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Family Law

Family Law: Protecting What Matters Most

Are you facing a challenging family situation? Family Law covers a wide range of issues, including divorce, child custody, and adoption. If you’re in California and need help with divorce, a divorce attorney in San Luis Obispo can guide you through the process. 

Family Law matters can be emotional and complex, involving legal procedures and decisions that affect your family’s future.

Quick Summary

  • Family Law is all about the rules and processes that deal with family matters. It covers things like marriage, divorce, child custody, and adoption.
  • Divorce, also known as the legal end of a marriage, is a common issue in Family Law. It involves decisions on things like dividing property and deciding who gets custody of any children.
  • Child custody is about parents’ rights and responsibilities for their kids. It can be hard to agree on a plan for custody and visitation, especially if there’s a disagreement. Sometimes, parents need the court’s help to make a plan that’s best for their children.
  • Child visitation is about deciding how each parent will spend time with the kids. If one parent has full custody, the other might get visitation rights. The court might supervise visits if there are safety concerns.
  • Child support is money paid by a parent to help with a child’s expenses. The amount is calculated based on the parents’ incomes and the needs of the child.
  • Spousal support, or alimony, is money paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce. It helps the lower-earning spouse adjust financially. 
  • Paternity is when the law confirms who the father of a child is, often using DNA tests. It’s important for issues like child support, custody, and inheritance. Usually, mothers file paternity cases to get child support, but fathers can also do it to have a relationship with their children.
  • Adoption is when someone becomes a legal parent to a child who isn’t their biological child. The process can be complicated, so it’s wise to learn about it before deciding.
  • Emancipation is when a minor takes on adult responsibilities and becomes self-sufficient. Once emancipated, parents are no longer responsible for the child, and they can’t claim the child’s earnings.
  • Domestic violence and child abuse are serious issues that can involve both criminal investigations and family court. Domestic violence includes physical harm or threats against an intimate partner, while child abuse involves mistreatment or neglect by a parent or caregiver.
  • The time it takes to resolve a family law case depends on its complexity and how well everyone cooperates. To get an idea of how long your case might take, meet with a family law attorney for an initial consultation.
  • In California, registered domestic partners are treated like married couples for many legal matters, including property and support. However, there are differences, like tax laws, that you should understand before ending a domestic partnership.

What is Family Law?

Family law refers to the rules, regulations, and court procedures involving the family unit. It covers different disputes and claims. It is a legal practice area that deals with family matters and domestic relations such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and adoption, among others.

What Does Family Law Cover?

Family law focuses on finding solutions to legal issues related to family relationships such as marriage and parenthood. Civil procedures and legal matters involving the custodial rights and financial responsibilities of family members fall under the family law category. 

Other criminal matters such as domestic violence and child abuse may also be included in this section. A family law attorney in San Luis Obispo can help you understand how family law works in California.


Divorce or “dissolution of marriage,” is the legal termination of the marital relationship. This is considered one of the most common types of family law cases. The divorce process involves several marriage issues, ranging from division of property to child custody. Each partner hires an attorney, who will help devise a settlement plan to avoid a trial. 

Divorce laws may vary from state to state. California is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means neither spouse needs to prove that the other spouse is the reason for the divorce. Instead, the parties involved may simply cite “irreconcilable differences” or an “irreparable breakdown of the marriage” when filing for divorce.

Same-Sex Divorce

If you had a same-sex marriage in California and now live in a state that won’t end your marriage, you can get a divorce in California. But you must file for divorce in the same county where you got married.

Military Divorce

If you or your spouse are in the military, your divorce will be more complex than for civilians. Besides serving divorce papers to an active-duty spouse deployed overseas, you may face issues dividing military pay and benefits and deciding child custody.

High-Asset Divorce

High-asset divorces are more complex than regular divorces. They involve high net worth, valuable assets like property, business interests, stocks, and retirement savings, as well as complicated tax matters.

Child Custody

Child custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of parents for taking care of their children. Working out a parenting agreement that covers child custody and child visitation can be difficult, especially when there’s a conflict between you and the other parent. 

In some cases, they might need the help of the court to come up with a parenting plan considering the best interests of their children.

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody

Legal custody means being able to make big decisions about how to raise your child. This includes choices about education, religion, and health care. If one parent can’t make good decisions for their child, the other parent might get sole legal custody.

Physical custody is about where a child will live. The parent the child lives with most of the time is the custodial parent, and the other is the noncustodial parent. If one parent can’t provide a safe home, the other parent might get sole physical custody.

Child Visitation

Also, both parents should agree on visitation. Child visitation means deciding how each parent will spend time with the children.

How Does Child Visitation Work?

If one parent has full custody of a child, the other parent might get visitation rights. A schedule can be made so the child can still see their other parent. But if the other parent has been violent, they might not get visitation. 

Sometimes, the court might decide that the visits need to be supervised, which means someone else has to be there when the child is with that parent.

Can Visitation Orders Be Modified?

Sometimes, a parent’s life changes, and they might need to change the visitation schedule. For example, they might need to adjust it because of their work schedule. Also, a parent might want to spend time with their child without a supervisor, even if the court said there should be one. 

Parents can agree on changes to the schedule and custody arrangement, or they can go to court to ask for a review.

Do Grandfathers Have Child Visitation or Custody Rights?

In California, a judge can allow a grandparent to visit their grandchild in certain situations. This can happen if the child and grandparent already have a close relationship, and it’s good for the child to see their grandparent.

Child Support

An order of child support may follow a divorce or a determination of paternity. Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a non-custodial parent or both parents to pay every month to help the custodial parent cover the living expenses of the child.

How to Calculate Payments?

The amount of child support a parent pays is figured out based on how many kids need support, how much money the parent who doesn’t have custody makes, how much the custodial parent makes, and other things.

What are Delinquent Payments?

Not paying child support on time can make it hard for the parent with custody and can affect the child’s well-being. Whether you’re a parent with custody who needs child support or a parent who owes child support, a divorce attorney in San Luis Obispo can help you with legal issues.

Can Payment Amounts be Modified?

The amount of child support can be changed if a parent loses their job, has a medical crisis, sees a change in their finances, goes to jail, or if custody changes. Either parent can ask for a change in the amount of child support they pay or receive.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also called alimony, is money paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning one after a divorce. Rehabilitative support helps the lower-earning spouse adjust financially after the marriage ends. Temporary spousal support covers expenses during divorce proceedings. 

In rare cases, permanent spousal support is granted for marriages of 10 years or more. Alimony can be changed if there’s a significant change in circumstances, and sometimes, a former spouse’s support obligation can end.


Paternity is the legal establishment of the identity of a child’s father. It is usually confirmed through the use of genetic or DNA testing. It can be a factor in cases involving child support, custody, adoption, and inheritance. 

Generally, paternity cases are filed by the mother to secure child support payments from an absent father. But sometimes, biological fathers file for paternity to have a relationship with their children. Once paternity is established, the father may be ordered to pay child support for his child.

Adoption or Foster Care

Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adoptive parent is not the child’s biological or birth parent. The adoption process can be emotionally and legally complex, so it’s best to understand how adoption works beforehand so you can make the right decisions for yourself or your family.

The process varies according to the type of adoption, the origin of the child, the changes in state laws, and other factors. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a family law attorney to help you understand the adoption process. Once the adoption is final, the adoptive parents will have all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent-child relationship.


Emancipation is a court process through which a minor assumes adult responsibility for their welfare and becomes self-supporting. At this point, the minor’s parents are no longer responsible for the child. In addition, they will no longer have the right to claim the minor’s earnings.

Before granting emancipation, the court needs to consider the level of maturity, financial capacity, and best interests of the minor. Upon achieving emancipation, the minor assumes the rights and duties of adulthood before actually reaching the “age of majority”. In this case, parents are no longer required to support the emancipated minor financially.

Domestic Violence And Child Abuse

Domestic violence and child abuse are cases that usually require criminal investigations. However, these may also fall under family law since family courts are tasked with determining how to best protect the victims and ensure a relatively safe environment for those involved.

Domestic violence refers to the actual or threatened physical abuse committed against a current or former intimate partner. Domestic violence crimes can include domestic battery, inflicting bodily injury, sexual assault, stalking, and false imprisonment. A conviction for a domestic violence offense can result in substantial penalties including lengthy jail time.

On the other hand, child abuse occurs whenever a parent or caretaker physically, emotionally, or sexually abuses, neglects or abandons a child. State child abuse laws can vary depending on your jurisdiction. 

How Long Does the Family Law Process Take?

How long your family case will take depends on how complicated it is and how much everyone cooperates. To get an estimate of how long your case might take, schedule a first meeting with a family law attorney.

Does the Legal Process Work Differently With Domestic Partnerships?

In California, registered domestic partners are treated the same as married couples for most legal matters, like sharing property and paying support. But there are some differences, such as tax rules. Before ending a domestic partnership, it’s wise to talk to a family law lawyer to know your rights.

Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney Now!

Family Law is incredibly diverse and a relatively broad practice area. It deals with various family issues such as divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, division of marital assets, paternity, and guardianship. Whether you need a family law attorney depends on several factors specific to your case. 

Since family issues are extremely stressful and complicated, let an experienced divorce attorney in San Luis Obispo at 805 Law Group help you understand your rights and options. Our family law firm can ensure that you are properly represented and protected during any legal proceeding. 

We can help you understand your position and resolve any issues relating to any particular familial arrangement. We will be with you every step of the way. Call us now and schedule an initial consultation. Our trusted team can also assist you with Criminal Defense, Estate Planning, and Mediation.

Call (805) 466-4800 to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney in  San Luis Obispo County

Contact the 805 Law Group to speak with a seasoned family law attorney in San Luis Obispo County.