Areas of Practice
Divorce, Adoption, Custody and Child Support
Family Law: Divorce, Custody, Adoption, Child Support, Guardianships, Domestic Violence, Guardian ad Litem Services
Our lawyers provide consultation, planning and dispute resolution services to help our clients evaluate their options and make informed decisions at what is often a difficult and emotional time in their lives. Our lawyers are skilled at handling every aspect of divorce proceedings, including pre-divorce planning, choosing the appropriate divorce process, the negotiating and preparation of prenuptial, post-nuptial, and marital settlement and property agreements. We are experienced in all types of divorce and general family law processes, including mediation, dispute resolution, collaborative divorce, arbitration and litigation proceedings applicable to the family law setting.
Family Law encompasses a wide range of cases. We are experienced in handling divorces involving complex, high-value assets, tracing of separate interests, valuing of businesses, and division of retirement assets.
Our lawyers are experienced in litigating custody cases involving custody evaluators, establishing paternity, custody and time-sharing plans, litigating interstate custody and child support cases, relocation cases, international custody cases, grandparent visitation and guardianship cases.
Our lawyers are all experienced in collaborative divorce, which can involve all of the above issues. It is a separate and distinct divorce process wherein the parties, with the assistance of their collaboratively-trained lawyers, financial and other specialists, negotiate and settle all issues involving their divorce without the court's intervention. Our divorce lawyers are extensively trained in collaborative divorce.
Our lawyers also handle domestic violence cases, guardianship cases and provide guardian ad litem services. We are experienced in representing both domestic violence victims and defending against domestic violence allegations. We also assist clients needing to establish guardianship (including kinship guardianship) over relatives who are in need of protection. Our services also include serving as court-appointed guardians ad litem to represent children in contested custody cases.
We also counsel clients with respect to initiating and successfully completing private adoption proceedings.
DIVISION OF MARITAL ASSETS
Valuing a family owned business in a long-term marriage/complex financial assets: A husband and wife owned a long-time successful business along with other significant holdings and were in disagreement as to the values. Through the use of a divorce forensic accountant and accountant-lawyer mediators, we were able to settle the case by buying one of the parties out of the business interest in a tax-advantaged way for the business.
Protection of family owned separate business assets: One of the parties to the divorce had significant separate family assets and needed protection of those assets in divorce. With the use of that party's family accountant, we were able to assist that party in tracing most of the separate assets and with the use of a divorce forensic accountant, we assisted the client in settling the case satisfactorily such that the separate property was protected.
Division of Retirement Benefits: The parties had multiple retirement benefits (military, public teacher's and federal defense contractor) that needed to be divided. We successfully prepared and received approval on the orders to ultimately divide the retirement benefits.
Long-Term Marriage with Lifetime Spousal Support: Parties had typical community assets, including retirement. We were successful at trial in having the Court award lifetime spousal support for the spouse based on the long-term marriage, that spouse's chronic medical conditions and the other spouse's earning capacity.
Amicable "Short-term" marriage with no children: Parties had accumulated some assets during their short marriage of 5 years. They had no children. We analyzed the assets and drafted settlement documents that were approved by the other spouse and the parties were easily divorced.
COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE: Collaborative Divorce is a respectful, and private, process in which the parties and their lawyers sign a contract agreeing not to litigate but to settle their issues outside of court with the aid of neutral experts who help them to make their own agreements. An example of our Collaborative cases involved a professional couple, both with celebrity status, who desired privacy in the divorce process. With the help of their lawyers and neutral experts, the parties were able to reach their own agreements on such issues as child custody and child support, variable incomes, professional goodwill and asset valuation and division. While the parties were going through their divorce, they enjoyed complete privacy. The process concluded with a complete agreement on all issues and allowed the parties to move forward without anger and with respect for one another
INTERSTATE CUSTODY AND CHILD SUPPORT CASES: Custody and child support decree issued in Texas, but one parent and children moved to another state, and the other parent lived in New Mexico. The other parent improperly asked a NM court to modify custody and child support, and we successfully defended the case convincing the Court to dismiss, in favor of the other state's court for custody purposes. Interstate custody and child support cases are very technical and often need expertise developed over years from our various attorneys; and often one state will have jurisdiction over child support, while another state will have jurisdiction over custody of the children.
One parent remarried and sought relocation of the parties' child overseas with new spouse. We successfully litigated the relocation case and the court allowed our client and child to relocate based on our choice of a custody evaluator known to provide bonding studies. We also successfully litigated the child support issues.
In another case, we successfully represented one parent seeking to prevent the other parent from moving with the child to Texas. We worked quickly and successfully obtained an emergency order from the Court initially preventing the parent from moving with the child. We believed that our client was closely bonded with the child so we successfully asked the Court to appoint a custody evaluator that also performs bonding studies. Because the custody evaluator found that the child was closely bonded with our client and his extended family, the case settled without the other parent moving to Texas with the child.
Threats to remove the child from the country: One of the parents, from a foreign country, threatened and took other active steps to abduct the child to that parent's home country. We successfully worked with the custody evaluator and the Guardian ad Litem, and litigated the issue resulting in the court ordering various provisions to protect the child from abduction.
Return of Child: Our client resided in Europe with the parties' child. Opposing client (U.S. citizen) wrongfully retained the child in the U.S. after summer vacation from school. We successfully litigated in federal court for the emergency pick-up of the child, and eventual permanent return of the child to our client. We have also successfully litigated other cases very similar to this, involving other clients, a Father (Canadian citizen), and a Mother (a Mexican citizen).
Guardianship/Conservatorship over Adult: Client's father was believed to be incompetent to handle his own affairs. We are experienced in the procedures necessary and we successfully established a guardianship (over the person) and conservatorship (over the person's assets) naming our client as the guardian/conservator after establishing that the father was not competent to handle his own affairs.
In another case, we represented one party desiring a divorce from the spouse but believed that the spouse was incompetent. We successfully initiated guardianship proceedings asking that a third party be appointed as the guardian. The court-appointed guardian then was able to hire divorce counsel and then we eventually settled the case equitably for our client so our client could be divorced while the incompetent spouse was also protected.
Kinship Guardianship: Great-Aunt and her husband were contacted by Children's Grandparents to take children being subject to neglect and abuse by drug-addicted parents. We successfully obtained the consent of one of the parents and litigated against the other and the court ordered that the great-aunt and her husband were named as kinship guardians of the three young children.
MENTAL HEALTH ALLEGATIONS
Wrongful sex abuse allegations: Other parent, who had less time with the children than our client, made sexual abuse allegations against our client. We were able to have the family return to the original custody evaluator for a review, after which, the evaluator was able to determine that the allegations were unsubstantiated, and the other parent's time with the children was then limited because of the wrongful allegations.
Stay-at-home Parent: A stay-at-home parent married to a health care professional was an excellent parent and homemaker but suffered from some depression. The other parent made allegations that the stay-at-home parent was unfit and the other parent should have custody of the children. We were able to successfully guide our client through a custody evaluation and protect an examination of our client's mental health records and our client received joint legal custody of the children with more time with them than the other parent.
A same sex couple sought to have an immediate Court order issued as the current law does not fully protect a child born under this type of family. While working with the American Civil Liberties Union, we succeeded in obtaining a Temporary Decree of Adoption from the Court. We have assisted several couples through the legal aspects of building their families through adoption whether it is a step-parent adoption, same sex adoption or agency adoption.
GUARDIAN AD LITEM
We represented the interests of several minor children, as a court-appointed guardian ad litem, in a case with high conflict post-divorce custody issues between the parents. We were able to conduct a full investigation, which involved both parents, state agencies, foster parents, school officials, and various counselors in order to advise the court and the parents as to a custody arrangement that served the best interests of the children. We continued in this role during the next several years to monitor the progress of the parents, and to ensure that they were continually acting in the children's best interests.
We obtained a finding of domestic violence and a permanent restraining order in a case where one spouse physically abused the other spouse in a marriage where physical and verbal abuse occurred for many years. The parties divorced shortly thereafter.
We have also successfully defended clients against baseless allegations of domestic abuse.
Related Practice Areas
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Estate Planning, Trusts and Probates
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