Family Law

Family Law

Family law cases can be emotional and stressful. These aren’t just cases between two parties – these involve family members. Navigating the judicial process, filing documents, and keeping your emotions in check can be very difficult. Having an experienced – and compassionate – family law attorney on your side, to help alleviate your anxiety and fight for the desired outcome, is essential.

Common Types of Family Law Cases

Family law cases can cover a wide range of legal issues. These can include cases related to marriages – such as Premarital Agreements, Same-Sex Marriage, and Divorce – and cases related to children, like Custody issues and Adoptions. Family law can also include financial matters, like Spousal Support and Child Support, and it can include dangerous situations involving Child Abuse, Domestic Abuse, and Stalking.

Take a closer look at some of the most common types of family law cases:

Divorce: One of the most common family law cases is divorce. These cases are filed through family court, and the court will help determine the distribution of property, support payments, and child custody.

Child Custody: Whether two unmarried individuals share a child, or if a married couple is seeking a divorce, family law attorneys can represent individuals in child custody cases. The court will order legal custody, physical custody, visitation rights and schedules, and child support payments.

Adoption: Adoption can be a happy and exciting occasion. A family law attorney can help you handle the paperwork, court filings, fees, and any other parts of the process of legally adopting a child.

Spousal Support: During divorce proceedings, courts will also rule if a spouse receives alimony. These can be difficult conversations, so it’s important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to present your case.

Child Support: As part of child custody cases, child support payments may also be determined by the court. Family law attorneys can help make sure the payments are adequate and fair.

Domestic Violence: Family law also involves serious and upsetting cases. Domestic violence is one of the more common types of these cases. This can include abuse or threats between people in a relationship. A family law attorney can work with victims to request restraining orders and orders of protection. An attorney can also help defend individuals who are falsely accused of domestic violence.

Family Law Civil Appeals and Writs

If you receive an unfavorable outcome from your family law case, and you can show that a legal error was made that led to the final decision, you can pursue an appeal. The court will review your case and determine if a mistake occurred and if the wrong judgment was given.

If your case is not eligible for appeal, you may be able to file a petition for writ review. Usually, writ review is appropriate for decisions that are not final judgments. However, the overwhelming majority of writ petitions are dismissed without decision by the Court of Appeal.

Some examples of family law appeals and writs we’ve presented include:

Marriage of Banks

California Court of Appeal, First District

Case no. A163176

Type of case: Retroactive modification of spousal support.

After entering into a Marital Settlement Agreement, the parties agreed to hire a private, temporary judge pro tem to decide certain, specified issues. The judge pro tem granted declaratory relief to the Husband, holding that the parties’ agreement gave the Husband the right to seek retroactive spousal support, contrary to California law and the terms of the parties’ agreement. The Wife hired Evans Kingsbury LLP to appeal. The case is currently pending on appeal.


Marriage of Degenhardt and Nugent

California Court of Appeal, First District

Case no. A156223

Type of case: Prenuptial agreements.

The trial court found no prenuptial agreement existed and refused to estop the Wife from taking positions at trial that contradicted her actions and statements during the marriage. On appeal, the Husband contended that the parties had fully performed their prenuptial agreement. The Court of Appeal upheld the trial court.


Marriage of Nessinger

California Court of Appeal, First District

Case no. A138764

Type of case: Marital Settlement Agreements.

The Wife submitted a false declaration in the trial court seeking to set aside the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement. After setting aside the agreement, the trial court found against the Wife at trial. The Wife appealed. On appeal, the Husband showed that the trial court’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. The Court of Appeal sustained the trial court.


Marriage of Davenport (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1507

California Court of Appeal, First District

Case no. A126181

Type of case: Dissolution of marriage; sanctions

Trial court denied the Wife’s motion for sanctions and awarded sanctions to the Husband. The Court of Appeal sustained the trial court’s ruling and held that the trial court properly denied the Wife’s motion to exclude evidence that there was substantial proof to find that the Husband did not act in such a way to trigger sanctions.


Marriage of Honer (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 687

California Court of Appeal, First District

Case no. A137961

Type of case: Community property.

The Wife challenged the trial court’s valuation and unfair division of the family business. The Court of Appeal held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it used the “marital value” of the business as a basis for its decision.


Why You Need an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Any time family members are involved in legal cases, we understand our clients may experience a variety of emotions and stressors which can cloud decision-making abilities and create confusion, sadness, and financial distress. That’s where an experienced California family law attorney comes in. You need an expert to navigate the process and the court system to help you achieve the outcome you want.

How the Family Law Attorneys at Evans Kingsbury Can Help

The team at Evans Kingsbury has extensive family law experience in Sonoma County and we know how to navigate the trial and appellate systems. Very importantly, we also know there are times when negotiation and collaboration lead to the best possible resolutions for our family law clients. You might need someone to gently deflect the anger or aggression from the opposing side, or you might need a tough advocate in the courtroom who will fight for you and your children.

With a unique blend of compassion and killer instinct, Deirdre Kingsbury and Noreen Evans will tenaciously help you resolve your complex family law issues, allowing you the time and energy to devote to your family, your health, and your emotional stability. Our unique team brings personal experience to these matters and provides the top-notch legal support you need during this difficult time.

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