Most families or extended families need the help of an experienced family law attorney at some point in their life, and when they do, it becomes obvious very quickly why it is so important that the attorney not just be qualified to practice but certified as a family law specialist by the California State Bar. When you turn to The Wilson Law Firm, you know you have an experienced, certified professional on your side. And that can make all the difference.
A properly drafted prenup agreed to under the right circumstances is an efficient way to protect assets and avoid disputes if life doesn’t go as planned. At The Wilson Law Firm, we help people in California create prenuptial agreements strong enough to hold up in court and protect our clients’ rights and assets. Prenuptial agreements can effectively address many significant issues, including:
- Children from prior relationships
- Assets/debts brought into the marriage
- Unique assets or heirlooms (for example jewelry or art)
- Businesses, real estate and other real property, investments (including retirement accounts), and stocks brought into the marriage
- Inheritances of property or gifts
- One spouse’s financial support of the other throughout training or schooling
Certain requirements must be met for a California prenuptial agreement to be enforceable:
- Both parties must have their own attorneys or the opportunity to have attorneys
- Each party must provide full disclosure of all property
- Each party must provide full disclosure of all assets and debt
- Neither party should be under duress when entering the prenup
- The party against whom the agreement is being enforced must have had the agreement for review at least 7 days before it is signed
- And a number of additional requirements
At The Wilson Law Firm, we know the California laws that govern prenuptial agreements. Our experience means we know what to look for and what to avoid. We use this knowledge to the advantage of our clients.
Divorce is one of the most challenging experiences many families face. The emotional impact divorce has on the divorcing parties and their children is often significant, particularly since several complex legal issues must be addressed during this time of high emotional stress. Sadly, many divorce cases in California courts become highly contested, leaving families unable to move forward. And the longer a divorce case spends in mediation, negotiation, and litigation, the higher the cost (both financially and emotionally).
At The Wilson Law Firm, we implement the most effective strategies to protect our clients while navigating the complex issues that need to be addressed during a divorce. We have extensive experience dealing with the various aspects of divorce and will face every complication with compassion and expediency. While we want to help you resolve your case promptly, we also know that the final divorce agreement that comes out of your divorce could impact your life for several years. As a Certified Family Law Specialist, Dennis Wilson dedicates extensive experience and knowledge of the California divorce court and process to help ensure our clients reach a positive outcome.
Our Team Will:
- Take the time to understand the personal issues and legal issues involved in your case
- Determine your priority issues and end goals
- Create a step-by-step plan to achieve your goals and protect your priorities
- Explore every available option for the best possible outcome
- Keep you informed every step of the way
As an experienced California divorce attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, Dennis Wilson makes every attempt to obtain a settlement that accommodates you and your children’s needs. Still, when unable to reach a fair settlement agreement, he does not hesitate to go to trial. As an extensively experienced litigator, the firm is propelled by a deep understanding of all the legal problems and issues that may arise during a California divorce.
Custody & Child Support
Divorce is difficult, but most argue it’s most difficult for the children involved, particularly when parents are fighting over custody issues. As an experienced California family law attorney, Dennis Wilson works with spouses to help protect the children from the most negative aspects of divorce. Knowing your children are your top priority, we put their best interest first when making decisions and building legal strategy during your divorce.
In California, there are two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to who the child lives with, while legal custody refers to who makes important decisions for the children (like education, health care, etc.)
In an uncontested child custody case, arrangements that parents agree to are subject to court review. Courts have the power to modify any proposed agreements and tend to prefer children to have one primary residence. When parents cannot agree on custody or if there is a history of abandonment, abuse, drug use, or alcoholism, it may not be possible to avoid litigation.
- Joint Physical Custody – Most parents in California get joint physical custody, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the custody is split 50-50. When parents share joint physical custody, the parents each share a home with the child rather than the child living with one parent and simply visiting another.
- Sole Physical Custody – If a California parent is awarded sole physical custody, it means that the child lives with one parent. However, the court does have the authority to order visitation with the other parent.
- Joint Legal Custody – This is when both parents share in the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding their child’s health, education, and welfare.
- Sole Legal Custody – This gives one parent the right to make all major decisions for the child’s health, education, and welfare. They may make these decisions without getting the other parent’s input.
When the court determines child custody during a California divorce, they consider numerous factors. These factors may include the wishes of the child, the existing relationship the child has with each parent and other influential people in the child’s life, adjustments the child would need to make for a new school, new home, new community, etc., and the health of the child and both parents. When determining child custody, the judge seeks one thing – a child custody order that is in the child’s best interest.
While the vast majority of parents in highly contested cases focus most of their worry on the child custody determination, there is also an enormous amount of stress related to recovering from divorce financially. Will you have the money needed to create a new life after divorce? Can you maintain your lifestyle? Will you be able to provide the things your children need as they grow older? These questions (and many more) are why child support is another highly contested issue in many California divorces.
When determining California child support, the court takes various factors into account, including:
- The income of each parent
- Number of children in the household
- Any existing support obligations
- Day-care, medical care, and health insurance-related costs
- The amount of time the child spends with each parent
- The parents’ ability to pay support
Many of the calculations concerning child support can be overlooked when working with an inexperienced attorney, and seemingly small oversights can have a significant and lasting impact on child support orders. Avoid the risks by trusting an experienced attorney with a history of success. Call The Wilson Law Firm.
Division of Assets
In theory, taking a certain number of items and dividing them between two people is simple. But when it comes to marriage, divorce, and property division, there’s nothing simple about it. No marriage is the same. The division of assets in a California divorce is often much more complicated than it seems and requires an experienced attorney with extensive legal knowledge.
Effectively mediating or litigating the division of assets in a California divorce may require any number of skills and tactics including:
- Division of assets and debts
- Arranging for real estate appraisals
- Identifying and valuation of all assets, property, and real estate brought into the marriage
- Division of pensions, 401ks and employee benefits
- Tracing commingled assets
- Conducting business and professional practice valuations
- Division of investments, stock holdings or retirement accounts
Each marriage is unique, and different assets hold different values, but it is possible for divorcing couples to come to an amicable agreement about property division. Doing so means less time in court or avoiding court entirely. Having a California divorce attorney experienced in the division of assets provides access to an objective perspective that many find invaluable during the divorce process. In some cases, it even helps avoid litigation. Don’t let critical oversights cost you your legal rights. If litigation does become necessary, rest assured, The Wilson Law Firm is experienced in property division litigation and aggressively protects our clients’ interests in court.
Sometimes, our clients need additional help because their situation escalates until they fear for their safety or the safety of their children. In these situations, The Wilson Law Firm can help clients use the law to protect themselves with:
- Restraining Orders – Also called a “protective order,” this is a court order that can protect someone from being abused, threatened, stalked, or harassed. A restraining order can include other “protected persons” like children, other family members, household members, etc. Restraining orders can include personal conduct orders stopping specific actions, stay-away orders keeping the restrained person a certain distance from the protected individual, and residence exclusion orders (kick out or move out orders) that order the restrained person to move out of the residence where the protected person lives.
- Civil Harassment Restraining Orders – In some cases, a client may be harassed, stalked, abused, or threatened by someone who is not “close” enough to qualify as a domestic violence case (i.e., neighbor, cousin, aunt, roommate, etc.) In these cases, a civil harassment restraining order can offer protection.
- Orders for Emergency Support and Custody – In cases of ongoing domestic violence, the party being abused can ask the court to issue orders for emergency support and custody (or “ex parte” orders). These are temporary court orders that stay in effect until the hearing on the request for order.
While most divorce cases do not involve domestic violence, when it exists, it plays an essential role in how the case proceeds and how the family transitions safely after divorce. Victims of domestic abuse are often terrified to move forward with divorce proceedings. They fear filing for divorce will further agitate their spouse and put them or their children in more danger. The Wilson Law Firm understands the hesitation and fear, and we want to help.
The California statutes define domestic violence as abuse or threats of harm from a spouse or co-habitant. Domestic violence can come in many forms:
If you are afraid of your spouse or cohabitant, you may need protection during your divorce or domestic violence proceeding. We can help you determine which protective order to file in your situation and when to file, so we can move forward quickly and help you get your life back.