We often associate family law in California exclusively with legal separation and divorce, but an Orange County CA family lawyer actually has a broad and inclusive legal practice. Any issues involving domestic disputes, child custody, and division of assets can fall within the purview of a family lawyer. In fact, you may never go through divorce proceedings, but still, hire an Orange County CA family lawyer multiple times in your life.
What else does a family lawyer in California do? Here are five times, other than divorce, when you need to hire an Orange County CA family lawyer.
#1: When Determining Paternity and Child Support
Paternity cases in California are deceptively difficult to navigate because a legal determination of fatherhood, whether for a biological or adoptive child, involves more than just test results. An Orange County CA family lawyer must also handle negotiation and explanation of the rights and obligations that accompany a determination of paternity.
For example, if a man files for paternity testing and learns he is the biological father of a child, he now has obligations to pay child support, in addition to possible rights of visitation and custody.
Men and women can demand a paternity test through the California courts. A mother may want to prove paternity in order to obtain legally required child support payments or dispute a man’s claim to child custody or visitation. On the other hand, a man may file for disavowal action, to stop a demand for child support payments. Alternatively, he could also file to establish paternity and make an argument for shared custody or other rights.
#2: When Adopting a Child
California has some specific laws around adoption. First, the individual or couple applying for adoption must be 10 years older than the adoptee. The only exception is for immediate family members, stepparents, aunts, and uncles of the adoptee. Second, older children must provide consent to an adoption. This rule applies to the adoption of any child over the age of 12. And these are only two of the hurdles California law places between you and adoption.
There are different types of adoption in California, and knowing which is best for your case is essential. Whether you want to adopt a child in foster care, oversees, or within your own family, it becomes an intensive process. An Orange County CA family lawyer can help you navigate the eligibility requirements for adoption and the abundance of paperwork.
#3: When There Is a Victim of Domestic Abuse
An Orange County CA family lawyer handles all matters before a California family court or magistrate, and this includes tough cases involving domestic abuse. There are occasional instances of domestic abuse in divorce cases or child custody cases, but many other complaints of domestic abuse aren’t tied to a different legal matter. Even when domestic abuse or violence is the only issue of your case, you can still hire an Orange County CA family lawyer.
#4: When Altering Child Support Payments
Typically, child support payments are determined in conjunction with a divorce decree in California. In instances where parents were never married, the custodial parent can file for child support payments while the child is a minor. However, after child support is set and settled, financial circumstances may change for one or both parents.
When a non-custodial parent takes a pay cut, is laid off, or otherwise receiving a lower income, he or she can apply for an adjustment of child support payments. Similarly, the custodial parent can file with a California family court to obtain a higher amount of child support due to changing circumstances.
#5: When Seeking Surrogacy Options
Advancements in science and technology have allowed us to do amazing things for family planning and conception, including the ability to have a surrogate mother. However, surrogacy remains a rarity in California, and the process of surrogacy riddled with legal complications. An Orange County CA family lawyer can unravel the complexities and help you find an acceptable and legal surrogate.
If you want to learn more about the legal advice and representation by an Orange County CA family lawyer, contact the local office of the Bledsoe Law Firm at 949-363-5551.