Minerva Law’s attorneys have decades of experience resolving family law matters inside and outside the courtroom. We respect the judicial process, and we know how to navigate it, but we also recognize there are often better ways to resolve a divorce, custody dispute or support matter, so we are committed to seeking out the resolution that works for your specific needs, budget and goals. We are available to provide full representation, limited scope services, second opinions, strategic consulting and divorce coaching.
Our team defines “family” inclusively and brings to the table not only legal experience, but life experience, that informs our understanding of the challenges our clients will face in this process. We are committed to approaching every case with empathy, creativity and fortitude. Our goal, always, is to help you move forward.
Minerva Law’s family law expertise includes:
Divorce and Legal Separation
Dissolution of a marriage can be a painful and overwhelming experience for both spouses, their family and their loved ones. Minerva Law’s attorneys are strong advocates who approach each case with civility, compassion, and a commitment to developing a solution specifically tailored to each individual client’s goals. They handle all aspects of the dissolution of marriage or legal separation process, including divorce planning, division of marital assets, complex property issues, child custody and visitation, and temporary and permanent child support and spousal support.
Minerva Law’s attorneys are seasoned and aggressive litigators, but they recognize that the emotional and financial costs of resolving a divorce through the state court system can be extraordinary. They are experienced in the successful negotiation of out-of-court marital settlement agreements and are dedicated to providing their clients strong advocacy both inside and outside the courtroom.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and visitation disputes are often the most important and challenging issues in family law. California courts determine child custody and visitation based upon a multi-factored analysis of the best interests of the child, and the process often is protracted and fraught with emotion.
The attorneys at Minerva Law have broad experience in the negotiation, mediation and litigation of child custody issues, including parenting plans and visitation time; parental decision-making regarding the child’s education, religion and medical care; multi-jurisdictional and interstate custody disputes; and situations where one parent seeks to relocate with the child to a new city or state. Their focus is on not only safe-guarding the best interests of the child, but also protecting the rights of their client.
Minerva Law believes that, as with many family law issues, a child custody and visitation agreement that is negotiated or mediated outside of court enables the parties to provide input and control over their child’s schedule and welfare and often results in a better co-parenting dynamic. When litigation is the only path to resolution, however, Minerva Law’s attorneys will provide staunch courtroom advocacy in pursuit of their client’s rights.
Complex Asset Division
Negotiation and Review of Marital Settlement Agreements
Due to the high costs—emotional and financial—of protracted litigation, many divorcing spouses turn to out-of-court settlement negotiations, sometimes with and sometimes without counsel appearing on their behalf, to resolve their dissolution of marriage proceeding. Negotiated or mediated settlements offer a more flexible process that allows the parties to have greater input in creating a mutually agreeable outcome than a final decision rendered by a judge.
Clients retain Minerva Law’s family law attorneys to assist—either directly or indirectly—in negotiations with the opposing party or his or her lawyer, to provide advice regarding the implications of California law or legal analysis regarding specific issues, and to review and critique draft marital settlement agreements prior to their execution.
Post-judgment Modification and Enforcement
Because the California family law courts retain jurisdiction over certain aspects of a judgment long after that judgment is final, and because life circumstances change over time, in certain cases parties may be able to modify their divorce or paternity judgment after it is entered. Minerva Law’s attorneys assist clients with post-judgment modifications of child custody, child support, spousal support and other issues. In addition, Minerva Law has experience in enforcing judgments and orders that have been entered by the court but are not being followed by one of the parties.
Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Orders
Paternity and Parentage Actions
Pre-marital, Post-marital and Cohabitation Agreements
Parties about to marry should carefully weigh the effect their marriage will have on property or businesses owned by them prior to marriage, as well as income or assets they acquire during the marriage that otherwise would be deemed community property. A pre-marital agreement can set boundaries on these issues and many others, including, but not limited to, rights to control property during the marriage, a spouse’s right to receive support in the event of a divorce, and waiver of certain probate rights. Cohabitation agreements can also be an important tool in defining and limiting partners’ property rights that may arise from the parties living together, as was recognized in the landmark case Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal.36 660.
Similarly, married persons also can agree to change the character of their property or alter the rights and protections provided under California law by entering into a properly-drafted and executed post-marital agreement. There are, however, specific statutory requirements governing the enforceability of such contracts and legal advice and counsel is highly recommended for both parties.
In addition to having drafted and negotiated dozens of pre-marital, post-marital and cohabitation agreements, Minerva Law’s attorneys have experience litigating the validity of such agreements when later contested by one of the parties.