Highly Experienced Family Lawyer in Irvine

Family law covers several types of cases, many of which are often part of divorce and separation cases. At The Goldberg Legal Group, we have helped families through difficult family law cases for more than 18 years. We provide individualized and compassionate legal support in divorce, custody, property division, separation, paternity, modification, and other cases.

Irvine Family Law Attorney

Areas of Family Law That We Handle in Irvine, CA

It’s essential to work with an attorney who has managed cases similar to your family law case. Although each case will have its unique requirements, an attorney who has represented cases like yours for years has a better understanding of the legal requirements and potential issues in your case. At The Goldberg Legal Group, we have experience and success with several areas of family law, including:


A divorce is a hard time for any couple to go through, even when they’ve determined it to be the right course of action. Divorce frequently involves several different family law cases, including alimony, property division, child custody, and child support. Dissolving a domestic partnership also deals with some of the same aspects of family law as divorce. The more areas of family law that are involved in a divorce case, the more complicated and lengthy it is likely to be.

Each aspect of a divorce or domestic partnership dissolution can potentially cause disputes between partners, even when they are trying to work together. A divorce can be contested or uncontested. Contested divorces are handled through the court, which has the final say over the divorce order. Because contested divorces involve court dates and require the court to have availability, the process of a contested divorce can take longer.

Uncontested divorces are managed through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which includes collaborative divorce and divorce mediation. By filing for an uncontested divorce, parties are stating that they are negotiating and collaborating on their separation agreement. If they are unable to come to an agreement, or if the divorce is contested from the start, the parties will take their separation to court.


Alimony, or spousal support, is a part of some divorce cases, but it is less common than people realize. Alimony is typically a monthly payment provided to one spouse from the other spouse.

Although some individuals view alimony payments as a form of punishment, that is not the intention of the payments. The purpose of alimony is to provide each spouse with similar financial resources and a similar standard of living that they enjoyed during their marriage.

The court may decide that alimony is appropriate for the situation, or one spouse can request that temporary or permanent alimony be awarded. Temporary alimony is awarded while divorce proceedings are ongoing. Permanent alimony is not permanent but refers to alimony that is awarded with the final divorce orders. The spouse who requests this is responsible for proving their financial need for alimony.

It is more common when one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other spouse. If a spouse gave up job opportunities or educational opportunities for the benefit of their marriage, or to care for children or marital property, there may be a reason for them to receive alimony payments. Alimony may also be appropriate if one spouse has significantly higher separate assets than the other spouse. In California, alimony is awarded with the intention that the lower-earning spouse eventually becomes self-sufficient.

The court determines the amount and duration of alimony based on several factors, including the income of each party, the length of their marriage, and their financial needs.

Property Division

During divorce or separation proceedings, partners must divide the property they gained during their marriage or partnership. Only marital property needs to be divided, which are any assets or debts gained from the date of marriage to the date of separation.

When spouses are working through an uncontested divorce through ADR, they have more control over the division of assets. Spouses can negotiate a division, and if the court considers it to be fair, it will become part of the divorce court order.

If spouses are getting a contested divorce, then the division of property is subject to community property laws. This is the method that the family court uses to divide assets. Under the state’s community property laws, all marital assets are divided equally between spouses, regardless of any outside factors in their marriage. Property division can have complications, such as determining what property is separate or marital.

Child Custody and Visitation

Determining child custody and visitation may be part of a divorce case, the dissolution of a domestic partnership, the separation of unmarried parents, or part of a paternity case. No matter the circumstances, a custody determination is frequently a highly emotional and stressful time in parents’ lives.

Child custody is divided into legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make important legal and life decisions for a child, such as healthcare and education. Physical custody refers to where the child primarily lives. Both types of custody may be sole custody, awarded to one parent; or joint custody, awarded to both parents.

The California court makes all legal decisions regarding children based on the child’s interests. If parents create a parenting plan together, the court will only approve it if it believes it to be in the child’s interests.

Even when parents want to work together to create a parenting plan, they may have different ideas about their children’s interests, or they might have different wishes. Mediation needs clear direction and effective solutions to better benefit the entire family while keeping the children’s needs at the forefront.

Although the court typically prefers that parents create a parenting plan together, they cannot always reach an agreement outside of court. Contentious child custody cases can be overwhelming for parents and for children. It’s important to navigate these cases efficiently while keeping children from having to deal with the most stressful aspects.

Child Support

Child support determinations are part of divorce cases, separations of unmarried parents or domestic partnerships, and paternity determinations. Both of the legal and biological parents of a child have an equal responsibility to financially provide for that child. Child support payments ensure that both parents provide equal support, even when they do not spend the same time with a child and/or are separated. They usually consist of monthly payments between parents, which provide children with the same standard of living from each parent.

Child support is the right of a child. Some parents wrongly believe that they can waive child support payments if they both agree. The court assigns support payments that are in the interest of a child and that support their basic financial needs. It’s very uncommon that no child support is assigned.

Child support determinations are based on several factors, including:

  • The income and earning potential of each parent
  • The amount of custody and time a child spends with each parent
  • The unique healthcare or other financial needs of a child
  • The number of children who need support

Child support payments typically last until the child is 18 or 19 and has graduated from high school. However, there are some circumstances where payments can last longer.

High-Income Child Support

Child support in California is based on a specific formula. However, if the family court is given good reason, it will deviate from this formula. If parents have a significantly higher income, this may be a reason for the court to calculate support differently. Children from high-income homes frequently have additional expenses that the usual formula does not account for. It’s important that child support provides for the child’s needs while remaining fair to the financial ability of both parents.

Marital Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are both types of marital agreements. A marital agreement is a contract signed by married or engaged parties that outlines each party’s financial rights and responsibilities to certain assets and debts. This includes the rights and responsibilities that each party has to their own separate property and each other’s separate property. It also determines how marital property will be categorized and whether any property that would typically be marital property will be considered separate property.

These determinations provide guidelines for how assets and debts are managed during a couple’s marriage. It also determines how these assets are split, should the couple divorce. Although some consider a marital agreement to be a precursor to divorce, this isn’t often the case. Creating a marital agreement enables couples to discuss important financial matters. It can also list how each spouse will be financially taken care of if they divorce. This can provide a sense of financial security that makes a marriage happier.

A marital agreement can outline other issues as well. These include:

  • Spousal property rights if the other spouse dies
  • The use of wills of trusts to enforce the marital agreement
  • The inheritance rights of children from previous relationships

High-Asset and Complex Divorces

A divorce with high-value and complex assets has additional complications not found in other divorces. One or both spouses may be a CEO or otherwise own a business or interest in a business. When these assets are marital, they are subject to property division. This can be a complicated process.

The complexity and amount of assets in complex divorces require more professionals to evaluate and categorize them. For the division of these assets to be fair, they must be accurately and professionally valued. Professionals are also useful for determining tax implications. High-value and complex assets, like investment portfolios, stock options, or retirement accounts, are likely to have expensive tax implications, which can impact the fair division of assets.

High-asset divorces are more likely to involve spouses hiding assets. If a spouse suspects that their partner is hiding assets, this is illegal and can shift the fair division of assets. There are steps in court-ordered discovery to find hidden assets.


Court orders must be followed, and they can be enforced with administrative and criminal penalties if they are not followed. However, the family court knows that the life circumstances of a family can change, and certain family court orders can be modified. If there is a relevant and substantial change in the circumstances of any involved parties, the court may decide to modify a family court order.

To modify child custody orders, the current custody order must no longer be in the child’s interest. This is a higher standard than is required to modify visitation orders. The court generally assumes that children should have a stable home, so it prefers not to alter the current custody arrangement. If parents can agree on a modification, the court will approve it as long as it is in the child’s interests.

If parents cannot agree on a modification, a petitioning parent must prove that the current order is not in the child’s interests. If current custody orders are placing a child in physical, emotional, or moral danger, the order can be modified. Modification will also be allowed if the current custodial parent is no longer able to care for the child’s basic needs.

For court orders such as alimony or child support, the parties involved must show a significant financial change in circumstances. This may include increased financial needs of either spouse or a child, a change in either party’s income, or a change in employment. Child support can also be altered if child custody has been modified.


If parents are married when they have a child, they are assumed to be the legal and biological parents of that child. If parents are unmarried, they have to establish those parental rights. If both parents want to establish those rights, establishing paternity is fairly simple. However, if one parent does not want themselves or the other parent to be established as the child’s second legal parent, this can create a paternity court case. A paternity case can also occur when one parent in a married couple, or a third party, disputes the paternity of one of the parents.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence cases can overlap in criminal court and family court. In family court, a victim of domestic violence can file a restraining order against their abuser and a civil claim to cover damages done by the abuser. A domestic violence case may be part of a divorce or child custody case, or it can be its own separate court case.

Legal Support From The Goldberg Legal Group

At The Goldberg Legal Group, we want to help you and your family find the ideal outcome for your family law case. Contact our team and see how we can protect your rights.


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