Dissolution of the Marriage
Just as no two marriages are the same, all divorces are unique. We have handled countless cases and have negotiated and litigated nearly every issue imaginable in family law matters. While each divorce is different, bringing unique personalities and separate issues, most if not all of the issues will have some similarity to those our office has handled in the past. The decision to move forward with dissolution can be very complicated. It is very important to consult with an experienced attorney to ask all the “what if ” questions prior to making a decision on whether or not to proceed or to prepare further before filing for a divorce. Let the experience our office possesses guide and help you meet your goals in making a decision.
Visitation and Child Support
Legal custody concerns a parent’s rights to make decisions regarding the health, safety, education and welfare of a minor child. Joint legal custody means that the parents equally share the right to make these decisions (Fam. Code §3003). Sole legal custody of a child means that one parent has the right to make all legal custody decisions (Fam. Code §3007). The court can order that although the parents have joint legal custody, one parent may have the right to make a final decision if there is a disagreement. (Marriage of Buser) Generally, the Court orders that parents share joint legal custody.
Modifications Prior and Post Judgment
In Orange County, there are two child support courts: the Orange County Family Law Court as well as the Family Support Division. In Orange County the Orange County Dept. of Child Support Services (DCSS) will help you establish and enforce child support orders through the Family Support Division if you request their help. You can also obtain support orders through the Family Law Court.
Child support may be payable by one parent to another if a paternity judgment is established naming both parents as the legal parents of a child or if a child is adopted. Because there is a presumption of parentage in a divorce action, parents who have a child during a marriage are presumed to the biological parents of the child. (See Family Code 7611).
At the Law Offices of Hugh Douglas Whittemore, we are proud to serve Orange County and the surrounding areas for all matters concerning divorce, annulments, child custody and visitation, spousal support, child support, and paternity cases, which is the focus of this page. As one of our areas of expertise, we represent both mothers and fathers in their pursuit of establishing paternity, child custody, child support, visitation, and name changes. I have been in practice over 37 years and I personally handle all matters for clients who retain me.
Divorce, separations, and dissolution cases inherently posess a number of challenges. Whether contested or uncontested, matters such as the division of property must be addressed. Contested matters can be particularly difficult to deal with when the parties have a large number of assets or cannot agree on what 50% means. In many cases parties may not have a large number of assets, but the assets that they do have are not be easily divided, such as a small business, or an investment property. At the Law Offices of Hugh Douglas Whittemore, those disputes are routinely resolved with the help of the court in making the decisions if the parties cannot agree.
Attorney Hugh Douglas Whittemore has vast experience in representing Orange County clients involving issues of spousal support or alimony as it is sometimes referred to. We have assisted clients in reaching spousal support settlements as well as litigating the issue if necessary to determine and establish the receipt of spousal maintenance in court.
The terms spousal support, spousal maintenance, and alimony are synonymous in California. There are two phases of spousal support in any Orange County divorce case: temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support. Temporary support is the support established when the parties first separate. To calculate temporary support the court will often use the Dissomaster or Ex-spouse program. When permanent support is calculated it is based on the Family Code 4320 factors which is a more complicated analysis.