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We have been successfully resolving family law issues for the past 10 years. We’ve been through every situation imaginable and we will guide you through the process. Together with our Los Angeles Family Lawyer team, we can make the best decisions for you and your children.
Wilkinson & Finkbeiner attorneys have been recognized for our outstanding achievements, such as being named as "Super Lawyers", Fellows in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, plus recognized as Certified Family Law Specialists.
Our goal with every case we handle is to provide the very best service possible while doing everything we can to keep your costs down during this process. We believe you will not find a better value anywhere.
The law firm of Wilkinson and Finkbeiner opened in 2005 and we have practiced exclusively family law since that time. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators, litigators and think outside-the-box to position our clients for success in their family law and divorce matter.
We have offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Irvine, Temecula & Corona.
There are several ways to obtain a divorce, also called dissolution, in Los Angeles. There is a “summary dissolution” procedure in which parties married for 5 years or less can obtain a divorce, so long as they do not have real property, children, and they meet certain other criteria. There is an “uncontested” dissolution action, wherein the parties reach an agreement before a divorce case is filed and they execute a “Marital Separation Agreement” or similar stipulation before filing. Finally, if parties do not have an agreement before either party files for divorce, the filing party files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the other party is “served” with the paperwork.
Our firm has experience in handling all types of divorce cases, from extremely “simple” no-asset dissolution of marriage cases to extremely complex high-asset cases, and cases involving complex custody and support matters.
In every case, we strive to reach a favorable conclusion based on our client’s goals. We honestly try to do that in the most economically manner possible. Click here for our divorce guide.
You do have to file any documents to be “separated” in California, although it might be advisable. There is a term called “date of separation” that is used in Los Angeles divorce cases, which means that spouses are treated as separated once they intend to live forever apart and do something to evidence that intent (i.e. move out). Spouses are entitled to file a “Legal Separation” petition if they would like the Los Angeles Family Court to enter spousal support (alimony) orders, child custody orders, divide property, and so forth, but the parties do not want to divorce. These cases are rare.
Our family law attorneys have significant experience in mediating all kinds of family law cases. Mediation is a valuable tool to help resolve a family law matter without the need for long and drawn out litigation. Our attorneys can provide valuable information to help keep litigation costs significantly down. We have helped many spouses resolve their case, even though the parties may not get along at all. To learn more information about mediation in Los Angeles, click here.
We also offer online divorce mediation, which is available to any person in the United States that may have a California divorce case.
When a divorce, annulment or legal separation action is filed in Los Angeles, the court clerk will issue a summons. There are several “automatic” restraining orders that are effective upon the petitioner when the case is filed and effective upon the respondent when they are served. These automatic restraining orders are different than domestic violence prevention restraining orders. These restraining orders require that neither party leave California with minor children, parties are restricted from transferring money or canceling insurances, and so forth.
When issues of child custody arise, our firm expertly steps in to provide our clients with sound advice. We are experienced in every possible child custody issue that may arise in a Los Angeles divorce or paternity action, stepparent adoption case, or other family law case where custody may be at issue. There are different kinds of child custody and visitation issues that may be addressed in Los Angeles family courtrooms, including legal custody, physical custody, and setting up a parenting plan.
We have also handled many “move away” cases, which occur when one parent wishes to move a substantial distance with a child and away from the other parent. These cases are inherently difficult, but we have successfully represented parents wishing to move and parents wishing to oppose an intended move.
Child support for Los Angeles family court cases is calculated by taking into consideration a parent’s income, deductions, and time that the parent spends with their child (called a “timeshare”), among other factors. Sometimes, child support is relatively simple to calculate. Other times, the input factors used to determine child support are not agreeable between parties and in those situations, a Los Angeles Family Court judge needs to make findings and enter an order for support. For example, in cases where one parent is self-employed, there might be significant differences of opinion as to what deductions should be allowed in order to calculate the actual income of the parent. As another example, where a parent is unemployed or underemployed, the parties may disagree that some income would be “imputed” to that parent for purposes of calculating child support.
When parties are married and then separate, the issue of spousal support, maintenance or alimony may arise. These terms are synonymous and simply stand for the proposition that one spouse would pay some money on a monthly basis to his or her spouse in order for that spouse to meet their needs. This issue is often heavily contested as the recipient spouse usually wants as much money as possible, and the spouse required to pay wants to pay as little as possible.
In cases where parties to a divorce have significant assets, special care should be taken to ensure the case is properly handled. In these matters, called “high asset divorce” cases, there may be significant financial ramifications if the matter is improperly handled. For example, there is an art to developing a discovery plan that maximizes the information to be obtained through the use of appropriate discovery mechanisms (such as depositions, subpoenas, written discovery, and so forth). If discovery is not conducted or improperly conducted from the outset, a party might be significantly disempowered to obtain the information they need later on. Many high asset divorce cases in Los Angeles require significant pre-litigation strategy and planning.
Our law firm has secured and defended domestic violence restraining orders for many years. Our attorneys have significant experience litigating domestic violence matters in evidentiary hearings at family court. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act comprise the statutes that govern the court’s issuance of restraining orders. Typically, “temporary” restraining orders can be obtained in family court by a person in fear of harm by a person that they are married to, have or had a relationship with, or have some other familial connection. They must show there is a reasonable likelihood of future abuse. Once shown, the court will issue a 20-25 day restraining order and set a further hearing. The other party is entitled to notice of the hearing and they have a right to an evidentiary hearing. Upon showing of cause warranting an extension of the restraining order, the Los Angeles family court judge can issue a permanent restraining order for up to 5 years. There can be significant ramifications for a person if the court enters a restraining order against them. This can include impacts on employment, a restriction on possessing weapons, impacts on spousal support, and a presumption that the restrained person should not have custody of his or her child.
The information on this site is not intended as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney if you have specific legal questions. Likewise, the information on this website does not establish an attorney-client relationship with any person.
Wilkinson and Finkbeiner is an amazing law firm that provides great service period. They are honest and ethical, while at the same time, focus hard on protecting the rights and goals of their clients. They do not overcharge for their services and are well worth every penny.