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Family Law

Family Law

Adoption

Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child’s biological or birth parent. That means that once the adoption is final, the adoptive parents have all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent-child relationship. That new parent-child relationship is permanent and is exactly the same as that of a birth family. An adoptive parent can be a stepparent or domestic partner of one of the birth parents, a relative of the child who has been caring for the child, or someone not related to the child by blood.

Talk to an Active Law Group lawyer about your family’s options before starting an adoption. Every family is different and in some cases, you may not need to go through an adoption.

Types of Adoptions:

Stepparent/domestic partner adoption:

  • The spouse or domestic partner of the child’s parent adopts that child.
  • The couple must be legally married or registered as domestic partners.
  • It is the most common type of adoption.
  • It is a little simpler than other types because 1 of the child’s birth parents still remains the child’s parent.

An independent, agency, or international adoption:

  • Independent Adoption: is when no adoption agency or the Department of Social Services is part of the adoption case. In these cases, if the existing and adopting parents agree, the parental rights of the existing parents do not have to be terminated (end).
  • Agency Adoption: is when the California Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency is part of the adoption case.
    International Adoption: is when the child to be adopted was born in another country.

In all these three types, the court ends the parental rights of the child’s two birth parents, and the adoptive parents become the children’s legal parents.

Divorce Related Matters

Lake Forest Divorce Attorney
Tailor-Made Divorce & Separation Representation

The end of a marriage is a life-changing event, no doubt about it. It can bring any of a number of complexities and may leave one facing an entirely uncertain future. However, it can also bring with it hope and much-needed change. At Active Law Group our goal is to provide the type and level of legal counsel that can make a divorce or separation as beneficial as it can be.

Our Lake Forest divorce attorneys can work with you to help you avoid common pitfalls while protecting your current and future interests, needs, and financial stability.

If you want to find out how we can help you take the right approach to your divorce or separation, call us at +1(800)-237-3027. Your initial consultation is Free and confidential!

Issues to Resolve in a Divorce:
Some people enter a divorce or separation under the assumption that it will be relatively simple, only to find there are numerous issues that must be resolved. These are emotionally charged and often impact one’s finances, introducing a number of complexities that must be addressed properly to avoid future problems.

Our Lake Forest divorce attorneys are here to provide tailored counsel related to any of the issues that must be resolved in a divorce, separation, or domestic partnership dissolution:

  • Dividing assets, property, and debt
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

Your ability to reach agreements regarding these issues may influence whether you will go through a contested divorce or uncontested divorce. When evaluating your options, it is critical to work with an attorney who will protect your interests to the fullest extent. This will help you start a new life where you have received your fair share of assets, are not overwhelmed with debt, and can spend time with your children.

Divorce Cases We Handle:

  • community property
  • contested divorce
  • divorce mediation
  • domestic partnership dissolution
  • legal separation
  • military divorce
  • spousal support
  • uncontested divorce

Experienced Divorce & Separation Counsel in Lake Forest, CA
From the time you contact Active Law Group for an initial consultation, we will do our best to gain a clear understanding of your specific situation so we can give an honest assessment of the possible outcome of your divorce or separation. Our Lake Forest divorce attorneys will look at your immediate priorities and quickly file any necessary pleadings to get things started. This may include:

  • Request for exclusive possession of the marital home
  • Request for or opposition to spousal support
  • Request for custody of your child or children

From there, we will work to understand and protect your long-term interests. When you work with a (A.L.G.) Lake Forest divorce lawyer at our firm, you can also rest assured that we will keep you informed as your case progresses so you know what to expect every step of the way.

To get started, contact us at +1(800)-237-3027 We are here for you.

Paternity

Lake Forest Paternity Attorneys

Paternity disputes can lead to both the mother and the father feeling frustration. A father may be frustrated that mom is denying his parentage and is refusing to allow him contact with the child. There may also be situations where a dad denies that the child is his and refuses to help with any type of support. Regardless of the situation, neither side is able to do anything without Court intervention; the first step is to go to Court and obtain an order establishing paternity of the child. Our (A.L.G) Lake Forest paternity attorneys handle such matters in Anaheim, Santa Ana, and throughout the rest of the area. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

Paternity lawyers assisting those in Anaheim, Santa Ana, and the rest of Orange County, California

California is like other states in that the rights and obligations of fatherhood do not take effect until one is declared the father of a child. Our state will presume one is the father if he is listed on the birth certificate, if the parties were married at the time of the child’s birth, or if the parties were living together at the time of birth and the male showed commitment to the child. If none of these circumstances are present then the father will have no right to custody, visitation, or to prevent the mother from relocating a child outside of California. There would also be no obligation to provide financial assistance or to pay child support. Once the legal process establishes paternity then an order for child custody will be put in place as well as orders regarding support.

The first step in a paternity case is to file a Petition with the Court. A hearing will be held early in the process and, if the parties cannot agree on the issue of parentage, then the Court will order that a DNA test will be conducted. If the male is shown to not be the father then the case will essentially end. If the male is shown to be the father then the Court will issue a temporary order regarding custody, visitation, and support. A subsequent trial will be held at which the Court will issue a permanent custody and support solution. In reaching a final decision the Judge will only be concerned with the best interest of the child. In determining what is in the child’s best interest the Court will consider factors such as:

  • The nature of the relationship between each parent and the child
  • The wishes of the child – provided that he or she is old enough to form an intelligent opinion
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs
  • The nature and source of any conflict between the parents
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence between the parties

It can make a difference in the outcome of your case if you have an attorney presenting your side to the Court.

Our Active Law Group paternity lawyers aggressively handle such cases. Once retained we will immediately file a Petition to establish paternity, whether you are the father seeking to establish visitation or the mother seeking to establish support. Once DNA testing has been completed then we will argue for a reasonable visitation schedule which is in the interest of the most important person – the child. Our firm will use the discovery process to gather evidence relevant to one’s fitness to parent as well as issues related to income. We will present your case at trial and make sure that you know what to expect from the process. We will take your matter seriously. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Our attorneys service all of Orange County, including Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

Lake Forest attorneys providing quality representation in paternity disputes
Orange County residents are already frustrated when facing a paternity dispute. The last thing you need in such a situation is be frustrated by your attorney. We strive to provide quality representation. We promptly return phone calls, quickly respond to emails, and copy our clients on correspondence. We make ourselves available to answer your questions and work to ensure that you know what to expect as your case moves forward. We focus on the law so that you may focus on what is most important – your family.

Prenuptial Agreement

Lake Forest Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys

We all enter into marriage with the idea that it will not end. No one, after all, gets married with the expectation that the situation will end in divorce. The unfortunate fact is that many marriages do end and a messy court process often follows. This messy process can result in arguments over who should receive which asset and who should be responsible for which debt. A premarital agreement can allow you to proceed through your marriage without having to worry about such potential issues. Our Active Law Group attorneys handle the drafting of prenuptial agreements for those preparing to marry. Call our lawyers today to schedule an initial consultation.

Prenuptial agreements put a plan in place regarding how assets will be divided in the event of a contested divorce. If no agreement is in place then California law will apply when deciding issues such as community property distribution and the award of spousal support. By having an agreement in place prior to marriage, however, it can be predetermined that property and assets will remain separate during a marriage and any issues of spousal support can be decided in advance. If, for example, the soon to be spouses decide that each of their wages shall be separate property, and that no support would be awarded upon the end of the marriage, then such would be the final order upon the dissolution of a marriage. This can allow the spouses to go through their married life without concerns over financial issues.

Premarital agreements also play an important role when it comes to protecting one’s assets against creditors of their future spouse. California is a community property state. This means that if you marry someone with debt problems then your spouse’s creditors could potentially put a lien on your wages to satisfy obligations which were incurred well before your wedding. By having a prenuptial agreement, and keeping your wages separate, you potentially shield yourself from such problems.

Our Lake Forest Active Law Group attorneys handle the preparation of premarital agreements. We will use your initial consultation to identify all potential issues which need to be covered in the agreement and to help you understand whether an agreement is in your best interests. We will then prepare the document and take steps to ensure it will stand up to scrutiny in the event that it is challenged in a divorce proceeding. We understand that the preparation of such a document can have a huge impact on your future. We will give the matter the attention it deserves. Contact us today.

Our Active Law Group attorneys service Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

Child Support And Visitation

Lake Forest Child Support Lawyers

Parents support their children in multiple ways. The first of these ways is through providing insight, guidance, and emotional support. The second is through the provision of financial support. The fact of the matter is that it costs money to feed, house, and clothe a little one. Unfortunately there are situations where the parent receiving support does not pay their fair share and the paying parent feels their obligation may be set unfairly high. Such disputes often have to be resolved through Court intervention. Our Active Law Group child support lawyers handle such matters in Anaheim, Santa Ana, and elsewhere in our area. Contact our office today to speak with an attorney.

Lake Forest attorneys handling cases which fall under California’s child support guidelines

Support will be ordered in any California case where child custody has already been determined. The amount to be paid will be determined by our state’s applicable guidelines. These guidelines determine an amount by taking a parent’s gross monthly income and subtracting things such as taxes, union dues, and work related expenses. The Court will also consider facts such as whether one supports children from another relationship, the custody arrangement’s time share, and other factors. While these calculations seem straightforward, there are many factors which can complicate them. These may include whether one party is “underemployed,” whether one’s income is inflated due to a one-time windfall which is unlikely to repeat, as well as other considerations.

Our Active Law Group family law attorneys assist residents of the area with child support disputes. We do so as part of your existing custody case or as an independent matter. We will use the discovery process to determine one’s true income. This can include the acquisition of pay stubs, job search history, bank statements, business records, and more. We will present this evidence to the Court in a way which shows what a fair payment should be and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Our office understands that many local families are struggling financially and that this is an issue which impacts families. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.

Our lawyers service all of Orange County, including Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

Lake Forest attorneys assisting those in cases involving child support arrears

Everyone understands the obligation to support their children. Unfortunately there are instances where one fails to meet their obligations. When a parent falls into child support arrears then they face wage garnishments, being held in contempt of court, and possible jail time. We assist Orange County residents involved in cases which involve child support arrears. If you find yourself in such a situation then we are able to assist you.

We also assist in other matters which have an impact on child support. These include paternity, child relocations, custody modifications, and more.

Child Custody

Lake Forest Child Custody Lawyers

One’s children are the most important thing in life. We have a responsibility to protect their interests from the moment they are born. This obligation extends to the good times as well as the bad. There are, however, times when the other parent may not necessarily be acting in the best interests of the child. In such a situation you need the services of attorneys who will work to protect your kids from harm’s way. Our Active Law Group child custody lawyers handle such matters in Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and throughout the rest of the area. Contact our Orange County office today to schedule an initial consultation.

Orange County attorneys handling child custody cases on behalf of parents

California is a state which presumes that parents should share joint custody of children. This means that the Court will begin each case with the belief that the child should equally spend time with both the mother and the father. If a parent wishes for custody to be anything other than joint then they must demonstrate to the Court that one parent having primary or sole custody is in the best interest of the child. When determining what is in the child’s best interest the Court will consider factors such as:

  • The nature of the relationship between the child and each parent
  • The need to keep the child united with any siblings
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The extent to which one parent is causing conflict with the other
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence between the parties
  • The wishes of the child, assuming that the child is of sufficient age to make an intelligent decision (FC 3080)

When ruling on child custody the Court will also rule on issues such as visitation and child support.

Child custody cases are either between two parents who were never married or are sometimes part of a contested divorce. After the initial Petition is filed then a hearing will be held relatively early in the case. The purpose of this hearing is to put a temporary order in place regarding custody, visitation, and support while the matter is proceeding. Each parent will then have the opportunity to gather evidence to be used in support of arguments as to why they should have primary custody. The matter will conclude at a trial at which the Judge, and not a jury, will make a final ruling on all issues. Having a lawyer to assist you with this process can make a difference in the outcome.

Our Active Law Group child custody lawyers in Orange County aggressively handle such matters throughout the area. We recognize that time is of the essence and will quickly file your Petition and request for temporary orders. Once a preliminary arrangement has been established we will use discovery, the process by which information is obtained from the other side, to gather proof of why you should have the custody arrangement you are requesting. This proof may include the other parent’s medical history, financial information, telephone records, email correspondence, criminal records, and the child’s school records. We will present your case at trial and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Our office understands that you are facing a serious situation – we will give it the attention it deserves. Contact us today.

Our attorneys service all of Orange County, including Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

Lake Forest lawyers providing regular communication during child custody cases

Matters involving one’s children are stressful. You do not need the added aggravation of having counsel who does not make themselves available to answer your questions. Our Active Law Group lawyers promptly return phone calls, quickly respond to emails, copy clients on correspondence, and take steps to ensure that you know what to expect as your matter moves forward. We pride ourselves on providing a level of service not common to Lake Forest attorneys. This is our promise to each of our clients.
We also handle other matters related to child custody such as modifying an existing custody order, moving children outside of California, and paternity.

Alimony

Southern California Active Law Group Alimony Lawyers

Alimony is generally based on one spouse’s need balanced against the other’s ability to pay. These cases can become complex and it is important to seek the advice of an attorney who understands the law and will fight to protect you.

How Are Alimony Payments Determined?

Depending on the situation, spousal support can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis. Temporary support calculations are based on statewide guidelines and can be awarded for a set period of time while the divorce is pending. Permanent support is based on a number of factors. When you hire our firm, we will do everything we can to ensure that you receive fair treatment under the law and work for a settlement that serves your interests.

Factors the court considers in making a determination on permanent alimony:

  • The earning capacity of the supported spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The age and health of the parties
  • Contributions of the supported spouse to the career advancement of the other

The respective income of the two spouses plays a huge role in this determination. The length of the marriage – typically, over ten years is considered a “long-term marriage” – is the second largest factor.

Our  Active Law Group alimony lawyers have a complete understanding of the law in these cases and the factors that go into making support calculations. We work diligently to see that your interests are protected above all else. Our experience with both sides of these cases allows us to be much more proactive in search of a positive result on your behalf.

Call +1(800)-237-3027 for a FREE Phone Consultation!

Spousal Support

Lake Forest Spousal Support Attorneys

Few things cause dispute in a divorce as does the idea of spousal support. The paying party feels that they should not have to support someone to whom they are no longer married. The receiving party often feels that they should be entitled to a larger amount. Whichever side of the issue you are on it is important to understand that divorce represents a new phase in your life and how the Court rules on alimony will have an impact on how you begin this next step. Retaining an experienced divorce and spousal support lawyer can be crucial. Our Active Law Group spousal support attorneys assist those in Irvine, Santa Ana, and elsewhere in the area. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Spousal support lawyers assisting those in Anaheim, Laguna Niguel, and elsewhere in Orange County

Spousal Support is often disputed as part of the contested divorce process. Support can take both a temporary and permanent form. Temporary support can be granted in the very early stage of a case and is meant to be in place while the marriage dissolution proceeds through the Court. Permanent support will be awarded after the matter concludes at a trial where the Judge will Order an amount and duration for which the support will last. The Court’s decision regarding the amount and duration of support will be based on several factors.

California law determines the amount and duration of spousal support by weighing several factors. Under family code §4320 the Court will consider:

  • The extent to which each spouse has the earning capacity necessary to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during marriage
  • The extent to which the paying party obtained a degree, specialized knowledge, or other skills through the assistance of the receiving party
  • The paying party’s ability to make the payments
  • Any other factors which the Court considers relevant
  • Each party will be required to disclose
  • The age and mental health of each party and whether one spouse has been traumatized by domestic violence
  • The tax consequences of spousal support
  • Goal of self-support for both parties
  • The duration of the marriage certain financial information at the onset of the case.

The Court will use this initial financial information to issue a temporary support award. Each spouse will then have the ability to use discovery, the process by which information is gained from the other side, to build a case for or against the payment of support. The obtained information will be presented at trial and the Judge will issue a decision. It is important to have an attorney help you with this process.

Our Active Law Group spousal support lawyers aggressively protect the interests of their clients during such disputes. Once retained we will immediately file a request or opposition regarding support, if warranted. We will then use the discovery process to gain information relevant to the case. Such information may include employment information, job search histories, bank statements, credit card information, and other relevant records. We will present all acquired evidence to the Court, argue the merits of any spousal support claim, and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the process. We understand how serious the situation is to your future financial health; we will take your case seriously. Contact us today.

Our attorneys service all of Orange County, including Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

Attorneys providing a high level of service to Lake Forest residents facing alimony

Divorce is one of life’s most stressful events. There are also few things as hard as financial stress. Alimony creates an intersection of these two stress types. The last thing you need when going through an spousal support dispute is to have an attorney who does not return your calls or answer your questions. Our Active Law Group lawyers promptly return phone calls and emails, make themselves available to answer your questions, and take steps to ensure that you know what to expect as your case moves forward. This is our promise to each of our clients.

Marital Separation Agreement

What is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation is an alternative to divorce. Some couples who choose this alternative do so as way to bring some closure to a relationship without having to completely end the marriage. They may choose a legal separation for religious reasons or for some practical purpose, such as the desire to maintain one spouse on the other’s health care plan. If you’re considering legal separation for health insurance purposes, make sure that a legal separation does constitute a disqualifying event under your plan.

With a legal separation, you will still have to deal with all the formalities of a divorce, including the following steps:

  • file a petition (legal paperwork) for legal separation
  • make decisions about custody, child support, alimony and property division, which may be reached by an agreement between spouses or by a court, and
  • get a final judgment of legal separation from the court.

What is a Separation Agreement?

A Separation Agreement is different from the formal process of getting “legally separated.” In California, spouses that have decided to separate may enter into a “separation agreement,” which is a legally binding contract that deals with all aspects of their separation, including issues of child support and visitation (if there are children), property division and alimony. However, unlike obtaining an official “legal separation,” you don’t have to go to court to enter into a separation agreement with your spouse.

A separation agreement allows couples to address important issues that will come up during their separation period, including:

  • where the children will live
  • when the children will spend time with each parent
  • how the couple will pay living expenses, such as rent and/or mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, health care costs and groceries during separation
  • whether either spouse will pay child support and/or alimony during separation
  • how the couple will manage assets (for example, bank accounts or investments) during the separation period
  • whether the couple will divide or sell any property during the separation period, and
  • how property and income obtained after the date of the separation will be treated (post-separation income is typically considered separate property of the spouse that earns it, but couples may want to make sure that provision is in writing so there’s no confusion later, or couples can agree to treat it differently).

Should I Hire an Attorney?

A separation agreement is the result of a negotiation between spouses, which can occur at your kitchen table, in a mediator’s office, or through attorneys for both sides.

Some simple matters may be resolved directly between spouses without any legal help (for example, where the couple has minimal property, few debts and no children), but for most people, negotiating and drafting a comprehensive agreement that will hold up in court is difficult. Because the decisions made in a separation (or divorce) may have serious consequences, it’s best to hire an attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected, and draft a valid agreement.

In addition, communicating with someone you’re separating from can be challenging at best. If your marriage is ending, you and your spouse probably weren’t communicating very effectively before the breakup, and it’s not likely to get better now. Although some spouses remain friendly and reach agreements easily, most separating couples can’t expect to get too far in a one-on-one discussion before emotions boil over and get in the way of a resolution. These couples need professionals that can create a buffer, and negotiate with the other side.

If you need help drafting a separation agreement, or you have questions about whether you should pursue a court-ordered legal separation or a divorce, you should consult with an experienced Active Law Group family law attorney who can help you decide how to proceed.

Domestic Violence

California domestic violence laws make it a crime to harm, or threaten to harm, an intimate partner. Common crimes of domestic violence in California include Penal Code 243(e)(1) “domestic battery” and Penal Code 273.5, “inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner.”
Unfortunately, innocent people often get wrongly accused of violating California’s domestic violence laws. A domestic violence conviction can have devastating consequences.

Consequences of a domestic violence conviction in California In addition to punishment by a jail or prison sentence, consequences of a California domestic violence conviction can include:

  • Mandatory minimum jail time,
  • Mandatory participation in (domestic violence classes),
  • Payment of fines and/or victim restitution,
  • A restraining order (also known as a protective order),
  • Loss of custody rights,
  • Loss of California gun rights,
  • A permanent criminal record, and
    Immigration consequences for non-citizens, such as deportability or inadmissibility to the United States.

Most of these consequences apply even if the defendant is sentenced to:

  • (misdemeanor) probation, or
  • (felony) probation.

Defending California domestic violence charges
Our California domestic violence lawyers can help people fight back. Legal defenses to California domestic violence charges include:

  • It was an accident;
  • The injuries did not result from the defendant’s actions;
  • The defendant acted in self-defense or defense of another person; or
  • The victim made a false accusation.

Sometimes we can convince the prosecutor not to pursue a criminal case at all. Or we can negotiate a favorable plea bargain to a lesser charge.
And if what our client needs is help, we do our best to see that he or she gets treatment instead of jail time.

To help you better understand California’s domestic violence laws contact an Active Law Group attorney today!! +1(800)-237-3027