Family Law

FAMILY LAW

West Themis Law offers effective and strategic legal representation to clients that are seeking to establish a new union or facing a family crisis. When an individual faces a divorce, it is crucial to seek advice of an attorney regardless of whether the divorce is uncontested or contested. Our attorneys will help you review and explore your options before making such a pivotal decision in your life. This decision will affect your future and that of your children. The initial consultation at West Themis Law is no charge, giving no reason for proceeding without alone prior to consulting an attorney. Most people are not aware of forfeited legal rights until years later.

West Themis Law will match you with an attorney best suited for your particular case. All attorneys at West Themis Law always advise every client to resolve the matter amicably with full cooperation and compromise.
Adversarial litigation is always the last resort and not the first.

Divorce and child custody battles are never easy. It truly pays to hire a law firm that will actually spend time to review your unique circumstance. Most cases are unique in its combination of specific facts that may require extensive research in the most current law applicable to California or other states and countries where the marriage took place.
West Themis Law currently offers assistance in the following areas of Family Law:

Property Division
Complex Divorce
Spousal Support
Child Support
Mediation Services
Child Custody
Pre-Nuptial Agreements
Post-Nuptial Agreements
Post Judgment/ Post Divorce Litigation
Enforcement of Orders
Modification of Custody Orders
Child & Spousal Support Modification
Same-Sex Relationships and Registered Domestic Partnerships

 

PROPERTY DIVISION

At divorce, the parties must divide property and assets acquired during that marriage. While this appears to be a deceptively simple process, this process has proven to be far more complicated. Without legal counsel, a party may end up dividing the property without being fully informed of their rights and what they may actually be legally entitled to.

Generally, property obtained prior to a marriage is considered separate property. This concept may appear simple. However, to ensure the fairness of the division, it is crucial and beneficial to obtain proper legal representation. Many issues involve complicated assets such as businesses, support trusts, inheritances, retirement funds, and etc. These complicated assets will require tracing issues as the source of funds used to acquire the assets, business interests, professional practices, retirement plan benefits, and personal investments are all issues that typically render the process more difficult. A divorce is a difficult time, West Themis Law’s legal team will help and guide you through this process.

General financial considerations during a divorce requires a full understanding of the different characters of property. Basically, there are three types of property in a marriage: community property, separate property, and quasi-community property. Community property is a modern vestige of the Spanish roots of California and eight other western states. Under community property, husband and wife are treated as equal co-owners of property acquired during a the marriage. Statutes specific to each state have been enacted to more clearly delineate and govern how debt and property is classified when it is acquired during a marriage. In application, all of the income you earn whether working as an employee or a business owner during a marriage that is not a result of property you own separately is considered community property. Essentially, you spouse owns as much as one-half interest in your regular earnings even if those earnings are deposited in an account named with only one spouse’s name.

Fill out our family law inquiry form today so that our office can offer you assistance immediately. Or, call our office at (626) 737-8585 or email info@wthemislaw.com for a free initial consultation.
COMPLEX DIVORCES

When we refer to “complex divorces,” we refer not only to high net worth, but divorces that involving businesses, multiple stakeholders, licenses, professionals, and disputed issues.

These divorces will require assistance in issues such as:
Property division settlement and mediations
Revision of estate plan
Extensive asset disclosures, valuation, analysis of business portfolios
Tax implications of certain property division characterizations
Analysis, review, revise, and enforcement of marital agreements such as Pre-Nuptials and Post Nuptials.
Liquidation or sale of assets
Regardless of the course your divorce may take, West Themis Law will provide you with courtroom experienced attorneys that will fully advocate for your fair share of the marriage property.

Fill out our family law inquiry form today so that our office can offer you assistance immediately.
SPOUSAL SUPPORT(also known as Alimony)

When it comes to a divorce, the issue of spousal support becomes a main concern. In California, spousal support is based on income, employment, and other related factors. Parties experiencing divorce will require the expertise of an experienced family law attorney to help navigate within the legal guidelines, ambiguities, special circumstances, and individual concerns.

The main factors determining spousal support are as follows: issues that the Court deems relevant or equitable, respective incomes, relative education levels, relative health, standard of living, duration of the marriage, retirement benefits, and tax consequences of an award.

CHILD SUPPORT

To society, child support is a gateway to a family’s financial self-sufficiency and a child’s well-being. In a divorce, child-support is a major financial consideration and factor. California law continues to change and the complexity of calculating child support has increased.

Hiring an attorney to represent your interest in a divorce is important because
child support continues far beyond the conclusion of the divorce. Even if a party is is paying or receiving child support, spousal support may be ordered in addition to those payments. Family law judges utilize a myriad of factors specific to each case to determine those payments. Thus, child support is a very complex calculation. The main factors include the parents relative income and the actual amount of time spent with the child. A change in either one of these factors may justify modifying the child support award.

In 1984, California enacted the Agnos Minimum Child Support Standards Act. This law established minimum levels of child support and required the courts to establish guidelines for awards of child support above the statutory minimums. This Child Support Guideline is constantly amended. To calculate the minimum amount of child support to be paid by the parent, the judge must first add up the total net monthly incomes of both parents. Then, the judge computes the percentage of that income that is being earned by the non-custodial parent. That percentage is then multiplied by the applicable level of welfare payments for the number of children in the household.

The Child Support Guideline calculations currently includes all, but not limited to the following factors:
– Parent’s respective earnings and other income
– The number of children between such parents
– The amount of time the parent actually spends with the child/s
– Tax filing status of the parent
– The total support of children from other relationships
– Health insurance costs
– Any mandatory union dues
– Daycare and uninsured health-care costs
– Required retirement contributions
– Cost of traveling for visitation
– Educational expenses
– Special needs

DIVORCE MEDIATION

As we all know, formal court proceedings are not only lengthy and stressful, but costly. If matters can be resolved professionally and the terms of the divorce can be agreed upon, West Themis Law will recommend and encourage clients to consider divorce mediation as an alternative to a long and grueling battle in Court.

In divorce mediation, the parties will agree on a private mediator that is a neutral third party to serve as a referee and facilitate a fair and expedited settlement concerning the issues of child custody and spousal support, division of assets and debts.

A mediator may help parties resolve issues by identifying the specific needs and concerns of each party including the children, collect the required facts to make decisions regarding asset division, and explore alternative means to help parties reach a fair and compromised agreement. This system is most successful when the parties are not adversarial and the relationship still maintains some cooperative spirit.

What may be the benefits of mediation? Emotionally, it is crucial that spouses cooperative especially when there are children involved. Parties are usually more likely to obey on their own terms than when they fight matters in Court and a judge makes the final decision and issues and Order for them to do something. Ultimately, the family will benefit from a collaborative divorce rather than an adversarial one. From the cost perspective, mediation is typically less expensive than a Court litigated divorce, which will normally cost about 3-4 times more.
CHILD CUSTODY

Child custody is a legal term used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions for the child and the parent’s duty to care for the child.

An attorney is absolutely necessary in divorces where parties cannot agree on custody. When it comes to a parent’s and a child’s need to bond with each other, this is no longer an issue of money but a issue far more important. Thus, no parent who wants custody, would wish to lose a custody battle because he or she was unable to understand or navigate through the legal system. West Themis law can help parents resolve their custody issues.

In California, the presumption is that both parents should be granted joint legal and physical custody over their children. This means that California prefers that children have both parents in their lives. Thus, only good reason can allow a family law judge to deviate from that assumption. Such ‘good reasons’ may include substance abuse.

What is the difference between legal and physical custody? Legal custody is the right to make and participate in important decisions over issues such as a child’s education, religious beliefs, and medical treatment. Physical custody refers to the right and responsibility of providing the daily physical care of the child. Thus, while joint legal custody may give both parents an equal say in major decisions, physical custody may not necessarily mean that both parents share equally in the parenting time.

PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

Prenuptial agreements allow couples with significant assets to set the terms of their own marriages. These agreements have become increasingly popular. Due to the legal battles over unenforceable, voidable, or invalid pre-nuptial agreements, these agreements have also become increasingly complex. Thus, it is crucial to retain legal counsel with experience in family law to help couples draft this agreement. Traditionally, this agreement was designed mainly for those seeking to protect their own assets or their children’s inheritance. Now, couples seek to draft pre-nuptial in order to define the terms of marriage, protect third parties interests, such as other family members or business partners.

While lawyers or litigious individuals may find reasons to invalid any agreement, a well drafted and customized prenuptial can over come standard legal provisions and govern typical issues of each party’s rights to certain assets and types of income, their respective responsibilities for the debts, and even the liquidated terms in the case of a divorce.

If you are a person of high net worth, it is crucial and advisable for you to explore the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

POST-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

A post-nuptial agreement refers to a marital agreement signed during a marriage. This agreement is basically the same as a prenuptial agreement. Unless there was any evidence of duress or undue influence, a properly drafted postnuptial agreement is valid and enforceable in California.

POST JUDGMENT/ POST DIVORCE LITIGATION
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ENFORCEMENT OF ORDERS
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MODIFICATION OF ORDERS
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CHILD & SPOUSAL SUPPORT MODIFICATION
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SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS AND REGISTERED DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS
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West Themis Law represent clients throughout all of Southern California Including:

Alhambra, Arcadia, Bellflower, Burbank, Canoga Park, Carson, Culver City, Cerritos, Chino Hills, Downey, Encino, El Monte, Glendale, Granada Hills, Hawthorne, Hollywood, Inglewood, Irvine, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, La Puente, La Canada, Monterey Park, Montebellow, Monrovia, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Palmdale, Panorama City, Pasadena, Pomona, Pico Rivera, Reseda, San Gabriel, Sierra Madre, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Studio City, Sun Valley, Sylmar, Riverside, Tarzana, Torrance, Valencia, Van Nuys, Whittler, Woodland Hills.

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