A divorce in California is known as a proceeding for dissolution of marriage. A divorce is almost always an emotionally, and often financially, stressful event, particularly when minor children are involved. I ensure that my clients are provided with all of the information they need to make informed decisions in their case. I thoroughly and thoughtfully evaluate and explain the issues inherent in each client’s case, developing strategies that are specifically crafted to meet each client’s needs. I have broad knowledge and experience advising clients on the variety of complex matters which families may face, and the skills required to achieve favorable pre- and post-trial outcomes.
Community Property Issues
California is a community property state meaning that, generally speaking, all income and property acquired during marriage is owned equally between both spouses. Property owned by either spouse before the marriage, or property received by either spouse by gift or inheritance during the marriage are considered separate property. Characterization and valuation of community and separate assets can present many complex issues for parties as they move through the dissolution parties.
I have extensive experience in resolving, whether through litigation or negotiation, all manner of community property disputes.
The most important concern for parents in a dissolution proceeding is generally child custody. I will work with my clients to negotiate and/or litigate an initial custody order that balances the needs of the parents with the best interests of the children. I also work with clients and opposing counsel to create custody and parenting schedules, and to facilitate effective co-parenting. Custody arrangements, like support, may alter over time as the family dynamic changes; moreover, changes in custody usually resonate in the support allocation.
I work with my clients to guide them through the child-custody process which can be complex and demanding on parents.
I have extensive experience in negotiating and drafting both pre and post-nuptial marital agreements. Premarital agreements are contracts entered into by spouses prior to marriage that give the parties greater flexibility in their financial relations than would otherwise be available under the California Family Code. Postnuptial agreements are entered into subsequent to marriage and serve to define the rights and obligations of the parties to each other. Marital settlement agreements are entered into in contemplation of dissolution and encompass the parties’ understanding regarding the disposition of their assets and the allocation of their future obligations to both each other and their children. The successful negotiation and drafting of any marital agreement combines my long-range view of the legal landscape with a careful attunement to the needs of my clients. Many clients do not know what they want from an agreement at the outset of the process.
I will explain the options to you, make recommendations as to what type of agreement best suits your needs, and then work with opposing counsel to deliver a fair and balanced agreement that accurately reflects the intent of the parties.
Spousal and Child Support
In many if not most dissolution proceedings, the lifestyle of both parties will be negatively affected and the financial impact of supporting two households often gives rise to disputes over support. The obligations of both parties, and particularly that of the supporting spouse, will likely evolve over time as their respective finances and the family dynamic change. Support obligations are subjected to modification upon any “material change” in the circumstances of either party.
I work with my clients to establish and follow through on long-term support strategies that accommodate the interests of my clients while attempting to balance that with a sense of fairness to mitigate unnecessary dispute.
Family Law Litigation
I provide litigation services in all areas of family law, including child and spousal support, property division and custody. I diligently work with financial, tax and estate planning experts on behalf of my clients. While I have extensive litigation experience and represent clients in all phases of litigation, I also strive for the best possible settlement for my clients. Most of my family law matters settle without the necessity of trial.
The Law Office of Garen N. McCall represents clients in all aspects of dissolution proceedings from initial client consultations through trial.
The primary issues in a dissolution proceeding usually fall into the following categories: