Jenkins Law Firm A.P.C.
Experienced Driven Effective Yours
Family Law Attorneys Dedicated to Assisting Residents of San Diego
With years of experience behind them, the family law lawyers at Jenkins Law Firm A.P.C. provide knowledgeable representation to individuals throughout the San Diego area. At our firm, we understand how financially and emotionally draining it can be to deal with issues arising from personal relationships. We will work diligently to resolve your matter with respect and professionalism. Our attorneys will assess the merits of your case and recommend a course of action for you and your family. Among the areas with which we have grown familiar are divorce, child custody, child support, property division, and more.
Resolving Issues Arising from Marriage Dissolution
California is a no-fault state, which means that a spouse aiming to end a marriage does not have to establish that the other person did something wrong or caused the relationship to fail. In order to obtain a divorce, a spouse can cite “irreconcilable differences.” While the process of dissolving the marriage may be straightforward, related issues such as property division often are complex.
Since California is a community property state, most assets acquired over the course of the marriage by either spouse are divided equally at the time of divorce. This marital property may include businesses and retirement accounts, which can be subject to an intricate valuation process. Experts are often necessary to determine the proper market value of an enterprise or how much a certain spouse contributed to it. Some exceptions to the marital property rule include gifts, inheritances, or recovery awards in a personal injury lawsuit received by one of the spouses. These will be considered separate property, similar to assets acquired before the marriage, and are not subject to division upon divorce.
When a couple has children, issues of custody and support may require legal advice. Joint custody agreements that parents come up with together are highly favored. This is because there is an assumption that maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents is typically the best option for a child’s well-being and overall development.
If the parents cannot agree on a mutually acceptable arrangement, either independently or with a mediator, a judge will set up a custody structure based on the child’s best interest. He or she is free to consider any relevant factor that pertains to an individual’s ability to help the child develop, such as a criminal record or a history of substance abuse. These can negatively affect both physical custody and legal custody. While physical custody concerns the actual time that each parent spends with the child, legal custody means the right to decide critical issues affecting the child’s upbringing, such as those related to medical, educational, or religious matters. If one parent does receive primary physical custody of a child, the other parent can seek visitation rights.
Parents have a legal duty to financially support their children. Child support determinations can be tricky because they are based on multiple factors and are influenced by the amount of time that the child spends with each parent under the specific custody arrangement in the case. Judges will examine each person’s income, occupation, education, and ability to earn as well as time and other resources that are required to be a successful parent. It is important to note that an individual’s earning potential is evaluated in making this determination, not just what that person actually earns at the time.
The amount of child support that one parent pays can be modified if that parent experiences a significant change in circumstances. This might include job loss or the onset of a disability that reduces this individual’s earning power. However, a parent cannot reduce or eliminate child support payments by deliberately refusing employment or taking a position with a lower salary. A modification can be either permanent or temporary. For example, a reduction based on a parent’s job loss might end if that person finds a new position.
Contact a San Diego Lawyer When Contemplating a Divorce
Dissolving a marriage or grappling with a child custody issue can take a toll on you and your entire family. The skilled divorce attorneys at Jenkins Law Firm A.P.C. understand what it takes to protect the rights of clients in San Diego and beyond. Separating spouses and parents have come to seek our guidance from communities such as Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Poway, and La Jolla. If you would be interested in advice from a legal professional on your specific situation, feel free to give us a call at 858-314-2400. We can arrange an initial consultation at no cost to you.