Family Law

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Family law in California regulates family-related issues, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, and domestic violence. California has a unique set of laws and regulations governing family law, which can be complex and require the expertise of an experienced attorney.

In California, family law cases are typically heard in family law courts, separate from other types of courts. These courts are designed to handle sensitive and emotionally charged issues in family law cases.

Essentials of Family Law

  • Marriage

    In California, couples can enter into marriage through a traditional wedding ceremony or a domestic partnership. The state recognizes same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships, and specific laws and regulations govern these types of relationships.

  • Divorce

    California is a no-fault divorce state, which means couples can seek a divorce without proving that one party was at fault for the marriage breakdown. The state also has specific laws governing property division, spousal support, and child custody and support in divorce cases.

  • Child Custody

    In California, child custody is determined based on the child's best interests. There are two types of custody: legal custody, which refers to the right to make decisions about a child's upbringing, and physical custody, which refers to where the child will live. Several factors are considered when determining child custody, including the child's age, health, and relationship with each parent.

  • Child Support

    California has specific guidelines for determining child support, which is based on the income of both parents and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Child support payments may be ordered until the child turns 18 or until they graduate from high school, whichever comes later.

  • Domestic Violence

    California has strict laws governing domestic violence, and individuals who are victims of domestic violence may be able to obtain restraining orders to protect themselves and their children from their abusers.

Navigating family law issues in California can be challenging, but working with an experienced family law attorney can help protect your rights and interests throughout the legal process.

Common Issues of Family Law

  • Divorce

    Divorce is one of California's most common family law issues. Couples may file for divorce due to irreconcilable differences or other reasons. Issues needing to be resolved during the divorce process include property division, spousal support, and child custody and support.

  • Child Custody

    Child custody disputes are common in California family law cases. Parents may disagree about where the child should live, who should decide about their upbringing, and how much time each parent should spend with the child.

  • Child Support

    Child support is another common issue in California family law cases. When parents divorce or separate, the non-custodial parent may be required to pay child support to the custodial parent to help cover the costs of raising the child.

  • Domestic Violence

    Domestic violence is a serious issue in California, and victims of domestic violence may seek restraining orders to protect themselves and their children from their abusers.

  • Paternity

    In cases where the parents of a child are unmarried, paternity may need to be established. This can be important for determining child custody and support obligations.

  • Adoption

    Adoption is another common family law issue in California. Whether a family is adopting a child from within the United States or another country, specific laws and regulations must be followed to ensure that the adoption is legal and valid.

Navigating these family law issues can be complex, and it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance and support throughout the legal process.

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Types of Family Law Attorneys

  • Divorce Attorneys

    Divorce attorneys specialize in representing clients undergoing the divorce process. They can help with issues related to property division, spousal support, child custody and support, and other matters related to the dissolution of a marriage.

  • Child Custody Attorneys

    Child custody attorneys represent clients in child custody disputes. They can help with issues related to legal and physical custody, visitation rights, and other matters related to the care and upbringing of children.

  • Child Support Attorneys

    Child support attorneys represent clients in child support disputes. They can help with issues related to calculating child support payments, modifying existing child support orders, and enforcing them.

  • Domestic Violence Attorneys

    Domestic violence attorneys specialize in representing clients who are victims of domestic violence. They can help with issues related to obtaining restraining orders, seeking compensation for damages, and other matters related to domestic violence.

  • Adoption Attorneys

    Adoption attorneys represent clients looking to adopt a child. They can help with issues related to identifying potential adoptive parents, navigating the adoption process, and ensuring that the adoption is legal and valid.

  • Paternity Attorneys

    Paternity attorneys specialize in representing clients seeking to establish paternity. They can help with issues related to child custody and support and other matters related to establishing the legal relationship between a father and child.

Working with an experienced family law attorney specializing in the specific area of family law that applies to your case can help protect your rights and interests throughout the legal process.

Key Terms

  • Divorce: A legal process that terminates a marriage or a civil union.
  • Child Custody: A legal term that refers to parents' legal rights and responsibilities for their children after a divorce or separation.
  • Child Support: A payment made by a non-custodial parent to a child's custodial parent or legal guardian to support the child's living expenses.
  • Alimony: A legal obligation of one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse after a divorce or separation.
  • Domestic Violence: A pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
  • Adoption: The legal process of creating a parent-child relationship between individuals who are not biologically related.
  • Paternity: The legal recognition of a man as the father of a child.
  • Prenuptial agreement: A legal contract between two individuals planning to get married that sets forth the terms and conditions of dividing assets and liabilities in the event of divorce.
  • Surrogacy: The process by which a woman carries a pregnancy for another individual or couple, who will become the parent(s) of the child after birth.


Family law in California is a complex legal field that deals with many issues related to family relationships. Whether you are going through a divorce, seeking child custody or support, dealing with domestic violence, or looking to adopt a child, working with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance and support throughout the legal process is important.

Family law attorneys in California specialize in different areas of family law, including divorce, child custody and support, domestic violence, adoption, and paternity. By working with an attorney specializing in the specific area of family law that applies to your case, you can ensure that your rights and interests are protected and that you achieve the best possible outcome in your legal matter.

Navigating family law issues in California can be challenging. Still, with the right legal representation, you can confidently move forward and achieve a positive outcome for you and your family.

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