Family law is a broad and complex subject in the legal system. There are many different aspects to consider, such as alimony and child support, which can mix with many other topics in the legal system including bankruptcy, marital property division, even criminal cases. This is why it’s essential to know the most common types of legal cases associated with family law, so you can be prepared. One thing that all family law cases have in common is that they are highly emotional for everyone involved, intensifying the complexity. In this blog post, we will be discussing some of the most common types of family law cases you might find yourself dealing with in the Riverside, California, area.
What Types of Cases Fall Under Family Law in Riverside?
- Child Custody
Child custody cases are the most common type of family law case. When a parent wants to take their child out of state or the country or if a parent tries to get full custody of their child from the other parent, family law is involved. In California, there are two types of custody: legal and physical.
Legal custody is when a parent has the right to make important decisions about education, health care, and religious upbringing for their child. Physical custody is when a parent has the right to have their child live with them. In a case involving child custody, both parents have equal rights to the child if they do not sign an agreement to waive them. If there is no custody order already in place, the court will attempt to determine the best arrangements for the child. The court will also consider each parent’s wishes, but those wishes are subordinate to the child’s needs.
Child support is typically established by a divorce or paternity judgment. However, even if there is no formal order in place, the court can use its discretion to make an order based on statutory guidelines when a parent is not voluntarily complying with a child support order. Child support amounts are typically based on the number of children and each parent’s income level.
Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage. California allows only no-fault divorces, which means that a spouse does not have to show grounds in order to get a divorce. There are several different divorce types, but the most common is a general dissolution of marriage.
A divorce case file consists of the initial petition for divorce, any declarations or affidavits filed with the court by either party, as well as the final judgment. In a divorce, the court will typically divide property and debt between each spouse in an equitable manner, meaning that it’s not always 50/50. The court will then determine custody of any children, child support, and spousal support (if applicable).
Divorce cases can get complicated when children are involved, and it’s in the best interest of everyone to seek legal counsel.
Alimony is financial support provided to a spouse after a couple gets divorced. There are two types of alimony:
- Temporary—this alimony is awarded during the divorce, and its purpose is to provide financial support to a spouse as they prepare for self-sufficiency.
- Permanent—this type of alimony is awarded after the divorce has been finalized. Its purpose is to provide financial support for spouses who cannot support themselves due to physical or mental disabilities.
In California, the court can award alimony only if a party requests it. The court will then determine if alimony is appropriate and how much it should be, but also considers the other spouse’s ability to pay, among other factors.
- Protection Orders
Protection orders are court orders that protect the petitioner from an abuser. For example, a judge may issue a domestic violence protection order if you can show evidence of family or household violence. This can be done by showing that someone has been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, threatened with abuse, or stalked. The court will also consider the abuser’s history of violence and whether there is a child in common.
A protection order can include orders for temporary custody, support and visitation, stay-away orders, monetary compensation for losses suffered, and other relief. A protection order can be issued in criminal or civil court depending on what relief is being sought. It can also be issued against anyone who has abused the petitioner or threatened to abuse them, even if they are not related to or living with the petitioner.
Adoption is the legal process of permanently placing a child with someone other than their birth parents. There are two types of adoptions, open and closed.
In an open adoption, the adoptive parents and birth mother may have established contact before or after the child is placed with them.
In a closed adoption, no contact is made between the adoptive parents and birth mother until after the child is placed with them.
In either type of adoption, the court will approve the petition and terminate all parental rights of the birth parents. In California, all adoptions must be approved by a judge before they can become official. The judge will weigh several factors before deciding whether to grant the adoption, including how well each parent is prepared for parenthood.
Adoptions can be complicated, and it’s imperative to seek legal counsel if you are the birth mother of a child or are looking to adopt. In addition, adoption is usually an expensive process, but there are several state and federal subsidies available to families who adopt.
These are just a snippet of the types of legal cases that fall under family law. So, whether you are looking to become an adoptive parent or need help with your divorce, you need a dedicated attorney who specializes in family law in Riverside to help you.
Please contact a family law attorney at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz for more information on the legal cases that fall under family law in Riverside, California, and how they may impact you or your loved ones.