Santa Rosa Family Law Attorney
Wine Country Family Law, P.C. offers our Sonoma County family law clients skilled assistance with:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Custody and Support Modification
- Parenting Plan and Visitation
- Relocation (Move-Away)
- Spousal Support
- Paternity Establishment
- Business Valuations
We offer an initial consultation of up to one hour with our experienced Santa Rosa family law attorney. The consultation may be conducted in our Santa Rosa office, by phone, or video conference. During your consultation, our Sonoma County family lawyer will review the facts of your matter, provide you with information regarding the process and legal concepts, and provide various service options we may be able to offer you, along with a fee quote, if applicable.
CLICK HERE to contact our Santa Rosa family lawyer to discuss your individual case.
Family Law in Sonoma County
At Wine Country Family Law, P.C., we understand the emotional impact of family legal issues and how these issues can complicate your relationships, financial wellbeing, and future. That’s why we primarily focus on helping clients through divorce, custody, child support, and other issues they may be facing. While this may be one of the most stressful times in your life, it will not last forever—and the steps you take now to resolve these issues will ensure that you are prepared for whatever comes next.
Learn more about the variety of family law issues we handle, and when you’re ready to discuss your needs in greater detail, contact our office.
Divorce in California
Many of the cases we handle are divorce cases. While we understand that divorce is the end of one chapter, we believe that approaching divorce with professionalism, empathy, and hope allows you to start the next chapter on a positive note. Our firm has successfully represented clients in many types of divorce cases, including uncontested, contested, high-asset, LGBTQI+ divorces, and contentious divorces.
When we approach each divorce case, we do so with our client’s best interests in mind. An in-depth initial consultation gives us insight into your goals and objectives through divorce. If you are in a position where you cannot handle the stress of communicating with your ex-partner, we will ensure that all communication is funneled through each side’s legal representatives. If you want to minimize stress and preserve a co-parenting relationship, we will focus on understanding both side’s needs and creating agreements that are mutually beneficial.
Our firm also handles legal separations. In a legal separation, the parties are still married, but they have to abide by the terms of their legal agreement. This includes financial matters, child custody, and visitation. If the couple later decides to divorce, the terms of their legal separation may become the foundation of their divorce agreement. This option allows couples struggling with this big decision to spend some time apart without fully committing to a divorce.
Child Custody and Parenting Time
Many of our clients choose us because of anxiety over custody disputes and parenting time disagreements. We know that one of your greatest concerns is losing access to your children. Whether you are in the middle of a divorce, you are having custody disputes after the end of a marriage, or you and your co-parent were never married, a solid custody agreement eliminates confusion and serves the best interests of the child.
We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all parenting time arrangements. Today’s parents have a variety of obligations, and your parenting schedule should meet the needs of everyone involved. When both parents have a set work schedule, setting up a parenting time and visitation schedule is often easy and straightforward. What if one parent works 24-hour shifts, works one week on and one week off, or has fluctuating hours? Even in these situations, it is possible to come up with a custody agreement that allows both parents to have meaningful time with their child and protects the child’s relationship with their parents.
While California courts prefer joint custody in which both parents have substantial parenting time, that isn’t always possible. Whether you are pursuing joint custody or sole custody, we will help you navigate your options and craft a compelling case. From standard parenting time schedules to holiday agreements and vacations, our goal is to ensure that every base is covered by the time you head to court for a custody hearing. A strong timesharing schedule sets boundaries, prevents miscommunication, and provides stability for your child.
Paternity and Child Support Issues
Every child has the right to be supported by both parents. Our firm has represented both those who are being asked to pay child support and those who receive child support. Although California child support calculations are fairly straightforward, there are many factors that can complicate this matter. Significant earning disparities can lead to substantially larger payments than expected, even if the child spends equal time with both parents. Seasonal income changes, parents who pay child support to multiple co-parents, and circumstances that impact a child’s standard of living can all cause dramatic changes in ordered child support payments. Whether you are trying to ensure that your child support money is being calculated appropriately or you want your co-parent to pay their fair share toward your child’s upbringing, our team is here to support you the whole way.
A significant part of child support cases is proving paternity. In some situations, proving paternity is just a matter of procedure. In others, a child’s paternity is truly in dispute. Either way, our goal is to uncover the truth as quickly as possible so that the child in question can begin receiving the support they deserve from both parents. In our cases with paternity clients, we understand the emotional and important nature of our work. Whether we are helping someone avoid paying for a child who is not biologically his or proving paternity so that a client can have access to his child, we put our clients’ needs first.
Spousal Support and Alimony
If one partner makes significant decisions during the marriage which impacts their ability to make money but aids the family in a different way, they may find it harder to financially survive on their own outside of the marriage. Without alimony and spousal support options, a divorce could leave them broke and unable to meet even their most basic needs. The spousal support system strives to make these inequalities fair. At our firm, we help those who are ordered to pay alimony and those who receive spousal support. We believe that spousal support should allow both partners to enjoy a similar standard of living without impeding unfairly on the paying spouse. When a marriage ends, both parties should be fairly compensated for the sacrifices they made for the family—including financial and non-financial contributions.
In addition to helping clients with initial alimony discussions and agreements, we also help those trying to modify or terminate their spousal support agreements. Changes in income, living arrangements, and marital status are all good reasons for a change in spousal support.
Whichever family law issues you’re facing, you can trust our team of family law attorneys to provide the expertise, support, and information you need. These times are challenging, but with strong legal support, they do not have to derail your life.
Family Law FAQs
Do I Have to Disclose All My Assets in a California Divorce?
Yes, you are required to disclose all of your assets in a California divorce. This is set forth in Chapter 9 of the California Family Code, which states that each spouse has the legal obligation to disclose all assets and liabilities that either party may be interested in. Assets are legally defined as any real or personal property, both tangible and intangible. Liabilities, on the other hand, include all existing or contingent debts or obligations.
If you fail to disclose all of your assets in a California divorce, either intentionally or accidentally, you can face serious legal penalties. Moreover, you are legally required to update your disclosure form to reflect any changes in your assets and liabilities. If you are found guilty of attempting to hide assets, you may face a criminal perjury charge. You may also be held civilly liable if you fail to disclose all of your assets, and your ex-spouse may recover financial compensation.
What Is a Parenting Plan, and Why Is It Important in California Child Custody Cases?
Raising children undoubtedly presents challenges for co-parents. A parenting plan, also referred to as a “custody and visitation agreement,” is a document that states:
- The amount of time that the child or children will spend with each parent
- How all major decisions about the health, education, and welfare of the child(ren) will be made
Parenting plans are important in California child custody cases because they represent a written agreement regarding all key co-parenting matters. For parents who share joint physical and/or legal custody, having a parenting plan in place can help avoid issues long-term by ensuring that each parent is fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.
What Factors Are Considered When Determining Child Support in California?
There are two primary factors that are considered when determining child support in California, including the:
- Income level of each parent
- Amount of time that each parent spends with the child
Generally, the greater the disparity between these two factors, the higher the child support payments will be. A parent who makes significantly more than their ex-spouse, for instance, will typically be required to pay more in child support. Likewise, a parent with sole custody will typically receive child support payments from the other parent. California Child Support Services provides a guideline calculator to help you estimate child support obligations based on your unique circumstances.
How Is Spousal Support Determined in a California Divorce?
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a court-ordered payment designed to help one spouse cover their necessary monthly expenses. There are two types of spousal support that may be ordered in a California divorce, including:
- Temporary spousal support, which provides payments until the divorce is finalized
- Long-term spousal support, which provides payments after the divorce until the recipient spouse can become self-supporting
According to Section 4320 of the California Family Code, the court will use a range of factors when making a spousal support determination in a California divorce. Some of these factors include:
- The standard of living of both spouses throughout the marriage
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- The recipient spouse’s ability to become gainfully employed
- Age and health of each spouse
- Length of the marriage
- Assets and liabilities of each spouse
- Balance of hardships
- History of violence or domestic abuse
- Tax consequences
What Is the Process For Establishing Paternity in California, and What Are the Rights and Responsibilities of a Legal Parent?
California courts follow a specific process for establishing paternity. Establishing paternity, or parentage, refers to the process of securing a court order to confirm the legal parents of a child. Generally, this is necessary before the court can determine child support, custody, or visitation agreements.
Individuals who are legally married or who are registered domestic partners at the time of the child’s birth are assumed to be the child’s legal parents. In these situations, paternity is automatically established. For individuals who were not married or registered domestic partners, however, parentage must be established. Genetic testing may be ordered by the court in situations where the father does not admit paternity.
A person who has been established as the legal parent of a child will have certain rights and responsibilities, including:
- The right to request child custody and/or visitation.
- The responsibility to pay child support as well as half of all uninsured healthcare costs and childcare costs.
Contact Wine Country Family Law Today
As you explore your options for your divorce, custody dispute, child support, or other family law issue, turn to the team at Wine Country Family Law, P.C. Our team brings a blend of in-depth knowledge, extensive legal experience, and empathetic support to every case we take on. We recognize that people do not turn to family law firms for happy or celebratory reasons, but we want to make the experience as positive as possible for you as we work toward legal solutions that fit your needs. To schedule a consultation, call our team at 707-669-0841 or get in touch with us online.