Orange County Family Law Attorney

Orange County Family Law Attorney

Orange County Family Law Attorney

Deciding on which Orange County family law attorney is appropriate to represent you can have a significant impact on your life. At O’Leary & Shenasan Law, we offer our clients the guidance and assistance necessary to navigate the challenging circumstances presented by any family law dispute.

Our practice specializes in a wide spectrum of family law issues, from divorce to child support disputes, prenuptial agreement consultations, and more. O’Leary & Shenasan Law is committed to providing exceptional legal counsel and services within a professional and supportive environment.

Orange County Family Law Attorney

A Firm Dedicated Exclusively to Family Law Matters

Our firm provides legal guidance and representation in a range of family law matters, including:

  • Prenuptial and premarital agreements
    • A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that is entered into by a couple before they get married or enter a civil union or domestic partnership. It outlines how various financial and property-related matters will be handled in the event of a divorce, separation, or death of one of the spouses.
      Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups” as they are commonly referred to, are designed to protect the interests of each party.
  • Divorce
    • Divorce is the legal process that formally and legally dissolves a marriage. In California law, it is often called a “dissolution.”
  • Property Division
    • Property Division is the process of dividing the assets and debts that a couple acquired during their marriage. California is a community property state, meaning marital property is considered jointly owned by both spouses, regardless of who acquired or earned it, and it is typically divided 50/50 upon divorce.
  • Establishing Parentage
    • Establishing parentage confirms the legal parent-child relationship between a child and one or both parents. Typically, this is for cases involving unmarried parents, but it can also be relevant in divorce cases, especially concerning child custody, visitation, and child support.
  • Child Custody and Visitation
    • Child custody and visitation laws in California are designed to protect the interests of the child and provide guidelines for parents and the court to establish appropriate custody and visitation agreements.
  • Child Support
    • Child support is a legal obligation that requires a parent to provide financial assistance for the care and well-being of their child. Child support in California is typically calculated based on statewide guidelines established by the California Family Code.
      The guidelines take into account the income of both parents, the percentage of time the child spends with each parent, and various deductions for taxes, health insurance, and other factors.
  • Spousal Support
    • Spousal support, or “alimony,” as it is often called, is financial support from one spouse to the other following a divorce or legal separation. In California, spousal support is governed by state law and is recognized by two main types: temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support.
  • Domestic Violence
    • In California, domestic violence is defined as any act or threatened act of violence upon someone with whom the accused has had an intimate relationship.
  • Uncontested Adoptions
    • Uncontested Adoptions in California are adoption proceedings in which all parties involved, including the birth parents, adoptive parents, and the court, are in agreement, and there is no dispute or opposition to the adoption.
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution
    • Alternate Dispute Resolution is a method for resolving legal disputes outside of the courtroom litigation process. This can be a more efficient, cost-effective, and collaborative approach to resolving legal conflicts.

Regardless of the type of family law case you’re facing in Orange County, the lawyers at O’Leary & Shenasan Law are ready for the challenge. By working together on each case, they both lend their extensive legal knowledge and experience to each client. For individualized attention to your family law case, consider the compassionate attorneys at O’Leary & Shenasan Law.

What Are My Family Rights in California?

Regardless of your family law matter, it’s vital to know your rights. Family rights in California include a large range of rights and protections that apply to various family-related matters. These rights include:

  • Marriage Rights
    • California recognizes the right to marry for all eligible couples under state and federal law.
  • Divorce Rights
    • Couples have the right to file for divorce or legal separation. The legal process includes resolving issues related to child custody and support, spousal support, and property division.
  • Child Custody and Visitation
    • Parents have the right to seek custody and visitation arrangements that are in the children’s interests. In California, the law aims to ensure that children have frequent contact with both parents unless it is against their interests.
  • Child Support
    • Parents have the right to seek financial support for their children when they are separated or divorced.
  • Domestic Violence Protections
    • Individuals have the right to seek protection from domestic violence and abuse through legal remedies.
  • Adoption Rights
    • Prospective adoptive parents have the right to seek adoption per California’s adoption laws.
  • LGBT Family Rights
    • California law protects the rights of LGBT families, including marriage rights and access to assisted reproductive technologies.
  • Grandparent’s Rights
    • Under certain situations, grandparents may have visitation rights or even custody of their grandchildren, given it is in the interest of the children.
  • Reproductive Rights
    • California ensures the right to contraception, abortion, and access to appropriate educational services and resources.
  • Education Rights
    • Parents have the right to make educational decisions for their children and to access appropriate educational services and resources.
  • Probate and Estate Rights
    • Family members may have rights to probate, wills, and estate planning, including inheritance rights and distribution of assets.

Can I Speed Up My California Family Law Case?

One of the most difficult aspects of family law cases is the significant amount of time they often take. This can be frustrating no matter what kind of issue you’re dealing with, but especially so when you’re involved in an emergent situation. In these cases, the state does allow proceedings to be moved forward.

Ex parte Is Latin for “from one side” or “on behalf of one party” and is used in various areas of law. In Orange County Family law, ex parte refers to a type of legal procedure or motion that is filed and heard on an expedited basis, typically without the other party being present or receiving prior notice.

These proceedings are typically reserved for urgent situations or emergencies in family law cases where immediate action is necessary to protect the interests of a child or address a pressing issue. These situations may include matters related to:

  • child custody,
  • visitation,
  • domestic violence restraining orders, or
  • other family law disputes.

Ex-parte orders are typically temporary, and a subsequent hearing is scheduled within 21 days to allow the opposing party to present their side of the case and for the court to make a more considered decision.

In Orange County, the court will only consider ex-parte applications if the applicant has provided competent, factual evidence that shows that the applicant or a child is in immediate danger and that ex-parte relief is necessary.

How Is Child Support Calculated in California?

When you have children and are dealing with a family law matter such as divorce or separation, it’s likely that you’ll need to make arrangements for child support. Child support is calculated under California law. Two main factors are used to determine the child support amount: the income of each parent and the percentage of the time the child spends with each parent.

After child support is ordered by the court, the order must be followed. However, child support arrangements can be modified in California if there has been a significant change in circumstances from when the original order was issued. These changes may include:

  • A change in a parent’s income
  • A change in custody or visitation arrangements
  • The paying parent is incarcerated or deployed
  • A change to a parent’s family, like marriage or a new child


What Determines if Spousal Support Will be Granted?

Spousal support is similar to child support, but it provides for the needs of a lower-income spouse rather than a child. The determination of spousal support in California is guided by state laws and is made on a case-by-case basis. Factors that influence whether or not spousal support will be granted are:

  • Need and ability to pay,
  • standard of living,
  • duration of the marriage,
  • earning capacity,
  • contributions to the marriage,
  • age and health,
  • temporary vs. permanent support,
  • marital agreements and/or
  • tax considerations.

Like child support arrangements, changes in circumstances can also warrant changes in spousal support, and many will end after a certain period of time.

What Are the Legal Rights and Responsibilities in Domestic Partnerships and Same-Sex Marriages?

If your family law issue is related to a same-sex relationship, you are afforded the same protections as heterosexual partners. The legal rights and responsibilities in domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages in California are the same as those in opposite-sex marriages.

Same-sex couples who marry have the same legal status, parental rights, access to marital benefits, and access to family courts as opposite-sex couples. Same-sex couples who marry also have the same responsibilities as opposite-sex marriages, such as community property rights, parental responsibilities, and financial obligations.

However, because many same-sex couples lived as married couples before they were legally allowed to marry, there could be complexities relating to things like property division. Child support and custody may also be complicated in certain cases, so having a skilled lawyer is vital.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement, and Should I Make One?

A prenup is an agreement you can make with your future spouse before your marriage to determine things like property division if you were to get divorced or one spouse were to pass away. While there can be some stigma around prenups because they necessitate contemplating the end of your marriage, in reality, they offer a myriad of benefits.

The advantages of a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Asset protection,
  • debt protections,
  • clarity and transparency,
  • creating alimony terms,
  • outlining property division,
  • inheritance and estate planning,
  • business protections,
  • protection against state divorce laws,
  • preservation of family relations,
  • and/or peace of mind.

While there are many advantages of prenuptial agreements, they are not for every couple and should be entered into willingly and with full transparency.

Is California a No-Fault State?

When it comes to divorce, California is a no-fault state. This means you can seek a divorce without having to prove that one spouse is at fault, and divorce can be initiated even if one spouse does not want one.

In California, you have the option to initiate divorce or legal separation proceedings for one of the following reasons:

  • Irreconcilable differences have led to the permanent dissolution of the marriage.
  • Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. To establish this ground, it is necessary to provide evidence, such as medical or psychiatric testimony, demonstrating that the spouse lacked the legal capacity to make decisions both at the time the divorce petition was filed and continues to lack this capacity.

Can Grandparents Obtain Visitation Rights?

While it’s rare, sometimes, grandparents can be involved in family law cases. In California, grandparents can seek visitation rights under specific circumstances, but it can be a complex process. California law recognizes that it may be in the interests of the child to have a relationship with their grandparents. Grandparents can request visitation rights when these conditions are met:

  • The child’s parents are not living together due to separation, divorce, or one or both parents passing away,
  • they have a pre-existing relationship with their grandchild and have established an ongoing bond with the child and/or
  • the court determines that granting visitation rights to the grandparents is in the interest of the child.


Q: How Much Does a Family Lawyer Cost in California?

A: Every case is unique. The most effective way to prepare and understand the costs associated with your case is to work with a knowledgeable Orange County family lawyer who can offer guidance throughout each phase of the process. Normally, family lawyers will charge by the hour or ask for a retainer upfront from which to draw fees as the case progresses.

Q: How Long Does a Divorce Take?

A: A divorce is officially started when you file a petition for divorce, and then there is a six-month waiting period. The total duration of a divorce in California depends significantly on various factors and unique circumstances, such as:

  • if you meet residency requirements,
  • the length of time it takes to file and serve divorce papers,
  • negotiation and settlement decisions,
  • any contested issues,
  • court docket and backlog and/or
  • case complexity.

Q: Do You Need a Lawyer for Family Court in California?

A: You are not legally required to have a lawyer to represent you in family court in California. While you can represent yourself in family court, you should consider potential disadvantages, such as:

  • making legal mistakes,
  • failing to understand your rights, or
  • being at a disadvantage in complex cases.

If you’re uncertain about whether you require the services of a lawyer, it’s advisable to seek an initial assessment of your situation from a family law lawyer.

Q: How Is Property Divided in California?

A: California is a community property state, which means property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is generally considered to be jointly owned by both spouses. The property acquired before the marriage or after separation is typically considered separate property and belongs solely to the spouse who acquired it. The division during a divorce can not always be strictly 50/50 but is intended to be just and equal.

Contact a Knowledgeable Orange County Family Lawyer for a Consultation

O’Leary & Shenasan Law offers guidance to clients across Southern California on various family law issues. Our services extend to individuals in San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties.

Family law cases can be intricate, so don’t face them alone. Let O’Leary & Shenasan Law be your trusted allies in navigating these challenging situations and safeguarding the rights and well-being of you and your family. Contact us online for a consultation or call us at (949) 876-7794.

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