Family Law

Family Law Attorney

Our Family Law Practice: Our firm handles all aspects of family law including divorce, child custody, child and spousal support and community property matters in all Courts in Los Angeles County and Ventura County. We handle related family law cases such as parentage (paternity) cases and domestic violence restraining orders. We also draft and review prenuptial agreements. In addition, we provide representation in post judgment proceedings (after the divorce), such as modification of custody, visitation and support. Our underlying philosophy is to encourage cooperation, negotiation and settlement of family law cases where possible. However, if settlement is not possible, we vigorously represent our clients in the courtroom at trial or hearing and diligently work to protect the legal interests of our clients. We personally handle your case and do not delegate attorney responsibilities to paralegals or outside support staff. We understand that family law cases can be stressful to the client both emotionally and financially and we work hard towards getting our clients through this difficult time in their lives. Some of the issues that must be addressed in family law proceedings are discussed below.

Child Custody:
A court is guided by one principle when deciding the issue of child custody. That principle is the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child is determined by examining the child’s relationship with the parents and important family members, the child’s health and social development, and the child’s general well-being. The Law Offices of Grossman & Mahan provides experienced legal representation in child custody cases.

Divorce and Community Property:
You probably know that assets acquired together during the marriage such as a home, vehicles, personal property and bank accounts are community property. However, did you know that businesses, life insurance, annuities, royalties, retirement pensions and other employee benefits may also be wholly or partially community property? These issues can be complex. The Law Offices of Grossman & Mahan will provide experienced representation to ensure that your right to receive your proper share of the community property is enforced.

Child Support:
In a divorce case or in any other proceeding involving minor children, the court must make orders for child support. These orders are based upon statewide mandatory guidelines which consider the number of children, percentage of time spent with each parent, both parents’ incomes, child care costs, and allowable deductions such as health insurance premiums and union dues. A non-custodial parent who has 20 percent of time with two children and earns $5,000 per month could pay over $1,200 per month to a custodial parent earning $1,000 per month. The Law Offices of Grossman & Mahan will provide experienced representation to ensure that you pay or receive the proper amount of child support.

Prenuptial Agreements:
To ensure that your property and income remain your separate property and do not become community property, you must consider the benefits of a prenuptial agreement before entering into a marriage. The Law Offices of Grossman & Mahan specializes in the preparation of prenuptial agreements and will advise and represent you in all aspects of a prenuptial agreement.

Spousal support in family law proceedings

During the pendency of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation and at the time of final judgment, the court may order a party to pay any amount necessary for the support of the other party. This is known as spousal support (formerly alimony) and may be classified as either temporary or permanent spousal support. Temporary spousal support is ordered during the pendency of the proceeding prior to a final judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation. Its purpose is to preserve the living standards of the parties as close as possible to the status quo. See Family Code Section 3600. It is normally based upon temporary support guidelines utilized by the courts which primarily consider the relative incomes of the parties and which promote consistency in temporary support orders. The use of temporary guidelines is not mandatory, however, and the court has wide discretion in determining the proper amount of temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support can be ordered based upon the agreement of the parties or by the court after a hearing requested by the party seeking support.

Permanent spousal support is ordered at the time of judgment, either after a trial or a settlement agreement entered into between the parties. Although it is often referred to as “permanent,” it is always subject to modification (unless the parties agree that it is non modifiable) and may, in fact, have a specified termination date or be ordered to automatically step down. Regardless of the amount and duration of the actual spousal support payment order, if the marriage is considered to be “long term” (10 years or longer from date of marriage to date of separation), the court must, at the very least, “indefinitely” retain jurisdiction over spousal support, so as to have the power to make future orders establishing or modifying spousal support if the circumstances warrant. See Family Code Section 4336. When determining the amount of permanent spousal support, the court cannot rely on temporary support guidelines. The court must consider all of the factors contained in Family Code Section 4320, including the standard of living of the parties, age and health of the parties, incomes of the parties, needs of the parties, ability to pay of the supporting spouse, the marketable skills of the supported spouse, and many other considerations.

If a supported spouse is “cohabiting with a person of the opposite sex” after an order for spousal support is made, this creates a “rebuttable presumption” of decreased need for spousal support. However, it does not automatically terminate spousal support. The party seeking to terminate or reduce the support must file a request for hearing with the court, which will then determine whether support should be terminated or reduced. See Family Code Section 4323.