Dissolution of Marriage
The process is dissolving a marital relationship (dissolution or divorce) is emotionally challenging and stressful. SGSB’s attorneys are aggressive strategists when it comes to achieving our client’s goals, but we also maintain compassion and understanding toward our clients.
Given the vast number of issues that family law clients face, we maintain frequent communication with our clients – via email or telephone – to ensure that they are informed about the status of their cases.
Within any divorce matter, there are numerous issues to resolve during the case, including:
Characterization, Valuation, and Division of Assets & Liabilities
Dividing property during a divorce is one of the most significant aspects of marital dissolution. This process becomes even more complex with high-asset couples and business owners. SGSB has built our practice and reputation on the ability to successfully resolve issues involving complicated estate division. When appropriate, we use forensic accountants to value assets, quantify debts, and account for tax consequences of the division of the community property and separate property estates.
In addition, the real property owned by the parties often are among the most valuable assets in a dissolution case. SGSB conducts a thorough investigation of all real property issues, such as the source of the acquisition funds, the manner in which title is held or changed during the marriage, the obtaining of expert appraisals, and the impact that different options for disposition of the real properties may have on the overall division of the estate.
Attorneys Fees and Costs
Whether one party has to contribute to the other party’s attorney fees, forensic accounting fees, and other costs is a primary issue is most dissolution cases. SGSB develops an aggressive strategy to present the relevant factors most favorable to our client at time of trial or hearing.
A successful business can be one of the most valuable assets to be divided in a dissolution proceeding. Accordingly, the characterization and valuation of the business interests owned by one or both of the spouses is one of the primary issues in the divorce. SGSB attorneys possess the knowledge and expertise to effectively litigate the intricacies in law and accounting that arise when there is a business interest to value during a divorce. The key to successful business valuation litigation is to work closely and strategize with a reputable forensic accountant through each stage of the case.
Determination and Tracing of Separate Property Rights
When one party to a dissolution action has property prior to marriage, or acquires property during marriage through inheritance, many issues arise, such as the tracing of those separate property funds to the acquisition of other assets, as well as issues stemming from reimbursements to the characterization of the property as separate or community. SGSB’s attorneys work closely with our client’s to substantiate or oppose these very fact-intensive issues.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Spouses owe each other the highest duty of good faith and fair dealing. There are many instances, prior to separation or during the divorce, where one party may engage in conduct that violates these duties to the other spouse. Examples of such violations include the failure to disclose assets or debts, the misuse or mismanagement of joint property, and fraudulent conveyances.
Breach of fiduciary duty issues are often very complex and require skilled attorneys to prove a breach or protect clients from false allegations of a breach of these duties. The attorneys at SGSB are especially experienced and skilled in the handling of these sensitive, important, and valuable issues.
Child Custody &
Parenting Time Disputes
There is rarely any issue over which parties will fight harder than the custody of their children. SGSB attorneys work closely with our clients to develop an expedient resolution of custody to avoid a prolonged battle that will incur a substantial emotional toll on both parties and the children. Our approach involves utilizing counseling and input from mental health professionals, negotiations between attorneys, and formal or informal mediation to assist the parties in reaching a reasonable, child-focused resolution.
There are times when an agreement between two parents cannot be attained through negotiation. In these instances, our attorneys approach litigation with a solid understanding of child custody laws and fiercely defend clients’ parental rights.
Child Custody Move-Away Requests
Many of our complex child custody trials involve parents wishing to move out of state or out of the country with their kids. While a custodial parent in California has the presumptive right to move as he or she wishes with his or her children, there are nuances to the laws that may be applied.
One of the most important components of any family law case involving children, aside from custody, is child support. Support is the court-ordered financial maintenance of a child. As soon as the divorce petition is filed, issues concerning temporary child support often arise. SGSB’s lawyers quickly assess a fair and reasonable support amount based on the finances and assets involved in a client’s case.
Sometimes child custody, parenting time, and child support issues arise outside of a marital relationship. These proceedings are called “Parentage” or Paternity actions. While many of the considerations overlap with custody or child support disputes arising in a divorce, there are special rules and procedures that must be followed. The attorneys at SGSB possess the expertise to handle these sensitive matters.
Modification & Enforcement
of Existing Court Orders
Do you have an existing court order that you want to change? Is someone is trying to change an existing court order against your desires? Are you having difficulty forcing another party to comply with existing court orders? These are very common circumstances and these proceedings constitute a large portion of SGSB’s practice.
Frequently, modification requests are won or lost at the outset depending on certain procedural thresholds. SGSB’s attorneys strategize with our clients to establish the best position when facing a modification action – either on the requesting or defending side of the issue.
Domestic Violence / Restraining Orders
Issues of domestic violence are taken very seriously by Orange County courts and can have a serious and lasting impact on child custody and visitation, spousal support and other issues. SGSB has extensive experience successfully representing both the accuser and the accused in these sensitive family matters. Timing is essential In these matters, and SGSB’s attorneys work quickly and efficiently to prepare our case for success at trial.
Validity of Premarital
There are many procedural requirements that must be followed for a Premarital Agreement to be valid and enforced. Further, certain provisions in some Premarital Agreements are considered unenforceable because of their impact on one of the parties to the Agreement. SGSB’s attorneys are skilled at both challenging and upholding the provisions of Premarital Agreements drafted by other attorneys and signed by our clients.
Limited Scope Representation
Are you in need of skilled legal representation and have limited financial resources? If so, SGSB can assist you with our limited scope representation option.
SGSB’s attorneys are frequently retained for limited purposes such as:
- Litigating a limited issue court hearing;
- Serving solely as Trial Counsel to conduct the trial (after discovery has been completed by other attorneys);
- Advising clients who are participating in mediation;
- Negotiating settlements;
- Conducting or defending depositions;
Narrowing the scope of our representation enables our attorneys to be flexible in the retainer amount and payment arrangements, when appropriate.
Please schedule a consultation with us to learn more about these limited scope/reduced retainer options.
“Spousal Support (sometimes referred to as “Alimony” or “Maintenance”) is sometimes one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. There are over 15 factors which courts must analyze to determine if, and to what extent (amount and duration), spousal support will be ordered. Given the long lasting effects the outcome of a spousal support issue may have on the parties, it is particularly imperative that litigants have the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys to handle these important issues. SGSB’s attorneys have decades of experience successfully litigating and settling spousal support issues.”
Mediation is an alternative to litigation. In Mediation the parties work together to reach agreements without the necessity of engaging in contentious, stressful, expensive court proceedings.
Call our office or use the “contact” link to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced mediators.
Same Sex Relationships / Dissolution
SGSB’s attorneys have extensive experience in handling the unique issues which arise during the dissolution of same-sex couples and registered (and non-registered) domestic partnerships. We know that there are a variety of issues which can arise in same-sex cases and they require skill, creativity, and knowledge to successfully navigate this relatively new sub-area of family law.