California law provides no distinction between married and unmarried couples when it comes to issues of paternity and paternal rights. Despite a child’s emotional or actual relationship with a parent, it is the legal adoption and documentation of paternal rights that is crucial in legitimization. A child’s biological mother is automatically established as one of the child’s parents; however the father of the child is a more delicate issue. If a child is born to a set of married parents, the husband is usually presumed and assigned as the child’s father. However, when it comes to unmarried couples who have a child, paternity is not automatically established for the man. If a father wishes to establish paternity there are many options available. When both parents agree to establish paternity, it is recommended they sign a Declaration of Paternity, preferably at the hospital when the child is born. If one parent is not in agreement, a paternity action can be petitioned in court where DNA testing is usually used to establish whether or not paternity exists. Within two years of a child’s birth, blood testing can also be used to dispute paternity that is presumed to exist, and parental obligations can be forfeited. A California Family Law attorney can be incredibly resourceful when it comes to their vast knowledge of family law statutes, and ability to assess and advise the best way to approach establishing paternity. If you are someone you love would like to establish, dispute or forfeit their paternal rights, call the attorneys of Fischer & Van Thiel LLP at 760-722-7646 today and let us help represent your rights.

In the world of family law, few things create as much stress and apprehension as a prenuptial agreement. You may think: if this person loves me and wants to marry me, how could they be so offensive as to ask for a prenup? However offensive or worrying a prenuptial agreement may seem, it is probably in your best interest to have such an agreement before you get married. Few people going into marriage anticipating a divorce, but a premarital agreement can protect you and give you rights you otherwise would not have.

On the other hand, you want to be sure that you fully understand what is in the agreement and what the consequences will be if it is ever enforced. It is highly advisable for each of you to have your own attorney before signing the agreement. In some cases, an unrepresented party may be able to avoid enforcement of the agreement if they didn’t knowingly understand what they were signing. In other cases, individual representation is required. California requires both parties to be represented if they want to, for example, limit spousal support or alimony in the event of a divorce. Needless to say, you would never want to sign a prenup on a cocktail napkin if, on a whim, you decide to get married in Las Vegas and have had a few too many drinks. It is very likely that such an agreement would not hold up in court.

Another good reason to make sure you know what you are signing and have fully considered the consequences is to avoid the other spouse crying foul because they felt pressured to sign the agreement. Two days before the wedding is probably not a good time to spring a prenuptial agreement on your fiancé. Having the conversation early and clearing up any disagreements will do a great deal to build trust and confidence in the agreement and more importantly, in the abiding strength of your relationship.

If you have been asked to sign a prenuptial agreement or would like to have a premarital agreement, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced family attorney who can guide you through the potential pitfalls. The team at Fischer & Van Thiel can answer all of your questions and help you draft an airtight prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Call our office today!

Domestic violence is a serious issue, and while infidelity and wrongdoing during a relationship isn’t necessary to initiate a divorce, charges of domestic violence can have a significant impact on spousal support awards.Blog Image

California’s status as a “no fault divorce” state means that no reason is necessary to file for divorce, relying on the general statement of “irreconcilable differences.” However, charges or even complaints of domestic violence, both physical and verbal, can have a massive effect on awards of both custody and support.

While it may seem obvious that acts of violence should be considered when determining custody or support, California Family Code 4320 states that documented evidence must be provided when determining a spousal support order. Those specifics being noted, any reluctance to share details of a relationship, even damaging ones, can result in a much more unfavorable response from judges when determining orders.

Every detail, even minor ones, can influence the outcome of support decisions. In a case in Riverside County, a husband was being verbally abused by his spouse and moved out of the shared residence. He returned to the residence while his spouse was away, took some of his own property, some community property and vandalized some of his spouse’s personal items.

His spouse claimed she now “lived in fear” and the action was considered a form of domestic violence and applied within California Family Code 4320. Despite her earnings being over seven times what the husband earned, due to this event, her support payments were nullified.

The important factor when initiating divorce proceedings is to be open with all information and maintain a clear line of communication with an attorney to ensure that any necessary details are shared, as even the tiniest remark can have a massive effect.

If you need the protection of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order or need to defend agaminst the accusations of a request for a Domestic Violence Restraining order, do not do it alone.  Call the experienced Carlsbad Domestic Violence Attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel LLP (760) 722-7669.