Family Law cases govern the relationships of families. Common types of family law cases are divorce (referred to as a dissolution of marriage case), separation, paternity, child custody, child support, guardianships, and conservatorships. Each type of case is unique and requires a thorough analysis of the situation.
A divorce case involves a division of assets and debts among the husband and wife. California is a community property state which means income and assets acquired during the life of the marriage is considered community property. You would need to discuss your situation with an attorney to determine the proper distribution of assets and income. A prenuptial agreement is a means by which spouses can deviate from the general community property rules.
The custody of children among parents is often an important issue in family law cases. There are many factors to consider when determining custody such as the age of the child, school, medical, child’s desires, the stability of each parent and the overall well being of the child. The court must make decisions about the legal and physical custody of each child. Legal custody involves important decisions for the child such as the child’s schooling and non-emergency medical care. Physical custody involves where the child will reside.
With over 10 years of experience in the area of family law, I will meet with you and develop an individual strategy. Resolving your family law issues is important because they involve more than just financial headaches. Emotions run high and having a skilled lawyer to ease your mind is a good start.
Divorce, Separation, Paternity, Child Custody, Child Support, Guardianships, and Conservatorships
Property Disputes, Personal Injury
Juvenile cases fall into two categories: Juvenile Dependency and Juvenile Delinquency.
Juvenile Dependency cases are those cases in which the local Department of Health and Human Services or Child Protective Services agency files a petition with the Juvenile Court asserting that a child has been abandoned, abused and or neglected by their parents or legal guardians. Most often the local agency is alerted of the abuse by a local law enforcement agency, school official, or other mandated report.
If the social services agency believes that the child is at immediate risk, they may physically remove the child from the parent’s home and place the child in foster care or a relative’s home until the issue can be addressed in juvenile court. At that time, the Social Worker has two days to file a petition with the Juvenile Court asking that the child be made a dependent of the court. This first hearing with the juvenile court is called an Initial Hearing where the court makes orders regarding who will care for the child, where the child will stay and other interim orders to ensure the safety of the child.
At the next hearing called the Jurisdictional Hearing, the court will then decide whether the petition filed by the local social services agency is true. If the petition is found to be true, the child can be made a dependent of the court and the court could return the child to the parent or guardian if the court finds there is not a substantial risk to the child’s safety, protection or emotional well being. However, in many circumstances, the court does not return the child to the parent or guardian but rather orders the parent or guardian to participate in a reunification case plan. The reunification case plan often includes counseling for the parent, parenting classes, anger management and substance abuse testing and treatment. If the parent or guardian does not make substantive progress in the reunification case plan, the court could terminate reunification efforts with the parent and the court would then be required to implement an alternative permanent plan for the child including adoption, guardianship or long term foster care. If the court implements a permanent plan of adoption it would terminate the parent’s rights.
These cases are extremely important. A parent or guardian should seek to hire an attorney early in the process so they can be properly advised on how to reunify with their child. I have handled hundreds of these types of juvenile cases. I have been successful in reunifying children with their parents. I have fought to have cases dismissed outright. Additionally, I have assisted my clients in following the reunification case plan to reunify with their children. The Law office of MIchael A. Dedecker has won several juvenile trials and has extensive experience in the juvenile system to help you.