Divorce often involves the most personally complex and important issues that an individual may ever face. Our focus provides the experience necessary to effectively and efficiently resolve even the most difficult issues, including complex child custody, spousal support and property division matters. Many cases can be settled through negotiation or mediation, without the need for litigation. Sometimes, aggressive litigation is necessary. Our expertise is in knowing how to best meet the challenges at hand.
We assist our clients in staying alert to the impact of the divorce process or disputed custody and visitation issues on their children. We structure effective custodial and parenting plan arrangements that address the best interest of the children and provide for healthy and appropriate co-parenting when possible.
We are highly experienced in assisting clients with establishing child support orders, defending against support motions before the court, and modifications of current child support orders.
Spousal support (formerly known as alimony in California) may be paid by one spouse to help support the other after filing for dissolution. Temporary spousal support may be ordered during the pendency of the dissolution. The amount of permanent or long-term spousal support, if any, is determined by analyzing a variety of factors including the length of marriage, the age and health of the parties, earning capacity and employment history.
For unmarried parents, parentage of their children must be legally established. Establishing parentage is necessary before custody, visitation, or child support will be ordered by a court.
Dissolution judgments often include provisions for spousal and/or child support modification upon a triggering event. For child custody, visitation and other child support orders, a change in circumstances may result in a parent obtaining an order modification.
Mediation is an informal and confidential alternative to resolving divorce and other family matters through the courts. A mediator is a neutral third party who assists parties to identify issues and negotiate a settlement for the benefit of the whole family. The mediation process is generally less expensive than litigation. Rather than living with decisions imposed by the court, parties can control the process and make their own agreements. Mediation works for the majority of parties who are willing to bargain in good faith through negotiation and compromise. Janice Downey is a highly trained and experienced mediator.