15428 Civic Dr, Ste 325, Victorville CA 92392
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ritter & LeClere A.P.C. Attorneys at Law

Practice limited to Family Law, probate and wills
 
 
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Family Law Attorney for San Bernardino County, CA

Family Law in California encompasses the areas of Divorce, Division of Property, Child Custody and Child Visitation, Child Support and Spousal Support. At Ritter & LeClere A.P.C. Attorneys at Law, we understand the importance of your family and we are here to help you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. We will endeavor to make the process of divorce as smooth and stress free for you as we can. We will provide you with legal advice based on the current status of the law and inform you of your options. We understand these legal decisions can impact your family for the rest of your life and have a profound impact on your relationship with your children.

Divorce

There are two types of divorce in the State of California. If you both agree on everything then you and your spouse can have an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce the Court does not make the decision on how to divide your property or determine how your children will be shared between you. You can agree to Spousal Support and even agree to Child Support so long as neither party is applying for or receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children and both parties have been advised of the State Mandated Minimum Child Support guideline. You can never legally agree to terminate Child Support or make it nonmodifiable so long as the minor child is under 18 years of age but you can reserve jurisdiction on the amount under certain circumstances if both parties agree to it.

If you and your spouse can not agree then you have a contested divorce. In a contested divorce the Court makes the decisions over how your assets and debts will be divided and what the child custody and visitation arrangements will be. The Court will also set temporary Spousal Support if it is requested and temporary Child Support if requested. The Court will use the Child Support formula to determine what the appropriate amount of support should be both as temporary support and permanent Child Support in the Judgment. The Court will apply the factors listed in Family Code Section 4320, relevant case law and will determine permanent spousal support.

Legal Separation

In a legal separation, the parties do not divorce but live separate and apart from one another. Their assets and debts are divided, spousal support and child support are set and the Court sets forth the terms by which the parties will share the children if they cannot agree on a share plan. Legal separations are not commonplace. They can be useful in a situation where the parties need to remain married for health insurance purposes, for social security purposes or in some cases to allow the division of a retirement or pension. Often parties choose legal separation when they have a religious reason for not seeking a divorce but can no longer live together.
 
 

Child Custody and Child Visitation

It is the public policy of the State of California that parents should share their children equally if possible and that each parent should have a say in the legal decisions regarding their children. If you have a situation where one parent cannot co-parent and require orders different from an equal share plan, the Court can make orders to address the best interests of the children. Some situations where an equal share plan may not work are; where there is alcohol or drug abuse by one parent, domestic violence or the parents do not live in close enough proximity to allow them to share the children equally. Child Custody and visitation are highly complex areas of the law and each case can be unique. It is not an area where one size fits all. We are here to provide legal guidance and assist you in reaching your goals if you and your child’s other parent cannot reach an agreement. It is best to have a consultation with an attorney to discuss your individual case if you cannot agree on how to share your children.
 

Child Support

Child Support is set by the State of California in the minimum child support guidelines. It is an algebraic formula used to determine what the State believes is the minimum amount of child support needed for each child. The amount can be either by agreement, once the parties have been advised of the minimum amount, or set by the Court if the parties cannot agree. If either party is applying for or receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children, then the court cannot make an order for an amount below guideline and the parties cannot agree to an amount below guideline and have the Court order it. There are several factors to take into consideration when establishing child support.

Spousal Support

There are two types of Spousal Support, temporary and permanent. Temporary Spousal Support is determined by a state guideline that considers several different factors. If you request Temporary Spousal Support from the Court, the Judge will apply the guideline and determine what the amount will be. The parties can also agree on an amount and request that the Judge orders the amount. We can advise you of the potential range of support you may be able to receive depending upon the State guideline. Permanent Spousal Support is based upon a series of factors and the case law as applied under Family Code Section 4320. Permanent Spousal Support is not determined by a mathematical formula as is temporary support. We can advise you of the factors in your case and how long you may be entitled to support or how long you may have to pay support.

Property Division

California is a no fault state and a community property state. Generally, all property and outstanding debts acquired during the marriage will need to be divided equally. Each party is entitled to 50% of the assets and responsible for 50% of the debts. Only if an item is inherited and able to be traced as a gift to one party and the inheritance or gift was not comingled with the community can you claim something acquired during the marriage as separate property. Generally, everything acquired or owed before marriage and after the date of separation is the separate property of the party in whose name it is in. Division of property can become very complex and there are a number of rules set forth in case law that apply to the division of property and debts. It is very important to discuss the division of the assets and debts with an experienced attorney before you agree to anything.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Domestic violence is a form of abuse against a spouse, child, family member or intimate partner. A Domestic Violence Protective Order is a Court order used to protect the victim from the abuser. A temporary order can be obtained by requesting an ex parte hearing. A permanent Domestic Violence Restraining order is only granted after a hearing where the judge determines the facts and applies the relevant law to the facts. Law enforcement will enforce a restraining order and can arrest a person how violates it and charge them with a crime. If a restraining order is issued against you it can have far reaching effects on your rights and your ability to see your children.

Paternity

When two people are not married, but have children together and later separate, then either parent may ask the Court to establish Child Custody, Child Visitation and Child Support orders. If you are not the parent of a child and you are served with a Paternity Action you have a very narrow window in certain cases to request the Court to determine that you are not the biological parent. It is possible to not be the biological parent and still be responsible financially for a child or to obtain custody and visitation rights. It is a very complicated area and you should consult an attorney regarding your rights and responsibilities before you agree to anything.

Limited-Scope Appearances

The State of California allows a person to retain an attorney for only a part of their case in Family Court. An attorney can help you prepare a document, answer discovery, appear at a Request for Order Hearing or even handle a trial for you on a limited scope basis. You need to discuss the details of the limited scope appearance with the attorney and determine exactly what the attorney will and will not be doing for you.

Family Law Practice

 
  • Child Custody
  • Divorce
 
  • Guardianships
  • Limited-Scope Appearances
 
  • Property Division
  • Restraining Orders
 
  • Special Appearances
  • Support
 
For legal assistance from an experienced attorney with the knowledge necessary to help you achieve a desirable outcome, call Ritter & LeClere A.P.C. Attorneys at Law at 760-241-4577 today and schedule an appointment.