Coffee and CounselSM Law Clinics, a 15 minute consult is at the reduced rate of $45 and a half hour is relatedly at $90. Phone, email or complete the form here.
Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child's biological or birth parent. That means that once the adoption is final, the adoptive parents have all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent-child relationship.
An annulment (or “nullity of marriage” or “nullity of domestic partnership”) is when a court says your marriage or domestic partnership is NOT legally valid. After an annulment, it is like your marriage or domestic partnership never happened because it was never legal.
A court's determination of which parent, relative or other adult should have physical and/or legal control and responsibility for a minor (child) under 18.
Court-ordered funds to be paid by one parent to the custodial parent of a minor child after divorce (dissolution) or separation. Usually the dollar amounts are based on the income of both parents, the number of children, the expenses of the custodial parent, and any special needs of the child.
A divorce (also called “dissolution of marriage” or “dissolution of domestic partnership”) ends your marriage or domestic partnership (or both if you are both married and in a domestic partnership with your spouse). After you get divorced, you will be single, and you can marry or become a domestic partner again.
Domestic violence is abuse or threats of abuse when the person being abused and the abuser are or have been in an intimate relationship (married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together). It is also when the abused person and the abusive person are closely related by blood or by marriage.
In a guardianship of the person, the guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent would. That means the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and can make all the decisions about the physical care of the child that a parent would make. A guardian can be anyone: relatives, friends of the family, or other people suitable to raise the child can ask to be legal guardians.
If your child is involved in a juvenile delinquency case that means he or she is accused of breaking the law.
The court will consider how old your child is, how serious the crime is, and the child’s criminal record if any.
A court-decreed right to live apart, with the rights and obligations of divorced persons, but without divorce. The parties are still married and cannot remarry. A spouse may petition for a legal separation usually on the same basis as for a divorce, and include requests for child custody, alimony, child support and division of property.
A lawsuit, usually by a mother, to prove that a named person is the father of her child (or the fetus she is carrying). Evidence of paternity may include blood tests (which can eliminate a man as a possible father), testimony about sexual relations between the woman and the alleged father, evidence of relationship of the couple during the time the woman became pregnant, admissions of fatherhood, comparison of child in looks, eye and hair color, race and, increasingly, DNA evidence.
A substitute for alimony in cases in which the couple were not married but lived together for a long period and then terminated their relationship. The key issue is whether there was an agreement that one partner would support the other in return for the second making a home and performing other domestic duties beyond sexual pleasures.
Payment for support of an ex-spouse (or a spouse while a divorce is pending) ordered by the court. More commonly called alimony, spousal support is the term used in California and a few other states as part of new non-confrontational language (such as "dissolution" instead of "divorce") now used since divorce is "no-fault" in all states but two.
Alternative to Costly Divorce Proceedings
Concerning Issues of Spousal Support, Parenting Plans, Division of Property
In a mediation procedure, a neutral party, the mediator, helps the parties to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement of their dispute. (Any settlement is recorded in an enforceable contract??) Parties can explore a variety of options toward resolving their personal disputes with a hands-on problem solving approach.
Experience shows that litigation often ends in settlement. Mediation is an efficient and cost-effective way of achieving that result while preserving the integrity of the individual parties.
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