Family Law

Alameda County Family Lawyers

“Sometimes a good outcome is very clear – getting a restraining order against an abusive spouse, or getting spousal support against a spouse who’s hiding income. Other times, a good outcome is far more nuanced. Without fail, all of our best outcomes, our big wins, come about because only one side did the work. And a big, big part of that is deeply understanding the people involved and what makes them tick.”

Amy Laughlin

What is Family Law all about? An Accomplished Family law Attorney in Alameda County Explains.

Family law is a legal practice area that is focused on helping with family matters and disputes such as marriage, divorce, adoption, custody, etc. It’s all about regulating changes in family life and it runs the emotional gamut, from the highs of a wedding and marriage to the lows of divorce.
Like most areas of law, family law is filled with terminology that your average person probably isn’t familiar with. In this post, a skilled and experienced family law attorney in Alameda county is going to familiarize you with both the basic categories within family law as well as the terms themselves. Amy Laughlin, Founder and Partner at Laughlin Legal, a family law firm in Alameda County, notes that, “Though all cases within each of these areas have an essential situation in common, the personal details may be significantly unique. This is why it’s so important to choose a family law attorney who views each case as unique and whose values suit yours. Be picky! And choose the best family law firm in Alameda County you can find.“
The basic categories under family law are:
  1. Adding a child or adult to a family: Prenuptial, postnuptial agreements, marital agreements, cohabitation agreements, marriage, adoption, adult adoption.
  2. Ending a marriage: Legal separation, mediation, collaborative law, divorce, asset division, spousal support, child support, child custody, international divorce and family law
  3. Protecting yourself or a member of the family: Domestic violence, juvenile dependency, guardianship for a child, conservatorship for an incapacitated adult
  4. Planning for the financial well-being of your family and following through on their wishes when a family member has passed: Estate planning, will, trust and living trust, trust and estate administration,
Common legal terms when adding a child or adult to a family, by an adoption and family law attorney in Alameda County.

Marital Agreements | Prenuptial and Postnuptial

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document signed by the couple before they are married that establishes expectations regarding the rights to property, income, inheritance, children, and debts.
A postnuptial agreement covers all the same topics but is it signed after the couple is married, not before.
Marriage is a legal union between two adults.
Adoption is a legal parent-child relationship established by the court between a child and a parent who is not the child’s biological or birth parent. Toriana Holmes, a Laughlin Legal family lawyer in Alameda County, explains, “As family law attorneys, we facilitate a change in a family structure. And though we’re only in our clients’ lives for this short period of time, it has such a lasting impact.”
Adult Adoption is when someone accepts the legal relationship and responsibilities of a parent and child relationship with someone who is 18 years or older.

Common legal terms when ending a marriage, by a child custody and family lawyer in Alameda County.

Legal separation addresses all the same issues as divorce regarding asset division, custody, and support, but the couple remains married though living separate and apart.
Mediation is a strategy that provides the couple with a neutral third-party mediator to help them resolve issues and reach a final settlement agreement. It is typically faster and less expensive than litigation provided both couples are willing to negotiate and compromise. Laughlin Legal’s divorce attorneys are also skilled mediators providing divorce mediation services to our clients.
Collaborative law is where each partner hires a collaborative lawyer to represent them, help them resolve their issues, and reach a final settlement agreement. Both partners and both lawyers sign an agreement to authentically pursue a collaborative resolution and not pursue litigation during the collaborative process.
Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage contract between two adults.
Asset division in California operates on the community property principle: each spouse is entitled to half the marital property unless there’s a signed settlement agreement to the contrary. 50/50. Sounds simple. But in the case of complex asset division which involves a high net worth couple, dividing up the assets equally can take significantly longer than simple asset division.
Spousal support formerly known as alimony, is what one spouse may be ordered to pay to the other spouse. Even recipients of spousal support have an obligation to attempt to become self-supporting within a reasonable period. This is one of the most contentious aspects of divorce and it’s essential to work with an experienced spousal support lawyer to achieve a fair resolution.
Child support in California is calculated using a statutory or guideline formula that considers parents’ gross income from all sources, number of children, amount of time children spend with each parent, tax filing status, and special needs of the children. When a parent refuses to pay child support, a child support lawyer either seeks an order for child support or holds the ex-spouse legally responsible for inadequate or missing payments.
Child custody refers to the determination of how the parents divide the rights and responsibilities of taking care of their child or children. A good child custody lawyer will tell you there are two types of custody, legal and physical, and advise you on the best options for gaining or retaining custody of your child or children. The legal custodian makes important decisions for the children and their welfare. The physical custodian lives with the children more than 50% of the time. Kristen Van Antwerp of Laughlin Legal, has a simple answer for what motivates her to strive to become one of the best family lawyers in Alameda County, “I believe every child is entitled to a childhood, and that every child is entitled to frequent, continuing contact with both parents unless there’s a concern about their safety.”
International divorce and family law matters, on the other hand, address all the same issues as domestic family law, but due to multiple languages, time zones, customs, currencies, legal and political systems, citizenships, tax codes, etc., they’re exponentially more complex.

Common legal terms when protecting yourself or another member of the family, by a domestic violence and family lawyer in Alameda County.

Domestic violence, though prevalent, is often difficult to prove in part because abusers can be stealthy but also because physical violence is just one of many forms. For instance, it’s challenging to prove verbal abuse without witnesses. It’s essential that victims of abuse work with an experienced domestic violence lawyer successful at obtaining restraining orders. Caitlin Ashton, a domestic violence and family lawyer in Alameda County practicing at Laughlin Legal, explains that “Our top priority is to ensure our client’s safety. Sometimes, a restraining order is not only necessary to ensure your safety, or your child’s safety, but it can be beneficial for the long-term health of the entire family.”
Juvenile dependency If you are a parent and your child was removed from the home because of child abuse or neglect, you are now a part of a juvenile dependency case. The court may limit or terminate your parental rights, decide to remove the child from your care, place your child with relatives or in foster care, or require you to engage in family reunification services. It is vital you consult with a child custody lawyer right away.
Guardianship is when an adult, who is not a child’s parent, is legally responsible for the child’s care because the child’s parent is unable to care for them. It may also mean someone manages the child’s money or property if the child has a lot.
Conservatorship is when a court appoints someone to act or make decisions for another adult who is incapacitated and does not have a Durable Power of Attorney or an Advance Health Care Directive authorizing someone to make decisions for them. It’s a compassionate solution

Common legal terms when planning for the financial well-being of your family, and following through on their wishes when a family member has passed, by an estate planning and family law attorney in Alameda County.

Estate Planning: Estate planning is the process of preparing for your own incapacity or death by arranging for the distribution or and management of everything you own while you’re still healthy and alive. Lucas Pastuszka, an estate planning and family law attorney in Alameda County practicing at Laughlin Legal, notes that “Most people have an estate plan in their head before they ever have one on paper. It’s doing something about it that counts. If you don’t create one, the government has one for you and it’s a cruel thing to leave to your family.”
A Will is the legal paper that lists those wishes regarding what will happen to your estate when you die.
A Trust is an arrangement where property is given to someone to be held for the benefit of another person.
A Living Trust is a trust that is set up during the life of a person to distribute money or property to another person or organization.
Trust & Estate Administration is the process of following the wishes expressed in the estate plan to manage and distribute trust assets after the death of the creator of the trust.

Do you need a family law firm in Alameda County?

If you or someone you love is encountering any of these life changes, learn more about how an experienced Alameda County family law attorney can represent you and your values. Call us now at 650-239-6064 to schedule your first consultation with us. If you’d prefer, you can email us to set up your appointment. If we miss your call, we will respond promptly and call you back as soon as possible.

Laughlin Legal Family Law Group
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about Divorce & Family Law

Want some of the best legal advice you can get from one of the best divorce lawyers and child custody lawyers around? Want it for FREE? Every first Tuesday of the month at 12pm pst, Founder & Partner Amy Laughlin meets with Laughlin Legal clients on a group zoom call for 60 minutes to answer questions and offer FREE advice. If you’re currently a client, click HERE to reserve your spot!

The FOREFRONT A divorce & family law blog

Think About It: Is It Really So Strange To Have A Transactional Real Estate Lawyer At A Family Law Firm? We find it

You’re in luck because you’re in California, a community property state. And that makes the division of assets simple in that everything acquired

Amy Laughlin, a divorce and child custody lawyer in San Mateo, knows better than most what’s at stake for the children of divorcing parents.

You have rights.

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LAUGHLIN LEGAL Divorce & Family Law Group   650.343.3486
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