We are experienced divorce attorneys and assist in all aspects of a divorce or dissolution of marriage, from the initial filing through negotiations and court motions. We seek to foster amicable resolutions whenever possible, especially when children are involved, as we understand the importance of maintaining a working parenting relationship with a former spouse. We are sympathetic to the stress and hardship caused by a divorce, and we assist our clients in formulating a plan to cope with adversities, often collaborating with counselors, accountants, estate planners, educators and other professionals in the process.
Mediation & Collaborative Law
At the Law Offices of Leon F. Bennett, we understand the benefits of preserving amicable relationships between former family members. When possible, we offer clients services as collaborative lawyers and mediators. In collaborative law, the parties and their attorneys sit down together and attempt to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. In mediation, the parties present their case before a neutral third party, the mediator, who guides them through their issues with hopes of reaching an agreement. Both methods are generally more informal, less costly and less time consuming than traditional litigation. In addition, these methods allow the parties to work together to find a solution, rather than creating an adversarial situation.
Child Custody/ Visitation & Support
Our services in child custody, visitation and support disputes are always focused on what is in the best interest of the children. Firm founder Leon F. Bennett has represented children in family law matters as court-appointed minor's counsel, which has given him special insight into the needs of children in legal matters. When you retain our firm to represent your legal interests, you can be assured that we will represent your children's interests as well.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is awarded by discretion of the court. The amount and duration of support payments is generally awarded based on factors such as the standard of living of the parties during the marriage, and the abilities of each party to pay for their own needs. Because the court has such broad discretion in awarding spousal support, it is important to have an attorney zealously arguing your case.
An integral part of most divorces is the division of property. California is what is called a community property state. Community property is all of the assets and debts acquired by the spouses during the marriage, with codified exclusions. Community property is generally divided equally between the spouses by the courts, or through a negotiated premarital settlement agreement. A major issue in the division of property is whether an asset is categorized as community or separate, which can substantially affect each party's property award. It is important to secure an attorney who is capable of representing your property interests in divorce. Our firm has extensive experience in these matters and regularly consults with other professionals, such as forensic accountants and valuation experts, as needed.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial or premarital agreements (prenups) are contracts between two people who intend to marry, while postmarital or postnuptial agreements are those written after a marriage occurs. Both agreements generally list the assets of each party and their rights regarding them. Creating a marital agreement is important for all married couples or couples contemplating marriage. A marital agreement can protect separate property to pass to children from a prior marriage, clarify the parties' finances, and help avoid disputes in case of divorce. Often, marital agreements work out such issues as property division, spousal support and child support long before a couple even contemplates divorce.
A Domestic Partnership is the legal relationship which is available to same sex couples and certain opposite sex couples in limited situations. Our attorneys assist clients in registering as Domestic Partners, forming domestic partnership agreements and in the dissolution of domestic partnerships.