(619) 232-1010

Family Law

Family Law2020-10-29T02:42:36+00:00

Divorce Lawyer Assisting San Diego Residents

If you are anticipating the possibility of a divorce or are currently going through a divorce, it is important to reach out to a San Diego family law attorney who can help you understand your rights and advise you on what to expect. Attorney Roseline D. Feral is familiar with the complicated issues that may arise in these circumstances. She can assist people in many areas of Southern California who need a divorce attorney to protect their interests and ensure that they build a strong future.

Guidance in Family Law Matters

Family law is a wide-ranging area of the law that encompasses all of the issues related to a divorce or legal separation. Many of these concern child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of property and assets between the former spouses.

Making the decision to pursue a divorce is never easy. California is a “no-fault” state, meaning that a spouse who wants a divorce only needs to show that “irreconcilable differences” have arisen between the spouses to the extent that the marriage is broken beyond the point of repair. Unlike other states, California does not require spouses to get a legal separation prior to filing for a divorce. The individual who files for the divorce is known as the “petitioner,” while the other spouse is known as the “respondent.”

Perhaps the most emotionally charged aspect of a divorce is child custody and visitation. All custody and visitation determinations are made based on what the court determines to be in the best interest of the child. This is a relatively vague standard, and the court has the discretion to examine many relevant factors. For example, a court may take into account the child’s relationship to each parent, their current school situation, their ability to thrive in each parent’s community, the willingness of each parent to cooperate with the other parent, and in some cases the child’s own preferences. Generally, the presumption in California is that frequent and ongoing contact with both parents is in the best interest of the child. Joint custody, therefore, is relatively common unless a parent has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or other issues that might adversely affect their ability to care for the child.

Another important aspect of a divorce is property division. California is a community property state, which means that any assets acquired over the course of the marriage are divided an even 50/50 at the end of the marriage. This does not necessarily mean that each individual item or bank account will be split in half. Instead, each spouse is entitled to have half of the value of the overall marital assets. It is possible that certain assets may be awarded to one spouse in their entirety as long as the other spouse receives assets of equal value. Disputes often arise over whether the property is marital or separate. The separate property comprises any assets that a spouse owned prior to getting married or that they received as a gift or inheritance. Separate property is not divided at the time of the divorce since it belongs solely to one spouse.

Consult a Family Law Attorney in the San Diego Area

If you are going through a divorce or facing any other family law issue, it is important to consult a San Diego family law lawyer. Roseline D. Feral can explore the complexities of your situation and craft a legal strategy to account for your personal needs. She also represents people in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, Vista, and other Southern California communities. You can contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010 to set up a free consultation if you need a child custody attorney or assistance with any other family law matter. Alternatively, you may reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

Child Custody2020-10-29T02:19:13+00:00

San Diego Lawyer Skilled in Family Law Matters

Are you facing a child custody dispute or a related issue? In this situation, it is vital to reach out to a skilled San Diego child custody attorney who can protect your parental rights. Roseline D. Feral understands the emotionally sensitive issues that may arise in these situations and can negotiate or advocate on your behalf. As a knowledgeable family law attorney, she recognizes that child custody orders may have a critical impact on your family’s future.

 

Devising a Child Custody Arrangement in Southern California

Parents are free to come up with any parenting agreement that they see fit. The idea is that they will understand the specific needs of their children and family and create an arrangement accordingly. The agreement may be formalized in a “parenting plan” and must be approved by a court to be legally valid.

 

In the event that the parents cannot reach an agreement, however, a court will make a custody determination. Under California law, there is a presumption that children will benefit from frequent and ongoing contact with both parents. The courts will not automatically favor one parent over the other when it comes to custody and visitation. Instead, all child custody determinations are made according to the “best interest of the child” standard. This is a standard that gives a court discretion to consider any factor that may be relevant to the child’s overall health, safety, and welfare. Some examples of factors that a court may examine include:

 

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s relationship to each parent;
  • The history of which parent has primarily cared for the child
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child;
  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse by either parent
  • The child’s wishes, if the child is sufficiently mature
  • The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community
  • Each parent’s willingness and ability to co-parent

 

There are two main concepts related to custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make major decisions for the child, such as those related to the child’s education, health care, and religion. Legal custody may be awarded to one or both parents. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child actually resides. Physical custody is usually split between the parents, which means that each parent would have significant time with the child, but as a practical matter, this does not mean that each parent’s time with the child will be exactly equal. Whether legal custody is sole or joint does not necessarily mean that physical custody will be the same, and vice versa.

 

Contact a Child Custody Attorney in San Diego

Child custody cases may be daunting and stressful for everyone in a family. If you are dealing with a child custody issue, you need sound legal representation that you can trust. San Diego child custody lawyer Roseline D. Feral can offer you diligent representation at every step of the way. Many of our clients come from cities such as Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. You can contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010 to set up an appointment with a divorce attorney. You may also reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

Child Support2020-10-29T02:18:41+00:00

Family Law Attorney Representing San Diego Residents

Child support may be an emotionally charged topic because parents may have different ideas of which amount is appropriate. If you are facing a child support issue, it is important to reach out to a skilled San Diego child support lawyer who can guide you through the proceedings. Family law attorney Roseline D. Feral can help you understand California laws and how they may apply in your situation. She can advocate for your position whether you are the parent who is paying or receiving support.

 

Understanding Child Support Determinations

Child support orders are legally binding documents that oblige a non-custodial parent to provide monthly financial support to their child or children. Parents have an obligation to financially support their children. In California, this responsibility falls equally on both parents. Parents are free to come up with a child support agreement on their own. However, if they cannot decide, the court must decide for them.

 

In California, there is a statutory formula that is used to calculate how much child support a non-custodial parent will pay to the custodial parent. The formula takes a variety of factors into account, such as each parent’s income, additional income that each parent may receive, taxes, how many children need support, how much time each parent spends with the child or children, medical expenses, day care costs, and any other relevant costs. The calculation may quickly become complicated, and it is often helpful to have an attorney examine your situation and help you understand how it works.

 

Once a child support order is in place, either parent may seek a modification by showing that there has been a “change in circumstances” that renders the existing order impractical. There are many situations in which a modification may be necessary, including when the income of one or both parents has changed, one parent has lost their job, one parent has been imprisoned, one parent has another child from another relationship, there is a shift in the timesharing arrangement, or the child’s needs have changed. You must be aware that until and unless the judge signs a new child support order, the existing order stays in effect.

 

Child support payments continue until the child turns 18. However, the obligation may persist until the child is 19 if they are in high school full-time, living at home, and unable to support themselves. If the child is incapacitated, there is no maximum-age ceiling limiting the parents’ duty. In some cases, a judge may determine a specific future event when the payments shall terminate, such as a child’s marriage.

 

Contact a Child Support Lawyer in the San Diego Area

Parents who are going through a divorce need a knowledgeable and trustworthy San Diego child support attorney to help them navigate the laws in this area. At the Law Offices of Roseline D. Feral, we can help you make sure that a support arrangement is fair, based on income and necessity. We proudly represent people in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, El Cajon, La Mesa, Bonita, National City, Valley Center, and Vista, among other cities in Southern California. To discuss your child support concerns in more detail, contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010 for a consultation. Alternatively, you may contact Roseline D. Feral directly at 619-301-1191 if you are seeking guidance from a divorce attorney.

Dependency2020-10-29T02:18:07+00:00

Family Law Attorneys Representing Parents and Children in San Diego

Having your child taken away from you by Child Protective Services (CPS) is an extremely stressful and traumatic experience. If your child or children have been removed from your home, you should not hesitate to reach out to a San Diego juvenile dependency lawyer who has experience in these emotionally challenging cases. With nearly 30 years of experience, child custody attorney Roseline D. Feral understands how to help guide you through the dependency court process and can vigorously advocate to make sure that your rights are protected at every step of the way.

 

Understanding Juvenile Dependency Proceedings

Dependency law refers to a branch of law that deals with how to protect children if they are in a dangerous situation. Juvenile dependency is the process through which a child is removed from his or her parent’s custody or care and declared a “dependent of the court.” This generally happens in cases in which children have been neglected, abandoned, or abused by their parents, foster parents, or legal guardians.

 

The child dependency process starts once the Department of Social Services is informed about a dangerous situation involving a child, which prompts an investigation to figure out whether the child is in a safe environment or not. If the agency determines that abuse or neglect is taking place, the child can be taken from the home and placed into a safe home or foster care. In addition, visitation rights will be determined by the court. At this time, the agency can petition for the child to have “dependent of the court” status. It is important to note that a skilled juvenile dependency attorney in the San Diego area may be able to help you avoid having your child removed from your custody in the first place if the allegations of neglect or abuse are unfounded.

 

If the child is removed from your home, a court hearing is required to be scheduled as soon as possible. At this initial hearing, also known as a detention hearing, you will have a chance to acknowledge or refute the allegations of abuse or neglect. The judge will review your case and make a determination about whether the child will return home with you or remain a dependent of the court. This determination, like other custody determinations in California, is made according to what is in the ‘best interest of the child.’

 

If your child is not released to go back with you after the initial hearing, you will be permitted a jurisdiction hearing, at which you will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations against you. If the judge decides that the allegations against you are true, the child will not be sent home with you, and the case will move on to a disposition hearing.

 

At the disposition hearing, the court will typically implement what is known as a ‘reunification plan’ or case plan for the child. A social worker and you can create this plan and offer it to the court. A San Diego juvenile dependency attorney can represent you during this process to make sure that your voice is heard. The plan typically outlines a way for you to complete certain requirements so that you can be reunited with your child. If the court accepts your plan, it will review your case at least once every six months to evaluate your progress. It is possible that the judgment may allow your child to return home with you after your first hearing.

 

Services to reunify you with your child typically end within 12 months, although the court can extend them to 18 months. If the court decides, however, that your child will not be returned to you, there will be a hearing within four months about a more permanent solution for your child. For example, the court may decide that the child should permanently remain in foster care or in the care of a relative, or it may terminate a parent’s rights.

 

Contact a Juvenile Dependency Lawyer in San Diego or Surrounding Cities

If you are in a situation in which CPS has taken your child or children away from you, you need to reach out to a family law attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Feral can examine the facts of your case and fight for your parental rights in court, or take the necessary action to ensure that your child is safe. We proudly represent people in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. Contact our office today via phone at 619-232-1010, or you can reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191. Additionally, you can contact us online to discuss your needs with a child custody or support attorney.

Divorce2020-10-29T02:17:25+00:00

Family Law Attorney Counseling San Diego Residents

Divorce may be an emotionally challenging process for anyone. If you are anticipating a divorce or going through this process, having a skilled family law attorney on your side may make a huge difference to the eventual outcome. San Diego divorce lawyer Roseline D. Feral recognizes the stress and uncertainty that you may be facing, and she can provide representation that is compassionate as well as tenacious.

 

Understanding Your Options in Divorce Proceedings

While Attorney Feral has a strong litigation background, she is also a skilled negotiator who believes in resolving family law matters amicably when possible. Negotiations save clients not only time and anxiety but also money. She knows that divorce litigation may be expensive, and family courts may not be the best way to reach final resolutions on sensitive issues like property division, child custody, and child and spousal support. Having said that, if negotiations prove to be futile, Attorney Feral is not afraid to zealously advocate for your rights in the courtroom.

 

In California, all divorces are “no fault” divorces, which means that a spouse seeking a divorce does not need to provide wrongdoing or fault by the other spouse. Instead, a spouse seeking a divorce only needs to cite “irreconcilable differences,” meaning that the spouses can no longer get along. Under state law, there is a six-month waiting period before a divorce will become final. This does not mean that the divorce will automatically be finalized at that stage but instead that six months is the earliest that you will receive a divorce. In many cases, especially those involving significant assets or young children, a divorce will require much more time.

 

California law mandates that certain residency requirements must be met before someone may file for a divorce. At least one spouse must have lived in the state for a minimum of six consecutive months and must have lived for a minimum of three consecutive months in the county where the divorce petition is filed. If the spouses have separated and reside in two different counties in California, the divorce petition may be filed in either county.

 

Property division may be one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce. California uses a community property rule in which the couple’s marital assets are divided 50/50, rather than the equitable distribution principle that is used in many states. While the community property rule may seem straightforward, determining which assets are marital and which are separate is often complicated. Separate property is generally property that is acquired before the marriage by either spouse or acquired through gift or inheritance, and it is not subject to division. However, separate and marital assets often are commingled during the course of a lengthy marriage, requiring a more complex analysis of whether and how a certain asset should be divided.

 

Explore Your Options with a Divorce Lawyer in San Diego

Dissolving a marriage is a challenging process, and it is important to emerge from it with your future protected. If you are going through a divorce, you should seek guidance from San Diego divorce attorney Roseline D. Feral, who can help you understand what to expect and advise you on your options. She also assists spouses in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista, as well as other Southern California cities. For a consultation with a divorce or child custody lawyer, you can contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010 , or you may reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

Emancipation2020-10-29T02:16:36+00:00

San Diego Attorney Knowledgeable in Juvenile Rights and the Family Court System

Until a child is 18 years of age, that child is under the control and responsibility of their parents. This means that the parents must provide the child with food, water, shelter, and other essentials. In some cases, however, a parent or child may want to sever those ties before the child reaches the age of 18. If you or someone close to you is considering emancipation, it is important to consult a San Diego emancipation lawyer. Roseline D. Feral understands the process and its impact on child support and other family law issues.

 

The Emancipation Process in California

Emancipation is a legal procedure in which a minor child is freed from the control of their parents, and the parents are no longer responsible for the child’s wellbeing. In other words, a parent loses custody and control when a child is emancipated, and, in the eyes of the law, that individual is considered an adult before the age of 18.

 

There are a variety of reasons why a child may want to be emancipated. Children may want to leave an abusive or dangerous household, they may simply not get along with their parents, or they may already be earning their own living and feel that they are better off controlling their own money. Additionally, the issue of emancipation often comes up when minors are in foster care. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, approximately 4 percent of children in foster care in 2015 had a goal of emancipation.

 

In California, there are three ways for a minor to be emancipated. An emancipation attorney can help San Diego residents understand how to pursue each of them. You can get married with parental consent and permission from the court, you can join the military (applying is not enough; you must be accepted by the armed forces), or you can go to court and have the judge declare that you are emancipated. It is important to note that to be emancipated by a judge, a minor must give their parents notice of the court hearing, and the parents may go to court to contest the emancipation. The judge will only grant you emancipation if all of the following requirements are met:

 

  • You are at least 14 years old
  • You are living apart from your parents with their consent
  • You are managing your finances and have a legal source of income
  • The emancipation is in your best interest
  • You are in school or have a GED

 

If you are a dependent or ward of the Juvenile Court, you must file your petition in the Juvenile Court.

 

Being emancipated allows a minor to do certain things without the consent of their parents. They can decide where to live, enroll in any school, college, or university of their choice, make medical decisions on their own behalf, and obtain a permit to work. On the other hand, being emancipated means that a minor is not entitled to expect support from their parents – monetary or otherwise.

 

Emancipation is typically permanent, and when a minor turns 18, they are legally independent automatically. However, the Court can set aside a Declaration of Emancipation if the petitioner lied in court or if the minor is no longer able to support him or herself.

 

Discuss Your Situation with an Emancipation Lawyer in San Diego

If you or a loved one is considering emancipation, you need to reach out to an attorney who can help you understand your rights. We can address your questions and help you make informed decisions at every step of the way. Child custody lawyer Roseline D. Feral represents people in cities such as San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To discuss your case with a San Diego emancipation attorney, you can contact us online or call us at 619-232-1010. You can also reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

Grandparents Rights2020-10-29T02:15:48+00:00

Family Law Attorney Representing Residents of San Diego

When parents get divorced, a new custody arrangement can affect grandparents’ rights as well. Grandparents often play a significant role in raising grandchildren. As a result, California gives grandparents rights to their grandchildren in some cases. Knowledgeable family law attorney Roseline D. Feral recognizes that sensitive and complex issues may arise in these situations. As a San Diego grandparents’ rights lawyer, she can advocate for the interests of grandparents who are seeking to preserve their relationship with their grandchildren. She can also represent parents who are reluctant to encourage this relationship.

 

Grandparents’ Rights May Raise Challenging Questions

Across the country, approximately 2.7 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren, according to census figures. The number of grandparents raising grandchildren has risen by 7 percent since 2009, and the trend is expected to continue.

 

Parents can always choose to allow grandparents to visit grandchildren without a court order. However, in some cases, parents may try to prevent their children from having contact with the grandparents for various reasons. In these instances, the grandparents may be able to petition the court for visitation. Under California law, grandparents cannot petition for visitation rights when the parents of a child are still married. This is because parents have a fundamental right to make decisions for their child related to any issues regarding the care, custody, companionship, and management of the child. While this right is compelling, it is not absolute, which is why courts will sometimes allow grandparent visitation even if a parent requests that there be no grandparent visitation.

 

Under the California Family Code, a family court may grant reasonable visitation rights to a grandparent of a minor child. It is up to the court to decide what should be considered reasonable. A grandparents’ rights attorney can explain to San Diego residents what may be reasonable in a certain situation. Grandparents can petition for visitation if the following conditions are met:

 

  • The parents are separated
  • One parent’s whereabouts have been unknown for at least one month
  • One of the parents joins the grandparents in the request for grandparent visitation
  • The child does not reside with either parent
  • The child has been adopted by a stepparent
  • One of the parents is in jail or involuntarily institutionalized

 

Visitation rights are based on a pre-existing relationship that has created a bond between the grandparent and the grandchild. In making a determination about grandparent visitation, the court must balance the “best interests of the child” with the parent’s fundamental right and authority to make decisions about the child. It is the grandparent’s burden to prove that visitation would be in the child’s best interest. It is important to note that grandparents in California do not lose their rights if a stepparent adopts their grandchild.

 

California courts may also award custody to the child’s parents or to any other person who may provide a good home for the child. A court’s first priority will be to place the child with one or both of the parents. However, if neither parent can take custody, the court may award custody to the grandparents, depending on whether or not it would be in the best interest of the child. In order to obtain grandparent visitation rights, the grandparents must first file a petition requesting grandparent visitation rights with the court. If a family law case between the grandchild’s parents has already been filed with the court, such as a divorce or paternity case, the grandparents can join that case and ask for visitation rights. On the other hand, if a family law case has not been initiated regarding the grandchild, the grandparents are required to file a petition requesting visitation rights and open a case with the family court.

 

Contact a Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer in San Diego or Neighboring Cities

If you are a grandparent wanting to know more about your rights under California law, Roseline D. Feral can help. With over 30 years of experience, she understands how to navigate these types of cases. You can rest assured that Attorney Feral will take the time to understand your needs and vigilantly protect your interests at every step of the way. She represents people who need a child custody lawyer or assistance with other family law matters in cities such as Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. You can contact us online or call us at 619-232-1010 , or you can call Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191 for a consultation with a San Diego grandparents’ rights attorney.

Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Law Proceedings2020-10-29T02:15:11+00:00

Child Custody Lawyer Representing People in the San Diego Area

Domestic violence takes many forms and can have serious consequences for an entire family. Unfortunately, domestic violence is a serious problem in California in recent years. Being convicted of abuse or being under a domestic violence restraining order can significantly complicate family law proceedings. If you are going through this situation, it is important to reach out to a San Diego family law attorney who can stand up for your side of the story. With over 30 years of experience, Roseline D. Feral understands how to carefully navigate these types of cases and protect a client’s rights.

 

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Law Proceedings

In California, domestic violence is defined as intentionally or recklessly causing or trying to cause a bodily injury. Some examples include physically hurting or attempting to hurt someone, sexual assault, or making someone reasonably fearful that they are going to be seriously hurt. Other behavior that could cause a court to issue a domestic violence restraining order includes harassment, stalking, threatening or hitting someone, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, or property destruction. All of this conduct is considered domestic violence when it is committed against any of the following people:

 

  • A current or former spouse
  • Someone with whom the defendant resides or previously resided
  • Someone whom they are dating or used to date
  • Someone who has a child with the defendant
  • The defendant’s child or children
  • An individual related to the defendant by blood or marriage

 

People affected by domestic violence can seek a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO). The details of a DVRO may vary, but, on a basic level, these protective orders generally require the alleged abuser not to engage in abusive or intimidating behavior.

 

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a spouse seeking a divorce does not need to prove any fault on the part of the other spouse. Instead, divorces in California are based on “irreconcilable differences,” meaning that the marriage has broken down beyond the point of repair. As a result, a DVRO does not need to serve as a basis for seeking a divorce. However, the existence of a DVRO can have some practical implications for divorce and custody hearings.

 

Homes shared by married couples are considered community property, so a home may be shared throughout the divorce proceeding. However, the existence of a DVRO can result in the court requiring the abusing party to vacate the house and stay elsewhere. Violating such a court order is a serious matter and could result in an arrest. It could also affect subsequent child custody rulings.

 

All child custody determinations are made according to what is in the “best interest of the child.” When making this decision, a court has broad discretion to consider any relevant factor. In California, there is a legal presumption that a parent who has committed domestic violence in the last five years should not be allowed to have sole or joint custody over any children. This presumption, set forth in California Family Code Section 3044, can be rebutted with sufficient evidence by the parent who has committed the alleged domestic violence. It is important to note that California courts must consider any evidence of abuse, not just of a spouse or child, but also of any child related to the abuser by blood or marriage or any child with whom the abuser has a guardianship or caretaking relationship.

 

Contact a Compassionate Family Law Attorney in San Diego

Domestic violence convictions, or even allegations, can have a significant impact on family law proceedings. If you have been accused of domestic violence, and your rights are at stake, you need to reach out to a lawyer without delay. We can look into the facts of your case and help protect your rights at every step of the way. Attorney Roseline D. Feral proudly assists people in San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To discuss your legal rights and options in more detail at no cost, contact us online or call us at 619-232-1010. You can also reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

Legal Separation2020-10-29T02:14:15+00:00

Divorce Attorney Counseling Residents of the San Diego Area

For some couples, a legal separation may be preferable to a divorce. A couple may opt to legally separate for religious reasons or tax reasons, or in situations in which they may not be ready to make a final decision regarding a divorce. If you are contemplating taking this step, you should reach out to a skilled San Diego legal separation lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options. Family law attorney Roseline D. Feral understands that each marriage is unique and is committed to making sure that your individual needs are met.

 

Pursuing a Legal Separation in California

A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or another body. It is a final way to end a marriage. A legal separation, on the other hand, does not change one’s marital status. A legal separation is an alternative to a divorce that allows the couple to bring some closure to a relationship without completely ending the marriage. However, a legal separation should not be taken lightly because you still will need to deal with all of the formalities of a divorce.

 

Under California law, a legal separation may be filed on the same grounds as a divorce. Therefore, the most common basis for a legal separation is “irreconcilable differences,” which simply means that both parties agree that the marriage has broken down beyond repair. The other basis for a legal separation is “incurable insanity,” which requires professional medical or psychiatric testimony and evidence. Once the couple has decided on the ground on which they will separate, they should complete the FL-100 form and file it at the local county court. This form allows couples to indicate the reason why they are requesting a legal separation. A legal separation attorney can assist San Diego residents with completing the required paperwork.

 

Both spouses must agree to a legal separation. If one spouse does not agree, the process may end up as a divorce. Unlike a divorce, which has a mandatory six-month minimum waiting period in California, a legal separation may take place immediately. Additionally, there are no residency requirements as there are for divorce cases, meaning that you may file for legal separation no matter how long you have lived in the state. The process begins with both spouses filing a petition for legal separation.

 

A legal separation does not end the marriage but allows the parties to separate their finances, debts, and property. It also permits couples to make important decisions regarding custody, child support, and property division. A couple is free to make any agreement that they want as long as they both agree. The parties’ wishes may be documented in a separation agreement, which is a legally binding contract that deals with all of the aspects of their separation and is signed by both spouses. The separation agreement may be quite general, or it may be extremely detailed, depending on the circumstances of the marriage. In the event that the spouses cannot agree on important terms, the court has the power to decide and issue orders just as in a divorce proceeding.

 

It is important to note that since a legal separation does not end a marriage, you may not marry someone else while you are legally separated. In order to marry someone else, you would need to seek a formal divorce first.

 

Consult a San Diego Lawyer When Contemplating a Legal Separation

A decision to pursue a legal separation is not always easy. If you and your spouse have decided to legally separate or are considering this option, you should take the time to discuss your situation with a San Diego legal separation attorney. Our firm understands that this is an emotional and uncertain time, and we will handle your case with diligence and care. We also represent people who need a divorce lawyer in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista, among other cities. For more information about your legal rights and options, call our office at 619-232-1010 or reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191. You may also contact us online for a consultation.

Modification of Final Judgments2020-10-29T02:13:33+00:00

Family Law Attorney Guiding San Diego Residents

A final court order does not mean that it can never be changed. Life is constantly changing, and the law is designed to accommodate major changes. If you have an existing court order related to spousal support, child custody, child support, or child visitation, therefore, you may be able to modify it under certain circumstances. With over 30 years of experience, San Diego family law attorney Roseline D. Feral can help Southern California residents pursue a modification of a final judgment.

 

Seeking to Modify a Court Order Related to Custody, Support, or Visitation

A court order generally remains in effect until another court order modifies it. The parties are free to change the agreement if they mutually agree. If the parties cannot reach a mutual agreement, on the other hand, the court may need to make a decision for them. Deliberately disobeying a court order is considered contempt of court. In order to modify an order or judgment, there must have been a “substantial change in circumstances” that is sufficient to justify a modification of the final judgment.

 

All child custody and visitation determinations are made based on what is deemed to be in the best interest of the child. Both “final” and “permanent” orders may be changed. Child custody orders may be modified in two basic situations: when a parent has violated a court order, and when one or both parents allege changed circumstances. Some common examples of changes in circumstances may include the loss of a job, relocation, the development of an unsuitable environment for children, or drug or alcohol abuse. Typically, the parent who is seeking a modification is responsible for showing why the current arrangement is no longer feasible.

 

In child support cases, a parent may want to seek a modification if they are not able to pay the amount outlined in the order. This may be possible if the parent has experienced a substantial change in income, the amount of time that the parent spends with the child has significantly changed, or the other parent has experienced a substantial change in income. It is important to note that there are limits when it comes to modifying orders. For instance, a court will not retroactively modify a child support order or make payments that were due before the modification subject to the modification. In other words, you may not withhold payment and then ask the court to retroactively lower past payments that were due. This is why it is important to act quickly. A party seeking a modification of a final judgment should act as soon as a substantial change has occurred so that the order reflects it.

 

A person who is paying spousal support, meanwhile, may petition the court to change the agreement if one or both spouses experience a significant change in circumstances. You may qualify for such a modification if your former spouse or you have undergone a change in income, have become unemployed, have retired or become unable to work, or have experienced a change in expenses. A modification also may be available if the supported spouse is re-marrying or co-habiting with a new partner. Although courts typically use a guideline calculation to determine spousal support, a court has broad discretion to modify spousal support based on the details of your case.

 

Contact a San Diego Lawyer When Undergoing a Divorce

If you are seeking a modification of a final judgment, it is important to consult an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you understand the process. Obtaining a modification may be challenging, and having the right attorney on your side may make a dramatic difference in your case. San Diego attorney Roseline D. Feral assists people in cities such as Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido, Ramona, San Marcos, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, and Vista. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010. Alternatively, you may reach out to Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

Paternity & Legitimation2020-10-29T02:12:53+00:00

Family Law Attorney Representing People in San Diego and Surrounding Cities

Paternity is a critical question for a number of issues, including child custody, child support, and more. Whether you are a mother wanting to establish paternity for child support, or you are a father wanting to establish paternity to gain custody or visitation rights, we can help. San Diego paternity lawyer Roseline D. Feral is experienced in complex family law cases, including those involving paternity and legitimation.

 

Understanding Paternity Proceedings in California

Paternity or “parentage” cases refer to cases in which the judge grants a court order that establishes a child’s legal father. As a result, a paternity determination affects the rights and obligations of both the father and the child. Paternity can be established by presumption, consent, or court determination. Under California law, a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child in two situations:

 

When the child is born during a marriage, the mother’s husband is presumed to be the child’s father; and

When a man has been living with the child and mother in a family-like environment and has shown a consistent commitment to the child, the man will be presumed to be the child’s father, even if he is not the actual biological father.

If neither of these circumstances is present, paternity will need to be established with the assistance of a paternity attorney in the San Diego area. Legitimation is a legal process that establishes the father of a child born out of wedlock as the child’s father. In California, paternity can be established through a voluntary declaration or an action in court.

 

A voluntary declaration is when a child’s father signs a “Voluntary Declaration of Paternity” (VDP). When an unmarried woman gives birth in a hospital or another medical setting, the health care providers must give her information about the VDP. By signing the form, the father is acknowledging his status as the legal father. His name can be added to the child’s birth certificate, and all legal duties and obligations take effect at that point. It is important to note that an unmarried father is not automatically listed on the child’s birth certificate unless a VDP is signed in the hospital or shortly thereafter.

 

On the other hand, an action for paternity or parentage can be filed under this Act to establish paternity. In California, a number of parties can ask the court for an order on paternity, including the child’s mother, a man who believes that he is the father, the local child support agency, or an adoption agency. A San Diego paternity attorney can advise either the mother or the potential father on this process.

 

As a practical matter, when paternity is disputed, a DNA test may be required. DNA is the biological material that determines a person’s physical characteristics and is unique for each individual. A DNA test can be used to compare a man’s DNA profile to that of the child and determine whether or not there is a match. A DNA test is typically used when there is a dispute as to the identity of the father.

 

A DNA test can be voluntary or performed in response to a court order. In fact, a court can order genetic tests in any action in which paternity is a relevant fact. The court, on its own motion or based on a suggestion made by any person who is involved, order the father to submit to genetic tests. If paternity is established, the court can make orders regarding child support, custody, and visitation.

 

Contact an Experienced Paternity Lawyer in the San Diego Area

Whether you are seeking to establish paternity or disputing a paternity test, our experienced team can guide you through the process. We understand that this is an emotionally charged matter, but we will handle your case with care and compassion. Roseline D. Feral represents people in San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista, among other cities. For more information about how to establish paternity in your case, you can call us at 619-232-1010 , or you can reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191. Alternatively, you can contact us online. We can also assist people who are seeking to terminate parental rights or resolve another legal matter related to a child.

Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements2020-10-29T02:11:45+00:00

Family Law Attorney Counseling Residents of San Diego and Surrounding Communities

Nobody wants to think about the potential prospect of a divorce when you are getting married or are happily married, but the reality is that a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may save spouses a lot of time, heartache, and money in the event of a divorce. If you are even considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you should contact an experienced San Diego family law attorney who understands the nuances of these contracts. With over 30 years of experience on which to rely, Roseline D. Feral knows how to protect your rights before, during, and after a marriage.

 

Drafting a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are written contracts between two people who plan to be married in the near future or are already married. A prenuptial agreement, sometimes known as a premarital agreement, is a contract between two individuals who plan to get married. The agreement typically outlines the future ownership of their respective assets, should the marriage end in divorce. These may include homes, vehicles, bank accounts, business ownerships, and investment properties. A postnuptial agreement is virtually the same as a prenuptial agreement except that it is created after the marriage, rather than before, and thus may cover a broader range of assets.

 

These agreements are not just helpful to individuals who have a high net worth. Instead, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may be especially useful to any couple in one or more of the following situations:

 

  • One or both spouses have children from a prior marriage and want to ensure that the children will receive certain assets or property;
  • The couple wants to clarify their financial rights and avoid arguments in the event of a divorce;
  • One spouse has a high net worth and wants to protect their wealth;
  • One spouse is involved in a risky business venture and does not want to include the other spouse in that risk; or
  • One spouse is bringing substantial debt into the marriage, and the other spouse wants to be protected from it.

 

California, like many other states, has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), which sets forth a number of guidelines that govern how courts decide whether a prenuptial agreement is enforceable. All prenuptial agreements must be in writing and must be signed voluntarily by both parties to be valid and enforceable. These agreements do not need to be witnessed by anyone other than the couple, nor do they need to be recorded with the clerk of court.

 

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may be modified or revoked at any time, but both parties must consent to any changes in writing. Furthermore, if a court determines that a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement was made under duress, or if it is found that one spouse was forced to sign the agreement against their free will, the agreement will be deemed unlawful and thus unenforceable.

 

In some cases, a couple’s marriage may be legally invalid due to one or more of the following reasons: a spouse being too young, a spouse still being married to another person, or a party being mentally incapable of consenting to the marriage. In these cases, the court will typically invalidate the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement as well.

 

Retain a San Diego Lawyer to Protect Your Interests During a Divorce

If you are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is important to reach out to a San Diego attorney who can evaluate your situation and help protect your interests. These agreements are effective tools in managing the expectations of both spouses in the event that the marriage comes to an end. We also represent people who need a divorce lawyer in cities such as Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To discuss your situation in more detail with Attorney Feral, call our office at 619-232-1010 , contact us online, or call her cell phone at 619-301-1191.

Property Division2020-10-29T02:11:05+00:00

Family Law Attorney Helping Families and Individuals in San Diego

Divorce inevitably raises questions of property division. Before making any decisions, it is important to speak to a skilled family law attorney. With over 30 years of experience practicing law in California, San Diego divorce lawyer Roseline D. Feral will zealously advocate for your rights every step of the way. We are committed to providing each client with effective, strategic and compassionate representation.

 

Division of Property in a Community Property State

California is a community property state, which means that there is a presumption that all property and debt acquired over the course of the marriage until the date of separation belongs equally to both spouses. Community property is subject to 50/50 division at the time of divorce. This does not necessarily mean that all items or bank accounts have to be divided exactly in half. Rather, the division should be fair. This typically means each spouse should get half the value of the total assets. For example, if the spouses own a home together, one spouse can “buy out” the other’s share of the asset. Alternatively, they could sell the house and divide the proceeds.

 

In contrast, separate property refers to any property that a spouse owned prior to the marriage, acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance, or gained after the spouses separated. Separate property also includes any rent or profit generated by a separate property asset. Since separate property belongs only to one spouse, that spouse gets to keep all of his or her separate property at the time of divorce.

 

In California, property division issues can be settled between parties through a signed Marital Settlement Agreement. If you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement on division of marital property, California judges are given broad discretion in determining how to divide assets and assign debts. When awarding property, the court considers a number of factors including, but not limited to:

 

  • The duration of the marriage
  • All property owned by each party prior to the marriage
  • The value of the property
  • The education level and earning capacity of each party
  • The contribution of each party during the marriage (i.e., financial, homemaker, etc.)
  • The primary home of the children
  • Any other factor the court considers relevant

 

Some assets are more difficult to divide than others. For example, retirement funds are community property if they accumulated over the marriage. To divide these funds, the property portion must be identified and divided in half. For example, if you started your job in 2009 and got married in 2012 and were separated in 2016, your spouse would be entitled to half the interest acquired in the retirement funds between 2012 and 2016.

 

Consult a Divorce Attorney in San Diego to Understand Your Options

Property division can be an emotionally charged and contentious aspect of a divorce. Having a seasoned San Diego divorce attorney on your side can help you understand your rights and manage your expectations accordingly. We proudly serve clients from Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. For a case consultation, please email us or call our office at 619-232-1010. Alternatively, you may call Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191. We also assist clients seeking representation in criminal defense matters, including sexual offenses, DUIs, drug crimes, and theft crimes.

Spousal Support2020-10-29T02:09:07+00:00

Divorce Lawyer Assisting Residents of San Diego and Surrounding Cities

When a marriage ends in a divorce, one spouse may be entitled to support. If you are contemplating or going through a divorce, it is important to have a skilled San Diego spousal support attorney on your side who can help you navigate the legal process. Whether you are seeking spousal support or defending against it, we can help you understand your options at every step of the way. Family law attorney Roseline D. Feral can help you move toward a resolution that protects your financial and personal future.

 

Understanding Spousal Support in California

Spousal support, often known as alimony, is the term used for payments made from one spouse to the other after a divorce or legal separation. The California Family Court has the power to order either spouse to pay this type of support. The idea behind spousal support is to provide a spouse with a lower income potential with financial support.

 

The spouses are free to come up with a spousal support agreement that works for them. Once both parties agree, they may memorialize it in a formal agreement and submit it to the judge to sign to have it become a binding court order.

 

Spousal support may be temporary or permanent. Temporary support is spousal support that is ordered while a divorce, legal separation, or annulment is pending. This type of support is typically ordered to preserve the status quo during the process of ending the marriage. Permanent spousal support, on the other hand, is “post-divorce” support and is designed to ensure that the receiving spouse will be able to maintain the same standard of living that they enjoyed during the marriage.

 

The judge will consider a number of factors when making a spousal support determination. Some of these factors include the need of the recipient spouse, the extent that either spouse contributed to the other’s education or training, the couple’s assets and debts, the duration of the marriage, the education and earning potential of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, tax consequences for each spouse, and any other factors that appear to be relevant. A skilled spousal support lawyer can help San Diego spouses determine which factors may be appropriate to consider in their specific situation.

 

The duration of spousal support will also depend on the length of the marriage. For marriages lasting less than 10 years, spousal support obligations will be equal to one-half of the length of the marriage. For example, if the marriage lasted six years, the presumption is that the appropriate length of support is three years. For marriages that lasted longer than 10 years, the court will not set an automatic time limit for spousal support. Instead, the lesser-earning spouse will continue to receive support as long as they need it.

 

Contact a Spousal Support Attorney in San Diego to Discuss Your Options

The issue of spousal support is often a contentious aspect of a divorce, but it does not always need to be. With the help of a skilled San Diego spousal support lawyer, you may be able to resolve your spousal support matter in an efficient and even amicable way. Divorce attorney Roseline D. Feral guides residents of Chula Vista, El Cajon, La Mesa, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, Bonita, National City, and Vista, among other Southern California cities. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010 , or you can contact Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

Stepparent Adoption2020-10-29T02:07:21+00:00

Child Custody Lawyer Advising San Diego Residents

Filing for a stepparent adoption in California may be both an exciting and an intimidating time in your life. When a stepparent wishes to adopt, there are certain legal steps that must be taken. The work needed to complete an adoption, however, sometimes is cumbersome and even frustrating. If you want to learn more about the process of stepparent adoption, it is important to reach out to a skilled family law attorney. With over 30 years of experience, San Diego stepparent adoption lawyer Roseline D. Feral can answer your questions and address your concerns.

 

Understanding the Stepparent Adoption Process

In California, a stepparent adoption allows a married stepparent to adopt their spouse’s child. In other words, stepparent adoption permits a person to become the legal father or mother of their spouse’s child. Once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents and children have the same rights and obligations as legal or biological parents and children. Typically, the child being adopted is a minor. However, it is also possible to adopt a stepchild who has reached adult age. It is important to note that, in California, stepparent adoption is also possible for same-sex couples.

 

A stepparent adoption ends the rights of one parent. If the child’s other parent continues to have rights over a minor child, that parent usually will need to consent to the adoption in order for the adoption to take place. By consenting to a stepparent adoption, the other parent agrees to give up all of their parental rights. In some cases, the court may determine that consent is not required, and the court may be able to terminate parental rights if one of the following is established:

 

  • The parent abandoned the child;
  • The parent is unfit; or
  • The parent and the child are not in fact biologically related.

 

Children who are 12 or older must agree to a stepparent or domestic partner adoption for it to become final. As a result, the child is required to sign a consent form related to the adoption. Children under the age of 12 do not need to consent to the adoption, but it is still advisable to talk to them about what the adoption process means for their family and future.

 

A stepparent adoption requires a significant amount of paperwork, and people pursuing this step may benefit from consulting a stepparent adoption lawyer in San Diego who can make sure that everything is in order. Generally speaking, you will need the adoption request form, the adoption agreement form (Adopt-210), and the adoption order form (Adopt-215). Once the pertinent forms are completed, they must be filed in the court located in the county in which you reside. When you file the paperwork, you must pay a filing fee. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you may apply for a fee waiver.

 

Before a stepparent adoption may be finalized, there will be an adoption hearing that must be attended by the custodial parent, the stepparent, and the child. If the child’s other parent is contesting the adoption, they will need to show up as well. It is important to bring copies of the forms that you have completed to the hearing, especially Adopt-210 and Adopt-215. If the judge approves the adoption, the adoption papers will be filed with the court, and the adoption will be formalized. The court will also provide you with a certified copy of the Order of Adoption.

 

Discuss a Stepparent Adoption with a San Diego Attorney

A stepparent adoption may be an extremely rewarding experience. If you are a stepparent looking to officially adopt your stepchild, you need to speak to an experienced child custody attorney who can help. We understand the nuances of this area of law and can put our knowledge to use in your case. San Diego stepparent adoption attorney Roseline D. Feral also assists prospective parents in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010 for an appointment. Alternatively, you can also reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.

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